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1985 Dodge RAM VanReview
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Excellent Do-everything Vehicle —

My 1985 Dodge B150 Royal passenger van has been the best vehicle I've owned. After 28 years and 256,000 miles, the paint, trim and upholstery are still in excellent condition. The van is so incredibly versatile and useful that I can't imagine what would replace it. I use it to haul 8 people and our baggage, go camping in, haul two street motorcycles inside the van, pull a trailer, carry building materials including 4x8 full sheets of plywood and even an entire upright piano. It's far more useful than an SUV or a simple pickup truck. With the short hood, the overall length is shorter than my daughter's Mazda 6 and the turning radius is excellent. The floor is low enough to the ground to make loading easy. On long trips, the captain's chair is very comfortable and the armrests fall in just the right location. The instruments are simple and functional and the visibility is excellent. The ride is pretty soft and there is a moderate amount of sway, which is normal for a taller, larger vehicle like this. Steering on the freeway can be done with a light touch and the brakes modulate well. The passenger seats unclip from the floor, however unlike more modern vehicles, they do not fold and are fairly heavy. It is usually a two-person job to remove or install the rear bench seats. B250 models could have the optional dinette seating, where the front bench seat flip over to face the rear one. Then a table clips in between them. Great for vacations. They could also be folded flat into a full-size bed with storage for sheets and pillows under the seats. I've installed curtains in my van and use it for camping all the time. It's perfect for this application, with plenty of room for gear and two people to sleep and stay warm and dry. I also have hauled two full-size street motorcycles inside the van and the seat attaching points in the floor work well for tying down cargo. The van is extremely reliable - always starts and always works. When it does need repair, the parts such as an alternator, starter, water pump, etc... are all very affordable - usually under $60. It's easy enough to work on that you can do most service yourself. My van has the 318 V8 2-bbl engine, which is very reliable, but doesn't make a lot of horsepower. Being in California you cannot add high performance parts to it either to improve it's efficiency or mileage. On mine, I swapped the stock 3-speed automatic for a 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. This improved the highway mileage from 14 to 19 mpg. If they still made the B-series vans, I'd buy one in a minute. Unfortunately a lot of the used ones out there were hammered by their previous owners and not maintained well. If properly maintained, these things will last forever.

Primary Use: Utility (towing boats, transporting cargo, etc.)

Pros: Extremely Versatile, Reliable, Comfortable, Cheap to Repair, Easy to Drive

Cons: Underpowered and gets poor gas mileage.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful.
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1985 Dodge RAM VanReview

Great Engine, Needs Suspension Upgrade. — I bought a used Dodge Ram Prospector, 1985. Can't speak of the interior or paint, because it had an aftermarket paint job (which was really ugly) and I removed the bench seats and carpet to replace the interior. As far as the engine goes (5.9 ltr), it was well-maintained. Passed smog in 2009, and runs well. It runs a little 'floaty', but I'm used to high-performance cars. It's great if you plan to upgrade wheels and suspension.

Pros: Great engine.

Cons: Suspension could definitely be better.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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Displaying all 2 1985 Dodge RAM Van reviews.

Reviews From Other Years

2002 Dodge RAM Van Reviews

Review By GuruRRB19

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2000 Dodge RAM Van Reviews

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3 tranny rebuilds in 100k??? whats up with that... computer went out at 110k everything else ok... suspenson could be better. rides better than a ford. could have had larger rims so i could range e t... Read More

1999 Dodge RAM Van Reviews

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1998 Dodge RAM Van Reviews

1998 Dodge Ram Van By Marc

The performance is quite well for it's size, thanks to the 225hp 5.2L V8. It also handles well, for a truck. The brakes take a little while to slow the rig down, but considering it GVW that's understa... Read More

1997 Dodge RAM Van Reviews

It Must Have Been Great Vehicle When It Was New. By MQarmy

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