Discussion in 'My Ride' started by warthog1984, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Well-Known Member

    The 15 pax Ram Wagon my family daycare uses for shuttle runs toasted the entire powertrain yesterday. Engine, tranny, the works. After getting the repair estimate, we decided to look at replacing it.

    We looked at the Dodge/Mercedes Sprinter, getting 30MPG. However, it only seats 12 and from experience those 3 extra seats make a huge difference on both shuttle runs and field trips. No go :(

    Serendipitously, the local government fleet just ran out the lease on their Chevy 15 pax Wagons. After finding out the dealer had one left, we went to look.

    4 hours later, we have an '03 Van with working A/C that has factory installed 15 pax seating and according to the EPA, should use ~5-8% less gas (15 vs 14). As we have been using 100-135 gal/month, this will make a fair dent in the fuel bill compared to the old van.:D

    Yes, its still a FSP, but for our needs it seems to be the most effective and most FE option out there. And that's good.
  2. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Well-Known Member

    Re: WOOHOO! New Van is Saving Gas!


    After talking with my dad, he said that the old van was slipping the tranny and that we might get significantly (10-15+ %) better gas mileage with this one.
  3. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    I think you are right about the better mpg.I currently have a high mile-199,000-1998 Suburban with the older 5.7 motor.Your van is probably the new 5.3 or maybe a 6 liter motor.In any case the Chevys/GM get pretty decent mpg considering the size,and the drivetrains are surprisingly sturdy.Now the trim elements-pretty much everything but the drivetrain-can be a bit dinky,and they will rattle, but you can expect good service from your GM.
    Dodge-unfortunately-has become famous for their pitiful auto trans.A while back-5 years or so-their minivans trans commonly crapped out at 60,000 miles.
    The 15 mpg must be highway,right?
    I would love to get one of those 5 cyl or 6 cyl TDI Sprinters, but the cost-$35000 new for a stripped one-makes that impossible.Used-mainly the 2.7 5 cyl with 100,000 miles -they still sell for close to $20,000.
    You made a good choice.
    PS-The GOV ones are a good bet;they get routine,documented maintenance(heck,they aren't paying for them,so why not spend the $$ to properly maintain it)
  4. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Well-Known Member

    Actually, 15 MPG is combined. 14/18 for the Chevy 5.3 vs 12/17 for Dodge 5.9 or 13/18 for the 5.2. Granted, that's the 2500 5.3 instead of the 3500 6.0, but still, the trend is good.

    We'll see how the fuel bills are after a couple months.

    The Sprinter would have been great, and the better FE could've wiped out the extra $ on the note, but oh well. Maybe they'll stretch it on of these days.

    Side Note- The 3500 has a longer wheelbase= more stability.
  5. 99HXCivic

    99HXCivic Well-Known Member

    Are you a big breeder with an 8+ person family? Why would you need such a big vehicle?
  6. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Well-Known Member

    80+ kids in the center, 8 school stops, and fieldtrips.:rolleyes:
  7. Nikki

    Nikki Well-Known Member

    Many daycare centers around here pick up elementary school kids & keep them until parents get off work. Folks who actually need and use a large vehicle at least 6 days a week.
  8. -mr. bill

    -mr. bill Senior Member

    You don't have a FSP.

    Average passenger load of 13 * 15 MPG = 195 PMPG. (Passenger Miles Per Gallon.)

    Consider that beats the best Insight on the fuel logs even if it always had the passenger seat full.

    (FWIW, that breeder question is deeply offensive on so many levels. Biting my tongue. Sheesh.)

    -mr. bill
  9. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    99HXCivic, this is a perfect example of why we shouldn't be so quick to jump to conclusions when we see someone driving a FSP. FSP's are not inherently bad when used properly. Even if you see an FSP with the driver only it could be that they are just beginning a run or have just finished. Also, I'm not sure it's our place to judge the size of a person's family either.
  10. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Well-Known Member


    We put the Van to work. After 2 months, we're filling up the same times as we used to, but the smaller tank means 12% less gas going in. So the FE is quite a bit better, even if the price increases mean the fuel bill is the same.:woot:
  11. kwj

    kwj I hypermiled this

    Gotta agree with Bill and Diamond Larry, I am guilty of an attitude against FSPs, although in my defense, my angst is mostly directed towards those driven by apparent maniacs, not the responsible FSP driver in the right lane doing the limit.

    Obviously, some need a larger vehicle for valid reasons. My responsibility is to drive what ever I'm blessed with, in a fashion that gets the best MPG I can achieve. I'm certain that even in the FSP, Warthog feels and does the same. We do what we can with what we've got.

    What would be cool would be if Warthog started logging the data on the new bus.
  12. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    So you are pleased with the FE the GM is giving? I figured you would be;for some reason the Dodges are back of the pack FE wise,and the GMs-especially the 5.3-usually lead the pack in 1/2-1 ton fuel economy.

    I'm not sure how GM does so well with what is considered "old tech"-a 2 valve pushrod motor and old tech 4 speed auto, but they do.Their 5.3 in vans etc-is usually rated as well as their 4.3 V-6,and always better than the 4.8 V-8.You probably have the 5.3-judging from FE-and not the 6.0,I guess.

    GM has their problems, but not with the basic small block drivetrain. If Suburbans drop enough in price,I'll sell my 98,and upgrade to the better FE of the 5.3.Looks like I'm slowly rebuilding my entire vehicle-radiator,waterpump,belt tensioner,brake booster all in the last 2 months-On the bright side-parts are cheap-just $400 for all 4,and all but the booster were new-not rebuilt.

    It will be cheap to keep running.

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