AWD work van?

sw_ross

Senior Member
Location
NoDak
I did a search on here because I remember vans being talked about previously but didn't find what I was looking for.

Anyone have experience with AWD work vans? I currently use a pickup that's 4wd.
I definitely need AWD due to travel off pavement in rural areas with drifting snow in winter.

The concept of using a van is appealing, but I don't even know where to start... Other than knowing it has to be AWD, or 2wd/4wd.
 

__dan

Senior Member
Right now that could be a unicorn. There is not one model I can think of.

For guys who have worked out of a van or Iszuzu Hino van body, trying to work the same way out of a pickup (does not happen AFAIK). Pickup cannot carry the same inventory and tool set without the theft hazard. Other wise, everyone knows how great 4wd pickups are for snow and the rest of it.

As soon as the hybrid or battery version comes out I'm sure the truck versions will have electric motors on the rear axle and primary drive on the front, which will be 4wd to the tire with some (pretty good) independent thrust vectoring per tire. So what you want is most likely not on the market now but will be in five years.

Think of what the next Tundra will look like. You could be seeing the last of the V-8's. The 5.7's in the Tundra could go out of production like the iron block inline sixes.

All of the conventional drivetrain vehicles are going to be slow sellers while buyers wait for what is not on the market now, so you can look for and expect some crazy promotional deals to move current inventory.

I had happened to call recently and the large volume Toyota dealer near here quoted the full $6k off list for the RAV4 hybrid. 30k list quoted for 24k. That 2019 model has the gen 4 hybrid drivetrain with the second electric motor on the rear axle. Actually, if you could downsize your running weight into that I'm sure you would get your money out of it. Just the gas savings could make the rest of the vehicle free.

If you need the larger weight version, I would say it's five more years out (max).

So what would you want to do. Would you buy a new 5.7l SR5 Tundra for $6k off list today or wait for the next gen electric Tundra. I am guessing that so many customers will wait for the electric drivetrain that the current 5.7l Tundras will go to 10k off list. You may be able to get a 1794 trim for 40k.
 

Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
I did a search on here because I remember vans being talked about previously but didn't find what I was looking for.

Anyone have experience with AWD work vans? I currently use a pickup that's 4wd.
I definitely need AWD due to travel off pavement in rural areas with drifting snow in winter.

The concept of using a van is appealing, but I don't even know where to start... Other than knowing it has to be AWD, or 2wd/4wd.
well, full size econolines work well as service trucks, especially the long ones.
you can get gas or diesel, used. i'd go gas, for a number of reasons, most related to
the e350 long body diesel i have sitting in the driveway.

then, you convert them to 4wd. there are folks who do kits, or will do a turnkey for you.

before i bought the jeep, i was gonna do a 4wd conversion on my van, but the reliability issue
of the 6.0 diesel killed the deal for me. no way would i take that into the maze in utah. nada.

for a work van, tho, it'd be your best deal going at this time, especially if you are going to run
mud and slop.

this is the best E series conversion guy i know of. i'd start there with a doner van.
i don't think there is anyone around better.

http://www.ujointoffroad.com/home.html
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
I would like to have a four wheel drive for my job. Trouble calls, Substation relay work, engineering field work, etc. my test equipment has to sit on back of pickup or in the seat beside me...

As a utility they will only buy new. Priced a MB sprinter 4WD. $62-65k.
Not many can roll that much money into a work van.
FT is right, get what you want used, put conversion on it. Way cheaper.
Gas also. Replacing the injectors can get pricey.
 

sw_ross

Senior Member
Location
NoDak
Yeah, I see the Sprinter's for $60+ that are AWD. That's a lot of coin!
Ford Transit's also AWD.

The idea of that much money for a bare van, then getting it set up on top of the initial cost scares me!
Probably keep driving the pickup...
 

__dan

Senior Member
Yeah, I see the Sprinter's for $60+ that are AWD. That's a lot of coin!
Ford Transit's also AWD.

The idea of that much money for a bare van, then getting it set up on top of the initial cost scares me!
Probably keep driving the pickup...
It may be possible split the mileage with a second vehicle to get the reliability of new and especially, to get the gas savings to pay for most or all of it. I would consider the RAV4 hybrid or even a motorcycle to job out of for the times when you only need a few tool bags and power tools. I know a plumber mech contractor who went through versions of working from pickups, 14.000 gvw UD (Nissan made Japanese cabover), and finished up working out of a series of absolutely bts Dodge Caravans.

You can extend the life of the pickup by running the RAV4 as primary and the pickup for when you need the weight capacity or the rest of the setup. I was doing the numbers for the RAV4 hybrid and it was pretty easy to get to $20k in gas savings in some time period, which was most of the way towards the purchase price. What I really liked was the new Toyo gen 4 hybrid system with the second electric motor on the rear axle. It is going to be a step change improvement over an already pretty good system.

I think the 6k off list discount is because the market is already sold on the full electric battery version and may wait for it.

I think waiting is a good strategy. The current version Tundra is a great truck, but there is more than 10 or 20 k$ in gas savings when the next version comes with batteries and regen braking.
 

__dan

Senior Member
I looked at the numbers for fuel cost again, to see what case can be made.

If I run the Tundra at 17 mpg and $3. / gal cost of unleaded, the per mile cost is $ .177 per mile.

The RAV4 hybrid at 41 mpg and $3. / gal cost of unleaded, the per mile cost is $ .0732 per mile. The difference (diff) is $ .1032 per mile.

At how many miles of driving (x miles) will the diff of $ .1032 per mile approach the purchase price? I get 242013 miles on the first pass. If I am going to drive it 242k miles, the RAV4 is free after the gas savings.

There has to be a better case.

If I drive the Tundra and I only want to drive it 150,000 miles, how much will the diff of $ .1032 per mile cost me to drive the Tundra instead of the RAV4. I get $15,495. more gas cost to drive the Tundra.

That's the number I want to see. A case can be made to drive the Tundra, but that $16k extra gas cost is what the hybrid drive or battery pack is worth minimum. I would bet Toyota will have a common platform hybrid drive, so when the version comes out in the Tundra, it may have a lot in common with the same drive on Lexus 500h. It will be a must have adder.

Toyota has the Hino division for medium and heavy trucks. Hino is in the Sprinter price range .They have been making diesel electric hybrid drives going back more than 30 years. You can get a Hino 195h, but there is no 4wd version AFAIK.

But there will be. There will be something in the next Tundra, Tesla, Rivian. I would bet the market is waiting, meaning there may be steep discounts and a case could be made.

The Toyota gen 4 hybrid drive is only out in a few models, Avalon, Camry, Lexus 350h, Rav4. The used 3 year old, under 50k miles, off lease price on those is hanging under $15,000 (for a $40k car). If you wanted a beater to put 100k miles on, I would look at those. but I would make sure it has the dual electric motor gen 4 hybrid drive.
 

rambojoe

Senior Member
Location
phoenix az
check out sport wagons... im sure ford has a 4wd opt straight from the factory. 4wd diesel vans are common out here- and PG&E still uses them in rural areas, as well as dhl and ups. I don't think the sprinter would work too well for off road... the sport wagons are not cheap but can definitely be found and, imo, are bad-azz...
 

JoeyD74

Senior Member
Location
MA
For 2020 you can get a Ford transit AWD, or a Sprinter 4wd that’s selectable. Aftermarket companies like Quigley 4x4 will modify a new van of any brand
 

romex jockey

Senior Member
Location
Vermont
I ran 4x4 trucks with work caps, but they lack the access of a van. One can outfit a van with two rat packs

I also had a number of AWD vans , but they were awd all the time, so mileage suffered

Here ,in the mountains, ground clearance is just as much an issue as AWD or 4WD

These days i run a RWD savanna , and a 4wd 3/4ton w/rack for those 'hard to get to' jobs

~RJ~
 
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