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chetc

rear liftgate vs cargo doors

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i have yet to test drive a TC, i have been reading that the models with the rear lift gate has a better view looking thru the rear view mirror, is this a noticeably difference over cargo doors

 

 chet

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It's a subjective topic, so it really depends on what you want.

Liftgate - Clear view from the rear view mirror, keeps you dry when unloading in the rain, can be a headache if you're tall and hit your head on it. Liftgate struts will lose pressure and need replacement, eventually.

Cargo (barn) doors are often preferred for commercial use, easy to open and close, easy access for loading and unloading. Drawback is you have the doors blocking your view at the center through the inner rear view mirror, providing you have glass in the cargo doors and un-impeded view without a bulkhead or cargo in the way.

Choose what works best for you and your situation.

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I've had 8 vehicles with hatches. Banged my head on them all ;(  Also had to replace struts on a couple. The benefit of standing under the hatch in the rain is minimal for me. I still sometimes have groceries fall out the back of my current Explorer when I open the hatch.

Barn doors were one of the big attractions for me to the TC. I like being able to open just one side and stuff things in. Less space needed behind the TC to open the dual doors up compared to the hatch. IF you carry a ladder or lumber on the roof, barn doors open easy, not so much for the hatch. The blockage of vision in the middle does take some time to get used to. But with the rear view camera and side mirrors, it has no affect on backing up.

I traveled 2&1/2 hours away in another state to get a TC XLT LWB with the dual rear doors, I wanted them that much. 

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If you have a bike rack or cargo rack, the barn doors may not open without hitting the rack. This is a problem on my full size Econoline van. No problem with the TC lift gate.

The lift gate does not give you fast, easy access to the back compared to opening a small door. 

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We test drove a '15 TC with the barn doors first  -  We were 95% sure that's what we would want, so that's what we started off looking at.  That first drive changed our minds completely.  The vision obstruction where the two doors come together is much larger than I anticipated  -  Looking at the doors from behind, you'd never guess how big a deal this is.  I could never get comfortable with what I saw from the inside mirror with that big obstruction in the middle

After that, we only looked at vans with the liftgate.  I'm 6' tall and it's virtually impossible for me to bang my head, unless I jump up and down I guess.  We carry a pair of Segways in the back of our SWB and we love the liftgate, especially when it's raining  -  It's huge and really neat to stand under and stay dry when loading/unloading

We had lifgates on our last two vehicles, a 2002 and a 2003 and never had to replace any of the lift tubes, and we were in and out of the back of those vehicles much more often than we will be using the liftgate in our TC, so I'm not too worried about failing lift tubes  -  I'll happily replace them in the unlikely event they eventually go bad

Best advice  -  Drive one of each and evaluate the rear door(s) to see what works for you and what doesn't.  If I was buying a vehicle with no glass in the rear doors, the barn doors would be OK (but I would still miss the dry loading/unloading) but if you have glass in the rear doors and are used to being able to see something back there, you probably won't care for the vision out the barn doors

Don

Edited by Beta Don

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I am in the barn door group for sure. The rear view when helped with the mirrors is enough for me. My other truck has no inside rear view at all

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thanks for the replies, so now we are going to test drive the cargo type and the wagon with seats, we are 100% sure on the LWB model so far. we carry 2 dogs to shows and travel a few hundred miles, last year I purchased a new Subaru Forster, one thing i am not thrilled about is the poor air conditioning cooling in hot weather, i had to get a remote start installed and run the car awhile before we would get started so it would be cool for the dogs, going to start a question on cooling the transit connect.

 

  chet

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Unless you travel with 4 people, a SWB model might be all you'd need  -  I could easily get a pair of medium sized dog crates in mine.  The rear seats in the SWB are split 60/40 and either or both fold flat and then tumble vertically so they rest against the back of the front buckets  -  You don't even have to remove the headrests.  With the 60 side folded and vertical, there's lots more room than you would think and you can still carry 3 people

Still not enough room?  Either or both of the 60/40 rear seats can be completely removed from the van in less than 2 minutes  -  No bolting or unbolting and they have carry handles to use to tote them into the house.  They reinstall just as quickly.  Take a look at a SWB passenger van while you're looking to decide what to buy  -  You may be surprised!

Don

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I'm pretty sure that what I'd really love to have doesn't exist in stock form - a liftgate without glass, lol. I'd like to have the overhead coverage, but still want the solid steel that my current barn doors have. That would be a custom job, though, remove the glass and weld-in a steel sheet, then get the whole shebang paint-matched to the van... Probably easier to just build a little pop-up type roof similar to a rain-fly on a tent, using fiberglass poles.

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I got the lift gate.  I like the rain protection when it's open.  But the door is not exactly light.  Some smaller women may find it very difficult to pull it down.  But if your wife isn't it driving it much, that might not be a big deal.  The two side doors give a lot of access.

Tiller

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Main reason I went with liftgate was because the company vehicle that I have driven for the past 6 years has left and right cargo doors and I always find myself being lazy and only opening one door. 1 single motion to open the liftgate, and you're done. The shade and rain block is a bonus as well

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19 hours ago, jrm223 said:

I'm pretty sure that what I'd really love to have doesn't exist in stock form - a liftgate without glass, lol. I'd like to have the overhead coverage, but still want the solid steel that my current barn doors have. That would be a custom job, though, remove the glass and weld-in a steel sheet, then get the whole shebang paint-matched to the van...

Why not just tint the glass so dark that you can't see through it?

Don

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Not sure about Texas where he is.  In some states, heavy tinting of glass is illegal.  In PA 70% of visible light must pass through.  It's no longer a requirement for state vehicle inspection but you can be pulled over and cited for it if an officer sees you driving a heavily tinted vehicle with PA license plates.  It allows a traffic stop simply for the tinting.  I believe the rational for this is that police officers need to see into the vehicle for their safety.  

There are some exceptions for rear windows and rear side windows but these exceptions are for mostly commercial vehicles and some off road vehicles.  No exceptions for normal cars.  The exceptions are based on whether it is truck frame or not.  Not sure if the TC LWB model fits that definition or not.

http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Public/DVSPubsForms/BMV/BMV Fact Sheets/fs-sun.pdf

Tiller

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Here in Texas, if you have two outside mirrors, the rear window can be as dark as you want. Rear side windows have no regulations, front doors are 25% light transmittance when combined with the glass. However, for my use, there would still be glass back there and glass is easily broken compared to steel. You would be surprised how many vehicles around here (particularly trucks & SUV's - our vans are essentially the shape of a small SUV) have the back window busted out, I don't know what it's caused by, though. Maybe thefts, storm damage, drunken shenanigans, who knows! lol

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There is a build on here where a guy cut out the side window panel and installed a Lexan window.  You can get lexan in different thicknesses and different shading.  A rear window could probably either be replaced with lexan, or maybe a second "window" of lexan could be bolted on the inside.

Here's the link for the build: 

 

Here's a pic from a locksmith that adds lexan to the inside for extra protection.

 

Truck-Security-Sept-Blog-003.jpg

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MLB    1

I stock supplies from our store from Sams Club or Costco 3 times a week.  Get caught in the rain enough that I've enjoyed the hatch of my previous mini van while loading. 
Figured I wanted that in my TC but got the best deal (screaming deal) on one with barn doors and despite what some think you get used to them very quickly.  

Yes it's an obstruction but it's right in the middle, so it never blocks anything completely, you can always see anything you need to see. And there are some perks. One nice one is that when on the road at night it's easy to block one of a following cars headlights and WHO KNEW that makes a really big difference in comfort, at least for me.  Where 2 headlights are distracting and even annoying, 1 just doesn't seem to be really at all.  Its' interesting. 

The doors are also very light and easy to open relative to swinging a hatch up.

I would have chosen the hatch but it's barely even worth mentioning as a purchase factor imo.

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