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1988 GMC Horse Van for Sale -questions

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  • 1988 GMC Horse Van for Sale -questions

    I think 5K is too much for a 1988 vehicle generally speaking, but I was wondering about whether it's worth looking into.


    I love the idea of a horse van personally. It seems so efficient to have a vehicle for trailering instead of putting a hitch on my Tahoe and pulling a trailer. Although, lately I've been convinced to use a stock load instead of a horse trailer. Anyway, I digress.

    What do you think about this? What is a split shift anyway? I'm leery of buying a 1988 truck (which is essentially what you're doing here).

    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

  • #2
    How many miles on it?

    Do they have maintenance records?

    They are open to offers.

    My Ford F250 is a 1989 diesel and runs like a dream, but has been well maintained, always. I wold trust mine anywhere and all vehicles need maintenance.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


    • Original Poster

      I've sent an email inquiry. The receipt email has a title of 58,000 miles so perhaps that is the mileage on the vehicle? I drive a 1997 Chevy Tahoe with 144K miles on it so I'm not averse to an older vehicle, but as you said, it really depends on whether it was taken care of. I also carry AAA!

      We'll see what they say.

      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


      • #4
        58K is pretty low mileage for a 20+yo vehicle.

        And $5K is more than reasonable for a horsevan - this is not a passenger car - if it is in reasonably good condition. Hard to tell from just the one exterior shot..

        IIWM I'd need to see the interior of the horsebox and have a mechanic check out the systems.

        Another plus is it is NOT diesel - which around here is now going for close to $5/gal.

        If everything checks out - mechanically & for the horse part - I'd snap this up in a hot second.

        I'm going to guess you've never bought a horsetrailer before. So please take someone with you who has some knowledge if you do go to look at this one.

        One more thing:
        When you do buy a trailer forget AAA and look into US Rider.
        MUCH better horse & trailer-knowledgeable coverage for hauling.
        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


        • #5
          $5k is almost a steal for something like this IF the miles are really that low and it's in good condition..

          Are you sure it's not 158k miles? Even that's not terribly high for being that old. They didn't all have the ability to go beyond 99,999.
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


          • #6
            If it was well maintained and passes a mechanic's PPE, the age isn't that big of a deal.

            I think you need to go look at it. You may find it's much less comfortable to drive than your new Tahoe. It will have a higher center of gravity than what you're probably used to. And you may or may not like how the horse area is set up. I personally would stick with my stock trailer, just because I can load any horse in it and I don't have to deal with a tall ramp. But that's just me. Only way to know if it's right for you is to go test drive it.
            Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


            • #7
              The split shift means (roughly) that it's a manual and you run through four or five gears in a 'low' setting, then pop a button on the shifter and then have four or five gears to run through in a higher-speed setting.

              I had one, it wasn't tough to learn to drive (though I learned how to drive originally on a manual transmission, so that was probably an advantage).

              I had a late-70s version of this, but that was ~ 10 years ago, so it was roughly the same age as this one now.

              Pros: Loved the convenience, driveability, and the way the horses rode in it. Cons: It was a money pit in terms of repairs and insurance.

              Mine was gas and got about 7 mpg loaded, maybe 10 mpg unloaded. It maxed out at about 55 mph, though you could flog it to the low 60s if you really needed to. I suspect this one would be similar.

              That's just my experience, though. You may get luckier than I on the repairs and insurance!


              • #8
                I used to drive one of those back in the day and loved it. It was a six horse though. I'm not so sure I'd bother with it since it's only a three horse. Unless it could be modified to fit more (some can)


                • #9
                  I just looked at the actual ad - I drove a van just like that - Imperator and all - quite a few times and it was SO cool It wasn't mine, so I have no real idea what it cost in terms of upkeep, but it was a really cool van. This one looks, at least on the outside, in better condition than the one I drove.
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                  • #10
                    Search these forums for more commentary from various folks, like me, who own/have owned vans.

                    You will need US Rider for towing coverage. If you ever need it towed, they will send one of those big wreckers used to tow semis.

                    Check out the cost of license plates. I have commercial plates due to weight, although my van is only private use.

                    Check out insurance. I have mine insured through State Farm, but it took some doing for them to understand exactly what this vehicle "is."

                    Mine definitely does not max out at 55 mph. My sister clocked me doing 70+ uphill; my speedometer is unreliable, so I had no clue.

                    And yes, it's been a money pit. Almost everything on it is original (1976), and is having to be replaced. Usually at a very inconvenient time and place.

                    The tires were a real joy. I can't tell from the photo you linked if the rear wheels are split rim, but if they are, make sure you find a tire shop who is willing to deal with them. I paid an extra $50 per wheel due to the split rims on mine and that was 7 wheels total. <gack>
                    Last edited by rivenoak; Nov. 3, 2011, 12:06 PM.
                    ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


                    • Original Poster

                      You guys are awesome! I did send an email inquiry but have heard nothing back. However, even though I am still intrigued by horse vans I think I'll stick to looking for a double stock load trailer for my Tahoe.

                      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


                      • #12
                        Keep in mind also that horse vans cost more for insurance then a horse trailer...
                        "A little less chit-chat a little more pitter-pat"


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                          You guys are awesome! I did send an email inquiry but have heard nothing back. However, even though I am still intrigued by horse vans I think I'll stick to looking for a double stock load trailer for my Tahoe.

                          Given that you are in the MD/PA hills a Tahoe might not work as a tow vehicle either
                          I wasn't always a Smurf
                          Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                          "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                          The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                          • #14
                            I think I figured once that the horse van costs me $100/month due to insurance, yearly emissions test, & license tags.

                            Then, add in fuel.
                            Then, maintenance like wiper blades and oil changes (9 qts at a time)
                            Then, repairs.

                            The only good thing is that I didn't have to take a loan to buy it.

                            Just for kicks, paulaedwina, here's a photo tour of my Imperatore van:

                            Last edited by rivenoak; Nov. 4, 2011, 09:48 AM. Reason: added photo link
                            ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


                            • #15
                              i'd go for it if it was big enough for living quarters too and if there were no rust.

                              paula, you'll be stylin' in that big rig!!


                              • Original Poster

                                I have to tell you I love how it looks for sure. And I love the idea of a dedicated machine. I'm just thinking it's more than I can handle. I do know how to drive a stick but I'd prefer not to. I think they're a PITA in stop and go traffic, for example. The ramp (courtesy rivenoak's photo tour) looks awfully steep too.

                                I expected the mpgs to be high, but it's a vehicle I might drive as often as once per week to haul my horse to trails or shows.

                                The seller has emailed me back with her phone number. She doesn't have additional pictures, but thanks to rivenoak I have an idea of what the truck part looks like. I imagine the trailer part looks like a trailer.

                                I am not yet certain whether I'm going to leave it or look at it. When I read the information you give me I'm certain I'll pass, but then I look at the picture and I'm screwed I won't call until I decide what I'm going to do. I don't like leading people on when they're selling.

                                He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


                                • #17
                                  I think I saw this ad when I was trailer shopping!! For a long time I wanted a van too, but couldn't justify the insurance expense for such a vehicle... at least with my crew cab truck, I can still use it with the kids and hubby can use it for his home improvement shopping expeditions. My pick-up truck only costs me $300/yr to insure, and that's in MA where car insurance is pricey.

                                  Just more flexibility with truck/trailer combo, and less money to insure, but yeah, it's a cool idea.


                                  • #18
                                    Just for you, paulaedwina, an interior tour! I forgot these were in a separate album.


                                    I have seen automatic transmission horse vans for sale, but I'm guessing they're rare.

                                    I almost never drive mine in stop/go traffic, so I don't mind driving the manual.

                                    The ramp can be steep or not, depending on where you are. If you have a bank or raised area from which you can load, unload, it isn't so bad. Where I park my van, it's flat, so the ramp IS steep. I load elsewhere, believe me!

                                    I have used mine for moving furniture, picking up lots of plants in pots, and so forth. It's quite versatile.
                                    ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


                                    • #19
                                      Love the Disco Ball, Rive!
                                      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by rivenoak View Post
                                        I think I figured once that the horse van costs me $100/month due to insurance, yearly emissions test, & license tags.

                                        Then, add in fuel.
                                        Then, maintenance like wiper blades and oil changes (9 qts at a time)
                                        Then, repairs.

                                        The only good thing is that I didn't have to take a loan to buy it.

                                        Just for kicks, paulaedwina, here's a photo tour of my Imperatore van:

                                        Zuleika Farm! It's been a long time since I've seen that name. It was Charles Bronson's farm in Vermont. I competed in little jumper shows there in the early 80s. How did your van end up in Arizona?

                                        I love horse vans and would love to have one. We just went to look at one, but the brakes are gone and we'd have to have it towed to the nearest chevy dealer right off the bat.
                                        blogging at HN: http://www.horsenation.com/
                                        check out my writing: http://jeseymour.com
                                        Just out: http://www.barkingrainpress.org/dd-p...ead-poisoning/