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Old 11-01-2012, 01:19 PM   #51
KNS Brakes
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It was a rental so pretty new.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:15 AM   #52
MConte05
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Guess I'll throw my 2 cents into this ring. I have a 1995 Ford E350 7.3L Turbodiesel Ambulance, and I would 100% do it again.



(Don't mind the fact I only used two straps, I've wised up since that pic. )



I bought it off craigslist for $2100. The guy originally wanted $3200 for it, but went and test drove it, waited a week, then told him I was broke and could only do $2100. He accepted the offer right away, which made me think I shoulda offered $1800.

It has 187,000 miles on it. Only thing that has gone wrong that wasn't due to negligence was that the glow plug relay was shot, so I had to replace that once temps started dropping below 50 degrees around here. We had a tire blow out on the rear, but that was primarily because one of my crew guys thought he'd get home quicker by doing 85-90mph for TWO HOURS on tires rated for 75mph while we were all asleep in the back..... on a 14 hour trip from MN to St. Louis....

It has fantastic room for storage. I can fit an entire transmission and a spare longblock in the side compartments. Electrical outlets everywhere. I have a minifridge that is plugged in for rally weekends, big lights on the side that can light up the service area, speakers throughout to blast tunes. Nice bright lights inside. I also have a couch setup in there, and for the really long trips I can put a TV and PS3 in there for entertainment.



I park it either at my house, or in a storage area a few minutes away for $20 a month. I do use it for Home Depot trips and for hauling big things. It can swallow a fridge and a couch no problem. Used it for moving all my stuff when I bought a house a few months ago. It drives really nicely around town, just feels like a van (since that is technically what it is) and people always seem to get out of my way quickly on the highway.

I get about 12-13mpg when towing on the interstate at 65-70mph, and when not towing I get 16-18 I believe. Haven't actually filled up the tank and drained it when unloaded, since it takes 35 gallons... It get's expensive quick.

Either way. People were telling me it wasn't going to be the best idea since it's rather large, and unconventional. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Far exceeds my requirements for a tow vehicle, rock solid reliable (did a 1600 mile trip to MN and back without a single hiccup besides the tire thing), and all for just about $2000. Can't beat that.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:29 AM   #53
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i have used vans for service rigs at rallys and tracks for years, the pickups just sucked over all. nothing like removing every thing in the bed of the truck because the one thing you need is at the very front, with the van there are doors on three sides
and i used the van as storage between events

get what makes you happy your paying for it
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:31 PM   #54
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If you like to do your own maintenance buying a older truck is a great option. There are a tons of great cheap trucks out there. Here is my tow rig:



The 88-95 Chevy/GMC half ton pickups make great tow rigs. Those trucks came with a 5.7 TBI which was designed for low end grunt and fuel economy. Peak torque is 300ftlb at 2000rpm with most of that available at idle.

My truck is a 1992 Chevy C1500 purchased for $2000 from the original owner. The engine is a Chevy small block so parts are cheap and available anywhere. I have towed over 25,000 miles with it without incident. I typically get around 14-15mpg towing a car on an open trailer. Since it is an older truck I have done a lot of preventative maintenance on it. When I first got it I spent around $200 to replace every hose and belt along with the clutch, water pump, etc.

If you are getting an older truck keep your eye out for manual transmissions. A manual is much more reliable for towing and will give you a 1-3mpg improvement over an auto.
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:00 PM   #55
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Man I have been towing my car trailer (18 foot dove tail car hauler) for 13 years now with everything from a 1/2 ton suburban to a buick roadmaster wagon. I tow with a 97 dodge 2500 diesel now. It has 335k on it and it has been turned up for over 50k now. I did my home work and found a very mechanically sound truck and paid the price for it. What your going to find with your cheap half ton trucks is they dont handle the weight and stopping like a 3/4 ton or a 1 ton truck. This is very important when some one cuts you off and you slam the brakes and the trailer starts dragging the rear of truck side to side (fish tailing) and your race car ends up in the ditch because you bought a 2k beater tow vehicle. You tube towing disasters. Kinda disturbing.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:24 PM   #56
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electric brakes and load distributing hitch, are most haves

i have used 1/2 tons for years and yes the 3/4 and 1 tons are nice but the 1/2 tons will do nicely with the right equipment.

also level the speed for the track not the road!!!

an other option is to rent something when you need it
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:14 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MConte05 View Post



(Don't mind the fact I only used two straps, I've wised up since that pic. )



This is a pretty wicked idea.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:29 AM   #58
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and you can camp in it too

that is the way i would go, or a camper
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:43 AM   #59
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Yep! It's fantastically comfortable. Previous owner used it to tow his son's dirt circle track car around the country. He already put in a lower final drive, and beefed up the brakes. I recently wrapped the turbo downpipe, cleaned the hell out of the seats and the carpet and will be putting in a cheap single DIN receiver so I can plug in my phone to listen to music (currently only an FM/AM radio). In the back there is a seperate AC unit along with the lights that can be dimmed so even at night when people are back there it's nice.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:44 AM   #60
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Dad pretty much gave away a mid 90's E250 panel van when he moved; ~250k miles. That was a good hauler. Plenty of room in the back. You could get a second row seat bolted in to transport 4 people and still have plenty of room for tools and spares.

His had a ladder rack on the top, you could put a few 2x10's and sit up there... or side a second story house without buying scaffolding.



I like that ambulance though...
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:42 AM   #61
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Going to look at this tonight. It may be too good of a deal to pass up...

http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/cto/3455479208.html
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:32 PM   #62
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You'll probably need a higher load rated hitch with larger ball and load distribution setup, as well as electric braking capability (if not already wired from the factory) but that would work well. Good luck

Last edited by skimobile; 01-03-2013 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:10 PM   #63
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Unfortunately you are right, when I spoke with the seller, that's the first question I asked. Fortunately it looks like I can get a decent hitch and trailer brake setup for ~$200. I'm gonna crawl around the van tonight, and price it accordingly, hopefully giving myself a little extra cash to get the hitch, etc.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:34 PM   #64
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On that era ford van make sure you check the rear leaf spring shackle mounts. Been around a lot of vans working and almost every ford I've been around 98+ has rusted threw the leaf spring shackle or had major frame rust in that area.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:38 PM   #65
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Thanks for the tip! I'll be sure to check it out.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:58 PM   #66
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We sold our Ford E250 in2005 and it ran alike a champ with 165000 on it. I'd towed up to 5500 lb sailboat trailers and had made a number of runs MA to Fl and return. We replaced the radiator, the brakes, and were on the 3rd set of rear Michelin LTX tires. 35 gallon tank so you can tow for 5-8 hours easy.

We replaced it with a Chevy Express 2500 that runs perfectly at 121000 miles. I know folks who have put 300000 on them.

But $2K is an awfully tight budget. D or E load rating tires are close to $200 each and a brake job is a lot more than a car.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:14 AM   #67
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Great thread... Did the OP find a vehicle?... I'm in the same predicament... I was thinking a used f250, but the van is a really tempting idea.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:31 PM   #68
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Default ford f250 turbodiesel

our 1996 turbo diesel f250 was like less then 6k dollars. it is a 2wd, four door 7.3l turbo diesel ford non intercooled.the tranny was rebuilt at 100k by another owner, adn the frame and engine had 250k miles when we got her. we put a water fuel seperator in her, and a new glow plug set. and we were off and running. now she has had a full front bearing and brake service done by us. and a few things i cant recall, but over al lta 260k miles she is still going strong. 17 mpg towing highway with a 3k lb car trailer and 3k pound car on it. all up 11k pouds going down the road, in a big v8 turbo diesel. my father was a diesel mechanic in the navy, so he knows diesel.i got into diesel in heavy equipment school. so that is our take, it has a bed camp cover in the bed too. to keep our stuff safe and dry in bad weather.+
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:52 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaov2k View Post
Great thread... Did the OP find a vehicle?... I'm in the same predicament... I was thinking a used f250, but the van is a really tempting idea.
I ended up finding a deal on a 2000 Chevy 2500 extended cab I couldn't pass up. 6.0l v8, 135k miles on the clock, clean body, long bed with cap, $4700.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:49 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaov2k View Post
Great thread... Did the OP find a vehicle?... I'm in the same predicament... I was thinking a used f250, but the van is a really tempting idea.
At $2500 it's almost your only option. As a boat or motorcycle hauler I have no use for a pickup.

Our GM van has cruise control, hard to find on Ford cargo vans.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:49 AM   #71
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If you have the means I'd move your search south, va/nc/sc. One there's no rust and two I find tow rigs all over for great prices.
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:24 PM   #72
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A lot of people in New England looking for summer tow vehicles or commuters go south to buy pickups, because it's really difficult to find a full-size pickup here that doesn't have 4WD. Even smaller trucks like Rangers are hard to find in RWD.

A friend of mine had an '89 Ford F250 with 2WD, manual trans. Good MPG.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:09 AM   #73
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Good call on the 2500 6.0L
I use an 04 1500 4.8 and on steep hills it wants to go down to 2nd gear when we drop to around 55-60mph and it freaking screams bloody murder!
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:01 PM   #74
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I bought a 2003 ford ranger for about $4k, great condition, 200k+ miles, but runs like a champ and no rust or damage anywhere. Thats what i use to tow all my toys and occasional offroading. its currently plastidipped matte white to protect paint, not that i really care
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:25 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hold_Fast View Post
I ended up finding a deal on a 2000 Chevy 2500 extended cab I couldn't pass up. 6.0l v8, 135k miles on the clock, clean body, long bed with cap, $4700.
nice!!

i'm still searching... I decided to stick with a gasoline engine and not mess with diesel yet. my budget is about $5k

Good to know about the 6L vs the 4.8L... I'll make sure to search for a 3/4 ton instead.
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