Box truck as a service vehicle.

readydave8

re member
Location
Clarkesville, Georgia
Occupation
electrician
What’s your MPG when you have it fully loaded?
Consistently 10.5 according to dash display, average speed lo-mid 30's mph so not much highway driving, When I bought it I drove back from Louisville Kentucky with it empty and 55mph on interstate, got a little over 14mpg on that trip

Both my stepvan and box trucks got 6-7 mpg so I'm happy with 10.5
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
So I have been searching far and wide for a box truck to buy. Originally, I was going to buy a used 14' U-Haul. (The 10' would be better but are very rare.) I have a contractor friend who buys them and says they work out well. They are well maintained. And they are inexpensive. But none are available. U-Haul can't get new trucks because of the parts shortages so they stopped selling off older trucks. There are just none to buy until at least September.

The other rental places seem to use 16' and larger trucks. These are too big. I looked at the entire commercial used market and there really is nothing that is reasonably priced to buy.

I found a product that is interesting. Some companies (Supreme, Rockport, and probably others) are making light weight cargo boxes for cut-away vans made by the major auto manufacturers. The result are box trucks that are small (6x10) and less expensive than traditional box trucks. These seem perfect for service truck work. I found lots of new ones, but only a couple of used that are in far-flung cities.

So I had a thought. Tell me what you think. I can buy a used F-250/F-350 (or similar) at a reasonable price and remove the bed. Then I can install the box part of a brand new 6x10 enclosed cargo trailer. The new trailers are reasonable priced at $3000. The resulting box truck will have a payload capacity of about 2000 pounds or more. It will be higher off the ground than optimal, but some stairs will make it accessible.
 

__dan

Senior Member
Be careful on the gvw rating. The 14 ft UHaul on a typical American manufacturer cab and chassis can be a boat. My brother rented something like that for his apt move. We loaded it just household stuff and it felt bad going down the road. Felt overloaded but we did not put anything heavy in it. I did not want to make a second trip with it or feel like maxxing it out.

I had the Hino FB at the same time with a 12 ft box and we loaded that full for the same trip. The Hino is very comfortable, rides better with a load but it does not notice any of the extra weight in the back. I tried running the Hino just the cab and chassis, what a different truck. Felt like it had cement in the tires.

Single or dual wheel in the back is a big factor. For the weight if you're going bigger, probably has to be dual rear wheels. If you measure the width, the Americans build the dual wheel axle much wider. The Japanese cabover diesels in the four cylinder size keep the width much closer to a single rear wheel pickup truck type. Makes it much easier to fit into places and on the road.
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Wouldn't that modified pick up / box truck give you about the same room as a Dodge Sprinter or the big Ford Transit?
I don't know on those particular vehicles. The high roof vans I have measured have a cargo area 6' wide and 8-9' long . Most have a side door which loses some space, but you can ignore it and just place shelving over it possibly accessing from both sides. A 6x10 cargo box would be a little more space and then there is the additional space in the crew cab. The 8x12' used U-Haul is sounding better and better.

I have considered just towing a 6x8 trailer with a mini-van or pickup. Both have good towing capacity and some of the heavier cargo can go in the tow vehicle. My concern is the length of the combo. Too long for some driveways. Too long for street parking without blocking driveways and mailboxes.

Maybe I need a main van and several support vans following me to carry everything. That would require finding apprentices with good driving records. LOL.
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
So I have been searching far and wide for a box truck to buy. Originally, I was going to buy a used 14' U-Haul. (The 10' would be better but are very rare.) I have a contractor friend who buys them and says they work out well. They are well maintained.
I was just looking at Uhauls for sale in my area, and saw the dimensions of the 14' truck. I didn't know it's actually only 11 feet inside the box, measured on the floor. It's 14 feet on the ceiling, which includes the cubby compartment.
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I was just looking at Uhauls for sale in my area, and saw the dimensions of the 14' truck. I didn't know it's actually only 11 feet inside the box, measured on the floor. It's 14 feet on the ceiling, which includes the cubby compartment.
I carry a 12' A-frame ladder and an extension ladder that is 12' when stored. I figure the ladders can be mounted high in the truck to poke into the "mom's attic" section. Otherwise a 10' truck would be better. The next longest thing I carry is 10' pipes. I actually want the shortest vehicle possible so I can fit in short driveways or between driveways and not blocking mailboxes if I park on the street. The mail carriers get pissy if you block the boxes.

I'm curious, what is your budget?

I was browsing on CommercialTruckTrader and saw some really awesome box trucks and stepvans. Now I think I want one. Here's a search that turned up 6,000 results. Probably nationwide
I was hoping to just spend the $10K U-Haul wants for their 14' trucks. Ryder prices their used 16' trucks at $22K. When I searched other used truck sites the prices were $30K and up. New trucks are $50K and up. I would be very nice to have a new truck. I could spend $50K but a really don't want to even if it amortizes out well.

New price $50K
Keep for five years and sell for $25K
Cost to own $25K / work days in five years (1305) = $19.15 per day.

After you mentioned the big Transit and Sprinter I did some more research. I didn't know these long wheelbase models existed. The dealer in my area has some long wheelbase and extended box Ram Promasters coming in. I'm trying to be patient and find a used truck for a reasonable price, but I'm afraid I might just give in and buy a new Promaster for $50K.
 
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Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
I carry a 12' A-frame ladder and an extension ladder that is 12' when stored. I figure the ladders can be mounted high in the truck to poke into the "mom's attic" section. Otherwise a 10' truck would be better. The next longest thing I carry is 10' pipes. I actually want the shortest vehicle possible so I can fit in short driveways or between driveways and not blocking mailboxes if I park on the street. The mail carriers get pissy if you block the boxes.



I was hoping to just spend the $10K U-Haul wants for their 14' trucks. Ryder prices their used 16' trucks at $22K. When I searched other used truck sites the prices were $30K and up. New trucks are $50K and up. I would be very nice to have a new truck. I could spend $50K but a really don't want to even if it amortizes out well.

New price $50K
Keep for five years and sell for $25K
Cost to own $25K / work days in five years (1305) = $19.15 per day.

After you mentioned the big Transit and Sprinter I did some more research. I didn't know these long wheelbase models existed. The dealer in my area has some long wheelbase and extended box Ram Promasters coming in. I'm trying to be patient and find a used truck for a reasonable price, but I'm afraid I might just give in and buy a new Promaster for $50K.
Bought the new 2500 promaster high top, was originally looking into a used but if not able to buy outright the cost of monthly on used was same or more than new on payments and the new I got with bumber to bumper 150,000 mile warrenty. Was better deal. I carry the 20ft ext inside on an overhead rack and I can stand up inside.
 

Todd0x1

Senior Member
Location
CA
I carry a 12' A-frame ladder and an extension ladder that is 12' when stored. I figure the ladders can be mounted high in the truck to poke into the "mom's attic" section. Otherwise a 10' truck would be better. The next longest thing I carry is 10' pipes. I actually want the shortest vehicle possible so I can fit in short driveways or between driveways and not blocking mailboxes if I park on the street. The mail carriers get pissy if you block the boxes.



I was hoping to just spend the $10K U-Haul wants for their 14' trucks. Ryder prices their used 16' trucks at $22K. When I searched other used truck sites the prices were $30K and up. New trucks are $50K and up. I would be very nice to have a new truck. I could spend $50K but a really don't want to even if it amortizes out well.

New price $50K
Keep for five years and sell for $25K
Cost to own $25K / work days in five years (1305) = $19.15 per day.

After you mentioned the big Transit and Sprinter I did some more research. I didn't know these long wheelbase models existed. The dealer in my area has some long wheelbase and extended box Ram Promasters coming in. I'm trying to be patient and find a used truck for a reasonable price, but I'm afraid I might just give in and buy a new Promaster for $50K.
I am not an accountant, but don't forget about the section 179 deduction where you can write off the entire purchase price of the truck in the year you put it into service (on federal taxes, state caps on 179 vary). Look at how much a 50k deduction would do for your tax situation and factor the value of that into your calculations.
 

tortuga

Code Historian
Location
Oregon
Occupation
Electrical Design
I'm trying to be patient and find a used truck for a reasonable price, but I'm afraid I might just give in and buy a new Promaster for $50K.
Are all Promasters really Fiats internally? What scares me is the non serviceable transmission.
 

AC\DC

Senior Member
Location
Florence,Oregon,Lane
Occupation
EC
How much fuel did you burn when you didn't have what you needed on the truck already?
Still does happen at times though.
depends were you live on that one. hell If your not worried about MPG just get a power company utility cherry picker truck {there big one}never need to go get anything.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
depends were you live on that one. hell If your not worried about MPG just get a power company utility cherry picker truck {there big one}never need to go get anything.
My luck I could have a tractor -trailer mobile shop/warehouse and still will not have what I need on the trailer.

I do such a wide variety of work that it is hard to have a well stocked service truck for everything. I'm not carrying all sorts of decora devices and plates like some residential only guys might. By the time I do need them they would have bounced around so much they look terrible anyway.

Seems best for me to take along what I might suspect I will need even if it is something I normally carry on the truck. This means what I carry may vary from day to day depending on service calls I expect to work on that day. Some tools even only leave the shop when you expect to need them. My underground locator - is old, but I know what a new replacement costs - It doesn't need to bounce around in the truck every day when it only gets used every so often.
 

sparky1118

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
Occupation
Master Electrician
I recently bought a 14’ box truck. I went from an NV2500. The NV was a great van however it didn’t have the width I needed. So far the box truck is working out perfectly. I don’t have any regrets coming to a larger van. I highly recommend it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

JoeNorm

Senior Member
Location
WA
It would be nice to have a 10' box truck, just long enough to keep conduit inside. But those seem really hard to find.
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
My luck it would be an inch or two too short to fit 10 foot items inside.
I was told by the U-Haul truck sales person that it is extremely hard to get used 10' trucks because they get snapped up instantly (by A/C contractors he said). If I got one I would have a shop fabricate an aluminum cabover box that would add three feet for 12' ladders and conduit.
 
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