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Old 06-29-2009, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,708 posts, read 79,820,680 times
Reputation: 39453

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THe ongoing hunt for a car for my daughters to drive continues endlessly.

The Subaru that I was looking at came back withthe knock sensor replaced and the dealer said that the third cylnder ignition trouble code went away. I told him that I woudl come and take it to a nearby shop to have the transmission and head gasket checked out and if there are no major problems buy the car immediately. HE said no. He woudl not allow us to take it and have it checked out. End of that deal.

Now my wife has found a 1996 Chevy Lumina van with 150,000 miles on it. It is a lot cheaper. I looked online and they have decent reviews and a 5 on the safety test results. (Not sure what that means). It is very cheap (asking $2200 which is a bit high according to Edmunds, but we cna negotiate). It appears to be in good shape. I have nto driven it. If we get the price down, we could buy two for the price of the subaru and keep a spare. If one breaks, throw it out and switch

Anyway. Does nayone have any comments on the Lumina? (Yes, I know that they are ugly, but what minivan or wagon is pretty?).
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:12 PM
 
3,150 posts, read 8,718,851 times
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3800 v6... last forever. Aunt had one and drove it until it rusted away beneath her.
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
11,155 posts, read 29,323,086 times
Reputation: 5480

the only thing I dislike is the huge front window if you can get past it akward styling it seems like a solid van and a great deal stay away from the 3.1 because it will be underpowered but like JTraik said the 3.8 is a great motor and you will be able to haul and tow some things with it too
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
17,216 posts, read 57,085,908 times
Reputation: 18579
1990-1996 Chevrolet Lumina APV/Minivan: Full Review - Consumer Guide Automotive

I think most of this above is correct. Some of the earlier versions I *think* had transmission issues, but don't quote me, this may have been a different minivan. As a sports car nut I don't follow the minivan markets much.
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
11,155 posts, read 29,323,086 times
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have you looked at the ford aerostar? they are RWD and pretty reliable and have a decent motor

Last edited by GTOlover; 06-29-2009 at 01:39 PM..
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Old 06-29-2009, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,708 posts, read 79,820,680 times
Reputation: 39453
Is the Lumina rwd?

I had hoped that they are FWD. They woudl be better int eh snow. Our RWD cars cannot make it up the driveway in the winter even when it is plowed. We have to park them at the end and walk through the snow. THen we get stuck lots of other places. I am pretty much done with driving RWD vehicles in the winter.

I really want to find an AWD Safari for the snow, but Lumina is cheap, close to our house, and wifey likes it so I have an uphill battle to get any interest in even looking at anything else.

Even if it is mostly for our daughters, my wifes personal opinoin of any car must be given a lot of weight. I was happy when the sold the 1996 jeep cherokee that she loved. They have pretty bad reviews when they get lots of miles.

Any advantage to Lumina over Astro or Safari? (As long as the AStro/Safari is newer than 1999)
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Old 06-29-2009, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
17,216 posts, read 57,085,908 times
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Lumina is FWD, the Astro is RWD or AWD.

Some good snow tires like Blizzaks would help whatever car you drive in snow.

Actually climbing uphill RWD should give better traction due to weight transfer, but it requires more operator skill, something your girls seem to be short on. This is another fundamental problem that's better addressed directly than trying to patch over the symptoms with a FWD car that is more forgiving of "cockpit errors". See if you can't find them a good winter driving school, it's not cheap but over time it does pay dividends.
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Old 06-29-2009, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,708 posts, read 79,820,680 times
Reputation: 39453
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
Lumina is FWD, the Astro is RWD or AWD.

Some good snow tires like Blizzaks would help whatever car you drive in snow.

Actually climbing uphill RWD should give better traction due to weight transfer, but it requires more operator skill, something your girls seem to be short on. This is another fundamental problem that's better addressed directly than trying to patch over the symptoms with a FWD car that is more forgiving of "cockpit errors". See if you can't find them a good winter driving school, it's not cheap but over time it does pay dividends.
Thanks. We do not see RWD getting better traction around here in the winter. RWD cars mostly just get stuck. FWD cars do a little better. 4x4 is great. You never get stuck and you rarely get pulled off to the side while travelling.

I do not know of anyone who can make it up our driveway in a rwd car in the winter. It is long, a bit of a hill, and gravel, so the plowing cannot remove all of the snow, besides it is usally ice. It is not really practical to salt it since it is about 180 feet long and I do not want to kill the grass now that we finally have some. Heck sometimes it is all but impossible to walk up the driveway let alone drive. Still 4wd did not get stuck, even when we could not walk on the driveway. It did slide around a bit going up, but it made it.

However We had problems all over this winter. In my Camaro, I got stuck a couple of times on the freeway going up hills. Frankly I think that it would get stuck on spilled ice cream. It is the worst car I have ever driven in snow and nothing else comes even close. It also slides like mad when you tryt o stop and it even slides when you are not moving. One time I parks near the end of our driveway where it is farily falt. I got out, started walking and looked back to see the camaro slide into the low spot at the side of the driveway. All by itself. It took a while mornign to get it out. (Do nto buy that ultra cheap electronic 12 v. winch from harbor freight).

My wife got stuck on a back road in her van. We had some other trouble with the van in the snow and it is a big heavy conversion van (lots of weight). When we borrowed my Dad's Ford Ranger it got stuck several times in our driveway and slid all over the road whie driving it despite putting a bunch of weight in the back. I got stuck in it once on a city street as well, but no one should have been out driving at all on that day. Only a few idiots were trying.

When I had a 4x4 truck I drove past many rwd and fwd cars stuck on the freeway and/or on streets last winter. It was only about five or six days that were like that, but I do not want to join those guys ever again. At the end of the winter the truck died and I brought the Camaro to Michigan and joined the stuck guys a few times. It was not fun. Never again.

If I have to drive any rwd vehicles this winter, I will try to order snow tires, but after driving a 4wd vehicle for a winter, I would rather never drive anything else. To me, the difference is nothing short of amazing. I just could not get stuck in anything. (Except once in mud - clay- in our yard).

I have seen several comments suggesting Blizzacks. Are those somehow better snow tires than other brands? The camaro tires are almost impossible to find period, let alone snow tires, but I will never drive it in the winter again. It is a summer car. I do nto want it to rust out.

The girls are inexperienced. I can teach them the winter driving basics, but there is no substitute for experience. Heck they struggle enough remembering everything that they need to know for driving on dry pavement.

Turning kids with less than 200 hours of driving expereince out into the snow and ice is scary. I have driven probably 20,000 plus hours and a lot of that was in snow and ice, but I still struggle with it sometimes. What I have learned is that those who think that they know some secret to "handle" the snow and ice are the ones who end up in ditches or accidents. (Not referring to anyone posting here). There are no secrets, just common sense and a basic understanding of how things work. However at times, you can slide off the roads here just sitting at a dead stop at an intersection. I want to give them every advantage that I can and AWD is definitely a signficant advantage. At least it was with my truck.

I used to think that the difference was not that significant and that 4x4 just gave people a false sense of confidence. Then I bought the truck and now I am sold on it.

Which reminds me. In my replace the truck search, my wife found a ford pickup with a big diesel engine in it. I do nto know anyhting about it except that it has a towing apparatus in the back and 200,000 miles. I know that 200,000 miles is nothing for a good dielsel engine, but is this likely to ahve a dieing transmission (especially from towing cars), or did they beef up the transmissions in the diesel trucks too?

I still have yet to go look at it, btu I really know nothing about Diesel pick ups. Even my father who designed and tested Diesel engines for Detroit Diesel says he knows nothing about them because he retired too long ago. Except he said that some brands of small diesel engines are really cruddy, but he no longer knows whcih ones. Anyone know about ford diesel pick ups? My wife says that it is really nice inside (which is the important part of a car to her).
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Old 06-29-2009, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
11,155 posts, read 29,323,086 times
Reputation: 5480
hmm maybe find a cheap 4x4 suv or truck like a chevy blazer or ford explorer



the ford ranger is a great small pick-up and it seems popular with kids too and they are very reliable and safe and you can always find a use for having a small pick to kick around in I bought my 91 F-250 to get around as my winter beater because my GTO is not really a great car to drive in the snow and I have nothing but good things to say about ford trucks and I am a chevy guy
http://www.tomdriebeautosales.com/images/fordtruck.jpg (broken link)
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Old 06-29-2009, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,714 posts, read 31,180,231 times
Reputation: 9270
Older SUVs and trucks like the Ranger are terrible choices for a young driver. These have a high rollover risk and terribly out of date safety equipment. I would not put my kids in one of these.
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