Author Topic: Motorhomes & Campervans  (Read 6964 times)

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2019, 03:44:47 pm »
Most converters will convert VWs in their spare time to sell on as completed campers. Not because they're the best base but because they know they'll sell well. Not many other vans sell like they do. However there's more and more converters choosing to use Ford transit custom vans. A year old van with full conversion can command £31k now. They look very nice with it IMHO. Other van options includes the hyundai i800. IMHO more van models will become popular campervan bases in time. Even with the VW style brand approval of converters. Right now ford certify a few converters who can buy base vans direct from ford. They're not cheap though.

With everything you need a good base to get a good campervan. It can be most makes including vauxhall and Renault. It's just about getting a good one. FSH is a good sign but you need to know what you're doing or you can get stuck. That's why we're dithering so much with our van putchase. Can't afford to get it wrong.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2019, 06:32:36 pm »
It's not worth buying a fresh import Bongo, it really isn't. If you want a Bongo type vehicle get an Alphard, and LPG it.

Bought mine 2 years ago, a 2007 model. Sailed through 2 MOTs with glowing comments both times.

I had the local garage check all hoses recently, and the mechanic said the heater pipes looked as of they had just come out of the factory.

The newer shape Alphards are just starting to be imported now, but plenty of older low mileage models flowing in.

I had mine converted with pop top solar panel roof (which runs fridge, USB chargers and lights) and rear conversion for about 6.5k.

I love it. I use a big dome drive-away awning to sleep in and van gets used as living room.

Recommend New Acre Cars in Coventry for imports and he'll do LPG conversions too. Two years on and I still think he is a man of his word. He has just started doing conversions too.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2019, 10:25:58 pm »
I've got a local guy who's main business is importing high quality fixings from Japan. He had an interest in cars and vans then got into Japanese imports. Delica was his preference with high quality bongo imports. Now he brings them in and sells them after getting them into serious quality. Always very low mileage and immaculate. Now he had some different Nissan or Toyota MPVs that are a bit smaller than the Alphard. Neo or something like that. Also unusual bongos like unused bongo campers complete with packaging to the kitchen unit that was wrapped around the various doors/lids in the mazda factory when it was put in. Or 4x4 mazda bongos.

If I wanted one he'd do me a good deal because I'm local and he wants to sell more locally. Currently his customers are from everywhere from far north of Scotland to southwest of England but not local. Plus he'll sort out any servicing (drop car off and he'll use the special servicing price his local garages offer him. Full service probably 30% or more cheaper than we'd be charged. Main dealer too for the delica vans.

I think it's good to support local companies if they're good but we really can't get by with Japanese imports. Bongos are OK fit for me but I don't like really old cars or vans. The delica van is too low down for me to live with. I'd be rubbing my head on the ceiling.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2019, 05:17:00 pm »
I have a Vauxhall Movano (2006-2010 model) long wheelbase van. It was originally a crew-bus, the chap I had if from (part of a business acquisition) had it re-registered as a motorhome. It already was lined out and had side windows, 2 extra leisure batteries with splitter to charge from engine, microwave, diesel heater, kettle, hand-washing water heater, sink, drying cupboard, fridge. Tool compartment in back, seats around a table. He made a few changes to have it re-registered as a motorhome but it was still quite "industrial."

I have done some work to make it more of a comfortable overnighter- I put in a better bed area and a £6 carpet remnant (enough to do the cabin!) adds a bit of luxury. Stage 2 will be to replace the front double seat with a single swivel, and also replace the Drivers' seat and put a removeable table between them. I do a lot of overnighting for work and use the van for staying over as hotels are getting increasingly expensive.

The Movano/Master is a good big van, the front-wheel drive versions drive really nicely and not bad on fuel. I know someone who recently picked up a former crew-bus like mine was originally for about £4k, so not megabucks. There are some downsides to the crew-bus approach- they are lined but not insulated and the seperate rear compartment makes it harder to put a loo in. However it works for me as I put my work kit in the back compartment where it is seperate from the clean office/sleeping cabin.

If I were starting from scratch, I'd get a LWB Movano/Master or maybe a VW Crafter, there's also the Peugeot Boxter/Citroen to consider although there are fewer of them about. They seem to be the tidy big FWD vans; Honest John Vans site is a useful place to get some info on pros/cons. I wouldn't get a Sprinter as (a) looking at the ones I see hurtling past me on the M-way they seem to rot and (b) they get hammered by couriers on stop-start trips. Nor would I get any exotica- a bog-standard van can be serviced easily.

Only thing to watch, if you get a big van you need to know where to take it for servicing/MOT. Not all garages have a lift that will take 2.5 tonnes of Big Van- most standard car lifts are 2 tonnes. I had a local recommendation from a neighbour who is a motorbike mechanic now, but used to do recovery work and always had big vans himself.

I have to admit, I don't get the VW thing. It seems a lot of money for a badge, OK the Crafter is a decent enough van but not intrinsically better than the Master/Movano (same van different badge) or equivalent. But whatever floats a person's boat. I think the thing is to work out what you want from a camper and then get a base vehicle that works for what you want.   

GC

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #29 on: April 24, 2019, 12:41:58 pm »
Recommendation for Cabbunk. My eldest prefers it to the bed made up from the dinette seat. He slept 13hrs in it on Sunday!




Oscar's dad

  • aka Septimus Fitzwilliam Beauregard Partridge
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #30 on: April 24, 2019, 12:50:05 pm »
Recommendation for Cabbunk. My eldest prefers it to the bed made up from the dinette seat. He slept 13hrs in it on Sunday!





That's a seriously clever bit of kit, I've just been looking at their website.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #31 on: June 08, 2019, 11:10:20 am »
Mrs. Jonjo persuaded me that we should buy a motorhome when we retired. I was dubious - you could spend a lot of time in luxury hotels for the price of a decent motorhome.

Anyroad, we bought one and I used it recently when riding the Great North Road 400. Drove to the event HQ the evening before the ride and had a good nights sleep without the need for a really early start. After the ride, which I finished at about 2 a.m. I was able to get showered and into bed within 20 minutes. Bliss. The motorhome paid for itself that night and I'm a convert.

Great idea Mrs, JonJo.
Hear all, see all, say nowt

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2019, 09:37:49 pm »
Well it's been a while!!

Basically it's been a hell of a year.

I quit my job in September 2018, cashed in my Final Salary pension and sold the house in May 2019.

We're currently full-time in Humberto the Hymer now (currently near Arcachon in West France.

It feels great and we've probably spent 250 nights in the Motorhome now.  I've lost track. All I know is that it's a wonderful way to spend your days.

Humberto is fully winterised, meaning we can go off-grid in sub-zero temperatures without any detrimental effect to our water tanks.

Anyway, you can see what i mean here >> Winter Trip Video <<

On top of that we hd an offer on a French house accepted.  It's in the heart of the Dordogne, some beautiful cycling country down here.
I'll be targeting cycling groups to come and stay in the gites/apartments next year so watch this space.  It's 15 miles south of Bergerac, 11 miles south of the airport.  Extremely tranquil with a pool.  Not mine yet though.

Lee (not doing much cycling lately)
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2019, 10:50:09 pm »
Looks like you are having fun  :thumbsup:
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #34 on: July 13, 2019, 12:06:53 pm »
Sounds like you are living the life Lee!

I'm spending every other weekend with my kids in my MH. It's been brilliant. On the weekends we aren't in the van, me and my GF often disappear in it, and for the first time in my academic career, I'm actually using my annual leave. We had a week in Pevensey Bay at the C&CC site the other week, coinciding with that blast of hot weather - was glorious, and made me wish I was closer to retirement.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #35 on: July 13, 2019, 01:09:24 pm »
@drmekon, those wildaxes are quality vans, my dad just recently sold his, only because now he's 70 he'd need to keep doing either medicals or driving tests (can't remember which) due to the weight of it. I spent a few odd nights in theirs and it was very comfy.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2019, 10:59:38 am »
We borrowed the in-laws short wheel base Renault Trafic camper van for the weekend and liked it a lot.  It has a side conversion with a rock and roll bed, and an extending roof with boards up there so you can stick a couple of younger folk up top.  We concluded that it was fine for a dry weekend but if we were going for any longer, or the weather was poor, you'd definitely want the awning up to give you more room to manoeuvre.

It's a balance between having a camper that is small enough to pop to the shops and use as a family car, and large enough to be of real use on the road.  The Trafic was nice to drive, fairly economical, way cheaper than a VW and (being the same essentially as the Vivaro) is easy to find conversions and parts for.

I think we'll be borrowing it again for short breaks off-season when putting up a large family tent would be tiresome.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #37 on: September 09, 2019, 02:18:39 pm »
On Saturday Craig Charles revealed that he has a camper, called Martha


(click to show/hide)



Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #38 on: October 15, 2019, 03:49:12 pm »
We're getting quotes for a conversion now. Vivaro 16 plate. Lovely blue one. Staged conversion due to money limitations. Asap is lining,  windows,  partial electrics, flooring and heater. If we could scrape a little bit more it would have crash tested beds made by RIB. No point getting cheaper seats imho
Three RIB ones have a better folding system where the bed surfaces are the opposite side to the seat surfaces which are shaped for comfort when moving

Later on a poptop from SCA and we're not completely sure we want the kitchen bits. That'll give bike room I think if we don't. Might sound  a weird choice.

Oscar's dad

  • aka Septimus Fitzwilliam Beauregard Partridge
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #39 on: October 15, 2019, 04:45:17 pm »
We're getting quotes for a conversion now. Vivaro 16 plate. Lovely blue one. Staged conversion due to money limitations. Asap is lining,  windows,  partial electrics, flooring and heater. If we could scrape a little bit more it would have crash tested beds made by RIB. No point getting cheaper seats imho
Three RIB ones have a better folding system where the bed surfaces are the opposite side to the seat surfaces which are shaped for comfort when moving

Later on a poptop from SCA and we're not completely sure we want the kitchen bits. That'll give bike room I think if we don't. Might sound  a weird choice.

Please post some updates as I'm interested.

We've just got back from a 9 month caravan tour which included 5 months in France.  The caravan was brilliant as we had loads of space and lived very comfortably.  We tended to stay on a site for a while, the longest being 28 nights in Provence, so it was useful to have use of the car, not that we used it that much.

At some point in the future we'd like to do another extended tour and have toyed with the idea of a motor caravan.  Not that we've fallen out of love with caravanning, its more that we'd like to try the other flavour of leisure vehicles.  We don't really fancy a huge motor caravan as it must be almost as much hassle as moving around with our existing rig which has a combined length of 12 metres.  A panel van conversion appeals as they are more compact vehicles albeit with much less interior space than we're used to.

As with all types of motor caravans panel van conversions seem expensive (I appreciate they hold their value) and I was wondering if converting one yourself, or in our case we'd get a professional to do it, reduced costs.  And of course the van is bespoke to your needs.

So, I'd love to see how you get on if that's okay  :thumbsup:

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #40 on: October 16, 2019, 11:33:49 am »
We're getting quotes for a conversion now. Vivaro 16 plate. Lovely blue one. Staged conversion due to money limitations. Asap is lining,  windows,  partial electrics, flooring and heater. If we could scrape a little bit more it would have crash tested beds made by RIB. No point getting cheaper seats imho
Three RIB ones have a better folding system where the bed surfaces are the opposite side to the seat surfaces which are shaped for comfort when moving

Later on a poptop from SCA and we're not completely sure we want the kitchen bits. That'll give bike room I think if we don't. Might sound  a weird choice.

I was under the impression you needed the kitchen bits to register it as a motor home. Maybe you could make them easily removable?
Reine de la Fauche


Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #41 on: October 16, 2019, 07:09:09 pm »
I heard the rules changed anyway to make that a moot point. DVLA no longer allow you to change the log book to a motor caravan from a commercial vehicle. Only coach built vans or oe vans like the VW factory built ones can be classed as such.

Also AIUI the ved benefit isn't there.

Van insurance for campers through the caravan clubs doesn't seem to offer that much savings to me
My car insurance is £275 about but the panel van insurance was £250 abouts and that's on a similar basis as the car through a standard car insurance company.

In the old system you couldn't change the log book with removable kitchen or bed units anyway.

Our conversion would be through a local van coach builder whose main business is industrial clients and often big ones too. Plus ambulances too. They've been doing campers for 20+years I think. Very high quality work. They only use good kit in their projects unless forced to by a customer I guess. You'd not want to go against their advice though.

It'll probably be later on this year before anything happens.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #42 on: October 16, 2019, 07:17:27 pm »
There are a few criteria that needs to be met for the Dvla to recognize a van as a camper, motor homes are obviously easier to classify

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #43 on: October 16, 2019, 08:18:35 pm »
It changed July 2019. See this website for a summary. Dvla admit their website is now wrong and they are working with the department for transport to get their website changed.

https://www.basecampers.com/how-to-re-register-as-a-motor-caravan-with-the-dvla/

P.P.

  • Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey!
    • Paul's blog
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #44 on: October 17, 2019, 06:38:34 am »
It changed July 2019. See this website for a summary. Dvla admit their website is now wrong and they are working with the department for transport to get their website changed.

https://www.basecampers.com/how-to-re-register-as-a-motor-caravan-with-the-dvla/

That’s an interesting development, I converted and reregistered a Vivaro in April this year (see my blog for conversion process and pictures etc if your interested) and it was a requirement of the insurance that it had it registered with DVLA as a motorcaravan to get it insured as such. Not that it made much difference, in fact I think it was quite a bit more as a motor caravan, although I did increase the sum insured by quite a bit.

A normal panel van policy won’t normally cover the internal conversion, so if you do have a crash your likely to end up out of pocket. I got the feeling that the insurers were using the DVLA as a bit of a check to ensure the conversion was to an acceptable standard so maybe that’s lead to their change of policy.

I’ve never used them but I believe some of the ferry company’s do a reduced rate for motor caravans and some campsites insist on motor caravan registration (although I’ve no idea how they check) so don’t know where they’ll stand on that one.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #45 on: October 17, 2019, 01:22:32 pm »
Apparently it's related to identification.  A window panel van and a campervan might be confused. For example if a member of the general public see a campervan being driven dangerously or a crime related to someone in such a vehicle they might report it to the police as a van with windows. From summer only vans with a modified body can be classed as a motor caravan I think. They can readily be distinguished from vans with windows.

Out course that's what I've read on forums because there's precious little about it from three relevant authorities. Just a rule change without anything on their own website! Pretty poor really imho. I wonder if the insurers have taken it into account yet? If not plenty of people could get caught out.

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #46 on: October 17, 2019, 03:12:08 pm »

I’ve never used them but I believe some of the ferry company’s do a reduced rate for motor caravans ...

Maybe Eurotunnel to. A van is commercial vehicle, and goes on with the lorries. A campervan can go on the car trains, and I believe it's cheaper than a commercial vehicle ticket. (And you get to stay with your vehicle during the crossing).
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #47 on: October 17, 2019, 11:26:35 pm »

I’ve never used them but I believe some of the ferry company’s do a reduced rate for motor caravans ...

Maybe Eurotunnel to. A van is commercial vehicle, and goes on with the lorries. A campervan can go on the car trains, and I believe it's cheaper than a commercial vehicle ticket. (And you get to stay with your vehicle during the crossing).
A van up to 3500 kg travels on the same shuttle as the cars whether it's carrying commercial goods or not.  If not, then it can be booked on the same website as a car or campervan, price is the same as a campervan which is a bit more than a car.  A hire van full of bikes can be booked this way - I've looked into it though not yet booked, I think the wording is something like private and leisure use.  Same van carrying goods, goes on the same shuttle, though you have to book on the commercial website and I don't know about the prices. 
Some decades ago I lived in a van and made several ferry crossings, the different operators had their own definitions and the enforcement was varied.  I was refused boarding with Irish Ferries in Holyhead for not having an opening window (Despite there being two in the cab and a huge skylight) they weren't interested that it was registered as a camper.  It was no big deal, I got on a ferry an hour latter with whatever the other company was (P&O?)

Clare

  • Is home
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #48 on: November 24, 2019, 10:43:18 pm »
That's not a motorhome, this is a motorhome.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Motorhomes & Campervans
« Reply #49 on: November 24, 2019, 10:59:53 pm »
That's not a motorhome, this is a motorhome.

That's straight out of some crazy manga.    :o
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...