Buy an A Class - 2000 or 1990's best?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by DONLORIMER, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. DONLORIMER

    DONLORIMER Read Only Funster

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    Hi All.
    New to this excellent website...and fairly new to Motorhomes. I had a 1987 Autosleeper some years ago.

    I am looking to buy an A Class motorhome for a family of 4, ideally with a fixed rear bed and a drop down cab bed.

    I have looked at Hymer B574 and B575 models, around year 2000. The wifes prefered motorhome.

    My current preference is to go for an older motorhome - I like the look of a 1991 RMB motorhome with a Mercedes 2.9 litre TD engine and rear wheel drive.

    My thinking is the older motorhome will depreciate less, be built old-school strong, have a higher payload, allow us to camp on wet grass without getting stuck....and do all this with a bit of character. I also want to carry a small motorbike / scooter on the back.

    My wife keeps saying "90% of motorhomes are front wheel drive - they must be fine driving on grass without getting stuck".
    She also thinks you will get much better fuel consumption from a newer motorhome.

    Please help end the arguing in my house! Which way would you go?
    Budget is £20k maximum.

    Your experience / thoughts much appreciated.

    Many thanks

    Don Lorimer
     
  2. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    quite a lot of choices to be made RMB fantastic build quality old school engineering a good choice. Newer van generally poorer build quality but do manage more MPG. Front wheel drive notorious for getting stuck on wet grass. twin rear wheel drive wins hands down on that score. Some people will sacrifice build quality for MPG and other the other way round, when it comes down to it its a personal thing and a lot depends on how you expect to use the van, if you drive to a site and sit there for the whole holiday (why) then fuel consumption is secondary to the space and comfort of a larger van, conversely if you are always on the move then maybe maneuverability and fuel consumption come higher up your list of priorities.
    To some people the cost of fuel is immaterial to others its crucial. Only you can decide your priorities. I love RMB and the older Merc engines. But for me the fuel consumption would be the decider.
     
  3. aba

    aba

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    both are good years for reliability as in around 2000 thats when everything got tighter on emissions and more electronics were used on the engines post 2000.

    there are plus points and minus points for the models you have chosen just as there are for everything else.

    at the end of the day only you can decide both makes are amongst the best in the euro van market for the years but and its a big but which ever one you choose you will always wonder what it would have been like in the other

    if you want to hang a scooter on the back you need to read this.. http://www.practicalmotorhome.com/advice/safe-loading-and-payloads
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  4. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    FWD motorhomes are useless for grip.
     
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  5. aba

    aba

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    unless reversing then it becomes rear wheel drive :Doh::Doh:
     
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  6. Forestboy

    Forestboy Funster Life Member

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    Choose the one with the best layout for you and forget what chasis its on as its irrelevant. We went from RWD to FWD and have no regrets and we use ours on grass all the time and use it in the snow when skiing in the alps. We also went from a 2008 which was only 18 months old back to a 2001 because the quality of buld, payload and thermal qualities were vastly better, especially as we use the van all winter. Both great vans so choose well and enjoy.:thumb:
     
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  7. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    My suggestion.

    Buy the model your wife wants you to buy...

    Life is too short...

    JJ :Cool:
     
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  8. PaulyP

    PaulyP Funster

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    I have a Hymer B694 which is going on the market a 1993 model. Rear u shaped lounge making a double bed and the drop down bed over front seats. Also single bed making it 5 berth, build quality is good. If you are interested PM for info and pics.
    Advertising it tomorrow.
     
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  9. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Hi Don, I will try to answer some of your questions but as already said the layout is the main thing for anyone buying a motorhome. If the layout does not suit your needs it will turn a enjoyable hobby into something that either you or your partner will begin to dislike.
    Firstly you say you have looked at several Hymer models, there is nothing wrong with the Hymer from the 90s and early 2000s. Build quality is very good and parts easily obtainable.
    Then you go on to say that you like the look of the early RMBs. The RMB is a different ball game altogether. The down side to this is unfortunately to find one for sale in the UK to view will be almost impossible and even in Germany they rarely come on the market in your price range. Once you have seen one in the flesh you will not be satisfied with anything less. The other problem will be that to own an RMB is not an easy fix as you will have to first locate one in Germany then the expense of travelling out to view before buying, then you have to import it, which is not really so difficult.
    No 2 RMBs are the same as they were all custom built so finding one with the layout that suits is not easy. But if you can find one that suits you it will last a lifetime and will maybe be worth what you paid for it if ever you do decide to sell.
    Some of the RMBs have a garage as mine does and therefore you don't need to carry a scooter on the back, just pull out the ramps and drive it in.
    All RMBs are built on rear wheel drive chassis, most being the Merc 410 with the 2.9 5 pot engine and diff lock as standard and therefore are 4.6 ton gross. They did build a few on the VW LT chassis but this was not so popular.
    There are of course downsides to every motorhome, the first is that the Merc is not frugal on fuel but will run 100% bio and you do have the payload capacity to fit extra fuel tanks enabling you to take advantage of cheaper fuels. The other negative point with owning an RMB is that other motorhomers will always want to look it over and check out if they are as good as they say. Personally I have never found this to be a problem as I have had some great conversations in several languages regarding the build quality.
    Finally, The few people that own RMBs will never be satisfied with anything else so if you seriously want one then prepare yourself for a lot of legwork. Mine was bought in Germany unseen and another member on here went to Majorca for his. We are all happy with our purchases and think the trouble worthwhile. I hope this has been some help in your decision making and the best of luck in your search.
     

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  10. canopus

    canopus Funster Life Member

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  11. canopus

    canopus Funster Life Member

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  12. Philcott

    Philcott Read Only Funster

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    I've got a FFB - brilliant bits of kit!

    Yup, they're old so need work doing, but that's all part of the fun (that and being permanently broke at the moment as I do her up! ):Wink:
     
  13. FIDGET

    FIDGET Funster

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    Hi , Have a look at this months practical motorhome( march issue ) there was an A. class review on a hymer against pilote . I had a 1999 pilote and personally prefer the pilote but your wife might like hymer as had rear bed.
    Terry:sin:
     
  14. stcyr

    stcyr Funster

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    We bought our 1991 Dethleffs A-class, on Fiat Ducato 2.5TD (same as Hymers) 3 years ago. Lived in her fulltime for 2 years. So far she's failed the mot once - split driveshaft gaiter, cost £2.99 on ebay. She consistently does over 30mpg., everything works as it should. Dual circuit heating kept us cosy through 2 winters in Wales. She started first go the other night in the snow after being parked up for 7 weeks. She came with a 6 month warranty during which time she just needed the rear brake shoes adjusted.
    Imported from Germany in 2008.
    We have so far covered 24.000 troublefree kilometres round Europe.
    We bought a new engine battery for her last year just in case, as the one she came with was of unknown age, but haven't fitted it yet - the old one's still going strong...
    About a year ago the red battery warning light flickered a couple of times when driving at night with the heater blower, lights, wipers and fridge were on - so we bought a (reconditioned) alternator, £44 on ebay, which is still in its box in a locker.
    So very comfortable & hasslefree travelling for way under £8k. (We could've acquired a similar model privately for a lot less but 'Delyth' came along at the right time, ticked all the boxes, so we didn't bother looking any further)... :thumb:
     
  15. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    Most motorhomes are front wheel drive. The grip on anything other than a dry road is poor but they are good for motorhome building because they can have an alko chassis which can be longer, lower and can have a tag axle if required.
    I suspect they are also popular with converters as I think the Fiat van is the cheapest one they can convert, though no doubt any savings are not passed on to the consumer.
     
  16. DONLORIMER

    DONLORIMER Read Only Funster

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    Truly grateful for the responses

    Dear All

    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply at such length.
    All your posts have helped so much. I have spent so much time theorising and there is just no substitute for experience eh.

    I will continue with my hunt and keep you all posted as to what I find.

    Don
     
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  17. hdvrod

    hdvrod Read Only Funster

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    This is not an A class obviously,its rear wheel drive 2.9 merc,the concensus in Sprinter forums seems to that the earlier models had the best engines we get 25 - 27 to the Gallon,picked it up 2 years ago for £13000 with 30000 on the clock so there are bargains out there:Smile:
     
  18. hdvrod

    hdvrod Read Only Funster

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    Forgot the pic:Doh:
     

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  19. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    WWW.mobile.de is your friend when looking for these models. There are a few on at the moment at under 20000 euros. They do tend to come and go quickly though.
     
  20. canopus

    canopus Funster Life Member

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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
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