Help me to decide please

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Sherpa, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Sherpa

    Sherpa Read Only Funster

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    Does anyone here own an Autosleeper Symbol 2006 with a 2 litre HD engine, if so would they be kind enough to let me know what they think of it in relation to my questions below.

    Engine power-does the 2 litre engine have sufficient power in your opinion.
    Diesel interior heater-is the heater burner quiet both inside and out
    Engine fuel consumption mph (not the interior heater) just a rough estimate.
    Road handling-how do you find this, for example on a slightly windy day.
    Comfort-ie.sleeping arrangements and the living area
    Also your overall thoughts on this vehicle, love it hate it or indifferent.

    I am thinking of buying this particular model, the reason being we have always owned coach built motorhomes, as is my current vehicle, but have decided its too much hassle trying to park within the bays of most of the car parks these days while touring, not so bad in France or Italy, but here in th UK hopeless, therefor this particular vehicle would be more suitable for us and we could also use it as an every day vehicle instead of watching it rot away on our driveway for five or six months a year and having to run and maintain two cars besides.

    Of course I will test drive it, but I would need a week or two in order to realy get to know it as test drives are carried out with little fuel no water and no luggage, therefor not a lot of weight

    I hope someone can help me decide
     
  2. finby

    finby Read Only Funster

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    Hi there
    I hope I can offer a little help on a couple of your questions.
    We have never had an Autosleeper, but we had a similar Swift Sundance 530lp. We found that the 2 litre engine was underpowered and especially so on long journeys when it was difficult to keep up 60mph if the wind was in the wrong direction. Overtaking anything was a nightmare, as You had to have a very clear road ahead to get past anything doing 50+.
    We now have a van with 2.3 litre engine - what a difference! Great power and the ability to keep a respectable 70mph on the motorway all day.

    Our current van comes with Eberspacher heating - diesel powered blown air heating. We find it excellent and fairly instant. If you start on full power its a bit noisey, but once it reaches the required temperature it becomes quieter.
    The trick is, once you are warm enough, turn it down to about half. It is then barely noticable either inside or out. But beware, it requires battery power. If your leisure battery drops below a certain voltage (Im not sure, but probably about 10.5V, someone else will confirm this) the heating will not work. Not so good if you are not on site with electric hook up.


    I hope this has been a little bit helpful
    Good luck in your choice of van
    Martin
     
  3. Sherpa

    Sherpa Read Only Funster

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    Martin
    Thanks for your reply to my post, I do have a 2.3 litre engine in my current vehicle which is a coach built, the original engine was a 2 litre which was well under powered so had it upgraded to a 2.3 which made a world of difference, but the autosleeper symbol being a panel van, has different dynamics than he coach built so I'm wondering if this would make a difference. test driving it will not satisfy me for the reasons I quoted in my previous post

    From your description, the heater seems ok as we normaly use a ehu
     
  4. Sherpa

    Sherpa Read Only Funster

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    Autosleeper symbol SE

    what, only one reply:cry:

    Come on,,,, someone must have one
     
  5. Tom 46

    Tom 46 Read Only Funster

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    O.K. Sherpa, i,ll give it try. Firstly, why take a chance on a engine that might prove totally inadaquate for your needs. You,ve already gone through the process of upgrading the engine on a previous van and I agree with finby, that the extra bit of power from a 2.3 will make all the difference. All very well taking a test drive, but it takes time and varying conditions before you can really be sure you've bought right.
    I would normally advice anyone to choose the most powerfull option available, and with a fully laden van this will give a far more relaxed driving experience, possibly better fuel consumption, and less chance of forever 'thrashing' that engine just to keep up with other traffic. (remember the old maxim, no substitute for cubes).
    Saying that, my current van is a 2.2 Peugeot coachbuilt that is more economical and easier to drive than the previous 2.8 Fiat van conversion we owned, and while it does lack that bit of power on long gradients the lower gear ratio's more than compensate for any other failings.
    Never owned a Autosleeper Symbol, but the layouts the same in most vans of that size and would suggest you look at better engine options before you buy.
    We also have diesel heating in our current van (first time) and much more effective than previous heating systems. Quiet, effective and comparable to gas cost wise, although you should check if the Symbol has alternative mains as hook up is now widely available and a pity to waste when you've already paid for it. Aware of the drain on battery, but never been a problem even after 3 days parked up without hook up.
    Fuel consumption is anyone's guess and depends entirely on your big right foot, but must be better than a coachbuilt and would expect 30mpg or there abouts. Road handling should also be satisfactory, and again a big improvement on a coachbuilt with only cross winds and passing juggernoughts causing a slight problem.
    Layout and sleeping arrangement is something you'll have to come to terms with, but moving back up to a coachbuilt made us realize how much we had missed that extra space and 'elbow room'. Makes a lot of sense to have a duel purpose van conversion, but again, that compromise and trade off is something only you can decide.
    Nothing but confusion out there Sherpa, but 'your' van is out there somewhere and lets hope you find it.:Smile:
     
  6. geoff1947

    geoff1947 Read Only Funster

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    Had one!
    We bought one some 5 yrs ago It was our first van and as I was leaving the army, we planned to live in it for a year as we toured the UK and France etc. After a few trial weekends away we soon found that it was far too small for prolonged trips but OK for weekends etc. We found the sleeping arrangement were the worst point what with a bed that was nightmare to sort out (I never did get it right) We sold it for a larger panel van with a bench seteee that dropped down in to bed a much better arrangement.
    If you are downsizing and wish to tour I would say that a Symbol SWB is a step too far. But everyone has their own perfect van. Good luck:thumb:
     
  7. Sherpa

    Sherpa Read Only Funster

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    First let me thank the three of you who took the time and trouble to reply, even though you do not or never have owned the exact model in question. But having said that I found your advice really helpful. But I am disappointed at the response of those who must actually own an Auto sleeper 2 litre Symbol or are they that bad that no one owns one. I think the one Geoff 1947 owned was probably a 1.9 turbo as it was five years ago, and as far as I know the 2 litre HDI slightly more power came later, or am I wrong?

    My only worries now are the engine capacity, but then again if it were re-mapped then I think it may be adequate as we never travel with a full tank of water or carry much in the way of luggage, and as its a van conversion it should be lighter than a coach built and less resistant to head winds.

    I am sure the habitation area will be adequate as we do not spend days or weeks on site, as we like to move on and on without plans. Basically we just need somewhere to get our heads down and have a brew, and the only meal we bother with in the vehicle is breakfast. I do realise the sleeping area itself may be sonmewhat less spaceious than what we have now but being able to travel and park in areas that previously were not possible should compensate for this.

    As previously mentioned my wife and I have been the owners of a motorhome on and off for almost twenty five years since our early thirties, all of which have been coach built and we have had some great times and met up with a lot of nice people. But now we actually find it less relaxing and even stressful, so much so that we can't be bothered to go out at wekends and certainly not on bank holidays, simply because of the parking problems and sites being booked weeks in advance. This to us is not freedom. Freedom is being able to go where and whenever the mood arises so hopefully by down sizing this will restore our enthusiasm for this passtime.

    Slightly off topic, but on the subject of comfort, about eight years ago we only had a car at the time; it was a Peugot 406 Estate. We decided to go to France and on down to Naples and Sorrento where we have Italian friends. We slung a mattress in the back and off we went for three weeks; no problem with hygeine, just popped into camp sites for a few lira, but with regards to comfort, rather not talk about that.:Doh:
     
  8. tony morris

    tony morris Read Only Funster

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    200cc under powerd go for 2.3 you wont fault it
     
  9. Tom 46

    Tom 46 Read Only Funster

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    Hi Sherpa. Agree totally re. your comments on the need to now book ahead just to ensure a pitch on site, and not only at peak periods either, where not being pre booked can often leave you high and dry for overnight stays. Not sure where the answer lies, but it seems motorhoming etc. is fast becoming a victim of its own success and the fun and spontaneity will soon become a thing of the past.
    One further thing I would like to mention, especially for those who want to gauge a vans performance on a test drive is the (common?) practise of putting 'additives' into the fuel tank to boost that performance and reduce smoke emissions. Might go like a train on the test drive, but after a week or two you find yourself driving something more akin to a milk float than that powerfull motorhome you were hoping for.
    Not suggesting for a moment that a reputable dealer would do such a thing! but if driving that van seems to good to be true then quite possibly its not.
     
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