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  • Work trucks vs vans

    Hey guys, could you give me your opinion?

    I have been thinking of a lot about buying a new work truck. I am so sick of crawling into the van and bashing my knees up. I see some guys have pick-ups with utility bodies or even the sprinters. Any of you guys start with vans then move into something else and like it. I do service and remodels about 50/50. MIke

  • #2
    Re: Work trucks vs vans

    For service where your dealing with alot of parts (stems, faucets) or drain cleaning with machines that can be destroyed by the weather, can't go wrong with a van

    For remodeling and new construction I worked for a company that had trucks with open service bodies and they worked fine, Can load up back with jack hammered concrete, shovels, abs, pvc parts, etc. can go in the back without care for weather. And copper, galvanized can go in the covered bins.

    I prefer vans just because of weather protection.

    Plus most of my van is full of drain cleaning equipment that I don't want exposed to weather and theft.

    Lenny

    Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

    I know, it doesn't make sense.


    http://www.hebertdraincare.com

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    • #3
      Re: Work trucks vs vans

      I bought a Sprinter a year ago and am so happy with it that I'll buy another one once I can find another good plumber to hire. The fact that I am not hunched over anymore while trying to find parts in my van is reason enough for me to spend the money. Add onto that the extra space, 16MPG @ 8,000 LBs.

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      • #4
        Re: Work trucks vs vans

        We started with a utility body and went to the GMC W4500 cab over with a custom supreme body. We have enough room for now. You still have the outside compartents for the regular stuff so you don't have to go in and out of the back.

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        • #5
          Re: Work trucks vs vans

          Like Lenny said, the vans are great for weather and rather cheap. It's just that my knees are getting shot and the Sprinter or the utility bodies offer so much room. The problem I have with the sprinter is the pipe rack situation. I like to use twenty footers and a standard van is the perfect height for this. Do you guys carry ten footers with the bigger vans and put them inside? I guess I could try that. Mike

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          • #6
            Re: Work trucks vs vans

            Originally posted by Mikes Plumbing View Post
            Like Lenny said, the vans are great for weather and rather cheap. It's just that my knees are getting shot and the Sprinter or the utility bodies offer so much room. The problem I have with the sprinter is the pipe rack situation. I like to use twenty footers and a standard van is the perfect height for this. Do you guys carry ten footers with the bigger vans and put them inside? I guess I could try that. Mike

            Also if you put 1/2 lengths and a ladder hanging from the ceiling, don't you lose the head room? I need 2 ladders for drain work, a 16 ft extension and 7 ft stepladder. How does that work out for guys with sprinters?

            Lenny

            Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

            I know, it doesn't make sense.


            http://www.hebertdraincare.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Work trucks vs vans

              Originally posted by vette850 View Post
              I bought a Sprinter a year ago and am so happy with it that I'll buy another one once I can find another good plumber to hire. The fact that I am not hunched over anymore while trying to find parts in my van is reason enough for me to spend the money. Add onto that the extra space, 16MPG @ 8,000 LBs.
              Do you really save when diesel is $1.00 more per gallon, and the starting price for a sprinter is $30,000?

              Lenny

              Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

              I know, it doesn't make sense.


              http://www.hebertdraincare.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Work trucks vs vans

                How about a rope ladder?

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                • #9
                  Re: Work trucks vs vans

                  I have never owned one, but I have seen a utility truck bed with a van syle cover. It appears to be tall enough ,so You will not have to crouch to move in and out. I prefer regular utility beds.( my 2 cents)

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                  • #10
                    Re: Work trucks vs vans

                    The advantage of vans are they are cheaper to buy and have weather proof lockable security; after adding inside shelves and roof rack they are ready to work. But they harder to work on engine wise, and are noisier with all that material and tools clanking around back there. Also you have to smell the sewer machines, glue, primer, and other chemicals every time you get in the van. My current truck has the best of both worlds. It is a Dodge Cummins turbo diesel extended cab with an enclosed Skaug walk-in utility body. Outside accessable side bins and barn doors on the back. Lots of room inside. Quiet in the cab with no extra noise or smells and I can transfer the bed on another truck when its time for a new one. Decent fuel mileage for all that weight also........
                    Last edited by plumb4life; 01-30-2009, 11:08 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Work trucks vs vans

                      Originally posted by plumb4life View Post
                      The advantage of vans are they are cheaper to buy and have weather proof lockable security; after adding inside shelves and roof rack they are ready to work. But they harder to work on engine wise, and are noisier with all that material and tools clanking around back there. Also you have to smell the sewer machines, glue, primer, and other chemicals every time you get in the van. My current truck has the best of both worlds. It is a Dodge Cummins turbo diesel extended cab with a Skaug walk-in utility body. Outside accessable side bins and barn doors on the back. Lots of room inside. Quiet in the cab with no extra noise or smells and I can transfer the bed on another truck when its time for a new one. Decent fuel mileage for all that weight also........
                      If I wasn't doing mostly drain cleaning, I'd like this type set up. It wouldn't work with the equipment I currently have, though. I need the rear and side access.

                      Lenny

                      Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

                      I know, it doesn't make sense.


                      http://www.hebertdraincare.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Work trucks vs vans

                        I built all of my shelving custom with 1" angle iron and 1/2" plywood. I built a pipe rack on the driver's side about 2 feet off the floor of the van. It is 1 ft by 1 ft and 9 ft long. That way the pipe sticks out a foot so u can grab it easier. On top of that I have plastic akrobins stacked which I keep most of my fittings in. Under the pipe rack I have another large shelf where I keep ferncos and large pvc fittings. IT also came with a HEAVY DUTY lockable aluminum partition door which definitely keeps the stink down. I currently have a 6 ft step ladder stacked on top of an 8 ft step ladder(side to side) and I keep em right in front of that large lower shelf. I am going to build a support for a 24ft extension ladder soon. I am 5'10" so I have 6" of headroom to work with. I will have to make a track on either side of where the ladder will be(probably use 1 5/8" unistrut) so that it will take up less then the 6 inches. It will have a roller type system. I do larger commercial jobs as well as drain cleaning and that is why it weighs 8000 lbs fully loaded. I hear that the 3.5 gas engines get only about 12 MPG so the gas bill runs about the same as the 3.0 Diesel(16 MPG). The difference is that you will get a lot more miles out of the diesel and PLENTY of power. It took me awhile to get over the $40,000 price tag, but I spent a lot of time researching everything...well knowing that I could get a Chevy/Ford for half the price. I am glad every day about the decision that I made. Your neck and back will thank you for it....EVERYDAY! I will try to post a pic of it tomorrow...as soon as I clean it out....ha
                        Last edited by vette850; 01-30-2009, 11:08 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Work trucks vs vans

                          The sprinter diesel engines seem to be a great performer and very durable. I see the utility contractors use the flip down ladder racks for the sprinters in town. If I did this I could use all 10 footers and keep them inside..MMMMMM
                          One thing for sure is the rebates for a new one are pretty good, and used trucks or vans can be had at a bargain. I just may have to trade in old slugworth for a new one. I don't know, still confused. I do admire you guys with the big trucks though, the ability to walk inside a van, wow, what a concept. Mike

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                          • #14
                            Re: Work trucks vs vans

                            I started out with utility beds, then vent to Step Vans, then added some regular vans for little stuff, then added 14' super-structure utility beds on Isuzus and now have a cutaway van with a utility body. There is no one "best" truck out there as we all have different needs. You will also find your needs will change through the years so don't be afraid to change your truck as well. Here are two pictures of my two most recent truck. The Isuzu was sold to another shop 10-years ago but I found it driving around Las Vegas and asked the guy if I could take pictures. The Ford is my current truck.






                            Mark
                            Attached Files
                            "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                            I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Work trucks vs vans

                              Mark, that Stahl KUV looks like a sweet set up. How do you carry pipe? Mike

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