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Discussion Starter #1
So I thought I had found the van I wanted this week, but realized that I wanted to get a LWB instead of a SWB version of the Ford Transit 250 MR.
So now I'm starting over.
I've never bought a used vehicle before and am overwhelmed.
I plan to buy a used vehicle from a reputable auto dealer.
There are not many vans of the type I'm seeking in my immediate area (SF Bay Area): many of the ones I see listed are 150 to 350 miles away.
I will explore the options closer to me first....but...if I need to look further....how is this done?
I am not sure how to go about getting info about a van to consider which is so far away.
I realized that Oregon has no sales tax, so theoretically this could make it potentially less expensive to buy a vehicle there, but that's pretty far to travel, and the prices at least on new ones that I see in Oregon are higher than new ones in my area!
What advice do you have about this process? Any threads on this topic here?
 

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Thanks @GapRunr that is very helpful information! I didn't know about Commercial Truck Trader! I will start poking around and see what I can come up with....
 

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Car Guru and AutoTrader Online. I found my van through one of those (forget which).

I bought in MO and drove it home to CA. When bringing a vehicle into CA, it will have to go through a DMV inspection to register it. Most of the time an out of State buyer will not pay that State's tax, but will get a temporary trip permit to take it to their State of residence. You WILL pay CA sales tax, one way or another. If you bought it for cash, you'll have to pay CA the entire sales tax (let's say 10% just to make math easy, so a check for $3,000 to register your $30k van). If you're financing it, the CA sales tax can be included in the monthly payment; a better way to go I think. You usually have 30 days on the temp. permit to get it registered in your State of residence, some might only be two weeks.

I'm in the Bay Area, and I see great deals on Transits new and used on Craigslist all the time. $22-30k seems to be the going rate for low mileage to new MR LWB cargo vans, and some wagons too.

I lol'd when you said "reputable dealer" because that's such an oxymoron!? But a large dealership (any brand, because even the Honda dealership might have a good used Transit on the lot) has great access to financing, and might offer a year's worth of oil changes or something that a used car lot won't. "Certified Used Vehicles" often have a better warranty than new vehicles, so that's something to check out.

I haven't checked, but with mortgages at a 50 year low, I suspect car financing to also be very low. Taking advantage of that is called "leverage", and is probably better than paying cash and avoiding interest if it's less than 3-4%.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Surly Bill..I have found CarGuru and AutoTrader listings....
There seem to be a decent number of listings in California so I don't think I need to travel outside the state. $22-30k is the range I'm looking for. I've looked a little bit in other states but am not seeing anything markedly less expensive outside of California.
Any tips on how to make a decision about whether a particular vehicle is a good buy? Do all used vehicles have "CarFAX" reports available? I saw those for a few I looked at and it helped. I like being able to see that the vehicle was maintained by previous owners and not in an accident or having any recall notices.
 

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I don't know much about carfax.
One thing to keep in mind is the factory warranty, which is transferable.
3 yr/36k bumper to bumper
5 yr/60k powertrain

Regardless of where you buy it, even from a private seller, the warranty is in effect. I'd avoid fleet vehicles, because employees seem to like to see if they can destroy their company's vehicles. A good tip someone gave me, look for used wheelchair transport vans because they have been driven gently, and maintained.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That's an interesting idea about looking for wheelchair transport vans...how would you know which these are? The ads I see make no mention of the vehicle's previous use.
Do you have any thoughts on getting a relatively newer one, say a 2018 or 2019 model, versus an older one, a 2016 or 2017 model? Any manufacturing differences or mechanical issues pertaining to older models?
 

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I saw that one actually...is the power lift always used for wheelchairs? As the use isn't specified, I thought it might have been, for instance, a lift used to lower appliances, by an appliance dealer, or cabinet sales...various products that are too heavy to lift off by hand.
I like red....something other than white--- but would prefer not to get a 2016 vehicle, want 2017 or newer and preferably medium roof.
 

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That was just an example. Lifts are usually for wheelchairs, power ramps are for cargo.
 

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Yes...I did see one van for sale with lift at the sliding side door which seems suited for wheelchairs. But it was a wagon type van with windows all around, which is not what i want. I want a more enclosed one
 

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Almost every wheelchair van is going to be a wagon (passenger van; windows)
A cargo van is a better choice if you're going to haul stuff or try to make your own RV.
 

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@surly Bill I'm wondering what you meant by "fleet vehicle"...did you mean company vehicles used by employees, or did you also mean rental vehicles owned by car rental companies? One of the options I'm looking at is buying a used vehicle from Enterprise Car Sales. Is that something you'd recommend considering or not?
 

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Consider what options you want too! That red one looks like it has nothing. Are you wanting tow package? Limited slip? Better radio? That one also has a 3.7.
I was considering selling mine but I have a 130 wheelbase med roof. If you are converting try to purchase one that is semi started.
 

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i bought a 148 extended high roof at that very dealership that is advertising that red van 2 weeks ago. they have a VERY large selection of vans of all makes there. Very large.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well folks things have changed dramatically in the last few days in my area and around the US, with the coronavirus situation. My business is looking to take a huge financial hit from this pandemic, so I can no longer make plans to buy a van in the near term. This is very disappointing, as after a good bit of search, I was locking down on 2 likely prospects for a van. But now I will have to let both of those go and simply hunker down and cut costs for the next few months as the pandemic sweeps through the US. After that, it may take me some time to recover financially, so it might be that I end up not being able to buy a van for a year or so. This is very disappointing, particularly as I was getting excited about my plans, and I do need a van if I want to take road trips.

It's good to know @dodger413 that that dealership in Fontana has many vans. Maybe later on....:cry:
 

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Very sad for your situation. But some thoughts to consider if/when things for you recover:

I've prided myself on my used vehicle purchasing techniques and experiences but learned quite a bit with my Transit purchase. Used Transits that don't have a ton of miles on them and/or aren't beat up by contractors that can be had at a good price can be difficult to find. So I ended up buying in Vegas (I'm in Florida) and driving it back cross-country.

When @surly Bill was referring to a fleet vehicle, I'm sure he was talking about one that is owned by a company, such as a contractor (plumber, electrician, etc.), who has several vans and their employees are assigned to one. These employees usually could care less about a vehicle they don't own and treat it as such. But to your point, I would NEVER buy an Enterprise vehicle. Those are worse because "everyday" people rent them for one day or so and don't know how to drive a van like that and treat it like crap.

And to the CarFax thought, keep in mind they don't report everything. My CarFax report didn't report any details about the driveshaft recall and repair and it wasn't listed as a fleet vehicle although it was obviously owned by a plumber. Probably not part of a fleet technically but you see, it can still be owned by a company/contractor.

I found mine on Car Gurus because they're the only site I could find that can filter the exact features I wanted. Just 148 LWB high roof, not asking much but other sites couldn't filter that at the time. As others noted, definitely look at the remaining warranty period, if any.

Here's my biggest advice especially for a used van - make sure your test drive is AT LEAST 30 minutes and preferably just a keeper over the weekend. Although I test drove mine, I didn't realize there was an issue until driving on the highway 30 minutes after leaving the dealer. I knew it was a major issue immediately, called the dealer and asked him to take it back but of course he wouldn't. Ended up being $3,500 torque converter and transmission ...
 

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Well folks things have changed dramatically in the last few days in my area and around the US, with the coronavirus situation. My business is looking to take a huge financial hit from this pandemic, so I can no longer make plans to buy a van in the near term.
I can understand how this can be a real disappointment, but if you find someone in a worse situation than you who is trying to sell a Transit, you might be able to get a good deal. Faced with either defaulting on their loan or selling it for what is still owed, most people would rather just sell it.
 

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I can understand how this can be a real disappointment, but if you find someone in a worse situation than you who is trying to sell a Transit, you might be able to get a good deal. Faced with either defaulting on their loan or selling it for what is still owed, most people would rather just sell it.
Hey, do you have a good recomendation of where to look for someone selling there used Transit? So far, I've only come across big name websites and dealerships, and am having a tough time finding individuals selling there own Van.
 

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But to your point, I would NEVER buy an Enterprise vehicle. Those are worse because "everyday" people rent them for one day or so and don't know how to drive a van like that and treat it like crap.
I have to respectfully disagree. I just picked up my 2019 RWB MR last Wednesday. A very good price for a vehicle with only about 22,000 miles, fully detailed and certified. It comes with a 7 day/1000 mile "Buy Back" guarantee (which would have saved you the $3500), is covered by a 1 year Enterprise power train warranty and the remainder of the Ford factory warranty. At the time they had lots of cargo vans available all over the country. Hertz has a similar deal with similar pricing.
YMMV but I would never categorically reject any seller out of hand.
 
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