Choosing the Right Chassis for Your Luton Van: Considerations and Options

Choosing the Right Chassis for Your Luton Van Considerations and Options

Choosing the right chassis for Luton van is necessary. If you are building a custom vehicle for yourself, you need to ensure that it has a strong and sturdy frame in the dimensions that you need.

There are different aspects and factors that you have to consider when picking a chassis so that you make the right choice. Discussing those is what this blog post is going to be about.

But before we get to that, we think that it is necessary to talk about what a Luton van actually is and what purposes it is used for. Knowing all of that will help you understand the rest of the stuff that we will discuss later on in the post.

What is a Luton Van?

A Luton van is the type of van in which there is a driver’s cab up front along with a large box-shaped storage compartment at the back. The special thing about the Luton van is that it has a project additional compartment that comes to rest at the top of the driver’s cab. This is called the “Luton peak” and it is the reason that these vans are called by their specific name.

These types of vans are typically used for transportation purposes. They are not ideal for any other use – like carrying passengers since they have a limited number of seats in a limited space up front.

Mentioning this point is somewhat necessary since it will help in the coming post. Since the main purpose of Luton vans is transportation, the chassis selection has to be done accordingly.

Choosing the Right Chassis for Luton Van: Main Considerations

Moving on, let’s take a look at some of main considerations that you have to take when making your choice.

1.  Size

The first thing that you need to consider is the size of the van. Custom chassis selection happens when you’re making a custom van. And when you’re making a custom van, you’ll have an idea of how big you want it to be.


Luton vans can vary in sizes. Some of them can be on the smaller side at about 17 feet long whereas others can be longer at about 24 feet.

The chassis is the frame of the van so that bigger that chassis is, the larger will be the van itself.

Now that’s pretty basic stuff – which is probably you know if you’re reading this. The actual question that you need to answer at this point is do you want a large van or a small one?

  • Larger vans have a larger storage capacity. They can store more cargo in the back and perform transportation more easily and effectively. However, they can be somewhat lacking in terms of mobility and maneuverability.
  • Shorter vans, on the other hand, have smaller storage spaces but they do compensate by providing better mobility and handling. They are easier to park, and the general protocols for big vehicles are somewhat milder on them.

Depending on what your needs are, either of these two can be the better choice.

2.  Construction material and strength

The next thing that you have to consider when choosing the right chassis for your Luton van is construction material and strength.

A van chassis that is made with heavier and harder materials will be strong and sturdy. But, that sturdiness comes with a downside. Since the materials are hard and heavy, they add weight to the van and give it all the disadvantages that come with that. Heavier vehicles are tougher to control, have less mobility, and can also give a not-so-good full efficiency.

A chassis that is made with lighter materials, on the other hand, will be the opposite. The van would be light and fast. It will provide good handling and control but it won’t be very durable.

You have to consider your specific need and figure out which one would be better for you. For example, if you are making a van for some long and arduous rides across rough roads, then durability should be your main priority. On the other hand, if you are planning on using the van mainly for shorter and quicker rides, lightweight construction should be your priority.

3.  Construction style

Construction style

In the coming part of this post, we are going to discuss some of the chassis options that are typically used in vans. They include the ladder frame, the backbone, and the monocoque chassis. All of these vary on the basis of their design and style of construction. Each of them have their own pros and cons (which we will discuss in detail).

You have to consider your needs and the usage requirements of your van and pick the proper construction style accordingly. This will make more sense when we list the construction styles themselves, which is what we’re now going to be doing.

Choosing the Right Chassis for Luton Van: Options

The three options that we’re going to be discussing here include:

  • Ladder frame chassis
  • Backbone chassis
  • Monocoque chassis

1.  Ladder frame chassis

This type of chassis is quite simple and standard. The ladder frame chassis is the classical and iconic shape that comes to mind when the word “chassis” is mention. It consists of a rough square/rectangular arrangement of beams in which two long lengthwise beams are connected right at the end by two short widthwise beams.

The arrangement of beams in this construction style is what lends it the name “ladder frame.”

As we mentioned, this construction of chassis is quite simple and standard. However, it does have its advantages.

Pros of ladder frame chassis

  • This type of chassis can be very steady and stable. The even arrangement of the beams can help distribute the weight of the van on top. Thanks to that, the ride becomes smooth.
  • On top of being safe and stable, a ladder frame chassis is also durable and long-lasting. This is mostly due to the way it supports the van on top. The even distribution and balanced constructions stops any undue weight or pressure being applied to one place and damaging the frame.
  • This chassis can be easier to fix and maintain. The shape and arrangement of the beams makes it easy for repairs/replacements to be made without the entire thing getting affected.

The downside of the ladder frame

The downside of the ladder frame

  • The downside of this chassis construction style is that it is bulky and thus, harder to maneuver. Compared to some of the other styles – such as the backbone chassis that we will be discussing next – the ladder frame is wider and heavier.

The ladder frame can be right chassis for Luton van if your usage is going to be simple and standard with no specific inclination towards rough driving. For example, it would make one of the best camper van chassis considering that camper vans can often need to take off-road routes.

2.  Backbone chassis

As is the case with the ladder frame, the name of the backbone chassis is indicative of its shape and structure. In this specific construction style, the front and back axles are joined together by a single long beam laid across the center. It sort of forms the shape of the letter “I” when handwritten in uppercase.

Pros of the backbone chassis

  • One of the main pros of this type of chassis is that it is flexible. Instead of the axles being joined together by two beams, they are connected by a single one in the center. Due to that, there is a bit of rotational allowance on both axes. When driving on rough terrain, this allows vertical movement of the axles in response to the uneven ground. As a result, the driving experience is smoother and more comfortable.
  • Owing to the flexibility, this type of chassis is more durable. The flexibility of the frame allows it to take the jolts and bumps of the road without any lasting damage. You won’t have to worry about repairing a backbone chassis as much as you would have to for a ladder frame.

The downside of the backbone chassis

  • The downside of the backbone chassis can be understood better in comparison to the ladder frame. In the ladder frame, the drivetrain is fitted between the beams. It can be accessed and fixed simply at the underside of the vehicle. However, in a backbone chassis, the single joining beam covers the drivetrain. It makes access difficult – which makes repairs difficult.

This can be the right chassis for Luton van if the regular use involves somewhat rough driving across uneven roads and terrain.

3.  Monocoque chassis

Monocoque chassis


In the monocoque chassis, the chassis and the upper vehicle frame i.e., the doors, roof, etc., are all one single piece. The upper frame is made from the same block as the chassis. This is very commonly used in cars nowadays but the applications in vans may be a bit rare.

Pros of the monocoque chassis

  • Owing to the single-block construction, monocoque chassis vehicles are stable and they provide a smooth driving experience.
  • They are safer than other types of chassis since there is no breakable joining part between it and the main vehicle frame.
  • Since the whole thing is one piece, it is durable and does not have the danger of having any one part breaking away under impact.

The downside of the backbone chassis

  • Since it is one whole structure, localized repairs are not that easy to do on a backbone chassis.


If you want to choose the right chassis for Luton van, you need to make all the necessary considerations. You have to decide what type of use you want to put the van to and how long you want the van to be, etc.

In the post above, we have talked about these considerations in detail along with some of the common types of chassis that you can pick for your van. We hope the information above will be helpful when you’re making a custom van for yourself.

Thanks for reading!

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