The only trouble I have ever had was the water pump going out at 120,000 miles which is not what I would call premature. Other than that I've had to replace the heater blower motor resistor, the turn signal flasher, and the bulbs in the overhead brake light. That's all. Not bad in my opinion. It now has 170,000 miles on it and is still in great shape (except for the paint peeling). It's a workhorse, having only failed on me when the water pump went out. Keep up on the regular maintenance and keep the fluids fresh and it will run forever. BTW, it's a 1500 half ton with a 318 5.2 liter v8 loaded about 1000 pounds over gross weight that I put 3500 one ton springs on. I love my Dodge van!
Of all the extended van designs, we found this van has the best seat for a driver with a sensitive back. Rear seating isn't as comfortable. This is our 2nd Ram van. The 12 passenger configuration is great for rear cargo area. Transmission is in the Ram van vocabulary. We carry 12 passengers daily. If you have transmission trouble, save yourself some grief and buy a new transmission.