Sign up for The Wire Newsletter!

Cargo Van Best Van to Buy

Solar

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
I’m posting this in the noob section because it’s such a noob question.

I had 6 months experience in a Dodge/Mercedes 2500 diesel Sprinter Van. I loved the taller ceiling. I hated every time there was an issue it was a problem finding a diesel mechanic to even work on it, and no matter what, it always cost at least $1,000.

I’m looking to buy a van to owner operate.

I know I want a gasoline engine.
I would prefer it be a Sprinter for the room.

For you guys who have owner operated for a while, which vehicles did you have more consistency out of? Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Freightliner?

I know there must be 1,000,000 threads on this subject, but the search dives me into a lot of related threads, but none directly saying what is the best “first” van?

Added info, I am fairly mechanically inclined. If I can’t, my neighbor is a mechanic. If it’s still an issue, there are 2 mechanics within 3 miles of me, one of them does specialize in Sprinters, the other specializes in getting things done at a low cost. All that said, I’m comfortable getting a Used Van. I don’t know which companies allow older vans, I know my previous company had to be within 5 years, so my goal is to get within the 3-5 years old area.
 

B1scu1t

New Recruit
Owner/Operator
Offline
I will respond even though I'm a noob also. A little background on my situation, 21 year Class A driver, former owner operator in the past. Recently terminated by a major LTL carrier. In my search as to what direction I wanted to go with my career I found a local courier/air freight/expedite company. It peaked my interest but would require being an owner op again (anything from a car to a straight truck). The company did offer for me to start making runs in my car. My business plan is to get my authority and be full independent by years end utilizing many contacts I have made in trucking the last dozen years to keep my van rolling.

I looked at everything, used and new, Dodge, Ford, Sprinter. I went with a 2018 Ford Transit, 148 wb,high roof, 3.5l twin turbo, 3.31 rears. In my area used ones had either 100,000+ miles on them for $20k or 30-40,000 for $27-30k. I paid just under $35k with the 3.5L, Sync stereo, and cruise control (which is not standard for some reason). Ford also threw in $1000 in uplifts. I opted for bed lining and e-track installation.

I chose the Ford due to brand loyalty, built in Kansas City, the modifications to the second generation 3.5L Ecoboost motor, resale value, current local rebates, and having the warranty that comes with new. Even if it won't last long. It should last long enough to pad my account.

For me the initial cost and maintenance of the Sprinters were a big factor in passing them by. Although I like the life expectancy from them. What I read and heard from people who have owned the Dodge or been in the expedite game is that they continue the traditional Chrysler transmission issues, are cheaply built in Mexico and generally nobody I spoke with with experience in them liked them.
 

xmudman

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
All Sprinters are diesels, so you’re looking at a Transit or Promaster if you want a gas van.


Sent from my iPhone using EO Forums
 

Moot

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
For you guys who have owner operated for a while, which vehicles did you have more consistency out of? Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Freightliner?
For me Chevrolet. My last Chevy van I sold with 820,000 miles, original engine and driveline to a friend. We're still friends. He sold it to a tradesperson with over 900,000 miles on the clock.

Added info, I am fairly mechanically inclined. If I can’t, my neighbor is a mechanic. If it’s still an issue, there are 2 mechanics within 3 miles of me, one of them does specialize in Sprinters, the other specializes in getting things done at a low cost.
That's great that you have 3 mechanics close by. Unfortunately most major mechanical failures usually happen on the road while under load. You are on the hook (pun intended) for towing, freight transfer and at the mercy of the nearest repair shop.

Buying a used van is a good way to get back into expediting. Be sure you have the cash/credit to survive a few months without incurring finance charges.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Worn Out Manager

Treadmill

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
I will respond even though I'm a noob also. A little background on my situation, 21 year Class A driver, former owner operator in the past. Recently terminated by a major LTL carrier. In my search as to what direction I wanted to go with my career I found a local courier/air freight/expedite company. It peaked my interest but would require being an owner op again (anything from a car to a straight truck). The company did offer for me to start making runs in my car. My business plan is to get my authority and be full independent by years end utilizing many contacts I have made in trucking the last dozen years to keep my van rolling.

I looked at everything, used and new, Dodge, Ford, Sprinter. I went with a 2018 Ford Transit, 148 wb,high roof, 3.5l twin turbo, 3.31 rears. In my area used ones had either 100,000+ miles on them for $20k or 30-40,000 for $27-30k. I paid just under $35k with the 3.5L, Sync stereo, and cruise control (which is not standard for some reason). Ford also threw in $1000 in uplifts. I opted for bed lining and e-track installation.

I chose the Ford due to brand loyalty, built in Kansas City, the modifications to the second generation 3.5L Ecoboost motor, resale value, current local rebates, and having the warranty that comes with new. Even if it won't last long. It should last long enough to pad my account.

For me the initial cost and maintenance of the Sprinters were a big factor in passing them by. Although I like the life expectancy from them. What I read and heard from people who have owned the Dodge or been in the expedite game is that they continue the traditional Chrysler transmission issues, are cheaply built in Mexico and generally nobody I spoke with with experience in them liked them.
Dodge stopped making the Sprinter awhile back. Mercedes Benz is still making them. I’m on my second Sprinter (2017, the first a 2012 lasted 640k miles and didn’t have very many problems with that one) and will run this one just like the other one and hope it lasts 6 yrs just like the last one.
 

BigStickJr

Veteran Expediter
Retired Expediter
Offline
In the earlier years was there 3 choices, MB, or Freightliner, or Dodge ?
I honestly don’t know.

Edit:
Did some research:
Wikipedia says MB, VW, Freightliner, or Dodge.
 

Ragman

Veteran Expediter
Retired Expediter
Online
In the earlier years was there 3 choices, MB, or Freightliner, or Dodge ?
I honestly don’t know.

Edit:
Did some research:
Wikipedia says MB, VW, Freightliner, or Dodge.
All the same vechile.... just different name badge.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RoadTime

RoadTime

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
In the earlier years was there 3 choices, MB, or Freightliner, or Dodge ?
I honestly don’t know.

Edit:
Did some research:
Wikipedia says MB, VW, Freightliner, or Dodge.
I saw that today when I was checking out info on the 2019 Sprinter a site listed VW as one. Never seen or heard about that one, must be overseas or a misprint. I must say I sure am liking what's coming with the 2019 3rd addition model. Not sure if I would want a gas Spinter, if I wanted gas would probably go with another brand, unless they competitively priced it. The electric Sprinter (starting in Europe) will be interesting to follow.

Sent from my P00I using EO Forums mobile app
 
  • Like
Reactions: DollarSign

B1scu1t

New Recruit
Owner/Operator
Offline
Dodge stopped making the Sprinter awhile back. Mercedes Benz is still making them.
Dodge never made the Sprinter. The first several years the Sprinter sold in the U.S. was made in Germany and assembled in the U.S. and badged either Dodge or Freightliner.
That was back when Daimler owned Chrysler. After they sold off Chrysler they stopped putting the dodge nameplate on Sprinters and selling them as such. Now that Fiat owns Chrysler they are branding their Fiat Ducato as a Dodge Ram ProMaster.
 

geo

Veteran Expediter
Charter Member
Owner/Operator
US Navy
Offline
I was owner operator for 25 year's . 11 years in straight truck and 13 years in sprinter van. as long as you do your maintenance , when required they last . also with egr system I used Aces II took care of problem with fuel made it burn more efficient. I now work at tysinger motors in Hampton VA we have some 2500. 170's in stock. send me a pm .
 
  • Like
Reactions: Solar

Grizzly

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Online
I'd buy a Sprinter ... new or used ... without hesitation.
Once it's out of warranty, take care of that regen crap .... little snip here, snip there .. engine tune .. done ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: FlyingVan

dajablu

Seasoned Expediter
Offline
Here's the real deal. I've driven sprinters I've driven Fords both Vans extended models I've driven the Ford new Transit I've driven the Nissan. They're all junk.
Now with all due respect the reason I say this is the one van that I've had that I still am driving is a 2011 Chevrolet 2500 with a 6 liter engine and a 6-speed automatic and a 342 gear. I presently have six hundred and forty thousand miles on it have only replaced it water pump 1 valve spring One battery one set of brakes spark plugs and tires oh and a couple of front wheel hubs. It's still running strong. It has no leaks, it uses no oil, it's been on mobile one oil since it was new. Oh I did replace one transmission at 350,000 miles. Runs like new gets 18 MPG average.
I've ordered a new truck only because I need more space. It is a 1-ton Chevy chassis 6 liter V8 loaded out with everything including a 12 foot aerodynamic rear box no wheel wells Barn Door Barn rear doors. Side step passenger side entry door and and door between cabin box. It has a roof air and gasoline espar heater. All this for $46,000 I have a 6 ft tall and 7.5 ft wide,12 ft deep inside flat floor. I will plus plus this truck. You can't buy more truck for Less it will go at least a million miles.. period!
 

Moot

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
I've ordered a new truck only because I need more space. It is a 1-ton Chevy chassis 6 liter V8 loaded out with everything including a 12 foot aerodynamic rear box no wheel wells Barn Door Barn rear doors. Side step passenger side entry door and and door between cabin box. It has a roof air and gasoline espar heater. All this for $46,000 I have a 6 ft tall and 7.5 ft wide,12 ft deep inside flat floor. I will plus plus this truck. You can't buy more truck for Less it will go at least a million miles.. period!
What make box?
 

dajablu

Seasoned Expediter
Offline
Hi, it is a unicell. Their home office is in Buffalo New York. You can You can download anything you need including brochures and specs off their website. Nice people to do business with,.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Moot

ntimevan

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
Hi, it is a unicell. Their home office is in Buffalo New York. You can You can download anything you need including brochures and specs off their website. Nice people to do business with,.
And whats the Empty weight going to be when finished..?
And is it SRW or DRW ..?
Also what is GVW ...?

☠.. Online courses now available for Pot Stirring
 

Moot

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
I assume its the Unicell CW. Do they still offer the 154" wheelbase? I was close to buying one a few years ago.
 
Top