Post a Review on Your Service Vehicles... Past and Present

All the service vehicles I have used for locksmithing:
1. 1984 Volkswagen Rabbit.
I folded the back seat up and had all my tools and stock where the back
seats and trunk were.
Pros: Cheap. It's what I had at the time. Good on gas.
Cons: Looked unprofessional. No space inside to work. Unreliable
2. 1986 GMC 2500 Cargo Van.
I didn't have shelving at first, so all my tools were scattered on the
floor. After a few years I finally bought Adrian Steel shelves and
wished I had done that years earlier. I loved that truck. I put 2 extra
leafs in each side of the rear and it held up to the weight.
Pros: Space was ample. Looked professional.
Cons: Couldn't get into underground parking garages due to height. Got
into a few accidents. Couldn't see well backing up. Broke down a few
times. Not tall enough to stand up in.
3. 198? Ford Full Size Cargo Van.
This was an employer's vehicle. It was okay. I didn't like the way it
was laid out because I had to get out of the vehicle to get to the back
Pros: Held a lot of weight. Could jump curbs to do U-turns (lots of
ground clearance). Looked professional.
Cons: No underground access due to height. Gas guzzler. Didn't like the
interior layout. Not tall enough to stand up in.
4. 198? Dodge Full Size Cargo Van
This was an employer's vehicle. No shelves, except for some stock and
the key machine.
Pros: Looked somewhat professional.
Cons: Tools, parts, stock, keys and everything was scattered all over
the floor as it was a shared vehicle. Nobody really cared what shape
they left the vehicle in for the next guy. Stock and keys were hard to
find, if there was any left after the last guy. Big air gaps in the
door seals. Propane powered was crappy to fill, especially in 40 below
weather. Not tall enough to stand up in.
5. 19?? Grumman? Used Postal Vehicle.
Another employer's vehicle.
Pros: Could stand up in it without breaking my back. Lots of room.
Cons: Propane powered. Hard to fill in 40 below weather. Took about 3
minutes to get it up to 60 miles per hour (no joke). No stock, tools,
6. 1996 GMC Safari
Used this in the city for several years. I put the Adrian shelves in
the back.
Pros: Could easily get into underground parking garages. Looked very
professional. Fair on gas.
Cons: It sagged with the weight. Blew a tire on the expressway due to
factory crappy tires and the weight, resulting in a collision at about
80 miles per hour. Many, many accidents. Handled poorly. Not much space
inside. Had to get out of the vehicle to get to the back section. The
floor was always covered with boxes, tools, etc. because of lack of
interior space. Not tall enough to stand up in.
7. 19?? unknown body Box Van (delivery truck style).
This was another employer's vehicle. Used this for about a month before
it broke down. I loved the sliding doors on the sides and between the
cab and cargo.
Pros: Looked professional. Could stand up in it comfortably. Was fun to
drive, especially with the doors open. It held a lot of stock, tools,
Cons: Very, very ugly. Very, very loud when driving. No air
8. 199? Dodge Full Size Van.
This was another employer's vehicle. I hated the interior layout of
this as well because I had to get out of the vehicle to access the
Pros: Held sufficent stock, tools, etc. Looked professional. Fair on
Cons: Felt "light duty" compared to the Ford and GMC Full-Sized vans.
Even felt light duty compared to the GMC Safari. Very unreliable
vehicle. Not tall enough to stand up in.
9. 2003 Ford E350 Full Size Van.
This was another employer's vehicle. I laid out the interior. It was
sweet. I had the keying bench on a sliding rail that could slide into
the shelving to save on space.
Pros: Very reliable. Very professional looking. Tall enough to hop
curbs again. Plenty of space inside.
Cons: Gas guzzler. Not tall enough to stand up in.
10. 2004 Chevy Aveo.
Yes, starting out on my own again at zero. Can't wait for a real
Pros: Good on gas. Cheap vehicle.
Cons: Looks very unprofessional. No room inside to work, or for
machinery, stock, etc.
My next vehicle... hmmm... I'm looking at vehicles I can stand up in.
My back is getting old. I liked the full size box trucks for that.
Anybody ever own a Reading 72" tall van body?
Anybody ever own a big box truck?
Anybody ever own a van with an extended ceiling?
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"" wrote in message news:
7 Astro Vans (ok) 1 Dodge Ram (mini van) too weak. 1 GMC 1500 Savanna (lemon) 1 Chevy 3/4 Ton Express (best to date)
Reply to
gruman Olson apply? a step van? its bigger tho...78" inside.. 15 feet behind the seat and about 7 feet wide inside..
pros? ROOM..
cons? SIZE.. weighed 5 tons.. (aluminum body) gas milage? never mind-you dont want to go there.. cost of repairs? my particular chassie is a VERY high $ repair item.. and parts are very far away.. (Mercedes-diesel) air brakes, 0-60 in about 2 miles, BUT.. you get the best milage at that speed anyway.. sometimes hard to start COLD weather.. and right now, fuel would be a serious problem..$ wise
the Chevy chassie vans can be had cheap usually.. but, FWIK, they get worse milage than mine did.. I was getting 16.. --Shiva--
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"" wrote in message news:
don't know about you, but we often have to go into parking garages where height becomes a factor.
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12's are, at least in my neighborhood, hard to find.. 15's and up are available.. the 'potato chip' trucks are sometimes 18' this is BEHIND the seat to the back.. overall can be 24 feet..
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I agree here.. height. I used to drive (and now own) an 89 Dodge Caravan (mini) cargo van, and here at 2 local hospitals where I did a lot of openings, I had to take the short 800 Mhz business band antenna off or it hit. ;-) Very low clearance. But for most of the common stuff I did, rekeys, installs, repairs for both comercial and residential, openings business, house, car, & other, carried a majority of house blanks, commercail blanks, and even american and MOST of the X foreign. Carried stock, tools, etc.. Held up very well. Got About 17 MPG with air conditioning. Inside height was a bit of an issue, but beat lugging everything to make a car key in that parking garage 1-3 blocks. And no direct acess from front to back, but that did not bother me, as I always tried to get paperwork, or inspection of job done first, then I went to the back to work.
For a short period, I also worked out of a 200X Ford E350 HD extended van. More room inside, height prevented me from going in several parking garages and even under some tree limbs, had front-back access if needed, but never used it. I figure it got about 13-17 Mpg with air conditioning. Could carry a bunch, boss used it for his van till he got a box truck (heavy duty van/truck chasis with a box on the back - direct access to back) he could stand in, and he did most of the heavy commercial and safe work (openings, re-combinate, repairs, etc..)
Of the 2, I liked the Ford 350 better due to what I could carry on board (and organize a lot better) and a tad more head room. I would buy one for myself to use.
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I remember my first service vehicle was a four door Chevy Chevette. Very dependable vehicle, and standard shift. I had a battery and a Redi LIne generator on the back floor. Key machine, pinset, couple boxes of tools. I did a lot of good work out of that vehicle. Though it was rough to rekey in the rain.
Dodge van, half ton model, 6 cylinder. This one was getting a bit tired, though it did run about 13 MPG. Best thing I did was put in a hand choke. Dodge vans are useless in the winter, too front heavy. Enough room to sit in the back. Bitter cold in the winter. Very noisy to drive, no sound deadening. The magnet signs did get me some work, now and again. Also makes it easier to park in front of stores and malls.
Dodge van, one ton, 8 cylinder. This one also ran about 12 or so MPG, which wasn't too bad. Moved the work bench and key rack from the first van. Put down a wood floor, which helped with the cold. Very noisy to drive. No AC, cooks in the summer. Friend of mine put a trailer hitch on it, which was really nice. Used it to haul equipment, tow cars on a tow dolly, and some of that.
Dodge van, one ton, 8 cylinder. This used to be a phone company van. Run 7 to 8 MPG, really kills me for gas. I finally put in a hand choke pull off, and that helps some. I got 4 MPG at one point. Front heavy. Doesn't want to start. Carb model. Takes six seconds to get the gas up from the fuel tank. Came with a trailer hitch ball, which was nice. I was out on a master key job in the bitter cold of this winter. The heater blower blows air, but cool air. Doesn't really heat. I bought a 3,000 BTU propane heater off Ebay, and used that in the back of the van while rekeying. Used a piece of wire to hang the heater from the ceiling beam, and that really made a major difference when working in the back in winter. Shoulda bought that heater a couple vehicles ago.
Chevy S-10 Blazer. Drive that for lockouts, and simple rekeys when I know it's KW or Sch. Gets about 20 MPG, and more comfortable.
Reply to
Stormin Mormon
If you want to buy a new one, check out:
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Some things to consider about these, At 25 MPG, this goes a long way to make your car payment. The tall roof model a person 6' 1" tall can stand up, the short roof will fit in most parking garages.
The Mercedes 5 cyl turbo might be a little slow between the traffic lights when compared to a large V-8 but I have the older version of this engine in my car and it is approaching 300k miles with no signs of quitting.
The engine has a 100k warrantee and is designed for extended service intervals. You can have the van fully loaded and still tow a safe trailer.
Did I mention 25MPG?
Reply to
Roger Shoaf
Do you have one? If so, what kind of weight do you have in it?
Isn't it kinda gutless? I mean, we all know what kind of weight our vehicles haul.
I did look into these. They are a nice option, but as soon as I saw the 5 cylinder part I kind of said "no" in my head.
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I don't have one but I have a simular engine in my 300SD.
Sure it is kind of gutless, but it is turbo charged. A six cylinder gas engine is gutless also. If you get the 3500, it has a payload of up top 4824 lbs.
It is a turbo charged diesel engine. It has 243 ft.lbs of torque and a 5 speed automatic transmission. Ford's big V8 has 255 ft.lbs of torque and a 4 speed automatic transmission. A semi truck has a 6 cylinder turbo charged diesel engine and those suckers can run 70 MPH with a total weight of 80.000 lbs on flat ground all day long and not complain a bit.
Did I say they get 25 MPG? If you run 20,000 miles a year you burn 800 gallons of fuel for the year. If you get 10 MPG, you burn 2000 gallons of gas to run the same number of service calls.
If you drive in city traffic, you will not get to 30 MPH as fast as a gas powered truck, but you will get to 30 MPH just a few seconds slower.
If you run a lot on the freeway you will get to 60 MPH a few seconds slower than a gas powered V8 van.
You will more than make up this time when the other truck is buying gas.
Reply to
Roger Shoaf
We use astro vans. They tend to float or bounce a lot and the front tires won't stay in alignment. . My all time favorite was a 4 cyl dodge mini van I had about a decade ago. It didn't have much room or power but that darn thing drove like a luxury car compared to these astros.
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we have had a bunch of Astro's. one thing I have learned about the front end alignment of the Astro when has to carry a lot of weight.. don't have it lined to factory specs. have them line it up more (0) tow. the tires will last a lot longer.
I also had one of them. that little motor pulled the weight pretty good when moving forward. but, the darn thing sure didn't have squat for power to back up. you could put a brick behind one of the rear wheels and NOT be able to back over it without a running start :-)
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The web site says they have 158 HP. I think my Chevy Astro had 191 or something when I had it. So, I guess it's 3/4 the power of an Astro. My Astro did fine for my needs, except for the suspension.
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Why don't you go to a dealer and test drive one. HP is only part of the equation. Torque and gears also play a big factor. Also at about half the fuel consumption of a Ford or Chevy with a V8 that is a strong reason to consider them even if they are a little less quick.
When I was an apprentice (1977) we had VW buses for service trucks. 4 cyl. stick shifts. The Sprinter has 5 cyl and a turbo charger and a 5 speed automatic.
Reply to
Roger Shoaf

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