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stumpmj
stumpmj Dork
3/1/12 2:00 p.m.

I'll go ahead and bump this up. I've been thinking of getting rid of my 3/4 ton Dodge Cummins and swithcing to a 3/4 or 1 ton van. The extra space for the dogs and having my stuff stay dry would be nice.
My big concern with them is footwell space. I have 13 EEE feet. I know an Astro won't work for me (tried my friend's) and I'm worried a full size wouldn't cut it either.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
3/1/12 2:06 p.m.

I'm in a similar boat. I really don't drive my truck to justify having it so it may be sold by years end to be replaced with another conversion van. I want to start mtn bike racing and camping again and a van is better for that. A trailer can cover the open cargo needs.

Foot room seems to vary by mfgr. Fords are ok for the driver, kinda crappy for the passenger. Dodge is even worse. Not sure about GMs.

RealMiniDriver
RealMiniDriver SuperDork
3/1/12 8:29 p.m.

I've got a high-top Ford van with the meek 4.6. The best fuel economy I got was 12.4mpg. The worst was just short of 11mpg. It didn't matter if I was going uphill, into a headwind, towing a 3000lb trailer or downhill with a tailwind, drafting a semi - 12mpg was common.

stumpmj wrote: My big concern with them is footwell space. I have 13 EEE feet. I know an Astro won't work for me (tried my friend's) and I'm worried a full size wouldn't cut it either.

Full-size Dodge vans won't work for you, either. When we were shopping for ours, we drove Ford, Chevy and Dodge. I didn't even make it off the lot in the Dodge, the footwell was so small. I can't remember how the Chevy's footwell was, but the Ford's is pretty decent.

aussiesmg
aussiesmg SuperDork
3/1/12 8:35 p.m.
Stag_Driver wrote: In reply to aussiesmg: What can you tell me about the Stag? When was the picture taken? It looks like one of the ones in my back yard.

That is one of 5 I own, pic at Road Atlanta in 2010, the car was picked up after sitting in the previous owners yard for 10 years, it has a 289 in it.

Steve (crazy Stag nut)

ansonivan
ansonivan Dork
3/1/12 9:27 p.m.

I bought a 4.6l 1997 e150 conversion van for $2010 challenge hauling duty, the thing cost less than a nice seafood dinner with drinks. It smelled like very expensive perfume sprayed on top of decaying flesh. I tore out the entire interior, installed a set of factory ford seats from a low mileage work van and have been enjoying the van since.

The good: - creep-tastic vibe - tons of space

The bad: - seating position is horrible - wander wonder vague steering - around 10mpg when towing at 75mph

Bile Van: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/reader-rides/3773/

curtis73
curtis73 SuperDork
3/1/12 11:39 p.m.

As long as you pay attention to the GVW, you're fine. Finding a true HD conversion van is a bit tough, and (like has been said) a 1/2 ton is already at or over GVW with a full tank of gas.

If you are doing a 1/2 ton, get one without the tall roof. You might be surprised how much that fiberglass adds weight, especially with the wood trim, wiring, lights, TV, etc. Strip out what you don't need like extra seats, and you'll get enough weight off to accept a decent tongue weight. If you don't, you risk blowing tires, tearing up bearings, damaging axles, or otherwise finding yourself in a ditch.

3/4 ton vans are a wonderful step up. Do the research and find out which vans get the big parts. For instance, Chevy's 3/4 ton vans are not much more than a 1/2 ton van with stiffer springs and a 12-bolt instead of a 10-bolt. Ford steps up with a fully different suspension, and a Dana 60 axle.

Also, do the research on the equipment. Most conversion vans are designed for the wimpiest of duty - an old guy driving on the highway at 60 mph. They're often equipped with 3.08 gears, a V6, and the small tranny. Get the beefy stuff

Rufledt
Rufledt Dork
3/2/12 9:36 a.m.
curtis73 wrote: As long as you pay attention to the GVW, you're fine. Finding a true HD conversion van is a bit tough, and (like has been said) a 1/2 ton is already at or over GVW with a full tank of gas. If you are doing a 1/2 ton, get one without the tall roof.

+1 to this. the conversion stuff adds tons of weight and leaves about enough room for gas and some old people.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
3/2/12 12:23 p.m.

I can only give my experience with my old '90 E150 raised roof conversion van with a 5.0 and AOD trans. It would get around 16-17 mpg, but I was always pretty conservative when driving it. Rarely much above the speed limit. For my needs (camping first; tow vehicle second) a raised roof is mandatory.

That said, my next van will likely be a 3/4 or 1 ton as I want an extended rear and a raised roof. Rare, but I've seen them. I'll probably end up doing a diy conversion on an ex airport or hotel shuttle. I'd love to get a Sprinter but I doubt I'll find a decent one for the money I'll have to spent.

failboat
failboat Dork
3/2/12 12:34 p.m.

having camped in a short wheel base van for years......I would LOVE having the room of a long wheel base van. I think a lot of those have 1 ton suspensions on them too. You've got the right idea tracking down a used 15 passenger, thats probably the cheapest and most plentiful option. I would love a cargo version though.

Weird van knowledge. Chevy went to the new Express body style in 1996, except for the extended 1 ton van that still used the 78-95 body style.

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