: Review: 1995 GMC Rally Van STX

11-03-06, 06:46 AM
I've been spending an unusual amount of time behind the wheel of this van, putting hundreds of miles on it in the last couple weeks picking up inventory from the warehouse 120 miles away.

So, here's pictures and a brief review.

Room for 1300lbs of product, and enough room for a second pallet, if not for the wheelchair lift and the rear seat (removable). The side doors swing out WIDE 180 degrees.

Power-operated wheelchair lift. I (literally) pick up all my fly honeys this way. I prowl the nursing homes looking for the lonely and vulnerable ones, taking them to bingo and... who knows what else!

An interior that says "DISCO STU TO THE RESCUE!"
Seriously, it looks like GM didn't bother updating it at all. On the plus side, its highly functional and the wiper stalk is fantastic, with one-wipe, mist, cruise, and high beams all within easy rich. Unfortunately, the stalk also feels like its ready to crumble apart in my hands, though it never does. There's a loose wire dangling off of it too, another shortcut.
Why doesn't my Infiniti have a mist function?

The short nose makes it shockingly easy to park.

VENT WINDOWS! Why doesn't every car have these? On a warm day its nice to pop them open and enjoy fresh air in my face. After loading and unloading, I'm usually sweaty and tired, so the direct blast of wind is refreshing. Every car needs vent windows.

Another shot of the corporate interior. Four-speed automatic with overdrive.
84,000 miles without any major repairs or problems, enduring a LOT of careless abuse.
Note the pathetic silver plastic. It has little weaves in it to poorly simulate some kind of metal, attached to the dashboard with four rusty screws.
There's handy little gauges on the right, including numerical temp, voltage, and oil pressure.

Delco radio. It turns on, it works, and it sounds surprisingly good with a PSP connected through a tape adapter. The rear speakers are blown but you can't tell from the front seat.

There's seriously a ton of room. I think a homeless guy lives back there.

350 V8 with gobs of torque. I have no idea how easy it is to work on. The most I've done is jump start the battery and refill the wiper fluid.

Engine: 4/5
Without cargo, its good for 17mpg. With cargo, it dips down to 13mpg at 70mph. Not bad I say, and it takes regular unleaded. It does better for fuel economy than my Q45.
With a full load, it -never- feels like there's a lack of power, thanks to 295 lb-ft of torque. That torque, unfortunately, is accompanied by only 180hp, so it flies up to 65mph and sort of wheezes out when there's cargo.

Transmission: 5/5
I like GM's hydramatic much more than the JATCO unit in my Q. It knows what gear to pick, changes promptly, and very smoothly. There's no hunting, no fussing, and no quirks.

Steering: 2/5
At 65mph+, there's a half-second delay between turning the steering wheel and the van actually changing direction. Yeah, not good.
I took it up to 90mph a few times. Its easy to do because of how quiet the engine is. I've never felt so close to death.

Electrics: 5/5
There's a radio, power locks, power windows, power mirrors, and headlights. Thats about it for accessories. They all work exceptionally well in all weather.

Suspension and Handling: 3/5
When empty, it bounces and wallows over undulating pavement, but its smooth enough so that cargo doesn't get tossed over speed bumps and curbs. The highway ride is excellent.
Sudden braking, however, causes a great deal of dive. Nothing scares you like having a 1300lb box slide into the back of your seat. If you're conservative with around-town braking and acceleration, its just right. You can't drive a cargo van like a Miata.

Interior: 1/5
Yeah, that interior... what was the number one song in 1973?
Its reasonably quiet in the highway and the seats are reasonably comfortable over long trips.

Exterior: 2/5
It looks creepy and has plenty of rust. Then again, its never seen a proper wax or wash in its life.

Climate Controls: 5/5
Puts any Japanese car I've been in to shame. Its just amazing how the heat and AC can toast or freeze a huge box in so little time. It would be nice if the controls were illuminated. Maybe the lighting is broken? I have to wait for a street light to pass over me so I can see the labels on the switches.

Reliability: 5/5
Zero complaints.

Usability: 5/5
Removable middle bench seat, floor anchors for straps, ceiling seat belt clips for wheelchairs and cargo, and access through the rear or side with a pair of 180-degree doors. A fork lift has NO trouble loading anything into the cabin.
Huge mirrors!

Overall: 4/5
Driving it isn't much fun, but its unbelievably functional. I'd seriously recommend a GM van to anyone. The Ford and Dodge vans are supposed to be much nicer to drive and be in, but aren't as dependable. I haven't tried the new Savanna.

So, there you have it. If you're a business owner, a pedophile, or in the business of being a pedophile, the GMC Rally Van is excellent. I don't own this one myself (borrowed), but later on I might buy a Silverado so I can carry taller loads.

11-03-06, 08:34 AM
Hah! Interesting! We see a few of these every now and then at the dealership I work at...

11-03-06, 09:02 AM
Excellent job! Function over form I always say. :thumbsup:

11-03-06, 01:44 PM
Dead on review. Reliability wise, My G20 (Chevy flavor) has 145k and it stil runs great. Rear main seal blew out though, and caused a massive oil leak that necessitated pulling the transmission to fix. Other than that, no problems. That one have the manual vent down by the parking brake too? That thing is awesome! I thought those were gone with the 60s. (heck my Cadillac doesn't have them) Also, no one can ever seem to find the damn ashtray in these.

Your back speakers are blown too huh?

Damn! you have the little work light too!

11-03-06, 03:45 PM
Had a few of these in the airforce , most with the 6.2 diesel , couple with 305s.

At first i really didnt like them , they were scary as hell to drive with the damn design dateing back to the early 70s. 2 feet of hood and a buick box bag steering wheel was a constant warning that if you screw up your looseing your legs. The footbox for the pedals was terrible.

Then we got the "express" and "savanna" vans. which at first were really nice. They quickly proved however to be one fo the worst vans on the planet with constant problems , they were absolute junk. From engines and trannys blowing to there appetite for tailight bulbs and sockets , the only thing that eats tailight parts more is a 94-99 deville.

fact is the mid 90s GM van is still the best van any of the big 3 ever turned out.....altho the short lived Dodge Van with a V10 might be an interesting van to customize.

by the way the controlls for your HVAC shluld be illunaited , you have a bulb failure somewhere

11-03-06, 09:03 PM
I have heard horrible things about the new vans from GM.

Jesda, maybe I missed it, but what do you do for a living? Steal old people...what?

Night Wolf
11-03-06, 11:55 PM
My uncle has a '95 or so GMC van, 305....

nice van... can haul quite a bit of stuff.

11-04-06, 08:07 AM
I love vans, here's a pic of my '99 conversion van I sold last year. Had the 5.7 Vortec and moved pretty good for its size/weight. It was very reliable for the 30k miles I drove it but it looked seriously hard to work on if a problem was to arise. Sold it cause it was just a little too big for what we needed but I regret it everytime I need to haul something big. I put those 20" wheels on there, looked pretty cool!.

11-04-06, 08:37 AM
My uncle has an '89 Chevy Beauville van with the 4.3 V6. He's had it for like 10 years to haul his stuff to the racetracks and whatnot. Hes got like 2xx,xxx on it and it still runs like a champ. From looking at these full sized vans, they look like they're real hard to work on the motor, but most mechanics love to work on them because you can just pull the doghouse out and get at the motor from inside the cabin!

11-04-06, 08:53 AM
Back when I worked on trailers, I drove this monster of a GMC work van, it was a 1978 something or other with a 454. God that thing was a beast, the odometer stopped working at 22x,xxx if I remember right. The mid-90's vans are pretty decent, we have a couple down here on campus. They're rustoleum brown so the maintenance guys can put a new coat of paint on the rust every spring. They keep running though.

11-05-06, 02:52 AM
I have heard horrible things about the new vans from GM.

Jesda, maybe I missed it, but what do you do for a living? Steal old people...what?

Theft of the elderly is just a weekend hobby! I sell college textbooks online.

11-05-06, 04:11 AM
Good review. Autotrader has a couple late 90s Dodge 1500 vans, they're pretty similar but I don't have the experience to compare them.

"Wind wings" (the manually opened vents) kick ass. It's the one feature I like about my parents 85 Ranger work truck.

Get some Car-Art spray paint and do this:

11-05-06, 08:30 AM
Haha! Lol, my Dad had that van, for his last truck... his was 2-tone red, and had a much nicer interior....

All the seats except the front are removeable... you may as well get rid of that second bench, while you're at it....

My Dad's interior was a little nicer than that.... but hey, it's a truck!! And the seats were comfy.... He flies giant scale Radio Control Airplanes at contests around the country, so the Van was perfect for taking airplanes all over....

Yeah, you have a bulb out, that should all illuminate....

Those little push-out triangular windows are the greatest.... some of us who smoke cigarettes miss those BADLY.... open that little window, it's like a little vacuum of air, pulling the smoke right out.....

My Dad now has a 2000 Savannah, and that is a super nice van. 5.7 Vortec, runs nice, is comfy... the interior appointments on the dash are probably still not up to Jesda's Infiniti standards, but it is an improvement....I've driven the Savannah 1400 miles at a time, on several occasions... nice ride. Seat is comfy for 12 hours of driving at a time....

They are big inside... one of the funniest things we ever did with my Dad's Rally STX was the time my Sister moved to Minneapolis... while someone drove, we re-arranged the couches and an end table in the back, and a poker game broke out.... sweet. Fairly comfortable... sitting around on couches, with the chips & cards on the coffee table in the middle...

11-05-06, 12:34 PM
I like the rims on Destroyer's van!

11-05-06, 03:19 PM
Do any of you guys think that driving these full size vans are uncomfortable? I hate how you don't have much leg room in these, especially the Dodges. You sit on top of the steering wheel, rather than behind it as in our Cadillacs... I never really liked it. But I do remember telling people at the age of 5 that my dream car was a Conversion van! hah!

11-05-06, 04:43 PM
Yeah, the left leg position drives me NUTS. The Astro has the same problem.

11-05-06, 07:00 PM
Yep. The Ram Van has it worse though, you sit closer to the wheels, which means the door opening is tiny because it has to clear the wheel arch..I hit my legs every time I get in and out of that one at work..