Whoa Nellie! 2011Express AWD Camper Van With CCV Pop Up Top

graywolfkayak

New member
I test drove this rig a few days ago, and was impressed. However, I'm looking for some advice about the reliability of the vehicle - in particular, the engine. Any info would be much appreciated. Also, given the fairly high asking price, I'm wondering if I should wait and look for something comparable that doesn't cost as much.
Thanks in advance for any help and advice.
 

AbleGuy

[Back] Roads Scholar
So which motor would be in this? Probably the 5.3? All I can say is that’s more powerful than the 4.7 and has better gas mileage than the 6.0 (duh, sorry I’m only stating what is obvious) but my real life experience is limited recently only to the 6.0’s, sorry.

As to the rest of your questions...these AWD vans are increasingly hard to find and so they’re going to command a premium. You may wait a long time before another nicely camperized one comes up. This one has some nice build elements especially with the CCV pop up, rooftop a/c, solar, winch, lift and the aluminum’s rear bumper storage set up.

Maybe try pricing out the cost of the add ons and then look at KBB, etc., for the value of the stock van. Do you feel that they add up to close to this asking price? While the the price does seems a bit high to me for the mileage, as you probably have seen yourself it’s typical in the PNW for vehicle prices to be higher than probably anywhere else in the west.
 
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86scotty

Explorer
I test drove this rig a few days ago, and was impressed. However, I'm looking for some advice about the reliability of the vehicle - in particular, the engine. Any info would be much appreciated. Also, given the fairly high asking price, I'm wondering if I should wait and look for something comparable that doesn't cost as much.
Thanks in advance for any help and advice.
I wouldn't worry about the engine much. At 150k it's not young and not old. Chevy 5.3l's are known to go hundreds of thousands of miles. I've driven/owned a few with 250-300k and still going strong. When and if it does die it's one of the most common late model engines out there. A warrantied used one would probably set you back maybe $1k. My current Chevy crew cab with the 5.3l has 240k on it and a Chevy AWD van I had recently had over 200k, both still funning great.

That van looks like it just needs tires and some paint for that top pronto!
 

graywolfkayak

New member
Man, I appreciate the advice and comments from you guys! I had done some research about the engine and felt pretty good about it, and your input confirms what I had read. Also, a neighbor who builds and restores classic cars said pretty much the same thing.

86scotty, I'm curious what you meant about the paint for the top - could you clarify that for me?
If I do purchase the van I plan on putting new tires (and maybe wheels) on it - any recommendations on those?

I just sent an email to the owner to see if I can take it for another test drive and to look it over a little more closely.

Thanks!
 

Juanblzer

Observer
IMHO that tcase sucks. I had a awd suburban that flat out blew up when I got stuck in snow. I love gm products and the engine and trans combo in this unit are great... but that tcase is trash and will leave you stranded
 

graywolfkayak

New member
Juanblzer, I appreciate your feedback. Our intention with this vehicle is to use the AWD only on an "as needed" basis. We'll mainly be using it to tour and camp, but want to have the clearance and AWD capability for visiting places that a vehicle like a Roadtrek or Pleasure Way can't go. Examples: Point Sublime on the north rim of the Grand Canyon and Chaco Canyon.
The owner has all the maintenance records, including the transfer case fluid changes. Should we consider preemptively getting the transfer case replaced with a better one?
 

AbleGuy

[Back] Roads Scholar
The CCV webpage shows lots of vans with the white roof, so I do Not think you have to worry about paint as a protective coating at all (just keep it waxed propane).

That comment was probably more about an aesthetics opinion than advice concerning durability. Plus the white top may help keep you a bit cooler upstairs.

Good luck...this rig sounds like a good match for you based on your intended use statements.
 
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zooroadbaja

Adventurer
I wish my 5.3 lived up to these claims, 2014 1500 with the 5.3 starting at 40k miles truck is burning oil. Truck is under warranty but dealership wont do anything because it isnt burning enough oil, so i have to bring it in very 1000 miles so they can monitor the oil consumption. Also truck has a ticking sound that worries me, but dealership says is normal and they cant find anything but they hear it as well. First and last Chevy ill own. But I know other people have had good luck.
 

Juanblzer

Observer
Juanblzer, I appreciate your feedback. Our intention with this vehicle is to use the AWD only on an "as needed" basis. We'll mainly be using it to tour and camp, but want to have the clearance and AWD capability for visiting places that a vehicle like a Roadtrek or Pleasure Way can't go. Examples: Point Sublime on the north rim of the Grand Canyon and Chaco Canyon.
The owner has all the maintenance records, including the transfer case fluid changes. Should we consider preemptively getting the transfer case replaced with a better one?
I would try to find an np241 that is lever actuated and then get a jb customs shift cable for it (I bet this would run 500 or less. The trades are plentiful and the cables for the 241 aren’t too expensive). The awd is all the time and I did not use my suburban for anything difficult.... ever. It was used for family daily driving and occasional road trips. I was in a forest service road and became stuck in the snow. Broke a cv and the tcase without much effort. Now I’ve been wheeling a long time and I swear by ls engines and gm stuff but ... the trans on the same suburban failed at 100k also.
This tcase failure and subsequent trans failure led me to buy a 100series Toyota. I have over 250k on my Hundy and it’s never let me down.
 
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