Author Topic: Best Used Minivan or similar type  (Read 5432 times)

eddiebolt

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Best Used Minivan or similar type
« on: December 01, 2014, 08:42:37 PM »
Our only car is a 2009 Scion xB manual 5-speed and we love it, but we can't put a 32 foot extension ladder on top for my new money-making career as a Home Inspector, and as long as we have to get something that is long enough to hold the ladder without more than 3 feet of ladder hanging off the back, we figure it might as well have plenty of seating for our two kids and all their bikes and stuff. We live in Philadelphia and moving is not really an option, not to mention we love it here, and most of my inspections are in the city and I have to be able to park this car in the city with the ladder on top. Still, we want the best mpg and don't plan on taking it "off road" so we don't need a lot of clearance. All these factors combined have us thinking mini-van. Besides the illustrious 2006 Mazda 5 4-cylinder manual version, what kind of mini-van or other vehicle should we buy? We've got a budget of about $2,000. I know we're probably not going to get what we want for that price, but I'm looking for suggestions on what might be considered "acceptable"?

(On the ladder rack on the xB idea, I've already considered it, there's no way I won't take out someone's windshield, the thing just isn't tall or long enough for the size ladder I need to tote everywhere.)

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6445
  • Location: BC
Re: Best Used Minivan or similar type
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2014, 09:37:57 PM »
Dodge caravan or grand caravan...  With larger than minimum size engine and over 8 yrs old...

Very common vehicle.  Very low cost to maintain.  Very large inside for hauling.  Can even put up with modest 4x4 driving on front wheel drive if you are good with limited clearance under.

Poor mpg for stopsign driving.  Okay on hwy.

Taran Wanderer

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 563
Re: Best Used Minivan or similar type
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2014, 09:50:11 PM »
Could you get a different ladder instead of a new car? $2,000 isn't much of a car budget, and a 2009 Scion is young yet. There are some 3-flight extension ladders out there than will get you prett darn close to 33' and could fit out your car. For example:

http://us.wernerco.com/products/featured-products/compact-extension-ladders

That, a Yakima or Thule rack, and a box would be far less than $2k, and the box would increase the effective size of your car like another post I've seen here on MMM.

KBecks2

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 618
Re: Best Used Minivan or similar type
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2014, 06:16:49 AM »
True, a different ladder is probably cheaper than a new car, and you can write off the ladder on your taxes.

Forcus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 714
  • Location: Central Illinois
Re: Best Used Minivan or similar type
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2014, 11:40:30 AM »
Second, I read that and my only thought was this guy needs a different ladder. I just bought a 17 or 19 foot ladder that supports 350 lbs and folds down to about a 4 foot tall by 1 foot thick package. I know they make them to 25 feet that are similar, and maybe even longer. Seems to make a lot more sense than trading in a decently mustachian vehicle.

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4016
  • Age: 28
Re: Best Used Minivan or similar type
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2014, 11:55:10 AM »
I've mentioned it in other threads about cheap cars of this nature, but:

1991-1996 Buick Roadmaster Wagon (mine pictured is a '92).  My '92 cost us $700 with 158K on it.  Beast of a car, can strap stuff to the roof, massive interior with seating for 7 (seats also fold flat to make enough room to lay an 8ftx4ft piece of plywood flat, and can tow quite a bit in case you need that.  Very much "acceptable."  20-22MPG on the highway, worse in-town.  We don't put too many miles on ours so it's not as big a deal, but it's still quite thirsty if that's a concern.
True, a different ladder is probably cheaper than a new car, and you can write off the ladder on your taxes.
You could write off the the former (the ladder), but not the latter.

eddiebolt

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Best Used Minivan or similar type
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2014, 07:07:16 AM »
RE: a different ladder, in another life I owned a small window cleaning business and used to use 6' sectional "stack" ladder for everything. I had a top and bottom piece, 3 normal "middle" pieces and one shorter 4' middle "half" piece, so I'd go 5 and 1/2 sections high with leg levelers, and could get to a lot of stuff. However, that investment is about $700-$1000 with shipping, and living in a row-home makes it difficult to store. Where we live I'm concerned the temptation to cash it in at an aluminum recycler for drug money would be too great  to leave it in the vehicle. I've also used the triple-extension style before, a great little ladder. My concern is the "little" bit. I really need maximum reach for the 3-story row homes.

We ended up going with a Craigslist deal for a 2001 Mazda MPV, online users say it averages 22mpg, not horrible for a mini-van. Paid $1350. Got the ladder and ladder rack for free from the home inspection company, and they bought me a nice U-lock to make it not worth anyone's effort to try to steal it off the top of the car. ;)

Anyone have any experience with making the clunker's slipping transmission last? I have one unscientifically verified anecdotal story from my brother-in-law about the efficacy of Lucas Oil Transmission Fix. Anyone else have luck with similar products?

Also, got a neighbor who sells a product called "Extreme Clean" which is a gas tank additive that he swears doubles his gas mileage. He gave me a free sample, so I'll probably track my mileage with normal use and then track it with the additive and see if I notice a difference. Costs $3/bottle, for use with every tank of gas. Right now I'm skeptical, but I figure I'll try the free sample.

eddiebolt

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Best Used Minivan or similar type
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2014, 07:08:53 AM »
BTW, this is the sectional ladder I used to use. Made my small window cleaning business work out of my 2000 Honda Accord, which I'd still be driving if I hadn't totaled it last year. http://www.window-cleaning-supply.com/ladder-metallic-center-piece-6/

tstache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Best Used Minivan or similar type
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2014, 08:05:13 AM »
RE: a different ladder, in another life I owned a small window cleaning business and used to use 6' sectional "stack" ladder for everything. I had a top and bottom piece, 3 normal "middle" pieces and one shorter 4' middle "half" piece, so I'd go 5 and 1/2 sections high with leg levelers, and could get to a lot of stuff. However, that investment is about $700-$1000 with shipping, and living in a row-home makes it difficult to store. Where we live I'm concerned the temptation to cash it in at an aluminum recycler for drug money would be too great  to leave it in the vehicle. I've also used the triple-extension style before, a great little ladder. My concern is the "little" bit. I really need maximum reach for the 3-story row homes.

We ended up going with a Craigslist deal for a 2001 Mazda MPV, online users say it averages 22mpg, not horrible for a mini-van. Paid $1350. Got the ladder and ladder rack for free from the home inspection company, and they bought me a nice U-lock to make it not worth anyone's effort to try to steal it off the top of the car. ;)

Anyone have any experience with making the clunker's slipping transmission last? I have one unscientifically verified anecdotal story from my brother-in-law about the efficacy of Lucas Oil Transmission Fix. Anyone else have luck with similar products?

Also, got a neighbor who sells a product called "Extreme Clean" which is a gas tank additive that he swears doubles his gas mileage. He gave me a free sample, so I'll probably track my mileage with normal use and then track it with the additive and see if I notice a difference. Costs $3/bottle, for use with every tank of gas. Right now I'm skeptical, but I figure I'll try the free sample.

So you paid $1350 to haul a big ladder and save some coin on a more expensive vehicle, but it's transmission is slipping?  Dude...that is risky.   

jgold723

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: Best Used Minivan or similar type
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2015, 01:12:50 PM »
I'm kind of surprised you can't put the ladder on the roof. A 32' extension ladder is 16 or 17 feet long, right? I used to haul my 16-foot canoe around on a Nissan Sentra without any trouble or hassles from the cops. It may be that there's a new law that would present issues with the overhang (although a Scion is about 14 feet long, so you'd only have a couple of feet off the back.