Author Topic: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?  (Read 11060 times)

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Offline gruz

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New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« on: October 19, 2016, 07:58 AM »
So I'm looking to step up to a new van and was hoping for some feedback.  My quick story: I own a small custom cabinetmaking business, commute to my shop, running around as the business owner, and personally do the installations and punch lists.  I currently drive a Nissan nv200 and keep it half full with tools, rack on top for long stock, and storage space for more tools or small cabinet parts.  I can also remove the rack of tools for added delivery space, but I've outgrown it.  About 60% of my driving is running around where I just need my tools with me, but am tired of having to rent trucks or take many trips for deliveries of cabinetry.  That said, I love how I can zip around and not feel like I'm driving a monster most of the time (and the gas mileage is decent).  I considered a trailer but that's not a good option for me either.
I've been looking at the Ford Transit low or medium roof, and the Nissan nv low roof.  just drove the nissan and it felt enormous (not in a good way).  Haven't driven the ford yet, but am currently leaning towards the medium roof ford.  it seems to have a good amount of space and height without getting carried away. 
Anyone drive these or recommend for or against them?
I know the Mercedes is the top rated van here in the States, but that's out of my price range, and the Ram is getting poor reviews.
Anyone outside the US can chime in, but no boasting about all of your other options of vans (the US has been a bit slow to understand the appeal of a work van).
Thanks for any help.
Scott


Offline Peter Halle

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2016, 08:31 AM »
I have had a Transit med roof regular wheelbase for a little over a year (15,000 mi).  I have the stock 3.7 liter and stock rear end.  I have been taking my time racking it.  I can say that I enjoy the van and wished that I had gone van years ago.  Great visibility up front - basically none to rear except by side mirrors.  Mirrors are great.  I use it to tow a trailer at times and have no issues in that area.  If you have even a remote thought of pulling a trailer in the future make sure that you get it outfitted from the factory.  Very difficult to do afterwards with all the specialized wiring.

If you are doing any delivery of cabinets you might want to look at the medium length. 

Gas mileage loaded for me has been 16 to 17, pulling trailer drops it down to about 13.

Racks are expensive.  Ford already has mounting points on the roof that are threaded and installs are easy but need to pay attention to waterproofing.  I do not have a rack.

If I can answer any specific questions just let me know.

Peter

Offline Xoncention

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2016, 08:53 AM »
So I'm looking to step up to a new van and was hoping for some feedback. 

Anyone outside the US can chime in, but no boasting about all of your other options of vans (the US has been a bit slow to understand the appeal of a work van).


I have an Eveco Daily set up as my mobile workshop.  Great turning circle and standing up inside is fine.

Offline Paul G

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2016, 09:17 AM »

I have an Eveco Daily set up as my mobile workshop.  Great turning circle and standing up inside is fine.

Unfortunately Iveco isn't sold in the US. As for standing up, how tall are you? At 6'2" (188cm) I haven't yet been in a van that I can stand in
+1

Offline Xoncention

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2016, 09:20 AM »

I have an Eveco Daily set up as my mobile workshop.  Great turning circle and standing up inside is fine.

Unfortunately Iveco isn't sold in the US. As for standing up, how tall are you? At 6'2" (188cm) I haven't yet been in a van that I can stand in

I'm just over 6' and I have room above my head - work boots on raises me up a bit more too.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2016, 04:56 PM »

I have an Eveco Daily set up as my mobile workshop.  Great turning circle and standing up inside is fine.

Unfortunately Iveco isn't sold in the US. As for standing up, how tall are you? At 6'2" (188cm) I haven't yet been in a van that I can stand in

The Transit mid roof model is just about 6' inside height.  The tall roof would definitely handle a 6'2" person.

Peter

Offline rst

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2016, 05:38 PM »
I've been driving Ford vans since 1980, have buried four with 250,000 miles each (all 250s, 302 auto) and am driving a 2001 with 240,000 miles on the odometer.  My van before this had 3 sets of tires, two exhaust systems, and two brake changes, could stick my finger in the exhaust pipe and not have to wash my hands.  I'll never drive anythign else, ohm and have a 1987 Ford 250 pickup with glass rack that still runs great.  I'm gonna be 64 in December so those new high top Transits look really appealing but have to get more mileage on the present one first.

Offline gruz

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2016, 06:59 PM »
thanks for the input so far. 
Will be test driving the Ford tomorrow so we'll see how it goes. 
In my little van, I put in windows in the back and passenger side slider- this helps substantially with backing up and changing lanes-visibility. 
Do you find that to be an issue at all?
btw, I'm relatively short at 5'8" so I can stand up no problem in the medium roof... may even have a little room to hang a ladder on the ceiling or clamps or something.

Offline rst

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2016, 07:47 PM »
I'm the same height as you.  My only issue is not having a window in the side sliding door in my present van.  If I park in a diagonal slot in town I have to start the van, leave the door open, walk to the back of thevan check traffic and then hurriedly get back in and back out...PIA.

Offline Paul G

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2016, 08:17 PM »
Sounds like a back-up camera would be a good option
+1

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2016, 10:00 PM »
thanks for the input so far. 
Will be test driving the Ford tomorrow so we'll see how it goes. 
In my little van, I put in windows in the back and passenger side slider- this helps substantially with backing up and changing lanes-visibility. 
Do you find that to be an issue at all?
btw, I'm relatively short at 5'8" so I can stand up no problem in the medium roof... may even have a little room to hang a ladder on the ceiling or clamps or something.

I have the sliding door window and also the rear door windows.  Aftermarket tinted dark.  A bulkhead (even a perforated one like I have) will decrease the visibility.  I don't have any issues but I have been relying on side mirrors for a long time due to towing trailers.  The side mirrors are great.  If you decide on a Transit be careful about the extra wide mirrors.  Many owners have experienced mirror to mirror collisions - they really stick out wide. 

If you decide on a Transit make sure that you let the dealer know you are a contractor.  You will probably be entitled to extra rebates and also up fitter credits.

If you want to visualize how your van would look like with a wrap or signage, Ford has a website that allows you to play around with such stuff.  If interested let me know and I will try to find it for you.

Peter

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2016, 10:30 PM »
Here is the link to play with:  http://www.fordcommercialgraphics.com

The website is flash based so a phone or tablet may or may not work.

Peter

Offline Purdog

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2016, 11:43 PM »
I have been a master certified fleet manager for 17 years selling Ford vehicles. I am also at a dealership that is one of the largest on the west coast and the #1 seller of Transit vans in California specifically (which is the largest market in the US). The Transit has the biggest market share in the van world hands down. The mid-roof, as you probably know, has an interior height of 72" and we sell those the most of any of the choices. The 148" wheelbase is also the more popular one. Car and Driver did a head to head comparison of the Mercedes Sprinter, Ram Promaster and Transit with the Diesel engine and the Ford took #1.  I don't know if I can post a link to the article but it's easy to find with a C & D Google search.

The 3.7L V-6 is usually enough of a power/MPG combination for most customers in a Mid-roof height unless you are traveling in hills, have a lot of payload or tow anything.  If you do need to tow anything, I STRONGLY suggest you get the tow package as a factory option as would you have to replace a few modules and get a factory wiring harness in additional to a receiver hitch after the fact. If you just bolt on a hitch without the wiring module, you will blow your blinker and brake light function (ask me how I know.....for two vans!)  All the Transits come standard with a rear view camera. I also suggest getting the reverse sensing option as well. When looking back and forth in the mirrors and camera screen it helps to "hear" how close you are getting to something behind you. The long mirrors that were talked about are pretty big so you will have to be careful to avoid hitting opposing mirrors or large trucks.  The rear cargo LED lights are a great inexpensive option as well. The other key options we usually order are the 2 extra keys (much cheaper then ordering one if it gets lost or through the parts dept) and the rear cargo floor mat.

Saying all that, Ford has commercial customer rebates ($1-$1000) that would reimburse you dollar for dollar if you install shelving, partition screen, ladder rack and even a vinyl wrap or lettering & company logo.  And lastly, commercial truck season started this week so there is an additional $500 rebate that you would get just for being a business owner.  I can help you with pricing any vehicle in the county just by the VIN # so if you need an idea on what you should pay or what the rebates/incentives should be for your region, just shoot me a PM.

Offline antss

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2016, 10:10 PM »
Are you delivering the cabinetry to the installs in this vehicle ?

If you're primarily using it to commute to installs, errand running and punch outs, then do you really need a full sized van ?  Something like a Connect, or a FLex might be a better choice ?

Offline gruz

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2016, 03:44 PM »
I'm currently using a nissan nv200, which is very similar to the transit connect.  it's a mix of uses, but i don't keep all my tools in the van ever as there'd be no room for anything else, so I find that I'm always missing the perfect tool for a given application...  I plan on using the van to deliver built-ins, vanities, and smaller cabinetry projects, but not entire kitchens... 
i test drove the ford transit and preferred it to the nissan nv.  the nissan is a truck, and a large one at that.  the ford drives more car-like, similar to my little nissan. 
was going to go used for cost savings, but am going to make an offer for a new one as i'd really like it to be black for consistency with my company branding (it's hard to find anything but white out there), and i can get the features i want/not pay for the ones i don't want, and it's not too much more with the current incentives...

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2016, 05:31 PM »
I'm currently using a nissan nv200, which is very similar to the transit connect.  it's a mix of uses, but i don't keep all my tools in the van ever as there'd be no room for anything else, so I find that I'm always missing the perfect tool for a given application...  I plan on using the van to deliver built-ins, vanities, and smaller cabinetry projects, but not entire kitchens... 
i test drove the ford transit and preferred it to the nissan nv.  the nissan is a truck, and a large one at that.  the ford drives more car-like, similar to my little nissan. 
was going to go used for cost savings, but am going to make an offer for a new one as i'd really like it to be black for consistency with my company branding (it's hard to find anything but white out there), and i can get the features i want/not pay for the ones i don't want, and it's not too much more with the current incentives...

Hopefully you will read this before you order and I hope that what I write does not insult Purdog.

If you are going to order a Transit most dealers are not well up to date on all the combinations.  There are tons.  Try to find a commercial Ford dealer.  Also be prepared to have a wait.  Transits are delivered by rail and because of the heights there are special train cars for them.  That elongates delivery.

You might want to visit a forum that I read but rarely participate in:  http://www.fordtransitusaforum.com


There is a member there by the name of crewman who is tuned into things behind the scenes and might even be able to locate a used one for you.  I have no idea how or why, but he has helped others out with searches and also ordering.

I have no affiliation or interest other than offering you a resource.

Good luck!

Peter

Offline Purdog

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2016, 06:11 PM »
Dont worry Peter, if that offended me, then I am in the wrong business!!

I definitely agree about going to a commercial minded store if you have one in your area.  We have been fully trained in the needs of commercial customers and "should" be able to configure/order a van for you however you want. There are about 58 different configurations for the Transit so if you go to a retail salesman (and not a fleet manager) you will be lucky to find someone that has a clue.  Finding a new Transit in Black will be extremely difficult although you could get lucky and find one. Most of the time white vans are better for installing logos, lettering etc. I have the ability to look at any dealers inventory in the country and could check for you if you have the specs figured out.  Also, if you do order one, you can be price protected for what the current incentives are. If they are better when the ordered van arrives, then you can use whichever is better. If you are told otherwise by the dealer, then they don't have an idea on what they are doing and find someone else to deal with.  To order a van from the factory for the California market, it takes 8-10 weeks for it to arrive. Since you are back East, if will be less time on the train rail car. Just remember the plants shut down for Christmas so if you wait too long to order, you won't see it until the start of the year.  If I can help, just let me know.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2016, 06:21 PM »
@Purdog

Thank you for your post.  When I bought mine off the lot I was in a pinch and uneducated and found what I wanted.

Salesman:  What are you looking for?
Me:  The red one.
Salesman:  Why?
Me:  If I am going to stand out from the crowd and will be paying for this over 5 years I don't want white.

If I had paid closer attention I would have noticed that my red one had been on the lot for almost a year and would have tried to negotiate a deal.  At the end of the day, going to a commercial dealer in my case made my time in the dealer in total less than 1 hour and I feel that I was treated very fairly.

Purdog, are you able to take an order and then have it shipped / directed to a more local dealer?  I realize that you won't get the dealer prep dollars but there are the other dollars on the table for the selling dealer.

Peter

Offline Purdog

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2016, 10:30 PM »
@Peter Halle

Yes I can absolutely order a vehicle and drop ship it to the local dealer to where the customer is. I actually do that with several customers of mine that have salespeople all over the country. The dealer that the vehicle goes to charges a "courtesy delivery" fee which covers prepping it in the service department (checking fluids, taking plastic off the seats, filling with fuel, etc) and a lot of cases they do the registration for the end user.  It is s minimal fee, usually $200-$300, in most cases.  I can still give all the available incentives to the customer that the local dealer has to offer.

Pat

Offline gruz

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2016, 11:29 AM »
So I was set on going black, but am now thinking otherwise. A big black van (even with logo)seems like it might be perceived as being a little sketchy. Maybe the dark gray with white lettering would appear less intimidating. Too much second guessing in my head. As much as I don't want they white, both because of my personal taste, and to stand out a little, they are much more readily available.
Do you guys have negative associations with a big black vehicle?
Regarding the actual vehicle- it'll be the 150 medium roof,130 length, ideally slider side door, side and rear windows tinted and with protective grill, back up camera ideally, additional alarm,
Any reason to get the bed liner or protective rear mat if I'll be racking it and may put down a false floor to store levels, rails, clamps... as others  have done?  Also debating the partition vs build My my own as part of racking.
Any other features recommended?

Offline Purdog

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2016, 12:26 PM »
Black or grey van won't look sketchy in my opinion. It will set you apart from all the other plain white vans out there (again, if you can find one). Even if you go with a white van, you can do wonders with a 3/4 vinyl wrap that blends the white part of the van to a colored design with the compan name or logo. Also, remember you  get up to $1000 to help pay for that wrap  or any fit such as a partition screen or shelving or ladder rack.   You just need to have proof of business like a business license, sales tax license, liability insurance policy for the company  or you as an individual.  Adrian steel or Kargomaster are big players in the shelving and partition market.   The vinyl floor is always good for protecting the metal floor  and adds a little cushion if you happen to be on your knees for anything.  Even at the worst you can use it as a template for your plywood or false flooring.

The back up camera is standard now,  Side windows will be tough to find, rear windows are more readily available.   If you can get it the PATS (passive antit-heft system) system will prevent the van from being stolen as it acts like a ignition immobilizer and it's very inexpensive.   I've never heard of anybody building their own partition but if you feel that you can do it to be secure then go for it.   Either way I strongly suggest having one. I've heard many stories of people being injured or killed by a cargo falling forward in a rear end situation.   Like I said in an earlier post the reverse sensing is always helpful.  Also the LED lighting package makes it nice and bright inside.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2016, 02:44 PM »
As Purdog mentioned the LED lighting is great.  I have the rubber mat and think that it is worthwhile.  My van came with the plastic interior side panels which I removed and used as templates for plywood sides.  Earlier he mentioned getting extra keys from the factory at a really good price upfront.  I have the back up alarm on mine.  HOLY COW that was loud.  In order to not further offend the neighbors that got disabled.

Peter

Offline bigjonh

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2016, 08:34 PM »
When I finally get around to ordering a transit , I'm going either gray or blue. The thing I hate about partitions is you can't tilt your seat back and take a nap.

Offline Purdog

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2016, 11:37 PM »
Please don't mistake my suggestion of the reverse sensing system as the same thing as a back up alarm. Two totally different options. The backup alarm is meant to warn people that the vehicle is backing up. Kind of like a trash truck or large municipal vehicle. The reverse sensing system is radar that detects obsticals starting at 6 ft away from the bumper and starts to alert the driver something is in his/her intended path with a tone inside the van. The closer one gets while reversing, the faster it beeps until a solid tone is heard. That means you are about 12" from smashing into something. That system in addition to the rear view camera is vital in my opinion. One small bump into another car or even a pole/wall/obsticle and you will most likely pay triple what the option costs.  God forbid a small child or animal is not in view of the mirrors or camera. The sensors shoot out at about 45 degrees from the corner of the bumper so the range is rather good.  I was talking to one of my installers of partitions about a large mobile truck repair fleet. Their driver rear ended someone on the freeway going about 40-50 MPH. The truck part (don't remember what it was but I believe it was something like an alternator size) he had in the rear of the van shot through the windshield. If it had been 12" to the left, it would have killed the driver with no question. Needless to say, the company is retrofitting all their 100+ vans with safety partitions.

Offline gruz

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2016, 02:42 AM »
So the final decision is between two vans on the lot. Both with existing features (so I'm paying for them as they are rather than picking and choosing).
Black 150 -130" wheelbase med roof with some extras, or $4500 more for the magnetic grey 250 248" wheelbase with Bluetooth, sync 1, heated mirrors, rain sensing wipers, maybe another feature or two.  Slightly increased weight capacity but I don't think that'll affect me.
Love the grey color, Bluetooth is obviously better for hands free driving and soon will likely be state law, bigger backup camera screen helps, and parking may be more challenging with the longer version,  but it'd be helpful to have the extra 18" of cargo space-that's another row of systainers...
I keep saying that $5000 is a lot more money for this, but don't want to regret the decision .
It's all going down this morning- signed off on things last. Ought but they worked up the paperwork for both just in case. Thoughts?

Offline gruz

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2016, 03:18 AM »
Last consideration I'll add is the length of cargo space factor. Looks like I can get 10' stock in the smaller wheelbase, and 12' stock in the larger. I hear there's about 2' running between the seats up to the console. Since I'm not getting a roof rack, is the shorter van going to be problematic with long stock. I'd say as long as I can get 12' in for the occasional small lumber pickups and  long crown and base molding, I should be okay. I can fit 12' in there right?

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2016, 05:15 AM »
A bulkhead will cut down on the length of material you can carry.  To get the long lengths you will have to have a door or an opening.  If I were to buy one again I would go longer.  Or at least get the Ford roof rack which isn't so expensive.

In your area parking with a longer van is a real consideration.

Peter

Offline gruz

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2016, 05:57 AM »
If I get the door with the partition, can I open it to fit 12' stock on the floor down the middle?

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2016, 07:12 AM »
In the thread that I posted in when I bought my Transit I measured 12'2" max.  Not a whole lot of room in between seats though.

Good luck and let us know which way you went!

Peter

Offline Paul G

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2016, 07:16 AM »
If I get the door with the partition, can I open it to fit 12' stock on the floor down the middle?
Can you bring a tape measure with you and check?
+1

Offline gruz

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2016, 05:46 PM »
Last post here. Ended up going with the long wheelbase model. More cargo space is huge.
Thanks for the help. Will try to post once its racked out.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2016, 06:24 PM »
Congrats!

Peter

Offline SFAVGUY

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Re: New Van thoughts (U.S.)?
« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2016, 07:10 PM »
Looks like you already purchased so this isn't relevant but I love my dark gray Sprinter Van, I feel like going with a color other than white really makes you stand out, and as for headroom, I'm 6 6 and can stand in the back.