I've finally reached the end of my rope trying to shoe-horn
lumber/plywood into my Saturn sedan. I'm ready to step up to what I
guess is the logical alternative - I.e., a pickup with an 8 foot bed to
accommodate plywood sheets. I don't need 4 wheel drive and I'm not into
the $40k bad-boy pickup look - just something reliable to move the
wood... maybe along the lines of a low end Ford Ranger(?) At any rate,
any suggestions would be appreciated. I realize this is kind of a wide
open question, but I'm just not passionate enough about vehicles to put
myself through the research time/effort that I'd be willing to invest
in, say, a bench plane :-)
For occasional wood moving you can buy an adequate trailer
If you are using this as an excuse to buy a truck, more
power to you and we won't tell SWMBO.
Any full sized pickup with an 8 foot bed will do the job,
and you can also use a compact pickup with a 6 foot bed if
you build a simple platform to carry 4x8 sheet goods at the
height of the wheel wells. It just depends what you want.
I have a GMC S-15 (Chevy S-10 with different plastic trim)
and it handles about 500 pounds of 4x8 sheet goods OK on the
platform I built for the bed. I also use the platform on
saw horses as a sacrificial cutting table in the garage.
I'll try and post some pictures in the binaries group in the
next day or so.
I have used both an S-10 and Ranger with a rack similar to the gentleman
below. you get lots of comments about these racks, seems nobody has
though of them before. I have carried many sheets of plywood, sheetrock
and bunches of decking material. the bed, with the tailgate down, is
8ft. I will also try to post a pic. I am now looking to get out of the
truck and into a better vehicle and use a trailer but my research has
come to the conclusion that a 2x4 pickup is the least cost option. I
will probably look at some of the foreign models as well this time
around. Towing capacity for non trucks is very limited which I did not
If you get an extended cab (not a 3 door) take a small box or trash can
with you. 18"x12"x24" or so and try to get it in and out of the "behind
the seat" area. the ranger i have is damn near impossible to get
anything back there, the S-10 was better in that reguard.
i have an old 90 4runner. it doesn't look it, but a 4x8 sheet will fit flat
in it if you leave the back door down. i've carried 20 sheets of ply without
cave creek, az
<BRuce> wrote in message
Something I forgot to mention is that if he gets a compact
truck, to be sure and get the heavy duty suspension option.
The center of gravity of 4 x 8 sheet goods is 4 feet from
the front of the bed (a bit behind the rear axle). My small
truck is rated for something like a 1200 lb load, but with
the CG so far back, much more than 500 lbs of sheet goods
makes it sag too much. That's still 5 sheets of 3/4 MDF or
7 sheets of 3/4 plywood which is all I care to wrestle in
one trip :), so it hasn't been a problem.
BRuce <BRuce> wrote:
yep, overloaded my S-10 with deck materials one time and it was hard to
keep the front wheels on the ground for the ride home.
Another gotcha is a bed liner. I really like them but most leave few
options for tie downs. i opted for a bed rail and that has been a life
I've used a Honda Civic hatchback for moving wood for over 25 years.
I plan my purchases and cut wood to fit inside my car. The other
times I beg and borrow truck owners (and fill up their tank!) or rent
a truck ($50). Saves me a LOT of money and keeps insurance costs
down. You could add a hitch to your Saturn and pull a lightweight
trailer for sheet goods. Someday I'll buy a truck when I become
gainfully employed again. Rangers are very nice looking, but I'm
leaning toward a 2x4 Toyota truck. The 4x4's are just too high off
the ground for easy loading/unloading, plus I don't do any off-road
I think we went through this about 1/2 a year ago, a Google search
should find it for you. I don't know where you are located, but the
local dealers here are selling base models F-150s for about $13,000. It
isn't a fancy truck, radio, A/C, bench seat, but it'll last and it'll
haul whatever you put into the bed. My daughter's Ranger will haul
stuff too, but the F-150 does it much easier.
Dave in Fairfax
reply-to doesn't work
daveldr at att dot net
Someone in NoVA with a pickup truck. I guess you listen to country music
too, and think that because you drive a pickup truck and listen to country
music, you ain't a yankee... ;)
(Actually, I don't have a pickup truck, and I detest country music, so just
ignore my babbling.)
Um. Oh. My point. Right. I tried a Ranger. Too wussy to bother with
Plus it's a Ford. Yuck. ;)
Anyway, I'd second the recommendation for an F-150 or some other vehicle
(preferably not a Ford) of that size. Working on the other end, as
somebody who used to load stuff for people, those stupid wheel humps are a
real pain in the ass on the smaller baby sized trucks. Get the biggest,
widest bed you can manage.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
As an alternative, think about a trailer.
I have an open, 4x8 flatbed that I got at Lowes for about $400. Add
$200 for the 1 1/4" receiver I bolted on to my Subaru Outback, and I
was done. The Subaru already had the proper bolt holes (4) and
connection point for the wiring harness, I'd bet your Saturn does as
well. The hitch installation required about 3 tools and 20 minutes.
CT charges about $25 for a two year reg, and my town hits me for $15
in property taxes on it.
I figure this thing ought to outlast my next 3-4 vehicles if I grease
the bearings and keep up the tire pressures.
Last but not least, I find the trailer MUCH easier to load than any
pickup I've owned, due to the low bed. Long hardwood is easily
carried along the tongue. The combo will carry anything that a 3/4
ton truck long bed truck will, and gives me a nice handing, fuel
efficient, 5 seat car when I'm not.
I am thinking along those same lines. I only worry that a trailer might be too
much for a little car. It will certainly be OK if you are just hauling light,
bulky things but it wouldn't take much concrete to tip the balance. I did bring
800 lbs of sackrete in a Lebaron once tho.
Can you say "Low Rider"?
I figure that was the same as hauling 3 of my inlaws.
On 23-Sep-2003, firstname.lastname@example.orgGreg (Gfretwell) wrote:
A roof rack will allow you to carry around 125lb on top (almost no limit on
A trailer will carry a few hundred more, depending on how much you want to haul.
Don't worry about hauling a modest load with a Saturn - just don't expect to
accelerate like a fool or be a speed demon. Hauling some wood once in a while
isn't the same as towing a big RV trailer around the country all the time.
The question you should ask is "What are my needs?" If 95% of your
wood purchases are under 125 lb, get a roof rack. If 95% are around, say,
200-300lb, get a trailer. If you're _always_ and _frequently_ hauling a big
load, get a truck.
Don't get a truck if you need it for 5% or less of your needs. For those
occasions, you can rent a truck! The cost of going from a modest car to
a big truck in terms of financing, fuel& repair etc can easily cover a lot of
rentals. (this doesn't apply if your Saturn is ready for the junkyard and
needs to be replaced anyway) In fact, a few occasions of doing two trips
with the car will be cheaper than buying a truck you don't really need.
Here's what Saturn sez about their new models.
"All Saturn vehicles can tow up to 1,000 lbs. (454 kg) with
either the automatic or manual transmission. Saturn ION
vehicles equipped with a manual transmission can also be
flat towed (behind such vehicles as RV campers) on the
ground at normal vehicle speeds of less than 65 mph (105
My problem is plywood. I refuse to buy anything that won't take a 10' piece of
2" PVC and an 8' 2x4 (what I carried when car shopping, with nothing on the
roof, windows up, doors closed).
I am in a 97 Honda Prelude these days and that just met my test. My 87 LeBaron
coupe far exceeded that requirement. I could carry 10' lumber in that car but
it finally gave up the ghost.
On 23-Sep-2003, email@example.comGreg (Gfretwell) wrote:
A roof rack will carry 4x8 plywood easily. The only problem will be if it is
one sheet of thin stuff - it might sag a lot. This can be solved with a couple
of 2x4s underneath. With a 125lb load limit, you can carry about 1 1/4"
total thickness of ply. More than that would overload the roof rack.
(Thule rates theirs to 165lb less the weight of the rack.)
A trailer should be a no-brainer for ply.
BTW - with the tailgate down, I can carry 4x8 plywood mostly inside
my Honda Civic hatchback.
On 23 Sep 2003 21:05:59 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.orgGreg (Gfretwell) wrote:
my Taurus will take several 9' planks 8" wide completely into the car
from the back of the trunk up to 3 or 4 inches from the dash and still
let me close the trunk lid. If I'm only getting one or two, I can go
up to 10' if I angle them up onto the dash. All wrapped where the
boards touch something to keep the interior from getting ripped or
That's why I liked my old LeBaron. You could get 10' material under the dash on
the passenger side and close the trunk. I can do that with the prelude if it
has a little flex, like PVC pipe. 8' is no sweat.
I used to load up my F body GMs too (Camaro/Firebird). I got a free propane
fridge once (30 high, 24 wide, 25 deep) because I could get in the front seat
of a Camaro. It took 3 tries, moving/reclining the seat and trying different
orientations but I got it in. It was "first one to haul it away".
I carried 15 2x4 8s in the Firebird. (closed up) Again it was "all you can haul
away for free".
On 25 Sep 2003 03:57:38 GMT, email@example.comGreg (Gfretwell) wrote:
These are all excellent examples of buying the right car for one's
I don't know how many people really think about their needs, but I
suspect many go along with advertising hype and keeping up with the
Using a trailer or renting a truck for the infrequent major hauling
would be a better idea IMHO.
I used to have an 87 Caddy Fleetwood. half sheets of ply would go _flat_
*inside* (as in 'close the lid' inside) the trunk. Had enough cubage to carry
_at_least_ 20 half-sheets of 3/4", although I never had more than about 10 in
it at any given time. Once, I also transported a full 10' section of
industrial (steel) scaffolding, entirely _inside_ the vehicle. two 5' _square_
end-pieces, two circa 30" x 10' 'platforms', and the roughly 11' long cross-
braces. At least two full sections would have fit, but one was sufficient for
my needs at that time -- and that stuff is not inexpensive to rent. The
scaffolding company looked at me *real* funny, when I showed up with a *only*
a car, to pick up the rental. <grin>
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