Sprinter 4500 and Hazmat

chairborne

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Good Afternoon,

Long story short - I went to CDL School, earned a Class A license and got tanker and hazmat endorsements. I went with the mindset to be an owner/operator of a semi, and have made up my mind I'm just not comfortable with the costs and risks associated with owing a class 8 truck and trailer. I've been working for myself for the last 5 years as a home inspector in FL - until the industry completely died with the fed interest rate hikes.

What I have thought about is possibly purchasing a Sprinter 4500 dual van with the high roof and extended wheel base and targeting hazmat loads. I realize there are specifications that have to be met with installing a bulk head and with this type of van/cargo I would be subjected to HOS, ELD, and weight stations. I'm in Tulsa, which provides access to a plethora of cities (and hopefully loads) within a 10 hour drive.

Anyone done anything like this? Best to play the load boards or lease onto a company like land star? I have no illusions of a 'get rich quick' scheme - just looking for decent pay and working for myself again.

Thanks!
 

danthewolf00

Veteran Expediter
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Your going to want good high end straps and load locks to hold what will be chemicals in gallon pails up to those pallet tanks.
Make sure you prioritize load safety because it may save your life.
 

Turtle

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While it's certainly safer to have a bulkhead than to not have one, anything that is prohibited from being carried in the cab of a truck (most poisons, inhalation hazards, etc.) is also prohibited from being carried in a cargo van, bulkhead or no bulkhead, as the entire van is the cab.
 

LDB

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When (if) you get straps you want to go to Lodi Metals for custom straps. They use a much sturdier and stronger material than most makers. Also, you want their custom straps with the buckle about 6 inches from the end of the strap. That allows you to tighten the strap around anything roughly gallon jug size and larger. Most stock straps put the buckle about 3 feet down so you can't really tighten around small things.
 

chairborne

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Appreciate the replies fellas. Had a second thought.

Would it at all be worth it to pull a 12/14 ft ish enclosed cargo trailer behind the van to haul items prohibited from being inside the vehicle ? I've read some articles about vans being hard to handle if a cargo trailer is overloaded - but if the load is balanced - is this doable?
 
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danthewolf00

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Appreciate the replies fellas. Had a second thought.

Would it at all be worth it to pull a 12/14 ft ish enclosed cargo trailer behind the van to haul items prohibited from being inside the vehicle ? I've read some articles about vans being hard to handle if a cargo trailer is overloaded - but if the load is balanced - is this doable?
Good question....the thing is once you go over 10,000 pounds total weight you are then bound by log books and weight stations.
 

chairborne

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Thanks danthwolf00- I sort of already anticipate that given the weight and GVWR of the Sprinter 4500 long wheel base/high roof being a little over 12K lbs.

I had even thought, why not get the 144 wheel base with high roof and high output engine - use the van cargo area for some cargo and my sleeping area - and use the trailer for the majority of hauling? It would appear the sprinter can tow more than the rated payload (looks like it tows 7,500 lbs)
 

LDB

Veteran Expediter
Retired Expediter
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Pulling a trailer adds various issues. You can't load cargo into the back of the van with a trailer attached. Some (many?) places may not (won't) have a way/place for you to unhitch/park a trailer while loading the van. Also, your fuel economy is going to drop markedly towing a trailer at all times. Your toll costs go up for 3 (and actually probably 4 due to weight requirements) axles. Your tire costs go up. Wear on the van goes up. Probably other issues that don't instantly come to mind.
 
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