Topic: The terrible tow vehicle idea thread
So I need a tow vehicle. I have many irons in the fire and really need somebody to give me some focus. As it is now, I'm practically paralyzed by the utter inability to compare my options.
Here's a vague summary of what I'm considering:
1) The obvious. F-350 or 250 single-rear-wheel crew cab pickup. Diesel. 4WD. Pulling 18ft flatbed.
Disadvantages: Bloody damned expensive. $10k for a reasonable example of the truck alone. No enclosed tool/work/sleep space.
2) The nonobvious: F-350, 450, 550 work truck with a job box. These are often 2WD, but 4WD shows up occasionally. Pulling the same 18ft flatbed.
Advantages: No more expensive than an F-350, occasionally cheaper. Lots of different configurations including some with walk-in workspaces.
Disadvantages: They've all lived hard lives. Much rarer than the pickups. Still kind of expensive at ~$10k minimum. Technically against zoning regulations, but would probably squeak by the neighbor detection array.
3) The van: E-250 or E-350 long-wheelbase passenger or cargo van. 2WD. Pulling the same 18ft flatbed.
Advantages: Just as capable of towing as the trucks, but with enclosed storage. Also, somewhat cheaper.
Disadvantages: Relatively rare.
4) The weird: E-350/450/550 based shuttle bus. 2WD. Same 18ft flatbed.
Advantages: A van, but bigger!
Disadvantages: Arguably lower towing capacity. Against zoning regulations, would likely irk neighbors but not promote a visit from the county.
5) The bizarre: Bus-chassis short school bus (Think Navistar 3800) towing the same 18ft flatbed.
Advantages: DUDE!~ Also, if I'm stupid and forego a proper 4-cyl truck engine, the Navistar T444E is a Powerstroke in drag. Cheap as chips, all day long.
Disadvantages: Arguably no towing capacity whatsoever. "The frame isn't built for it" people who know about these things tell me. Against zoning regulations and over the neighbor annoyance threshold.
6) The awesome: School bus (Navistar 3800 or similar) towing 18ft flatbed.
Advantages: FUCKING PARTY! See the short bus above, but add more awesome.
Disadvantages: Almost definitely no towing capacity whatsoever. That big overhang at the rear screams "this will bend if you apply any weight". Probably need to bump to a class B license. Will require offsite storage for zoning reasons.
7) Van-chassis RV, towing 18ft flatbed.
Advantages: It's made to host parties and sleep. A large selection of sizes and shapes to choose from.
Disadvantages: Limited towing capacity, it's not built to house any actual work. They also tend towards the pricey (or disgusting) ends of the spectrum. Will require offsite storage for zoning reasons, or construction of an additional, large enclosed structure (which in and of itself is too large for zoning regulations and would require a zoning variance)
8) Bus-chassis RV, towing 18ft flatbed.
Advantages: See van-chassis RV.
Disadvantages: See van-chassis RV, but make it cost three times as much. Will require offsite storage for zoning reasons, or construction of an additional, large enclosed structure (which in and of itself is too large for zoning regulations and would require a zoning variance)
9) Flatbed tow truck, no trailer.
Advantages: Two cars, three if you get one with the roof rack, four if you get a long one with the roof rack and a really long bed.
Disadvantages: MASSIVELY expensive registration, scary hydraulics, potential need for CDL, No interior space for storage or work. Will require offsite storage.
10) Ramp truck, no trailer.
Advantages: Hella retro awesome, fairly inexpensive. Can add a trailer for additional capacity.
Disadvantages: Most of them are quite old, from buidlers of unknown provenance, and there's no interior space for storage or work.
11) 14ft van-chassis box van (Think Uhaul), towing the same old 18ft flatbed.
Advantages: Indoors! Plentiful. Cheap.
Disadvantages: Beat to shit. Stripper models. Will require offsite storage for zoning reasons.
12) 26ft box van (Think Penske) towing the same old 18ft flatbed.
Advantages: Tons of indoors! Plentiful! Cheap! Not terribly beaten into the ground.
Disadvantages: Will require offsite storage for zoning reasons.
If we discount everything that would require offsite storage, it becomes plainly clear that my neighbors are fucking communists and the county government is even worse.