Thoughts about 1984 Dodge xplorer b350?

Van has new weather striping, alternator, muffler system, battery, wiring, transmission pan (seller says transmission is fine), plugs, engine coil. Seller says new engine was installed in 2006 and has 48,000 miles on it. It has been built out with solar/electrical, insulation, bed, cabinets etc., so I wouldn’t need to do anything unless I want to, which is perfect. Asking price is $12,500 so it’s within my budget.

It is a 7 1/2 hour drive from me and I will definitely get a mechanic to look at it and get a CarFax report on it, but I just wanted to ask you all if it’s worth pursuing!

I know some of you really like these older vehicles, but I’m nervous about the age - and whatever was done with it to make it need a new engine in 2006!

Thanks so much!

I had an 83 Dodge Xplorer B350 as you can tell from my avatar.

I would ask what engine it has for sure, 318 or the 360. My understanding is the 318 was a more solid engine back then. I doubt the engine is “new”. Likely it was a rebuild that already had some mileage on it. You’ll want to figure that out for sure as some places like S and J offer 7year/100k on their rebuilds if installed professionally.

Next big question. Is it carbureted or is it fuel injected? If carbureted like mine I would 100% say no, do not buy it. That was the end of carbureted engines and emissions/vacuum systems then were a nightmare. A lot of the parts will be impossible to source if they are broken.

If it’s fuel injected, it may not be so bad. In my opinion, it’s still a lot of money for an old van. You can find a 90’s era xplorer/roadtrek that is not redone for that amount of money with less than 100k on it.

Curious if this Van is in Michigan area? I think I might follow this one instagram.

It is probably considerably different than the 83 we had. They changed a lot through those years. I think ours was a 83 xplorer 228. Ours had this weird cutout and drop in the floor so you could standup. It always made me nervous about getting it saddle bagged.

Honestly if you love it you can always offer less and see if they bite. If it was priced to sell, it would already be gone.

Hi Bretly, Thanks so much!

I have just sent all your questions to the seller.

And yes it IS in Michigan, and I’m pretty sure the seller is in no hurry to sell. IF I decide to pursue it, I will definitely offer less.

And I agree, I think a lot of the price is for the conversion itself - which honestly is more conversion than I need to start with.

I have looked at the Roadtreks, but again, they have more ‘stuff’ in them that I need, and because of that, feel crowded and cluttered. I don’t expect to live IN the van and want to be outside as much as possible with my dog, but that will be weather dependent, so space inside is important.

I’ll let you know what I hear from the seller, and thanks again!

And the seller replied immediately… It is a 360 V-8 and new in 2006 with no warranty. And fuel-injected.

I still don’t think I would offer more than $9k personally and that is a stretch for me. Even with the upgrades it seems like some of that cost is associated with doing the work itself. Solar panels and refinishing the interior don’t add up to the price in my mind. Everything is at a premium though.

The engine replacement is definitely a plus, but that was almost 20 years ago. You gotta figure you’re adding at least $500 in gas to just go get it and drive it home. There are likely other aged items that if not replaced, probably will need to be, or should be.

The transmission is definitely aged, but likely a bullet proof 727, that is simple and from experience, will run you ~$1200 to get rebuilt if that needs to happen in the future.

They are super cool looking and I can’t count how many times people would comment on ours when we were driving it around. That doesn’t get you much but a smile though.

Really appreciate it, Bretly. Am coming to the same conclusions…Like the RoadTreks, it has more conversion that I really need (to start with). And I’d rather be spending on reliability rather than conversion costs.

Saw an interesting post on a Class B thread: “…Today’s market reflects the beginning of a flood of conversions that are to hit the market shortly. Sellers have been told they can get never before realized gains, so they are jumping out of them. You are seeing $5k, $10k price drops as they test the limits. The “Nomad” publicity pushed a surge timed w this covid no work thing, and, that surge is over. Wildfires all over the west and winter on the way, coupled by the truth that very few truly want to live in their car, will even the playing field. By this time next year used rigs will be for sale everywhere and at 25% of what they are trying to get now. Only a fool or someone that had no choice would purchase right now. Wait a minute and reap the rewards if you are a purchaser…”

I CAN wait…so maybe I’ll bide my time and wait for that perfect-for-me combo of reliability and part conversion.

I’m not sure you’ll see things at 25% of the cost and I’m not sure things will fall as much as it will simply stagnate. I’m not sure the “surge is over” and the whole vanlife idea seems to be as popular as ever to me. We meet just as many new people just starting out, if not more than we did previously.

The other side of the, “Wildfires all over the west and winter on the way, coupled by the truth that very few truly want to live in their car” seems to neglect the fact that the with the price of rent, crazy busy and expensive real estate market, that a lot of people are starting to not have a choice. Nor does this seem to take into account that there’s a chance of more lockdowns and remote work. It’s too unknown at this point but I still see plenty of empty used car lots or lots with a single car on them. The chip shortage that is there for new vehicles is still a very real thing. Who knows when that will get sorted out.


The year is good, the modifications are BAD NEWS! Dropped floors are bad in those if it has one.

You want one that is all original, if anything has been modified except maybe the cushions or curtains, I’d pass. With after market modifications you never know the quality or safety of the work. Factory campers should have an RVIA badge on them, but if it’s been modified, those are null and void.

Unlike Bretly, I prefer carbureted because properly tuned they will have more power and get better gas mileage than fuel injection. Less to go wrong with them too. In the 70’s & 80’s Dodge’s, you want the 318 engine.


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart

Thanks, Van_Dweller!

I’m sorry @Van_Dweller that is just dead wrong, a carburetor properly tuned, even if done for every 1000ft of elevation, will never provide as much full efficiency as EFI will. Sure it may produce more power but getting someone who knows how to properly tune one these days to do so is expensive and exceedingly rare.

If I ever bought carbureted again, I would 100% buy one of the drop on EFI systems they make, delete the EGR and all the rest of the emissions parts as well.

EFI has far less to go wrong than a carburetor. Fuel injection is very simple - a fuel pump pressurizes the fuel rail, a pressure regulator regulates that pressure to what the fuel injectors need, and fuel injectors spray the proper amount of fuel into the intake ports at the precise moment when it’s needed. The injectors are controlled by a solid state electronic control unit (ECU). The ECU monitors barometric pressure, intake temperature, engine speed, exhaust gas temperature, exhaust gas oxygen level, and engine temperature. It also monitors for pre-combustion (pinging), and adjusts the ignition timing curve to compensate for fuel octane level. Based on these factors and the ECU programming it automatically gives the engine the optimum amount of fuel for just every condition that one can drive in.

A carburetor on the other hand, is tuned for “standard” conditions, and does very little to compensate for anything other than those “standard” conditions. They worked okay before automakers had to install pollution control devices, but there was a time between the mid-1970s and late 1980s when cars were still designed with carburetors, and pollution control devices were added as “bandaid” fixes to comply with the new standards. Because of that, there were a lot of failures, and grumpy old farts, and some not so old, complained about the pollution control stuff and even ripped out or plugged off the pollution control devices (making their cars non compliant with Federal standards). With fuel injection this is all programmed into the ECU, and causes almost zero problems.

Carburetors are complex mechanical devices with tiny jets that can clog, float valves that can get stuck and go out of adjustment, linkages that go out of adjustment, choke systems that can fail, accelerator pumps that fail, and if they’re allowed to sit too long the gas inside them, because it’s exposed to oxygen, gets stale and may even turn to sludge - clogging the jets (usually the idle jets), causing all kinds of havoc.

Rather than multiple moving parts that have to kept in pristine condition for a carburetor to work, the only moving parts in a fuel injection system are the fuel pump, pressure regulator, and the injectors themselves. Components in a fuel injection system fail far less frequently than a carbureted system, and because they never go out of adjustment fuel mileage is typically much better.

1 Like


Well I guess you can believe the garbage they feed everybody, or look up the history & facts behind it. EFI has far more problems than carburetors, and is far more costly to fix, both of which were their original intentions.

Vehicles without all the electronics are far more reliable than those with it. Heat & electronics don’t go well together, neither do moisture or vibrations.

The simplest form of truth is that they want our vehicles to require frequent & expensive repairs.


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart

Having owned many vehicles during my life, both carbureted and with EFI/ECU, I can say from experience that those with fuel injection have all been more reliable - same with my motorcycles. Pre-emissions carbureted vehicles weren’t too bad, but now we have to live with the reality of emissions-controlled vehicles, which work far better when they’re controlled by an ECU.

I experienced major metropolitan areas prior to the clean air act (I’m old) and it wasn’t pretty, and wasn’t healthy. I’m very glad that they passed those laws. Really glad that most of those old dinosaurs have been scrapped by now.

Also happy that the auto industry is heading toward all-electric vehicles - past due.

Van Dweller, I just can’t see injected vehicles being more expensive to repair. Most of the cost of auto repair is labor, and EFI is far easier to troubleshoot than a misbehaving carb. Besides, there aren’t many good mechanics that can work on carbs anymore.


Your description doesn’t remotely match my real world experience, so just for giggles I ran down to a local repair shop, one I have never done business with. I asked for several prices. To repair/rebuild/or replace my carb was $150 labor + parts. Next I asked about fuel injectors for a 2009 Ford E-150, and he looked it up in the book, and quoted me $800 labor + parts. Finally, I asked him which job he would prefer to do. His answer was “Financially the fuel injectors, physically, the carburetor any day of the week.”

You have to remember that beginning in the early 80’s quality was replaced by greed. Actual eco-friendly advancements have been stifled do to greed. Some studies suggest that electric cars are actually less eco-friendly than their gas counterparts. Stopping the polution from burning fossil fuels would be cheap, simple, & easy if greed was removed from the equation. Myself & many others believe that on demand hydrogen is the best solution. Mass produced conversion kits for vehicles shouldn’t cost more than maybe $100 per vehicle, and then you could simply fill your gas tank with water, and the exhaust/byproduct of hydrogen is water vapor. Eco-friendly & cheap. Heck I’d pay $1k+ right now to have my van converted to water/hydrogen power.

On the news tonight they were talking about the increase in electric car fires & explosions. They’re catching fire and/or exploding even when they’re parked, unattended, and not in the process of being charged.

Electric cars are smoke & mirrors at this point in time. While electricity might be cheaper than gas, when you consider full cost of ownership, electric vehicles cost more. $5k+ for replacement batteries is a HUGE expense, and much less convenient than paying a little more at the gas pump each time. The ads are full of electric cars & hybrids that “just needs new batteries”. Meaning the owners of those vehicles simply can’t afford to replace the batteries.

In today’s world, greed seems to always win out over better technology. They lie to us, and suppress the very things that could actually improve people’s lives and the planet continually. The answers for many things are out there, but you have to capture them quickly before the disappear. I have known people who accomplished some pretty amazing things, and read about many more, yet the powers that be prevent them from becoming main stream. Most, if not all, of our problems could be solved by resurrecting ancient technologies, and possibly improving upon them… Unfortunately, greed has prevented it.


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart

I have owned one carbureted vehicle and a myriad of EFI vehicles. I have not had to replace or repair a single part of an EFI system in any vehicle I’ve ever owned. Come to think of it I don’t know a single person that has had to replace or work on one. Not to mention the fact that you are to have carburetors tuned often so you if you aren’t doing that yourself, it’s going to add up.

I have had to replace a carburetor and had consistent issues with it. I know my friend spent about ~$1k to get his working on his 70’s chevy truck by someone who knew what he was doing. I’ve done my research and I’ve tested both.

The only garbage being fed here is that EFI is less efficient and has far more problems than carburetors. It is simply not true.


I know of only one person, who I know, who has had problems with their fuel injection, but that was on a car that had more than 450,000 miles on it.

If indeed Van Dweller actually talked to a mechanic, labor to replace the fuel injectors on a van should only be around 2 or 3 hours (pull the fuel rails, install new injectors, reinstall the fuel rails. ($800 for labor would be a rip off.) A set of 8 new fuel injectors for a 5.4 liter Ford costs between $50 and $140. So it would be around $300 - not $800. Most likely those injectors would last the life of the vehicle and would never have to be done again.

Cost over the life of a vehicle is far higher with carbureted engines.

This is all moot though - cars with carburetors haven’t been made since the 1980s, so most have been recycled into something better, like cars with fuel injection.

Van Dweller you’re terribly misinformed about electric vehicles. Yes, there have been a few isolated incidents here and there, but nothing compared to fires that have occurred with gasoline powered cars!

Batteries are getting so good now that they’ll probably outlast the life of the car. Do the math - most EV batteries can be charged more than 3,000 times before they’re used up. 3,000 X 200 mile range = 600,000 miles. The car is worn out by then. Even if they could only be recharged 1,500 times that’s 300,000 miles!

Have you ever driven an EV? I’ve driven a few Teslas - awesome cars! Way, way faster than anything I’ve ever driven with a gas engine except some Italian superbikes (motorcycles) with more than 200 hp.


Well I guess we each have our own experiences & opinions.

I’m perfectly happy with my 15/18 mpg pre-computerized, carbureted van. In the ~300k miles I have put on it personally, it has never needed a single major repair, only typical maintenance, and never left me stranded.

I’ve probably logged close to a million mostly trouble free miles on pre-computerized vehicles, in comparison to far fewer miles in computerized vehicles, that weren’t nearly as reliable, and required nearly constant and frequently expensive repairs. When working construction, the computerized vehicles were a constant source of breakdowns & repairs. Their electronics could in no way be considered as reliable as their mechanical counterparts.

I LOVE computers, they have improved my life tremendously, just not in the mechanics of vehicles. Give me instant maps, wifi, & phone service. If they die without warning, it is only a minor inconvenience. The same can’t be said for vehicular electronics. If they don’t leave you completely stranded when they fail, driving one in limp mode can be downright dangerous. Mechanicals tend to give you fair warning before complete failure, while electronics just fail without warning.


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart



I was just reporting what I saw on the news about the fires & explosions…

I’ve put a fair amount of miles on both electric & hybrid rental vehicles. I have no problems with their drivability, only the limited distance of the electric only ones.

In the last few years, since I’ve been staying in a single location for ~6 months at a time, I have been buying then selling electrics & hybrids, for local driving because I believe it’s cheaper than renting them. Several of them had their batteries replaced at under 150k miles. (Before I bought them.) I prefer the hybrids due to their unlimited range, and not needing to find charging stations, many of which charge you to use them. I don’t like wasting time while they charge either.

Other than range, my biggest problem with electric cars is that the batteries are ending up in landfills instead of being recycled, and I know for a fact that better choices could be made available. The creation & disposal of the batteries is not eco-friendly, and in many cases the generation of electricity to charge them isn’t eco-friendly either.

I just think we can and should do better. Converting existing vehicles to renewable, non-polluting fuel, just seems like a quicker, cheaper, easier, and better choice to me. I would totally support such an option, and even be in favor of the government either funding it or requiring it. I am not anti-electric as much as I am a supporter of better choices. If we can eliminate air and land pollution by simply switching the fuel everybody uses, I think it’s a win/win for everybody but big oil.

I’m leaning towards hydrogen, converted from water in the tank to hydrogen just before it enters the engine.


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart

We’re straying off topic here, but I don’t think hydrogen is the answer either. It takes energy to make hydrogen from water and it releases CO2 when you extract it from fossil fuels. Why not use that energy to charge a battery instead of making hydrogen? Nobody is talking about using hydrogen to fuel existing cars; the only thing they’re talking about is electric cars run by a hydrogen fuel cell. Why not skip the middleman and charge a battery instead of buying hydrogen from someone similar to the current fossil fuel industry?

Battery-electric vehicles are evolving every year, and are now at a point that most middle to upper middle-class Americans can afford to buy one. It’s only a matter of time before almost everyone can afford them. I have several friends who have all-electric vehicles and more who have plug in hybrids. They’re pretty happy with them, and use them for everything, including long trips.

They’ve already developed ways to recycle EV batteries, so they’re not going into landfills.

I think the answer to people’s range and battery obsolescence anxieties with EVs is to standardize battery dimensions, and sell the cars without the battery.

Let me explain:
A car without the battery is much more affordable than one with a battery. To do this we would have to replace gas stations with battery swapping stations. The technology has already been proven, and the average battery swap time is about one minute - no waiting for a battery to be charged! Similar to a drive-through carwash - drive in, stop when the light tells you to stop, and wait for the machine to remove the depleted battery and put in a fresh one. No more waiting, no more range anxiety, no more worry about batteries becoming obsolete, and you might buy a 200-mile car today, but in 5 years it becomes a 300-mile car due to battery technology improving.