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best 4 person windsurf van?
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peterbelden



Joined: 09 Apr 2001
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:39 pm    Post subject: best 4 person windsurf van? Reply with quote

Any recommendations for a windsurfing van that can hold four people plus 4 boards/sails/booms etc? Am tempted by the Ford Transit 150 although I need to take my boards to the dealer to confirm that they all would fit. Most of the windsurfing vans I've seen are only set up for 2 people plus boards. And unfortunately I live in San Francisco, so I'm trying to get the shortest van that will also fit 4 people with gear.

Ideally I would have 2 seats in front, and then two individual seats in line behind the driver. Anyone know of a shop that could that sort of custom seat installation? Other than that the van is only for transporting gear. We aren't going to use it for camping etc.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 20005

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Consider a tall van, in which you could stow the boards overhead inside. If not camping you won't miss the lost headroom. You can buy many makes and models of tall vans these days. Just don't presume that your next board, or that of some new sailing bud, won't be an inch or six longer and fail to fit. That, or plan to extend a longer board's nose over the front seat.

I was very pleased with the new Ford Econoline I bought in 1988 with the express intent of mounting an airport shuttle van top of it without cutting the top off the van. I had a custom welding shop fabricate the framework necessary to convert the rear of the top into a liftgate, creating a toy attic which carried 6 boards and a lot of sails and masts indoors. I lived in it for up to 6 months each year chasing wind full time, and never missed the headroom. It worked as planned for 14 years, but now it's infinitely simpler to just buy a tall van to begin with.
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 9892

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In spring I rented a Ford Transit from U-Haul to move 10 boards plus many sails, masts and booms, to include the old custom interior and stainless steel racks from my old 1997 Chevy Express van. The longest boards were 8'10", and everything easily fit inside behind the walled-off front seats.

That said, I really didn't like the transmission and the way the Transit drove and rode. Not something that I would ever consider. I can't believe that Ford messed up that badly. Although the Chevy and GMC vans are now getting a bit long in the tooth, they are infinitely better vans. Definitely, do a driver comparison before you buy.
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windward1



Joined: 18 Jun 2000
Posts: 1254

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are not made anymore, so you would have to go used, but a Dodge Grand Caravan may fit your needs. With the Stow & Go option you can fold seats into the floor in various combinations with one being having the two front seats and then two in a row behind the front passenger. If your boards are short enough they could fit in behind the driver seat all the way to the back or in between the driver seat and passenger seat if the drink console is removed. I can put a 10' 10" board in the van that way.
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 9892

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wikapedia indicates that Chevy is adding a 6.8 liter option in 2021.
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U2U2U2



Joined: 06 Jul 2001
Posts: 5463
Location: Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania. Colorado

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking for a van that has 4 seats, and cargo space for boards behind them , is what the OP is looking for. Big ass van .
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 20005

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Set aside a few hours to drool over this Transit website at
https://pictures.dealer.com/kellehermotorfordfd/6aded4a60a0e09a772ab9b791056a797.pdf .

With about a dozen seating arrangement options, 3 length options, 3 height options, and a socket set*, you should be able to achieve what you want. Sprinter, et.al, compete. Some sources include precise interior dimensions, including floor space behind each seat row for all configurations. Last time I looked, the Transit beat out its competitors hands down. That was last year, but the 2020 Transit is all new.

Of course, it might be far cheaper to hire a chauffeured stretch limo every time you gotta go WSing.

* It's easier and probably far cheaper to remove existing seats than to custom install aftermarket ones. When I was getting quotes to fabricate my rooftop liftgate, custom shops in CA wanted about $5K. It cost me < $1k in Albuquerque for a perfect job.
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 9892

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peterbelden, I have to ask why do you want 2 seats literally in line behind you, the driver? Normally the area behind the driver seat is the largest and longest section of the cargo area that most of us utilize for board and gear storage.

In your unusual need for two additional seats, why wouldn't you arrange them in a line on the passenger side behind the side opening with some form of access in the middle of the van? In my experience the side opening area is needed to be clear so that you can conduct business, like offering sheltered area to put on and take off wetsuits and do many other things.
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peterbelden



Joined: 09 Apr 2001
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point swchandler. Perhaps they should be behind the passenger. Unfortunately I think that type of custom layout is going to be not worth the cost. Hopefully I'll be able to fit boards even with seats 3-4 next to each other.
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windward1



Joined: 18 Jun 2000
Posts: 1254

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That arrangement is standard in the Dodge Grand Caravan based on how you choose to pop up which seats. It is a minivan and thus parks in the space of a car which is helpful in the city. New, the Grand Caravan was about $22,000. Used it should be far cheaper. No customization required.
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