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1989 Dodge RAM VanReview
Lenny writes:

Dodge Van — Big van, didnt really think much of it. Had a lot of room to do a lot of things with it. But people were expecting that so it kinda killed it for me. It always stalled on turns in the cold mornings too.

Pros: Roomy

Cons: Too big

7 of 20 people found this review helpful.
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1989 Dodge RAM VanReview
Fusion writes:

Great Looking Van, Most Comfortable Ride Ever!!! — I have had steering and alternator problems, but the inside and outside have held together good. For the most part a reliable vehicle, but alittle expensive in the gas department!!!

Owner for 1 years, 2 months

Miles Driven per Year:12,000

Pros: Comfortable, Space, Seating, Tough, Good for trips

Cons: Some Engine prob, steering prob, will rust easy, High Profile

14 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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1989 Dodge RAM VanReview
arcania writes:

My First And Favorite Vehicle — i got this van as a gift and i love it. it has cost me alot of money and broken down alot, but i love it more than anything and will never get rid of it.

Owner for 1 years, 9 months

Miles Driven per Year:10,000

Pros: huge van, safest vehicle I've driven (made of steel)

Cons: lots of mechanical problems with mine

10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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1989 Dodge RAM VanReview
Mercjerry writes:
Back Seats:
Cargo Capacity:
Family Car:
Fuel Economy:
Front Seats:
Interior Space:
Long Trips:
Maintenance Cost:

Happy Days Are Here Again —

The life of an automotive writer is mostly fun, especially when he gets to drive a truly rare vehicle like the 1989 Dodge B250 Ram Van that I got my hands on in 2000. Once again, I wanted to sell a story to VAN Magazine, a short-lived automotive publication based in Munich, Germany, that I freelanced for at the time. I rarely had to go very far to find interesting subjects because the garage that serviced my car (back then, a 1987 T-Bird) also sold US automobiles of all kinds and often had unusual, even exotic vehicles on the lot waiting for buyers. Many of the cars and trucks I've reviewed here came from that source, and this Dodge Van was no exception. Like on other occasions before, my garage man had entrusted me with the keys to one of his precious vehicles, once more placing his faith in my ability to conduct a full-blown road test without wrecking it. Fortunately, his faith was fully justified. US-built full-size vans are not exactly an everday sight in the Old World, particularly Dodges, which are almost non-existent over here. All the more incentive for me to test drive one when opportunity knocked. Like all its brethren, my test vehicle had begun its life in Chrysler Corporation's Windsor, Ontario, assembly plant in April 1989, as a B250 Ram Van. That means it started out as a 3/4-ton cargo van rather than a wagon and was subsequently converted to a living room on wheels by Happy Times Vans in Ft. Myers, Florida. But let's examine the Dodge step by step. Dodge entered the van business back in 1948 with the so-called Route-Van Delivery, but the history of the Ram Van Dates back to 1964 when Dodge introduced its compact A100 Van/Pickup/Wagon, a direct competitor of Ford's and Chevy's similar models introduced in 1960. All three of them represented Motown's answer to VW's subcompact Bus, which had attained cult status in the US, especially among young Californians. Detroit and US car buyer tastes being what they are, the compact vans from the Big Three soon went mainstream, meaning they got bigger and plusher. In the case of the Dodge, the watershed model year was 1971 when the generation depicted here (called B-Series) entered the stage and stayed there for an almost unbelievable 33 years. In 2004, the Mercedes-based Dodge Sprinter replaced the Ram (so called since 1981) for better or worse. In 1989, the Ram was offered in three load classes, the 1/2-ton B150, the 3/4-ton B250, and the 1-ton B350. There were vans and wagons on two wheelbases, 109.6 and 127.6 inches, with overall lengths being 178.9 and 196.6 inches. The B350 was only available with the long wheelbase, though. For those needing even more space, a Maxi Van or Wagon with extended rear overhang could be ordered in the long-wheelbase B250 and B350 series. This whopper measured 222.9 inches in length and was capable of seating up to 15 passengers as a wagon; the shorter models seated 8 and 12, respectively. To power these vehicles, Chrysler Corporation offered some of its finest engines: As base engine , the venerable 225 CID Slant Six with a modest 95 net horsepower in 1989 (140 gross horsepower in 1971) motivated the B150 and B250. The 225 made its debut in 1960 and was installed in pretty much every car and truck that ever wore a Plymouth, Dodge, and Chrysler emblem. As usual with American sixes, it was considered and marketed as an economy engine and never sparked the car-buying public's imagination like a V8. However, it was a paragon of reliability and durability, as thousands of police officers and taxi drivers can attest. It was only in 1989 that this inline engine was replaced by a 239 CID V6 with 125 horsepower, proof positive how outstanding the Slant Six was. The equally famous 318 CID V8 with 140 horsepower served as standard equipment in the B350 and was optional in the lighter classes. The 318 dates back to 1957 when it first appeared in the Plymouth Fury as the top-rated high performance engine. By the early Sixties, however, other, bigger V8s had taken over, relegating the 318 to entry-level V8 status. In 1967, the 318, formerly of Y-block or big-block design, became a small-block. Thanks to new thin-wall casting techniques similar to those at GM and FoMOCo, the 318 became smaller and lighter, but suffered no power loss at all; cylinder dimensions etc. remained the same until the discontinuation of 318 production in 2004. Not at all bad for an old pushrod V8. Incidentally, the 318's fuel supply system changed from a two-barrel carburetor to throttle body fuel injection in the very year the test vehicle was built; the carbureted predecessor had produced 135 horsepower. Top Dog of the Ram's engine lineup in '89 was the optional 360 CID V8 with 190 net horsepower, a powerplant that had made its debut in 1971, just like the 2nd generation Ram. It was never intended to be a high-performance engine, but served to power millions of Mopar cars and trucks faithfully through 2004. The test vehicle was a B250 Ram Van on the 127.6-inch wheelbase, powered by the 318, and coupled with Mopar's deservedly famous Torqueflite 3-speed automatic transmission, and a locking rear axle with 3.23 gearing. This combination obviously makes the B250 not a powerhouse, but a pleasant cruiser with enough guts to push the Ram's boxy shape through the air with a maximum speed just shy of 100 mph. As usual with older American cars and trucks, ideal cruising speed is 75 mph. At this speed, the test B250 with its more than two tons of weight gently bobs up and down and the highway, gobbling up mile after mile, whispering a muted V8 throb in the driver's ears. Happy Times really did a swell Job with this Ram, turning a stark cargo van into an impressive and exceedingly cozy long-distance traveler for up to seven people aboard. There's silky velour on the floor and the seats, genuine wood appliqué in all the right places, especially around the instrument panel; a big wooden triple cupholder sits on top of the Dodge's center console/engine access cover. Four fully adjustable captain's chairs with plenty of legroom designed to turn even the most diehard survivalist into a helpless couch potato and a rear bench seat that converts into a bed simply beg you to just slouch the hours away. There's a separate air conditioning system for the rear passengers, a small TV set and a VCR (1989, remember?) built into the overhead console, and hi-fi stereo speakers all over the place so you never have to be without entertainment. Tinted windows complete with curtains provide a splendid view of the great outdoors while safeguarding the privacy of those privileged few inside. With the cruise control and the air conditioning both set at 75, the hi-fi stereo blasting out my favorite 1940s cool jazz, I felt right at home in the vastly comfortable captain's chair behind the steering wheel while my photographer took a nap on the third-row bench seat. Things just don't get much better than that. On the outside, the Happy Times Dodge looks pretty normal with its white-over-gold paint job. Modest fender and sideboard extensions permit the installation of decidedly non-stock 275/60 R15 tires on custom aluminum wheels. All in all, the Happy Times conversion leaves an mpression of quality and solid craftsmanship; the company is a member of the Recreational Vehicles Industrial Association (RVIA), after all. The Dodge Ram B250 was fun to drive and to try out and sure drew a lot of stares in Germany, most of them admiring, some skeptical. In the crowded, narrow streets of the Old World, a big van like the Dodge is certainly not the most practical vehicle, especially considering the usual bugaboo of American vehicles in Europe, fuel economy. There was absolutely no way to get more than 17 mpg out of the Ram, even with the most delicate touch on the gas pedal. At eight bucks a gallon, owning a vehicle like that in Germany requires a fat wallet or, if you're one of the 99-percenters, saving money elsewhere, like food, electricity, etc. Expressing one's individuality with an American car in Europe has its rewards, but also its price. You decide.

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

Pros: Exotic vehicle, comfortable, rugged engine

Cons: Borderline size for Europe

22 of 30 people found this review helpful.
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1989 Dodge RAM Van Review
GuruPVV says:
This is the bast Vehicle I have ever owned. I have been driving it daily for 10+ years now. I have had no major repairs and put 50k+ miles. Only tune ups!! It gets 20+ mpg and I still love it to this day. It carries, pulls, and tows everything w/o complications. Go Mopar !!!!
vs1989 Chevrolet Chevy Van
1989 Dodge RAM Van winning categories:
  • Power
  • Handling
  • Looks/Style
  • Front Seats
  • Back Seats
  • Cargo Capacity
  • Family Car
  • Value
  • Would Buy
Looks/Style Ranked 1989 Chevrolet Chevy Van worse.
"Ram looked and drove better year after year ##"
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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Displaying all 1989 Dodge RAM Van reviews reviews.

Reviews From Other Years

2003 Dodge RAM Van Reviews

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2002 Dodge RAM Van Reviews

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2000 Dodge RAM Van Reviews

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1999 Dodge RAM Van Reviews

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1998 Dodge RAM Van Reviews

1998 Dodge Ram Van By Marc

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Have you driven a 1989 Dodge RAM Van?