Jim Keith

Tall on Space, Short on Fuel

Increased fuel mileage saves $5,000 per year with this more efficient rig

The tall and narrow Freightliner cargo van readily fits in the alleyways of most barns, an especially valuable feature on cold winter days.

When Jim Keith started looking for a different truck 4 years ago, better fuel mileage and a vehicle that he could stand in to work were high on his list of needs.

In 2004, the Wingate, Ind., farrier paid $27,000 for a 2002 Freightliner 2500 Sprinter diesel cargo van that had only been driven 5,000 miles. In the past 4 years, he’s driven the truck over 180,000 miles and has found the 5-cylinder Mercedes diesel engine averages 23 miles per gallon even, when the van is fully loaded with shoeing tools and supplies. (Sprinter cargo vans are also sold under the Dodge truck name and can handle up to 5,500 pounds of payload.)

 “I’d been driving a $20,000 1-ton GMC pickup that was only getting 18 miles per gallon, so the new unit saved $5,000 a year in fuel costs,” he says. 

Truck Benefits

Besides improved fuel mileage, Keith says the truck’s power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering offers greatly improved maneuverability with a short turning base. “The truck’s drivability is great and it seems like it has gotten more comfortable as I get older,” he says. “It is maneuverable in small areas where I could never get my 1-ton truck.

 “The truck is just 8 feet tall and only 61 inches wide so I can easily drive it into most barn alleyways. The higher roof means I can stand…

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Frank lessiter

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has spent more than 50 years in the agricultural and equine publishing business. The sixth generation member to live on the family’s Centennial farm in Michigan, he is the Editor/Publisher of American Farriers Journal.

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