Newbie seeks tips on van

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by rhubarbe, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe Read Only Funster

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    My wife and I are hoping to take a couple of years (my version) or a few weeks (hers) off when I retire soon. I've proposed a jaunt round Europe going to all those places we never got around to seeing while shackled to a desk and having just two weeks in Summer for holidaying.

    Secretly, I'd like to do the bit of North Africa this side of the Atlas, as well as doing the usual places.

    There would be just two of us and my question really relates to sourcing a van to buy. I see many driving about, have hired one or two over the years, but know next to nothing about the pros and cons of various types.

    If I said I wanted something big enough so that we could get away from each other from time to time; that isn't too "bulbous" - I have seen some very nice looking long narrow-bodied vans over the last couple of years; and clearly something with a modern diesel engine for the sake of economy, could anybody please give me suggestions of what to start looking at..?

    I thank you for any input.
     
  2. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    hi and welcome to the site, if you need to get away from one another get a roof rack and a few pairs of handcuffs, don't forget a gag a well. You sure you want to travel together??????????????? you can always take your golf clubs or fishing rod for some time alone. Best of luck sounds like you are going to need it.:Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
  3. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Good plan. Morocco is dead easy too. Very good plan in fact.

    For your version you want a good 4 berth van at least. But how can we offer advice. You wouldn't came and ask "I want a house" or "I want a car" would you.

    Get the hard work started, visit every dealer you can armed with a digital camera. This is a very personal important quest you are on.

    Look at Hymer 500 A class - there are some seriously roomy vans in that series. Quality kit.
     
  4. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe Read Only Funster

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    Well, the wife and I live together and work together - she's typing away in the background right now.. And while we are happy together most of the time you do need the space to go and sharpen your axe from time to time...

    I suppose I want a four berth where I can leave on as a double permanently and still have plenty of room for daytime...

    Maybe ones to avoid might be an easier question to answer?
     
  5. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe Read Only Funster

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    Why's the Hymer called an integrated motorhome?
     
  6. jonrud

    jonrud Read Only Funster

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    Hi and welcome your in the same position as we are and after a lot of research and wallking around dealers vans we have narrowed it down to two vans 1/ Bessacarr E560 2/ Swift Bolero 680FB both 4 berth but prefect 2 berth.
     
  7. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Maybe some expensive sales consultant worked out that that description is worth 1% more.

    And your other post - there are no particularly bad MHs either. There are far too many Friday afternoon ones with stupid faults and there is the Fiat Juddergate problem ( google it ).

    There seems to be a good few seriously crap dealers around. Never ever pay until YOU are totally convinced they are delivering what you are paying for.
     
  8. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe Read Only Funster

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    Thanks very much, keep 'em coming. We're going to clean the office now, apparently, so I'll be back on later when I get home..
     
  9. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe Read Only Funster

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    Do I want LHD or RHD?
     
  10. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Not just Hymers.. any A class in Germany

    Integrated = A Class in Germany

    ie, the motorhome is built from scratch on a vehicle chassis


    Partly Integrated = B Class in Germany

    ie, the motorhome is built on a production van retaining the cab and without a luton bed above the cab, ie low profile.

    Alcoves = B Class in Germany with a luton bed above cab.
     
  11. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe Read Only Funster

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    Well, I do prefer the A Class look.

    Are there any advantages to the A Class other than the thing looks like it was purpose built and not like a turtle with a shell that's too big on its back?
     
  12. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe Read Only Funster

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    The Swift Bolero and the Bessacarr look exactly the same to me...
     
  13. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe Read Only Funster

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  14. JayDee

    JayDee Funster

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    Hello Rhubarbe,
    Welcome to the best, friendliest and most informative forum around.

    As has been suggested you haven't made offering advice easy; not a lot to go on. But that's probably where you are too.
    From a couple of things I've picked up in the above exchanges I can suggest the following layouts could suit:
    Fixed bed at the rear; dinnette with opposing kitchen; swivelling passenger and driver seats; shower-room next to the bed. No lump to provide sleeping over cab area in the low profiles, but if you like the idea of extra sleeping then an A-Class will have a pull down bed above the cab area.
    L-shaped kitchen at rear along with wardrobe and other storage across the back wall; shower room opposite the kitchen; dinnette / lounge forward of this - this could be one of several configurations including table with bench seats and an opposing sofa or maybe opposing bench seats with table between; swivelling driver and passenger seats; pull down double bed over the cab area which can be left made up and all that needs to be done at night is to fold the cab seats and pull the bed down - you can normally step into bed from the sofa, so not very high above the floor. These are only available in A-Class (I believe)
    Moncayo and Adria do a van conversion with a semi permanent bed across the back but in my opinion this layout is a bit cramped.

    May not suit your wants / needs but it's a place to start.

    Having ruled out layouts that definitely won't suit (bunks at the back for example, I imagine or maybe the coachbuilt with a bed in a lump at the front) spend time picturing yourselves living in the vehicle; if you can sit in one for a long period of time and imagine yourselves going about your day to day chores and tasks (if you're cooking does you're partner needing access to the bathroom cause difficulty? Is there sufficient workspace around the kitchen for food prep.? How much stuff will you need to take with you - can you store it all - do you have enough payload to accommodate all the baggage (bearing in mind that baggage also includes anybody other than the driver - who weighs 75kg by the way - your golf clubs, diving gear, bikes, TV, computers, books, wine, beer, food, kitchenware, the clothes that you wear, etc., etc., etc.)

    Good Luck. And yes, you are going to need it, but there will be plenty of help on here to clear up any puzzles however small and insignificant they may seem. And please believe me when I suggest that the only stupid questions are the ones you didn't ask - the geniuses are on another forum; all of us are human and we all ask for - and receive - help and advice.


    John
     
  15. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Pros
    * Generally more usable floor space for a given overall length
    * Larger windscreen , giving a panoramic view from the habitation area.

    Cons

    * If in an accident, body panels can be expensive and difficult to source
    * Windscreen expensive to replace
     
  16. rhubarbe

    rhubarbe Read Only Funster

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    Right, I'll read that in more depth later, TVM :). The Mrs is on the warpath again..
     
  17. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

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    Hmmm. I can only really tell you of our experiences when we chose our van. We spend half our lives in it now and do long trips. There are just two of us and we also work together but like our own space. We went for a 6 berth Swift Kontiki coach built. Over head cab double bed which we use for storage although Mrs D has slept up there when she wants to get away from me. Front Dinette seating for 4 or another double bed, kitchen opposite with full oven. middle bathroom and a huge rear lounge which seats about 6 easily and makes a huge bed. I occasionally do this thing called work where I sit in the front dinette and use it as an office while Mrs D can sit in the back and watch Deal or no Deal or some rubbish. The van feels big inside. It takes 2 minutes to make up the bed. Some people like a fixed bed but I think this takes away half the vans day time usable space and in my opinion it feels smaller even if it isnt.

    So I would go for as big as you can but get around and see as many as possible as what I like might not be what you like

    I wouldnt worry about economy when it comes to miles per gallon. they are all pretty rubbish. Low 20's really or maybe a bit more on a small low profile van. If your taking a year or two though fuel wont be so much of an issue as I assume you will take your time seeing places. On our first long trip we just belted around Europe like a manic ping pong ball and did far too many miles. We now take it a bit slower.
     
  18. simsy56

    simsy56 Funster

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    I, like you, wanted to buy a motorhome when l retired this year. l had been looking for about 2 years before l finally bought one. l looked, and looked, and looked. l asked questions galore, and then we went to America for a wedding and rented a Winnebago c-class, with a single slide. That was it, we were hooked on something larger than we had anticipated. The amount of room was far better than any european mh. And the onboard facilities were in abundance. To top it all, a king size bed in the separate bedroom, was readily available. So, when we returned we looked in earnest for an American RV, and found just what we were looking for, a private sale, and l think its just the bees knees. OK, its not to everyones taste, and it will not win the most economical engine award, but, for us it's ideal. The comfort is just superb, the room with the slide out is amazing, and with everything onboard right down to a coffee machine. l wish you well in your quest.

    Craig
     
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