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Posted: 26 September 2010 07:30 PM   [ Ignore ]
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What kind of install vehicles are you guys running? Vans, trucks, sprinters, box trucks?  It seems like the ideal vehicle would be a sprinter or box truck because of the size and ability to stand up and work in the truck if need be.  Very interested; let’s see some responses.

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Posted: 26 September 2010 08:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Right now we deploy full size Dodge Cargo Vans (before the sprinter) but have experience across a few platforms. The cargo van seems like the staple and has major advantages. Those being security, extensive aftermarket for storage, as large as you can get without being beyond average height or width, ability to tow if needed. Fuel mileage doesn’t tend to be that great and many of the used models were outdated before they even came out. It seems only within the last 3-5 yrs did we see major overhauls from all the manufacturers. So this means terrible handling, fit and finish, and ergonomics.

The Sprinter is an obvious upgrade to the average cargo van with better efficiency and use of interior space. They tend to be rather expensive which is the only reason we don’t have any in use (yet.) If I was in the market it would be between the AWD diesel Sprinter and AWD Chevy Express. Having owned one before I can say the Chevy Express vans are surprisingly great handling vehicles and have some decent powertrains. The AWD is unstoppable in low-traction situations and the ergonomics were very well thought out. They are also just a bit larger than older cargo vans for more storage.

Cube vans or box vans can be a great asset. Very clumsy to drive around but you can literally take the whole shop with you. Also maximum signage space. We used to use one for prewires only where material could be rather extensive. They make a lot of sense from a utility standpoint but if you need a multi-purpose van where you are meeting with clients one day and in the field the next it doesn’t always look professional (IMO) and they aren’t the best commuters.

Pickup trucks are great for inclement weather but seem to sacrifice convenience for tool retrieval and other in the field duties like if you had to rattlecan a speaker at the last minute out of the weather. I have used one modified with a pull-out bed and canopy and that worked well but still not the same as a cargo van. Also couldn’t fit the really large displays.

The only body style I have never tried is a compact such as the Mini or HHR. If you handle less material probably a good choice. But It doesn’t seem like one could fit any larger than a 42” display which is a deal-breaker for me.

Long story short, my favorite choice is probably the AWD Express. The sprinter is admittedly better but bang for buck I’m not sure you can beat the Express. I have used the “Access” version of the Express which has pneumatic access panels that you can pop out with the key fob and access tools or material without ever getting in. Interested to see what other pros think.

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Gorge Audio/Video
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Posted: 27 September 2010 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I figured the cargo van would be the most common. If you don’t mind, what does your whole fleet consist of?
Also, what aftermarket customization have you done and what tools and materials do you carry?

I know I’m asking a lot. Thanks.

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Posted: 28 September 2010 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Toyota extra cab long bed pickup.  Convenient on many levels, a pain to deal with loading/unloading tools.  Great when needing to deliver a lot of equipment and the weather is clear (Souther California - usually not a problem)  Like the gas mileage too.  Seats 4 realistically, tight for the 2 in the back.  This is a nice secondary and backup to the following:

Best setup so far for actual install work: Ford E250 long bed with built in shelves.  There have been very few occassions where this vehicle was not enough for the task.  Seats only 2, but 95% of our work better be done with only 1 or 2 guys.

I like the idea of a box truck - the only time it’s been needed is for setting up live events.  But we get the rigging, stage, etc. from a shop that has a box truck and delivers.

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Morgan Harman
Volutone
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Posted: 28 September 2010 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I completely agree with Morgan. We also use Ford E250’s with the built in shelves to get the job done. It may only seat 2 people comfortably, but if extra installers are needed to complete a job, they just follow in their own vehicles. The van/truck fits a ton of equipment, they also include roof top ladder racks as standard equipment, and require only basic maintenance. However, they suck in the snow unless you have a heavy full load of equipment/gear.

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Posted: 28 September 2010 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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What about taking a page out of Geek Squad’s book and try loading everything into Black and White VW Beetles and letting the FireDog chase your car down the street?  They are the leaders in our market right?  Follow their lead and you can make 2 points on hardware and immasculate yourself delivering it all at the same time!

Mark C

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Best and God Bless,

Mark Coxon

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”-Arthur C. Clarke

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Posted: 29 September 2010 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Mark,
Now that’s funny! Good job-

Dave

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Posted: 29 September 2010 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Does anyone run a Smart Car or Scion for basic service and tune-ups?

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Posted: 29 September 2010 10:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I’m going to try a vespa for service calls.  Let’s see… laptop, butt set, toner, hand tools… how big is the storage?  And wrapping a vespa has got to be pretty cheap.

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Posted: 04 October 2010 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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328 views and only 8 replies? Come on, guys.  What is everyone driving?

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Posted: 06 October 2010 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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My CEPro email said this was a popular forum…Really?  I figured everyone was discussing vehicle technology.  Guess I got snooped.  FWIW: My preference is my GMC Sierrra (professional grade) and a 5x8 box trailer.  Would love to have a ‘fleet’, but its just not the current agenda.

RH

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Posted: 06 October 2010 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Ford Transit Connect.  Lots of space, gets into apartment underground parkades, great on gas

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Posted: 06 October 2010 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Igor Kivritsky - 06 October 2010 09:20 AM

Ford Transit Connect.  Lots of space, gets into apartment underground parkades, great on gas

Those transits look pretty small but maybe there is more than what meets the eye.  Can you fit everything you need into one?

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Posted: 07 October 2010 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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We can fit 90% of what we need into a Transit.  For the big jobs we hire a local logistics company who bring a 5 ton with a lift gate.  That way my guys also don’t have to break their backs carrying 300lb speakers down stairs.  The few hundred bucks it costs to hire the logistics company is nothing compared to the gas savings we get with the Transits.

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Posted: 08 February 2011 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I have had them all. Started with a pickup, box truck, astro van, full size van, cab chassis with service body and then found the best…my 2007 Sprinter. The only thing it’s missing is AWD. I get 19mpg, have never run out of room, and I can pull up to any job and look very professional. It is super comfortable for long drives out of state and in bad weather everything is kept dry and clean. It is expensive but well worth the investment. I built shelves down both sides and leave the center open for equipment. My 6 ft ladder and little giant stand up easily inside the back doors. I have installed a power inverter to charge batteries and run tools and equipment. I have an auxiliary battery and solar panels on the roof to keep it charged (runs my fridge). I have had this van since new and love it.

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Posted: 30 June 2011 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Dodge ram mega cab 4x4 diesel. With Bed cap.

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