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cargo van OTR drivers

Discussion in 'General Expediter Forum' started by chipwebb, May 14, 2005.

  1. chipwebb

    chipwebb New Recruit

    HI- When cargo van drivers are on the road for a week or two at a time, where do you usually sleep? Have you made your van comfy enough? Hotels/Motels? Or a little of both?

    When I switched from line haul in big trucks to expediting in cargo vans, the sleeping accomadations is the only part I sometimes regret.
  2. fastman_1

    fastman_1 Expert Expediter

    I do both my Van has a Good size Bunk in it and once a week I get a Motel for a good nights Sleep.

    Owner/Operator since 1979
    Expediter since 1997
    B Unit
    Somedays are Diamonds and Somedays are Stones
  3. Dreamer

    Dreamer Administrator Staff Member

    There's no reason not to be comfortable in a van, it just takes a little more forethought, and ingenuity.

    For a few examples, check out this article,

    This thread.. check out dieseldoctor's old van...

    and dieseldoctors new van...

    Now granted, all 3 of these take a LOT of forethought.. but go to show the extremes you can go too.. also, just for a simple, sideways bunk, I've attached a diagram of a simple bunk framed out of 1 inch square tubing. You can adjust the width to whatever you need,cpver the bunk with plywood for a base, add a cot size mattress, or whatever... also the back is covered with plywood for a bulkhead. This is the one I've used, and also I took my passenger seat out for easier access, more room, etc. I set my cooler, tv, etc in it's place.

  4. Wolf_Exp

    Wolf_Exp New Recruit

    I am a cargo van driver. I didn't make a fancy bunk or anything. All I did is I knew that usually I won't sleep until I drop the load, which opens up the whole van. Which then I blow up an air bed- sit it in the middle where the pallets usually would go and pass out. But if however I do get the long runs where I would go to sleep with a load- the air bed can fit up front where the doors are-- I turn it sideways. This way it gives me more flexability to incase i get a bigger load-- I can move the bed. Don't know if anyone else is interested in doing it that way-- but thats how I do it :D.
  5. captain

    captain New Recruit

    I use a folding cot with a 3 1/2" foam matress I got at Cabellas.I have a good sleeping bag and I tucked an electric throw inside and run it off an inverter with a couple of deep cycle marine batteries. Works great, you stay warm as toast. In the summer, just an small 12 volt electric fan is ok at night. The only time I have a problem is after an all nite run in the summer when it's really hot and I try to sleep. When that happens I usually don't fight it and go check into a motel.

    Hope it helps,
    Captain, GMC 3500 Extended van
  6. Wolf_Exp

    Wolf_Exp New Recruit

    Captain's last post just gave me an idea of what else to talk about. During the winter I tried to sleep without using the heat or the truck on. Not a good idea. So I let the van run all night-- wasted a quarter of a tank of fuel. So what I did is I found at Walgreens or Wal Mart (one of them Wal stores) a cigerette (spell check) thingy that allows you to plug items into it because it has the plugs like in the house. So I carried around a small room heater and plugged it into that. And during the summer-- I carry a house fan with me and plug it into that too.

    I hope everyone can imagine what im talking about when trying to explain the cigarette thingy. One end plugs into the lighter-- and the other end has a plug like you would find in your house. Hope this helps some.
  7. merkurfan

    merkurfan New Recruit

    Hotel? what's that? I've got better cable in my van than most hotels (directv)..

    I have a stove (one burner cover on order) a fridge with freezer, a working sink with gray water tank (no hot water.. yet..) RV forced air furnace, 1500 watt inverter and everything is home made. The interior is not done yet (as you can see) but it has come a long way since the old alumi-bunk style sleeper I started off with. With the cargo doors closed I can carry one skid that is up to 6 feet deep. With the doors open I have 9.5 feet of cargo space. The bunk when removed doubles as a cargo wall in front of the fridge and counter. There is also a fold down counter next to the stove, when sitting on the drivers side of the bunk it doubles as a table.

    Snaped in Columbus OH at the hover ****
    area above front seats
    Rear wall of the sleeper, it opens.
    Fridge and stove, behind drivers seat
    More stoarge (amazingly, things don't fall off) right side above doors.
    Sink with hand sprayer behind passangers seat

    There is also a storage self above the cargo area 5.5 feet deep and from one side of the van to the other.
  8. fastman_1

    fastman_1 Expert Expediter

    Now thats alot of Stuff in a cargo van. I thought I had alot with my cooler and 13inch t.v.

    Owner/Operator since 1979
    Expediter since 1997
    B Unit
    Somedays are Diamonds and Somedays are Stones
  9. Dreamer

    Dreamer Administrator Staff Member


    AWESOME! Thanks for sharing with us! That's my point exactly, with some time, work and ingenuity, there is no reason to not be comfortable in a van. Now, you are yet another example of the extreme you can go to, and still not have the hassle of a big truck.

    Thanks again for sharing with us.... nice looking van by the way, I'm a sucker for Fords!

    .. now.... how bout a porthole window, some shag carpet, sidepipes.....

    I'm sure Panther wouldn't mind.... right? no.. wait.. sorry.. .I was havin a flashback there....Ok.. I'm better now....

  10. Loose_Cannon47

    Loose_Cannon47 New Recruit

    Dreamer, be careful...your age is showing..;)
  11. TJ959

    TJ959 Rookie Expediter

    I must be as old or older than you are. That flame job van brought back some memories. Back when that stuff was popular, I was still a motorhead (cars). In fact I'm still a motorhead. Just an old chubby one. I still can't believe what you guys can cram into a van and still carry 2 skids. Some of you have more comforts than my 72" sleeper. Just goes to show what can be done when there's a need and an inventive mind.
  12. mvbn1

    mvbn1 New Recruit

    I've made space in may van to make sure I'm comfortable while I'm out on the road. My comfort is as important as getting the freight from point A to point B. I have a cage about 30" behind my front seat. I purchased a camping cot, which just fits across the van behind the seat. After removing my passenger seat, I have gained lots of free space. Next "improvement" will be the addition of an inverter and microwave.

    I read a post on here several months ago, from someone wanting to know what was more important in a Sprinter, space to haul 3 pallets or a sleeper conversion. I'd say, that the comfort of the driver is much more important. If your an O/O and driving, or if you have someone driving for you, you'll stay out longer (and make more money) if your comfortable.
  13. merkurfan

    merkurfan New Recruit

    Side pipes? Uhh no.. It's a diesel, it'd have to be chrome stacks :D

    Custom paint? you bet. She needs a coat of fresh paint and a buddy is really good with a air brush. There is nothing in my contract about removing the non-dot required decalls from the truck so I figure off the go. (i've seen other panther vans with out them too) I also have a set of windowless doors for the side and rear of the van. No more windows though, sunroofs perhaps :)

    Just got a chance to use the stove and sink tonight, man is it nice, home cooking can't be beat. I had to weigh the old dog the other day. When I started with the small 24 inch sleeper up front she weighed 6600 with 3600 on the front axle. The front axle is only good for 3950.. Now with the sleeper setup she tips the scale at 6850 with a full fuel tank and fresh water tank and 3250 on the front. The original bunk was extreamly heavy, the cargo wall was good for 6000 pounds and was almost completely iron. My rear axle is rated at 6600 so even with 2500 on I won't be over gross.
  14. Dark_0ne

    Dark_0ne New Recruit

    That's a sweet setup you have there. I am amazed at the setups I have seen so far for cargo vans. The only problem I still have is that at 6'5" I need a wider sleeper than that. I need to figure out a system that will work without going to a dually aerocell. I'm working on a couple of ideas and I'll post 'em when they're finished. If they work out well maybe I'll go into the sleeper business LOL.
  15. merkurfan

    merkurfan New Recruit

    Place your bunk on the drivers side behind the seat. Hinge it so you can fold it up when you need to. If you get a hightop (or a sprinter) build it so you can remove it and move it up near the roof so the pallets will fit under it. Be sure to do something to keep you in the bunk that high off the floor. When I had my short bunk I had my passangers seat removed. I fell out of the bunk right on to the stud that the seat bolts to..

    ouch ouch ouch..
  16. miko

    miko New Recruit

    Now for that satelite: When I checked last for a camper satelite dish, I almost fell off my chair price wise. Any tip on that?
  17. redytrk

    redytrk Active Expediter

    >Now for that satelite: When I checked last for a camper
    >satelite dish, I almost fell off my chair price wise. Any
    >tip on that?
    Get the crank up model.I can set mine up lock on the satelite in less than a minute.

    I assume CW was quoteing you on the in motion models.They sell both. A crank up Wiengard is around $200.00.
  18. merkurfan

    merkurfan New Recruit

    Yea mean one like below???

    That is wingards automatic pointing dish. I bought it form I think it was 750. They are in Fort Wayne just off I69 and you can pick up dishes there. They have by far the best prices I have seen (and I did a LOT of digging before shelling out the cash)

    Portables you set on the ground for 70 bucks (BTW I have a wingrad portiable they sell for 169 on ebay right now.. ask for link) the manual crank-up for 177 and crank-up with digital magic for 269 I think it was. Digital magic is a digital display that will show you the tilt of the dish, once that is set just turn the dish to what it should be set at and you will be close. Fine tune as needed. If you go manual be sure to get a signal meter that goes in line between your box and dish.

    They also have the R2D2 looking ones starting at 999 for a stationary one.. However, R2D2 ones are 14 inches tall! The one I have is only 8 when folded (so are the crank ups)

    Best yet, if you don't want to pick it up FREE SHIPPING! They are cheaper than E-Bay. If that does not work for ya, keep in mind that Winegrad is a USA manufacturer. Their dishes are made IN the USA in IOWA of all places. And carry a 2 year warranty.

    Disclaimer Althought I have bought one dish from them, I was not paid to plug them or even asked to, they however awnsered all my questions and where very helpfull thus I recremend them to anyone looking for a portiable dish.
  19. miko

    miko New Recruit

    Thanks for the info on the satelite dish.
    I think if I was on the road more than a week, I would look into that, even more when the wife is along.

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