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Old 12-10-2012, 05:03 AM   #16
papalobster
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My 3 cents. I'm cheap. I had a Chev C1500 x cab 2WD longbox pickup that was perfect for hauling stuff. It had a bench seat instead of buckets that would fold flat so i could sleep in the cab. I bough it with 201k on it and drove it almost another 100k miles before some chick blasted into the side and totalled it. It was a 1/2 ton Chev so all mechanial parts were stupid cheap to buy. It had a couple of known issues with the Vortec 5.0, but a little ingenuity fixed that.

I used the insurance money to buy a Dodge 1 ton 15 passenger van that used to be a day care bus. I took out most of the seats but still have seating for 6. 3 bikes fit inside, but it's tight. Parts/tires are pricey because everything is built big and tough. I can tow around 8k with it IIRC, but I've only pulled up to 5k at a time. I get mid teens for gas mileage and if it ever gets anywhere off of a roud, you had better have a friend with a truck. I keep a tow strap and shovel on boar because it truly sucks to get 7000 pounds of van stuck.

Most cargo vehicles are used for hauling big/heavy stuff. The passenger vans, while having high miles, tend not to get loaded very heavy.

I would have rather had a different truck, but I couldn't justify the cost over the van.

I think a regular size 1/2 ton would be a better fit. I've had a few in the past, but I need the capacity these days. With a set of air bags on the rear, 2-3 dirtbikes and gear won't tax teh vehicle at all. I have a folding cot that I used in the back of mine.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:51 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ddavidv View Post
Toying occasionally with the idea of getting a van to tow my race car instead of my pickup, I've got a few ideas that may or may not be helpful. A couple of ways to get more van for the money is to buy an older conversion van (the ones with all the windows, lots of velour upholstery and miles of vinyl decals on the outside). People who buy them new usually take decent care of them, because they are expensive, but they are like an outdated luxury car when they are used...very limited market, so the value is depressed. Not sure about CA, but where I live they are titled as station wagons (car tags) so are much, much cheaper to license. The vast majority are half tons. Conversions are usually very poor quality and the materials wear quickly, so this adds to the poor resale value. Buy one, back up to a dumpster, remove all the useless conversion crap (seats, carpet, faux wood paneling) and have yourself a nice van that is maybe a car in the eyes of the state.
e.
Great Idea. Sadly in California they are generally priced a bit more than an ordinary 1/2 ton van. HOWEVER.........as you stated they can have lower mileage. and I see a lot of them have the raised roof option which is a huge benefit. Sadly the rear seat to bed conversion is not space efficient. Does anyone know if you get a standard length van and move the" bench seat that folds to a bed" from its rear position to just behind the front seats............................can you load a dirtbike behind it and close the doors?

Go for the van for towing the race car. I went with a E-350 I picked up for $2700 with 78K on the 460. It towed my four wheel car trailer and race car like it wasn't even there, and I could load the inside of the van with all my jacks, tools, gas, coolers, EZups etc and never worry about it when parked overnight. You'll love the van upgrade. That was a few years ago and it seems prices have skyrocketed on used vans.
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team ftb screwed with this post 12-10-2012 at 06:00 AM
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:56 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by garandman View Post
Brakes and tires on the 250/2500/any other commercial vehicle are going to be expensive. They are D or E load rating tires and nowadays most shops won't put anything else on.

The E150 / Express 1500 have lighter duty components. Hardly anyone drives them as the cost difference is minimal and they don't last for 200K miles.

We insulate ours but at least around here that is uncommon. I ordinarily sleep on a camping pad and would go to a cot rather than a fixed installation as then it will always be in the way.

Thanks for the feedback!! i like your insulation job. Was it a noticeable difference in comfort? wopuld you do it again and if so do it any different second time around? Ballpark price on the insulation? Is it just tech screwed in or taped?

So the lighter duty 1/2 ton components wear quicker than the 3/4 and 1 ton stuff (kingpins, brakes, steering etc.)???
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:02 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by discochris View Post
I was going to say the same thing. Look for something from a public auction - state property, school districts, that sort of thing. Might have high miles, but usually maintained regularly.

One question I would have to ask - you say you're going to be in California. You're going to need something to pass smog testing if you want to title it, aren't you? That could be an issue with older beat up stuff.

Yep California that means no mid 80's vans for me just because of the fear of passing the smog nazi's. I'm thinking 90's should hopefully pass as they are fuel injected and hopfully being in California have not rotted all the plastic crap off too bad.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:22 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by papalobster View Post
My 3 cents. I'm cheap. I had a Chev C1500 x cab 2WD longbox pickup that was perfect for hauling stuff. It had a bench seat instead of buckets that would fold flat so i could sleep in the cab. I bough it with 201k on it and drove it almost another 100k miles before some chick blasted into the side and totalled it. It was a 1/2 ton Chev so all mechanial parts were stupid cheap to buy. It had a couple of known issues with the Vortec 5.0, but a little ingenuity fixed that.

I used the insurance money to buy a Dodge 1 ton 15 passenger van that used to be a day care bus. I took out most of the seats but still have seating for 6. 3 bikes fit inside, but it's tight. Parts/tires are pricey because everything is built big and tough. I can tow around 8k with it IIRC, but I've only pulled up to 5k at a time. I get mid teens for gas mileage and if it ever gets anywhere off of a roud, you had better have a friend with a truck. I keep a tow strap and shovel on boar because it truly sucks to get 7000 pounds of van stuck.

Most cargo vehicles are used for hauling big/heavy stuff. The passenger vans, while having high miles, tend not to get loaded very heavy.

I would have rather had a different truck, but I couldn't justify the cost over the van.

I think a regular size 1/2 ton would be a better fit. I've had a few in the past, but I need the capacity these days. With a set of air bags on the rear, 2-3 dirtbikes and gear won't tax teh vehicle at all. I have a folding cot that I used in the back of mine.

For some reason I thought the pickups would be peanuts compared to vans. I just did a Craigslist search and they are no cheaper than the vans it seems. If I had a choice Id take the van for camping ease. However they sure would be easier if it came time to change a starter haha.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:52 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by team ftb View Post
For some reason I thought the pickups would be peanuts compared to vans. I just did a Craigslist search and they are no cheaper than the vans it seems. If I had a choice Id take the van for camping ease. However they sure would be easier if it came time to change a starter haha.
The starter isn't bad. The intake manifold gasket and spark plugs though.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:59 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by team ftb View Post
Thanks for the feedback!! i like your insulation job. Was it a noticeable difference in comfort? wopuld you do it again and if so do it any different second time around? Ballpark price on the insulation? Is it just tech screwed in or taped?

So the lighter duty 1/2 ton components wear quicker than the 3/4 and 1 ton stuff (kingpins, brakes, steering etc.)???
This is again - this is the second van I've done and a buddy did his as well. It makes a huge difference.

I want to an outfit that makes sound deadening material for the marine industry. It's really expensive (about $12 per running foot, 54" wide) but they had "reel ends" - 5' to 10' sections that I was able to buy for less. This stuff is 2" thick self-adhesive flame-retardant foam with Mylar covering.

Many of the other van insulation setups I saw didn't dampen sound, absorbed moisture, weren't flame-retardant or all of the above.

On the wheel wells I put some of their multi-layer damping material. You can buy stuff like that at auto sound shops also - lining the wheel wells makes a huge difference. The noise in an unlined cargo van on the highway in the rain is something else.

The vast majority of cargo vans sold are the 250/2500 grade. The 350/3500's are usually either passenger models or for very heavy equipment. The 150/1500's are for - florists? Most of the local dealers don't stock more than one or two of those. They're no bargain.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:38 PM   #23
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I run both Chev & Ford Vans in Electrical contracting biz....all E250' or 2500's
The Chevy vans ride more like a car IMHO, are more comfortable. The opening on the rear door is about 2" lower in height compared to the Ford. The Ford sits higher & seems to handle weight a little better. The pasenger side in the Ford is more cramped for legroom. Chev had a major paint peel issue on the early 2000 to about 2006/7 vans where the paint just peels off ????
The best performance/ fuel economy has to be the Chevy 5.3l & I towed my 10000' Boat with ease.
The extended version are better if you plan to have bikes inside & passengers.
I have had vans that just fall apart at 100k and others that just keep on going, on both brands.
The only Van that I reallly regretted buying was a Dodge 2500...biggest piece of shit, no wonder they stoped making them!
Lately I have been buying off lease vans (U-haul) best value howevern ther are way more than you want to spend.
Good luck
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:48 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by garandman View Post
I want to an outfit that makes sound deadening material for the marine industry. It's really expensive (about $12 per running foot, 54" wide) but they had "reel ends" - 5' to 10' sections that I was able to buy for less. This stuff is 2" thick self-adhesive flame-retardant foam with Mylar covering. .

This is some great info thank you. Do you have a link or brand/name for the insulation. I'll add it to my van database as most likely I'll be insulating whatever I get.

I owned a '75 Dodge van that I insulated and paneled and that was waaaaaay more habitable than my uninsulated 91 E350 cargo van. Kicking myself in the arse for selling the E350 now.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:50 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Johno33772 View Post
I run both Chev & Ford Vans in Electrical contracting biz....all E250' or 2500's
The Chevy vans ride more like a car IMHO, are more comfortable. The opening on the rear door is about 2" lower in height compared to the Ford. The Ford sits higher & seems to handle weight a little better. The pasenger side in the Ford is more cramped for legroom. Chev had a major paint peel issue on the early 2000 to about 2006/7 vans where the paint just peels off ????
The best performance/ fuel economy has to be the Chevy 5.3l & I towed my 10000' Boat with ease.
The extended version are better if you plan to have bikes inside & passengers.
I have had vans that just fall apart at 100k and others that just keep on going, on both brands.
The only Van that I reallly regretted buying was a Dodge 2500...biggest piece of shit, no wonder they stoped making them!
Lately I have been buying off lease vans (U-haul) best value howevern ther are way more than you want to spend.
Good luck

awesome datapoint with the post thank you.

Thats not the first time I've heard about paint issues on the Chevy. Was it an intermittent problem or universal?
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:38 AM   #26
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Don't fear the horned ones.
I always had Ford trucks until looking for a van to go to the races in . I bought a Dodge full size and drove it problem free for 80,000 miles. I only changed when my Father in law passed and I bought his Maxi-van with 100,000 fewer miles on it . I still have that one.
You can change the starter on a V-8 Dodge van in minutes.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:22 PM   #27
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awesome datapoint with the post thank you.

Thats not the first time I've heard about paint issues on the Chevy. Was it an intermittent problem or universal?
Must be a subset as our 2005 is fine.

The main reason we got the Chevy at the time was actually that it was a lot easier to find a GM cargo van with cruise control than a Ford. They had a $350 package with cruise and tilt wheel. We never found a Ford cargo van in dealer stock with cruise control, although they are typical in the passenger vans and existed as an option. Has 117,000 miles on it now and gets much better mpg than our Ford.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:53 AM   #28
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I bought this 02 E350 extended van this summer in Los Angeles to do the same thing - haul bikes. It had been previously owned by a forklift repair company. I was cautious because it had 175k miles and had clearly been a shop truck, but it passed smog, rode reasonably well and was only $2,300. I spent about a week degreasing the interior - it was pretty thick but no rust.

I was surprised to discover it had the 6.8L V10 (the seller thought it had a V8), but the mileage is acceptable for a motohauler that isn't a daily driver. It pulls grades easily, even when loaded.

The tires were questionable so I put a new set on, along with the wheels. I found a passenger van getting parted out and snagged a rear bench seat and some odds-n-ends. Also found a cheap used receiver hitch. Now I can carry three bikes (four with a hitch hauler) and 3-4 people pretty comfortably.

I never intended to drive it so much, but now its got 187k miles and just got back from a trouble-free trip to Baja Sur. It's great to have all the bikes, tools, etc. locked up, dry and out of sight when traveling.

The Chevy's do ride nicer but I couldn't find one used for the money I wanted to spend. That said, I'd buy another Ford for sure.

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Old 12-12-2012, 02:42 PM   #29
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Don't know how it works in your area, but a friend of mine regularly buys vans for work by calling school boards/schools. He managed to get well maintained vans for a good price. If you're going cargo vans, definitely go maintained vans. HOWEVER, keep in mind that, at least around here, maintenance/service vans have their engines running 24/7 or close.

Another suggestion is to look for a Chevy/GMC Rally van. Had 2 mid '90s, and both were bullet proof. Regret selling the last one, which even had a raised roof nonetheless- used it for 2 years, then sold it for 50% more than I paid for it (but got it to run like a Swiss clock, everything was perfect- other than mileage, but what can you expect from a 7.4l gas engine).


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Old 12-12-2012, 07:06 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by garandman View Post
This is again - this is the second van I've done and a buddy did his as well. It makes a huge difference.

I want to an outfit that makes sound deadening material for the marine industry. It's really expensive (about $12 per running foot, 54" wide) but they had "reel ends" - 5' to 10' sections that I was able to buy for less. This stuff is 2" thick self-adhesive flame-retardant foam with Mylar covering.

Many of the other van insulation setups I saw didn't dampen sound, absorbed moisture, weren't flame-retardant or all of the above.

On the wheel wells I put some of their multi-layer damping material. You can buy stuff like that at auto sound shops also - lining the wheel wells makes a huge difference. The noise in an unlined cargo van on the highway in the rain is something else.

The vast majority of cargo vans sold are the 250/2500 grade. The 350/3500's are usually either passenger models or for very heavy equipment. The 150/1500's are for - florists? Most of the local dealers don't stock more than one or two of those. They're no bargain.
Interesting to see that you have such a negative opinion on the 1/2 ton vans. I have an '06 Chevy with the 4.3. It runs like new with 120K on it, it gets 17ish in rural driving, and it's stupid cheap to operate. I know plenty of painters, trim carpenters and others who have gotten excellent service from 1/2 ton GM and Ford vans, including several that have ten years and well over 200K of service so far. Better mileage, cheaper parts, doesn't ride like a brick, I'm happy.
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