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Discussion Starter #1
Given, the past few weeks, we've seen reports of the Transit not only receiving a much lower tow rating than than the E-series, but actually having worse gas mileage than both the E-series and Chevy van ( http://www.fordtransitusaforum.com/ford-transit-general-discussion/2513-test-ride-transit-vs-sprinter.html ), as well as much less room than the Econoline and Chevy to enter the back of the van. There's also no crew option.

With all of this, I'm beginning to wonder if it's possible the Transit might end up the inferior product.
 

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With no roof height options, the E-Series won't be able to compete in the long run for fleet sales. And the twin I beam suspension has to go. That's a relic of the 60's.
 

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I am on my third E150, an 87 van, 96 van and the one I have now a 06 wagon. I love my E150's but I am looking forward to the modern suspension and steering.
 

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Of course it is inferior. The E series is a truck built on a frame, the Transit is a glorified jumbo unibody soccer van. But I will take one just for the standing room and capacity.

Why do I need to tow big, when the van has so much room?
 

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Why do I need to tow big, when the van has so much room?
I can picture it now....

Just backing the van straight off the boat ramp... boat operator pushes throttle to 8 (in an abrupt manner, if I may add!), hull screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeches about 3/4 way into the van...

With ample tiedown points you're good to go - Yes folks, this van does it all! :D:D
 

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I can picture it now....

Just backing the van straight off the boat ramp... boat operator pushes throttle to 8 (in an abrupt manner, if I may add!), hull screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeches about 3/4 way into the van...

With ample tiedown points you're good to go - Yes folks, this van does it all! :D:D
LOL s4s, every one has their purpose for a van. I guess the transit is not a good boat tower?
 

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Of course it is inferior. The E series is a truck built on a frame, the Transit is a glorified jumbo unibody soccer van. But I will take one just for the standing room and capacity.

Why do I need to tow big, when the van has so much room?
Sprinter_Owner, isn't the new Transit built using the same construction method as the Sprinter? As far as I know the Sprinter isn't a body-on-frame like the Econoline either, yet few complain about lack of a truck frame under their Sprinter.
 

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Sprinter_Owner, isn't the new Transit built using the same construction method as the Sprinter? As far as I know the Sprinter isn't a body-on-frame like the Econoline either, yet few complain about lack of a truck frame under their Sprinter.
Good observation Chance,
I went from an E-150 conversion van to a 170" tall cargo Sprinter and never complained once about transitioning from the old twin I-beam to the unibody.
I've also been reading the Yahoo and Sprinter-Source Sprinter forums daily for over 8 years now and have never seen a complaint related to the demise of the body on frame concept. I may have missed a post or two that got by me, but as far as I can tell it's really a non-issue unless a specific application is messed up by it, but still.....there isn't going to be much of an option for that soon so it's just an academic discussion at this point.
 

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Once the Transit is out for a year the nay sayers will forget the told us the world was flat and the sky is falling.
So wait, are you telling us you have insider knowledge that they'll be increasing the tow rating on next years Transit?
 

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Sprinter_Owner, isn't the new Transit built using the same construction method as the Sprinter? As far as I know the Sprinter isn't a body-on-frame like the Econoline either, yet few complain about lack of a truck frame under their Sprinter.
You are looking at my name and assuming that I think the Sprinter is some how better then the E or the Transit?

The Sprinter is the same as the Transit, a glorified soccer mom van on a uni-body, the E series is built like a truck.

I also said I would take a Transit despite its uni-body, for the spacious cargo area.
 

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For what it's worth, I personally think many have the body-on-frame construction method wrong. The main advantage is to make a vehicle cheaper to build, not to make a better vehicle like some seem to imply.

Body on frame construction allows the manufacturer to install the entire running gear on a rolling chassis which has more access for workers to get to components, wiring, etc. it also allows a manufacturer to spin multiple vehicles off essentially the same frame. In case of trucks, as an example, it allows the same cab to be used on many different size trucks.

The down sides include safety (harder to incorporate crumple zones) and the ride isn't as smooth.

As to towing there is no practical limit with unibody. If the Transit and Sprinter are limited to 7000 to 7500 pounds towing it's because someone decided not to make them heavier and more costly so they could tow 10,000 pounds or more. Engineers could just as easily designed for 12,000 pounds towing if that was the given parameter.

Body on frame may be cheaper (which in itself is a huge advantage) but it's not functionally superior to unibody in many ways. Let's not forget that at one time most cars were body on frame too. Many decades ago. And they were slowly replaced with unibody also.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
For what it's worth, I personally think many have the body-on-frame construction method wrong. The main advantage is to make a vehicle cheaper to build, not to make a better vehicle like some seem to imply.

Body on frame construction allows the manufacturer to install the entire running gear on a rolling chassis which has more access for workers to get to components, wiring, etc. it also allows a manufacturer to spin multiple vehicles off essentially the same frame. In case of trucks, as an example, it allows the same cab to be used on many different size trucks.

The down sides include safety (harder to incorporate crumple zones) and the ride isn't as smooth.

As to towing there is no practical limit with unibody. If the Transit and Sprinter are limited to 7000 to 7500 pounds towing it's because someone decided not to make them heavier and more costly so they could tow 10,000 pounds or more. Engineers could just as easily designed for 12,000 pounds towing if that was the given parameter.

Body on frame may be cheaper (which in itself is a huge advantage) but it's not functionally superior to unibody in many ways. Let's not forget that at one time most cars were body on frame too. Many decades ago. And they were slowly replaced with unibody also.
Doesn't unibody result in a much lower GVWR and GCWR in heavier duty vans, i.e E-350 and E-450?
 

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...The down sides include safety (harder to incorporate crumple zones) and the ride isn't as smooth...
My Mercedes ML is body on frame and it had the best crash ratings of any vehicle produced when it came out in 98. Insurance companies love that thing. I been comparing rates on the different vans trying to figure out the costs on that side. I might as well keep the Benz anyway. Adding it to the policy as primary vehicle lowers my PIP and liability hundreds of dollars a year.
 

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Body on frame may be cheaper (which in itself is a huge advantage) but it's not functionally superior to unibody in many ways. Let's not forget that at one time most cars were body on frame too. Many decades ago. And they were slowly replaced with unibody also.
Right, that would be the day that the car makers would use a more expensive method? How many heavy applications have you seen with unibodies? Can you show me a unibody van with a bucket lift attached to it? I have seen plenty of E's with the bucket lift, but never an inferior unibody.

And why does the the Sprinter GVW drop as it gets longer? Could it back the lack of a back bone.

When they start making buses and commercial trucks with unibodies, you will have me convinced that a 20 sheet metal frame is stronger then 1/4" U channel.
 

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All designs are a compromise. The object with the Sprinter/Transit/Promaster is to get better mpg by being lighter. Look at the increased volume with less weight. Unfortunately you must give something up and that is a beefy heavy frame that works well for towing. Select vehicles to match your application. One size does not fit all. You can not have your cake and it it as well.
 

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My Mercedes ML is body on frame and it had the best crash ratings of any vehicle produced when it came out in 98. Insurance companies love that thing. I been comparing rates on the different vans trying to figure out the costs on that side. I might as well keep the Benz anyway. Adding it to the policy as primary vehicle lowers my PIP and liability hundreds of dollars a year.
With later models, didn't MB convert over to unibody for the ML SUV? I expect that as good as earlier MLs may have been, that new ones are even safer when rated/compared on an absolute basis.
 

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.....cut.....

When they start making buses and commercial trucks with unibodies, you will have me convinced that a 20 sheet metal frame is stronger then 1/4" U channel.
I don't want to convince you of anything, believe what you want. I find the above kind of funny because many buses have been made using unibody for a very long time. Also 800,000 pound airplanes have unibody construction. They don't have a light body bolted to a heavy frame like many SUVs. And semi truck trailers that can weigh 40,000 pounds or more are built on what I consider unibody construction.

Also old Chevy and Dodge vans which were unibody had fairly high tow ratings. I'm guessing larger and heavier-duty unibody vans can be made but there isn't enough of a market for them yet.

And while a few owners may want to tow 10,000 pounds or attach a snow plow, they are so few compared to people wanting better fuel economy that manufacturers will continue to build lighter-duty vans.
 
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