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Thread: questions to ask when buying a van

  1. #1
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Baltimore, MD

    questions to ask when buying a van

    Between folks on the Quad list and myself, we came up with a list of questions persons in the market to buy an adapted van should ask van dealers. Here's that list:

    (not all questions are applicable in all cases)

    1. How much weight is added to the vehicle during modification?

    2. Does the added weight lead to premature suspension and front end

    3. Does the manufacturer use the original fuel tank or a fuel cell?
    Does the manufacturer use the original fuel pump?

    4. What other original parts are used, and which are replaced? How do the changes affect the van's overall durability? Are there any
    electrical items which are added to the conversion which create a
    constant demand on the battery?

    5. What will the finished height of the van be? What will the ground
    clearance be? How do the modifications affect the van's center of gravity, and stability in turns?

    6. How do your modifications affect the warranty from the van's original
    manufacturer? How does your warranty compare with the original warranty? How does the manufacturer feel about your modifications to their product?

    7. Have vans with your modifications undergone crash tests, and what were the results compared with non-modified vans?

    8. Will the modifier or manufacturer pay for a rental in the event there are problems during the warranty period, and help me find such a vehicle, if needed?

    9. What about after sale service? Where are repairs done, and how is
    the van taken to the repair shop if repairs can't be done at my home
    (is that my responsibility, or part of your service?) How fast is the
    response when I call your company to report a problem? What happens
    when the warranty period is over? What if the manufacturer issues a
    recall of this model?

    10. How helpful will you be in accommodating me in my particular
    circumstances, whatever those may be?

    11. What type of kneeling system do you install? What parts are most
    likely to break with normal use, and how much does repairing or replacing said parts cost in money and time? Why is your particular kneeling system the right one to choose? Can I get an upgraded battery to deal with the added drag of powering the lift and the kneeling system? Is the hydraulic fluid in the kneeling system affected by the air temperature, and, if so, at what temperatures?

    12. What happens if the kneeling system breaks during or after the
    warranty period, and how difficult is it to fix? If the kneeling
    system breaks when I am out, can the van still be driven, and will I
    be held responsible for any additional damage caused by driving the van in this condition?

    13. If the van's engine and/or battery fails while I am in the van, how do I get out of the van? How do I activate the ramp and van kneeling
    system (if applicable?) What about releasing the power tiedowns?

    14. Can this van tow a trailer?

    15. Depending on the repair required, may I stay in the van during repair if I have to bring it in for service myself?

    16. I don't currently plan to drive this van, but that may change in the
    future. Can the required adaptations for driving be added later, without damaging the integrity of the vehicle? Depending on how soon such changes are made, how will they affect the warranty?

    17. I'd like a security system and remote engine start in this van.
    Would I be better off with the manufacturer's alarm system, or
    should I have a vendor local to me install the alarm?

    18. Have you told me about all the options available from the
    manufacturer for this van?

    People who drive (from their chairs or after transferring into a seat)
    will likely have additional questions.

  2. #2

    Great list

    I wonder how many people actually get answers?

    I would only add a question about the tie-downs (either manual or power) regarding crash testing and reliability of the brand used.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Scorpion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Los Angeles
    In my limited experience with a company that does conversions, they are very accomodating and willing to answer all your questions and tailor the modifications to your abilities.


  4. #4
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    The Rollx rep ( who brought a demo van to my house answered all my questions. I gave him a copy of the list, and we went through it .

  5. #5
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    Bump for newbies.


    "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"

  6. #6
    Great list! Thanks for putting this together.

    For those that may be looking at a used van-you may want to ask about the extended warranty coverage and cost as well.

  7. #7
    Will the jack that's supplied with the vehicle be usable?
    In my experience (2 out of 2), the jack stored with/for the spare tire didn't fit under the chassis. Guess when I found out.
    - Richard

  8. #8
    Excellent list. A few more come to mind:

    19. How fast will she go?

    20. What's her quarter mile split?

    21. tinted windows?

    22. How deep is the sub-woofer?

    23. Ground effects?

    24. Lowered suspension?

    25. Can you get 22's in there?

    26. Space for a bed in back?

  9. #9
    Just go get a van from VMI. They integrate their modifications so well I thought it came stock from the factory it was done so nice. It has two backup systems for the ramp and for the kneel. And yes the jack will work and you can tow.
    Life's perceived journey in this PMR is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "holy **** what a VR ride!"
    Pete C6/'97

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by alan View Post

    2. Does the added weight lead to premature suspension and front end

    I have an 04 grand caravan with a VMI conversion.

    I think the front end is starting to go on mine..not a very smooth ride at all anymore. Maybe that goes along with age?...almost 60,000 miles?
    Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.

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