Autotrail Apache 725 - Buying Advice Please

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by rosemaryd, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. rosemaryd

    rosemaryd Funster

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    Hi Funsters

    I've only ever posted on a forum once before (here, last year) so forgive me if I don't do something I should!

    Last year I asked if MHs were easier than caravans and after a positive response we decided to hire one to see if we liked it and if it would work for us - it did!

    You gave us lots of great advice on choosing a MH - the main one seems to be layout. RalphnBev recommended their old van - a CI Mizar GTL which indeed was perfect. However, we've now looked at a 2005 and a 2009 one and they both had bad rot so we are feeling slightly discouraged.

    We've now seen the Autotrail Apache 725 which ticks all of our essentials boxes - fixed bunks for kids, overcab for us, good lounge area, good kitchen and washroom. Payload seems to be about 510 - 595 but the dealer is taking to the weighbridge today so we will have a definite figure.

    It certainly seemed the best made van we've seen and we've now been in virtually every make, having looked at different models to compare layouts, build quality, etc.

    Does anyone have any comments about the Autotrails? This is a 2010 model, £35999, 3 litre 160 hp fiat engine.

    The dealer has offered us £7K for our caravan as part ex but says as he's done that there will be nothing off the price. The dealer is Fullers Leisure in Nottingham. They give a six month guarantee, a full MOT, change the cam belt if there is no evidence of it being changed and said that, with prior approval from them, if something minor goes wrong we can have it fixed locally and they will pay as we are in Guildford which is quite a trek from Nottingham.

    We don't feel we're rushing in as we've been researching vans for a year now but have seen some comments about Autotrail having bad build quality although this may be the newer vans. Other funsters have raved about theirs. Any advice you can give would be appreciated as we're starting to feel we're going round in circles.

    Also, we want to use the van all year so presume it will be suitable for the average British winter?

    Fullers want a £2K deposit, non refundable, as they don't want time wasters reserving vans while they shop elsewhere. This seemed fair enough but we obviously won't be putting a deposit down until we've had a test drive and are sure we want it.

    Comments and advice please!!

    Thanks

    Rosemary
     
  2. Steve and Lou

    Steve and Lou Funster

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    Hi

    All I can say is we have just bought an auto trail Miami 2007 for 33000 and are more than happy with it. As far as I have seen on other forums there are not many bad reviews of auto trails. Do not however know anything about the dealer.
     
  3. rosemaryd

    rosemaryd Funster

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    Thanks StevieH. Rosemary
     
  4. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    Do some damp checks of your own I think before doing the deal.

    We have a 2013 Autotrail and are really happy with it but there are bad vans about.
     
  5. rosemaryd

    rosemaryd Funster

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    Thanks Chris. It felt really well made and didn't appear to have any damp. Is there anywhere specific we need to check. Couldn't see any damp inside the two CIs we looked at but when we pushed the panel on the outside it just popped in and out.
     
  6. rb62

    rb62 Funster

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    We have a 2010 Savannah,as Chris has said take a damp meter,check round all the windows and roof lights,check the roof for cracks in the gelcoat.Sensors in the water and waste tanks probably don't work...but seldom do anyway!
    I wish them luck checking the cam belt,on the 3l I think it's a chain!
    Also check what their gurantee covers,usually looks good until something goes wrong
    If it checks out OK I'm sure you'll love it.
     
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  7. rosemaryd

    rosemaryd Funster

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    Thanks RB2, we'll have a good check.
     
  8. wizzer59

    wizzer59 Funster

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    Cannot comment on Autotrail as I never had one, but it may be worth paying for an independent habitating check for your own peace of mind(y) its a lot of money to pay for a lemon. Also check on winterization if as you say you want to use all season;)
     
  9. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    We have had two Auto trails and loved em the last one a 2013 Tracker we have now changed to a LHD Hymer Exsis as we wanted to tow a trailer,I think you will find Autotrails are great enjoy it.:)
     
  10. rosemaryd

    rosemaryd Funster

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    Thanks Speve. Good idea Tim. Can anyone recommend an good independent chap local to Nottingham. We only now someone local to us in Guildford.
     
  11. wizzer59

    wizzer59 Funster

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    Just had a peek, looks good BTW with the larger engine and all the toys(y) what do you think your Caravans worth?
     
  12. rosemaryd

    rosemaryd Funster

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    Thanks. £7K is probably a fair price to enable them to sell it on.
     
  13. Ralph-n-Bev

    Ralph-n-Bev Funster

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    Hi Rosemary,
    Buy or borrow a Good damp meter. Even new motorhomes can get damp in them let alone ones nearly 10 years old . There have been a few tales of wo on here from people.... Shame you weren't ready to buy when we were selling ours.
    I thought panel vans couldn't get damp. Being a metal structure. But they can too. Around the window and roof lights.
    There was a member on here recently who's PVC had damp.

    Ask the seller to get a Hab check done. But remember they don't check for damp in External locker doors like garage doors gas lockers etc. Faulty seals often cause it there.
    If you really love a van , and there's damp in it. Remember it is often easily reparable . Don't be totally put off a van if it's perfect every other way. Just get it checked out properly to see how bad it is. Then if the price is right , to take that into consideration ...... At least you know it's there and can fix it and aren't driving around oblivious to it. Like I'm sure lots and lots of people do.
    Ralph's nearly finished our conversion now. It's nice to be out and about again touring.
    Hope you get sorted soon.
    Bx
     
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  14. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    If you want good build quality your only choice is German made vans, if you go ahead do heed others advice on damp check, Autotrails are well known for leaky windows & rooflights.

    Also I would be wary of buying from a dealer who doesn't know what he is selling, he would have difficulty changing the cam belt on a 3Lt Fiat - they don't have one.:)
     
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  15. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    Check for damp on the interior roof panels about a foot off the back wall all along as that corresponds with the join where the vertical rear panel of the motorhome joins the roof panel especially the side where the ladder sits on the roof as this area can leak especially if the van is parked level or slightly rear down as the water on the roof will puddle there.

    Suggest you park it nose down to be sure the water always runs off the roof!

    Suggest you insist on seeing the roof to make sure that nobody has been obviously bodging up any leaks with mastic especially along that join to the rear panel.
     
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  16. TUCANO

    TUCANO Funster

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    Rosemary,
    My first van bought new was an Autotrail Apache and it wasn't perfect, very few are actually. I agree with what has already been posted by others and I would insist on viewing the roof, you are buying it with the van after all, is there any chance you can take an experienced motorhomer with you who will know what to look for.
    I personally would not leave a non refundable deposit, but that is just me, others have and do.
    I have no knowledge of the dealer you are considering but a site search should unearth other peoples opinions.
    Have fun with the search, don't rush.
    Norman.
     
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  17. rosemaryd

    rosemaryd Funster

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    Thanks everyone for your advice. Been offline for a couple of days but we have paid a deposit and hope to collect on 25th August. Really looking forward to it. Will be back for more tips then probably and hope to see some of you on our travels.

    Rosemary
     
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  18. robnchris

    robnchris Funster

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    The biggest point you need to check is the gearbox, has the vehicle had a new clutch fitted, a 2010 3ltr model will almost definitely fall into the reverse judder problem.
    There isn`t a fix for this, we bought a 2008 Arapaho from Fullers that had this problem diagnosed by Fiat so I told Fullers they could keep it, after some negotiation they offered to cover the fault for 3 yrs given in writing that they would pay for any costs incurred should the gearbox, clutch fail.
    They fitted new engines mounts, the vehicle had only covered 5000 miles when we purchased it.
    We sold it at 18000 miles and noticed it was back up for sale with 20,000 miles on the clock after only covering 2000 in 3 yrs.
     
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