I’m leaving for a tour to Maine on Thursday. It took a while but I found a van to go on the journey with me. This is my fifth band vehicle. I had a few minimum requirements for the van:
1) Six feet length minimum in the cab
2) Under $4000
3) Under 150,000 miles
4) Timing belt changed (if needed), plugs changed is a bonus
5) Mid-20′s highway mileage
6) 3rd row stowaway seating, 2nd row stowaway a plus
7) One or two owners max with good maintenance
8) Tinted windows
This helped eliminate plenty of potentials but it also made the search a bit more prolonged than I wanted. The initial goal was to have the van several weeks ago so I had time to build a loft in the back. In hindsight, I’m glad the timing didn’t work out because I had plenty of other more important items to check off the list and, if after several thousand miles together we realize we are not cut out to be together, I can re-list on craigslist without too much hassle or regret of over-building.
I bought a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan that fit all the requirements. On the drive back from the previous owner’s place in Sanford, I had the A/C full blast while traveling between 55-60 mph. I figured the mpg was about 24 on the highway.
The cab has a ton of room, well over six and a half feet in length. This picture doesn’t do it justice.
I did not permanently take the seats out yet (just stowed them in the floor for now). If this van works out after the Maine trip, I’ll remove the 2nd and 3rd row seats completely so I can have storage in the floor for food or thrift store finds. Removing the weight of the seats will also improve the fuel economy. For every 75-100 lbs I can eliminate, I’ll improve the mpg by 1%. Chances are the seat removal will only balance out the extra weight of wood and musical gear that I’ll be putting into it but as long as it gets a robust mid-20′s, I’ll be happy.
I only have a few concerns. The rear tires have little tread left and seem like they wore more on the rim rather than the tread. I’m about to take it to get a new pair. Maybe it’s not that big of a deal.
Everything is pretty much exactly the way I want it…except for the smell of dirty socks when I put on the A/C. I tried changing the Cabin Filter but this model was not built with an easy access hatch. I’ve done some venting and sprayed some Lysol. Hopefully that’s all it takes. On the plus side, though there’s no easily accessible Cabin Filter, the driver’s side has a Customized Mailbox Finder.]]>