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Vehicles Use for Transporting Telescope Equipment

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#51 Chucky

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:57 PM

<< We bought an Element for my son to use at grad school. The gas mileage loaded up with my gear was only 20 miles per gal. >>

My 2007 AWD Honda Element (5 speed manual) gets 27-28 mpg on the freeway if I hold the speed at 60 mph. Around town probably around 20 or so....maybe a tad higher if I take it easy with some open stretches. Best vehicle I've ever owned. Huge cargo area, especially if I pull out the rear seats, plenty of headroom, easy to clean, and AWD is awesome. Does it all for me - hauls my bikes upright, camping stuff, astro stuff. Nice not having to cramp everything like smaller vehicles. Plus the back makes an awesome sleeping area.....keeping me from having to setup a tent.
http://www.flickr.co...157629802671568

http://www.flickr.co...157629802671568

http://www.flickr.co...157624728850044

#52 Slow Astronomer

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 03:19 PM

Jay, in 2008 I "upgraded" from a 2001 Ford Ranger (14mpg local/17 mpg hwy)to a 2009 Toyota RAV4 (22mpg local/30mpg hwy). Being retired the increase in mpg was huge.

It has a ton of cargo space and I swear it was designed for astronomers. The dome, map and rear door lights all have switches to turn them off. I can open the door and I don't get yelled at for a white light going on! :like:

It hauls all my gear for the night easily. Despite all the recalls (which have not cost me a dime) I think I'll stick with my RAV4 for the time being. Clear skies,

Dave :refractor: :crazyeyes:

#53 csrlice12

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 03:38 PM

Outside of the gas mileage (18 city/25 Hwy), my 2005 Ford Escape is one fun vehicle. It not only drives well and has lots of room, but I can switch off ALL the lights (interior and exterior) when going to a dark site.

#54 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 03:54 PM

Jay, in 2008 I "upgraded" from a 2001 Ford Ranger (14mpg local/17 mpg hwy)to a 2009 Toyota RAV4 (22mpg local/30mpg hwy). Being retired the increase in mpg was huge.

It has a ton of cargo space and I swear it was designed for astronomers. The dome, map and rear door lights all have switches to turn them off. I can open the door and I don't get yelled at for a white light going on! :like:

It hauls all my gear for the night easily. Despite all the recalls (which have not cost me a dime) I think I'll stick with my RAV4 for the time being. Clear skies,

Dave :refractor: :crazyeyes:


I have a 2012 RAV4, and I also like the gas mileage, cargo space and the way the interior lights can be switched to off. My only problem is that, unlike my previous Camry, I can't turn off the DRLs. Something that I forgot to check before I bought the vehicle. :foreheadslap:

#55 Slow Astronomer

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:12 PM

OK Doug, there's a reason they call me the "Slow" Astronomer. Whatsa DRL? Thanx,

Dave :foreheadslap:

#56 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:14 PM

Sorry! DRL = Daytime Running Lights.

#57 killdabuddha

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:00 AM

Well Jim,

We love the solid and luxurious Outback, but wish that we hadn't Googled it afterward, but we were kinda compelled by the gas tank that doesn't fill, and in our state I'm breakin the law every time the attendant makes me pump my own. Even a 14-page thread at the Outback forum could do no better than to best-guess that it's spiders' affinity for charcoal (filters) that makes them lay their eggs there. And yeah, if you change the coolant, use the additive Subaru recommends, to protect the head gaskets. What else? Lots. Itsa high maintenance car, but figure we're almost breakin even. Thanks for the timing belt heads up.

(And I think the head gasket problems were to about 20% of them, but that the failures were early rather than late and havin to do with the adhesive used.)

#58 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:52 AM

What else? Lots. Itsa high maintenance car, but figure we're almost breakin even



Interesting..

I have always been attracted to Suburu's ever since I had a worn out '82 wagon for a short while. But from what I have seen, it does seem that compared to Toyota's, Honda's and Nissans, Suburu's are high maintenance vehicles and for me, that's a deal killer.

Jon

#59 RTLR 12

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:09 AM

Sometimes you have to get out of the library and experience real life. One example does not a reality make. So many experts...so many opinions.

Stan

#60 starrancher

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:34 PM

I love my Jeeps and wouldn't trade em for anything .
'89 Comanche , 20 mpg with 252,000 on the clock .
'92 Cherokee , 22 mpg with 206,000 on the clock .
Weather and mood dictate the choice .
'92 Wrangler and '92 Wrangler with 40,000 on the clocks .
Just a couple toys for the trails .

#61 csrlice12

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:01 PM

Sister in law's 92 Cherokee--less than 35,000 miles--caught fire and burned up on the side of the road....electrical short....unfortunately, bought used, out of warranty..... but her old Chevy pickup was well over 200K when it finally died...

#62 Tom Polakis

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:31 PM

More Subaru propaganda...

Two Australian brothers drove from the UK to Australia in a high-mileage second generation Forester:...



You can drive a Subaru across large bodies of water. Is there anything that all wheel drive won't do?

#63 Tom Polakis

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:38 PM

My scope hauler was a 2003 Nissan Frontier extended cab with a shell but someone totaled it while it was parked. Now we have a 2004 Nissan Frontier extended cab with a cap. On a long trip, it gets about 26-27mph. Last May-June we did 7,000 miles of camping and visiting... On the freeway around here, about 25mph.



Jon, a 2004 Frontier is also what my wife are using to haul both an Obsession 18" U-C and a 10" Newtonian, both with platforms. I have been known to say not very nice things about the U-C design, but that scope delivers when it comes to being compact. The truck has a gutless 2.5L engine, and its freeway gas mileage has been closer to 24 mpg.

Tom

#64 jrbarnett

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:59 PM

Many Hondas and Toyotas also have timing belts that require costly replacement at around 100k miles. Subaru's new engines have moved to "lifetime" timing chains.

No Nissan, Toyota or Honda car-based AWD vehicle has off-pavement capabilities even close to Subaru's AWD system. Religious tire rotation (which by the way is recommended for *any* vehicle) is a relatively small maintenance item to address in order to get an AWD system that works as well as most two-range, open differential truck-based 4WD systems.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=Q7dVFY5CxT0

http://www.youtube.c...t=PL6AC38C85...

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=0_MXK2nzt2Y

Epic fail. :grin:

The best cars money can buy, some say. :grin:

http://management.fo...baru-best-cars/

Regards,

Jim

#65 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:17 PM

Sometimes you have to get out of the library and experience real life. One example does not a reality make. So many experts...so many opinions.

Stan


Easy to try four different eyepiece brands. A little more problematic with automobiles, at least on my budget.

#66 starrancher

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:59 PM

Sister in law's 92 Cherokee--less than 35,000 miles--caught fire and burned up on the side of the road....electrical short....unfortunately, bought used, out of warranty..... but her old Chevy pickup was well over 200K when it finally died...


Bummer about that Jeep . That thing shoulda gone 360k easy . Taken care of the 4.0 straight 6 cyl tractor motor should go a half million miles .
All my Jeeps have the stock radios and cassette players in them . Actually they are all stock except for the addition of a CB radio mounted under dash and a K&N filter element in the air boxes .
Point is that I've seen vehicles burn to the ground due to an aftermarket radio that was installed incorrectly . Even a place that installs radios like Best Buy can screw up and burn ya to the ground . Nobody's going into my dashboards .
No tellin what the culprit was in this case but if aftermarket electronics were installed maybe ...... Aftermarket alarm ?

#67 Darenwh

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:15 PM

2005 Ford F150 extended cab. Gas mileage is poor at 16mpg (Fords largest gas v8) but I got it used w/ a fiberglass cap two years ago for 13k with only 32k miles on it. Looks nearly new and is paid off. Since I only use it for Astro and the boat I am not worried about the gas. It's cheaper than a payment. Carry's everything and has plenty of room for more. Super reliable and parts/labor are cheap. What more could I want from it?

#68 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:53 PM

Sometimes you have to get out of the library and experience real life. One example does not a reality make. So many experts...so many opinions.

Stan


Stan:

I am not quite sure what your point is... It is true that I keep an eye on the Consumers Report reliability records and Suburu's are not up there with the Honda's, Toyotas and Nissans... And reading the fuel economy stuff, they're not that good at that either....

For someone who views a car as a practical tool, buys used cars, those two factors pretty much ruled out a Suburu for me...

Jon

#69 ahopp

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 08:35 AM

2004 Hummer H2 pulling my 20'x8 1/2' mobile observatory.

Tony

#70 RTLR 12

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:22 PM

Sometimes you have to get out of the library and experience real life. One example does not a reality make. So many experts...so many opinions.

Stan


Stan:

I am not quite sure what your point is... It is true that I keep an eye on the Consumers Report reliability records and Suburu's are not up there with the Honda's, Toyotas and Nissans... And reading the fuel economy stuff, they're not that good at that either....

For someone who views a car as a practical tool, buys used cars, those two factors pretty much ruled out a Suburu for me...

Jon


Jon,

My point is that choosing the right vehicle is not an easy thing to do. It is defiantly NOT an exact science...

When I testify in court about a certain problem with a vehicle and the expert witness for the other side testifies, it comes down to who tells the best story...not who's right.

Stan

#71 mountain monk

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:36 PM

We have a Prius and a Ford Explorer. The Prius (with cargo box) we used for years on our trips to Utah with the NP-101, the C8, a dog, and a week's worth of camping gear. The new dob fits in the Prius fine, but if I go to Utah in the Prius I suffer from 4x4 envy..., so maybe this year it will be the Ford. Together, they keep our gas expenditures at a reasonable level. We need the Ford because of where we live. I hated buying a Prius, but did it for my wife and now I must admit that I like it a lot--great car.

Dark skies.

Jack

#72 mountain monk

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:03 PM

Suburu:

Suburu is far and away the most popular vehicle in Jackson Hole and has been for years. We have a solid six months of winter. So you have an issue that often comes up here: numbers versus experience. I do not look at reports, I ask people what their experience is, and the yes vote is solid-Suburu. I've never owned one, I tend toward trucks, but everyone I've know who owns them loves them.

Dark skies.

Jack

#73 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:31 PM

Jon,

My point is that choosing the right vehicle is not an easy thing to do. It is defiantly NOT an exact science...

When I testify in court about a certain problem with a vehicle and the expert witness for the other side testifies, it comes down to who tells the best story...not who's right.

Stan



Stan:

I agree 100%. It's important to know yourself, your needs and have some sort of strategy. I am very much a K.I.S.S type, simple cars last longer than fancy cars, there is less to go wrong with them. Roll up windows are simpler, much less expensive to fix and more reliable. Cars are not toys, I just want some thing economical, reliable, and safe. When I buy it, I want it to have another 100,000 miles in it, when I am finished, it's a beater...

Jon

#74 izar187

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:39 PM

Sorry! DRL = Daytime Running Lights.


Daytime running lights that won't turn off really bite. One of the stupidest "accessories" automotive manufacturers ever came up with. It goofs up far more than just telescoping. I too will never again fail to check this out before buying. It just never occurred to me at the time that this could be an issue.

When I first started stargazing is when I first removed a bulb from a dome light. Interior lights that can switch off are a fine fine thing.

As others, I too do not buy new vehicles. I've found Consumer Reports to be a great resource for helping to figure out good used candidates. Specifically for mechanical reliability. Some makes and models do do better some years. Because their systems do or don't get redesigned, when they should or shouldn't have been, as they weren't broke or needed reworking. Year and model often matter significantly more then the make of the vehicle IME.

#75 RTLR 12

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:56 PM

DRL are a safety device, not an accessory. They are mandated in some countries like Sweden, Denmark and others. The ability to turn DRL or any other safety device would defeat the purpose. There are ways around them, but if some one came into my shop and ask me to turn them off, I had to refuse. It is illegal to remove, alter, or disconnect a safety device.

Stan






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