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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, so it appears that " supply and demand " is coming into play in the search for a B1500 work van, with what appears to be way over priced vans for the mileage, condition, and year, so my guess is demand is out pacing supply. However, there does appear to be a few more window vans for sale that are in better condition, with lower mileage, for around the same price when compared to panel vans, so the question is, has anyone ever seen a window van converted to a panel van that looked nice ?

Bottom line, have to come to the reality that trying to find a Dodge B1500, B2500 work van with little to no rust with lower mileage is going to become rarer and rarer as time passes by, so two things :

ONE - can you convert a window van to a panel van, yet still have it look nice ? Can you somehow place a painted piece of metal over the glass ? Would not try to remove the glass and weld metal into the body, that would be too much work trying to get it to look nice, but how about metal over top of the glass, somehow ? (do not want windows in a work van that people can look inside and see tools and smash out the window to try and get them)

ALSO, IMO, Dodge hit a home run with their latest interior and exterior design of the B1500, B2500, B3500 vans, and I believe these changes were from 1998-2003, so why search for an '01, '02, '03 van, when the '98, '99, '00 are basically the same van ? Seems it would be a better decision to go strictly by mileage and condition, although mileage can be a misnomer due to how the van was maintained.


side note : the '02 I purchased was listed as a 3-speed transmission, but best I can tell it hits overdrive on the freeway, hard to tell because it is so quite and smooth, but pretty sure it has an overdrive. A buddy of mine seems to think that all Dodge vans probably had an overdrive past a certain year to meet gas mileage requirements, I have no idea.
 

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I put a mylar one-way glass film on the side and rear windows of my B100 Sportsman. I could see out, not in:

79976


79977
 

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Take your VIN to a Dodge dealer and get a build sheet. They did mine for free and it details everything, including the 4-speed automatic.

About the panel conversion, there are two ways to go about it. You could remove the glass and cut metal pieces to match, then install them using the original (or new) gaskets. The more complicated way would be with what I saw a guy do with an early VW microbus. When I commented on how rare the panel versions were, he said he made it from a window van. Got long sheets of metal and tacked them along the sides outboard of the glass area, then perimeter welded, ground the welds and painted. Looking inside the untrimmed interior you could still see the window frames. Very cool.

This is Jack's van. Very talented guy.
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Where are you located? There might be panel vans available elsewhere that would be worth traveling for.
 
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Here's a '95 panel in my area.

An '02 in D.C.

Best of the bunch, so far, in the same area.

Another.

Another.

This '97 is a beauty.

That's enough for now.
 

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side note : the '02 I purchased was listed as a 3-speed transmission, but best I can tell it hits overdrive on the freeway, hard to tell because it is so quite and smooth, but pretty sure it has an overdrive. A buddy of mine seems to think that all Dodge vans probably had an overdrive past a certain year to meet gas mileage requirements, I have no idea.
The build sheet I mentioned is actually called an Option Report and looks like this.
FullSizeRender (70).jpg
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here's a '95 panel in my area.

An '02 in D.C.

Best of the bunch, so far, in the same area.

Another.

Another.

This '97 is a beauty.

That's enough for now.
WOW ! Those are some nice looking vans, I was giving up hope trying to find a nice cargo van, I don't do Facebook, go figure, THANK YOU ! Laser86 is back in the game !
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Take your VIN to a Dodge dealer and get a build sheet. They did mine for free and it details everything, including the 4-speed automatic.

About the panel conversion, there are two ways to go about it. You could remove the glass and cut metal pieces to match, then install them using the original (or new) gaskets. The more complicated way would be with what I saw a guy do with an early VW microbus. When I commented on how rare the panel versions were, he said he made it from a window van. Got long sheets of metal and tacked them along the sides outboard of the glass area, then perimeter welded, ground the welds and painted. Looking inside the untrimmed interior you could still see the window frames. Very cool.

This is Jack's van. Very talented guy.
View attachment 79989

Where are you located? There might be panel vans available elsewhere that would be worth traveling for.
I am in Ohio, I caught a Greyhound to Massachusetts to buy an '03 B1500 about 8 years ago (120,000 miles at the time, still driving it today at 200,000, but badly rusted), and I caught a Greyhound to Alabama to buy an '02 B1500 a year and a half ago (38,000 miles at the time, 50,000 today). I intended to use the '02 for work, and could not pass up buying her, but then decided she was too nice to use for full time work and driving in the snow, so I am searching for another van strictly for work, I have no problem traveling, it is a gamble, but so is life.

Here is my '02
2002 Dodge van with 16 inch factory rims.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Next question, what would it take to tow a Dodge cargo van ?

Suppose I wanted to drive my '02 van from Ohio to say North Carolina to look at a van, what would be involved in either towing the new van with my '02 back to Ohio, OR, if the new van had a trailer hitch, driving the new van back and towing the '02 ? What precautions would need to be taken ? How would that be done ?
 

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Rental car is the way to go, it's a one day drive. 24 hour return on the rental and away you go. Cheaper in the long run than getting a tow dolly or flatbed trailer.
 
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What a lot of motorcycle guys do is a fly'n'ride; fly to get the bike and ride home. Buy a round trip ticket in case it does not pan out and cash in the return (if you can) or just call the unused return flight an investment in a good van.
 

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Rental car is the way to go, it's a one day drive. 24 hour return on the rental and away you go. Cheaper in the long run than getting a tow dolly or flatbed trailer.
Careful on the timing and location of the car rental. Fleets have been cut by 30 or 40 percent. Kia Rio in Florida was $300/day during spring break if you could find one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Using a 500 mile radius on Facebook Marketplace centering around Savanna Georgia, one promising van but no response yet from the seller ... but buyer beware on Facebook Marketplace for sure, seller was selling a chrome step bumper off an '03 B1500 for $150.00, " like new only a few years old " seller said, luckily it just happened to be just across town so I went and looked at it, somewhat twisted on one end and original to the van, steel was flaking off so who knows how many thousands of an inch thinner the steel is now, seller was having a tough time removing the bumper and I didn't bring any tools with me so I left, told me it would be removed today, might give him 50 bucks or so for it, not really worth much it it don't do its job to protect the van, did have a nice work divider in the van though, and one good OEM 16" steel alloy rim. Seen another guy selling a van without a title, said he would give you a " bill of sale " though, even dropped the price from $2,600 to a $1,000. Hopefully be able to snag something sooner or later, still trying to figure the best way to pick something up, guess it depends on where it is.
 

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FB Marketplace can be a pain but it's also a little easier than CL for brand browsing. I just figure I'm looking at vans so anything is good. Some, of course, are much better. And FB sellers are at least as flaky as CL sellers. Good luck in your search and if one turns up around here and you need a friendly pair of eyes on it, let me know.
 

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They were great vans...We a few from slant 6 to V-8's. My last one was a 1999 window short WB (funeral door) with a V-6, 3 speed with over drive had problems with no A/C so we sold it. Yes we had it serviced at a Dodge dealer. Hate to see it go...
Panel (Dodge) vans lost out to GMC. I had 6 or 7 of them with 4.3 V-6's from 0 to 200k miles on them, before I sold them! But in my option the Dodge B-series vans hit the market all the way around. I just think Dodge just gave up on vans?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
FB Marketplace can be a pain but it's also a little easier than CL for brand browsing. I just figure I'm looking at vans so anything is good. Some, of course, are much better. And FB sellers are at least as flaky as CL sellers. Good luck in your search and if one turns up around here and you need a friendly pair of eyes on it, let me know.
The last 2 vans I bought off Autotrader, but I will use whatever resources are available.

Thanks for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Question :

Does anybody know how you would go about towing / hauling a B1500 750 miles ? Looking at the U Haul website not sure an auto transport is an option.
 

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I’d look into pulling the driveshaft and flat towing it. It it would have to have good tires for that.
 
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