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Old 08-30-2011, 01:08 PM   #1
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Band Van: Best Gas Milage?

Hey there folks,
My band is looking to buy a new(used) van to replace our old 1993 GMC Rally (@13mpg).
We have roughly $5000 to spend without getting a bank loan. We're thinking of getting a mid-2000s Savana/Express/E-Series. However, I've recently heard of these Dodge Sprinters which apparently have great gas milage. Buying a mid-2000s Sprinter would cost roughly 8-10,000.

My question is.. If we're planning on driving across the country a few times a year and owning the van for max 4 years, would it be worth taking out a loan and buying the Sprinter? Is it really that much better on gas?

Cheers
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:41 PM   #2
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Re: Band Van: Best Gas Milage?

it seems like saving money is your bands purpose, then if your old van is still running fine, keep it. it will take forever to break even on the gas saved vs. purchase of newer van. your spending 5000 more to save gas for 4 years, which is about 1250 a year, or $312 per road trip (4) for gas savings.

if you looking for better fuel economy and dont mind about breaking even, then a sprinter is a good van to get.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:13 PM   #3
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Re: Band Van: Best Gas Milage?

Are you carrying a full PA and lights? How many people do you need to carry in the vehicle? How far are you traveling?

If you were 5 people or less in the group and didn't need a full PA/lots of other gear, you could probably easily get by with a Volvo wagon. Reliable, somewhat more expensive to repair, but they have some distinct advantages. One is that the comfort level is often a step below luxury. They are comfortable for long trips. You could keep all of your gear behind the passenger area. Not as roomy as a van, but I suspect you don't need 2 4x12 marshal cabs if you are touring. It's likely everywhere you go there is a sound system that could mic your smaller amps and make them sound just as big.
The other big advantage of a Volvo wagon is that they are rated to tow 3300#'s. Highest towing capacity of any wagons, if I remember correctly. You could spend $3k on a wagon in good shape, use the other $2k for a small enclosed trailer for the gigs you need a lot of gear for. (local gigs with your own PA)

As for fuel economy, most wagons do 22-26mpg on the highway. You can get them up around 30 if you buy an old 240 wagon. You'd have to spend some money to get it up to tip top shape, but the car would cost less than $800 to buy. Those are the best for hauling/FE.
At that percentage of savings, it could actually save you some money.

Don't forget, you can always learn to hypermile too. You can get some more mpgs out of just about any vehicle just by changing your driving habits. Not to mention FE mods!

(by the way I play music for a living)
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:04 PM   #4
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Re: Band Van: Best Gas Milage?

i dunno about hypermiling... vans are 4 barndoors slapped together with wheels...any slight breeze and your screwed haha (having to drive one from colorado to IL 4 times)

our ford aerostar gets about 23 on the highway, can find them all over for super cheap. decently reliable with the 3.0 v6 and auto trans but rust is your biggest problem.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:03 AM   #5
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Re: Band Van: Best Gas Milage?

Pulling a trailer will lower your mpg significantly.

I have a 2005 Ford Freestyle (seats 7) that can average 26 mpg on the highway. Pulling a 6 x 12 U-haul I averaged 15 mpg.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:24 AM   #6
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Re: Band Van: Best Gas Milage?

I agree, towing a trailer can hurt FE a lot. BUT, my point was that you'd only rarely have to tow locally, so you'd get the best of both worlds. Better FE (30mpg or so from the 240) for most driving, but still the option of towing a heavy trailer if need be.

I like the idea of the aerostar though! Those can be gotten on the cheap. I didn't realize the FE was that decent.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:47 AM   #7
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Re: Band Van: Best Gas Milage?

I like the idea of a Sprinter. Car and Driver magazine did a test of one back in the day. It was rated at 30 mpg on the old scale, which is not bad at all for a vehicle of its size.

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...2500-road_test
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:09 PM   #8
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Re: Band Van: Best Gas Milage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by benfrogg View Post
I agree, towing a trailer can hurt FE a lot. BUT, my point was that you'd only rarely have to tow locally, so you'd get the best of both worlds. Better FE (30mpg or so from the 240) for most driving, but still the option of towing a heavy trailer if need be.

I like the idea of the aerostar though! Those can be gotten on the cheap. I didn't realize the FE was that decent.
B
its RWD (did have an AWD version) usually the standard mid 90's ford 3.0l v6, i think they did have the bigger ford engine some years... they also had an optional 5 speed early on but got dropped later years.

its built on the ranger truck frame so its pretty diehard.

removable rear seats, plenty of room in the back for the standard version then they had the extended back version that added like 3 more feet haha.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:35 AM   #9
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Re: Band Van: Best Gas Milage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VetteOwner View Post
its RWD (did have an AWD version) usually the standard mid 90's ford 3.0l v6, i think they did have the bigger ford engine some years... they also had an optional 5 speed early on but got dropped later years.

its built on the ranger truck frame so its pretty diehard.

removable rear seats, plenty of room in the back for the standard version then they had the extended back version that added like 3 more feet haha.
my dad had a 5speed model, when it had clutch or trans issues it was almost impossable to find parts for it. But it has been 15 years ago so maybe there more parts out there now for it,
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