Sign up for The Wire Newsletter!

Dodge van?

Monty

Expert Expediter
Offline
Yesterday I had occasion to be in Columbus on I-270. I'm sure as I drove by the Dodge dealer, Performance Dodge, just by Georgesville Road I saw a new Dodge van sitting out there on the front row. Anyone else noticed?
 

xiggi

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
Guido has a post on here somewhere on one he test drove a week or so back.

Sent from my Fisher Price - ABC 123
 

Turtle

Administrator
Staff member
Owner/Operator
Offline
While my Sprinter was being repaired in Charleston, SC (Rick Hendrick Chrysler) on Monday and Tuesday (harmonic balancer, that was fun), I got to drive one around a bit. A 3500 high roof, 159" wheel base, the tallest and longest one they make. I drove it first empty (kind of a bouncy ride), and then drove it loaded (2000 pounds, very smooth ride) 20 miles up to their Summerville Dodge location to deliver some parts (they don't work on Sprinters at the Summerville location). This was the 3.0 liter, 4 cylinder turbodiesel with something in the 175 horsepower range (the 3.6 liter V6 gasoline model has about 280 HP, but not the fuel mileage of the turbodiesel 0 the gas model will probably be 20 MPG or a little less, the turbodiesel probably at least 25 MPG). It has a 6-speed "automated" manual transmission, which is a standard manual transmission gearbox with a hydraulic system that automatically controls the clutch and gears for you. It worked far smoother than I thought it would.

The V6 is the standard engine, and the turbodiesel is a $4000 option.

Even with the 4 cylinder and the lower horsepower (slightly more horsepower and torque than an 05 Sprinter), it had plenty of power. I would imagine the higher horsepower and torque of the V6 would be rather impressive. The front wheel drive I like a lot. A really lot. The front wheel drive gives is a ridiculously small turning radius, about the same as a small or medium sized car. It also gives you a lower height for easier step-in and loading (21 inch floor height, IIRC, the Sprinter is about 28 inches) and better fuel economy and less expensive repairs.

The driver controls are laid out like most Italian cars, with the pedals really, REALLY close to you and the steering wheel really, REALLY far away. I didn't like that at all. You move the seat back to get some comfort with the pedals, and now you can't reach the steering wheel. And visa versa. It's something I could probably figure out a way to adjust, or get used to, but it was immediately uncomfortable. The steering column telescopes, VERY little, but doesn't tilt. It took a while to figure out how to adjust the Sprinter's seating to deal with a fixed (no tilt, no telescoping) steering wheel.

The impressively butt-ugly front end is function over style. The smaller hood and very high headlamp placement means less costly repairs, and the bumper is a three piece thingy so that if you do have an accident you only need to replace what is damaged instead of the entire bumper assembly. So it's a face I could learn to love. Maybe.

One $350 option is the Uconnect thing, that connects the vehicle to WiFi (Sprint subscription required, but I don't know what that entails) and then the vehicle becomes a HotSpot. It also functions as the backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity to answer calls and text messages handsfree, and has a park assist feature that I didn't use. The Uconnect screen is in the middle of the dash, touch screen, and has an 8 inch screen (some models only have a small 5 inch screen, don't get that one, it requires too much eye-time off the road). Easy to read, easy to touch.

All in all I like it. It's got a face only a European mother could love, but it's highly functional, and I like the function.
 

ntimevan

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
I drove by 1 at a Dodge dealer on Van :censoredsign: in Sterling Heights. ..it was early morn and I needed sleep at nearby Walmart. ...then got load and never looked at. ...this info for those in area to take closer look. ....

Sent from my SGH-T959 using EO Forums mobile app
 

Turtle

Administrator
Staff member
Owner/Operator
Offline
Don't park at the Sterling Heights Walmart to sleep. Or change clothes, or eat something before you go in to shop. Trust me on this.

You MIGHT be able to get away with it for a short time during the day, but not even for 15 minutes at night. It's a cash cow for the city.
 

xmudman

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
Don't park at the Sterling Heights Walmart to sleep. Or change clothes, or eat something before you go in to shop. Trust me on this.

You MIGHT be able to get away with it for a short time during the day, but not even for 15 minutes at night. It's a cash cow for the city.
Even if you can prove you're lizard-free? :eek:;)
 

ntimevan

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
Thanks for update. ....but been there twice in last 2 weeks with n p .....but less than 3 hours each time...

Sent from my SGH-T959 using EO Forums mobile app
 

davekc

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Fleet Owner
Offline
I know nothing about the dodge, but I could see the front wheel drive as a major plus if it performs well.
 
Last edited:

Turtle

Administrator
Staff member
Owner/Operator
Offline
Thanks for update. ....but been there twice in last 2 weeks with n p .....but less than 3 hours each time...

Sent from my SGH-T959 using EO Forums mobile app
I was there for 30 minutes, around 10:30 one night, including the time it took for me to wait while I was written a $150 ticket.

They do have a city ordinance against parking commercial vehicles and RVs on private property.

I requested a hearing rather than pay it. Figured if I was going to pay $150 that I was going to get my two cents in first. After I got the court date I wrote a letter to the judge detailing the situation and asked for the charges to be dismissed or the fine reduced. Got a response that they wanted to see me in court to discuss it.

Got it reduced to $50, but that was the best I could do. Judge was a real hardass who has heard every story possible from truckers. Don't get a ticket, then go in and buy something, and then bring the receipt to court. He mentioned a particularly intense dislike for people who did that.

The clerk who took my money noted that it was very rare to have those parking tickets reduced. Congratulated me for it.

So, park at that particular Walmart at your own risk. ;)
 
Last edited:

paullud

Veteran Expediter
Offline
If you are using the vehicle for personal use it is no longer a commercial vehicle.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using EO Forums mobile app
 

zorry

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Turtle, do you think it would have helped if you had a receipt prior to meeting the officer ?
My sister's straight got towed from a Wal-Mart.
$350 to get it back.
I always stay in truck and wife shops. We always need something. I'll flag down security or talk to someone at service desk.
And I'm sure we each have our phones in case I have to leave and pick her up on the corner.
I think I've always been able to wait til she came out, giving me time to formulate a plan B.
 

zorry

Veteran Expediter
Offline
If you are using the vehicle for personal use it is no longer a commercial vehicle.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using EO Forums mobile app
Turtle's may not be a commercial vehicle to begin with.
I image if it has signage, it'd be considered commercial.
 

Ragman

Veteran Expediter
Retired Expediter
Offline
Don't park at the Sterling Heights Walmart to sleep. Or change clothes, or eat something before you go in to shop. Trust me on this.

You MIGHT be able to get away with it for a short time during the day, but not even for 15 minutes at night. It's a cash cow for the city.
The Wally Mart in Livonia at Plymouth and Middlebelt is truck and van friendly. I see a lot of expeditor vehicles there all the time.
 

Turtle

Administrator
Staff member
Owner/Operator
Offline
In Michigan any van more than 5000 GVWR that is designed or used to hall property is a commercial truck whether it's being used at that particular moment for personal use or not, whether it's played in Michigan or not. I got a ticket and so did the unmarked Sprinter a few rows over and the unmarked Ford E-350 a few spots away from me. As did several bobtails spattered around the lot.

Having a receipt timestamped before the time of the ticket would not have helped one bit. It's clearly marked at every entrance and all over the place that no commercial parking is allowed. Plus, he mentioned his particular disdain for truckers who think a receipt can allow them to do as they please on private property in commercial vehicles in direct violation of the ordinance.

I was on my way down to Wayne Truck Assembly for a pickup, and I decided to stop in that Walmart to buy some aspirin. I went by White Castle and grabbed some burgers, first. Ate and then changed clothes before going into Walmart. Put up the window coverings before changing clothes, and before I could finish changing the cop was at my door. The Sprinter and the Ford had no window coverings, they were sitting there like Expedite Zombies. Got tickets anyway.

First question out of the judge's mouth: "What makes you think it's OK to use Walmart as a staging area to eat and change clothes?"

"That was not my primary purpose. I was there to buy aspirin. Eating something and changing clothes was ancillary to my purpose."

"Walmart parking lots are not for ancillary purposes in commercial vehicles."

"You're absolutely right."

We had quite a bit more conversation, but I kept maintaining that I knew of the ordinance (which I did, and have for years) and that I wasn't there to park, I was there to shop.

He asked me how I would feel if someone parked in my driveway and ate and changed clothes, and I said that's a little different than quasi-public property that is freely accessible by the public. "Quasi-public property" is an important legal distinction that allows cops to ticket people for traffic and parking violations, including Handicapped Parking. He then moved on to another line of grilling.

He admonished me telling me that Walmart is livid nationwide over truckers and RVers parking in their lots. I said that may very well be true in certain places like Sterling Heights and a handful of other places where there are local ordinances against it or where they have a particular problem, but if you look on Walmart's corporate website they welcome and encourage RVers and truckers to park in their lots as a safe place to park.

He dropped that line of comment rather quickly.

When I asked him if I was allowed to shop at that Walmart he said yes, but now that I'm in their system I could be there shopping and I'd probably get towed. Suggested I buy my aspirin as Walgreens.

Said because I admitted to eating and changing clothes there (in the letter) and wasn't intentionally trying to violate the law, that he would reduce the fine to $50 and would waive the court costs. Then gave me one last, "Don't do it again," and sent me upstairs to pay the fine.
 

LDB

Veteran Expediter
Retired Expediter
Offline
I would write Walmart with all the details and suggest they 1. work to get the ordinance repealed to capture all the business it is driving away and 2. reimburse my fine as a sign of good will and customer appreciation.
 

RMPM01

Seasoned Expediter
Offline
I had a pleasure of test driving one today, and I'm kind of disappointed.

For a 6'5" tall guy like me, it felt weird sitting so high above the steering wheel. Maybe I could get used to it.

I did measure height of the door. Its 69 inch. :( and the inside height is 76 inch which is cool.

Turning radius is amazing ! U turn? No problem.

Front end look better in real life then on the pictures.

Rear leaf springs are almost touching rear end bumper on a 2500 model. It looked strange to me.

I'm hoping of getting one next year, but with with diesel option being +4,000K more, maybe Sprinter will be a better choice.

Let me know what you think.
 

Turtle

Administrator
Staff member
Owner/Operator
Offline
I would write Walmart with all the details and suggest they 1. work to get the ordinance repealed to capture all the business it is driving away and 2. reimburse my fine as a sign of good will and customer appreciation.
Well, that's one of those Walmarts where they don't own the property. It's part of a larger shopping complex. So they don't really have a say. One of the Walmarts in York, PA is like that, where it's one of the anchor stores in the mall. The mall owner calls the shots, and you can't park there. The other Walmart in York is a standalone Walmart where you can park.
 

wvcourier

Expert Expediter
Offline
Im confused? Is this thread about the new dodge van ???

Sent from my SPH-L900 using EO Forums mobile app
 

zorry

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Dodge Van is the main plot.

Parking at Walmart is a sub-plot.

DO NOT park a Dodge van at that Walmart.
 
Top