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Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

  1. #1
    Get Weird! maxim_X's Avatar
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    Moto-Vans What do I need to know?


    I’m thinking of downsizing my truck/ toy hauler setup to a van and maybe a small camper it can tow (that I use outside as racing as well).

    I really don’t know much about vans having never owned one, I’d love to hear some experiences, opinions thoughts, speculations whatever.

    Here is the situation, my racing has shifted from all at LRRS to traveling a lot more, sometimes pretty far, and my current setup isn’t great for it. Right now I have a big pickup truck and a large toyhauler. It’s a pain to bring any sort of long distance and it’s expensive. Plus it’s time consuming to setup a camper when you get there. I’m looking at vans for the easy mobility, security, and a cheaper price than a truck.

    What do you people who have them wish you knew before you bought it?

    Are there any options, or build types that you wish you had or are happy to have?

    Has anyone downsized similar?

    What’s it’s like to daily drive a van?

    Make model size thoughts? (I’m leaning towards a transit high roof AWD long but not super long)


    Thanks in advance.

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    Member Crconnor18's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Following. Have been seriously considering this move with limited space in the city.

    I think the best “compact” setup is what Kerry & Paul have with the pro master winne van and a small I think 6x10 or so enclosed.

    I was debating selling my 1500 & enclosed for an extended/high roof van. It would be big enough for an extra row of seats & the bike(s) while still able to sleep with it packed. Slap a cargo bitch rack for keeping your fuels outside, tie down everything so you limit road noise. Lofted bed above the bikes so you can get to sleep after driving all night to the track of choice, no extra cost in tolls, no worry of being in tow or parking. The transit or pro master seem to be the best bang for your buck though those ugly nissans seem pretty damn cheap in relation

    I spoke with a master Ford mechanic on his though on the swap from truck to van and it looks like doing anything powertrain related can be a PIA with them being so compact under the body which was a deterrent for me.

    Ive decided to hold off until a killer deal falls in my lap for a van and keep my trailer to have the best of both worlds since I own the truck outright and same with the trailer.

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    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    See the tiny toy hauler thread? That same company makes extremely nice small travel trailers. Couple that with a mid-roof passenger van, remove all seats but second row. Off you go, home in time for tea and medals.

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  4. #4
    Get Weird! maxim_X's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    See the tiny toy hauler thread? That same company makes extremely nice small travel trailers. Couple that with a mid-roof passenger van, remove all seats but second row. Off you go, home in time for tea and medals.
    I was thinking just the two front seats and anyone else can deal with it. There are definitely a bunch of small campers a van could tow.

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    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxim_X View Post
    I was thinking just the two front seats and anyone else can deal with it. There are definitely a bunch of small campers a van could tow.
    This one, any van, down by the river

    https://www.intechrv.com/models/sol/horizon/

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  6. #6
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crconnor18 View Post
    I think the best “compact” setup is what Kerry & Paul have with the pro master winne van and a small I think 6x10 or so enclosed.
    I agree. Their setup seems pretty sweet from this end of the keyboard. Run just the van for non-motorcycle events. Keep the tools and the bikes locked up in the enclosed trailer and only hitch that up when it is time to brap. A 5x10 single axle would be cheap to buy, cheap to tow and cheaper at the toll booth and should still have plenty of room for an A & B motard plus tools and spares.
    Park the van between events. Keep a daily driver.

    My worry for our friendly gentle giant here is that the B-class camper format may be a bit tight for his taste. A miniature, size constrained wet space may not be the way he is looking to fly.

    I'm not sure I'd want the bikes inside the vehicle (van) with me driving if going hundreds of miles. The fuel and oil smells would get to me. Ditto with in the sleeping space.

    Also the vans do not have incredibly impressive tow ratings. 4-5k tops from my read. You can get there with a travel trailer really fast. And then you are towing at the limit and that is usually no fun.
    For my own search I am waffling between a half-ton pickup towing at or > 80% of its rated limit, or a 3/4 ton never breaking a sweat.

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    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    What do you value more? Sleeping in the van, or keeping the bikes in the van?

    I am with Colin, keep the bikes separate on a trailer and build the living space out in the van so you can use it for many other things. I would even potentially go hybrid so you could throw a dirt bike in the van (or a sideways hitch rack!) if you wanted to for small, easier, moto trips. The though of keeping an enclosed trailer with your race program fully locked, loaded, and ready to just toss on or leave behind is really attractive.

    If you don't mind towing your sleeping quarters and you also don't think you would want to use the van for any other reason than brining motos, I would buy a base low roof van for cheap to fit bikes and then spend the money on a nifty little trailer for sleeping.

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    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    If it's going to be a daily driver, I'd consider something like a Mercedes Metris in a 5 seat config, pulling a smaller trailer with it's 5k tow rating. You'll have something that can be optioned up to drive nicely with whatever level of comforts you prefer, lots of cargo room for gear/totes/etc, and then the trailer for bikes/sleeping space.

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    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    All depends on your budget.

    Owned a Ford Econoline, Chevrolet Express, 1st Gen Ford Transit Connect, Ford Transit EcoBoost, and currently own a T1N Sprinter. Always unloaded the bike and slept in the van, unless it was warm out when I'd use a tent.

    Bought all but the Sprinter for the company but used them for towing racing sailboats and going to track days in addition to work duty.

    #1 question is budget. We paid low $30,000's for the Transit. The Sprinter was $3,000 but absorbed $6,000 in repairs.

    SV650 in the tiny, FWD Transit Connect.

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    Last edited by Garandman; 07-29-21 at 02:41 PM.
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    Member DirtDawg21892's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Following. Been doing a bit of research since Colin recommended I looked into the Ram as well as the transit. I thought this was a really interesting breakdown: https://bearfoottheory.com/best-vans-for-van-life/
    Although "vanlife" isn't exactly what I'm going for, a vehicle that I can pack full of motorcycle / MTB stuff and head out for a long weekend is probably going to have similar criteria.

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  11. #11
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by DirtDawg21892 View Post
    Following. Been doing a bit of research since Colin recommended I looked into the Ram as well as the transit. I thought this was a really interesting breakdown: https://bearfoottheory.com/best-vans-for-van-life/
    Although "vanlife" isn't exactly what I'm going for, a vehicle that I can pack full of motorcycle / MTB stuff and head out for a long weekend is probably going to have similar criteria.
    ”Comparison Lite.”

    As one example, if you are loading bikes and not towing a lot or live on a cliff face, the Ducato - sorry - Ram ProMaster - has a much lower load floor.

    Again, without knowing a budget this is all meaningless.

    A new 4x4 170” Sprinter goes for $58,000 MSRP and seem to be selling for close to that. OTOH we sold a perfectly maintained Ford Econoline with 165,000 for $1,800 and our equally solid Express sold for $4,500. So that’s the range.

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    Last edited by Garandman; 07-29-21 at 05:32 PM.
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  12. #12
    Get Weird! maxim_X's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by JettaJayGLS View Post
    What do you value more? Sleeping in the van, or keeping the bikes in the van?

    I am with Colin, keep the bikes separate on a trailer and build the living space out in the van so you can use it for many other things. I would even potentially go hybrid so you could throw a dirt bike in the van (or a sideways hitch rack!) if you wanted to for small, easier, moto trips. The though of keeping an enclosed trailer with your race program fully locked, loaded, and ready to just toss on or leave behind is really attractive.

    If you don't mind towing your sleeping quarters and you also don't think you would want to use the van for any other reason than brining motos, I would buy a base low roof van for cheap to fit bikes and then spend the money on a nifty little trailer for sleeping.
    To be clear, the van is for motorcycles primarily and sleeping secondary. I have a 6x10 enclosed as wel as a toyhauler camper currently, and the pain of towing stuff around is one of the primary reasons I want a van. I want to be fast and secure when traveling with bikes, with the ability to sleep in it.

    As far as a camper/ camping/ and staying in the for moto events and stuff: I use my camper now at least 80% for work, set up in a campground. It does come to the racetrack occasionally, and it’s welcome there. That said, with a setup van I would expect to RARELY bring a camper to a track, and instead sleep in a hotel or in the van for a few nights.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kurlon View Post
    If it's going to be a daily driver, I'd consider something like a Mercedes Metris in a 5 seat config, pulling a smaller trailer with it's 5k tow rating. You'll have something that can be optioned up to drive nicely with whatever level of comforts you prefer, lots of cargo room for gear/totes/etc, and then the trailer for bikes/sleeping space.
    It won’t be my only vehicle. But that’s way too small, I’d like to fit 3+ bikes in it regularly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    All depends on your budget.

    Owned a Ford Econoline, Chevrolet Express, 1st Gen Ford Transit Connect, Ford Transit EcoBoost, and currently own a T1N Sprinter. Always unloaded the bike and slept in the van, unless it was warm out when I'd use a tent.

    Bought all but the Sprinter for the company but used them for towing racing sailboats and going to track days in addition to work duty.

    #1 question is budget. We paid low $30,000's for the Transit. The Sprinter was $3,000 but absorbed $6,000 in repairs.

    SV650 in the tiny, FWD Transit Connect.
    Thanks for the input. My budget is whatever a van costs new or next to new. Obviously I want the best product for my money, but I’m willing to spend.

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    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxim_X View Post
    Thanks for the input. My budget is whatever a van costs new or next to new. Obviously I want the best product for my money, but I’m willing to spend.
    Are you 6' tall or less?

    The Medium Roof Transit has 6' headroom. I'm 6'1 and found it to be fine: the ribs are 6', the roof a little more. We got the standard (130") wheelbase, while the long wheelbase is 147". There is an extra length body available but I never liked those.
    https://www.ford.com/commercial-truc...s/transit-van/

    The EcoBoost is a great solution for a van where you want to tow. Purchase price is medway between standard engine and diesel. MPG is impressive, and it towed my WRX on a UHaul car trailer (so roughly 5,200 lbs) like it wasn't even there.

    Like my (pre-smog diesel) T1N but these are some of the reasons why Transit outsells new Sprinter 5:1.




    We got extended, folding towing mirrors.


    I used marine sound deadening foam from Soundown, but Thinsulate is lighter and easier to install.


    LED cargo area lights were an option, may be standard now.


    Pop open window was helpful.


    With trim panel removed before insulation installation.


    Tool roll for tire change was under passenger seat. Clever.


    Standard wheelbase (130").


    Compared to Express.


    I'll post the detailed order list but:


    Nice feature, standard.


    Tow package was well executed.


    Good sized slider.

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    Last edited by Garandman; 08-03-21 at 03:49 PM.
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  14. #14
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Ordered this van - twice! First ordered the long wheelbase. It got damaged on the train and Ford totaled it. Decided to order the standard wheelbase and never regretted it.

    There's a Ford Transit van forum and many of the posters were commercial van owners like us. Many had owned or owned Sprinter fleets, so you can get very factual information. Commercial owners care about cost, uptime and usability. Because we can depreciate the vehicle, purchase price tends to be less important. Virtually every cool doodad you can get for the Sprinter you can now get for the Transit and probably ProMaster.

    Bottom line there are good reasons why Transit is outselling Sprinter at least 5:1 and ProMaster 3:1. GM incentives the hell out of Express because they don't have a high roof van in the US market. Cheap to own but as we were transporting 3D printers up to 65" tall the extra height was a huge advantage.

    FYI Ford seems to have dropped the diesel option. Having owned two smog controlled diesels and encountering a lot of emissions problems, unless you drive HUGE miles (like over 40,000 miles a year) buy a gasser, or find a T1N and someone to work on it. DEF is a PITA and the extra mpg diesels get is offset by the higher cost per gallon.

    Model
    2015 Transit Van 250, Long Wheelbase,Medium Roof Height, 3.5L EcoBoost® V6
    Engine, 3.31 Regular Rear Axle, 6-Speed SelectShift® Automatic Transmission [now 10 speed] -O/D, SRW $35,055

    Packages
    Cargo Area LED Load Compartment Lighting Package $70
    Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package $465
    Interior Upgrade Package $1,495
    Exterior
    Oxford White $0
    Fixed Rear-Door Glass with Flip-Open Passenger-Side Door Glass $225
    Privacy Glass $400
    Rear View Camera $250
    Rear-Window Defogger $0
    Spare Tire and Wheel $0
    Trailer Wiring Provisions $0
    Power Heated Mirrors - Long Arm with Turn Signals $220
    16" Steel Wheels with Silver Cover $35
    235/65R16 BSW All-Season Tires $0
    Colors
    Exterior: Oxford White
    Interior: Pewter

    Pricing
    Base MSRP $35,055
    Total of Options $3,510
    Destination Charges $1,195
    Subtotal $39,760
    Available Incentives $0
    Net Price $39,760

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    Last edited by Garandman; 07-29-21 at 09:09 PM.
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  15. #15
    Member DirtDawg21892's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quick, somebody talk me out of this.
    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...1718169592522/

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  16. #16
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by DirtDawg21892 View Post
    Quick, somebody talk me out of this.
    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...1718169592522/
    That's a solid little deal. Zero to regret with that purchase. Do it before I build an east coast & west coast van.

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    Member DirtDawg21892's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by JettaJayGLS View Post
    That's a solid little deal. Zero to regret with that purchase. Do it before I build an east coast & west coast van.
    I'm weary of the 6.0 and have nowhere to park it, but I like the fact that it's already insulated and has an inverter and electrical system. just add solar and a charger and you're good in the power department.
    I don't like the thought of how many people probably died in it, but that won't bother me too much once the interior is rearranged and it's not looking so clinical.




    * Oh, and I think it's a scam.

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    Last edited by DirtDawg21892; 08-05-21 at 03:03 PM. Reason: potential scam.

  18. #18
    Fast is contagious JettaJayGLS's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by DirtDawg21892 View Post
    I'm weary of the 6.0 and have nowhere to park it, but I like the fact that it's already insulated and has an inverter and electrical system. just add solar and a charger and you're good in the power department.
    I don't like the thought of how many people probably died in it, but that won't bother me too much once the interior is rearranged and it's not looking so clinical.
    You can equip that for sleeping and MTB duty in a weekend with $1k. Do it.

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  19. #19

    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Lol that’s a scam guys. Relax

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  20. #20
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by DirtDawg21892 View Post
    Quick, somebody talk me out of this.
    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...1718169592522/
    That looks like the same base rig as the Klutch Industries mobile. Word Jeremy told me is those were used as red-cross response vehicles, not ambulances. Thus the low miles.

    Isn't the 6.0L power-stroke a potential money pit?
    At that price if the frame isn't rotted or something I still think you should doeit.

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  21. #21

    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    That looks like the same base rig as the Klutch Industries mobile. Word Jeremy told me is those were used as red-cross response vehicles, not ambulances. Thus the low miles.

    Isn't the 6.0L power-stroke a potential money pit?
    At that price if the frame isn't rotted or something I still think you should doeit.
    its a scam. not a real ad.

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  22. #22
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Page created - July 17, 2021
    Yeah. Okay. They had me, I'll admit it.

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  23. #23
    Member DirtDawg21892's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsorfas View Post
    Lol that’s a scam guys. Relax
    good eyes. It's easy to let your guard down when you get excited about stuff.

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  24. #24
    Member DirtDawg21892's Avatar
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    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    Yeah. Okay. They had me, I'll admit it.
    Me too. I was literally writing an email when I realized that no dealership would use a comcast.net address, then it became obvious.

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  25. #25

    Re: Moto-Vans What do I need to know?

    06 Ford Diesel with under 40k miles. Even without motor and transmission in this market they d be asking 10k+ lol

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