Coachbuilt Build Quality?

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Merle Collins, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. Merle Collins

    Merle Collins Read Only Funster

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    Hi all,

    OK, as most on here know already we are looking to buy an 'older' model...

    We have now pretty much narrowed our layout preference down to two formats - U shape rear lounge or the half a U shape lounge (not sure of its technical term!) and note that there are a few manufacturers that used to manufacture these layouts.

    Rather than make a fundamental mistake when choosing manufacturer, are there some that are (were) better than others?

    Swift Kontiki seems readily available in these layouts but have come across Burstner, Compass and Frankia as well..

    Is there one that is considered a better build quality?
     
  2. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Hymer 534 on the Fiat chassis. Hymer 550 on the Mercedes chassis. Both have U shaped lounges and a drop down over the cab. both are better build quality than any older UK built vans.
     
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  3. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Dave has suggested two of my favorite vans..

    given the choice between them it would be the Hymer 550, as it has (correct me if I am wrong Dave) a fiberglass body with a double floor .. with a bullet proof Merc engine..

    From your list.. I would place them in this order of desirability

    1. Frankia
    2. Burstner
    Swift and Compass in third place

    Old Kontiki vans were nicknamed (some would say unfairly) leaky Kontikies .. but for any second hand van, old or not.. watch out for damp.. it is a killer.. invest in a damp meter and walk away from anything that has even a hint of damp.
     
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  4. Merle Collins

    Merle Collins Read Only Funster

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    Cheers guys..(y)

    I am struggling to find a Hymer in my price bracket, and it is now apparent why... pay for what you get I suppose.

    I've only come across 2 Frankia and both sold quite quickly, again, I now understand why...

    I have been in contact with a Burstner seller today and all seems fine with the van except a small leak above a window that was repaired immediately it seems and has not caused any fatal problems.

    There are a lot of Kontiki's kicking about and they look great for what we want but I don't want to inherit a problem vehicle, although I appreciate it's inevitable I'll have one or two problems along the way with any manufacturer of that age.

    Is Burstner German?
     
  5. Barclaybasher

    Barclaybasher Funster

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    Ja
     
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  6. Barclaybasher

    Barclaybasher Funster

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    Sad to say I would always choose a German built van over British

    Better build quality, insulation and tank capacity - personal view
     
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  7. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    My view also. That's why they hold their price and are never for sale for very long.
     
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  8. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Yes.

    And just as prone to wood rot as the others.

    A good DIYer can survive a lot of rot, but go to a repairer and you could die of shock.
     
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  9. Merle Collins

    Merle Collins Read Only Funster

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    Not just motorhomes really though is it...:rolleyes: Zee Jermans certainly do know how to manufacture.
     
  10. Barclaybasher

    Barclaybasher Funster

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    War is about to break out on FUN
     
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  11. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    But employ a lot of professional British engineers, or British professional engineers.
     
  12. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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  13. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    You could ask our member who forked out £11k for a new Merc engine, "No Sir, we do not supply replacement pistons you buy a new engine. Yes we know they fail a lot.". Or the BMW riders declared off the road last month for an indefinite period until BMW find how to make their suspension safe on their £14k luxury bikes. Or BMW riders a couple of years ago whose brand new bike would not start when hot, took 3 months and a load of denials for that one to get fixed.

    Or some FUN Burstner owners who now know Burstner do not know how to engineer a side-skirt.

    I think the facts on this forum say Germans are better than Swift but that's not saying a whole lot.
     
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  14. Barclaybasher

    Barclaybasher Funster

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  15. Barclaybasher

    Barclaybasher Funster

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    Once you have an idea of suitable vans you should just check ebay 'newly listed' in Campervans & Motorhomes every chance you get - any good vans going cheap will sell quickly - watch out for the too cheap scams though
     
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  16. DuxDeluxe

    DuxDeluxe Funster Life Member

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    You can always check on here if it is a bit cheap. Many Funsters keep an eye out for these things and have a good knowledge of what something is worth. you will always get a quick reply as it is busy on here........

    Frankia is a really good brand - part of the Pilote group which has a generally good reputation and I believe wood free construction . We are biased - traded our (excellent) Auto-Sleeper for a Pilote earlier this year
     
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  17. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    I would hate to offer advice on buying a van- I sort of go down this road. Choose the layout that you like and love, get a good and thorough examination done by an independent caravan repair person and then make up your mind on what follows.

    I've owned all sorts of makes and known all sorts of makes and to be honest, I love my bessaccar (same as kon tiki) and swear by it and at it. I've known plenty of German vans that have leaked or had several problems and to be honest, this german thing is a hangover from the 80s the German hymer of the 80 and early 90s is far superior build quality to the mass produced of the 2000s. Friend of mine just PXd his beloved German for a slovenian and the German was riddled with damp. Friend of mine just got rid of his Swift built and the same reason. At the Bring and Buy a guy in a Autotrail had Terry on his roof fixing a leak and a guy in a Burstner (nearly new) was seeking advice on how to deal with damp under his window from a poorly fitted window.

    So here's my view, There all s**t wherever they are from, Some are more S**t than others granted but you part with your bucks and get whatever S**t you adopt. The only ever exception to this rule seems to be our snowbird who can sniff a great deal out on a great motor from 2000 miles away and then goes and picks it up.!!!

    Wouldn't want to put anyone off from buying anything, but just make sure your toolbox is in good shape and has some sealant in it (n)

    we the consumer are readily treaded on in this wonderful pursuit of ours:cry:, but, do you know what?

    It's bloody worth it:D
     
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  18. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    see this is where we are all misled and Im glad you highlighted this. I love french vans, I think the Pilote is an excellent choice, yet dig deeper.

    They own
    Mooveo which are clearly shocking in every department.
    RMB which Snowbird swears by and are ace
    Frankia as you point out, who we all believe are a prestige German brand
    and of course Pilote itself.


    So which one of these is German in our motorhome fun tradition? filled with German engineering as we are to believe, built to such a high quality finish?

    Well with 660 workers in France, and 140 in Germany, poor Dave snowbirds RMB and you Frankia lovers are going to have to put up with loads of stuff being made in France and then shipped to Germany for construction.

    Face the facts people, our industry is going just like the car industry with the punter having absolute no idea what they are actually buying.

    Great in it
     
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  19. DuxDeluxe

    DuxDeluxe Funster Life Member

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    All good points, Paul - I had forgotten all about Mooveo. Do they still import them? I know they were used as hire vans by some companies who anticipated them being trashed and didn't really care about them.

    I thought that Frankia were German built in entirety apart from the usual purchased bits from the normal suppliers but completely take your point about components being constructed elsewhere. I wonder how many British vans really are British? Autotrail are a part of the Trigano group, aren't they............
     
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  20. rich g

    rich g Funster

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    I may be bias, but Auto Sleepers are well built Motorhomes and Vans
     
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