Keep being drawn to a Auto trail Chieftan.

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Encantador, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

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    Hi,

    Following on from my introduction thread, we keep being drawn to the Cheiftan, initially we wanted 6 births even though it would be mainly me and the wife and the dog using it. Having said that, it seems that there is already plenty of storage so the extra births over the cab would probably make it more flexible.

    Having `upped` our budget to around £35k it looks like we will be looing around the 2001-2004 area from what we have seen online.

    I would be grateful for any tips/suggestions/observations, good or bad on the make/model.

    Being a bit on the `large` size (me that is), luckily my wife is 5ft 2in and 8 stones, my only concern is the size of the fixed bed, not tried one yet. If we had one and had to resort to using the other bed on the lounge area that would not be ideal.

    Being such a beast (the van that is, not me :Rofl1:) are the engines generally powerful enough?
    Are there any accessories that you feel would be useful in case we get into a bartering situation with a dealer?

    Have purchased the buyers guide which will be useful.

    As it will be our first MH a little unsure about exactly how we will end up using it, but the plan is to have lots of weekends away in the UK and maybe 1 3-4 week trip into Europe in the summer.

    I assume costs such as fuel/ferry/site fees will be more because of the size.
    Have space on the drive so storage is not a issue.

    Thanks in advance.

    Steve
     
  2. trophychap

    trophychap Funster

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    Same as buying a new bed for at home, except this time take your own pillows with you - get in one take your shoes off and lie on the bed, roll over, curl up, pretend to do whatever you do in bed LOL (sit up, switch the bedside lights on, read your book, drink your cuppa, put your cup wherever there is to put your cup ....)

    Pretend wash up, dry up and put stuff away - can you access cupboards/cutlery drawer with other person still at the sink? Our crockery cupboard is above the sink so I put the dried stuff on the driver and passenger seats when Pete's washing because otherwise he might crack his head on the corner of the locker door - plus for the pots and pans I'd need to keep squeezing past him all the while. It's not ideal but it works for us.

    Put imaginary or real pans on the hob, if it's a gas kettle remember that will be there too fairly permanently whilst you are parked, then take an imaginary casserole out of the oven - where will you put it before you burn yourself? I keep seeing vans that appear to have no discernible workspace either side of the hob. Recipe for disaster IMHO.

    Is the shower cubicle big enough to wash in, with all the doors/curtain/screen in position? Or do you bash your elbows? Can you sit on the loo comfortably with the door shut and can you reach the loo roll holder easily enough?

    Some things you can compromise on. Some things, you can't ......

    Jenny
     
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  3. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    with a budget of 35k I would not look at anything under 2005.

    Be careful between adversed prices and what they are actually being sold for. With a budget of 35k you should be looking at vans in the 40k range and getting the money off to bring it to 35k.
     
  4. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

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    Thanks Jenny, very useful.

    To be honest, after seeing quite a vew vans including RV`s, I had pretty much ruled out using the shower except in emergencies. As we expect to be on camp sites mostly, I had imagined it would not be a massive problem.

    Of course, using the shower is not something you can really `test` properly. I am sure people of my size probably manage in them. I am 6ft 5in and 19 stones, so although not massively obese, definitely not the size and shape that is forefront in the minds of MH designers that`s for sure.

    Thanks again.

    Steve
     
  5. JOHNSTEY

    JOHNSTEY Read Only Funster

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    As you don't have a van to trade in 35k should go a lot further than you might think.
    I would definitely be looking for at least 3k off the ticket price and would be pushing to get up to 5k.:thumb: I also agree that you should be able to get a good post 2005 van for that kind of price. Good luck.

    John
     
  6. aba

    aba

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    dont be fooled by large storage areas as if you do happen to fill them you can be guaranteed to be overweight.
    the payload even on the big euro vans is not great.
    for example you may think that 600kg is a lot but if there are 6 of you in the van that don't leave much in the line for food and clothing never mind all the other bits and bobs like chairs, bbq's tv, water, toilet chem. etc. etc.

    i would hazard a guess that nearly 80% of motorhomes and caravans for that matter with the exception of the big RV's are overweight.

    some of the smaller ones are overweight as soon as a passenger gets in never mind all the bumf that people put in them.
     
  7. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

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    Thanks for the input re price, that was probably going to be a question I was bound to ask sooner or later re what should we expect (hope) to be able to negotiate off the dealers window price.

    As we have`nt seen one in the flesh for a while, can anyone confirm that if a 6 birth, in common with some other Auto trails, the over cab bed is not really designed for adults.

    Steve
     
  8. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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    Drawn to Autotrail Chieftan

    Hi, well worth checking outthe bed and the size of the garage underneath.

    Payload very important.

    Some campsites in UK and abroad wont accept tag axels, so you may be limited in where you can camp.
    I dont think that its a fullly winterised van, so I dont know how important that is to you.

    Have you checked out a Bursnter 820 or 821? Similar size and price.
    A large Hymer?

    Importantly of all, as previuosly said, check it all. Stand and bend in the shower, sit on the loo- see how much legroom you have.
    Get up and down on the bed. I'm sure Jim does a checklist that is available.

    And do look at as many as possible, pictures will not be sufficient.

    All good fun:BigGrin:

    Good luck, S:thumb:
     
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  9. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

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    Thanks, I will take a look at those models.

    Also thanks for mentioning about the restrictions, that was another question I meant to ask.

    Is a tag axle likely to be a major issue when trying to get onto sites both here and abroad?

    Starting with the Chester Food and Wine show I have just this minute booked, I did promise to get a van by then... but never asked if there were any size restrictions.

    Steve
     
  10. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Steve, Yes and No,

    certainly won't be a problem at the Chester food and wine or the Bring and buy meet or any other fun meet.
    Ive not known any campsites refuse tag axle vans, but im sure there must be as Sue would not of said it.
    I like the autotrail and Stig (member here) have one so might be worth PMing them.
    As sue says the Burstner is a nice van and it does come in a coachbuilt model like the F man (member here has) Have you looked at the Hobby? IMO much better value for money but it's only opinion.
     
  11. Popeye

    Popeye Funster

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    I have to say Steve that my best mate is 6' 7" and just shy of 20 Stone. He's a big fellah, and both he and his wife climbed up on the overcab bed in the Arrapaho (same bed) with no problems whatsoever.

    My own Geist Spirit has a similar arrangement and he sleeps up there again with no problem.

    Regards.......Griff
    :thumb:
     
  12. aba

    aba

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    i havent had any problems getting on any sites in the uk some have a 8 metre limit but nobody has ever checked the length of my van although mine doesn't look as long as it is because its higher.

    i do know of problems with RV's getting on to some uk sites though but that is again down to the assumption that they are going to use more and dump more.
     
  13. SC 05 OUT

    SC 05 OUT Funster

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    We have scout with the same over cab as a chieftean, my son in law (v tall) and my daughter have slept up and said how much room there was.

    One thing with cheifteans is theres not many with passanger seatbelts in the rear, in some the L shaped setee moves to produce a pair of belted seats against the kitchen bulkhead, but they are few and far bewtween. another thing is they come in full garage (high fixed bed) and half garage (lower fixed bed) modles, buy carefully as its expensive to change afterwards.

    I fancy one my self so I probibly should not have give you these tips, there is one down the west coutry with the above buts nearly new and aver 45k.
     
  14. maz

    maz Funster

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    Can only agree with Sue that if you are considering a Chieftain be sure to check out the Burstner Elegance 821 as well. Very similar in size and layout but IMO better build quality and equipment. Both the fixed bed and the drop-down bed are almost king size and very comfortable. Alde heating is great, and the Burstner is fully winterised with a heated double floor housing the tanks and pipework. If you go for the 5 ton chassis (look for yellow springs) you get a payload of over a tonne. :Smile:
     
  15. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    I have a Miller States Alabama .. As anyone who has looked in my van will tell you, the shower is big enough even for a fat lumax like me !! In fact it is big enough for two normal people to get in at the same time !!
     
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  16. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    Is that just bragging or trying to temp someone in ??? :Rofl1:

    Autotrail overhead beds are definatly meant for adults as they keep putting me up there !!
     
  17. beachcaster

    beachcaster Read Only Funster

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    Having bought our first motorhome ..a 2 year old 2009 696 Autotrail Cheyenne G the garage version.....I must say we do love it . It is plated to 4000 so can carry a bit more than standard and we only use it as a two birth.

    Jane has the double made from pulling the two sofas together
    and I have the fixed double over the garage....so neither of us get disturbed with any nocturnal visits to the loo

    Im 6ft 2ins and a big bloke
    and I find the bed over the garage really superb..........probably as good as our bed at home.

    Jane who is small and lighter loves the other double bed.

    The Autotrail is not perfect...........a few niggly design points but overall we are not in a hurry to change.The garage is just great but for me the star is the 3 litre auto fiat engine ...a real treat to drive.

    good luck

    barry
     
  18. Welsh girl

    Welsh girl Funster Life Member

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    I contacted swift re the weight a bed over the cab can hold as my daughter and her husband wanted to stay with us and they have a 4 year old at the time and he is quite hefty at 19stones and my daughter is also quite big at the time anyway (wont tell you her weight, she wouldn't be pleased!!) and they told me that the bed is designed to hold 33 stones in weight so it sound as if you are well under that weight combined, wouldn't do to do any aerobatics in there I don't suppose :):):)

    PS I know yours is not a swift but the same applies to any overbed cab I suppose?
     
  19. Wyaye wires

    Wyaye wires

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    they have a 4 year old at the time and he is quite hefty at 19stones

    What the hell have they been feeding the four year old? :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
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  20. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

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    Looks like a nice vehicle, just done a quick search and does not seem to be many around though. Closest is about 50-60 miles away will have to go and take a look.
     
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