Dodge B1500 Origins
The B vehicles were introduced in 1971. These vans show few changes over the years. The body displays slight modifications, such as changes to the fenders, hood, and grille.
The B1500 version of the van was made available in 1994. This represents the third generation of the van. During this period, the B1500 was known as the Dodge Ram Van. Dodge also made a 2500 and 3500 vehicle, each of which are slightly heavier and carry more passengers than the 1500.
The B1500 ran until the end of the B-series Dodge Ram Van line in 2003.Dodge B1500 Features
The Dodge Ram Van B1500 is best known for its massive carriage and passenger carrying ability. The 1500 measures 187.2 inches long, 79.8 inches wide, and 79.5 inches tall.
The B1500 is a workhorse, and many contractors use it as passenger van or work vehicle. The van is also used for conversions. Drivers can often see B1500s in use today. Hospitals, government bodies, nursing homes, and other caretaking institutions use the B1500 for its passenger space and comfort.
The B1500 also gains popularity based on its reliability. Dodge kept year-on-year changes to a minimum, meaning customers always knew what to expect.
Dodge discontinued the Dodge Ram Van B1500 in 2003 in favor of smaller, more economic vehicles.Dodge B1500 Evolution
Only one generation of B1500 vans was made, but several changes occurred during this period to keep the B1500 competitive.
The 1994 version of the B1500 exhibits several changes from the earlier versions. The engine has revised camshafts that increase performance and torque. Inside the engine, the refrigerant is changed to a non-CFC version to comply with environmental standards. Four-wheel, anti-lock brakes are added as an option for the vehicle. In 1995, driver-side airbags as well as a knee bolster became standard, providing extra safety.
The 1994 model houses a 5.9-liter engine that produces 230 horsepower at 4000 rpm. The gas mileage on these big monsters disappoints though, getting only 12/17 mpg city/highway. In 1997, Dodge changed the alternator to 117 amps.
In 1998, several changes were made to the van. The engine boasts a power boost, making it competitive in the market. It unleashes 245 horsepower with 335 lb-ft of torque. An improved suspension and larger tires improve the handling of the vehicle and prevent rollovers. A lot of small changes were made as well. The improved unibody structure of the B1500 makes the van sturdier. The airbags in previous models inflated at too high a pressure, causing injury. Dodge decreased the force of airbag deployment in the 1997 model. Much of the console is changed and controls can be found on the steering wheel for the first time.
In 2000, the B1500 received a hood mounted windshield washer spray nozzle. Chrome clad wheels improve the appearance of the vehicle. A new six-speaker audio system comes standard on all vehicles. Gas mileage on the 3.1-liter engine in base models remains the same, but gas mileage increases slightly on the 5.4-liter to 13/17 mpg city/highway. The 36RH automatic transmission was dropped from the vehicle in favor of the 32RH and the 46RE.
B1500 vans are also used as conversion vehicles. Several models can be converted into campers and other livable vehicles. Some vans come equipped with wheelchair lifts, and other accessible conversions are used by hospitals and nursing homes across the country. B1500 vans are perfect if you have someone in the family who depends on a wheelchair.
The B1500 models are a good choice for the used van buyer. Although the B-line was pretty much ignored from 1979 onward, the biggest changes were made in the 1990s when Dodge released the B1500. The 5.9-liter engine is one of the best in the line. The interior provides space and comfort. Even the steering and handling of the vehicle shows great improvement. The reliability of the Dodge Ram 1500 means that there are several used models that still run well and will continue to do so for years to come. You can usually pick up the late models for around $5,000.