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Old 04-21-2008, 03:39 AM
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Please Help/Advise? Need a new van (musician)

Hello, I really am hoping you guys can help guide me on a "new used" van purchase (just can't afford a NEW van) for my bands (jazz/blues/funk).

You've helped me in the past with my 1985 chevy s10 v6 2.8 4x4 (still running), and my current lil van/hauler for my musical instrument (Hammond B3 and Leslie 122)...my 1987 dodge mini ram van (3.0L v6) CARGO ...which is still running well actually at 205k miles, still gets decent mpg (19-21mpg).

Well, I think I'm very ready for a new van that will meet the needs of taking my gear and 3-4 members out on the road (from west coast where we're at...to east coast and back occasionally. A lot of local/semi-local playing still though).

Of course, I'm trying to balance the best power situation I may need alongside the now more important than ever MPG/gas $ situation we have.

My gear: My big, 580lb Hammond B3 organ with a roll-or-karry dolly, 170lb leslie 122 + handtruck, bench, pedals.
Plus need to get some drums and a gtr + amp in there.
+
passengers: 4-5 passengers would work pretty well.

My current dodge is good for local/semi-local outings and fits my gear +, and then a max of 2 passengers. It's still running well but getting up there in miles, ticking valves unless I marvel mystery oil heavily, and recently I've found it now has a crack at the firewall (front suspension will be an issue someday soon).

Anyway...knowing these needs, can you help guide me on my used van purchase options?... models and makes to focus on (or stay away from), YEARS to look at (or stay away from) please? Help me make the best choice in regard to what I may need VS. decent/best mpg I can get?

I was thinking two dif scenarios...
A Chevy Astro passenger (v6, 2wd)...some year...with a tow package...and then a trailer for extended outings.
This way when I play locally and just hauling my gear and myself, I have a smallish van to park easily and load easily. But when I need to take it on the road further, I can attach a small trailer to help haul some gear and still be able to fit my bandmates.

My worry is the astro and trans/engine won't like much use like this...and I'd wear that trans and engine right out. Then my mpg on longer road trips may not be so easy - no OD when hauling a trailer = worse mpg.
But maybe I'm way wrong. I dunno, I'm new with all this.

The other option is a 12-15 V8 passenger van. Big enough for a lot of gear in back and somewhat more "comfy" road trip for bandmates. Of course mpg with these is somewhere between hellish and "ok" (8-13mpg realistically).

I have a line on a 99 dodge 3500 van (maxi wagon), 15 passenger. It has 90k miles on her, just fits in my carport at home heightwise....asking $6999.00.
Needs 4 new tires badly, oil looks black..but the test drive seemed ok.
I'm used to the mini-van so maybe I'm not looking at things right. Seemed like it ran well.

Now I also like to do my own tune-ups and oil changes, coolant changes, etc.
I should also factor in some ease of work in regard to this as well for my search.

Anyway...i know I've said an awful lot...sorry for that, but can any of you guys help guide me on the best models to look for and suit my needs?
Guide me on what to look for in a used van/hauler? Help keep me from buying a problem/lemon?
I trust you guys at hotrodders forum and wanted to come back and ask before I dove in.

I like to keep a vehicle running well as long as possible (hence my current rides .

Thank you so much

Jojo

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Old 04-21-2008, 03:46 AM
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In case it helps, this is the kind of instrument we're talking about, the type of musicians, the music, etc. there's videos, pics of things + music if you're interested.
It's not a "portable" instrument by any means.

see http://www.joedoriamusic.com

and/or myspace mctuff

thanks for any advice/tips!
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Old 04-21-2008, 07:42 AM
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I would see if any of the Dodge Sprinter vans have come on the used market yet..If not that then a full size and only use it when you have a gig to do and drive an econobox for a daily driver..

I tend to want a good late model rig for my money maker as I do not make a dime stranded on the side of the road..

I know 40 large is a lot of money but then you may get some attractive finance on a new one and if you keep it forever then it pays off well..

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Old 04-21-2008, 11:18 AM
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I'd love to get a sprinter, but used here are nowhere to be found and I cannot afford the new price. Sprinter's are great but very sought after and pricey here. We just bought our first home and I just know I can't fi that yet. Plus the wife is getting into a new crv now around the same time.

The other problem is parking it, we have a corner lot and zero sidestreet parking, so I have to utilize my driveway/carport.

I do like them though - GREAT mpg for a van.

Any thoughts on the Chevy Astro passenger and then pull a trailer when necessary? Or do you foresee probs there?
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:49 AM
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I would look at the Ford fullsize..My 96 f150 4wd gets 15 or so on the hwy and will do what I need it to do..I only use that truck when I need a truck..I am not sold on the astro van as it seems a bit lite for pulling a trailer and just my opinion is get a legitimate truck for this kind of duty..I have had mine for quite a few years now and it has always worked for me with very little needed in way of repairs..Get the later one with OBDII and injected as those get much better mileage that the old carb models..there are even some travel van models out there and with the price of gas people are letting good ones go for cheap..Just keep looking..I would never buy one of those with the idea I can fix it..look for one that can just take off and go with..Buying something that needs fixing is reserved for hot rod and restore projects around here..

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Old 04-21-2008, 12:57 PM
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re;need a new van

I'd check my local city/county surplus equipment auctions,there are some good deals there.I would tend to agree with the full size ford van,maybe even one with a powerstroke, Tom
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