Old Hymers V New

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Snowbird, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Following on from previous threads regarding build quality on new high end motorhomes I was wondering what the owners thought about the quality of the newer vans compared with there older models.
    What I have noticed is what used to be a cheaper older quality built van in Germany is now becoming an expensive buy. Is it that the Germans have realised that the newer models are not up to scratch.
    The older Hymer 694 and the older S class Hymers could be bought in Germany for very little money a few years ago, but now are in short supply and making premium money.
    I know there are a few members on fun that keep there older vans and sing the praises of them and I am happy to say am one of them, but is it through sentimentality that we run them or are they better built than the newer models.
    The reason I ask this question is that a few weeks ago I was contacted by someone who wanted a similar van to what I have and having spoken to him many times since, I received a phone call from Majorca where he had found a German registered one and was on route back to the UK with it.
    Some are obviously prepared to go to extreme lengths to find what they consider quality.
    What are your views on these older slower behemoths that quite possibly will outlive the owners.
     
  2. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    The older vans were converted with good quality timber and plywood. Using simple things like gravity drops to lock drawers meaning there is no sprung loaded catch to wear out or break. Using proper timber for cupboard doors and furniture means that screws stay put for years and even something comes adrift real wood means proper repairs can be made easily. IMO Modern motorhomes that rely heavily of chip board and moulded plastic just don't come close.
     
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  3. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    They are certainly screwed to gether better and a lot less to go wrong :thumb: BUT there are a lot of tired wood/varnish ones around screaming for a good rub down and re varnish or better still French polish.I much prefer the modern laminated finish to the boards rather than varnished ply.They may well never wearout but a lot look very tired.:Wink:Again a lot of the floral seatings are old hat but then again they last even though tired-No idea how long modern cream fabs will last :Eeek:but they do make a modern van look brighter :thumb:It all comes down to personal taste-on our van we thought of more practical things like heavy darker colours for saets etc and to my mind it has paid off simply because after 6 yrs the seating still looks new.
    terry
     
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  4. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    I feel I can contribute a little to this thread.

    I have a 1987 Hymer 660S and a 1996 Iveco Turbo Daily (intercooled) "shed built," "rough as old Shag tobacco," camper.

    The Hymer is a completely different driving experience and needs a completely different "mind set" to enjoy it. Slow, gentle, get there when we do attitude.

    And I believe there is an important, additional consideration to make when thinking of owning an old motorhome...

    Can anyone fix them properly and economically?

    Here in rural Portugal there are hundreds of small, owner run garages well used to working on the old Mercedes chassis as there are still so many of them in every day use. The general practice is to repair parts where possible rather than replace with new and at around €15 an hour for labour, it makes the running of such an ancient vehicle much more affordable.

    I am about to have my rear brakes (shoes) looked at before my Christmas/New Year Tour and my man will look at the wear on the shoes and if too much he will reline them himself in house. It is what he is used to doing.

    As for the interior looking old fashioned and "dark". GOOD.

    I HATE modern designs with their "light, spacious interior (bullsh*t) style." I prefer my handles to stay on the drawers and cupboard doors rather than be found in my hand.

    Content over Image for me... everytime...

    JJ :Cool:
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
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  5. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    I just knew you would be along on this one JJ :thumb:
     
  6. WAG2CRU

    WAG2CRU Read Only Funster

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    Difficult subject, my experience is more with yachts, however a similar evolutionary process seems to have taken place.

    There are still quality yachts being built but with modern materials and construction techniques, they appear lighter and possibly more flimsy but in fact are equally as durable as their predecessors and in many cases probably more so. Then there are those which are now being produced rather than built, they are designed down to a price and whilst they may use quality branded fittings, the actual design and construction has to be compromised, the differences show in lack of detail to hidden finishes
    and poor quality materials. Though the manufacturers and the owners of these products will vociferously claim that modern production technology is far superior to traditional methods and this allows for lighter structures with equal strength. Emperor's new clothes indeed!

    When we began looking at motor homes we looked at the second hand market and viewed quite a few. We then started looking at new motor homes and again looked in detail at various marques.

    Rightly or wrongly, I deduced that with some manufacturers the progress to adopting modern materials and construction techniques has not been smooth or trouble free, it seems that there were low points where the quality of the product diminished significantly for a period.

    We ended up buying a new Hymer, we found the finish to be attractive and the quality of the materials and construction very good, close examination shows attention to detail. I have no concerns about the longevity or durability, it compares well with the older S classes I have looked at although, the construction of the fittings is obviously lighter.
     
  7. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Good points there. Having fooled around with boats in the past I agree with what you say. Its the new innovative materials that seem to cause the problems when first used.
    Also new mechanical designs that very quickly require replacement and become expensive to fix.
    I don't understand why MH builders have to put so many joins in the bodywork which inevitably lead to leaks. It is just as easy to make a one piece fibreglass wrap around roof as it is to put four or five sections up there with sealing strips that will require resealing. I sometimes wonder if they are made as a disposable item.
     
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  8. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    My opinion....Mmmm..on the new motorhomes.. well the interior is certainly NOT.....they are not made of solid wood or even owt like... .what looks like a veneer 1/4"to 3/8" ply on styro foam on the outside wall ....think again....it is something like a 1/32" to 1/16" hardboard type material with a paper looking veneer glued on to the styro foam......fine for lightness..BUT nothing can be screwed to it:Doh:.
    The insides are full of glitz, glam and fancy bits of none practical items... most of them you don't need unless you want to impress the neighbours:Doh:.......
    The outside... most new motorhomes do look fine.......
    My opinion a lot of unnecessary items could be removed...which would reduce the weight...

    On our motorhome it had three places for a TV's.....two fitted to very heavy mechanism that holds the TV,.. bedroom,... midpoint above the fridge & freezer and one above the dash board that drops down...the motorhome is only 7.4m:Doh:..... ......these are fine on a 12m (40') 10 ton RV....not on a euro van...you only watch one tv.............
    I took the others out
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
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  9. rangitira

    rangitira Funster

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    I traded a G reg A class Pilote for an 02 Autotrail C I Carioca, there is no comparison between the two, the Pilote was of a much sturdier build, Real wood, still had the original lino, ceramic tiles on the work bench, (a Pilote thing by all accounts)

    But ! no power steering, and that god awful Flaying around, Knuckle busting Gear Stick:Rofl1:

    Win Some Lose Some:Doh:
     
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  10. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

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    There is one thing I will say about buying a new Motorhome....You / we do....state what you / we want, and they build to yours / our requirements ...to a limit....and of course you are on a new vehicle engine and chassis...
    and 3 to 5 years warranty
    Buying a older Motorhome is a compromise ...
    You buy what is on the market to as close to what you want...
    OK..... all the faults on some may be ironed out when you get it..BUT they may also be lot what other people have traded there van in for because of all the problems they have had...yes on some you may get 6 months or even 12 months of some kind of warranty
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
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  11. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Further to my last post I should say that I like the finish on the new boarding:Smile: just for information boards are now only 3 mm (1/8TH INS) and furniture board's are either 12 mm or 18 mm lightweight board's
    I don't think that it comes down to materials so much, more down to the workforce that simply do not have or need the skills that were required yrs ago.Each person knows how to do a small portion of work and basically does not care if it's right or wrong :BigGrin:
    Terry
     
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  12. Malcolm Bolt

    Malcolm Bolt Funster Life Member

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    Motorhome or shed

    The bodywork and interior of my 1994 Hymer is great and as the layout is right for us why change. It is all of a quality which can be worked with. However the Peugeot gear box on the Fiat base is now obsolete and it becomes increasingly difficult to get replacements. The thousands of base Ducatos and Relays of that era are mostly long gone and scrap yards as a source of spares are being replaced by metal recyclers who break everytbing down to base materials and are no longer interested in saving useable parts. A recent problem with my differential meant the garage had to get a new part manufactured in a local machine shop. I am happy driving my van for a few hours a day at 80 - 90 km p h but it does need to keep moving. I am aloud to stay on this aire for 2 nights only. I can not allow the van to turn into a shed. I do miss my shed though.
     
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  13. wiljoy

    wiljoy Funster

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    A very interesting subject and worthy of many replies.
    As the owner of 11 motorhomes I can honestly state quality is now just a word spread about in manufacturers advertising. My present van is fine when it comes to workmanship but every problem I have encountered has been with the fittings, catches, seals, windows etc. I think we have now finished with quality and only have something that is manufactured to a price tthat's gives maximum profit. Repairs are now a thing of the past and a fitter only needs how to replace something, simple.
    A typical example is my visit to my Renault dealer last week for a rear axle replacement recall on my Master van self build. The technician found that two wires had been chewed through by a rodent and required repair. The said wires were behind the engine and noticeable from above. I asked for a price and the shock of £200 appeared silly. After picking myself up I asked why the high price and the reply was a new harness was required to that area, leave it I said. I then visited a very long standing Auto Electrician who just laughed and did the job for £8, no need for a harness. As he said dealerships were making his business brisk as most modern fitters only trained in replacement and not repair.
    This is all part of our throw away culture which has caused goods to only last a few years.
     
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  14. enery8

    enery8 Funster

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    I have recently joined this forum and currently hoping to make the change from a caravan to MH. Having asked snowbirds advice I have looked at mobile.de and found a few older Hymers at a price within my projected budget (which is not very much!!) I have compared them with similar vehicles for sale in the UK and they seem to compare favourably on price even taking travel to Germany into account.

    In terms of build quality, from what I have read, Hymer do seem to beat our caravan hands down. The caravan walls have no inner framework at all. The inner wall insulation is 3/4 inch jablite (styrene) which is glued to the ally outer wall and there are small metal plates glued to the inside of the jablite. The securing screws for the caravan fixtures and fittings are screwed into these metal plates so the caravan is held together by glue and self tappers into styrene foam. I know this because I was daft enough to tackle the job of removing damp from one side of the van.

    Anyway, when I have sold my caravan and my beautiful Range Rover I will be off to Germany in search of a late 1980s/early 1990s Hymer 600s or 654s.

    Incidently, I have to thank the members of the forum for the help and advise so far.
     
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  15. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Typically is the old school auto electrician. I was quoted silly money to replace the startermotor and alternator on my old American Tiffin. After I picked myself up from the floor I contacted one of the old school auto electricians in Stoke who rebuilt the pair for around £50.
    The mechanic I use is of the old school with low overheads and does a good job for sensible money. Not only that he is one of the few that is prepared to tackle older vehicles and obscure oddball jobs which I regularly give him, ie fitting extra fuel tanks etc.
     
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  16. JockandRita

    JockandRita Funster Life Member

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    Re Old Hymers versus New Hymers

    Hi all.

    As a 99 model, does it come into the "old" category? I think so, but not in the same "old" category as the solid wood MHs that are referred to. Saying that though, our E690 (same age as Jim & Sian's B544) hasn't suffered any interior or exterior defects, other than one, which according to Peter Hambilton, was the result of a design fault with certain "E" and "S" class models, with the integrated bike racks. He and his team carried out the essential repair, and fitted a modification to prevent the problem appearing again. Also, we've had roof seals replaced as part of ongoing maintenance, due to ageing, and not because there was a problem.

    This is our first MH, and after seven of it's thirteen years of ownership, we are very pleased with "her".
    Everyone who has been in her, comments on the superb layout, and two owners of much newer "S" class Hymers commented on the better build quality, compared to their MHs.
    I once read that after the year 2000, Hymer began to lose their way, when it came to build quality. The "PUAL" wall and roof construction used since around 1997, (which is impervious to water), is certainly a great achievement on the shell build quality. Interior fixtures and fittings appear to let the newer Hymers down.

    Old, and loving her. :thumb:

    Cheers,

    Jock & Rita.
     
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  17. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Hi Jock and Rita... I hope you are both well... :thumb:

    I know how everybody hates a "smarty pants" and I risk that hate now by saying that I believe the "PUAL" wall construction material used by Hymer has been around since 1976... :Blush:

    http://www.hireahymer.com/about-us/the-history-of-the-hymer-motorhome/

    JJ :Cool:
     
  18. davejen

    davejen Funster

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    Hi, Jock&Rita, We have recently bought an S520 Yr 2000, with the built-in cycle rack, can you tell me the problem with the rack? and also what is the repair? is it something I can do or is it down to the pro's.
    thanks in advance,
    Cheers,Dave:thumb:
     
  19. JockandRita

    JockandRita Funster Life Member

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    Hi JJ,

    We are both well thanks, and hope the same applies to your good self. :thumb:

    Hey, what's one digit in the wrong place and one upside down between friends, eh? :Laughing:

    Hi Dave,

    I don't want to hijack Dave's (Snowbird's) thread, but the problem I refer too, tends to cause the rotting away of the wooden outer floor underneath, as it meets the rear wall, at the end of the chassis, and it's usually the corners that go first. I consider it to be a professional job, and in our case, the new materials only cost £45, but the labour costs at Peter Hambilton's ran in excess of £500. :Eeek: That said, he and his team did a smashing job.
    If you want to know more, please PM me, and I'll oblige.

    BTW, I spotted an E650 on a trade stand at one of the Warner shows this year. I poked around underneath at the rear, and it was rotten at the rear corners. A few months later, we were parked up to a young couple who had bought the very same MH from the very same trader. They were so pleased, as it was their pride and joy, but purchased without a warranty to keep costs down. I didn't have the heart to tell them what I had found on their MH, on that very weekend they purchased it at the same show. :Sad::Sad::Sad:

    BTW, before posting this, I've just checked your profile, and pleased to know that the young couple wasn't you and Jen. Phew. :Smile:

    Cheers,

    Jock.
     
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  20. davejen

    davejen Funster

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    Hi, Jock, thanks for the info, will go to van tomorrow and check underneath, we got 3 mths warranty with it so if there's a problem will be in touch with supplier. Will let you know when we know . Thanks again,
    Cheers, Dave:thumb:
     
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