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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:03 pm 
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This may sound like an odd place to post this thread but I thought it was best to post it here to get the opinions of others in the same line of work. A member of staff is welcome to relocate the thread to the correct place in the forum if need be.

I got most tools now that a Carpenter could need with the biggest tool being my mitre saw and stand, and the longest being my spirit levels. I’m undecided what vehicle to buy for work. If I get an estate car/Astra van then my tools will fit but not much else. If I get a van such as a Connect/Expert or a Transit/Trafic, then I’ll get tools on plus materials if I ever had too.

Owning a van will be more costly to run with higher insurance premiums and is always a potential target for theft and break-ins but a car will be cheaper and not look so obvious. I could always get the windows tinted as well to hide what’s on display.

I welcome your comments and suggestions.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:33 pm 
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This is only a personal opinion, based on some limited experience.

A cheap (try FBMarketplace) second-hand Volvo V70*. Still looks smart from a distance but cheap enough to wreck, paint often tends to be peeling off so people don't want them.

With the rear seats folded (or removed & chucked) not only will you get all your tools in, you'll have access through two rear doors & the tailgate. Really comfortable, good performance.

In my case I bought some u-bolts off fleabay, drilled & bolted 63x38 cls across the roof rails to make a rack, I got some ladder clamps for a fiver from a carboot sale (cut grooves in the cls to make them fit). By using a spade bit first before drilling for the ubolts, the nuts were recessed so the rack was flat.

Without the ladder and clamps, using endless (not hooked) ratchet straps, I could carry 8x4s on the roof. Removing my tools when necessary, I could get doors, etc., in the back.

I loved it.....

* avoid anything either very high mileage or without service history. Mine blew it's turbo, £700 to fix when only paid £700 for it. Sent it for scrap but it was great while it lasted.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:50 pm 
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If you are just starting out I would second the recommendation of an estate. As you correctly noted it will cheaper to run and less conspicuous especially if you tint the windows and put some effort into hiding things in the back.

If you find you need more you can always upgrade to van later on.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:01 pm 
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Forgot to add, leather upholstery, cd player, electric windows, alloy wheels..... automatic gearbox.

Cheap, yet throw it away when it fails. A newish van will cost you much more in running costs, just don't get attached to the car & treat it as another tool to wear out. Insurance is not dear as they are considered safe.

Buy a flat cap & look the part! I did.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:05 pm 
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The other plus of car ownership is that petrol is an easier option to find. When the new charging zones come in around our major cities owning a diesel van will become a whole lot more expensive

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:46 am 
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Do what I've done and buy a tool trailer. That way you only use it when you need it and you can just use your car normally when out shopping etc rather than having to empty your car every weekend.

I've done it all. I started with a car but too small then I bought an estate car but again it was too small. Now I have a Peugeot Partner van which is still too small.

The problem is you end up leaving tools behind as you don't have the room and then find you need them when you're on a job.

A couple of months ago I was on a job and the guy asked me if I could install skirtings while I was there. I had to drive a round trip of 110 miles to get my mitre saw which I left due to my van being loaded to the gunnels.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:09 pm 
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ive got a van. i useed to work out of a ford mondeo but it did my head in. now no way could i fit my festool kapex in a mondeo. plus i have van vault etc in mine.

i drive a renault master on a 2012 plate. however..... its fond of a drink. my dads transit van gets about 27mpg mine is currently hovering around 22-23 mpg

ive also in 18 months ish of owning it had to have the gearbox rebuilt, clutch, flywheel, crank oil seal, brake discs and pads, tyres, clutch master cylinder, handbrake cables... and now it needs the steering column uj replaced coz its crunching when i turn the wheel. the ignition barrell is knackered and i can pull the key out with the engine running :lol: and er,,,, something else that ive forgot about needs fixed too. its done 120k miles like i suppose. and anything second hand is gonna need some amount of putting right. my dad recently had to pay out £1200 to get his 63 plate transit through its mot with brake lines, engine mounts and brakes being the main problems


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:56 pm 
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Argyll wrote:
Do what I've done and buy a tool trailer.

Depends on where you work, really. Try working in the average city centre, like Manchester, and I think that would go awry pretty quickly (parking, security, etc). Not saying it won't work for some folk, though, especially as the right trailer could also carry sheet material, etc

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:21 am 
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Part of the choice must come down to the nature of the work involved. If it's only labour then it's just personal kit and a car or estate would be fine. It's only when one has to start moving materials about that a van comes into its own . I have a transit and must have a lighter foot because I get close to 40mpg . I used to have an LDV pilot with the Perkins engine that returned over 40mpg. I also have a couple of trailers . One isn't for work , it's for my re-enactment and stays loaded , and the other is a general purpose thing that's currently full of hedge trimmings. Either way and whatever is used it's a good thing to empty it everrry night , take all your tools into the house and fit deadlocks to the doors, don't rely on factory fitted locks . I have noticed there's a growing trend for tradesmen to lock the cabs of their vans and leave the rear open. Says the thieving scumbags trashing the doors to get in.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:34 pm 
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Depends on where you work, really. Try working in the average city centre, like Manchester


Very true and it's something I don't really think about much living in Falkirk. It's something i'd check on Google maps if I was ever venturing to Glasgow or Edinburgh.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:57 pm 
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Suzuki Super Carry 1.3 petrol - best van I’ve ever owned / driven. Paid £400 for it and sold it for £500 two years later, wish I had kept it. Cab lovely and warm in the winter (you’re sat on the engine), park it anywhere, surprisingly nippy, and actually an amazing carrying capacity.


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