Learning Curve

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by treehouse, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. treehouse

    treehouse Read Only Funster

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    Hello everyone, I thought it was time I joined a forum. My partner and I have been looking for a motorcaravan for a month or so and nearly got stung twice, learning as we go. The first one was unchecked by the dealer because he had not bought it, but agreed to put it on his forecourt for the owner and sell it on his behalf, instead of the usual PX. This very reputable trader saved us from a terrible bill by eventually feeling too uncomfortable with this arrangement and putting it into the workshop, where he found that most of the habitation stuff didn't actually work and would take thousands to fix. We had arranged an RAC inspection of the van, so we had to cancel that and lose the deposit (£15.50 - a cheap lesson). I would trust the dealer to the ends of the earth, but unfortunately he doesn't normally have anything in our price bracket. That was Dick Lane (not a person, the address), Bradford, Yorkshire. Top notch.

    The second one, which I dare not identify for fear of a libel suit, but is in Preston, Lancs, was just about to sell us a camper for three grand which he somehow managed to persuade us he would have to get us to sign for as "unfit for purpose", "otherwise, the customer has a guarantee, even if I write 'sold as seen' or anything else". He had just got it in PX and hadn't had time to look it over, he said. We were this || close to getting it, but fortunately he suggested we think about it overnight and call back in the morning. After doing some research, I realised this was ridiculous, very bad practice and probably illegal. Traders have a duty to know enough about the vehicles they sell to make them fit for purpose and describe them accurately, including major faults, or presumably to sell them as "spares or repair" or "scrap".

    I phoned up and dug a bit more, already pretty sure I wouldn't buy a walking-stick off him - should I arrange a tow truck? - Oh no, you won't need that, it's fine, it was driven here. How can I be legally insured to drive it off the forecourt when I've signed to say it's unfit for purpose? - Oh, you don't have to tell the insurance company that, just answer the questions they ask you. Basically it came down to signing for a piece of junk without my consumer rights, but with an unofficial statement that it was indeed fit for purpose and worth £3,000. He said most people understand that arrangement, and I said it was quite convenient as a second-hand car salesman that most people don't know the law. It's very cheap for a camper, obviously, but still a lot of money to pay for a piece of rubbish. I decided in the end not even to bother doing an HPI check and just :imoutahere:.


    Pity - it could be a nice van, but I can't be party to that, and I'm going to report them to Trading Standards. Still, that was better than the first one we went to see at another dealership. Three grand again, but a heap of rust and filler held together with duct tape and fitted with a new exhaust and tyres.

    Back to the drawing board. Trusted dealers or even careful private sales is what we're thinking now. Also tempted to do a self-conversion, but maybe next time, when I know a bit more. I've never owned one, but I'm finally following in the family tradition. I have very fond memories of the early days in the '60s when my dad and grandad both had Bedfords and drove around in tandem. Whoever was in front had a signal - the driver held the kettle out the window, meaning they would turn into the next suitable layby for a cuppa.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
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  2. movan

    movan Funster Life Member

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    Welcome. Terry has a brilliant self conversion for sale. If you pm him I am sure he will tell you about it...

    Hope you find something soon. :Smile:
     
  3. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    As I guess you already know, your budget will be a major restriction, you will inevitably either spend more on the purchase or soon after putting right what you buy

    Welcome to the best place to ask, hopefully before you buy (unlike me)

    :thumb:
     
  4. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    :fatbuddha:

    It is a very steep learning curve.

    If you give us an idea of what you are looking for and your budget someone may be able to help.
     
  5. Carol

    Carol Funster Life Member

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    Hello and welcome to fun, the first good decision you have made is it join this forum the best £10 you will spend.

    Now the next thing ask questions is your budget 3,000 or more, it will make a big difference to the route you take, are you looking at a panel van conversion or a motorhome, give us as much info as possible, bargains are out there but also money pits. Good Luck because when you find the right one for you they can give so much pleasure .
     
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  6. Momo

    Momo Funster

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    Hi Treehouse and welcome to the Fun! :welcomefunster:
    Sorry to hear about everything that's been going on but trust and hope you will finally get sorted very soon! :thumb:
     
  7. treehouse

    treehouse Read Only Funster

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    Thanks guys.

    Movan, I'm not sure how to find Terry to pm him. Apparently I can't use the search feature. That'll be with not having paid subs, maybe. Best £10 I haven't spent yet, Carol. :BigGrin:

    Thanks DAVIDG58. Yes, we're prepared for a certain amount of cost to put things right and ongoing maintenance. Sounds like you did get stung.

    Carol and Puddleduck, you both invited me to say more about what we're looking for. I hope it's ok in this bit of the forum - I don't see a specific section for it. The budget is something like £6000, maybe a little more, much less if I can get away with it. £5k would feel comfortable.

    We want a hi-top (or medium hi-top perhaps), because we want a toilet closet (not necessarily cassette), which wouldn't work with a pop-top, but we're not bothered about a shower, a rear kitchen and sofa(s) in front along sides or single sofa on one side and other seat convertible into sofa (as is common in vans with side-opening door), but other arrangements could work.

    We're just as happy sleeping on two sofas/single-beds as having a double bed, and might even prefer it to avoid having to make the bed up. We're 5' 6" and 5' 2". We'd want a side opening door, but preferably also useable rear door(s). We don't like the rear sofa pointing forward arrangement found in many VWs. We don't need any more than 2 travelling seats. Don't need group seating. Hardly need a table! I'm quite handy, so I'm not bothered if it needs a bit of re-arranging to get it the way we want.

    We only need 2 berths, and wouldn't have a vast amount to carry, so lutons just seem a waste of fuel to shove through the air. Those ones we were interested in were a Peugeot Boxer (MWB, I think) hi-top with Autosleeper Symphony??? conversion and a Ford Transit LWB hi-top. I'm wanting something as narrow as possible to navigate the smaller roads. Obviously also as short as possible for maneuverability. Enormous inside - do Mercedes do a Tardis model?

    The usual fittings - fridge, cooker (2 hobs and grill ideal, prefer no oven), sink, bit of a drainer if room. Nowt fancy required. We're hoping to use it in moderately cold weather if we can, so insulation is fairly important. If it hasn't got heating, I guess we can add something. I wondered about a bio-ethanol lantern heater I saw online that puts out half a kW...not sure if anyone has started using this kind of thing, as it burns cleaner than propane/butane and is suitable for indoor spaces. If I built my own, that's all I'd use for heating and cooking, but that's another story.

    The van - as economical to run as possible, so I'm thinking LPG/petrol dual fuel or diesel preferably, although I'd also be happy with a smallish petrol engine (and might look into getting an LPG conversion done). Nothing fancy needed mechanically, although power steering would be a big plus.

    Obviously we want immaculate bodywork that will last for centuries, but you know, something not actually falling apart would be great. Also cheap for spare parts, cheap to work on and hopefully be able to do some of the maintenance myself.

    That's about all I can think of just now. Somewhere not too far from Harrogate, Yorkshire. Thanks for asking. :thumb:
     
  8. paul rimmer

    paul rimmer Funster

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    just bought our van in march. spent lots of time looking and bought first one we saw as we knew what we wanted. Also hired one last year so we knew what we did not want! We were also on a tight budget so went for our Iveco daily diesel panel conversion, Built like a brick sxxt house, no rust, 80K. Fixed double bed, usual cooker, fridge, cubicle, two leisure batteries, inverter, two gas cylinders, flat screen free view, new radio, tow bar, new exhaust, cruise SAAB seats installed. Beautiful comfy ride. Had to buy new battery, as went flat twice (thank goodness we got breakdown cover!) suspect tyres will need replaced at MOT next month, but cant see any other issues so far

    P reg, £6.5K and will last for ever... Looked at a few on Ebay and gumtree and quite a few like this, mind you I did see a few luxury ones from 80 to 120K!!
     
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  9. barearse

    barearse Funster

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    Howdy treehouse,I know being biased & liking the bigger Mercedes vans,I often look on "campervan life" website.There are always several to look at.Maybe I was lucky when I got mine off ebay.Owned it for 18 months,bought for well inside your budget and is an on going project.Has all mod cons,4 burner stove with grill and oven,xtactor fan,shower/toilet,sleeps 3 with ease and no payload issues.You don't need mega bucks,go for van conversion & stay wary.:thumb:
     
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  10. barearse

    barearse Funster

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    By way of a postscript,in MMM mag there is a chap called Martin Watts whose feature is all about "vintage" motorhoming.He always highlights a couple of good ones each month.Worth a look.:Wink:
     
  11. Bailey58

    Bailey58 Funster Life Member

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    :welcome:

    You're running out of posts but for less than you paid the RAC you'll get a wealth of info on here, particularly for your particular needs at the moment. :thumb:
     
  12. treehouse

    treehouse Read Only Funster

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    Slightly Wiser

    OK, thanks for the heads up. I don't mean to be rude or anything, but I don't think this forum is going to be for me, and I'm a bit disappointed to find I have a restriction on the number of posts unless I spend money. Firstly, there are loads of forums around that are free - completely free. Secondly, it would be nice if at least I could take part for free but not have certain advanced features like members' areas or to remove advertising, but it's not is it - I'm here on probation until I cough up what appears to be a tenner a year. Thirdly, unless I was particularly unobservant yesterday, there was absolutely no indication that this was the situation before I spent time joining and posting. You've all been very nice and helpful, but I guess I'm just a little bit tired of feeling lured into situations I wasn't looking for, with promises that if I just pay a bit it'll be worth my while. All the links to things I actually need right now - like classifieds - take me off the site, or to some sister site. I expect for a tenner there might be personal ads and some might be campers that might suit us, but I also expect they're advertised on various other websites. It's almost a full-time job making my shortlists, phoning people and inspecting the ones I've already found.
     
  13. Mousy

    Mousy Funster Life Member

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    It's such a shame you feel that way. We've found motorhome fun to be the best forum, we've received so much help and advice and met some lovely people on rallies and meets. £10 is the price you will pay for one night in a campsite. It's a total bargain.

    Good luck in your search, I hope you don't regret not joining, there is a wealth of experience and help you could of received.
     
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  14. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Sorry you feel the way you do but you get a few days/free posts to get the feel of the site,and I appreciate there are free ones out there.I have nothing to gain by telling you to pay the tenner but you will save many times the tenner over simply by listening to all the advice acquired/given freely (by people who like you started with there first van) on the site.
    You state you have nearly come a cropper a couple of times and no doubt you will nearly come one again :Smile: All of us started somewhere and we have already made the mistakes you are about to make -we don't get anything for posting answers to your questions so ask yourself why we pay the tenner ?We get unlimited good advice :thumb: whether you listen and follow the advice is up to you,after being a full time paid up member (it was free until web hosting cost grew) THE BEST advice is save yourself a lot of grief and join us.It will prove to be the best tenner you ever spend on your camper :Smile:
    Follow/take the advice makes no difference to me -good luck on your search :thumb:
    terry
     
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  15. fifthwheel

    fifthwheel Read Only Funster

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    I am not a wealthy man nor am I trying to be clever or cocky but we are talking £10 for a years membership. Thats less than 20p per week.
     
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  16. simply

    simply Read Only Funster

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    For somebody who considers £15.50 a "cheap lesson" and admits being tired of "feeling lured into situations they are not looking for" it is rather strange that you troubled yourself to join and post in what appears to be effort to seek advice of Funsters, but then object to a £10 contribution to the provision and maintenance of the website and forum - it may come as another unobserved surprise to you but hosting doesn't come for free!
    It's your life, your choice, makes no odds to me whether you join or vanish (plenty of keen and willing Funsters ready to post) but I would genuinely like to wish you both the very best in your van search and hope you do learn quickly and don't actually get "stung" as you put it. Just one thing though, if you do decide that £10 of your annual income is worthy of access to what you yourself describe as "very nice and helpful" folk please do not be too proud to return to Motorhome Fun. Maybe you didn't catch on that being a paid member also entitles you to get along to rallies and meets and often even gives you a discount to some of the shows...and a chance to actually meet "nice and helpful" Funsters, such a shame you will be missing out on the "Fun" part.

    ...On the other hand, should you turn out be a wonderful self discovery learner and happily sail through your motorhoming ventures totally unstung and unscathed then maybe, just maybe, one day when you find yourself to be a lonely old man sitting out by your perfect but isolated 'van with your feet up feeling very smug with yourself and your wealth of motorhoming knowledge you might ponder over the thought that you might just get a weeny bit of pleasure from sharing teeny bits of your motorhoming experiences with other motorhomers or potential motorhomers. Let's hope that day is a very long way off for you as you will be so busy enjoying your motorhoming years that you never give us another thought, nor have any need to compose an advice seeking post on a motorhoming forum, but if you do then maybe, just maybe, we will then see you back on MotorhomeFUN.co.uk

    All the best and good luck !
    :fatbuddha:
     
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  17. Steveth

    Steveth Funster

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    Treehouse,
    I can only say that my wife and I consider the £10, the best investment we have made in years. Thanks to the contributors on this site we have saved hundred's of pounds by avoiding mistakes made by others and we do not collect "Freddie" until Monday week.
    Wherever you go, good luck.
     
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  18. Andy

    Andy Funster

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    Hi Treehouse,

    Like you, I'm a total newbie to MH owning, and like you I did 'lurk' in the darkness for a while before realising that £10 was a small price to pay for access to loads of relevant information,.........(ok I'd already paid for said MH, - time will tell if I dropped a large one........:RollEyes:)

    As an aside, I more than saved that money by using discount (arranged by others.......thanks ) that being a Funster, gives.

    Good luck in your search for a MH.

    Andy
     
  19. Spidey

    Spidey Funster

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    Totally agree in the very short time i have owned a motorhome I have had loads of help and all my questions answered. :BigGrin:
     
  20. Bailey58

    Bailey58 Funster Life Member

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    Just to pick up on that point, of course it is, we've all done it when looking for a motorhome. Even when we saw the one we liked at Peterborough - the layout virtually sold it to us - we spent hours online and went miles to view and get the best offer we could before parting with our money. Whether it's £5k or £50k it does take time but in the OP's case he would get all the help he needed on here. I seem to remember another new member posting links to all sorts of [STRIKE]dodgy looking[/STRIKE] vans on ebay and elsewhere before finally buying, the help he got from Terry, I believe amongst others, was unstinting, so £10? Peanuts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
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