Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 41 total)
  • Campervan experts – if you’ve the energy, I’d love some guidance pls
  • Premier Icon Aus
    Free Member

    Hi, finding it really difficult to feel confident about narrowing my search down. So I’ve picked 3 different vans (for examples) and would love top hear of any particular pros and cons of each van.

    My requirements
    – the van will usually be used by me and Spaniel for 5 day dog walking trips
    – Mrs A might join us v occasionally – an awning will be necessary as will mean additional 2 spaniels
    – happy to try wild camping, but fan of campsites
    – have camped a lot in the past, happy cooking on a little stove, but also mod-cons in the van might be nicer!
    – heater would be good as like the idea of using most of the year
    – will need to be SWB or MWB to fit on our drive/road (I think)
    – I worry about high mileage!
    – automatic would be preferable due to historic motorbike crash injuries

    I could manage to get up to £25K budget but this would require pretty good confidence that depreciation wouldn’t be too much in e.g. 3 years. Spending less would be much more preferable but seems to be a trade-off then of big mileage.

    So I’ve chosen 4 examples – would love pros and cons of each type, key things to look for, any guidance to boost my knowledge! And crucially, they’re all lots of money, but are they unreasonable monies in today’s world?!

    Thanks

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/203474080945?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/224476355764?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/265178136635?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

    https://www.autotrader.co.uk/motorhome-details/202105152665612?advertising-location=at_motorhomes&price-to=25000&maximum-mileage=70000&postcode=tn161en&transmission=Automatic&seller-type=private&radius=1500&price-from=18000&sort=price-asc&page=1

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    Can you not find an Alphard/elgrand with a pop top ?

    It would be a much more comparible van to the others. As it is as much as it’s the right base van from those 4 that particular van is very limiting.

    Cooking/getting changed /moving around is generally nicer not lying down/crawling/on your knees

    Premier Icon lankystreakofpee
    Full Member

    I recently spent a lot of time looking at campers and the difference in quality between conversions is massive, so I would try to find one that has been converted by a reputable company.

    Wellhouse are really good. They started off converting Jap imports and now convert Ford, Vauxhall, Toyota etc. Due to the worldwide parts supply shortage, the owner has bought a batch of Jap imports to convert to keep production going so they have some available at the moment. E.g. this:

    Wellhouse Toyota Alphard

    I don’t have any link with this company other than being a happy owner and the customer service is exceptional. For me that swung it over some cheaper alternatives that had been converted by Dave in his garage.

    Premier Icon db
    Full Member

    Ok first I would think about your requirements.

    If you are happy with campsites do you want electric hook up? If you have hook up most of the diesel heater not required IMO.
    Do you want to get under height barriers or store the van in a garage? If so pop top is needed but high top better insulation, quieter on a site and generally nicer.

    I’m a VW fan boy having had a T4 for many years and swapping to a T6 last year. Mass of parts and support available, hold there value and is the biggest van I can get in my garage.

    All vans seem silly money just now but you clearly know that. The bubble will burst so you will lose more money at some point than waiting (but that is from someone who pays vw prices😀)

    Premier Icon Twodogs
    Full Member

    I wouldn’t get any of those! The Merc looks the best but you appear to have to get out to get to the driver’s seat? Same with the VW which looks v basic inside. The Ford doesn’t have a pop-top.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s kipping in a van legislation coming soon (completely different from wild camping btw) given the huge number of anti social clots desperate for their insta shots, and clogging up rural spots.

    Seen a couple of pics from the lovely wee beach at morar, 37 vans last Saturday night. Jesus wept.

    Get a van that is best suited for going to a campsite.

    Premier Icon joeegg
    Free Member

    Nobeer is pointing you in the right direction.There’s been a boom in people converting old vans then expecting to ” camp ” for free.Problems are occuring around the country with some of these people leaving a right mess.
    Last weekend I went to the Motorhome show at Harrogate. We have always had a caravan but I am a bit tired of towing.
    Firstly,secondhand prices are ridiculous. That Merc on eBay is 2007 and £22k.I saw new stuff at the show £7k above RRP and a van we liked from a dealer in Wales was £16k above RRP.
    My neighbours have a motorhome and their weekend trips away are spent on council car parks because it’s cheap. Not my sort of break.
    We will probably go back to a caravan and campsites as I can see more restrictions coming in this country.
    A good place for info is MotorhomeFun as there’s loads of forum topics.

    Premier Icon pk13
    Free Member

    Pop top is a must on a small van or you will get bored very quickly. As is a walk through getting wet to put the kettle on sucks

    I’ve always had vans for camping walking/bikes ect but the influx of very rude and selfish folk thinking they are on an all inclusive brake is getting on my wick.

    Even classic pricing is on the up expect to see lots of badly maintained vws on the hardsholder this year.
    73bay owner here.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    expect to see lots of badly maintained vws on the hardsholder this year.

    That’s started. Saw 4 on the a90 alone last Saturday.

    Premier Icon codybrennan
    Free Member

    We need Aires in Scotland now, I’m thinking.

    Anyway, back to your van. The suggestion above for a factory JDM import of an Alphard is a cracker. Do you own a car already or will this be your only vehicle?

    Premier Icon duncancallum
    Full Member

    @nobeerinthefridge

    You seen the anti nc500 pages. I think your right. I can see loch lomond style seasonal bans coming

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    Aye, I tend to try and avoid both the pro and anti stuff on faceboak though, nutter central!.

    Cody is spot on, no point ignoring it and hoping it goes away, Scotland needs a consultation and plan on this.

    Premier Icon duncancallum
    Full Member

    Its certainly entertaining….

    I agree. I know I’ve only recently moved here but I’ve been coming up for years and I’m surprised by how many Van’s I’m now seeing in spots where you never saw them.

    Think the hire industry needs to be involved as well as a lot of the poor behaviour is ignorance rather than malice (or so I hope)

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    Aye, agree on the hire point.

    Anyway, I digress, I seem to have hijacked your thread OP, sorry.

    Premier Icon dovebiker
    Free Member

    Somebody mentioned Mazda Bongos / Ford Fredas – most are over 20 years old now and they commonly suffer from rust and terminal transmission failure.

    Elgrands and Alphards are about the only viable Japanese alternatives these days.

    I have a 1974 VW Bay camper – great, as long as you don’t want to get there in a hurry.

    Factory fitted/ professional interiors are worth having over someone’s bodge with melamine and Sikaflex.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    There’s a place near binners that gets a great name, can’t recall the name, though it’s defo Hawaiian sounding! They source base van and then work to your spec, well priced too.

    Premier Icon alpin
    Free Member

    VW T5 (and their comparable ilk) pop tops are shit.

    Too little space. Constant tetris. Pop top negates heater as heat escapes easily. No space to hang wet clothes/shoes. Can’t move around with disturbing those still sleeping. Can’t stay up without disturbing those already asleep. Bikes left outside in the elements and constantly on view.

    VW scene tax. The vans aren’t really any better from a mechanical perspective, imo. Had several large bills for repairs. Driveshafts, turbo, shocks all round.

    Had my van for six years. Sold it a few months back and it was a massive relief.

    Premier Icon Twodogs
    Full Member

    VW T5 (and their comparable ilk) pop tops are shit.

    Opinion is divided 😂

    Premier Icon robbie
    Free Member

    Lwb t4 owner here but not a vw fanboy s such I looked at a few vans but went with the vw as it had everything I wanted. Have a pop top they are not shite! Give u more space and the kids or another adult can sleep in it. I mostly use the van myself and can get my bike inside with a rock and roll bed fully extended. I’ve just changed out the old eberspacher night heater for a new Chinese version and it is much better and cost 85 quid! Well worth fitting one.
    Yes it’s warmer with the roof down but not needed when the heater is running in the winter. I’ve got full side cupboards with sink hob and fridge.
    If I was doing it again I would just go for a plug in cool box and removable hob/sink pod. Awning wise get something that isn’t too big and easy to put up as if just on an overnighter my awning is too much hassle unless we are out for a few days.

    Premier Icon db
    Full Member

    Had my VW T4 10 years, biggest bill was for a routine cam belt change.
    Over 10 years it lost 4K in value. If I had kept it until this year I practically could have sold it for what I bought it for.

    I agree at bedtime is a bit Tetris like but it’s a small van what do you expect. It fits in a garage, a multi-storey, under a 2m beach car park.

    I knew it was a small van when I bought it, it works for us, so much so I bought a T6 to replace it.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    I’ve just changed out the old eberspacher night heater for a new Chinese version and it is much better

    In what way better ? I’ve two Chinese heaters and they are crippled.they lost the ability to maintain a set temperature. Fine in my sheds. Piss poor in a van.

    Premier Icon robbie
    Free Member

    The erberspacher when set down low overnight would stop and start all the time. And not keep a constant low heat was fine when turned up slightly but then got to hot. The Chinese copy has a better controller and is quieter can’t even hear the pump. Stay on at a constant low heat and costs less than a service of an erberspacher.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    Says more about the poor quality of the eber then because compared to an lpg heater these Chinese diesel heaters are terrible noisy as hell and can’t hold a temperature for love nor money.

    But they run on kero so cheap way to heat my home office* before I get to it.

    The remotes the best thing about them things.

    *Concrete sectional garage

    # side tracked again…. But tldr – go play with a CDH before cutting holes in your van to fit one. YMMV.

    Premier Icon andylc
    Free Member

    I’ve not had one of the most recent pricey versions but our Chinese diesel night heater works much better than the expensive one that was in the last van. Temperature control is very reliable although even the lowest setting is somewhat warmer than I’d like. At the low settings the only noise you can notice is the clicking from the pump, which I think all diesel night heaters do. Uses very little fuel.
    If and when it goes wrong I imagine it’s just a matter of throwing it out and getting a new one…

    Premier Icon pk13
    Free Member

    Anyone who’s saying pop tops are shite is under 5’6″
    Try getting under a car park barrier in a hight top or sprinter based van.

    Comfortable = moterhome

    Premier Icon alpin
    Free Member

    Anyone who’s saying pop tops are shite is under 5’6″

    5’7″

    A pop top is just glorified camping.

    Fabric acts as a sail in high winds.

    If it’s cold outside then it’s cold inside (“not if you’ve got thermal blinds… Blah blah blah”).

    Privacy is crap. You can easily hear others. Others can hear you (#dangerwink).

    Most Pop tops don’t give you masses of leg/head room when sleeping (mine had a hilo roof, highest lifting roof, I think).

    Been there. Don’t that. Not for me.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    I’d have a pop top over not having a pop top…. But I’d prefer a standing room tin top

    In 5 years low bridges and low ferry upper decks have given me more concern than car park barriers.

    Premier Icon spooky_b329
    Full Member

    Like trailrat says, I’ve had a very close call with a lowering ferry deck as I was irked at coughing up £30 because my rooflights were 100mm over the height allowance, as I’d already paid an extra £30 for being 100mm over 6 metres long. Luckily they called me and a 4×4 with a roofbox forward first and parked us just ahead of the deck which was then lowered!

    You quickly get used to pre-empting the possibility of height barriers and it’s rarely caused us any agro, but I am a shade too high for MaccyDs which is occasionally a pain 🙂

    We only tend to ‘wild camp’ on quiet residential side roads to break up a long journey, I don’t find it particularly enjoyable or relaxing, and imagine it would be a nightmare with 3 dogs. Arrive late and leave early, I’ve never tried to stay anywhere you would call a beauty spot as invariably you either get hassle, there are no overnight signs, or you could lads hooning about at 1am. Normally we head for cheaper campsites but don’t always return each night, if we want a nice meal we’ll check if we can ‘leave our van’ in the car park overnight so we can have a drink (and then hit the sack) rather than going back to the campsite.

    I’ve just arrived on a campsite, it’s a tenner a night, we are the only ones here and the trail network goes right past the van. 6m hightop van and my beds permanent so it’s already made up, 3 bikes secure underneath the bed, we are sitting around the table debating if it’s too late for a cup of tea, and if I can’t be bothered to go to the toilet block there is one in the van.

    6m hightop van is the sweet spot, it can still bomb down narrow lanes and park in the high street, big enough to stand up and stretch, and not need transform it from bedroom to sitting room

    Premier Icon robbie
    Free Member

    Trail_rat
    Sound like u might have been unlucky with your heater as guy I know who fits them has 4 in his own hire vehicles and they all work brilliantly. He also uses one to heat his office in the workshop in the winter.

    Premier Icon Mugboo
    Full Member

    Until recently we owned 2 T4’s, one now sold, both have been the 2.5tdi and totally reliable. The one we’ve still got is approaching 200,00 and I intend to get another 100,00… both are very well maintained with a bit of bodywork every few years to keep them tidy.

    Value wise we lost £2000 on our multivan camper after 5 years of pleasure. My T4 day van stands me at around £10,000 but I’ve now owned it for 11 years and would get at least £4000 back.

    That said there is a LWB highroof Sprinter on its way next to make the move to bikes inside, etc.

    Premier Icon Marin
    Free Member

    If in the future electric vans roll out massively there will be thousands of over priced vans available. Just buy a van and enjoy it if you use it a lot and have fun you’ve got your money’s worth over worrying about resale. Too much thinking.

    Premier Icon john_l
    Full Member

    Everyone will have a different view of what makes a good van, as you can see.

    We had a Bongo when the kids were young, pop top and interior conversion, which was brilliant for summer holidays in UK and Europe for 5 or 6 year. The kids slept in pup tents and we were inside.

    Then I had a T5, factory Kombi – so sliding windows and rear seats. Much faster & smoother, but didn’t bother with a conversion, just lined it, insulated and carpeted and used it pretty much as a daily and weekend bike trips with friends. It’s still going strong – sold it to someone local to here.

    Now it’s just me and her, so we’ve got an old Renault Rimini Autosleeper, which is slow and bouncy, but when we get there it’s the height of luxury – loads of storage space, proper 3-way fridge, hob, grill and sink with Propex heater. Everything can run on gas if there’s no hook-up. Pop top has solid, folding sides.

    Premier Icon Mugboo
    Full Member

    As for wild camping, I suspect that just like our local woods have quietened off now that the pubs are back open, so the mass of new campers will die off as soon as Benidorm is back open for business. A wet summer and plenty of midges will chase them back to the beaches.

    That glut of cheap campers might come sooner than you think Marin! And I agree with you, if it was about price I would be waiting another 12 months for the price of big vans to drop but life’s too short.

    Premier Icon sparksmcguff
    Full Member

    Loads of good advice as always to pick through. Here’s some of my experiences.
    If you want to wild camp or park in a car park (shopping, sightseeing whatever) a short/ med wheel base is very handy. Also helps on narrow roads.

    Good ground clearance can be very helpful. Worked in my favour last couple of weekends.

    A freestanding awning is great for campsites.

    A fridge is necessary.

    As are midge screens for your windows.

    Premier Icon Marin
    Free Member

    Not about price really my vans just clicked 200000 if it died today I’d buy another van immediately. If your worried about resale value it’s a VW.

    Premier Icon onehundredthidiot
    Full Member

    Caravan? If you’re mainly looking at sites, granted depends on current and future cars but it’s an option. Also I think the van purchase costs are massive especially this year.

    Premier Icon Aus
    Free Member

    Thanks all, really helpful and appreciate the sentiment of me ‘overthinking’ it all!

    Sort of erring to a VW because of reputation, price holding, sorted kit etc and accept it’s premium priced.

    Like hearing of vans hitting 200k miles, eases my mind!

    Out if interest, what’s informed estimate of vans Covid price premium at the moment? So say one spent £25K on a good, standard van, am I paying 10% or 20% or x% more because of the high demand?

    And I’ve followed a few vans on ebay/autotrader etc and surprising that many are not actually sellin g – may be overpriced, or may be that the demand is a bit media hyped?

    Thanks again.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    Teahupoo were the guys I was thinking of, call them for a blether, they were brilliant when I was thinking about it a couple of years ago.

    Premier Icon Mugboo
    Full Member

    That 200,000 is on the T4’s, I’ve no idea if newer VW’s are as reliable.

    Premier Icon Dickyboy
    Full Member

    I have a 1974 VW Bay camper – great, as long as you don’t want to get there in a hurry.

    Bitd we used to holiday, mum, dad, 5 kids, dog & camping gear in a 1964 splitty, driving Norfolk to Applecross actually scarred me for life

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