Author Topic: Motorhomes & Campervans  (Read 6355 times)

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Motorhomes & Campervans
« on: August 17, 2018, 03:58:20 pm »
I'm not sure where Campervans ends and Motorhomes begin but, very loosely, a Campervan is like a Transit van with windows cut out and a bed and kitchen fitted.  A Motorhome looks like a Caravan with an engine and steering wheel.
 
It's a huge area of growth currently so I think it warrants a thread. 

I've camped in tiny tents, medium sized tents and huge tents.  Camping with a Motorhome is in exactly the same spirit as any of the other camping I've done and I do it for the same reasons, to get out of the house, sit in a field, and/or explore.

It could be a hints and tips thread but I'd like to see some inspirational images, showing where your beloved van has taken you. 

My own MH is a base for my landscape photography.  It gets me into new landscapes and allows me the quiet time later to process the images. 

To get the ball rolling... Here's Humberto The Hymer.  My Motorhome.  We've owned it 2 years exactly and used it about 150 nights during that time.  It's 10 years old now.



The beauty for me is how easy it is to "change the view". 

We can carry enough water for about 4 days if careful.  We have several weeks of gas on board for cooking/fridge/heating.  Solar panels and 2 big batteries mean we can go off-grid (without 240V) full time most of the year (Short winter days can be challenging for the Solar panels to keep up).

Many pubs in the UK are fine about staying in their car park overnight (something we do a lot) as long as you spend a bit of money at the bar (something we do a lot).

Europe is totally geared-up for Motorhomes.  Almost every sizeable town has an "Aire de Camping Car", somewhere to stay for free (or cheap) and service your van (empty waste & take on fresh water).  It's basically very easy to find an overnight stop in Europe.

The downside is that medieval European towns and Motorhomes don't mix very well, so we have become very familiar with local bus timetables, cycling and walking.  A typical Campervan is much more suited to driving around these places.

Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2018, 04:03:11 pm »
Could we incorporate caravans too or is that just going too far?  :o ;D

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2018, 04:07:13 pm »
Could we incorporate caravans too or is that just going too far?  :o ;D

I'm inclined to say that it's a different topic with different hints & tips.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2018, 04:08:51 pm »
Could we incorporate caravans too or is that just going too far?  :o ;D

I'm inclined to say that it's a different topic with different hints & tips.

Right ho!

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2018, 11:21:38 pm »
Looked at getting a van to use day to day with the possibility of getting it converted into a day van halfway to campervan. What's a good base van to get?

Is it possible to get a van, fit a pop top roof and still keep it below the 2 to 2.1m typical car park height restrictions? If so what van and what make of lid would you recommend?

Sorry about the questions but it wouldn't surprise me if someone on here would have an answer for them.

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2018, 11:41:44 am »
Looked at getting a van to use day to day with the possibility of getting it converted into a day van halfway to campervan. What's a good base van to get?

Is it possible to get a van, fit a pop top roof and still keep it below the 2 to 2.1m typical car park height restrictions? If so what van and what make of lid would you recommend?

Sorry about the questions but it wouldn't surprise me if someone on here would have an answer for them.

Searching on "vanlife" or "van life" on youtube leads you down a rabbit-hole of nice van conversions and videos of the conversion process.

I've never converted one but a Ford Transit would seem like a fairly good platform.  There's a Transit variant to suit most needs and literally thousands to choose from on Auto Trader.
If I were to do it I may go down the Merc Sprinter route though (If you go to a Motorhome show you'll be amazed at the price of completed Mercedes Sprinter conversions*). 
You could make a decent amount of profit and keep trading-up.

*I've seen new, albeit professionally converted, Mercedes Campervans going for >£80,000 !!! ... and no bigger than a regular Transit.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2018, 01:19:32 pm »
If I was spending over 80 grand, I'd be wanting either an A-Type or Coachbuild rather than a van conversion!

Have got a 1988 Talbot Express; it's currently suffering from Italian Metal and French mechanicals and a lack of welders in the area.

Blodwyn Pig

  • what a nice chap
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2018, 08:10:59 pm »
100_0753 by mark tilley, on Flickr

here's our little festival bus, called Pamplemousse,  (we later discovered that 'pamplemousse' in French urban slang, means.....'blouse puppies'  :facepalm: )

Torslanda

  • Professional Gobshite
  • Just a tart for retro kit . . .
    • John's Bikes
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2018, 10:18:57 pm »
Looked at getting a van to use day to day with the possibility of getting it converted into a day van halfway to campervan. What's a good base van to get?

Is it possible to get a van, fit a pop top roof and still keep it below the 2 to 2.1m typical car park height restrictions? If so what van and what make of lid would you recommend?

Sorry about the questions but it wouldn't surprise me if someone on here would have an answer for them.

Flatus has a Toyota Alphard which was supplied by New Acre Cars nr. Coventry Airport and has (I think) a Northstar conversion to a day camper. I think that's a cracking place to start with your enquiries. If anyone has the off the shelf patterns to fit out your chosen ride I reckon it's them.

First thing to do is to choose a base vehicle. Assuming you're not going for a chassis cab then you need as mainstream a vehicle as possible, as new as possible within your budget.
Mentioned upthread is the Ford Transit. Nowt wrong with one of those. Another suggestion would be the Renault Trafic/Vauxhall Vivaro/Nissan Summat-or-other. Like wise Peugeot Expert/Citroen Dispatch/Toyota Proace. Ask the company that supplies the conversions for their opinion on van choice. Anyone with deep pockets will be going down the Mercedes/VW route but there's no reason you couldn't have just as much fun in something else.

All the above have extensive use as hire vehicles Enterprise/Sixt/Whatever which means that they come onto the market at 12-24 months old quite cheaply. All of them have extensive dealer networks across Europe. All of them will be familiar to independent garages everywhere.

All available in variety of configurations and wheelbase and as long as you avoid the high top or extra load versions  you're pretty much guaranteed to buy a front wheel drive van that is a huge metal box yet is under 2 metres tall. Whether fitting a pop top will still allow you to drive into the tip or a car park is a matter for discussion with your conversion supplier.

I was looking at going down the imported Japanese vehicle route myself but have decided not to. Servicing expertise at independents (and even main dealers) is limited and the vast majority of what's offered is too old, at inflated prices and requires too much to be changed to make things work properly. A roof mounted DVD or bangin' stereo is all very well but if the screen menus are all in Japanese and won't play your fave movies unless you shellout for Pacific versions it's alla bit pointless.

Sorry it's all a bit general . . .
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2018, 10:56:34 pm »
Looked at getting a van to use day to day with the possibility of getting it converted into a day van halfway to campervan. What's a good base van to get?

Is it possible to get a van, fit a pop top roof and still keep it below the 2 to 2.1m typical car park height restrictions? If so what van and what make of lid would you recommend?

Sorry about the questions but it wouldn't surprise me if someone on here would have an answer for them.

Flatus has a Toyota Alphard which was supplied by New Acre Cars nr. Coventry Airport and has (I think) a Northstar conversion to a day camper. I think that's a cracking place to start with your enquiries. If anyone has the off the shelf patterns to fit out your chosen ride I reckon it's them.


Correct

Quote
I was looking at going down the imported Japanese vehicle route myself but have decided not to. Servicing expertise at independents (and even main dealers) is limited and the vast majority of what's offered is too old, at inflated prices and requires too much to be changed to make things work properly. A roof mounted DVD or bangin' stereo is all very well but if the screen menus are all in Japanese and won't play your fave movies unless you shellout for Pacific versions it's alla bit pointless.

Sorry it's all a bit general . . .

I haven't found this to be the case. Mine, for example, has a Lexus RX300 engine. Pretty straight forward to service.

There is a wealth of knowledge out there if you know where to look, and the most useful bits are about sourcing non-engine parts. Nothing about the engine scares me...but body panels and bumpers could be time-consuming to find. Again, there are people around to ask.

Ditto the Jap stereos. There is nearly always a workaround, and Paul from NewAcre is the fucking Oracle. Or you can easily get a cheap xtrons unit.

I didn't think mine was over-priced really at £8k. The things are £60k new.

You'd probably be much safer with some sort of VW, certainly in terms of resale value...but I couldn't have afforded anything more than a beaten up old banger for the money that bought me a Toyota that drives line a Bentley, has a V6 3 litre unit that toasts T6s with little more than a slightly wearisome sigh.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2018, 04:54:49 pm »
What now puts me off japanese imports are the age and low mileage. 60k for a Feb 1997 van? Seriously that works out at about 2 days commuting for every working week for me, no weekend or holiday use. I don't trust that mileage. Especially if it turns out to be a metric figure! Clocked with either a hand drill or electronically if newer?

I do like the sound of a Mitsubishi delica. Basically a pajero underneath. I know from speaking to the nearest Mitsubishi main dealership (5 minutes walk away) that there is seriously no issue with them servicing and repairing one. I know that dealership as family and friends have nothing but good words to say about them. If they say it's not a problem I believe them.

It's age and mileage I worry about. Saw a £9k 2007 sub 90k delica with satnav. Looked good, 5th gen I think. 6th gen due out 2019. Much newer than 2007 and you're into 12k territory. To rich for me. Although a 2016 for £56k? Tempted not!

Torslanda

  • Professional Gobshite
  • Just a tart for retro kit . . .
    • John's Bikes
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2018, 05:11:40 pm »
Mrs Torslanda - of the horned helmet and heavy metal breastplate - tells me she spotted 14 Alphards in the length of one street in Broughton Park this morning.

She says they're too common and we're not having one.

That's me told!
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2018, 08:01:42 pm »
What now puts me off japanese imports are the age and low mileage. 60k for a Feb 1997 van? Seriously that works out at about 2 days commuting for every working week for me, no weekend or holiday use. I don't trust that mileage. Especially if it turns out to be a metric figure! Clocked with either a hand drill or electronically if newer?


Cars in Japan generally do not rack up high mileages, due to congestion, expensive highway tolls and relatively low speed limits, so you can't compare with the UK. Non-highway rural road speed limit is 60kph.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2018, 09:06:48 pm »
There are loads of clocked Jap imports.  But there are ways of checking up. Speak to Paul at New Acre

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2018, 02:41:11 pm »
I have always understood the defination to be this:

A motor home has an ensuite. Loo, shower and wash hand basin plus a cooker, fridge and central heating.

A camper may have the cooker and fridge but does not have the ensuite.

B2
Bees do nothing invariably.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2018, 05:36:12 pm »
What now puts me off japanese imports are the age and low mileage. 60k for a Feb 1997 van? Seriously that works out at about 2 days commuting for every working week for me, no weekend or holiday use. I don't trust that mileage. Especially if it turns out to be a metric figure! Clocked with either a hand drill or electronically if newer?


I've got not much over that on a 1989 van.
Realistically you drive them no more than 500 miles in a trip and take a trip about 3 times a year.

Mechanically it's fine or at least as fine as a French/Italian collaboration can be*; bodywork and chassis however are showing their age from living in a maritime climate where salt and other stuff gets spread on the roads deliberately and distributed in the air naturally.

* Talbot Express, Peugeot J4, Fiat Ducato Mk1, Citroen something and what ever else they were badged as.

In terms of the difference between a Motorhome and anything else, for VED and Speed Limit purposes it's listed here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/registering-a-diy-caravan/converting-a-vehicle-into-a-motorhome

Have all that and you can register it to be allowed to do 70 on a Dual Carriageway and 60 on a Single Carriageway; if you don't it's 60/50 just like all the other van drivers who are ignoring them...

Oh and the Talbot's top speed before the steering gets wobbly and you start to see the fuel gauge moving in real time is around 45mph


ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2018, 06:14:05 am »
Mileage on my '03 Discovery is only 77k, all documented, I spend more time sitting in taxis, trains and hire cars than my own car. It gets a few weekend shopping trips and 3 or 4 longer trips a year.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2019, 09:19:27 pm »
Put a deposit down on a Wildax Aurora 3 berth (4 belted seats) yesterday.

Back story is that I separated from my sons' mum nearly two years ago, and she moved down south. The family home finally sold, and I ended up with enough for a place for me and the boys in the North, plus a second hand motorhome that'll live on EHU at my mum's place down south, where I have the boys every other weekend. The motorhome means there's a place down south for them in term time that gives us some independence instead of relying on family so much.

It's LHD (hence I could afford it), and the boys are already suggesting European jaunts.

It's a fixed double bed at the back, double dinette that converts in to a single at the front. All the usual toys, plus an underslung LPG tank that makes keeping it warm cheaper.

It's coming with a fresh MOT and hab check. I'm off to Canada for work and will share more pictures when I pick it up at the end of the money.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2019, 09:10:32 am »
Fantastic!  Good on you.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2019, 10:38:10 pm »
Had the boys in all weekend. Dropped them back with their mum, and am parked up waiting to head North tomorrow. Got some work done. Am toasty warm, watching stuff on YouTube via Chromecast, Northbar IPA, feet up. This seems to be working out.

Sent from my LLD-L31 using Tapatalk


Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2019, 07:38:22 am »
Perfect!

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2019, 09:31:35 am »
There's a Volkswagen Transporter T4 just round the corner from us with a for sale sign on it. It's an R reg so 1997 I think, I don't know the mileage and it's got low pro colour matched alloy wheels and tinted windows - both of which are putting me off. Otherwise it's really rather nice and looks to be in excellent condition. I can sell the wheels on a VW club site I would think.

It's got me thinking, our daily road car is a 135,000 mile Peugeot 206 with limited storage inside for two bikes (on a rack on the back) and a weeks worth of camping gear. If we scrap the Peugeot - next year, not this. We don't actually need a car and we could just get a van (we have two MG sports cars as well but they don't take much camping gear either).

There's no price on this T4, I could ask the seller but we aren't in a position to buy. Looking online I was surprised such vans seem to be really high mileage (not a major issue with a modern VW but Mrs trekker is a bit fed up of my desire to keep fixing old cars) and even then they are in the £8-10,000 ballpark. T5's and T6's are an amazing amount of money.

Options; not a VW - we have VW issues anyway on account of the diesel scandal the other year. Any suggestions? I don't want anything bigger than a transporter and it doesn't need to be fully converted. space for an inflatable mattress and a properly ventilated space for a camping cooker will be fine.

Or convert something ourselves, this sounds like it would get expensive and something I wouldn't ever get round to properly finishing. It would be our daily car as well as a camper - although we both cycle or walk to work at least three days a week so it wouldn't do huge mileage.
Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2019, 10:24:23 am »
There are very good converters around the country. Most are vw but find a good company and a panel van you'll be halfway to a decent camper. Cheaper to buy say a trafic or vivaro then convert with a company than buy an already converted vw. Even buying a vw van as a base only adds 5k or possibly a bit less.

One tip, look for a converter who does other types of conversions like ambulance or industrial. If they do campers as well they'll be coach builders not someone who made a business out of making vans up for family and friends. Nothing wrong with them but coach builders are in another league IMHO.

We're looking for a base van right now. Got our converter lined up and they'll work out the stages so we do what we can when the budget is there. So long as we can get the pop top and lined out the rest can come later for us.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2019, 12:35:17 pm »
Another option Is to buy a Japaneses import .  Try an Nissan Elgrand  or Toyota Alphard . Light years ahead for reliability &  driving experience  . Not some think designed for the 3 year lease market . I used to work for  & still sub to a plumbing firm who try & run Traffics & Vivaros and I would not touch one with a barge pole. We have owned a mazda bongo for 5 years and it has been spot on. It is the only base vehicle designed to be a caravanette from the outset. But it is getting very hard & expensive to find a really good Bongo in japan . Still a lot cheaper than a clapped out T 4/5 . If you can try and see a  grey import van before it is  underseal. They often look like they are  6 month old not over 10 years plus.
Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul  three wheels Nurses !!!

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2019, 03:36:39 pm »
Bongos do have the issue with the raised section between driver and passenger seat. No chance of captains seats. They're small too. Your might convert one for 4 berth but tbh they're 2 berth only for comfort.

There are issues with japanese imported vans but curiously not the one most often quoted. That is no UK garage will touch them because they can't get parts. Not true at all. Most of those vans are based on the platform for UK sold cars. The Mitsubishi delica is a UK sold 4x4 underneath. Easy for parts and if you ever asked a Mitsubishi dealer about servicing them most of them will be offended at the suggestion you might not work on a Mitsubishi vehicle. My local dealership replied to my question like that with a kind of hurt sounding email. If course we'll service it, why wouldn't we?

No for me there's more wrong with japanese import vans. Unless you get a newer one (bongos aren't made anymore) but then they're mostly luxury MPVs so newer ones can be expensive.

I am curious about what makes you think they're designed to be caravanettes. They're designed for van use or MPV use. It's only the way the mpv version seats fold to the side or for flat makes them good for caravanette use. Put a camping mat over the top and you can sleep OK without converting them.

However if you're lucky you'll find an old bongo camper that's factory made. Simple change of stove gas fittings and you'll get a decent UK campervan if the limitations don't bother you.

Also the Mitsubishi delica is one of a few vans capable of true off road driving. They're popular with shooting estates apparently for taking clients, guns and dogs to the shoot sites.