First Time Owner Help Please

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Toller, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Toller

    Toller Read Only Funster

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    Hi Everyone

    I hope you can clarify a few things for me. We have on order an Apache 632 due for delivery in March, we have previously had caravans.

    1. What 'extras' do you suggest we get? We have ordered engine upgrade to 2.8, rear ladder, solar panels (as we rarely go where there is hookup) and media pack.

    2. Any other useful items you have found for use with a motorhome? eg. silver screens, door locks etc

    3. What is the best storage system you have found? Eg. roof box, back box etc.

    4. A BIG QUESTION...What is the built in sat nav like? I have read that there were some teething problems with some of the new ones last year...but...is it like the tomtom caravan version that doesn't direct you down little lanes etc? Does it always give you sensible routes? And does it have anything like the live traffic updates?

    I am hoping to be able to drive this on my own (have done test drive) and despite everyone telling me it drives like a car, I didn't find it that easy or comfortable. I found I had to sit very close to reach the dash based gear stick, which meant my legs were very cramped (hoping to be able to spend more time getting a better driving position) and reaching the handbrake was another adventure (but hopefully shouldn't need that too often)

    Thanks for listening and look forward to your replies.

    Yvonne
     
  2. wiljoy

    wiljoy Funster

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    Congratulations on your purchase, I hope it brings you endless pleasure.
    You appear to have most things covered in your wish list. One word of caution is loading. Be very careful as your payload, after the kit you have ordered, will be greatly reduced for much more. Get the vehicle weighed as soon as you can to determine exactly how much free weight you have. The weight of a storage box really eats into the kgs and most motorhome owners manage with the available lockers. If extra carrying capacity is a must then look at a tailer, but when do you stop. The must to add to your list is a screen cover for winter and a possible hot summer. Sat Navs are OK but NEVER to be totally trusted, you cannot beat a good trucker's map to work in conjunction with the satnav. If your handbrake continues to be a problem to reach extensions are available from various accessory suppliers.
    The very best of luck and I hope this has helped.
    Wilf
     
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  3. maz

    maz Funster

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    Hi Yvonne and welcome to the Fun. :welcome:

    If you're planning to be off hook-up then an extra leisure battery (or two) would be a good idea so that you can make as much use of your solar panels as possible. But before you get too many 'extras' be sure to check out what your van's payload is. :Smile:
     
  4. Stonemags76

    Stonemags76 Funster

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    Hi
    I agree with Wiljoy, Silver Screens are a must to stop condensation in Winter, and to keep the interior cool in summer. We have been full timing in our van for just over a year, and I would say our self seeking satellite system was our best purchase for those dark winter evenings!
    Good luck on your travels!
    :Laughing::BigGrin:
     
  5. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    why would you order such an exspensive item as a motor home if you couldnt get a suitable driving position ?
     
  6. Wildbill

    Wildbill Funster

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  7. Fermenter

    Fermenter Read Only Funster

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    Satellite

    What system do ou have as I am looking at investing in a sat system
     
  8. rainbow chasers

    rainbow chasers Read Only Funster

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    I would suggest having the following items on the van;

    Couple of Drinking Water Containers
    Levelling Ramps (Thule ones come in a bag)
    UK/European Maps
    Vehicle Safe under Hab seats (cards/documents etc)
    Oil & screen wash ( 1 litre)

    Emergency Kit; Tarpaulin Sheet, Hi Viz Tabbards, First Aid kit, Fire Blanket, Torches, Reflective Triangle, Emergency Phone Charger & a Sturdy Bottle Jack. Don't disregard the tarpaulin sheet!

    Roof boxes or rear boxes depend on your storage and height/length requirements - useful for barbeques, chairs, windbreaks and other bulky items.

    You can fit reversing aids if you require - you will get used to the size fairly quickly! I went to see a customer the other day who bought our old motorhome, who has just returned from a month in europe - she had never driven anything bigger than a car, and she admitted she was shocked how quickly she found herself confidently 'throwing it about!' :thumb:

    If you need to reverse around a corner to change direction - do it on the OPPOSITE side of the road, as you visability in the mirrors is far better, and you will not have blind spots!
     
  9. maz

    maz Funster

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    Getting back to that all important payload, out of interest I had a look at the Autotrail site.

    Apache 632 has max payload of 395kg on the standard van or 245kg if downplated to 3500kg for licence reasons. You'll need to deduct the extras you have ordered from those figures, which will give you an idea of what you've got left to play with.

    Autotrail do a handy Weight Calculator with the extras listed: http://www.auto-trail.co.uk/weight-calculator

    Hope this helps.
     
  10. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

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    Hi and welcome,

    I agree with everything said about silver screens.

    Although you say you rarely use hook ups, when you do ensure what you have a lead that is long enough. You will need to go on a hook up for some things, especially keeping batteries topped up over winter (solar panels may keep them topped up enough, but not always).

    We had an extra leisure battery fitted so we had peace of mind over long weekends away from hook up.

    You will need a long food grade hose for water filling, some use a watering can as an alternative.

    You may have gas cylinders already. If not, consider using some of the cash you would use to buy an Alugas refillable system ( or similar, could save weight).

    You will be much heavier, so ensure when on soft ground you have some kind of pad under your wheels to spread the load. We have levellers also, but do not use them a lot.

    Our raskelf bed systems have been worth their weight in gold. Many will say save money and make your own, our personal choice was buy them.

    Some kind of bucket/ container for emptying waste when not over a proper grid, we use our old caravan wheeled waste container still.

    I would be surprised you cannot get close enough for the gear stick, as the seat as lots of adjusting points. Speak to your dealer.

    If you cannot camp out at home very quickly to test everything, then as soon as you can camp as close to the dealer as you can.

    Truckers map suggestion earlier is essential.

    WEIGHT. That suggestion earlier is a must, any of the things you have said you want and that have been suggested will eat up your payload.

    At funster rallies there are always plenty willing to help with advice, and on the bigger ones some of our trade funsters can do installs on site.

    You will need a cat1 alarm, we had a tracker fitted also.

    If you have paid your subs, then the search facility on here is brilliant to delve further and get more tips.
     
  11. Stewart J

    Stewart J Funster

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    Is your new 632 plated at 3650 or have you requested it down-plated to 3500? (what does your driving licence allow you to drive!)

    The 632 is on the Fiat light chassis so as others have said watch your payload!!!

    With Auto-trails this payload allowance allows for 90% full fuel tank, 90% full Freshwater tank, 90% full gas bottles and 75kg for the driver. Its all explained on page 57 of the 2013 catalogue depending on wether yours is plated at 3650 or down-plated to 3500kg the way I read it is

    Mass in running order is stated as 3255kgs which includes the above allowances.

    If 3650kg you have 3650 - 3255 = 395 kg payload, don't forget the weight of your passenger needs to be deducted from this.

    If down-plated to 3500kg then 3500 - 3255 = 245 kg payload (not a lot!) See page 66 of above catalogue.

    Your engine upgrade, ladder, solar panel need to be deducted from your allowance, The autotrail website will give you these weights and does the sums for you then you can see your leftover allowance. :thumb:
     
  12. Stewart J

    Stewart J Funster

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    Apologies Maz I'd missed your post:RollEyes::RollEyes::RollEyes:
     
  13. maz

    maz Funster

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    No worries - better said twice than not at all. :thumb:
     
  14. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    If you're going to be wilding then I suggest you avoid external Silver screens. Although they are better for insulation you can't remove them without getting out, a problem if you need to drive off in a hurry.
     
  15. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    Sorry, grumps147, why will you 'need' an alarm or Tracker? I'm not disputing they may be very useful things to have but they ain't a necessity of everyone's life, are they?

    Not my number one priority in life though.

    I mean they may be necessary to you yourself personally cos you is a worry guts or have found to your cost that yours attracts low lives - in which case fine. Not everyone feels the same!
     
  16. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    I suspect the engine upgrade will eat into your payload as well but I do not know how much.

    Enjoy the van. Driving a motorhome is easy once you get the hang of it - it took about half an hour for me to feel comfortable.

    Not sure if a reversing camera comes as standard on the Apache but if not I would get one fitted - it just makes life easier.
     
  17. Stephen & Jeannie

    Stephen & Jeannie Read Only Funster

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    The "built in " sat nav you have to pay an annual fee for !:Angry: Absolutely brilliant but expensive! I bought a tom tom europe that does the biz just fine !:thumb:
    I kept the option of a tracker as it means a lower insurance premium and piece of mind if it gets stolen !
    Never ever used silver screens as I too do a bit of wilding and a quick get off is useful ! Touch wood, never had a problem though !!:Cool:
     
  18. Toller

    Toller Read Only Funster

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    Thanks to everyone for your useful replies. I have done loads of reading prior to posting but I feel it is always most useful to ask experienced people.

    Reversing camera is standard :Smile:
    We still have our caravan 'stuff' so just need to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.

    Your replies have highlighted some more questions...

    Payload - does the Apache automatically have the higher figure unless you request the lower version? Our licences permit us both to drive the heavier one. I have tried to research pros and cons and the answer does not seem to be definitive as to which is best. So far I have discovered that on the higher one it is classed as a private HGV which means cheaper tax, but not allowed in some car parks or some places on the continent. Does it affect insurance premiums? Or anything else?

    If you have experience of this I would appreciate your views.
     
  19. maz

    maz Funster

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    I would have thought the higher gross weight would be the norm but check with the dealer to be sure. With the extras you want to add only the higher weight will give you enough spare payload to carry more than a bucket and spade! :BigGrin:

    I've only had tag axles which are over 3.5 tonnes so can't compare insurance on smaller vans. Wouldn't worry about car parks saying 'No HGVs' - they just see me as a motorhome and I've had no trouble.

    I think there is talk of tests/medicals being introduced at some point with over 3.5 tonnes - maybe at 70 years old? Someone who has paid more attention will no doubt fill you in on that one. :Smile:
     
  20. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

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    Point accepted re Tracker, but will have to disagree with the alarm as I do not know many insurances that don't insist on it now especially for new vehicles. It's probably one thing on Autotrails that should be a standard fit but isn't.
     
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