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Help me make a trailer/van decision

Discussion in 'General' started by Scotty87, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. Scotty87

    Scotty87 Lacks accountability

    Yeah, I know - I've posted a bunch of these recenly. I'm being wishy-washy, to say the least. Here's the deal: I recently sold my 6x12 enclosed that I had totally redone on the inside for a decent price. Reason I sold it was it was such a pain in the ass to go to my storage spot to get it, then get it down my 7'10" wide driveway with houses on either side that I rarely brought it with unless I was going to sleep in it. I used it 4 times in 2 years, while racing at least 10 times each year. This year and years past I have only run local (within 200mi one way) supermoto and mini stuff due to budget and other reasons, save the Road America round with another org.

    My plans for next year are different. I'm done chasing points for awhile, locally or otherwise. I want to pick 4-6 tracks that I have really wanted to race at, and make those rounds. So, the plan just after selling was to get a van and outfit that. No crazy tolls with the trailer, everything self contained, all that. I could sleep in it if rolling solo, or take the bikes in relative safety to a hotel if the wife is coming with, which she likely will be. We'll make a small mini-vaca out of each round.

    I've got around $1500 to blow on a van. Don't want to spend more, already have a nice truck for a daily driver. Van would be for race stuff only. There really are nice vans for that price, but they have high miles. This is what I've been considering over the past week or so:

    1992 Ford 15 passenger. 171k miles on the 351, fleet vehicle owned by a summer camp. A/C. New tires. Super clean, rust free. $1500

    1999 Ford E150 cargo. 202k on the V6. Has A/C, but doesn't work. Owner says all new front end and brakes. Also says exhaust needs replacing. $1200

    2002 Dodge B150 cargo. 106k. Don't know anything about the motor or options, seller hasn't repsonded yet. $1600

    I'm leaning towards the 15 passenger, but it gets the worst mileage of the 3 and I'll need to get the rear windows tinted to keep thieves from prying. I also like the fact that it has a headliner and all that shit, much quiter ride than the cargo vans.

    Today I had a different thought - maybe I should just go with a smaller trailer, like a 5x10 low top v-nose and forget about sleeping in it unless really necessary? Just drop the thing in my pit spot, say hello and have a beer or 4 and head to the hotel. No need to worry about scraping my neighbors house with the fenders, better MPG, no real maintenance, registration, etc. I really did like the van idea though.

    I'm stuck. What does the beeb think? Am I asking for a breakdown with those year/mileage vans, or being paranoid? Is a smaller trailer the better option? I could just tent camp if I really wanted to stay at the track and am flying solo.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  2. speedracer170

    speedracer170 Well-Known Member

    If it was me I would get a 5x8 or 5x10 low pro trailer, the vans you are looking at look like they may give you trouble in the future.
  3. pickled egg

    pickled egg Works with puppies, too

    A $1500 van isn't something I'd trust to go cross-country with. At that price, it's essentially a disposable vehicle, worth more in scrap metal value.

    That said, only you can make that decision. What are your priorities? Comfort? Reliability? Versatility? Storability?

    How much stuff do you take on your average race weekend? Will you have to leave everything outside in the event of inclement weather so you can still sleep in the van, or would there be room enough to get the important stuff out of the elements without sleeping on top of the bike?

    How much of a pain in the ass is storing the trailer vs. storing another vehicle?

    Don't forget the extra added expenses of vehicle registration and insurance.

    If you've got a solid daily driver pickup truck capable of hauling a small trailer, personally, that's the route I'd take. You're going to be much more comfortable driving it, since you'll have the familiarity with it, plus it wouldn't be decaying in the driveway waiting for you to use it on those rare occasions you fired it up for your trip to a faraway race track like a dedicated track-hauler van would. A well-used and maintained vehicle is much more reliable than a rarely-used one, in my experience.
  4. Scotty87

    Scotty87 Lacks accountability

    I take 1 race bike and a pit scoot, typically. I run vintage when not doing local stuff, so no rains/extra tires/etc. 1 30" Craftsman top box, gear (leathers, etc) and a couple coolers and stands, ez-ups, chairs. No way I could keep it in a van and sleep. But, that's true for my old trailer as well.

    I already have trailer storage, not sure if I would be allowed to store the van in it's old spot. They have funky rules about what you can and cannot store.

    I hear you on the insurance, registration, etc. I really wanted a van, but maybe a smaller trailer really does make more sense for me.

    My priorities are ease of use, security, and cost. Versatility does not matter, it's just for racin.
  5. pickled egg

    pickled egg Works with puppies, too

    For ease of use and security, get a rape van. I paid $3500 for my '01 G3500 two years ago w/ 120k on the clock. Up until last week when it decided to eat an injector or two, I wouldn't have hesitated to drive it across the country (especially if someone else was eating the fuel costs :wow: ). No back or side glass, and a bulkhead and you've got a sealed off storage unit on wheels. No issues backing it up and jack knifing it cuz it's got a sucky-ass short wheel base.

    I would budget more for a newer, lower mileage rig with amenities, but that's me. I'm too old and cranky to want to sleep outside and be miserable. :up:
  6. speedluvn

    speedluvn Man card Issuer

    If your scaling it back why don't you find a 5x8 or 5x10 thats easily moved about your property? And its able to be secured at the track.

    I would'nt trust a $1500 budgeted van to drive outta state either
  7. Blue Junk

    Blue Junk Well-Known Member

    I've had a couple of vans and have a little input.

    The first two options are most likely gonna get the same mileage. Fords have seemed to do that, at least in my experiences. I have had both vans you listed, and a few other full size fords and they all got the same mileage. They all got about 14-15 without a trailer and 10-11 with a trailer.

    I love my vans and wouldn't even consider getting a small trailer over a van. But, I am also of the opinion you'd be better off without a truck and just getting a nicer van.

    If I were to chose one, I'd get the 15 pass summer camp one. The finished interior will be nicer and the 351 will get the same mileage as the V6, but it'll have more power.

    Outside of that, sell the truck and get a diesel in a nice van and be done with it. :up:

    Good luck
  8. BigBird

    BigBird blah

    i beg to differ, but you probably have to throw about another $500-1000 to make it reliable for a season
  9. V5 Racer

    V5 Racer Yo!


    Here is a 88 G20 with a 6.2 liter diesel for 1500 bucks. Has a gazillion miles, but it runs. "Driven weakly", the man sez. :D

    Ton of vans under 1500 bucks down here in the SE, might need to make a road trip.
  10. BC

    BC Well-Known Member

    Don't exclude conversion vans from your search. I've seen some mint ones go for crazy cheap $$. Other than the senior citizens and pedophiles, I guess there's not a huge market for them. Just remove a couple seats, and you have a ready made race hauler/candy store.:D
  11. CharlieY

    CharlieY Well-Known Member

    Hey Scotty, glad to see you are still kickin things around....that means all I have to do is read, thanx man!:up:

    I'm pretty much with this guy. I'll find out next month if I still have a job, if yes, I'll be looking for a newer ford rape van.....some type of fleet vehicle. I will have to finance it, but rates are real low.

    I want to buy something once, fix it up the way I want it, and be DONE....forever (kinda).

    On top of that, I have a small 4x8 open trailer that I will pull if I need to.

    Good luck man!:beer:
  12. fastfreddie

    fastfreddie Midnight Oil Garage

    i've wanted a van for the longest time - ended up with trucks and trailers.
    as far as ceiling height, if you're goin' low it won't really matter with either the van or the trailer tho' you may find yourself in and out of a trailer more often...could be a pain, pun intended.
  13. mattf

    mattf Banned-a-lama-ding-dong.

    I thought about a van, for ease of parking, cheap to get into, etc.....but I gave up on it for a few reasons.

    1. It's another vehicle to insure, maintain, change the oil on, etc.
    2. For what a decent, reliable van costs, I could have a trailer
    3. Trailer holds more, more comfortably
    4. I don't mind parking a trailer for a while, whereas parking a vehicle for a while lets it die a slow death....I'd never drive the van other than as a bike hauler since I already have the truck

    That's just me tho. Good luck!
  14. rabbit73

    rabbit73 Schei├če

    MAtt said it better than I could have. That $1500 van will cost more due to insurance and maintenance. You could buy a small trailer for that and be done with it.
  15. Scotty87

    Scotty87 Lacks accountability

    Yeah guys, looks like I'm in the hunt for another trailer. Going to get a smaller one, hopefully a 5x10 V-nose. Luckily I got a good deal when I bought my 6x12 and poured a lot of effort but not much money into making it nice - I didn't lose any money on it. Hopefully I can find a nice 5x10 and not totally pimp it out for sleeping. Just enough that I'm comfortable for the night, but not so nice that I don't feel bad leaving it at the track and heading to a hotel when the wife comes with.

    I really wanted a van, but the timing just doesn't feel right. Maybe in a couple years if my truck is still in good shape and running well, I'll pick up a nice diesel van instead of getting a newer truck.
  16. pinnEd999

    pinnEd999 dale' gas!

    I had the same question earlier this year and I'm glad I went with the van. I picked up a sweet extended E250 for 4K. I put about 300 bucks in interior supplies and did it all myself in two weekends. It came out great, runs great, easy to store and perfect for race weekends. Plus I can do 80mph all the way to Willow! :D


  17. Scotty87

    Scotty87 Lacks accountability

    Wow, that is a nice van. Did you do all that interior headliner/carpeting, or did it come with all that?

    Shit, now I want a van again! :D
  18. pinnEd999

    pinnEd999 dale' gas!

    I did it all myself. It was easier than I thought. Some 1/8 flex board on the walls and just bought three rolls of $20 carpet from HD and glued it all to the wood walls once they were cut and installed. I placed some thin strips over the seams to hide the screws. I'm really stoked with it. It was completely gutted when I got it. Now it's a hell of alot quieter and I sleep like a baby once the day is over.
  19. grantcarruthers

    grantcarruthers Well-Known Member

    What kind of truck do you have? When I'm flying solo the trailer gets left home as I can quite comfortably get everything I need in my 6 foot bed with the bed extended/ramp. The security of a trailer is mostly emotional. Breaking into one isn't any more challenging than stealing out of a truck.

    Do you really need a trailer or van for your scaled back season?
  20. pinnEd999

    pinnEd999 dale' gas!

    Shit, now I want a van again! :D[/QUOTE]

    So do all my track buddies now that they have seen it. I built the cabinets to store all my sleep stuff along with track items I need when I'm out there. Best part is I don't have to unload when I get home. Just park it in my driveway and worry about it the next day. Love it. :beer::beer:

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