On the Road with the German Rapido

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by haganap, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Well this week was the first opportunity to get out on the road with Rommel, the new to us Rapido 996m and so I thought I would try and give some honest thoughts back.

    Firstly, for those that don't get it, I am more than aware that Rapido are French thank you except mine isn't. No mine is powered from Germany utilising a very large v6 Merc auto box to fire it down the road. It is in fact a tank in disguise, hence it's name of Rommel, so I hope that clears that up for a few of you.

    So weekend 1) and away we go, having bought our van from ES Hartley in the Lake's I will reserve judgement on the dealer until I have spoken with the director. Not so much the dealer, more the sales and the inability of a salesman to address me properly, show some respect to my friends or more importantly, treat the female in the relationship as part of the buying and not some little housewife who does what she is told.

    So we opted for the Peak district and a site opposite to the start of a 34 mile Ultra marathon that I was running. The van is without doubt a completely different experience to drive. It's huge out the front and I found it quite intimidating on the way over as it's wider than the Bessacar, but the plus side to this is that I sit father away from Nikki....

    The Merc diesel took some getting used too as well, lovely sound from it though and the auto box makes that side of things easy to drive. However with a fuel return on this journey of approx 17mpg yes you read that right and we are talking Euro vans here not RV's I am going to have to get better than that. Although it must be remembered this was all country roads and very hilly ones at that.

    The van is really well built and I know a fool parted with his money is going to find it difficult to say anything opposite but i endeavor to be honest. The build and quality of the wood used is right up there with the best and the way it is screwed and stuck together is very high quality. The french bed and mattress is huge and the bathroom area big and very luxurious. The lounging area appears adequate but certainly not as big as the Bessie and no 13 man parties are going to be happening here.

    here's what I don't like
    Payload is rubbish and we weighed in fully laiden at 180kg over weight,
    The locker space and storage space is huge but difficult to get larger items in to.
    The van dashboard squeaks like mad and obviously needs investigating.
    the reversing camera is not wide angled enough to see the very back and needs another added to see whats on the road behind you.
    The mirrors allow you to see shit!! and have ordered some blind spot mirrors.

    But here's what I do like.
    The Van and it's package,
    the build quality,


    So all in all, enjoyed our first weekend
     
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  2. Larrynwin

    Larrynwin Funster

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    Panzer Division hits the road, glad you almost like it Paul ;)
     
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  3. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    17 mpg is probably ok for those affluent Germans :LOL:
    My straight 4 cylinder 3 litre Iveco is giving 26.5 at 4 ton :p
     
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  4. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Payload doesn't surprise me, only because we had exactly the same issue, we were plated at 5000kg thought we had masses of capacity, like you weighed in just over without Bev (not suggesting she is large, but another 50kg or so to add)

    MPG welcome to the club, 18 - 20 is typical for us, but if you can bear motorways at 55 you might just top 20, best we have had on anything over 100 miles is 23

    Just get on and spend some of that extra salary :):)
     
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  5. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    @DavidG58 Yeah, not too worried about the payload tbh as we can go up a bit and the Merc is a tad wobbly so I see some air ride coming it's way and going up to 4250 which is actually ample for us even with Tara.

    We knew the fuel would be iffy but got to be better than 17 although the big pumping v6 makes it worth it and when you calculate it over 10k miles, it's peanuts really.... as long as they don't put the price of diesel up!!!
     
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  6. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    no wonder you are over weight if only plated at less than 4250 at moment, how many axles / wheels have you got? we have the twin rear axle, just thought don't think you can get a tag on a Merc, has yours got a single rear axle or twin? If twin you might as well go right up to 5500, then fill it and try to get 17mpg then :LOL:

    just enjoy it (y) at least yours moves :)
     
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  7. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    No David, single wheel, current weight ltd 3880-- weighed Friday with everything on board including full water and diesel came in at 4020 so not too shabby. The Merc isn't a Tag they do a twin axle version.
     
  8. rapido convert

    rapido convert

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    Hi hope you love it, we have the same 996m with the same engine and gearbox, i too only got 17mpg when first driven, i learned to not accelerate quickly (very hard to resist though given the power) i also use cruise at every opportunity and never travel over 56 mph on motorways, this got my fuel economy to around 24mpg. Then and this is a top tip i was introduced to two stroke oil (just a 300ml per tank fix) by a friend who runs a haulage company, my mpg now returns a regular 27mpg and my emissions are non exsistant on the analyzer as well as the pump and engine noise vastly reduced. We also had a lousey payload as the van had been plated a 3500kgs from new, complete madness for a van of this size, we saw our old friend garath at sv tech and had it upped to 4250kgs. Cheers Andy.
     
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  9. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    I would have thought 20 mpg is a reasonable target for a 4.5 - 5 tonne van. Ours has an earlier Merc engine (2.7 litre straight 5-cylinder) with a 5-speed auto box. MAM is 3.8 tonnes and I have got 24.6 mpg average, calculated over more than 40,000 miles.

    Just thought - the auto box will 'learn' your driving habits and adjust the change programme accordingly. If you keep a light right foot and rarely floor the throttle, it will improve. Forgive me if you are used to auto boxes, but if not here are some tips. Modern auto boxes are quite sensitive to driver behaviour. In our car (Subaru Outback auto) I can get better fuel consumption than my wife, just because I am more used to coaxing an auto box. The trick is to feather back as soon as possible and let it change up quickly. Your Merc engine has more than enough torque to keep Rommel rolling without using much throttle. Also, get the right foot off early when slowing down as an auto tends to coast much more than a manual.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
  10. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    @Jean-luc cheers, I do have an auto car and my problem is I just love that kick down sound you get, I am sure I can get more but at the moment I am playing. (y)

    @rapido convert I do know what van I have I just miskeyed lol, I have the 999m not the 996, although I liked them both when looking. Did you have to add air ride or anything for SV tech to do the conversion? I have used them before so am familiar with the process and that was to be the next stop. Interesting thing about adding the 2 stroke, never heard that before? was the recognition instant or did you have to wait a while to see the benefits:)
     
  11. rapido convert

    rapido convert

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    Hi haganaps, air assist was needed very easy diy install took about 3/4 hour each side including fitting the gauge in the cab and aux pump under passenger step. As for the two stroke it was immediate more power less engine noise less soot better mpg, just google it there are thousands if not millions of converted diesel owners around the world. Cheers Andy.
     
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  12. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    I'll give it a go

    Loads on the web
     
  13. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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  14. Teuchter

    Teuchter Funster

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    Hi Hagnap - last year Having been tuggers for 30 years we "went over to the dark side" and bought a 2005 reg 2.7 liter 5 cyl auto Merc Rapido 966M with 59,000 miles on the clock and a years MOT from EJ Hartley near Kendal - and initially was quite pleased with it. A very good quality van which ticked all the boxes. I drove it home to Hampshire and was slightly concerned that the suspension was very harsh and the whole thing swayed and rattled a lot but what did I know about motorhomes? I was a complete novice!.
    However we took it to France for 3 weeks and had some minor problems - fridge failing on gas, Habitation battery failing, water leaking from shower etc. but the rear suspension (or lack of it) was a major problem so on return I decided to have air suspension fitted by Essandjay of Poole. In their workshop they showed me the problem with the rear suspension - half the lower leaf of the nearside spring was missing (and had been for a considerable time) and the top leaf of the offside spring was broken above the axle - oh and the rear discs were extremely worn!!
    I had new rear Merc springs and rear air suspension fitted (at considerable cost) and also new rear discs & pads. It was now a different van and we toured Spain and Portugal for 2 months in Feb/Mar averaging about 22 to the gallon.
    On return home we still had our share of problems though not least of which was that if the van was left for more than 10 days without being run or connected to hook ups then both batteries (the new hab one and the engine one) went completely flat.
    We decided that we should have the van professionally checked from "head to toe" or maybe we should look around at newer vans and so visited three dealers where I was in each case what type of license I held - a question E H Hartley never asked!!, now call me naive if you will (and I definitely was!!) but 2 years ago when I turned 70 as I had no need to have a license for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes then to avoid annual medicals I let my C1 licence "demise" thus limiting me to said 3.5 tonnes - guess what - the Rapido was plated at 3.8 tonnes and actually (fully laden) weighed over 4 tonnes!!
    Instant panic!! - if I was in an accident would I be insured? - what if I was caught by police, would I be prosecuted
    Decision made - trade the Rapido in right away which we duly did in May for a 2015 Fiat Knaus Sky TI 700MEB with a 2.3 multijet 130 and have so far done 2100 miles in it (around 27 to the gallon) and love it - off to France again for a month in September!! :)

    Nedless to say were "less than pleased" with the trade in allowance - taking in to account what we had purchased it for and subsequently paid rectifying defects our 8 month tenure as owners of said Rapido cost us in excess of £13k !! :(
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
  15. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    @Teuchter yeah, thank's for that. I've no worries with the van TBH and am really pleased with it on the whole. Experience of 10 + years of MHing and this being our 4th van purchase having only ever changed to accommodate a growing family I think we are ok. However the issue with the dealer surrounds the appalling way we feel we were treated by the salesman. We never got the van sold too us, we knew exactly what we wanted it just happened they had it.

    as said, I will reserve judgement until I speak with the director
     
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  16. DuxDeluxe

    DuxDeluxe Funster Life Member

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    Sorry but the science doesn't back up the use of 2 stroke oil in modern diesels. However, it is a free country and the best dynamometer is the seat of the pants, so if it works for someone then no issues. I'd prefer to keep my warranty
     
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  17. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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    Sounds lovely.
    My hymer fiat was returning bad mpg and overtook like an old Carthorse.
    Had it remapped by wow.
    Much better mpg and overtakes much better.
     
  18. edgy

    edgy Funster

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    enjoy
     
  19. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    Hi Paul

    A bit of up hill and down dale and playing with the LOUD pedal as well is not good for MPG, will get better on a decent run I am sure.

    Martin
     
  20. makems

    makems Funster Life Member

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    We bought our previous van (a Rapido 983M) from ES Hartley. It was described as having 2 leisure batteries but turned to have only one. They fitted two solar panels and made a pigs ear of it which ruined two hab batteries. It was eventually sorted out by Dave Newell.
    It was extremely difficult to get these and a few other fairly minor issues sorted out via the salesman we dealt with (very slippery)
    We eventually got everything sorted by dealing direct with one of the directors so I can't accuse them of being a dodgy dealer. But if I ever had to shake hands with that salesman again I would make sure I counted my fingers afterwards.
    Just don't let them touch anything electrical is my advice!
     
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