Advice For A Complete Beginner Please .

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Charlie, May 18, 2015.

  1. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    As in my introduction this is a completely new venture for my wife an I. We have never looked at caravanning or motor homing before.

    I will try to illustrate below our thoughts and what we may go for.

    My wife is disabled but able to walk short distances and by that I do mean short. But at least for now wheelchair access is not required.

    What I think we need is a nice 2 berth van with a fixed bed and a shower. I would like something nice to drive as my wife is no longer able to fly and Europe by motor home beckons. I and have been browsing the internet looking at vans based on the later (2007 on) Transit Mk7 and the Peugeot/ Fiat from 2008 on.

    Other than the base vehicle and the requirement for a fixed bed so the wife can get to take a lie down without the need to put up and dismantle I have little idea what I'm looking at.

    I am ok with mechanics and know quite a bit about that side it's all the confusing numbers that.... Well confuse.

    I really don't know if I should start the search by the base vehicle which makes the most sense to me or by the body builder IE Eldis.

    My preference of base vehicle would be a Transit Mk7 which is from late 2006 on. This is simply because I have had a few Transit vans and I like the way they drive. I know quite a bit about the mechanical s and I suppose I would be more comfortable with that..

    But I have been looking at the Peugeot/Fiat based vehicles as an alternative because otherwise I will have a narrow amount to choose from.

    One other confusing thing is the low profile roof vans. I have been looking at the one in the link below and am wondering if there are obvious height restrictions ? Im over 6 foot so would this effectively rule out a low roof one ?
    Link to a vehicle that appeals to us.
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/271866149173?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT
     
  2. daveandsan

    daveandsan Funster

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    Hi Charlie, we have a Hobby Siesta 4 berth fixed bed, based on the Ford Transit mk7.
    My advice to you is to look around as many Motorhome dealers as you can to see what is out there.
     
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  3. Ralph-n-Bev

    Ralph-n-Bev Funster

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    Yes think about the layout you require, then go look around the dealers. Get in and layabout in them. Think lousy weather having to be inside, room to lounge. Get your legs up. Able to bend in shower cubicle, sit comfy on the loo etcetcetc.
    Exciting times . Welcome to MHF.
     
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  4. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    Can't add any more to what has already been said...... you need to go and look at vans, lots of vans! This is where attending a big show scores as you can see a lot of different vans all in the same place (take a camera and note book as it all blurs after a while).

    Make a list of what you have to have and what you would like to have. You will find that a lot of the vans you look at go onto the "unsuitable" list fairly quickly and you will get a feel of which manufacturer is your preference.

    Will you need a transverse bed (one that goes across the van, often one person will have to climb over the other to get out at night), single beds or even a drop down bed (electric or otherwise). Try them all.

    Also watch out for changes in level inside the van. One of my pet hates is changes in floor level and steps in a small space. I know I will end up tripping.

    @Terry had a nice Chausson for sale which might be worth having a look at if he still has it. It has an electrically operated drop down bed and the bed comes right down :)
     
  5. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    You will be fine for headroom in any normal MH I think, bar the compact, folding roof ones. Where your height could be an issue is the bed. I can only suggest as above go and try some and I would really not concern yourself with the base vehicle. After a hundred miles you will get used to it, whatever it is.

    A fixed bed will give you a garage underneath for wheelchair and anything else your wife might need. Think also about the future and your own health, automatic perhaps and over 70 you need medicals to drive anything over 3.5t.

    And Welcome!
     
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  6. jollyrodger

    jollyrodger Funster Life Member

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    Hi folks missed your post on Saturday so welcome from Devon
    It is a bit of a minefield looking for the right van for you ,but you will get there a maybe is why not pop up to the Stratford show 19-21 June a few funsters will be there also look around the vans on show
    Pop over to pick our brains and have a cuppa ,assuming you haven't found one by then .
    The Eldiss looks good if that meets your need .
    animated-gif-emoticons.jpg
     
  7. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    My Father and Mother in Law are in a similar situation to yourselves from a mobility point of view.

    The van which ticked all their boxes was a Lunar Premiere low profile. I am six foot three and it's tall enough for me! The habitation door is on the UK nearside and has a very low access door. The Father in Law simply swivels his seat around, grabs his stick, stands up and he out of the door!
    The washroom also has very good access for a disabled person.
    You also get a massive fridge and cosy Truma blown air combi heating.
    The Renault Master base seems to be a safe bet and you even get Isringhausen seats in it. These are far more comfortable than Ford or Fiat ones!

    Here's one-

    http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/321468635833?nav=SEARCH

    This van also comes badged up as a Homecar model. Homecar made the vans for Lunar.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
  8. Ethle the wondervan

    Ethle the wondervan

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    Have a look at lots of vans and find the type of layout that you both feel comfortable with. You both need to be able to move around inside with the minimum of effort.
    Feeling relaxed in your 'home from home' is far more important than the manufacturers of base vehicle or conversion.
    Once you have found the best layout for you then consider any other factors which may be important.
    Also, don't concentrate on 2 berth vans just because there are 2 of you. A 4 or 5 berth van need not be physically larger than a 2 berth but may offer a better layout.
    Best of luck and enjoy the search.
     
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  9. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    You certainly need to get out and look at as many vans as you can..
    Just letting your wife get in and out could help with the decision, some vans have high steps and so that alone could put you off buying a particular van..
    Dont worry to much on the base vehicle I think the layout will be more important.
    As for the low profile vans, there is no reduction in internal height. Low profile may look nicer and give a few more MPG but I would rather have my overhead space and all the storage it gives..

    Good luck,.
     
  10. MikeandCarolyn

    MikeandCarolyn Read Only Funster

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    Welcome-you just described our van (y) 2005 LMC Liberty 582 on a Fiat base.
    Euro van,so hab door on right side for France,Spain etc.Just under 6 mtrs,easy to park and drive in towns.
    It was exactly what we were looking for and one glance inside Carolyn said " this is it" we've had it 6 yrs now,done trips in excess of 3 mths, and still love it.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
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  11. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    Thanks Dave. We intend to do just that but I thought it sensible to ask questions before we dive off and buy something that is not suitable. The more info I can get the better.
     
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  12. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    Yes I understand the getting in and out part ! Just found this 2006 Transit based one and it has an electric step on the passenger side and a grab handle so I would imagine a person of limited mobility may have set it up that way.
    This one is an hour from where we live.
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FORD-TRAN...080?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item1e9eb88690
     
  13. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    Don't be in a hurry to buy - looking is part of the excitement.

    Most motorhomers will be happy to show you round their vans and answer questions honestly. Also if you are buying from a dealer you will get an honest opinion of the dealer and service from here :)

    It may also be worth renting first rather than making an expensive mistake.
     
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  14. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    Go and have a look. Nothing to lose. :)

    If there is a member nearby they may offer to come with you - two sets of eyes better than one and experience may help spot any problems.

    The big enemy would be damp.
     
  15. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

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    Welcome Charlie, some excellent advice above. We have just changed from a make up bed model to one that has two singles because of the climbing over at night issue for one. High line is probably not an issue for you I guess, as it's usually the very front of the cab unit that is high enabling a front upper cab bed, and it sounds like you don't need that. Loading larger articles in and out of the smaller locker doors can be a pain, so the suggestion of having garage type storage at the rear may be high on your list. As you want to go on the continent it probably doesn't matter which side your habitation access door is, so continental models may well suit. The advice regarding space to move when the weather is bad should be high on your check list, as is bathroom space. Wheelchairs are not light, so check your likely weights available for your bits and pieces you need for the future, not just now, you will be surprised how quickly the spare weight carrying capacity can go. Have fun.
     
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  16. iceni

    iceni Read Only Funster

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    Hello
    The transit model looks OK but are you sure there's enough space in there for you to move around taking into account your lady may find it difficult.

    I know a lot of people say take your time and I have to agree but also if a van really gives you that "feeling" then go for it. You will (unless you are really lucky) find things you don't like about any van you buy so don't waste 12 months of potential holidays looking for perfection as it isn't really out there. My first van which i bought 28 yrs ago was the first one i looked at and it gave us 5 happy years. Sure it had a hiccup here and there but thats true of any van even new ones.

    You have to know what type of motorhomer you are going to be though. Do you like cooking in the van or eating out a lot. If you like cooking in the van then a decent cooker and more importantly fridge will be a consideration.
    What about relaxing. Do you like going to a place and relaxing in or outside your van a lot or are you the type that want to go out sat birdwatching or fell walking most of the day. You may need more luxurious internet seating if the former and somewhere to store wet whether gear if the latter. So there's a lot of things you can think about before you even go to look.

    You would be better to look at a few vans and when you have eyeballed one or two get an experienced owner to go with you to look at it. I am willing as your not a million miles from me.

    Some fixed beds may be over a garage which gives you loads of storage space but can you and the missus get in and out especially if you want to use the loo at night.

    Just some things to think about

    Whatever you do have happy times

    Pm me if you want to go and look sometime.

    Phill
     
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  17. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    And make sure you have enough payload :) Ensure there is a weighbridge ticket or insist they get one.

    No good having a maximum permitted mass of 3.5t and the basic van weighing in at almost that without any of your gear inside.
     
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  18. rolly3

    rolly3 Read Only Funster

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    Hi Charlie

    Lots of good advice already given here.

    My only addition is to recommend purchasing the book "Go Motorhoming and Campervanning" - https://www.vicarious-shop.com/Go-Motorhoming-and-Campervanning-ISBN9781910664025.html from the publisher, or from Amazon at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Go-Motorhoming-Campervanning-Motorhome-Campervan/dp/1910664022. There are a lot of reviews (of the previous edition) at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Go-Motorhoming-Campervanning-Motorhome-Camper/dp/0956678114.

    I found the book extremely usefull when we decided to change to a motorhome last year after 3 years' caravanning.

    Good luck
     
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  19. Carol

    Carol Funster Life Member

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    Hi Charlie welcome to Fun, lots of good advice for you, best advice I can add is to become a full member £10 a year information and advice at your fingertips, (y)
     
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  20. Gandhi

    Gandhi

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    Hi Charlie.

    I'm 6'4" and my wife has trouble getting around with back and leg problems as well. Neither my height nor her disability has stopped us spending most of summer driving around France plus lots of flying visits across the UK.
    Have you thought about getting one with a garage in it big enough to put a mobility scooter or wheelchair in? Just a thought.

    I also put an electric bike on the back rack and she nips around everywhere on that in France while I pedal my guts out to keep up.



    cheers and welcome.
     
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