Secure Tow Vehicle - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-09-2012, 10:44 AM   #1
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Name: Miranda
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Secure Tow Vehicle

Greetings everyone,

This may seem like a dumb question since there are pros and cons to everything but if security were a large concern with a tow vehicle would a full-size work van with no back or side windows be a lot better than having a pickup with a really good fiberglass cap/topper in the back?

I'd like to get a 16 foot scamp and travel the country to sometimes go to bicycle races and I'd be carrying really expensive equipement in the back of the tow vehicle. If that equipement were to get stolen it would be difficult to replace it.

Pickup would be nice with 4wd just for year round use living in South Dakota or maybe even boondocking. Would I be really limited trying to boondock on blm land with a rwd van?

I have been researching the new Ford F150 3.7 V6 4WD reg cab and then put a nice fiberglass cap on back or maybe even a Nissan NV2500 V6 which is ugly but functional and I'd be a little more rested getting out of the drivers seat in that verses a conventional full sized van. lol Looking at functionality, versatle, and have decent fuel economy besides some degree of security
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:17 AM   #2
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We considered full sized vans as our tow vehicle for going full time. We liked the idea of having access to everything but we bought a truck and added an ARE topper. 4wd is a big issue for us since we need it to get to some put ins for kayaking. We toyed with the idea of adding 4wd to a van but it can run well over 10k. There are several commercial tops that could provide extra security but honestly everything is just a deterrent.

Our kayaking gear develops quite a stink so having it separate from the cab is nice. I doubt you have the same problem but you probably deal with quite a bit of dirt. Both vehicle types can be used as make shift sleeping quarters, the van providing a bit more space and maintenance area.

Chevy does make an AWD 1500 Van so it may be something to check out.

Good luck.

-John
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota View Post
Greetings everyone,

This may seem like a dumb question since there are pros and cons to everything but if security were a large concern with a tow vehicle would a full-size work van with no back or side windows be a lot better than having a pickup with a really good fiberglass cap/topper in the back?

I'd like to get a 16 foot scamp and travel the country to sometimes go to bicycle races and I'd be carrying really expensive equipement in the back of the tow vehicle. If that equipement were to get stolen it would be difficult to replace it.

Pickup would be nice with 4wd just for year round use living in South Dakota or maybe even boondocking. Would I be really limited trying to boondock on blm land with a rwd van?

I have been researching the new Ford F150 3.7 V6 4WD reg cab and then put a nice fiberglass cap on back or maybe even a Nissan NV2500 V6 which is ugly but functional and I'd be a little more rested getting out of the drivers seat in that verses a conventional full sized van. lol Looking at functionality, versatle, and have decent fuel economy besides some degree of security
A topper with tinted windows would be your best shot. That allows visibility while driving and privacy for your cargo.
The new F-150 has a locking tailgate which adds more security with a topper than used to be the case.They do make toppers with no side windows. Bicycle thieves are opportunists, so a little precaution is usually enough.
The real threat is to touring bikes or hybrids, which are left outside just long enough to buy a drink in the C-store.(easy pickins and even easier market)
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:28 AM   #4
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i tow my 17ft casita with a chevy 2003 full size conversion van with high top and a v8 302 engine. i have all the windows covered with bubble wrap foil to minimize cool loss so seeing out is an issue but, i L O V E the way it tows. the aerodynamics are perfect with the van being essentially the same size as the casita. we have completely stripped the inside of the van to convert it to a garage/closet/storage/extra twin bed with a/c and electrical panel...we can plug it into any campsite right along with casita for an extra bedroom. i have over 200k miles on it and will replace with another just like it if it ever gives out.
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:12 PM   #5
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Hey,

Thank you for the replies. Everyone's needs are so different and it would be nice to just have one of each. The pickup with an ARE topper which I was thinking to go boondocking for solitude plus feeling a little more free to explore with 4wd and the van for a nice mini bike shop with all my toys and gear for fun inside. The Nissan NV 3/4 ton hightop V6 would be nice but I'd like to get a sea kayak too and it would be pretty high up there being mounted what seems two stories high. Could mount it on the Scamp but I don't know if I would like additional holes in that roof.

Choices!
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:19 PM   #6
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If you're worried about your tow vehicle while in your driveway, then best bet is the garage. When is a campground, not to worry.
Parking in a store parking lot, theft could happen, but the odds are with you.

I have a locking tailgate and a canopy with tinted windows. It's been broken into once while located in my driveway. Locks were locked. One of the windows was busted out.

Know you surroundings and camping neighbors is the best thing to do. If there's a resident police officer in the campground, leave. The only time I've ever had anything stolen when camping there was a resident deputy on duty. That campground was known for problems at the time. That was about 40 years ago.
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:34 PM   #7
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We have a 1/2 ton dodge truck 4WD and a Unicover fiberglass topper with the tinted windows as Floyd suggests. One side window opens and the other window is fixed with ventilation . The side opening windows allows you to grab stuff from the front of the truck bed without crawling in from the back end over the top of everything. We store our food and clothes on the side with the window that opens for easy reach , any valuables on the side with the fixed window near the front of the truck bed. The topper grants you valuable storage space and keeps the truck cab interior and your trailer a lot cleaner . When the truck bed gets dirty I can remove my camping gear and just hose it out
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:00 PM   #8
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I use a Chevy van pulling, I would like that new Ford engine but only in a van.
Like you I carry expensive gear in the van all the time and have come to the conclusion that a pickup would not work as well for my needs.

In my case having sensitive electronics metal detectors I would worry about them being banged around, then there is the dive gear.

I am careful of where I park or stay.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:28 PM   #9
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If its high end bikes you are concerned with then you can always put a big heavy chain on them when they are in the back of the truck and secure it to a tie down point. You can also get a portable security alarm that goes off if anyone messes with the trucks cap at night.
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:04 PM   #10
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I use both a 4wd Pickup with a shell and a Sprinter van to tow with and there are pros and cons I guess with each.

Do you ride road or mountain to races?

I also do both myself and sometimes the type of bikes will help decide which vehicle as well.

I have a shell on the truck that has "Windoors" on both sides that open upwards allowing full access to the length of the bed and they lock when down.
Mine is a little different as it has French Doors on the back and thus I removed the tailgate as the doors open the entire height of the shell,very nice for locking a front fork to a QR mounted in the bed and with plenty of clearance in there. Depending on the rest of the junk I carry I could get 5 bikes in side to side by themselves close to the rear if I had to.

The problem is then there is not a lot of room to work back there ad altogether I would say the van has 3 times the space inside and gets twice the mpg too for me.
The Sprinter is not 4wd but does pretty well off road really somehow and is just a lot bigger inside allowing for a lot more flexibility.
I can easily sleep in the van and have a workbench in there too.
I have set a repair stand inside in the rain and there is room to work on a bike inside if needed which would be impossible in the pickup bed I think.

I guess it boils down to what you think you need for your style of wrenching and camping in the end.

Last week I was down in Florida and had no bike stuff with me at all and of course I bought another bike? Just too good a deal to pass on. I couldn't wait to get home to work on and ride it so I found a cheap hitch rack and used it as a stand and cleaned and tuned it up and was able to ride down there.
I don't like traveling though with the bikes outside really so I took the pedals off and slid the bike in the truck on top of all of my ladders and tools and it barely fit. I then worried about it in there the whole way back (1100 miles) and could barely get it out once home.
In the Van I could have just slid it in anywhere and bungeed it in place and away I would have gone.

Good Luck

Ed
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:42 PM   #11
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Hi Ed,

Yeah my primary passion is road and track so I'd probably travel to various velodromes in the country and check out local races. So I'd love to have a workstand so I could do maintenance or whatever and having shelter in the rain would be great. I'd carry extra wheels, time trial, road bike, pursuit, regular track bike and just a low cost town bike to save on gas and run errands. It would depend on how long I'd be gone whether how much equipment I'd bring. Maybe even mountain bike if it would work out.

Who knows. Maybe get a van 1st and get it set up it up with a good security system and eventually get a pickup also later to give more options on exploring areas where having 4wd just lessons the risk of getting stuck somewhere.

I researched the Chevy AWD 1500 Express van but if I were to get a van the Nissan NV interests me with the cab layout being more comfortable for the driver(thinking recovery between events if driving long distances) V6 for fuel economy, easier access to engine. square cargo area for more cargo options. Again it's just ugly in my opinion but very functional with great features

The Sprinter is a great van but it's much more money and I'd feel based on my useage I will shorten the life of that diesel in the winter with possibly short intown trips where that engine would never get a chance to warm up in winter plus I'd need to take in on the highway with these new diesels to clean the new emissions systems. I used to sell cars and trucks years ago right up to the timeframer the new emission standards were in place for diesels.

It seems to me Ford has the most advanced engines currently with their 6 speed transmissions on their pickups being very fuel efficient. Wish those engines and ergonomics were in the Nissan NV. lol Compromises at least for the short term.
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:57 PM   #12
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If your truck has a locking tailgate, (don't they all, nowadays?), be sure to keep it locked because the tailgate itself is a target for thieves: You'll Never Guess What Thieves Are After Now
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:46 AM   #13
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On a related note. Check your spare tire. We have a king ranch ford with nice stock alloy wheels. Had a flat tire on a trip and discovered some one had stolen the spare from underneath.

I look forward to the time our society wakes up and realizes how we are all related and to harm someone, harms ourself.

Gary
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Pomfritz
On a related note. Check your spare tire. We have a king ranch ford with nice stock alloy wheels. Had a flat tire on a trip and discovered some one had stolen the spare from underneath.

I look forward to the time our society wakes up and realizes how we are all related and to harm someone, harms ourself.

Gary
That sucks! I agree with you 100%. Several years ago my wife was leaving work and noticed someone had hit our explorer and left. We were lucky that the damage was only to the plastic fender flare but it still cost over 300 to get the part. I installed it myself to save another hundred.

-John
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