Lets talk about: Camper Vans

Home Forum Chat Forum Lets talk about: Camper Vans

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  • Lets talk about: Camper Vans
  • Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    I got my Transit with about 100k on the clock and ran it for another 30k, but while it’s mechanically ok, rust has killed it. I liked driving it.

    Currently looking for a replacement.

    What I have learned? Transits rust while you sleep…

    People say theres a massive premium for VW vans but compare a 15 year old T4 with a 15 year old Transit and you’ll see why old VW vans still command decent prices.

    That said, we looked at getting a T5 last year and getting it converted into a proper camper van and our budget went from £10k’ish up to £25k and then we stopped looking as it was getting silly.

    We said yesterday though, if we were going to do it we’d want to run a car as a daily as well so we’d get a ‘proper’ camper van as you seem to get a load more space for a load less cash…

    hora
    Member

    but compare a 15 year old T4 with a 15 year old Transit and you’ll see why old VW vans still command decent prices.

    People have a love, an affinity, will spend money on a T4 etc to look its best. A Transit is seen as commercial, a commodity to flog to death working hard.

    redstripe
    Member

    Don’t be a sheep, get a Toyota Hiace D4D post 2002, you want have any of the problems associated with VW/Ford/Merc/Vauxhall etc. Will go on forever. Disabled converted ones are handy as have the rear windows and often removeable seats, easy camper conversion.

    soma_rich
    Member

    You need a Mazda Bongo! We picked ours up with a conversion for about £3K!

    http://www.bongofury.co.uk/

    for all your questions

    lucabazooka
    Member

    …we’re about to advertise our pride and joy….might fit the bill!

    I don’t want this to become an advertorial!!…so, will keep the bio brief…

    In short, it’s never missed a beat and been wonderful to us…we never intended selling it…infact, baby no.1 fitted in just about….the unplanned arrival of baby. no.2 means that we’ve had to move to the Kombi world!

    It’s a 2006 56 Nissan Primastar 2.0 Dci … fully, professionally converted for biking duties!

    It’s a really really good piece of work….SWB but designed for living in!

    I designed/spec’d it (all sterling power products (look them up), PS2, integrated flatscreen TV, SMEV hob/sink, premium audio, drop-down bed … list goes on.

    The mileage is going to put people off/effect sales price (my plan was always to keep until death, replacing the engine as needed) ..

    I purchased the van 4 years ago, 1 light parcel fleet owner (94k miles)…I purchased on condition/wear…(I think it had been going around the M25 non-stop…as felt as tight as a new vehicle).

    We’ve done 75k in 4 years (around Europe 4 times) – plus every summer w’end etc. In that time, it’s had 2 tyres, services every 10k miles, brake discs/pads and that’s it! Oh, the clutch went last July on the way up to Sauze … !!

    Yet to clean/take photos or really think about the price. Total conversation to us was cir. £16k…..and the van is still pretty much immaculate….but 170k miles! So, suspect that we’ll be looking at the £5 – £6k mark.

    Trying to take an objective viewpoint – you need to see the van/the conversion etc to appreciate the value…as the owner/an automotive engineer I’d buy it for £5k in a heartbeat and if the engine ever goes then budget to replace with the later gen 115PS …

    hora
    Member

    I’d love a Hi-Ace. 🙂

    OP- why not a Vauxhall Vivaro or Traffic?

    eskay
    Member

    I had a Hiace camper for a (short) while. Factory conversion and well appointed (air con, gas central heating, 4 birth). It was a nice camper but not something you would want to drive everyday. I ended up selling it because I really needed a car day-to-day (didn’t think it through!).

    If I could have afforded another car I would have kept the van as well.

    Olly
    Member

    After another Dyfi spent in a minute mountain tent on a well used slowly leaking roll mat, we are seriously looking at buying a van.
    Always wanted one, never felt the justification but really feel now is the right time to get one sorted. (before any mini ollys take up all the spare money) :p

    Really not feeling the MASSIVE price penalty for a Transporter (cost of a 150k T4 or T5, gets you a 30k Transit)

    Having had a good scout round the Dyfi site, and a good scour of Vantrader, we are erring towards a SWB Tourneo.

    Any interesting input available from the panel?

    Is it worth getting as low a mileage as we can afford or is 100k reasonable on a modern van (assuming its bodywork is tidy)
    We are looking at £7 – £10k. Any suggestions?

    willard
    Member

    Are the Toyotas that much better than a T5? Just looking at the ones available on Autotrader, it’s impossible to get a comparative idea of size of them both.

    I can see they are cheaper, but if I want to sell the idea of a van to my wife, it is going to have to be a good quality base van. If nothing else than to get the idea of a Talbot Express out of her head…

    Isn’t a Hi-Ace much smaller than a T5 etc though?

    +1 for a Bongo though. A mate bought one on a bit of a whim for going orienteering etc and its ace.

    mark90
    Member

    it’s impossible to get a comparative idea of size of them both

    This is a good resource for comparing sizes (of vans)

    http://www.anchorvans.co.uk/specifications/

    I’ve just been through the van buying what size process, and got some good info from there. Ended up with a lwb T5 kombi.

    I did quite fancy a Transit, but the size I wanted would be a mwb lr in a Transit. Relatively rare. Then throw in other wants (decent towing capacity so not the 280 with 750kg, 120+bhp, any colour other than white) and we’re in rocking horse dung territory.

    mark90
    Member

    erring towards a SWB Tourneo

    If you’re looking at swb Transits and you your missus can stand the colour have you considered the ex-RAC Transits? I might have ended up with one had they been mwb.

    Olly
    Member

    We had a subbie who despised his vivaro/traffic. Could have been a Friday production though. Bongo is a strong Contendor, but might be a bit small? Thanks for the offer Luca, but we would be going for a more utilitarian build with more space for mucky bikes than anything else. Quite fancy the conversion project myself too. We have a ducato at work, which still runs great at 120k. Cheap and massive…? Would probably be an only vehicle too, hopefully would encourage me to ride to work more often.

    redstripe
    Member

    Hiace’s can be had in SWB or LWB, about the same size as Transporter, and don’t break down and about 25-40% cheaper than the same age VW. The older non-turbo ones are a bit sluggish as are the 88 and 95 versions, rarer but if you can find a 102bhp 2002-2005 or post 2006 120bhp version they go much better, you won’t break the land speed record but go well up hills loaded and you can overtake stuff. Shame they stopped making them in 2012. Bit wary of the new Proace replacement, a Peugeot/Citroen in disguise.
    Bongos are at an age now I’d personally be reluctant unless it really does have a good service history, some still at silly prices. Toyota Granvias too, lovely to drive and Toyota reliability but pretty thirsty as 3 litre autos often with 4wd, plus also getting on a bit now. Pain getting the back seats out too if you need carry big things. I still can’t believe how much some dealers ask for imported jap campers/MPV’s, much rather get a younger UK van cheaper and do what I want.
    One last one, Hyundai iLoad & crew vans, worth a look too.

    Premier Icon psling
    Subscriber

    I have a 2002 ex-disabled conversion Hi-Ace swb. Sizewise not dissimilar to a swb T4/5, maybe a bit narrower. They’re few and far between compared to T4/5s but can be picked up cheaper. Well looked after they can be good for 200,000+ and are reasonably cheap to maintain. The big downside compared to VW if you want to build a day van/camper is that there is next to nothing on the market to convert them. For a VW you have so many options, for the Hi-Ace you’ll be hard pushed to find anything.

    edlong
    Member

    we are erring towards a SWB Tourneo

    What I have learned? Transits rust while you sleep…

    This might be utter bobbins (because I think I read it in here) but I believe there is a difference – Tourneos get painted like a car (plenty of decent paint for an expected useful life of many years) whereas Transits are painted like a van (more thinly / craply on the expectation that it’s a van and will be worn out in three-five years anyway so doesn’t need to keep rust at bay longer than that).

    Like I say, this might not be true, but it was something I read…

    eskay
    Member

    Edlong- I have heard the same about transporters and caravelles, not sure how true it is though.

    Marin
    Member

    100k on a modern diesel van is not much depending on what its done. As in ex builders van it will be a bit tired to say the least. If ex RAC vans are floating around I’d seriously check them out. They will have been kept in great condition and I’ve never seen the RAC ragging around.

    Olly
    Member

    Just found a proper bargin tourneo. Already gone 3 days into the listing. Daayum! Still. Proper discussion and assessment of finances indicates project bus has a green light. The hunt is on.

    Premier Icon rapiddescent
    Subscriber

    my vivaro is currently being converted into a mountain bike day van thing by Vanguard in fort william — here it is with holes where there was once metal.

    spooky_b329
    Member

    As a camper/day van I think the Tourneo is probably a bit small.

    The Vivara aka Primastar aka Trafic is the perfect size, still small enough to fit in a supermarket space yet big enough for a T4/T5 style conversion.

    I’d echo the comments that T4’s and T5’s probably only avoid dying of rust (like Transits) due to their image and value justifying spending more on maintenance.

    I think the perfect van would be a swb or mwb Fiat Ducato, they are extra wide so you can get a fixed double bed across the back (leaving space forward for kitchen/dining) and the underbed area will take two bikes so secure and out of sight. And still parkable in the supermarket.

    That said, my van is 6 metres long and wider than most, I just park at the end of the car park and take four spaces, although it will squeeze into a tandem space if needs must.

    Marin
    Member

    Hmmm rust trolls. T4 11 years old and no problem with rust.
    Just ask Olly what van do you own and why should I get one? It would make life easier.
    If you heard it on a thread on STW its most likely rubbish. First hand experience is best. At least that’s what my mates cousins brother Dave thinks he read on here 3.5 years ago.

    spooky_b329
    Member

    Olly, I own an Iveco Daily. I wouldn’t get one…its heavy, noisy and bumpy, but does its job of towing heavy stuff pretty well.

    I drive Transits and Vivaro’s at work, I’d prefer one as a camper over an Iveco. But top of the list would be the Ducato. All front wheel drives and not able to tow my trailer safely though.

    peterfile
    Member

    lucabazooka – send me an email re the van

    Olly
    Member

    We have a Ducato at work, and its had 120k of VERY hard life. It doesnt lock and the doors dont close properly but the engine is tight as you could want. Really enjoy driving it (but it is very wide, even after 4 years of driving it, in my opinion)
    It would be stored in front of the house, on street parking, so a MASSIVE van might be a bit antisocial. Having said that my work Duc is out front fairly often.
    Also, if i got yet another peugeot (Boxer) it would annoy the snot out of my peers which is always good.

    General consensus is as i expected: No one really makes a “bad” vehicle anymore, if we got a well looked after one we should be ok. Transporters are easy to sell as every man and his dog loves them, but equally you pay to get it in the first place.

    Premier Icon rapiddescent
    Subscriber

    rust – easily prevented with plenty of cans of Dinitrol and cleaning off excess dirt !!!

    Premier Icon burko73
    Subscriber

    I had an ex aa t4 I bought at auction for £3.5k and converted it myself. What you do get with t4/5 s iscthatbthey truly can be an everyday driver. My misses drives ours as her main car (t5 now) and it fits nicely into a typical shop parking space/ multi storey.

    T4 s just don’t seem to rust. They are all galvanised and VW were pretty much over engineering at that time. Prob not so much now.

    Think resale as well as you can punt a vwon for a lot more than said transit so you’ll get your money back. I sold mine 5 yrs later with another 50k on for £8k with a seatbed/ sink/ hob/ carpeted/ fridge in it after building it all myself. 5 yrs of holidays and pretty much got my money back on it.

    Premier Icon blastit
    Subscriber

    Never seen a rusty T4 .
    More VW bull

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    VW Tax, some repaid on resale, shame they are small though.

    Had a LWB Med High Tranny, bed, room for 6+ bikes under it if you dropped the front wheels and the BBQ, stove and tools. Lots of space up front. Paid £2500 for it with 150k on the clock, sold with 250k about 4 years later for £750 in under 2 mins on e-bay.

    Loved it, conversion was rough and ready, all you need is underlay, closed cell foam, screws, ply and a circular saw!

    woffle
    Member

    another happy Bongo owner here.

    Ours has a full leisure battery setup etc but is unconverted – we’ve a decent awning which helps with the practicalities of camping in it with two kids + dog. If there were two of you then a converted Bongo would be fine but they’re on the small side. That said, ours – with both rows of back seats, 4WD and V6, is hugely practical for lugging crap around, day trips, people carrying and general family duties. Will fit in most height-restricted car-parks, is the same length as an E-Class estate and whilst thirsty has proven to be reliable thus far (sailed through her last MOT with no issues).

    I think we paid about 6K from a dealer who imported it – have all the original auction paperwork etc too.

    Premier Icon pictonroad
    Subscriber

    The thing with VW tax is, its voluntary, you don’t have to pay it. Plenty of other options as highlighted above.

    I don’t understand why people get into such a froth about VW’s andout how much better the alternatives are. Keep it under your hat if it’s true then you’ll be helping keep the prices down for your particular choice.

    Some people want a VW (for various reasons), suck it up, pay the ‘tax’. I did.

    vrjjuk
    Member

    Another happy Mazda Friendee Bongo owner +1

    Conversions look nice, but expensive and kill most of the day-to-day practicality, and with a removable camping module in rear, are not really necessary.

    Seats slide on rails and can be moved/removed/reversed. Electric pop-top roof with memory foam mattress fine for sleeping. Lots of nice touches- electric blinds all round, soft-close electric side door etc. 4×4 great in snow and muddy wild campsites.

    They are very good to drive- more like a big car than a van. Ebay and clubs fine for most spare parts.

    Only downsides are that they are thirsty and the rear wheel arches rot. And a stupid name!

    We paid about £4k 5 years ago, it has been massively well used (countless biking road trips, music festivals, removals, mobile kennels etc) very reliable and still worth £2k. Not as cool as a VW, but a tiny fraction of the “scene tax”.

    Marin
    Member

    Let’s face it. VW’s are expensive because they are the best.

    surfer
    Member

    That seems to be the perception given the ridiculous amount that people are willing to pay for scabby T4’s

    Marin
    Member

    Tut tut just because you haven’t got one but really wish you had.
    I thought mine was pretty cheap. However it will be scabby by the time I’ve finished with it.

    oliwb
    Member

    We’ve got a 2006 ex-RAC Mercedes Vito that is the wife’s main driver. It’s on circa 120k miles and we’ve only had to replace some brake pads, tyres and a propshaft. There’s not a spot of rust on it – even on some of the scratches that have gone through the top coat of paint. I’ve been converting it myself and we’re nearly there. I love it – drives nicely, is ok on diesel, is SWB so fits in multi-storey’s and normal Tesco-sized parking spaces etc. I also like the fact it’s bright orange – everybody know’s and waves to us now (probably helps that Mrs oliwb is a PE teacher at the local high school!). I like the fact that there are conversion parts freely available (unlike the transits etc), the running gear is very well made and put together and it was <£3k to buy with ~100k miles on the clock. I’d definitely get another one but would maybe hold out for a bigger engine and would go for a pop top as we now have a kid on the way! All the talk of them rusting terribly hasn’t borne out in our one. Our friends had an older on W628 (old style) ’53 I think that was like a sieve and eventually died because of it. The newer (post 2005/06) seem to be much better in the bodywork department. I’ve not done anything with ours, but will probably steam clean and underseal it this summer.

    Oli.

    Marin
    Member

    Mates on his second Vito and loves them. Seem pretty nice from the passenger seat.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Marin – Member

    Let’s face it. VW’s are expensive because they are the best perceive them to be the best, although this is as much about image as fact.
    FTFY

    jaaaaaaaaaam
    Member

    Camper Van Beethoven, yes a good band:
    [video]http://youtu.be/INnFvMgET1E[/video]

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