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  • step vans vs cargo vans

    hello everyone, i was wondering if i can gets some opinions on the step vans vs cargo vans. i currently use a E-350 and have been for 11 years. but i was thinking about maybe purchasing a new ford econoline 350 step van for my next plumbing service vehilce, is this a good idea or a bad idea. I do not know anything about the step vans, i never owned one, i can not find anyone who has, im not sure if they are reliable or if they are a pain. my ford E-350 rarely breaks down, i normally service it at every 5,000 miles. I do like the fact that u can stand up in the step vans and i can keep my 10ft sections of pipe inside, istead of ontop of my current van. any comments on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: step vans vs cargo vans

    I run cargo vans because for me a step van is just not an option due to it's size and especially it's height. This may not apply to you; I do drain cleaning so I'm on many sites each day for only a little while. Since my vehicle is on the road more than it sits on site being able to slip through traffic and park becomes more important than the extra space. The real killer for me is that I do a lot in condominium complexes so I need to get into the garges under them, and a step van just won't fit.

    As far as reliability goeas, I really don't know. Moving up from a light truck to a medium duty one makes parts and service (and tires, and tags, and insurance) cost a whole lot more. If you don't do your own repairs I'd be thinking about who is going to do them. You basic auto repair shop may not be interested in working on a step van. I'd try to stick with something no bigger than a beefed up 1-ton truck chassis for those reasons.

    People like sprinters.

    How about one of thse van chassis with the big service bodies, kind of like an ambulance?

    If I was doing new construction, I'd probably have a big trailer full of material and specialty tools and a van with the everyday stuff for service calls and leave the trailer on site.
    This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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    • #3
      Re: step vans vs cargo vans

      thanks for the reply ace. I do agree with you. I think i might just stick to my Ford E-350 cargo van. i service two states, and i do more residential than commercial, and the cargo van is nice when im downtown in the city traffic and its alot easier to park. I normally get about 220,000 miles on my E-350 vans with proper maintenance. i only do a few sewer clogs a week,most of my work is leaks, water heaters, and anytime of plumbing in a home.

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      • #4
        Re: step vans vs cargo vans

        I don't mean to buck the trends in your post, but I really love my trailer. I pull a 7 X 12 tandem axle trailer with a Toyota FJ Cruiser. Regardless of trailer or tow vehicle of choice, it's nice to disconnect from your "shop on wheels" and be able to switch or do maitainence to your tow vehicle. I've got headroom and lots of storage in the trailer. Plus, for cu. ft. of storage space, trailer is very inexpensive compared to bigger trucks. Just my preference, everyone has their opinion. Perhaps because I was a tractor trailer driver before I ever started plumbing...

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        • #5
          Re: step vans vs cargo vans

          This is how i roll! It holds every peice of equiptment i could ever need!

          I LOVE IT!!
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            Re: step vans vs cargo vans

            i like that jhplumbing, is that one of those 4500. and do u have any problems in the snow with it. I know you get much more snow than we do down here in pittsburgh, pa. i use to live in michigan(st. clair), up by port huron. and i know the snow is really bad at times. dont get me wrong, i love my E-350, but. i would love to be able to keep my copper piping inside instead of ontop of my van. the copper prices have risen and my van does not fit in my garage due to the brackets ontop that hold my ladder and piping, so therefore i would love to trade it in and get something like you have, with stroage bins for all my pex fittings and copper fittings, etc. thanks for the reply.............

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            • #7
              Re: step vans vs cargo vans

              It is a chevy 3500 with a 12' box. I wanted a 12ft box that way i could fit the extention ladder in the van, not on the roof!

              It is "ok" in the snow............like any rear wheel drive van

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              • #8
                Re: step vans vs cargo vans

                rich, trailers are great in the right neighborhoods.

                out here good luck trying to find a parking spot for a trailer and the truck.

                i have a jetter trailer and pipe bursting trailer and i always make arrangements for parking when i bring them out.

                i guess it depends on where you live and work.

                rick.
                phoebe it is

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                • #9
                  Re: step vans vs cargo vans

                  I think i might go with the step van, if i can find a reliable one. A trailer would be nice rich, But where i live im in the city alot and a trailer would be impossible for me to find a place to park, I will probably have trouble with a step van, But my e-350 is running out of room, And i like my van fully stocked so im not running back and forth to the store for parts, lol. i never see the ups drivers broke down anywhere, so i was thinking that maybe those are pretty reliable, im not sure though, because i have always owned a cargo van. i do like the 3500 box truck, If i could find one that is heated in the box area that would be great............ Thanks for all the replys thus far.

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                  • #10
                    Re: step vans vs cargo vans

                    If you have decided on a step van, places like Dovebid auction them off. They are former potato chip vans and bread vans. Many still have shelves inside. Some of them have the preferable 4 cylinder Cummins turbo diesel engine conversions and came with both automatic and stick shift trannys. They often sell for around $2500 and up in good running condition. The diesels do get good mileage for a step van.

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                    • #11
                      Re: step vans vs cargo vans

                      Thanks for the info plumb4life, i wrote down that site, and i will check them out. $2500 is a very good deal in my opinnion, For that price i might buy two and have one for back up. I do agree about the diesel they are much better on gas, thats what my Ford E-350 is (diesel). I looked into the sprinters yesterday and WOW, they are expensive. That would be the perfect vehicle for me but the price tag is way to high, because im looking for a newer model, like 2005 and up. I did talk to a couple of people and they said that they had nothing but problems with there sprinters, And again i dont know to much about them either, i like the high rise sprinters u can stand up in them and they are long enough to carry 10' sections of 1/2" and 3/4" copper pipe.

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                      • #12
                        Re: step vans vs cargo vans

                        Originally posted by jhplumbing View Post
                        This is how i roll! It holds every peice of equiptment i could ever need!

                        I LOVE IT!!
                        I found a 2004 GMC Savana G3500 Box Truck 10' Supreme Box for sale, im not sure what the supreme means, but it has 77,956 miles and they are asking $10,900. Is that a good deal or is that way to high.

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                        • #13
                          Re: step vans vs cargo vans

                          Originally posted by Joe the plumber View Post
                          I found a 2004 GMC Savana G3500 Box Truck 10' Supreme Box for sale, im not sure what the supreme means, but it has 77,956 miles and they are asking $10,900. Is that a good deal or is that way to high.
                          Supreme is the body manufacturer. I have a cab over GMC with a custom built supreme utility box body on it. The body is well built and we are happy with it.

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                          • #14
                            Re: step vans vs cargo vans

                            thanks for the reply highland. do u think that is a good price or is that a little high,

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                            • #15
                              Re: step vans vs cargo vans

                              Originally posted by Joe the plumber View Post
                              thanks for the reply highland. do u think that is a good price or is that a little high,
                              It all depends on the condition of the truck. A new truck will run well into the 30's. It won't hurt to offer less. Look around on ebay and the internet to see what other similar trucks out there are going for.

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