Looking for the most reliable gas engines!

I am in a band and our next investment together as a group will be a van. Our budget is fairly higher than I have ever had when buying a car, and I usually buy older Subarus and JDM cars because of my previous knowledge and research with them. Aside from that I have never had to get a van.

So my questions to all of you fine people here is….

  • Is Ford or Chevy better? Everyone I talk to has a undying devotion to one of them, and I can’t decipher what to believe, or what horror stories of breaking down due to unreliability is true.

  • How is dodge? I haven’t heard much when asking my car friends.

  • Because of our budget I am willing to be looking at vans as new as 2015 and such however I am also totally into getting a pre computerized engine as most of my cars are from that time and I find it much more practical.

We are going to be touring internationally soon and I don’t want to have to run into too much maintenance at first. (I’m the car guy of the band lol :laughing: : )

We are looking for something with lower mileage starting at around 30k on the van as we are going to put miles on this van for years to come!

Sorry if there is already threads and posts on this subject. I just really find coming to forums and asking the community is usually where you will learn the most and get the most help. I love forums!! :smile:

Thanks for having me in this wonderful community everyone!

Greetings & Welcome!

Pre-Computerized is an excellent choice, and Dodge is the best of the bunch, Ford is probably second, and Chevy/GMC third, and Sprinter/Transit/Pro-Master dead last.

Need some answers next… How many band members? Traveling together, or in separate vehicles? Does the vehicle need sleeping or living accommodations? All of these things will make a difference in making the best decision.

If you’ll be overnighting, sleeping and/or living accommodations could save you a lot of money.


"There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers..." ~ Road Warrior

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Thanks for getting back to me so soon! There will be 4 band members and likely soon adding two more members to run lights and sound. So ultimately would want to be able to fit 6-8 people and was thinking of the front two seats and a bench seat or two. In the back maybe a wooden structure holding a bed with room for storage underneath. The gear would all be towed in a trailer behind us and all on the same vehicle.

From what I’ve been told the sprinters were good but now I maybe want to reconsider. I remember my dad having an older dodge van when I was a kid but we didn’t have it when I grew older to understand cars. What specific models are the sought-after vehicles/engines? If I can find one with miles as low as 30k that would be preferred and a way to rig a spare tire or two, due to our rigorous touring and driving through the country.

Thank you for helping me out so much! Let me know if there are any other questions you need from me!


A van may be too small for 6-8 people, especially for sleeping and living inside. I think a bus would be more appropriate.


Sounds like a shuttle bus would be ideal.

I helped build this exact bus:

As much as I hate diesels, when it come to a bus, get a diesel with an Allison transmission.


"There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers..." ~ Road Warrior

If you’re really going to put miles on it, you might want to think about fuel efficiency as well. Hauling all that weight will also be a consideration.

Buying older or newer either way you are taking a chance. Upfront costs on an older rig may be higher if you need to replace a bunch of parts from the start. Newer Euro styles will likely hold and tow more weight, as well as have more room inside, but the maintenance costs are higher even if you are doing the work yourself. The parts cost simply cost more, on an old rig, you run the chance of not being able to source a part new and be forced to hunt for one in junkyards.

Anything pre-computerized is ~50 years old at this point, how well is that AC going to work when there are 6 stinky people sweating it up in the summer heat? At 30k miles you might still have half of a power train warranty from the manufacturer. For the promaster that is another 30k miles and you could opt to extend that to 100k for another ~$3k. I can tell you from experience it’s much nicer having that warranty pay for your hotel than paying for it out of pocket. I’ve been on both sides of that coin.

Everyone is going to give you a different answer on this, likely tied directly to what the own. For me though, if I’m logging miles day in and day out, it’s going to be something new with peace of mind. Waking up every cold morning with your van going guh gugh gugh guh … guh guh guh guh guh as you turn the key and wondering if it is going to start or not, is a level of stress you don’t need or want.