Equipment World Digital Plus

Equipment World Staff

|  April 05, 2012 |

C/V:

Chrysler’s commercial van offers cost-effective option for hauling, towing

Product Focus:

More grinders, chippers and shredders

Digital Marketplace:

New products from Knaack, Sokkia, Telogis and more

 

 

 

 

Product Report: Ram Cargo Van

Ram Cam

Chrysler’s new entry into the commercial van market proves fleet of feet, easy on the pocketbook.

By Tom Jackson

 

Despite the mini-van appearance, the Ram C/V has the cargo and towing capability of a half-ton pickup.

Even before gas prices started soaring this year, the buzz at last year’s National Truck Equipment Association show was all about “right-sizing” the vehicles in your fleet. Manufacturers were saying in effect: Don’t buy a Class 8 truck when a Class 7 truck will do, don’t buy a three-quarter ton if all you need is a half-ton truck and don’t lug around a 300-pound, four-wheel-drive transfer case if your truck is never going to run in the dirt.

The backup camera on the console is a good idea if you choose the solid panels over rear and side windows.

That kind of thinking has only grown more prevalent this year, and as a result, many fleet managers and tradespeople have started to take a closer look at vans instead of trucks.

The Ram C/V (cargo van) is Chrysler’s first entry into this burgeoning field. It borrows heavily from the Dodge Grand Caravan in styling but is beefed up with same load and towing specs as a half-ton truck. We got to spend about a month driving one and found it a solid performer all around. Here’s why:

Great handling

The Pentstar V-6 engine cranks out a respectable 283 horsepower.

Unlike most trucks and vans, the Ram C/V handles with nearly the same finesse as a good sports car. You wouldn’t (and I didn’t) whip it around corners at high speeds, but the hydraulic-assist, rack-and-pinion steering puts the van where you point it without the least bit of mush or slop. The front anti-sway bar and rear twist beam axle with electronic stability control further contribute to the planted feel of the suspension.

The cargo bay holds up to 144 cubic feet of material.

The four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes slowed the vehicle aggressively but smoothly, and the Pentstar V-6 engine (283 horsepower/ 260 foot-pounds torque) and six-speed tranny give it plenty of get up a go. The solid rear axle hops a bit over speed bumps, but otherwise this is the most enjoyable commercial vehicle, truck or van, I’ve ever driven. The value of this to you as a business owner is that your drivers will be safer, more comfortable and more productive in urban traffic with lots of stop-and-start situations. And a 39-foot turning diameter will help in many situations as well.

Cargo room

Behind the seats, the Ram C/V contains 144 cubic feet of cargo space. The structural aluminum load floor comes with two options: one a flat uninterrupted surface or through-the-floor access to storage bins and load floor tie downs. The uninterrupted floor comes with abrasive strips that prevent boxes and other cargo from sliding around. The press materials say you can fit 4×8 sheets of plywood into the cargo surface, but from the rear cargo door to the wire-mesh cage that protects the driver is only a little more than 7 feet. You could slide a 4×8 piece of sheet goods under the cage and up against the seat brackets if you had to and that will fit. But if it’s 3/4-inch plywood you might not get more than one sheet wedged in there. Accessories for the Ram C/V include roof racks, so that may be the best place to put sheet goods, ladders, PVC pipe, trim lumber or anything longer than 7 feet.

The cargo space is big enough for a regular size refrigerator or washer and dryer. The rear cargo door lifts up overhead and dual sliding doors give you great access from either side. Chyrsler says side wall storage components will be available as aftermarket accessories.

Security

One of the key advantages of a van is the ability to lock up your tools and cargo. And the Ram C/V can be ordered with a variety of glazing options to make it more difficult for thieves to see what’s inside your van. You can get glass all around, but for security, you can also order it with solid panels on the sliding or rear doors. If you go with this option we recommend, you also get the backup camera, which comes with the media center option and includes a 6.5-inch touch screen display, audio jack for mobile devices and a Garmin navigation system.

This security capability is what really separates vans from the pickup trucks. Even the biggest truck toolbox can’t hold much more than extension cords and a few hand tools. Cargo can’t be secured in a truck, and how many of you have gone to lunch with your truck and had to park it where you could see it from the restaurant for fear of somebody stealing something out of the bed? This holds true for recreational cargo as well. If you leave your bicycles, tents, sleeping bags and other gear untended in the bed of your truck long enough, it will disappear.

O&O costs

The other big factor in favor of a van is the total cost of ownership. The Ram C/V will list just under $23,000 for the base model ($30,979 for the model we tested). The company claims fuel mileage of 17 mpg city/ 25 mpg highway (the EPA sticker lists 13/19). That’s still better than most half-ton pickup trucks. Most civilians don’t think about tires as an O&O cost, but heavy equipment owners know these to be one of the top expenses, and replacing a set tires on the Ram CV’s 17-inch wheel tires (P265/70R17) will be a lot less expensive than the bigger tires found on most pickup trucks. And with most commercial vehicles logging 50,000 to 60,000 miles a year, this becomes a serious expense to consider.

There’s no substitute for the bed of a truck when you need it. You wouldn’t want to carry gravel, mulch, gasoline, other hazardous materials or a dead deer in the back of any van. But other than that, there is a lot to be said for any van, and the Ram C/V in particular, when it comes to the needs of electricians, plumbers, painters, building inspectors, HVAC installers, trim carpenters, underground utility locators – anybody who wants an affordable way to carry high value tools, cargo and materials safely and securely.

 

 

Product Focus

Grinders, chippers and shredders

By Lauren Heartsill Dowdle

 

 

GAIN TRACTION

Operate CW Mill’s track-mounted HogZilla HTC-1462T grinder from a loader or excavator cab with a remote control.

Grinds in wet weather or on soft terrain

Features a radial 30-degree stacking elevator

Has a 31-by-62-inch hammermill.

For more information, visit EquipmentWorld.com/info and enter RS #084.

 

 

TWO CONTROLS

Toro’s STX-26 stump grinder has two controls that operate all of the traction and grinder functions: traction control (forward, reverse, turn) and sweep, lift/lower and engagement of the grinder head.

Has a hydraulically driven head

Grinder head has a 47-inch arc

Model is 78 inches long and fits through 36-inch gates.

For more information, visit EquipmentWorld.com/info and enter RS #082.

 

 

ENGINE OPTIONS

Chip limbs and logs up to 12 inches in diameter with DuraTech’s TC-12 tree chipper.

Engine options of Cat C4.4 122 horsepower or Kubota V3800 88 horsepower

Features a spring-loaded feed wheel with adjustable down pressure

Measures 79 inches wide and 208 inches long, weighing almost 7,700 pounds.

For more information, visit EquipmentWorld.com/info and enter RS #086.

 

 

REMOTE CONTROLS

JP Carlton’s SP4012TRX self-propelled stump cutter offers engine options including gas and diesel from 27 to 44 horsepower.

Available with lever, wired or wireless remote controls

Features a track system for high flotation

Uses a rubber high–track system with multiple idler rollers and spring tensioning.

For more information, visit EquipmentWorld.com/info and enter RS #075.

 

 

ADJUSTABLE SPEED

The Bradco SG30 stump grinder by Paladin Construction Group attaches to skid steers and cuts up to 12 inches below the ground.

Has a 60-degree swing arc geometry and covers

45 inches in a sweep

Features adjustable speed control

Requires 29 to 44 gpm and has a 30-inch-diameter cutting wheel.

For more information, visit EquipmentWorld.com/info and enter RS #076.

 

 

GRAPPLE GRIP

Vermeer’s WC2300 whole-tree chipper uses an infeed system with variable speed, dual-infeed conveyor chains, a conveyor head pulley with integral grip bars and an infeed roller with crush capability.

Two drum knife options available: double-edged or babbitted, single-edge cutter knives

Tongue has a grapple grip collar area

Can be controlled remotely using a handheld remote control.

For more information, visit EquipmentWorld.com/info and enter RS #078.

 

 

POWERPACK ENGINE

ProGrind Systems’ grinders mount on excavators and have 38 double-sided, carbide-tipped teeth.

Grinder head is built from T1 plate

Cutter drum has 24-inch diameter and is 51 inches long

Powered from a powerpack with a C-13 440-horsepower Cat engine.

For more information, visit EquipmentWorld.com/info and enter RS #079.

 

 

Digital Marketplace

By Amanda Bayhi

 

CREATE OPTIMAL ROUTES

Create geographic-centric routes for drivers without limiting routing options to those boundaries with Telogis Route 3.0, a web-based software-as-a-service multi-vehicle route optimization application. The subscription-based service allows users to deploy across decentralized organizations adding new infrastructure while tracking costs for created routes. The application supports various vehicle types and can integrate with the Telogis Fleet GPS-based fleet management system, the Telogis Progression work order management platform and Telogis Mobile handheld application.

Visit EquipmentWorld.com/info for more information

 

 

DRILL TROUGH MANY MATERIALS

Drill through concrete, metal, wood, brick and tile with the SBE751 1/2-inch hammer drill from Metabo, which weighs 7 pounds and features a 750-watt motor. The hammer drill’s two-speed gear box offers a no load speed of 0 rpm to 1,000 rpm in first gear and 0 rpm to 3,100 rpm in second gear with a maximum tightening torque of 265 inch-pounds. The hammer drill’s maximum impact rate is 59,000 beats per minute, it is rated at 5.8 amps and provides a maximum drilling diameter of 3/4-inch in concrete, 1/2-inch in steel and approximately 1.56 inches in soft wood. Features include a rubberized handle, a locking side handle, aluminum die-cast gear housing, Variospeed electronic speed control, a safety locking side handle, the Metabo safety slip clutch, a swivel cord connection, auto-stop carbon brushes and rotatable direction control.

Visit EquipmentWorld.com/info for more information

 

 

OPEN FLOOR SPACE AND ACCESS EQUIPMENT

Access up to 425 pounds of tools and supplies while leaving floor space open for hauling materials or moving in and out of a vehicle with the Pack Rat Drawer Units for truck and vans by Knaack and Weather Guard. The drawer units feature multiple removable drawers and dividers, anti-skid strips on top of the assembly, weather stripping and one-touch push button latch assembly. Consumers can purchase one, two, three and four drawer units with both wide and narrow drawer compartments in sizes of 9- or 12.5-inch heights and 24- or 48-inch lengths, with widths ranging from 10.25 to 39.75 inches.

Visit EquipmentWorld.com/info for more information

 

 

CUSTOMIZE A TOUGH GUN

Customize a Tough Gun G2 Series Robotic MIG Gun system or a Tough Gun ThruArm G2 Robotic MIG Gun with two online configurators from Tregaskiss. The configurators customize an MIG gun part number and breakdown the gun details. Both configurators allow users to select a specific gooseneck angle, power cable length, nozzle type, contact tip style and power pin.

Visit EquipmentWorld.com/info for more information

 

 

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Here are the most recent tips we've posted:

Hauling headaches: Know your load limits when trailering equipment

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