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I'm in the market for a used diesel van

Hello, all. Happy to be here. I am a musician, so please don’t hold that against me. I am in the market for a used diesel van, for touring purposes. Could anyone give me some pointers on what to look for and how much I should be looking to spend? Also, if anyone knows anything about biodiesel, any and all information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Dodge/MB made diesel Sprinter van a while back, they were pretty expensive for what you got. Ford stopped making diesel Econolines a couple years back. The older 7.3L Powerstroke are considered superior to the 6.0L powerstrokes. The last GM diesel van came out in 2002, I don’t think Dodge ever made a diesel Ram van.

So you’re pickings are going to be pretty slim.

Musician = poor but want’s to spend money ;p
( Me, a bass playin’ weekender 1970 thru 2001 )

Why a diesel ? Anything out of warranty will cost you big bucks to fix. Anything IN warranty will cost you to puchase.

We didn’t tour per-se’ but weekending here in the four corners put on some miles. WE liked having a trailer best after all the tries at buses or vans.
Any band member could tow it to maximise scheduling and it could be parked loaded to maximise mpg of our vehicles.

“I am in the market for a used diesel van, for touring purposes.” and inexpensive to boot…
Who isn’t. There may be a used one out there that belonged to a contractor but it’s either A, too expensive or B, beat to heck. If B then the repairs on a diesel are more than you can afford.
I would look for the best buy in any kind of a van. I’m assuming it’s the 3/4 ton GMC/Chevy cargo van or Ford equivalent. If you go gas, your chances of getting a good deal go up exponentially. We aren’t in Europe and good use diesels are hard to find.

If you’re after a diesel for fuel economy purposes, look for an older (early 2000’s) Ford Econoline with the gas V6. That sucker got 19mpg highway AND city. That’s killer for a van. I was irritated when Ford decided everyone needed to drag race their vans and killed the v6 in favor of the v8s.


The 4.6L V8 gets marginally better fuel economy than the 4.2L V6 in the Econline. The 4.6L doesn’t have to work as hard to get the van moving.

I agree. In c trucks I have owned that were used infrequently but always under heavy load when they were, the overall economy was better with the larger motor. Using it also as a commuter could be different.

I guess I should start being more specific. A friend of mine in another band uses a diesel which they converted to vegetable oil usage. It’s one of those mini buses/public transportation for the handicapped. He says it’s doing wonders, but they also haul a trailer with all their gear in it, with the room in the van for “living space.” These reasons are why we need a diesel… hauling and cheaper fuel (in the long run). I believe if we can get the rest of the band to commit their money, we’ll be able to get something suitable. Thank you for your comments. I will keep them in mind when looking.

It sounds like you should be looking for a surplus short yellow school bus, like your friend has. Different companies and municipalities dispose of their surplus machinery in different ways, but many of them dispose of them as soon as the warranty runs out.

Where I used to live (Jacksonville, FL), there is a guy who owns a business where he sells nothing but old police cruisers. Find out whether the school bus drivers in your area are city employees or if they work for a contractor. Then find out how the city or contractor disposes of surplus short buses. You might be able to buy one directly or at an auction.

You can also find diesel powered RVs in the classified ads in the local newspaper. Sometimes RV dealerships have one or two relics on the lot from the 1980s or the 1990s. One of them might be a diesel.

What about an Isuzu NPR with a Crew Cab? There are two examples below. The white one (2003) is $23,500. The crew cab has room for 5 and you could put a sleeping compartment in the back if you wanted to; still with room for your gear.

Regardless of the potential savings of using diesel to burn “veggie oil”, using organic fuels like this for non commercial use is fraught with potential problems. Like…,…don’t let your vehicle sit for any length of time with this stuff in your system; flushing with regular diesel I understand is important if it’s not a daily user.

Stay far away from the M B Sprinter. Own three of them. Great milage but a reliability nightmare. Repairs cost me about what I save on fuel.

dagosa, when they tested using peanut oil in one of the diesel commuter trains in South Florida, and other veggie oil in some commercial trucks, they found it actually had good lubricating properties, and its use meant they could extend service intervals.