Prius as a carpenter's "work truck?"

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by oceansoul7, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. oceansoul7

    oceansoul7 Junior Member

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    As a handyman, I'm considering a Prius as a work car- removing the rear seats to store tools and adding a roof rack to haul the occasional sheet of plywood or door. Feedback regarding the practicality of this, as well as mileage estimates carrying the equivalent of 3 passengers would be appreciated.
     
  2. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    I'm not sure that you HAVE to remove the back seats. I'm not going to stop you, but since the back AND front seats fold completely flat, I'm not sure you need to.

    Check out my post here and use the search page to find similar threads on the subject of total cargo size:
    http://www.priuschat.com/forums/and-the-on...too-vt4560.html
     
  3. DanMan32

    DanMan32 Senior Member

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    Short trips less than 5 minutes will get you about 30-35MPG. After the 5 minutes, that's when you get the 50's MPG. The added weight may reduce MPG, especially the roof rack.

    My dad's a handyman, he definielty needed a van to carry tools/repair parts, and job supplies, like plywood.
     
  4. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    even with the rack and a bunch of tools, there aint no van or pickup that will come close to the mileage you will get with a Prius. only thing i would be hesistant about would be the fact that all your tools would be in plain sight. if i were you, i would prefer a van since "out of sight, out of mind" does apply with some people.
     
  5. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Well the cargo area with the rear seats down is reasonably large but then you might want to tint the windows or like Dave said, get a van for security reasons unless your trips are such that whatever you're transporting will get unloaded as soon as you stop at your next destination and that you're not leaving things lying around. I think someone did haul a 8x2x4 piece (front seat also folded), someone else hauled a piece of furniture too.
     
  6. Ray Moore

    Ray Moore Active Member

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    I spent many years as a carpenter and I think the Prius is a very poor choice for this. I used a ford explorer and it worked ok. A big problem is safety. The Prius suspension is maxed out at 850 lbs. Over this weight and perhaps less on a continual basis will wear it's components out prematurely. Evasive maneuvers will be much more difficult to make and in a head on collision even at 20 mph you can be killed by your unrestrained tools. My tools totalled out at around 1000 lbs. just by themselves. Add your weight and the Prius is bottoming out. A roof rack is just crazy. If you have a long commute you might leave a cheap work truck in town but I was never able to make that work for me. Sorry.
     
  7. cdweller0

    cdweller0 New Member

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    I can see how the mpg is attractive to a person who requires a vehicle to make trips back and forth between job sites and the hardware store.

    The Prius is definitely not your solution, however. I did a two years in construction and then went into hardware retail with a large chain. I've loaded the vehicles of many general and specialty contractors, and I think you could get away with 850lbs capacity for nearly everything you do as a carpenter if you lugged around your tools wisely. But you will have some jobs where you'll need more! You could push it and risk damage and safety in your vehicle, but that would bite you eventually. You could make two trips, but your time truly is money.

    I hate to not recommend a Prius for anything, but really if you're truly going to narrow your choices to hybrids, you'll do much better in the long run to wait it out for a pickup/van hybrid, or at least a SUV hybrid. They are coming.
     
  8. Tempus

    Tempus Senior Member

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    I agree with the preceding analyses.

    The Prius is not the right tool for this job.

    It is a passenger car, on the borderline between small and medium sized. That's all it is.
     
  9. Paul Schenck

    Paul Schenck Active Member

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    I’m a retired finish carpenter / estate manager along Sunset Boulevard. My 2005 Gen 2 with 490,000 miles was my work truck. I added a 2” hitch for hauling a trailer to help with 4x8, widows, or doors. I picked up a couple foam pipe insulation tubes when I needed roof racks fast, or to haul a 20’ extension ladder.
    I found 800 lb of tools will get most jobs done. I have an inverter connected in back under the cover to keep my 18volt charger plugged in. I have a two wheel “basic box” (weighs 75lbs) for basic hand tools with an integral vise, it’s also a step stool, a number of job specific buckets with Bucket Boss organizers; painting, plumbing, sheet metal, masonry, stair building, etc.
    I keep the back seat folded down to make room for my Dog/security system, making room for a 18’ Werner ladder that secures the load of tools when I need to stop faster than the fool in front of me.
    My tools enjoy a safe climate controlled environment and they are covered by a clean white painters runner I load or offload them in less than 5 min and convert the car back into a 5 passenger vehicle. My shelves in the garage are designed to hold the buckets. For the past 12 years I’ve saved over $30,000 in gas,that driving an F-150, or Van would have cost me. And I’ve never had to pay extra to license my vehicle. I consider myself a Residential Systems Engineer and my Prius “Electra” real handy man. No mater what the job.
     

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  10. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Interesting 2 tone color;).

    Custom job:whistle:?

    Impressive hauling though(y).
     
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  11. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    I carried a Werner 17 foot ladder in my Gen 2, but it was much easier in the v.
    [​IMG]
    The roof line puts the potentially dirty feet right against the seat backs. I was doing networking, where I had finished interiors and not much dirt.
    www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000VYDHK

    Loaded with all my networking gear, I got about 42 MPG, on 55 MPH roads, very few stops. Both freeway speed and stop and go would have lowered that.

    [​IMG]
     
    #11 JimboPalmer, Jul 31, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
  12. PeddlersDSM

    PeddlersDSM New Member

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    We've been active in the Des Moines real estate market and the Prius cars have been a godsend over the last 4-5 years. We've hauled block, strapped stuff on top, moved dirt, moved doors, ladders, you name it. Great function for this kind of stuff. The only thing that I think isn't the best is the lack of the ability to move a 4x8 sheet of plywood or gypsum inside... But hey for 90% of what you need, it works great.
     
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  13. Paul Schenck

    Paul Schenck Active Member

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    I’ve considered using the hitch to support a collapsing 4x support that stores in the back ready for4x8 or a kayak when needed but doesn’t stay on the car as roof racks do.


    iPhone ?
     
  14. christinaplease

    christinaplease New Member

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    16 years later and I'm wondering how you fared with this situation. I bought a used 2008 prius with the intention of making it into my work vehicle. I am a carpenter and lug tools and materials around to job sites. Small town so low miles/hour roads and a lot of stop and go. I really want the better gas mileage of a prius - knowing that added weight and drag will reduce it but maybe still better than a pick up truck? If you have an update on what you ended up doing with your prius and if you were successful in making it a handy work vehicle, please let me know :)
     
  15. christinaplease

    christinaplease New Member

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    I was trying to figure out how to do something like this too. Did you ever get the 4x supports set up? If so, do you have any advice or pictures you would share?
     
  16. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    It would make a great work truck with one caveat.

    you must have a very good hybrid battery. Any substantial weight increase is not an issue with a excellent battery but the car will struggle if it’s the original G2 battery.
    The Prius power comes from its battery. It is a joke with a poor battery.
     
  17. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    Up here I see a lot of Ford Transit, various sizes. Often with roof racks. There’s a Mercedes van too that’s prevalent.
     
  18. Tynyyn

    Tynyyn Junior Member

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    I've been using plastic bins to put my tools in. They offer the flexibility of storage of oddly shaped items, i.e. batteries, rolls of tape, gloves, tool bags, etc., with the convienance of handles. The handles make it very easy to pull your tools out without having to touch each and every tool. Plus the plastic container keeps items secure instead of rolling around in hatch area.
     
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  19. Paul Schenck

    Paul Schenck Active Member

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    I’ve always used a wheeled box with Essenchial tools 22x20x16 then I would flank it with tool buckets each with a different trade, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, masonry, up to nine different ones depending on the days activities. It really worked well.
     
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