Vans In Snow!

 
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:43 AM   #1
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Vans In Snow!


I'm considering buying a cargo van for my next work vehicle. The problem is, I live in a relatively rural area of Wisconsin and we get quite a bit of snow/sleet/ice. I'm worried that a 2wd van won't hack it. I also don't know if a 1/2 ton awd Chevy van can handle enough weight for me and those 4x4 conversions are a little out of my price range.

Any how, every time I ask another local contractor how their van works in winter I get the old, ah it works fine. The thing is most guys around here (myself included to some degree) tend to just make things work and I want the vehicle to work WELL.

Anyone have any personal opinions to share about using vans in snowy areas? Thanks!
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:42 AM   #2
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Re: Vans In Snow!


Quote:
Originally Posted by RCT View Post
I'm considering buying a cargo van for my next work vehicle. The problem is, I live in a relatively rural area of Wisconsin and we get quite a bit of snow/sleet/ice. I'm worried that a 2wd van won't hack it. I also don't know if a 1/2 ton awd Chevy van can handle enough weight for me and those 4x4 conversions are a little out of my price range.

Any how, every time I ask another local contractor how their van works in winter I get the old, ah it works fine. The thing is most guys around here (myself included to some degree) tend to just make things work and I want the vehicle to work WELL.

Anyone have any personal opinions to share about using vans in snowy areas? Thanks!
Lots of people use them year round here in Maine

Good studded snow tires
Some quick attach chains
Portable winch or tow rope & com-a-long
Sand bucket
A shovel

Should be good to go

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Last edited by tcleve4911; 12-06-2010 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:45 AM   #3
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Re: Vans In Snow!


I started running 2wd cargo vans in the late 90's. I live in northern maine. We get a lot of snow, I mean feet apon feet. i run studded tires all the way around them and do ok. Now dont get me wrong, its far from a 4wd pickup but it will work. I tend to have alot of weight in mine so that helps alot. Usally when we have a large storm over 16" i take the day off. But as far as icy roads, light snow, my van seems to do pretty good. But i wouldnt want to go threw a winter up here without studs, thats for sure!
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:08 AM   #4
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Re: Vans In Snow!


Quote:
Originally Posted by RCT View Post
I'm considering buying a cargo van for my next work vehicle. The problem is, I live in a relatively rural area of Wisconsin and we get quite a bit of snow/sleet/ice. I'm worried that a 2wd van won't hack it. I also don't know if a 1/2 ton awd Chevy van can handle enough weight for me and those 4x4 conversions are a little out of my price range.

Any how, every time I ask another local contractor how their van works in winter I get the old, ah it works fine. The thing is most guys around here (myself included to some degree) tend to just make things work and I want the vehicle to work WELL.

Anyone have any personal opinions to share about using vans in snowy areas? Thanks!
I used to drive a pair of late 80's G20's (back in my youth, when they were new) in upstate NY delivering radiators from New Paltz to Glens Falls and west past Schenectady. Studded snows, for sure. They did pretty good when loaded, empty not as good, but doable.

The worst part was the heat, or lack thereof. Get an auxiliary heater, brrrr.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:33 PM   #5
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Re: Vans In Snow!


I'm in the great white north.

I run a one ton van with BF Goodrich M&S All Terain tires on the rear. These things are great. !

I can go almost anywhere, never been stuck.

Part of the reason is there is weight in the truck. An empty pickup will not perform well in snow either. That's why transport trucks are not bothered by it as we are - weight.

I had 3/4 tons up until this new van. !/2 ton won't carry any weight. I would opt for a least the 3/4 ton.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:51 PM   #6
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Re: Vans In Snow!


You can buy four wheel drive vans. Are there a lot of hills in your area? I've seen vans tip over in the snow around here, but we have lots of hills, and people don't know how to drive. I think if everything is flat, and you have four wheel drive winter tires then you will be fine. I just had the Blizzack tires put on my truck and they work great in the snow. You can get a fairly good price at tirerack.com.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:52 PM   #7
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Re: Vans In Snow!


Weight over the drive wheels

Good winter tires studded if possible

I run a 1/2 ton 2 wheel drive all year round while my 3/4 ton 4+4 sits in the driveway except to plow. I do carry a set of quick attach chains but have never used them.
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:14 PM   #8
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Re: Vans In Snow!


I drive a 2WD E250 and it just plain sucks in the snow. I grew up in lake-effect snow territory north of Pittsburgh, so I've had some practice.

I will echo the comments above though--keep some good weight in it and a set of chains, and you'll do fine. Can't speak for studded tires, as they've never been legal where I've lived.
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:39 PM   #9
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Re: Vans In Snow!


My old business partner had a 2wd full size van and we used to call it the toboggan. The thing was awful in the snow. Never had studded snow tires or anything on the van but I'm sure that would have helped it a bit.
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:58 PM   #10
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Re: Vans In Snow!


I drive a 2wd pickup which drives similar to a van. Rear wheel drive no weight over drive axle. I ordered the last 2 with a Posi rear, helps, but as posted above, too much snow, stay home.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:08 PM   #11
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Re: Vans In Snow!


My father runs a 2wd extended van.

He usually has around 10 60-70 pound sand bags that yu can pick up from the hardware store. He runs studded Hakkapellita tires on it, and it goes well. He keeps a set of chains in the back in case hes going up a long steep drive, or down a bad dirt road.

He will take it out in most any weather, as long as you take it easy and dont expect to drive like a 4x4 pickup, then it will do just fine.

Its obviously not perfect, but it does more than just "get by"
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:31 PM   #12
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Re: Vans In Snow!


I used to drive a Dodge B100, short little bugger with the 318/auto. Being young i did a lot of burn outs with it thus blowing the rear end. I got lucky with a replacement that had a true Posi in it. The thing was a tank in the snow after that. So IMO spending some coin on a rear locker or a good clutch posi would be well worth the investment.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:52 PM   #13
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Re: Vans In Snow!


I've driven a lot of vans in my life---The Dodges were the worst in snow--the Fords the best--

Chevy not bad--Keep weight in the truck and good tires--That is the key--

Oh, and learn how to drive in snow----Around here most of the cars that I see stuck or rolled over are 4 wheel drive SUVs---An idiot could wreck a snow mobile--Mike--
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:56 PM   #14
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Re: Vans In Snow!


They suck. I have had mine for 6 years now. Ford E350 extended which makes it longer and taller and able to catch the wind better. Going is not as bad as stopping. As with any vehicle, the driver makes a huge difference. Took me a couple winters to get used to how it handled in the snow. Good tires help but are not the cure all. I was out in mine today with not so decent tires and made it home alive with about 8" of snow throughout the day. Only one major slide and I was able to right it although it was close and required an underwear change after I made it home.
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Old 12-06-2010, 05:02 PM   #15
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Re: Vans In Snow!


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Old 12-06-2010, 06:15 PM   #16
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Re: Vans In Snow!


If you haul a trailer in the snow you will get stuck when you turn around

or back up. If you only use the van for tool and material hauling then you

will be ok until you get major snow. I had a chevy express with bald a$$

tires and got stuck alot last winter. We don't get alot of snow but I haul

a 8.5' x 16' trailer almost everyday. I bought an '08 F 350 dually 4 x4 so

this winter should be a cake walk. Good luck with your choice.

Chad
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:18 PM   #17
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Re: Vans In Snow!


I'm with festerized; 4WD

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Old 12-06-2010, 06:21 PM   #18
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Re: Vans In Snow!


Vans suck in bad weather. If you can have 4wd installed-do it.... I bought a 2wd e-350 cutaway in 07 and if I had it to do over again, I would have spent the extra money to have 4wd installed.
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:24 PM   #19
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Re: Vans In Snow!


Thanks for all the input! I wish studded tires were legal here in Wisconsin. I'm still unsure, I've gotten pretty used to my 4X4 GMC pickup. The thing I like the best about cargo vans is the relatively low price vs. a comparable 4x4 pickup. I don't know if it's worth it though.
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:28 PM   #20
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Re: Vans In Snow!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashcon View Post
If you haul a trailer in the snow you will get stuck when you turn around

or back up. If you only use the van for tool and material hauling then you

will be ok until you get major snow. I had a chevy express with bald a$$

tires and got stuck alot last winter. We don't get alot of snow but I haul

a 8.5' x 16' trailer almost everyday. I bought an '08 F 350 dually 4 x4 so

this winter should be a cake walk. Good luck with your choice.

Chad
Thanks, another good point. I do have a 7 x 14 enclosed trailer. One of my thoughts with the van was to reduce the need to haul the trailer constantly. I can see towing that sucker in 2wd in winter sucking when I will need it though.

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