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Unread 06-29-2009, 11:30 PM   #1
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Better Van - Chev Express or Econoline?

Time to get a van and looking for comments on which one to buy. I like the looks of the Chev better, but Ford is OK too.

In WA rain makes a pickup out of the question, and who wants to crawl on knees under a topper?

Any comments would help - reliablilty, gas mileage, resale, engine size, (I like the idea of a small engine for gas mileage, but don't know how small is too small). I usually only haul about 30 cases of tile at a time and 6 bags of thinset at tops. Also have to haul the tool works of course. I plan on a rattlesnake of an alarm on it too.

Best bet (of these two - I can't spring for a Sprinter at this time). Thanks

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Unread 06-30-2009, 12:02 AM   #2
Brian in San Diego
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I have worked out of both (in the past year). I have spent way more time in Econolines over the years but I really did like the Chevy. I requested a different van because the side doors were barn type rather than slider which made it impossible to work out of in a parking stall. If I could get the Chevy back with a sliding side door I would do it in a heartbeat. Now these things you may be able to overcome if you order the Ford but here's what I think are mandatory. Get a "step" bumper for the rear. My Econoline doesn't have one and it makes it getting in and out more difficult. Make sure it has cruise control...my Chevy had it, the Ford doesn't. I liked the mirrors better in the Chevy. I really have some difficulty with the Ford mirrors...in fact, they suck. I think I prefer the ride in the Chevy as well.

If that doesn't work, I'll always think it should have.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 05:11 AM   #3
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I work out of a newer econoline and it drives nice and all but it is tough to carry 4x8 sheets of plywood and 12 foot rolls of vinyl. It does not have a step bumper so I use my helpers tool box because he doesn't use it.
I have been wanting to build storage for my tools on the bed of the van and carry materials on top. This would make it much easier to carry plywood and stuff.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 05:12 AM   #4
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I got a Chevy, been good to me, but if I were to get a new one, I'd be sure to have power windows. The crank interferes with the driver's knee space. I loaded mine similar to what you've said and no troubles, no noises either.

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Unread 06-30-2009, 05:32 AM   #5
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I have a Chevy Express 12' Box. Hate to say it but the next one will be a Freightliner. They were also badged under the Dodge Ram Van Label. Turbo-Diesel and a little more compact.
The Chevy has had it's problems with brakes, O2 sensors, and front end problems. No wonder they went bankrupt. If you want to choose between the two, go with the Ford. My last box was a Ford. Thought I would try Chevy. Big mistake.

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Unread 06-30-2009, 06:39 AM   #6
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I guess I have been lucky with mine, have not had any problems with my 3500 Chevy Express yet. I had to take her in for some body work when someones truck rolled out of a driveway and hit the my van. The loaner was a new ford with a smaller engine and the gas millage seamed worse?
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Unread 06-30-2009, 08:56 AM   #7
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08' Chevy Express 1500 with AWD is what I have now after having a Econoline.
I hate the split side mirrors.
I love the AWD for the winter driving. Would get better mileage without it but I'll never buy another van that doesn't have it.
The ride is smoother in the Chevy than the Ford.
The doors seem cheap on the Chevy compared to the Ford.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 09:03 AM   #8
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Thanks for the input. I see a lot on Craigslist now with under 15K miles and under $13K cost for either truck. Like the back door opening on the chev, but found (like the door handle comment above) that my knee hits a door panel corner on the chev that is poorly placed. Either that or I'll have to have my left leg removed.

Elec door locks and windows a must. Hate to leave tools alone when beating a path to the house and back for whats needed.

Is a Chev 1500 1/2 ton with the small 6 cyl engine enough? Never know which engine I have when I drive another chev 1500, but it seems enough, but gas mileage is about 13 mpg.

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Unread 06-30-2009, 10:13 AM   #9
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Every Econoline I've ever had eats tires. The twin I-beam front suspension is a terrible design. My 3500 GMC van has been great.
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Brazoria, TX

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Unread 06-30-2009, 11:22 AM   #10
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I had Vans and never liked them for work.
the only good thing is that everything is enclosed.

I purchased a new E-250 when I moved to Florida and hated it after 1 year.
stuck in sand, lack of vision, ride noise, stuff denting the inside showing up on the outside.
I also rented the Chevy Vans for some jobs and wasn't impressed with a van all together.
so I got a F-250 in 2003 with a trailer and like it way better.

I just went out a got a 2009 (4 door) F-150 with the smaller 4.6L V8 engine.
I never carry heavy loads so needing the extra weight isn't a problem,
most of my jobs get delivered by Dal or my other tile dist. for $50.
I can still carry 3,030 pounds payload.

plus I'm getting 17.1 MPG average with this new Ford....Love It !
2009 F-150 with the six-speed and three-valve 4.6-liter V-8 at 15/20 mpg
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Unread 06-30-2009, 02:30 PM   #11
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If you're not in a hurry and not opposed to used keep an eye on the UW surplus auction website. It's right down on Boat st. by the University Bridge.

I got my baby there. 95 chevy g20. 42,000 miles, with racks installed. $3000. They maintain their fleet really well. They had newer express vans, box vans, grumman step vans, etc.

Although with the budget cuts of late maybe they'll not be upgrading for awhile.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 03:39 PM   #12
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I've had 3 fords and one chevy, I like the fords more. Put 200,00 miles on my first ford had original engine and transmission no real major problems, then I had a chevy that needed all kinds of work to keep it going was not unhappy when it got totaled in an accident. Then had another ford E350 extended body that was still working fine at 175,00 miles needed some work but nothing major. I now have an 07 E250 which I am very happy with. I have a friend that has a chevy, he can't open the side doors because the hinges keep rusting.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 03:52 PM   #13
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ford....ford...ford.. ford...... (sing outloud) except superduty truck for mwah.

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Unread 06-30-2009, 06:05 PM   #14
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Here is a pic of my Sprinter as a cab/chassis with the Utility Box on the back.
Truck is DRW and no wider than a regular van.
Tons of storage space.
2.7 (or 2.8)L diesel motor.
This gets 16~18 in town and about the same on the interstate.

Motor is small for truck with load of materials in the back.
Expensive for repairs.
Likes to eat brakes. 60k miles and on the 3rd set.
Eats glow plugs, 4 times have had them replaced.

Guys with the vans seem to get better milage than what I get. This is a 1 ton class 3 truck with a GVW of 10,200 and a GCVW 0f 15,500. Not exactly set up for the big boy world of work trucks. It is currently in the shop due to the motor building up too much pressure with the cooling system. Short trips at 60 mph plus is causing coolant to blow out of the overflow and all over the engine bay. Currently the head is off the motor getting checked out and a new head gasket is going to be installed. The truck has been out of service for 2.5 weeks now. Getting old going to dealership to start the day by getting the tools I think I am going to need. Sorry just got to vent. I am a fanatic about maintenance and it is irritating that I have had this kind of trouble out of it. Oh well, there is a nice 4500 cab/chassis with the same style box on the lot that I am getting fond of.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 06:10 PM   #15
The Kid
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Ford, my powerstroke is going on 350,000 and still is running strong.

greg, thats a sweet set up you got there

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