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Old 01-24-2015, 10:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi folks! In the market for a new vehicle...

Hi folks, first post here but I've been reading quite a bit the last few days. I used the word vehicle because honestly I don't really care at this point in my life what I drive, be it a car, truck, van, or whatever. The only caveat is that I work in construction and regularly have to carry a scaffold from job to job.

I don't have too much in the terms of regular payload, maybe 600 to 750 pounds including myself, but the scaffold takes up quite a bit of room. We use what's commonly known as a bakers scaffold, and taken apart roughly make a 6 feet long, 32 inch wide, 8 inch tall box (to make it easy to visualize).

Anyone have ideas on vehicles that might fit my needs while keeping the cost of getting to work minimal? I've been considering a ranger or similar small truck since I have a full size truck for larger projects that it can't handle.

My full size is a 93 F250 diesel that I usually get 15-17 mpg out of, although I admit after reading here and other places for the last few days I'm sure I could increase that a bit... Driving that truck wasn't too bad when we were always working in town but we've been doing a lot of work up to 75 miles one way the last year or so. The out of town jobs don't seem to be slowing down and I've decided that a dedicated work vehicle could pay itself off so I am in the market.

I've considered little trucks, minivans, wagons (I'd love to know if my scaffold would fit into a Jetta wagon) and even regular cars with a custom roof rack. lol I know anything on the roof would kill aerodynamics, but usually we are at a job for at least 2-3 days straight so it wouldn't be there every trip...

Anyway, great site you folks have here, and regardless of what I end up doing I'm sure with the info here I'll be able to keep some of the cash in my wallet while I'm on my way to earn some more.

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Old 01-25-2015, 09:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Seems the scaffold could go on a customized aerodynamic trailer, giving you a very wide range of choices for a fuel efficient vehicle.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think a Ford Transit Connect could work, they look like they'll take 6' in the back. I too have a small van (Renault Kangoo) for day to day work and a big one for the big jobs

I'm toying with buying a trailer for the big jobs but let's face it they can be a PITA if needed on a daily basis.
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Old 01-25-2015, 01:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What about an SUV? If you get a hybrid, you get carrying capacity, passenger capacity, and decent fuel mileage. Maybe a Ford Escape Hybrid or a Toyota Highlander Hybrid? The CR-V isn't a hybrid, but gets decent mileage.
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Old 01-25-2015, 03:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakobnev View Post
Seems the scaffold could go on a customized aerodynamic trailer, giving you a very wide range of choices for a fuel efficient vehicle.
I can't believe this hadn't crossed my mind. My father used his Jeep with a trailer for years to carry the tools, but he was only getting 12 or 13 mpg.

I wonder how bad the extra load would bother some of the more efficient vehicles, because it would seem pointless to build a custom setup, and having to hassle with a trailer (oldtamiyaphile is right about the PITA) when I might could be within a handful of mpgs if I am just particular about which small truck I could get.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jeff88 View Post
What about an SUV? If you get a hybrid, you get carrying capacity, passenger capacity, and decent fuel mileage. Maybe a Ford Escape Hybrid or a Toyota Highlander Hybrid? The CR-V isn't a hybrid, but gets decent mileage.
I had thought of an SUV, but a quick search shows that to get a hybrid I might have to spend more than I'm willing to for a work vehicle. I love the thought of passing the fuel stations more often, but it seems like it would take a whole lotta miles to make up the cost of an extra 2-5 grand over something like a 2.3 5 speed Ranger for an extra 4 or 5 epa mpg. Not to mention I tend to prefer older vehicles I can work on, and have no idea how a hybrid even works mechanically, to be honest.

Something like a turn of the century CR-V or Jetta wagon might be worth the trouble, but if I'm going that route I would definitely make sure my tools would fit safely. I'm 99% sure a Prius wouldn't work for the space, or the price...

Makes me wonder if the wifes old park avenue would work for this purpose since she only drives it to work on the weekends, and it's paid for. I know it's not the typical hypermiling car, but it can cruise on the interstate all day long doing 75 getting over double what my diesel does.

And yes, I know I shouldn't be going that fast if I care about efficiency no matter what I'm in.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I vote trailer. Get a crap used one on craigslist and only pull it when you need it. You will regret buying a pickup or an SUV when gas prices go back up.
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Long bed s10 or ranger 4cyl. Will handle your scaffold easy and be easier on gas than a big truck or SUV. Otherwise I'd vote for the transit or even a minivan to be better than a big truck. Vans have massive cargo space that keeps your stuff secure and are pretty good on gas if you shop for the lower trim level ones that don't have the big engine and 12 tvs.
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Old 01-26-2015, 04:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies. I will do quite a bit more reading before I decide but I'm leaning toward a small truck at this point. It just seems counter intuitive to expect something that can get enough of a jump in mileage over a well chosen little truck to perform similarly dragging a (even aerodynamic) trailer around.

Not to mention, even if I could leave the trailer home some days, that puts me right back where I am since I could just take our car...

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