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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Western Mass
    Posts
    1,666

    Default Thinking about getting a van

    After 11 years and over 230K miles on my 2500HD pickup. I am thinking it's time to look in to a new vehicle and that a van would better suit my current needs I.E a van of some sort. Having never owned a van I am not really sure what direction I want to go but we have boiled it down to 3 basic options all new, all 2500 series, a 1/2 ton is tempting ( better MPG and lower cost) and I can't imagine why I would need a 1 ton. Primary purpose of the van is hauling tools and other equipment.

    1) My partner really really likes sprinter vans but im a bit worried about thier lack of towing/hauling capacity as well as high maintainanece costs and reliabilty issues. If I was to buy a sprinter I would probably go with the long wheel base crew van. Optioned the way I want it online it's $50,000

    2) I would get a long wheel base chevy 2500 savanah. The duramax is nice but I don't think it's worth the extra $12K. My current 6.0 gas has towed everything I needed it to, and it still going stong at 230K, the LB7's got amazing fuel milage, the LMM not so much does anybody here have any MPG numbers on the current LMK ? $12,000 is a lot of fuel to save.

    3) Chevrolet cutaway/ box van more or less the same as above. Is the extra cargo capacity (compared to a standared van)really worth the extra PITA ? I am also worried about being limited to only two seats

    Thoughts, comments and suggestions are appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    Look into a Isuzu NPR box truck, we work out of a NPR with a 16' box on it and then we have an Isuzu NRR Dump truck..... both amazing vehicles and not over priced. I could send you pics of both if you want but basically we have custom cabinets and shelves in the box to keep us organized.
    Nate Dizzy you know who izzy

    Mostellerconstructiononline.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    1,546

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    Don't get a 1/2 ton. I have a 3/4 ton Econoline 250 and its great. Quite a difference in handling and load carrying. I think this is the last year of the Econoline.
    Steve

    "Get three coffins ready" - A Fistful of Dollars 1964

    http://youtu.be/KZ_7br_3y54

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    St Louis, Mo for the past 25 years
    Posts
    7,490

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    I bought a used Sprinter that is the long wheel base and the high roof. I really like to be able to walk into the thing and stand up to get stuff off shelves. I do not have a tow package on it but have never had a trailer to tow anyway.
    You mention repairs. That is a concern. The local shop I use for my wife's car will not work on them even to it is a mercedes engine and I know they work on mercedes. The issue for them is lifting and getting the thing in their shop. Or so they say. Parts therefore have to come from a Sprinter dealer and they can be expensive.
    Mileage for a vehicle this size and loaded down all the time is pretty good I think. If I drive the speed limit I can get between 18 and 20. Once I put my foot into it I get closer to 16 to 18 which is how I drive it most of the time. Other thing is how long you start it and keep it running to warm up a bit before you take off. In the winter I get closer to the 16 range if I let it sit and idle for maybe 5 minutes while cleaning the windsheilds.

    Mine can quickly become crowded. It has a set of shelves on both sides of the back and so you end up with a 3 ft isle in the middle basically. You stack 12 ft drywall in the thing to take to a job and you better think it thru or else you drywall tools will be behind the stack and you have to move it all before you can get started working. Depending on the job I often pull in two or three sheets at a time just to keep them out of the way inside the house. But to do that you have to think of where your tools are. As far as drywall I have had 25 sheets of 1/2 inch by 12 ft in there and for fun checked the bumper height before loading and after. Moved about an inch lower when loaded.
    I also have found an additional issue with the thing. Since there is so much room in the thing and I do such a wide variety of jobs I have a tendency to keep almost everything in the van. So if I have not done a plumbing job for weeks at a time I sometimes have to look a bit for where I put the plumbing stuff or a few parts. I keep it as organizes as possible so some days when I would rather be goofing off I spend an hour out there resetting my selves, checking my inventory of what I have used and taken out of there. I do keep a check list of things used but truthfully it is sometimes the lid of a box or the back of a 2x4 and items do not always get replaces like they should. Other thing is if you buy a new saw or drill all of a sudden it does not fit where the old one used to and now you are rearranging things to get it on a shelf and not on the floor. I guess anyone with a enclosed vehicle probably has the same issues.

    I had hoped that getting the taller size would help me loose some weight because you can no longer go thru most drive thrus but that has not happened yet. And getting to my bank has also become an issue since their drive thru does not work for me either. Parking has not really been an issue as long as you think it thru a bit. You might get a few dirty looks for taking up a 2 parking spaces due to the length at the store but I can parrell park it without too much trouble. You do have to be good with the mirrors since there is no seeing out of the thing, at least on mine.

    I looked a bit at the box trucks but cannot park those at my house. Plus I sometimes feel climbing in and out of the Sprinter is enough stepping up and down, cannot imagine climbing into and out of a box truck. If I had one I think I would want a lifting gate and that is another expense plust maintaince item. I liked the Izuzu.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    sonoma ,calif
    Posts
    1,854

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    i was doing finish carp at the time i used a 2500 [2000] gmc,it was there heavy 1/2t .previously i had a 1/2 ford .yeah they carry the weight fine .smaller motors ,better miliage .but i needed to stop one day ,in my youth such a thing was not important .also anti lock brakes maybe a problem .though with disc front and back maybe less an issue .
    there are vans with seating for three in front ,you loose the path-through which maynot be important .
    since i got a van a pickup seems like to much of a compromise.sorta carries tools in the open to be ripped off and sorta-carries not enough gravel then you need .depends on what works for you .
    there are alot of choices out there these days

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Meadow Vista, CA
    Posts
    2,163

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    I've been using vans for 15 years now in my small remodeling business and I wouldn't consider anything else. I always have a core set of tools handy and I don't have to worry about rain or security. I also have a pick-up for trash, sheet goods, over-size stuff and personal transportation. I stated with an E-150 with the small V-8. I weighed it empty and with shelves and tools and still had almost 2000# left on the listed GVW.
    I realized after a few years that I was hauling around a lot of air so I downsized to the GMC mini-van. That has worked well for me although your experience may vary. As I approach "retirement" I'm considering the Ford Transit Connect.
    Lots of room for signage too.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Mark G; 04-14-2013 at 10:28 AM. Reason: It needed editing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    SE PA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    I have an 06 Sprinter and it has served well. As Beezo said being able to walk inside was and is a key selling point for me, years ago I worked out of a Chevy van and found that I had to crawl to access anything inside.
    I also have T100 with a cap which is my spare vehicle and I hate the times when I am forced to work out of that, I have been spoiled with the space of the Sprinter. I am hoping that the Ford Transit will be a success so that Mercedes has some competition, my local MB dealer is awfully pricey. Good luck with whatever you choose,
    Dan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    I think the new Nissan that you can walk in is awesome. I believe it is the NV2500. I have an Econoline with a Spartan box 14'. Walking in is a must. You would never go back. If I had multiple vehicles I would consider a Connect to compliment the bigger box. Where I live there is no real thefts, so everyone gets full logos on the sides and back for advertising. Eric

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Blue Ridge hills of VA, S of Charlottesville
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    Mark G:
    Good looking van in your photo.

    What is the brand of the roof rack bars you have mounted and how do you like them?

    I need some, as switched to smaller jobs, no employees, and am hauling some myself instead of having the lumberyard send everything.

    Ward

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Meadow Vista, CA
    Posts
    2,163

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    Ward, they're no-name bolt on racks I found on E-bay. Still holding up well.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Blue Ridge hills of VA, S of Charlottesville
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    Bolt on? Meaning you just drill holes and bolt the bar brackets right thru the van roof?

    If so did you put anything-even a piece of ice and water shield?-between the brackets and the van roof? That's the part I'm unsure of.

    Ward

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Meadow Vista, CA
    Posts
    2,163

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    I think it came with a rubber gasket.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    3,829

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    Beez
    Make sure you service the timing chain.
    i always had mine in for service and trusted the dealer to make sure everything was taken care of. The timing chain was not even on my radar and it went. lost the engine and a new one is 10k. I basically lost use of the vehicle as I don't want to spend 10 k to get it going again.
    Loved the vehicle though.
    got a great parts vehicle for you.
    Mark Parlee
    BESI(building envelope science institute) Envelope Inspector
    EDI Certified EIFS Inspector/Moisture Analyst/Quality Control/Building Envelope II
    Level one thermagrapher (Snell Training)
    www.thebuildingconsultant.com
    www.parleebuilders.com
    You build to code, code is the minimum to pass this test. Congratulations your grade is a D-

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    down the shore
    Posts
    2,226

    Default Re: Thinking about getting a van

    Quote Originally Posted by NateMoss View Post
    Look into a Isuzu NPR box truck, we work out of a NPR with a 16' box on it and then we have an Isuzu NRR Dump truck..... both amazing vehicles and not over priced. I could send you pics of both if you want but basically we have custom cabinets and shelves in the box to keep us organized.
    Ditto.

    The NPR meets my needs like a charm.

    I was able to pick up a used one with a side door. It's much easier access than climbing in the back all the time.

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