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Randy S

Converting from Truck to Van

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Randy S

I've been hunting/working out of the same F-150 for 13 years now and feel as if she's on borrowed time. My only complaints with new pickups are the price, the cabs keep eating up box space and the trucks keep getting taller. I have nearly convinced myself that a pickup is no longer the best rig for hunting. Other than the manliness of a pickup, I can't see the advantage of a truck with cap over a van. I'm in my 60's now and proved manliness a long time ago. It's time to be practical. 

 

To those of you who own or have hunted out of a van, what are the do's and don'ts in purchasing or fitting a van.

 

Thanks to anyone with advice!

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max2

I bet an all wheel drive mini-van would be a good option.  I am interested to see what the folks think also.

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Craig Doherty

Make sure the dogs that are riding in the back of your van stay away from skunks and don't role in any dead stuff.  Seriously, if you want to downsize from a full size truck I would suggest going to a smaller truck like a Tacoma.  

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terrym

Not many 4wd options with vans if that is a necessity for you. There are advantages to keeping dogs warm in winter or cool in summer. Have you considered a Suburban or full size SUV? Not that they are cheap though. 

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salmontogue
2 hours ago, max2 said:

I bet an all wheel drive mini-van would be a good option.  I am interested to see what the folks think also.

It is a fine option unless you need ground clearance.  Once off-road, minivans have limitations on rough terrain and rutted roads...

Perk

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Hub

Ford E Series has a 4x4 full size van.  I don't think they still make them, but  I see a few of them going down the road still.  Dealing with skunked dogs, dogs that find and roll in dead stuff, and loading dead bear and deer into the back of a van don't sound like fun to me though.

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snapt

Buddy had a pile of kids and went from a Tundra to an AWD Sienna. Said the Sienna is better in snow but otherwise misses the ground clearance mightily. 

 

I got hit by a drunk driver a few years back that totaled my Nissan Frontier (RIP), picked up a used Honda Element (I expect you all to be laughing now....) out of necessity of having a vehicle ASAP and being dirt cheap. Took the back seats out and its like having a truck with a cab on. Lots of room to sleep in, built out a platform for that. I put on bigger tires to help add a little more ground clearance, and after some minor damage on a fire road had a skid plate installed. Interior is made of rubber, I can literally hose it out, and park on an incline and let it drain. The car it gutless, but I haven't gotten any speeding tickets in it...AWD + snow tires makes it unstoppable come winter. 

 

If willing to look used Ford E series as noted is popular, I see a lot of the Chevy/GMC Astro/Safari's in AWD around here as well as the older Toyota Previas which have a bit of clearance to them.

 

If money is no object then just go for a 4x4 Sprinter and be the envy of all your friends. 

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SARGENT

I hunt out of minivan when I don't need clearance which is most of the time.  I keep to gravel and watch where I park so that I can get out.  My hunting partners have trucks with toppers so if the weather looks bad we go with the truck.  I am also lucky enough to be able to borrow a truck on short notice if I am going solo and the terrain or weather is going to be questionable, I did this one time last year. The positives are the gas mileage, comfortable for you and the dog, you can keep an eye on the dogs and the temps, lots of space with the back empty, lower to the ground for you and the dogs to get access.  Negatives are the clearance, the dogs are in the same area as you if you run into skunks or have a loud dog on your string and not having the ability to pull someone out of trouble.  Good luck.

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Wyo

as long as you strayed from getting a generic white mini van and kept away from schools and the Washington beltway, you should be fine :) 

 

I concur with the others regarding clearance on a mini van. Randy, from your posts I take it that you're a man that likes to get off the beaten path...many areas would be just plain a no-go with a mini van. I vote for an SUV

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walt lister

Bought my first van in 1973, on my fourth one now. Between vans I had a pickup/camper for a while. Also had motorhome, travel trailer.

Took my first 1973 Chevvy short van lots of out of the way places and didn't have much clearance trouble after I put bigger tires on. Was wary of mud though, still am!

 

 

 

2011 E-150 with the 5.6 V8. 15/16mpg on trips and LOTS of room. Bought this as a year/end sale item that was highly discounted. I've

 been told that the lift kits for pickups will work on the vans. Same suspension.

P1010531.jpg

 

1995 E-350 I bought and had converted to 4 whl drive. Made the mistake of getting it with the small V-8, not enough power especially at high altitude.

The white tank on top held water. Made a good shower.

These guys did the conversion---- http://advanced4x4vans.com/

van1001.jpg

 

Vans work well for me since I usually camp less than a few days.

 

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polecat

Not many options in a 4wd unless you build a Quigly  or Pathfinder Chevy stopped making their AWD cargo a fews back.There were still a couple white ones on a lot in Ohio last year.

 

P.S. I just checked AWD is available as an option for 2016 on chevy 1500.

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Randy S
1 hour ago, Wyo said:

as long as you strayed from getting a generic white mini van and kept away from schools and the Washington beltway, you should be fine :) 

 

I concur with the others regarding clearance on a mini van. Randy, from your posts I take it that you're a man that likes to get off the beaten path...many areas would be just plain a no-go with a mini van. I vote for an SUV

 

Yeah, one of the guys I work with said, "if I saw a van pull onto my ranch road, I'd lock up the kids and get my rifle!"

 

I'm thinking a cargo van but even then the ground clearance is an issue. Looked at lift kits, but mechanics say they only raise the body, wheel suspension is still the same. Say the only way you can get increased full clearance is with bigger tires. I like the idea of the bed being closer to the ground for dogs. Everything is a trade. 

 

I hunt mostly in the pheasant/sharptail belt and have never been stuck hunting even for the ten years I drove a two-wheel drive pickup. I am more careful than most, and walk into the really rough stuff. It's humiliating for me to have to ask for help, so I'll hoof it in and out rather than just out. I only hunt chukar in the good years and then I can find birds close to gravel/blacktop. I know it's a cheap philosophy for someone with my aspirations for killing birds, but I'm a minimalist at heart. 

 

I have an aluminum utility trailer with boxes and a freezer and still room for the kennels if a dog gets skunked.

 

Polecat - Thanks! I'll look at the new 1500's. 

 

Thanks everyone!

 

 

 

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walt lister
4 hours ago, polecat said:

Not many options in a 4wd unless you build a Quigly  or Pathfinder Chevy stopped making their AWD cargo a fews back.There were still a couple white ones on a lot in Ohio last year.

 

P.S. I just checked AWD is available as an option for 2016 on chevy 1500.

 

See-----   http://advanced4x4vans.com/

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max2
23 hours ago, Craig Doherty said:

Make sure the dogs that are riding in the back of your van stay away from skunks and don't role in any dead stuff.  Seriously, if you want to downsize from a full size truck I would suggest going to a smaller truck like a Tacoma.  

Same thing in front of a pick-up .(The smells)  Nice thing about a van  would be everything is inside & right there for the overnight trips.

 

20 hours ago, salmontogue said:

It is a fine option unless you need ground clearance.  Once off-road, minivans have limitations on rough terrain and rutted roads...

Perk

Here where we hunt clearance would not be an issue. (AWD is more for  weather)

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bobman

E350 s have as much or more clearance as a stock  pickup and used vans can be purchased for little money

 

Put a lock-rite locker by Richmond gear or better yet an OK locker in the rearend and and some good mud and snow times and use some common sense and you wont get stuck.

 

I've been hunting out of full size vans for 35 years they are much more practical than a pickup truck. I buy used clean 15 passenger window vans and only leave one back seat in them and can carry 6 large dog boxes and gear of 5 guys all out of the weather and safely locked up at night.

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DSC02260.jpg

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