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Thread: New Car/Truck Cargo Abilties for Sheet Goods?

  1. #1

    New Car/Truck Cargo Abilties for Sheet Goods?

    Is there a good way to determine if a car or truck has the ability to accept an entire sheet of 4x8 sheet goods (plywood, drywall, MDF, etc) and still close the trunk?

    I know this is a pretty specific question, but it seems like there must be enough people in the trades that this is a common enough question.

    I'm thinking maybe there's a topic specific tool or website I can check out for this. Otherwise I feel I'm forced to check out any car I might like in person with a tape measure, which seems really counter productive.

    I also must admit I'd like to get a car/truck that is a plug-in hybrid, and isn't a pickup truck. So this is more a question about minivans, hatchbacks, and SUVs. Since I'm a DIYer if I need to go full pickup, I can often rent a truck cheaper than owning a full sized work truck. So maybe I'm a bit off in that my requirement of the ability to carry sheet goods AND not being a pickup truck isn't common for people who do this every day.

    Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Small Trailer is what I use right now. It's a Harbor Freight fold up which works fine for a few sheets of drywall/plywood.

  3. #3
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    I think the only plug in that would accept sheet goods is the Chrysler Minivan, and there have been some reliability issues.

    We have a Volt and a pickup.

    a small trailer maybe the way to go. You can pull a small trailer with nearly any car.

    I use my 16 ft. car trailer whenever I am getting more than a few sheets or sticks of lumber. so easy to load and unload.
    Last edited by Adam Herman; 10-08-2020 at 1:08 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel O'Neill View Post
    Small Trailer is what I use right now. It's a Harbor Freight fold up which works fine for a few sheets of drywall/plywood.
    It's also a whole lot more flexible. Need to run a bunch of stuff to the dump? Way better than loading it into the occupant space.
    ~mike

    reading. it helps.

  5. #5
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    Is there a good way to determine if a car or truck has the ability to accept an entire sheet of 4x8 sheet goods (plywood, drywall, MDF, etc) and still close the trunk? Tape measure. I'm pretty confident that there has never been a car that would accept a full sheet. Maybe a 1970 Plymouth station wagon would come close. I also doubt if anyone in the trades would use a car to transport sheet goods. My favorite response to a question I read on line; "Is a Honda CRV good for moving furniture", answered, "Yes but the tires will leave marks on hardwood floors."
    I drive a Ford Transit Connect cargo van. It's 48 1/2" wide on the floor, but will only take 7' with the doors closed. If I only pick up 3-4 sheets, I angle the first sheet up on the head rests of the front seats and slide the rest in. That lets me close the doors. There is so much headroom in that thing, that the angled sheets go over my head so I feel okay about not getting hurt if I would be rear ended. If I pick up 10 sheets, I pull the doors tight to the plywood and add a couple bungee cords. I love that van for hauling bicycles and even my lawn tractor fits in it.
    Screen Shot 2020-10-08 at 12.19.16 PM.jpg

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    Is there a good way to determine if a car or truck has the ability to accept an entire sheet of 4x8 sheet goods (plywood, drywall, MDF, etc) and still close the trunk? Tape measure. I'm pretty confident that there has never been a car that would accept a full sheet. Maybe a 1970 Plymouth station wagon would come close. I also doubt if anyone in the trades would use a car to transport sheet goods. My favorite response to a question I read on line; "Is a Honda CRV good for moving furniture", answered, "Yes but the tires will leave marks on hardwood floors."
    I drive a Ford Transit Connect cargo van. It's 48 1/2" wide on the floor, but will only take 7' with the doors closed. If I only pick up 3-4 sheets, I angle the first sheet up on the head rests of the front seats and slide the rest in. That lets me close the doors. There is so much headroom in that thing, that the angled sheets go over my head so I feel okay about not getting hurt if I would be rear ended. If I pick up 10 sheets, I pull the doors tight to the plywood and add a couple bungee cords. I love that van for hauling bicycles and even my lawn tractor fits in it.
    Screen Shot 2020-10-08 at 12.19.16 PM.jpg

    Buick road masters were built until 1996. my dad had them for decades. he even bought a new one in 96 to keep in storage till the 1993 was wore out. he put at least 200k on each of them. haha.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel O'Neill View Post
    Small Trailer is what I use right now. It's a Harbor Freight fold up which works fine for a few sheets of drywall/plywood.

    Excellent idea, might even allow me to keep my current beater.

  8. #8
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    I use a 5'x8' utility trailer for hauling stuff. Almost no "passenger type" vehicles these days have the space inside for carrying things like sheet goods. I can haul that (although I get sheet goods delivered most of the time from my primary supplier) and have had as long as 16' material on the centerline of the trailer, too. Even a really nice trailer will run you under a grand which allows you to choose your vehicle based on your other "comfort factors". Just be sure that it's setup for proper towing..."factory towing" is generally the best solution because it's pre-wired.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
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    I have a full size truck but will use the trailer most of the time if I can. The truck is a pain because most parking lots don't have the lines spaced correctly. I get tired of people who feel that Doritos are a food staple thinking that 6" between their car and your truck is more than enough room. But having a trailer means finding a place to store it, dealing with tires dry rotting, and what seam like everytime I use it one of the taillights getting broken. The one I have has the expanded metal mesh for the deck which allows every drop of water to spray the bottom of anything I haul so I have plywood on top of it. If you do go with a trailer I would look into one with a wood deck. Ideally a full size van being towed by a Prius would be your best solution, lol.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew More View Post
    ...and still close the trunk?...
    Why is this so important?

    My 2000 Tundra V-8 4x4 has a 6-1/2' bed and easily carries 4' x 8' sheet goods tipped in over the tailgate, with the work shell hatch up. Sure wouldn't want to deal with a trailer every time.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by andy bessette View Post
    Why is this so important?

    My 2000 Tundra V-8 4x4 has a 6-1/2' bed and easily carries 4' x 8' sheet goods tipped in over the tailgate, with the work shell hatch up. Sure wouldn't want to deal with a trailer every time.

    To avoid getting rained on.

  12. #12
    It must rain a lot where you live?
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  13. #13
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    One more vote for the Harbor Freight trailer. I never fold it and removed the wheels that let it roll around folded up because they get in the way. As for getting things inside the vehicle - I've had 2 Priuses and with the back seat down both could get as many 8-foot 2x4's inside as I was willing to stack up between the seats over the center console.

    Note that a trailer or truck bed with an inside width of 48" isn't quite wide enough to carry sheets of siding with the overlapping edges unless you don't lay it flat. You need another half inch or so.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    I'm pretty confident that there has never been a car that would accept a full sheet. Maybe a 1970 Plymouth station wagon would come close.
    Mid-'70s Ford station wagon ("Country Squire"?): I borrowed my neighbor's a couple of times for that when I moved into this house in 1979. That thing was big. Those were the days before Home Depot rented trucks.

    But I've had 4-5 (cut) sheets in the back of my Accord: it will handle 30"x80" through the trunk hole. I just don't do many projects that require bigger chunks than that now.
    Last edited by Lee DeRaud; 10-08-2020 at 6:14 PM.
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  15. #15
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    I have a Dodge Caravan. It will haul 4x8 sheets and still close the hatch, but barely. The fit for 4x8 sheets is really tight and you generally can't carry more than a few sheets due to the design. It feels like the engineers/designers were given a directive that a 4x8 sheet must fit, but don't include any extra space.

    99% of the time I use my 6x10 utility trailer instead. It is way easier to get 4x8 sheets in and out of the trailer.

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