Cargo protector for minivan

If I decide to purchase a Freestar minivan to replace my Ford Ranger next time, I will need a very substantial cargo protector. Something like the bedliner in my truck now that I can slide in and cover the bottom, sides and back of the seats when I carry a load of lumber or plywood.
Anybody found anything like that out there? I can't find anything but wimpy liners that just protect the floor, and just barely that.
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I have a Windstar. My suggestion is if you REALLY want to keep your van clean, is either get a trailer (and the factory tow package with your freestar), or just clean it up.
I don't know about the freestar, but with the windstar, you cannot close the back door on a sheet of ply or drywall or whatever, and there is nothing to latch a strap onto on the door except the plastic loop strap used for closing it. There also isn't anything to really attach the other end of a strap to hold the door closed either. I usually loop it around the armrest on the driver side and hold onto it. OTOH, if you are hauling narrower stock, you can used the seat latching bases in the floor to attach a strap to.
Does anyone have a minivan that you can close the door on a sheet of plywood, or a stack of same?
John
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Not that I'd spend much time doing it, but our Honda Odyssey will hold a full sheet, assuming you fold down the rear seat and remove the two passenger seats. Another advertisement for a trailer.
todd
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Honda Odyssey and 2004 Toyota Sienna claim they will take 4'x 8' sheets. I think GMC/Chevy Astro series will also. I would expect the Dodge/Chrysler minivans to be big enough. I'm sure any of their web sites will give you the necessary dimensions.
Toyota claims single sheets can be laid on top of the folded seat backs, otherwise the middle seats have to come out and the rear folds into the floor. Personally, I'm looking for the right trailer. I carried too many large, heavy, dirty items in my Ford Club Wagon that I cannot imagine putting in my new Sienna.
Another poster suggests cardboard - this is a very good idea. I keep a few large pieces around for spraying paint and other messy jobs. Check appliance stores and construction sites for empties. Duct tape works fine for making big pieces out of smaller ones. Getting back on topic - a Jet cabinet saw and Delta joiner will provide several large bits of cardboard. You don't need a liner, just more tools!

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As stated earlier, I can attest to the Odyssey holding a 4x8. Following up on the cardboard idea, I used a sheet of 1/8" masonite as a protector for the bottom when I purchased a drill press and bandsaw a year or so ago. It's reasonably light and works well on the floor.
Todd
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Believe it or not, I have carried six 4x8 sheets of 3/4" plywood in my 1991 Toyota Previa minivan with the door closed. I built a carrier that supports the wood and just the right angle to fit. I also have to slide the front seats forward to make the room, but its ok for short hauls. I don't know what I'm going to do when this little sucker gives up. Its got 180,000 miles on it and still going strong.
Bob
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I have an extended Chrysler Town & Country minivan and can carry full sheets of plywood and even oversize melamine particle board. This means that all the back seats have to be popped out and the two front seats cannot be pushed all the way back. The melamine particle board meant the front seats have to be another inch forward, a little tight with my oversize stomach.
I only have troubles with baltic birch. The 5 x 5 panels are too wide to tie onto the roof rack in a normal position and too big to fit any door. I have carried one sheet once and had to fit it diagonally so the the corners faced front and back which gave me something to bind rope to and still tie onto the roof rack. It did spread out a little wide, so I drove extra slow so that I didn't become airborne.

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I bought a piece of indoor-outdoor carpeting sufficient to cover the floor and wrap partway up the sides of the van. When not hauling things I roll the carpet up and store in the garage.
Dick

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Gee. I was really hoping that there was something more than adding a trailer (although that may be the best approach in the long run). The trouble is, a trailer would require a way to store it. That is a problem with the typical 2 car attached garage. I don't have a pole barn. As far as indoor/outdoor carpeting, it would take several hands to push it up the sides of the interior, hold it in place while putting in the stock. I really hope that there is a hard plastic liner somewhere out there. Something like the liner in my truck. It would be a tub-like affair that would slide in as far as the front seats (the others would be stowed). As far as holding the rear door down, that is a problem to be solved. Some new concept would be needed I just don't know what that is yet. Looking for ideas
wrote:

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I have serious doubts about you finding what you're looking for. When we had the Blazer, I had a roof-top Yakima rack that would carry full sheets of ply. Obviously, you have to stay within the recommended weight, but it worked quite well for lumber, ply, etc. On the probably rare occasion that you would need to haul a lot more that what would fit on top, you could rent a trailer (if you get a tow package for the Freestar). Or, the local Borg here will rent a truck for about $20 that would handle a lot of similar jobs. Another option is Harbor Freight carries a trailer that is designed to be folded up and wheeled into the garage in an upright position. I had one once upon a time and it worked, but it was a huge pain to fold it up, so it stayed unfolded on the side of the driveway most of the time. I finally got tired of it taking up space most of the time and donated it to my father.
todd
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Eric, Measure the width of the freestar carefully! my windstar will is JUST wide enough for a 48" wide sheet, no extra room on the sides. I'm not kidding, you wont have any room for carpeting on the sides. You might fit a thin plastic sheet, but you'll have to hold it up out of the way.
As a side note, that same narrow spot is exactly where the 3rd row seatbelts anchor into the floor...that sort of padding, isn't it? :) Anyway, the sheetgoods fit between the belts at that point, but you aren't going to get anything else between the sheet stock and the seatbelt except the plastic sheet as above.
A freestar may be different. Take a tape to the dealers and insist they take the two back rows out, then measure.
John
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Sat, Oct 16, 2004, 9:51pm snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (EricAnderson) mutters: If I decide to purchase a Freestar minivan <snip>
Cardboard - after all, it's a minivan.
JOAT Flush the Johns. - seen on a bumper sticker
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Cheap or discarded sheet of wall paneling or hardboard on the floor and a couple of narrow strips of same tilted up against the sides. I once got 16 each, 3-foot lengths of salvage telephone pole in the back of a Honda CRV lined with paneling without a scratch to the vehicle interior. http://www.cytechweb.net/~hhaca/bridge.html
Incidentaly, driving around with the back hatch partially open isn't the best idea. The aerodynamic suction behind a moving vehicle tends to draw engine exhaust into the vehicle interior and carbon monoxide is not a good thing for the human body. Effects accumulate over time. Of course, if you live in a polluted city anyway...
David Merrill

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Eric Anderson wrote:

Otherwise I would keep the Ranger. I have driven pickups for most of my driving life, some open and some with shells. I would not be without one. I now have a 4wd Ranger with the extended cab and jump seats that will do for kids/smallish adults for short distances.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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Thanks all for your ideas. I will explore several of them.
Jo4hn, I have EXACTLY the same truck (2003). I really like it and it serves me well. I also liked my minivans (had 1984 & 1991 Caravans). I was disappointed in my 1991 for its transmission (you don't even want to know) and the wind noise. I figure I will get owner loyalty on a Freestar and, since I have been VERY happy with the reliability of the 2 Rangers I have had and a 1977 mustang etc., a Ford product is probably my 1st choice if it has the features I need. Why not keep a truck? Well, I can carry bicycles and other cargo enclosed without the worry of it blowing out or getting stolen. Also, a minivan gets MUCH better gas mileage, especially when carrying bicycles. With the $2 a gallon gas, the minivan seems even more attractive.

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After driving a pickup for twenty years I changed to a minivan. I am delighted with the vehicle. I will not go back to a pickup. However I find it easy to borrow a pickup for those occasions where the larger bed size is necessary.
Dick

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Not sure if this is do-able on a Windstar/etc, but check into having something like a RhinoLiner sprayed into the back of the mini-van, they can extend the spray all the way up to the windows
Tehn just build a slide in "tray" to give you a level floor for the wood
John
On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 21:51:37 -0400, "Eric Anderson"

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On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 21:51:37 -0400, "Eric Anderson"

If you can find any, those packing blankets they use in semi-trucks work really well, and are usually big enough to cover the entire inside of a minivan. Otherwise, you might look into a piece of carpet remnant- they're often very inexpensive and durable. For the top corners of plywood, you could cap them with some of that polystyrene that always seems to come in great abundance when you buy anything in a box.
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wrote:

Initially thought the same thing when we bought the Explorer years ago. After considering the effect of ripping the headliner and other potential pitfalls, I wound up carrying up all of my wood on the roof-rack until my work car needed to be replaced and I replaced it with a real pickup so I could avoid that concern.
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We have a Honda CRV, which is basically a minivan for someone who say
that she doesn't want to drive a minivan...but that's something you'l need to discuss with my wife.
Anyway, facing the same issue, and growing tired of hoisting 3/4 sheets of MDF to the roof of our CRV, I bought a $299 harbor freigh trailer. All said, with licensing and wooden side-racks and floor, am into the trailer about $400. The hitch from Uhaul, includin installation and wiring, came to $170
-- makesawdust
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