Thinking About Getting Back Into Vans... Most Reliable and Cost-Effective?

RoadDawgg

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I've been out of the business for a long while, but I'm thinking about coming back in with cargo vans. I don't plan to drive for an owner this time; if I come back it's 100% mine. But a lot's changed with the vans on the road the past 5 or 6 years...

I've fooled around looking at various reviews and comparisons, but decided the people who actually use the thing the way I intend to are going to have the best, most pertinent information.

Just looking at the van right now: What's the most reliable current make and model out there? Not going to worry about size or anything just yet. First step is for to be concerned with which has the "lowest cost of ownership" and the best reliability. I need to know about both since even if repairs are cheap, if it's in the shop, I ain't making money. All the other stuff are considerations that come after cost of ownership and reliability.

Oh...I already know ProMasters are out regardless of reliability....I found can't sit comfortably for long periods with the way Dodge laid out the driver's area design.

Thanks!
 
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Mr. Loyalty.

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I've been out of the business for a long while, but I'm thinking about coming back in with cargo vans. I don't plan to drive for an owner this time; if I come back it's 100% mine. But a lot's changed with the vans on the road the past 5 or 6 years...

I've fooled around looking at various reviews and comparisons, but decided the people who actually use the thing the way I intend to are going to have the best, most pertinent information.

Just looking at the van right now: What's the most reliable current make and model out there? Not going to worry about size or anything just yet. First step is for to be concerned with which has the "lowest cost of ownership" and the best reliability. I need to know about both since even if repairs are cheap, if it's in the shop, I ain't making money. All the other stuff are considerations that come after cost of ownership and reliability.

Oh...I already know ProMasters are out regardless of reliability....I found can't sit comfortably for long periods with the way Dodge laid out the driver's area design.

Thanks!
Sprinters , in my option, are the most comfortable and driver freindly. Quiet, excellent hvac. But most likely the most expensive to purchase and maintain and repair. A very finicky vehicle. I agree with you on a Dodge. Probably the cheapest to buy, but also the lowest resale value, not that that matters in this business, really. Dodge, like others as well, have their problems and quirks. For Transit? Although a nice looking rwd vehicle, somewhat comfortable, and decent in and out, many things about a Ford leave me, a diehard Ford guy, disappointed. Mechanically they seem pretty decent, and pretty powerful. Even my Chevy loving freind is overly impressed with the Ecoboost in the Transit 350 long and tall,, and the tow/haul feature on the transmission, as he is out west now, and pulled a 24' enclosed trailer full of ATV's, and reported absolutely no problems pulling or stopping through the mountains with it. Maybe just test drive new or used vans of each make? Maybe that will help with your decision. If Nissan made a 3 skid capable van, I would of bought one of those hands down. Rarely do you hear of Nissan owners having issues with those. I was impressed with what I saw of those when they 1st came out.
 
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RoadDawgg

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Ragman:

This past August was my 10 year anniversary being out of expedite, but not out of carrying things. I've done courrier and delivery stuff on on and off, usually part-time since then. I seem to have trouble extracting myself from transportation lol.

Is the market oversaturated? Mostly because I don't want to deal with regulated vehicles again.

@Mr. Loyalty:

I would love to have a a Sprinter....but like you said, everything about it is costly. But I have driven a couple, and just loved the things.

I've heard some....troubling things from mechanics about the Transits. One of the reasons I'm asking here; mechanics have a different perspective from people who make their living with em. Do you have any recurring problems that need fixing too frequently? I've heard a few mechanics talk about the Chevy/GMC vans being a bit more robust and reliable....but....I'm having trouble believing that. I've lost a lot of faith in GM.

Even with the inexplicable lack of a longer version, the Nissan is still a possibility because of their epic reputation for quality. Not that I've seen one the past few months that I could test drive.

If it was all about a test drive, I'd just go with the MB with the little flare-outs on the side so I could fit a bunk cross-ways in it ; ). My plan is to find out what is most economical to own (purchase+reliability+repair+operate day to day), and then work my way down the list from there based on test drives and such.

Thanks!
 
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Mr. Loyalty.

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Ragman:

This past August was my 10 year anniversary being out of expedite, but not out of carrying things. I've done courrier and delivery stuff on on and off, usually part-time since then. I seem to have trouble extracting myself from transportation lol.

Is the market oversaturated? Mostly because I don't want to deal with regulated vehicles again.

@Mr. Loyalty:

I would love to have a a Sprinter....but like you said, everything about it is costly. But I have driven a couple, and just loved the things.

I've heard some....troubling things from mechanics about the Transits. One of the reasons I'm asking here; mechanics have a different perspective from people who make their living with em. Do you have any recurring problems that need fixing too frequently? I've heard a few mechanics talk about the Chevy/GMC vans being a bit more robust and reliable....but....I'm having trouble believing that. I've lost a lot of faith in GM.

Even with the inexplicable lack of a longer version, the Nissan is still a possibility because of their epic reputation for quality. Not that I've seen one the past few months that I could test drive.

If it was all about a test drive, I'd just go with the MB with the little flare-outs on the side so I could fit a bunk cross-ways in it ; ). My plan is to find out what is most economical to own (purchase+reliability+repair+operate day to day), and then work my way down the list from there based on test drives and such.

Thanks!
The Nissan NV series van has been axed from their vehicle lineup, for whatever reason. Such a shame it being a 2 skid capacity van from the start. I feel it could of done so much better in sales if it was at least a 144" inch inside length vehicle right from the beginning. The Nissan dealer lots that did have some to offer are now void of them.
 

Moot

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First step is for to be concerned with which has the "lowest cost of ownership" and the best reliability.
Lowest cost of ownership and best reliability are not necessarily mutually inclusive. A vehicle's reliability often depends on the owner's reliability to have the vehicle's scheduled maintenance and preventive maintenance done in a timely fashion. That cost money. But that can also save more money further into the vehicle's life. It comes down to how long you plan on operating said vehicle. If you only plan on running a cargo for 100,000 miles, change the oil 5 times and be done with it. Low cost of ownership.

The following link shows maintenance costs for my 2015 Transit T-350 SRW up to January 3, 2021.
 
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LDB

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Moot takes probably better care of his equipment than anyone you will ever meet. Checking out his notes and numbers will give you one of the best ideas of what to expect.
 
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Moot

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Thanks Leo! 2015 was the first year for the full size Transit. A lot has changed since then. More engine options, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and other "essential" electronic safety devices that I find useless. So, my stats aren't as relevant.

As a driving enthusiast I enjoy the tactile and mechanical interface with a vehicle. If I was constantly on my phone talking, on social media, playing games or streaming shows then I would probably find these safety features indispensable.

The new Transits come standard with a 10 speed automatic transmission. In my opinion that's overkill. I've only talked with two expediters that have the 10 speed. Both complained of excessive down shifting. More shifting, more wear. These 10 speeds are new and I have yet to read about any failures. Time will tell.
 

Mr. Loyalty.

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I agree. Preventative maintenance is a major key of lowest cost of ownership. I am the same way, overly anal about replacing things, fluids, checking, , etc...725,000 miles, 10 years, and my Econoline 350 has only broke down only 4 times. Definitely a real workhorse.
 
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Moot

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The following is a link to maintenance costs for my 2004 Chevy slop bucket.
 
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Mr. Loyalty.

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The following is a link to maintenance costs for my 2004 Chevy slop bucket.
I remember when you sold it to Scott. It was impressingly very clean and solid. I was always taught that a person's vehicle is a reflection of oneself.
 

RoadDawgg

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Sorry for the delay in getting back to y'all. Life got...weird. It's not often I run into situations that are totally new and unique to me, but Oh. My. God.:oops::dizzy::vomit:



Yeah, I plan to keep up on the maintenance. Cost of maintenance is definitely one of the considerations. If Sprinters weren't so expensive to have serviced, they'd be at the top of my list.

Moot, those posts about your maintenance and operating costs are super helpful. Thanks for doing them! How do you rate the Transit compared to the Chevy overall?
 

Moot

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How do you rate the Transit compared to the Chevy overall?
It's difficult to compare the two. Obviously there is a huge difference in size. My original plan was to buy a Chevy cut-away with the 14' Unicel CW body. I couldn't get a chassis to the specs I wanted until the next model year so I ordered a 2015 Transit.

The Chevy was cheaper to maintain but all major repairs were done by a local mechanic. Everything other than minor stuff and oil changes for my Transit have been done at a Ford dealer. Because the Transit was new to this country I chose to stick with Ford dealerships. My Chevy had a voltage gauge and oil pressure gauge. The Transit does not. I like the 6 speed transmission with manual, button shift over-ride in the Transit.

The 2021 Transit comes standard with a 10 speed transmission. In my opinion that is overkill. I've only talked with one expediter and he complained of excessive down shifting. I've got to believe the more shifting the more wear on the transmission. The 3.5 EcoBoost is a great engine. Excellent fuel mileage is you keep your foot out of it but plenty of power when needed. I don't think I will get 800,000 miles out of it without some major repairs. Probably the first thing to go will be the twin turbos.

If I were to buy a new van today it would be the CW on a GM chassis. Otherwise it would be another Transit, except for the 10 speed. But thats just me.
 

Charity's Van

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my thoughts on van. if you want to carry heavy the 3500 extended promaster, if you want to carry bulky but light 2500 sprinter extended.
 

Mr. Loyalty.

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my thoughts on van. if you want to carry heavy the 3500 extended promaster, if you want to carry bulky but light 2500 sprinter extended.
In a Sprinter, a 2500 is the choice because a Sprinter 3500 is a DRW, with not enough space between wheel wells for a standard pallet, ( like other makes as well). But in a SRW cargo van, ( other than a Sprinter), why not get a 1 ton series? There isn't that much in cost, and size is relatively the same...a 350, or 3500 series van will last so much longer, and handle the loads so much better...The other day I saw a expeditor in a Promaster 1500 van...really? Lol...
 

danthewolf00

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In a Sprinter, a 2500 is the choice because a Sprinter 3500 is a DRW, with not enough space between wheel wells for a standard pallet, ( like other makes as well). But in a SRW cargo van, ( other than a Sprinter), why not get a 1 ton series? There isn't that much in cost, and size is relatively the same...a 350, or 3500 series van will last so much longer, and handle the loads so much better...The other day I saw a expeditor in a Promaster 1500 van...really? Lol...
Nobody ever reads the door tag lol
 

roadeyes

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My original plan was to buy a Chevy cut-away with the 14' Unicel CW body. I couldn't get a chassis to the specs I wanted until the next model year so I ordered a 2015 Transit.
What was the spec change between the model years that you wanted but didn't want to wait for?
 
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