New to this, so would appreciate some advice....

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by neilmac, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. neilmac

    neilmac Read Only Funster

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    We are looking for our first MH and will be spending January and as much of February as required to find the right one.


    There's only the 2 of us but as we intend to spend a month or more at at time touring Europe in it we want as much space as possible, oh, and we'd prefer a fixed bed layout. However, if the Hymer type drop down bed is not too much hassle at the end of a day we'd consider that too.


    We have a maximum budget to spend on the initial purchase and would really appreciate advice on whether to go for an older MH (on the basis the quality may be better for the same money), or a newer model. Maybe a Hymer or Pilote type older model or McLouis type etc as the more modern option? There are a bewildering amount of makes and models on the market so experienced opinions would be welcome.


    We are working on the basis that it's a buyers market and naturally really want to get the best value vehicle that we can. We're going to spend a maximum of £ 15,000 – What can we realistically expect to get for that?


    Thanks in advance for any advice.


    Please feel free to contact us if you're thinking of selling a suitable vehicle, or point us in the direction of your advert.


    Thanks


    Neil & Caroline
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  2. JayDee

    JayDee Funster

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    No definitive answer

    Hi,
    You're probably not going to be satisfied with my saying there is no correct answer to your query. :BigGrin:

    There are a huge number of shapes, sizes, layouts and build qualities.

    If you intend to spend longish periods of time in it then size matters (no matter what 'they' say :Laughing:). But on the other hand you won't want it so big that you can't get to the interesting places that are down the narrow roads - unless of course you intend towing a small car (referred to as a 'toad'). 'A' classes give you more floor space, but tend to be more expensive (and do make sure you have windscreen cover in your insurance as these can cost £2000 plus depending on model). There is, for example, a model of Rapido that is an A Class with a double pull down bed over the cockpit and the kitchen set towards the rear of the vehicle which gives a very roomy space for day to day living and if you're happy with the pull down bed (which can be left made up when putting it away) rather than the fixed bed at the rear, then this can tick a lot of boxes. Laika have one with a similar layout. But of course you'll probably be hard pushed to come in under budget.
    One of the advantages of the fixed bed is that you get a mammoth volume of storage space underneath it. A word of warning here re any motorhome and that is PAYLOAD.
    The amount of payload available to you has to cater for the passenger(s), all luggage, all kitchen equipment (pots and pans, etc.), all bedding, computers and entertainment centres, awnings, ground sheets, windbreaks, solar panels, bikes, dogs, cats, budgerigars and their beds and food, etc. as well as (possibly, but maybe not) any water that you have in your water tank, any waste you have in your waste tanks and any (call it) liquid you have in your loo. What seems like a fairly adequate 450kgs vanishes in the blink of an eye.
    At the price you're aiming at it is unlikely that you'll get anything newer than 10 or twelve years old and some of the older ones do tend to look dated, not to say a bit tired.
    Probably the best advice you'll get is to visit all the reputable dealers (note reputable - there are some real cowboys out there) - you don't say where you're from so it may be an idea to ask on here if anybody has had any experience of .......... dealership. Don't bother asking about B'hills as you will need to cover your ears :Wink:. Look at lots of motohomes, decide which layout is the most useful to you, - - we made a list in four categories... 1. Must have; 2. Should have (i.e. a little bit flexibility here); 3. Would be useful; and 4. Would be nice but I wouldn't sell my granny for it.

    I have a feeling (not based on any actual experience mind) that the older Hymers, Knaus, Burstners (basically the germans) give better build quality and therefore will be in better condition than the newer Lunars, Swifts, McLouis and CIs. Autosleeper are very good build quality, but no fixed bed. Another point - if you're going to use it in really cold weather, the cheaper ones very often don't protect the waterworks from frost and so freeze up (of this I have had experience in an Autosleeper).

    But the decision is yours - of course.:Rofl1::Rofl1:.

    Oh and get MMM and look at the classifieds in the back - not a bad place to start - it's also a good mag for MH information - nearly as good as here. :thumb::Doh:

    Happy New Year

    John
     
  3. neilmac

    neilmac Read Only Funster

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    Thank you John for that detailed reply. I think we are gaining a preference for the "A" Class styling and we need to have a good look at the bed arrangement to see if it will suit, good point about the windscreen cover :Eeek:.

    We're prepared to accept a MH that's 10 or 12 years old depending, of course, on how well it's been looked after but we're keeping an open mind on some of the newer, more modern, types if there is a genuine bargain to be had.

    We're based in Norwich but as we're retired we don't mind traveling wherever to view potential purchases. It would be useful to build a list of the more reputable dealers though, so as not to waste time on the others. We'd ideally like to buy privately though, just depends what is on offer.

    We've been reading all the MH magazines that we can find in the search of knowledge.

    Thanks again for your advice and a happy New Year to you too.

    Neil & Caroline
     
  4. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    hI Niel, I cant compete with the first answer but thought I would just offer some advice:Rofl1:

    Firstly the good news! as there are only two of you, you have a great choice open to you. Unlike us when looking for a family layout as we get restricted.

    I would disagree with an a class. I know others that swear by them and there are some great A class vans out there but I do believe you narrow your choice down and furthermore your money does not go as far. The best made a class vans are normally always by top quality manufacurers and therefore command a premium even when several years old. when we looked at our first van we just wanted something as new as possible with the layout that we required. This meant when touring we felt happy that the van was only a few years old and mechanicaly very sound. Not that older vans are going to fall apart, it was simply something we considered.
    If you want to maximise your room then you could consider a van that incorperates the driving and passenger cab in to the van itself, therefore maximising the room and then not restricting you to an a class, as the room will be similar. But more importantly you will open up a massive choice of vans available. There are some lovely fixed bed models on the market.
    My best advice would be if you want to really hammer a deal out then look privately and get a mobile mechanic/caravan service engineer to check it out for you. Then really screw the price down, it is without doubt a buyers market but dealers still need to make there profit, more so if they are selling fewer vans.

    The last bit of advice is the bit that you won't want to hear. It matters not what you buy for you will always either see something else that you want, or something else on another van you wished you had got. You will spend money making it exactly what you want with extras that are either the best thing since sliced bread or a complete gadgetry nonsence. All you need do is ensure you have a good time in what ever you have, We have parked next to the oldest and newest modern high spec vans in the market. all the owners have been having one thing in common, they have been enjoying themselves.
    so good luck with what ever you get and keep us informed.
     
  5. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    I would suggest that your first van is a golden opportunity to buy privately, as you can get a much better deal. Most of us go to dealers because we have a part exchange and so it's simpler.

    As said earlier it's very much a buyers market at the moment, but do get an expert to assess your potential purchase.
     
  6. adventure

    adventure Read Only Funster

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    A great place to look at different layouts would be the motorhome show at shepton mallet in January.

    Do not take your cheque book though, I would recommend talking to some people from the clubs, if you go around the back of the exhibition you will find the owners clubs, just introduce yourselve to the rally marshalls they will give you as much advise as you need on thier vans

    good luck
     
  7. Bulletguy

    Bulletguy Read Only Funster

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    That would just about get you a ten year old Transit based Autosleeper Duetto......just!

    You need to lower your 'ideal spec' a bit more, particularly regarding fixed bed.

    As there is only the two of you, a Duetto would prove ideal for touring anywhere and is driveable along any type of road you care to think of whereas larger build mh's won't. Scour the ads on AutoTrader website religously and be prepared to travel distances to look at a potential buy......you will be very lucky if you find exactly what you want just a few miles away.

    Finally....be prepared for many disappointments!

    Good luck!
     
  8. neilmac

    neilmac Read Only Funster

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    Thank you haganap :thumb:. All good points and especially about buying privately for the best price. We're going to try and keep an open mind about the style of MH at least until we've seriously viewed some.

    Very good point, we do intend to make the most of this first purchase not having to dispose of, or trade in a previous vehicle.

    Thanks for the heads-up on that. Hopefully we should be back in the UK starting our search at around that time. If so, we'll be there :thumb:.

    Thanks for the tips, we are prepared to travel far and wide to find the right one.
     
  9. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Neil & Caroline go for comfort :BigGrin: in your van.It is not a lot of use having a drop down bed if you cannot climb into it or perhaps get out in the middle of the night :Rofl1: if you had too much wine :thumb::Rofl1:LAYOUT / comfort is the single most thing you should be looking at :thumb: We have tied all sorts of layouts from 2 / 4 berth to 6 to 4 again then 6 again and now in a 2 :thumb::thumb:witch suits us great.Get out and look / try out as many bed layouts and don't be scared to put up climb in etc, etc, before buying :thumb: Use one of the shows or a dealer to try this :thumb: and get a good idea what is going to suit you :thumb: then look for what you want.
    Also try hiring one for a weekend or mid week :thumb: this will give a good idea as to what you want :thumb:
    terry
     
  10. neilmac

    neilmac Read Only Funster

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    In conclusion!

    Having scoured adverts and dealers and a lot of the UK we upped our budget and bought an A Class Swift Bel-Air 730..... It ticked pretty much all our boxes and seems to be (at this early stage) ideal for our plans. I'll post a separate thread regarding the Bel-Air but would be interested to hear any experiences with this particular model. As a pretty rare beast (I think) there's not much info on the net.

    We've only driven it about 250 miles home from the dealer so far but have been busy kitting it out and plan to have a practice run for a couple of days next week before setting off south for Spain.

    Thanks again to everyone for their advice and we hope to meet some of you guys on the road! :thumb:

    Neil & Caroline
     
  11. stagman

    stagman Deleted User

    Lot of good answers here already , and I would agree £15 k is a bit of a nearly there price .Another £5 k will give you a far better choice , and you would be in the fixed bed market .But my advice would be don't rush into it , and probabally once you buy your 1st van and you are enjoying it within 2 yrs you will wan't to change it . So try and buy a van that is likely to re-sell easy or that a dealer is likely to take it in px at a good price . Ask the dealers in your area what vans are definetly no - no's they are out there so be carefull ,or you could end up being stuck with your first choice for a long time .As for Hymers personally don't like them ,but they are well built ,and alway's a market for good ones out there ,be carefull and have fun :thumb:
     
  12. JayDee

    JayDee Funster

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    Good on you.:thumb: I know nothing about them but trust you've done well.

    There a Swift dealership represented on here (Johns Cross) and I'm sure he'll know something about it.

    Enjoy it and have loadsa fun.

    John
     
  13. Brisey

    Brisey Funster Life Member

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    Hi Neilmac

    There is a MHFun member namely, BelAir , who has a motorhome the same as yours.
    I believe he is also something to do with the Swift Motorhome Owners Club.
    Perhaps a PM to him may be appropriate.
    Hope this helps

    Brisey
     
  14. billy&val

    billy&val

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    Hi Neilmac

    We bought our m/h privetely from a retired couple (don't be fooled by age )
    we made the biggest mistake of our lives by not taking someone with us that
    new about m/h. We were totally caught, and lost thousands of pounds of money.
    Make sure you get a habitation done on it before you buy it will be worth it
    The m/h fraternity are great people and you will always get loads of good advice
    Good luck with your search.
    Billy & Val
     
  15. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Well done Neil and Caroline, is it one of these UK Motorhome / Swift Bel- Air 730 ? looks a nice van, I hope you enjoy it. good luck and see you on the road soon.:thumb:
     
  16. neilmac

    neilmac Read Only Funster

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    Hi, Yes, just the same as that one - We did chase that one, but it had sold before we got to it. The one we found was in the same part of the country but through a dealer.

    We're delighted with it and can't wait to get started on our travels....
     
  17. purdo4

    purdo4 Read Only Funster

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    Hi Neil & Caroline,
    we are fairly new to this and we have learnt by our mistakes.We first purchased a Pilote A Class with a drop down bed and it was a lovely van but i got very claustaphobic because i was on the in side of the pull down bed and felt like i was in a coffin.We then decided a fixed bed would be great,well,we bought a McLouis 261 with fixed bed.Beautiful van,lovely to drive but my husband Keith has to get up a lot in the night and kept disturbing me.Another thing was it was so high up he almost fell out of bed each time ha ha so we went around lots of Motorhome dealers looking at so many different types.We recently went to Shepton Mallet show and fell in love with a Bessacarr E725 with a u shaped lounge.My husband said that will be best for us as we can use it as two singles and he can get out without disturbing me,also gave us the lounging space we felt we lacked in the McLouis.This has an oven too,so now we are made up.We love our Bessacarr and look forwade to many years Motorhoming.Its only got 20,000miles on a 2001, and 1 carefull owner,so take your time,write a list of what you like best and what you feel both of you want out of a Motorhome.Its expensive to keep changing it,but we were lucky with this,it was a Managers special and had £7,000 off the original price.
    Good luck in your hunting
    kind regards to you both,might meet up somewhere,
    Mo and Keith
     
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