Hymer Star Line 680 ~ a few first thoughts

Discussion in 'Hymer' started by veevee, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. veevee

    veevee Funster

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    Have just bought a 2007 Hymer Star Line 680 with full auto box based on the Mercedes 416 CDI Sprinter. This is a pre 2006 model, built in 2005 and first registered in 2007.

    Here are a few random first thoughts.

    After purchase drove straight from Warwickshire to central France, a journey of 600 miles so learnt a bit about the MH.
    Last Tuesday evening heading to France held up near Folkestone in the rolling road block, pretty chaotic and brewery and P... Up came to mind. Took about 2 hours to complete 5 miles and the water temperature never budged on a warm evening.

    This is the first auto vehicle I have ever bought and suddenly realised that it's a match made in heaven (the Mercedes box is so smooth). A large cruising leisure vehicle with auto is now my ideal choice, but still would choose a manual for our works delivery van.

    The Star Line 680 is listed as exactly 3.0m high by Hymer. At 4 automated French toll booths we were classed as Classe 2 which is vehicles up to 2.99m, and we travelled empty too so a little higher than in normal use. There is no air con or sat dish on the roof though.

    The 2,7 L Mercedes 5 cylinder engine is still as smooth as our older Hymer with the 2.9 L 5 cylinder engine, lovely to drive.

    The interior of the 680 is deceptively spacious in almost every area, and very comfortable to travel in.

    The interior doesn't feel as solid as our 1992 Hymer S 670, catches and fittings feel flimsy in comparison.

    The OE tyre fitment is Continental Vanco tyres, they give a much harsher ride than Michelin Agylis or Michelin Camper, due to age the originals have to be changed anyway so look forward to more grip and a more comfortable ride.

    All in all we are very pleased indeed with our new motorhome, looking forward to getting it ready for our use.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
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  2. Kim H

    Kim H Funster Life Member

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    @veevee Great choice of van, ours is a 2004 model. We've had it 4 years and have absolutely no desire to change. Quick question, do you still have the enormous pedestal table in yours? We're going to have ours removed next month and probably have a smaller one on a swan neck, but we're looking for ideas really.

    Thanks Kim
     
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  3. veevee

    veevee Funster

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    Hello Kim

    We probably have a different layout to you, we have a dinette. We are considering changing to an L shaped lounge and having looked at a few Hymers of the same era came up with the table assembly from the 2005 B 614 with an L lounge. We thought this was the best table we had seen as it was so versatile and the pedestal was pretty unobtrusive too.

    We'd be very interested in which option you go for and any photos would help us a lot. We wont decide on whether to remove the dinette until we have travelled for a few weeks in our new baby but that may not be until the New Year.

    Having looked around our 680 more thoroughly we are very pleased we chose this model, it gives a lot of space to each area of the interior without appearing to do so.

    Question for you. Do you have the small cupboard between the RH front seat (passenger for LHD) and the habitation door? It's a useful size and position for a cupboard but on ours it wrecks the passenger seat swivelling fully. Our idea was to narrow the width of that cupboard so that the passenger seat can turn 180 degrees, any thoughts?

    Good to hear of another 680 owner, didn't think there were many around.
     
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  4. Kim H

    Kim H Funster Life Member

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    Ours is the L shaped lounge and we also have the cupboard behind the passenger seat (we're LHD). It does impede the swivel seat to a degree but then the sofa slightly impedes the drivers swivel too, so we can live with it quite happily. We find the cupboard extremely useful and definitely wouldn't want to alter it in any way. The attached photo shows the layout and cupboard.

    When we get to have our table modified next month, I'll share some pictures with you.

    Kim
     

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  5. ambulancekidd

    ambulancekidd Funster

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    I had an ambulance with this engine & gearbox setup, ultra reliable, smooth good on fuel & cruised beautifully. I've also had a C class estate with same engine, awesome.

    Here's wishing you good health to use your motorhome.
     
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  6. veevee

    veevee Funster

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    Take your point Kim re altering the small cupboard, it really is an obvious asset. The second problem we identified with this design is the (yes we have LHD too) passenger seat can't be reclined for the passenger to snooze while travelling, or are we missing something?

    If your settee were to be maybe 20cm shorter, would that enable the driver's seat to fully swivel?

    Last question. Do you have one or two seat belts in the rear? On the two B 614's we saw a small box section of the settee in front of the forward facing section of the L could be removed for two people to travel side by side. Is the L 680 designed that way?

    Thanks for the photo, I have posted photos of the B 614 table on your thread.
     
  7. Kim H

    Kim H Funster Life Member

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    You're right, due to the positioning of the cupboard there is now way of reclining the passenger seat whilst in transit. I have to say however, that this had never even occurred to me as I am the navigator, spotter and chatterbox when we're rolling. That's not to say that I don't sometimes grab a few minutes shut eye on occasions, I've just never thought about needing to recline the seat!

    Again with the settee, we've never considered the need to completely turn the seat around - in fact we think the positioning of the seats when fully swivelled is absolutely fine.

    As for the rear seat belts, we have just one belted seat and there is no removable piece to allow 2 passengers side by side. Again not a problem for us as there are only two of that travel. We actually had our cushions altered as well from squashy back cushions, to a single back cushion. We find it much more comfortable and practical.
     

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  8. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Regarding tyres, I am surprised that the Conti Vanco feel harsh compared with camper tyres as CP tyres normally run at much higher pressures than standard C tyres (e.g. Vanco). Ours was on Vanco (225 70 R15 C) but last autumn I changed them for Vanco Winter 2. These feel really good to drive on.
    Perhaps the Vancos on yours have been set at too high a pressure? On mine (B630) the recommended pressure in the handbook is 3.5 bar front and 4.5 bar rear. Having consulted the Conti data book, and contacted their technical help chaps, I now run at lower pressures, calculated to match the fully loaded weight (3.2 bar front and 4.1 bar rear). Worth considering before switching to CP tyres perhaps?

    Another thought - if the harshness is at the front, it may be a suspension issue. On the heavier Sprinter chassis, particularly 616, the suspension tends to sit on the 'bump stops', which are not in fact bump stops, but designed to absorb the up and down movement. I have read of this being improved markedly by fitting replacement stops made by Goldschmitt. I cannot remember whether this modification applies to the 416 as well as the 616 though. On my 316 there is clearance between the suspension link and the stop so I don't notice the problem.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
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  9. veevee

    veevee Funster

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    Philip, all the tyres on our 680 are from 2004 so well out of date range, we took the cost of buying 6 tyres into account when buying the MH so in that respect a tyre change is happening anyway. Real shame as with still less than 9000 miles on them the set of 6 Vanco tyres all looked as new.

    We drove from Warwickshire to Essex which was enough to confirm (to me at any rate ) that the 680 in the tyre department anyway felt similar to all the large Ducatos we have had, maybe Vancos just don't suit my style of driving. I already knew the sidewalls on a Vanco tyre are stiffer than the Michelin Agilis and I confirmed this again when the two front tyres were removed and by hand I flexed and twisted the sidewall on both the Vanco and the new Agilis side by, there is a noticeable difference,
    On our Ducatos I get superior wet grip with Michelin and often they are quieter too, but again apart from the extra wet grip maybe I am more suited to Michelin.

    When we first got our 1992 S 670 we had within a year to fit 6 tyres on that, the Michelin transformed the handling in the dry and wet plus made it more comfortable.

    The tyre pressures on the front of the 680 were checked before removing them, they were at 4.5 bar / 65 psi, (at this point we only changed the front 2 tyres , the rear will be done in a few months time). This is the pressure the Hymer plate states they should be when loaded but doesn't give an empty tyre pressure. We travelled empty back to Essex and still empty from Essex to France so I had a direct comparison between Vanco and Agylis.

    The front felt a little softer than before (Michelins at 4.5 bar too) but didn't notice any handling difference, it was dry the entire journey. BTW the standard tyre fit is 195 with an option on using 225's shown on the manufacturers plate.

    I think you are about right that the front feels it doesn't have too much suspension travel, noticed that too when we went from a 2.8 Ducato to a 3.0 180 bhp one. When I get that far I check out front suspension travel but that's down the line.

    Thanks again for your input
     
  10. veevee

    veevee Funster

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    Thanks Kim

    Sometimes we cover long distances in one go, maybe 10 hours of driving and often through the night. Rosie stays awake most of the time but on longer or night journeys she will often grab a couple of hours sleep and I'm happy as long as I can look across and see she is there.

    We don't have any experience with a settee in a camper, it's always been a dinette so maybe my questions are naïve, but without asking...

    Just recently we have travelled with 4 people several times, admittedly just for a couple of days or so but it has made us think about having 4 seat belts. In the dinette setup this 680 has 6 seat belts and maybe, just maybe we will eventually just stick with a dinette? but the advantages and attraction of a settee seem obvious. We will take time to think it over as you have with your table.

    Thanks for your help and the photos, can't wait to use our motorhome for real.
     
  11. Kim H

    Kim H Funster Life Member

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    @veevee Well, we picked up the van from Peter Hambilton today after having the table removed and some other remedial work done. To say we're pleased with the new table is probably an understatement and we can't believe how much space it's created! The table top is mounted slightly off centre to give us a wide range of positioning and we can easily remove it altogether should we so wish. I've attached some before and after pictures.

    Kim
     

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  12. veevee

    veevee Funster

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    Thanks very much Kim, as you say the difference is enormous and the flexibility of the lounge increased proportionately too. I don't think we can get to use ours until end of October but will keep your photos and 'imagine' your lounge area once we spend 4 or 5 days in our 680.

    I was taken with the support for the original table, was it borrowed from the Millau Bridge?

    Thank you again, it's all a great help.
     
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  13. Kim H

    Kim H Funster Life Member

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    @veevee Out of curiosity, we weighed the pedestal when we got home - it weighed 20kg! That's an awful lot payload that we can now convert to wine :wine:
     
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