15-passenger van rollover stima of the past - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 12:25:AM Thread Starter
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15-passenger van rollover stima of the past

Our organization is looking into getting a new passenger van to mainly transport teenagers. Our director is, understandably, concerned with safety. He wants to get a 12 passenger van (12PV), instead of a 15 passenger van (15PV), because he has read the reports of 15PV being unsafe because of being prone to rollovers. (We could really use a 15PV though). Iíve read these reports, and they are all from the 90ís and 2000ís, and though they donít mention 15PV make/models, I am assuming they are referring to the old Ford E-350s and Chevy Express.

I have ruled out the new Chevy Express, since itís body is almost the same as it ever was, and have focused on the Transit. Looking at the 350 - Low Roof - Long (not ĎLong ELí), the 12PV and 15PV are essentially the same van, except for the seat configuration. So I would assume that they are equally as safe, concerning the tendency for rollover? (I guess the older 15PVs, compared to the 12PVs, were longer, and/or had more Ďhangoverí past the rear tires.)

Regarding safety, with the side curtain passenger airbags, and AdvanceTrac with RSC(Roll Stability Control), I would also assume, the 15PV is not the Ďrollover death trapí of the past.
I am surprised, after scouring the internet, that Ford hasnít pushed how safe the Transit is compared to the vans of the past. It seems this would be a major selling point, in comparison to the old body style of the Chevy counterpart, as well as the stigma the 15PVs have.
I visited the Ford dealership, and really like what Iíve seen. Iíve talked to the Ford dealers, and they just assure me itís safer, but donít really have anything to back it up. (No stats like lower center of gravity, or wider wheel footprint). And there is no rollover government safety ratings
My gut tells me that this is a much safer van, than the older versions. Does my thinking seem sound on the rollover issues? Can anyone direct me to some hard data, that I could show my Director, to convince him this 15PV isnít the death trap of the past?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 07:37:AM
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People being what they are, it is quite possible that nothing would convince him to believe anything other than what he has decided to believe.

I cut my teeth driving fully loaded 15 passenger vans pulling a trailer on mountain roads in the late 70's and since have driven many miles like that without so much as one dicey situation, as I'm sure many others have.

When the rollover hysteria began in the late 90's it made me think of the jeep hysteria in the 70's. Many imagined that they would just spontaneously roll over at the slightest provocation which is simply not true. Reality is that in certain situations they rolled over easier than most vehicles due to driving errors. Slamming on the brakes and/or jerking the steering wheel is never a good idea at high speeds, and there are some people who have no business getting behind the wheel of some vehicles.

fwiw, here is a video of a driver putting a European Transit (unloaded) through a spirited test drive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3BN28La2cI
It seems somewhere I saw a similar one where they tried to get one to roll over to no avail.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-20-2016, 07:56:AM
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Most of the problems with the Econoline vans were related to the 15 passenger extended body vans. It was not so much the safety features of the van as it was the inexperience of the driver that caused most of the accidents. I have noticed on the current Transits being purchased by Avis that most are the 12 passenger models. This can be because in the 15 passenger model, the rear most passengers are very close to the rear doors. With the 12 passenger model, you have a lot of open space from the rear seats to the rear doors.

We are in the process of converting all our auto auction delivery vans from 15 passenger model Econolines to 15 passenger Medium Roof Transits. No rollovers on any of the Econolines but 2 different rear end accidents put the passengers in the back seats with more injuries, especially if they were not wearing seat belts. On the new Transit Wagon, you have the better designed seat belts for each passenger seat plus the airbags on each side. In either case, you would have the 148" wheel base Transit fitted with the 12 or 15 passenger seating. You still have the same exposure of the rear passengers in the 15 seat Transit as in the 15 Econoline. On my personal Econoline, I went with the factory Trailer Tow package that gives you the extra weight and protection from rear end crashes.

My personal preference is the 148" WB 12 passenger wagon. With it, you have extra space between the rear seats and the rear doors, along with the extra protection space in case of a rear end collision.
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