Almost OT. Suitable van for dirt bikes

Discussion in 'Australian Motorcycles' started by Rod Bacon, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. Rod Bacon

    Rod Bacon Guest

    I'd like some advice from those with experience please. My 2 boys (4
    and 6) now both ride dirt bikes, and I occasionally take my old TT600
    to club events so I can ride (chug around) with them. I also have a 3rd
    son, and I've just been voted in as the President of our club, so I can
    see a long future of transporting bikes to club events.

    I want to simplify the whole transport thing by getting an old, cheap
    van to chuck bikes and gear in.

    As cheap is the operative word, I'm thinking of an old Ford Transit, or
    a Mazda E LWB. I really need to know from people who've done similar
    things. The main query I have is about the bike carrying capacity of

    Any other sensible model suggestions would also be appreciated. I am
    also considering an enclosed bike trailer, but this doesn't seem quite
    as convenient to me (trailer storage is a problem for me, but vehicle
    storage is not).
    Rod Bacon, Jul 19, 2006
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  2. Rod Bacon

    J5 Guest

    old cheap vans are usually shitboxes
    Ford Tragic , unreliable expensive euro trash

    Mazda thristy fuckers in petrol form
    Trailer storage is usefual as can leave the bikes in there and a clamp on
    the trailer
    and saves buying another vehicle unless you really need a van

    also cheaper to buy a trailer and cheaper on the rego

    ask any dirtbike boy what van they use and its always a Toyota Hiace as they
    go forever
    and reliable
    J5, Jul 19, 2006
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  3. Rod Bacon

    Rod Bacon Guest

    I appreciate this. I don't mind doing a bit of work to it.
    The ones I'm looking at have either a 302 or a crossflow 4.1 engine,
    mated to a C10 auto or celica 5-speed. I'm not overly concerned about
    the original mechanicals.
    This I can also appreciate.
    Rego, definately. Trailer, about the same price as a shitbox van,
    If you're riding on your own, or 2 bikes at a pinch. I don't think
    there's enough room in a HiAce to accomodate 3 bikes.

    Thanks for the feedback.
    Rod Bacon, Jul 19, 2006
  4. I've got a Mazda E2000 LWB in which I can carry 3 road bikes or
    probably 4/5 dirt bikes. Have "Eye" bolts anchored to the floor where
    the bikes are tied down. 2 facing forward, front wheels against the
    bulkhead and the 3rd in backwards.
    Use 2 tie down straps on the front of each and 2 on the rear.

    Have carried bikes as far as Melb to Syd with no probs apart from not
    enough horsepower.
    E2000 is Petrol/LPG and gutless going up hills on LPG so switch to

    Paid $3500 for the van 4 years ago and it's got Michelin steel belted
    radials (new when I bought it) which after 80,000 kms are still legal
    on the front but need replacing and the rears will go another
    30,000kms - run 45psi.

    On petrol it's a bit thirsty if you push it, but on LPG it halves my
    costs, other than possible valve probs in the future because it wasn't
    dedicated with LPG therefore doesn't have hardened valve seats.

    It's got a 3 seat fold down in the back and 3 seats across the front.
    All with seat belts.

    Have considered selling it, but what would I replace it with for
    similar money although I might be lucky to get $2000 for it now.

    No I'm not offering it for sale.


    Kind regards
    Dave Milligan
    Dave Milligan, Jul 19, 2006
  5. Rod Bacon

    Rod Bacon Guest

    Thanks dave. That's exactly what I was after. I had assumed that fuel
    usage and guts would both be crapola in a E2000, but I can live with
    that. Did they come in a diesel?
    Rod Bacon, Jul 19, 2006
  6. Rod Bacon

    G-S Guest

    I think the diesel version was the E2200. Same body, different motor.

    There was also an earlier version (E1800) and short wheelbase version
    (E1400) and the long wheel base version came in single and dual rear
    wheel versions.

    The dual rear wheel version gives you a flat floor but a bad ride and
    high tyre wear. The single rear wheel version gives you wheel arch
    intrusion into the load space but a better ride and better tyre wear.

    Ford also sold these as the 'Econovan' which is just a rebadged version
    of the Mazda one (they are often cheaper though).

    We had an E1400 and repowered it with a 2.4 litre import motor and it
    went 'quite well' after that :)

    G-S, Jul 19, 2006
  7. Rod Bacon

    J5 Guest

    petrol 324k for 63 litres

    yes thats bone dry in a new ECONOvan (mazda clone)
    J5, Jul 19, 2006
  8. Rod Bacon

    BT Humble Guest

    You'll appreciate it even more with a 4 or 5 litre motor in it! The
    E2000/Econovan will give about 6km/l if my truck is anything to go by
    (although the van is probably a bit lighter & relatively slightly more
    A trailer behind your non-shitbox car is probably less likely to leave
    you stranded (assuming of course that your dirtbikes are unregistered).
    The Econovan LWB truck would suit you then, except you need a long ramp
    & it's less secure. Mine has a flat tray 1.8m wide & 3m long.

    Incidentally, I'm heading up to Goulburn/Tarago from Melbourne on the
    28th (meeting J5 to deliver his postie bike). If anyone has anything
    to be delivered/returned, let me know. I can go via Canberra if

    BT Humble, Jul 19, 2006
  9. Rod Bacon

    J5 Guest

    usually it means a lot of work , motors arent cheap re BTHumble not long ago
    in that case the Tragic is prob your best bet as they are a huge van and
    actually not bad to drive
    trailer doesnt depreciate or require maintenance , or break down
    prob not
    J5, Jul 19, 2006
  10. Rod Bacon

    IK Guest

    Yeh. Econovan is a contraction of "Economical? No. Van."
    IK, Jul 19, 2006
  11. Hi Geoff
    Is the diesel a straight swap? i.e. does is fit on the same mounts?

    I'm thinking of repowering mine. It's (probably) got a partly blown
    exhaust valve. Well that's my opinion. It's not an LPG dedicated
    engine and therefore has non LPG hardened valve seats. I'm assuming
    that, because of a compression test done 8 months ago and one cylinder
    was down by 25%, a fucked exhaust valve is the culprit.

    Rest of the motor seems sound - not that I'm an expert. Gearbox is a
    little hard to move from 2nd to 3rd at times but that's probably just
    worn selectors.

    Do tell. What was the 2.4. Diesel or Petrol? Did it go straight in?
    and how much moola?

    My other option is take my van (with 3 bikes inside) to NZ in my next
    ex Melb shipment and get a mate (who's a Mazda wrecker) to put a
    reconditioned Mazda unit of some description in it. That might be my
    cheapest option.

    It would be back before New Year and I wouldn't be without it too

    Kind regards
    Dave Milligan
    Dave Milligan, Jul 20, 2006
  12. Look for a Toyota Commuter Bus 1988 is best , the Commuter engine is very
    torquey eg; very good in mud except in reverse , you just need to remember
    this when parking . All the floor is accesseable underneath for tiedown
    points bolts and for max safety I welded 32mm x 3mm x 70 mm long angle
    attach points to 22 mm x 1.6 mm tube at 400 spacing and pop rivoted to the
    window ledge stiffening section , this goes full length down the drivers
    side and stops at the sliding door on the off side . The Commuter is a real
    pleasure to drive and is five speed g/box .
    Madza engines are bastards and transit vans excellent on road NFG off road .
    ian .at.bendigo, Jul 20, 2006
  13. Rod Bacon

    G-S Guest

    The Toyota Commuter vans are nicer to drive than the Mazda's IMO, but they
    are substantially more expensive for similar age and condition.

    I have no idea why you think the 1988 year is best! From what I've seen
    each major model change has substantially improved them...

    G-S, Jul 20, 2006
  14. Rod Bacon

    BT Humble Guest

    Perhaps they're widely regarded as being better, eh? ;-)

    BT Humble, Jul 20, 2006
  15. Rod Bacon

    BT Humble Guest

    If I had my choice over again, I'd take my chances on a used motor from
    the wreckers (giving it a compression test first). I passed up one for
    $700 from a wrecker in Ballina last year while I was passing through,
    which I could have fitted up including a new clutch & engine mounts for
    about $1k. The reco one ended up costing $3800. Since I'm not doing
    1000km per week any more (more like 300km per month), the longer
    expected life doesn't really justify the extra $2800.

    As for fitting a motor into a van that's radically different to what
    the manufacturer put there, do it only if you enjoy worms by the

    BT Humble, Jul 20, 2006
  16. I can only say what I know , thats the only reason I said 1988 , I have
    owned 5 Toyota Commuters no problems with any of them .
    The lenght fire wall to back door is 3.3 meters , I have had 3 full size
    bikes in the Commuter , I think you might get 4 in but it would be a bit
    awkward tying the down , Rods kids are young so the small bikes would fit
    easy .
    One really big mistake I made earlier on in my Van career was changing
    engines over its a no no and I owned a engineering workshop !!!!
    Pay some more and get one that goes .
    The RACV will only insure the 1988 Commuter I have now , a very low mileage
    vehicle for 3500 , so thats probably the dealers wholesale price , look for
    army F/horrible green ones most of them are low mileage .
    Cheers ideekay
    ian .at.bendigo, Jul 24, 2006
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