Pro's and con's of older motorhomes advice pls.

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by 4matt, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. 4matt

    4matt Read Only Funster

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    I have had a bit of a look round and searched a few topics finding some interesting comments about owning and running older Motorhomes. While reading various topics I have found that more questions than answers for me were raised.

    While reading one topic for instance, "Be careful which Breakdown service you choose" The warning was about MH over twenty years old. But left me wondering which provider covers vans that age or older.

    MH's based on Talbot vans Coach built. "Parts may be hard to source" isn't that the same for all old van's even fords. Vans have evolved much like cars have in the past twenty years, most now completely different than those even ten years old.

    I am considering a 17 year old MH on a Fiat base. Now I have owned fiat cars and have driven Fiat vans from around that time and although comfortable they did have a reputation back then as unreliable. The old joke being FIAT stood for "Fix it again Tuesday". My experience with Fiat was good on both occasions I had cars even though some maintenance was necessary and to replace broken parts. On the whole they were both reliable. The vans were all fine too even though I had nothing to do with their service and Maintenance.

    Maybe those people who run older MH's could give me there views about owning and running one this age. For instance,How do the low emission zone's affect you for instance. Have many of you had work done to get round this. Do you trust your vans in Europe? Have any of you had trouble while in Europe. Any advice about older MH's gratefully received.
     
  2. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Hi there 4matt.

    As with most things about motorhomes so many things are variable and depend on so many factors but as an owner and very frequent user of an older van (1987) there are a couple of comments I would like to make.

    I am a firm believer that how a van has been cared for and serviced is more important than its age... and "abroad" is a big place. I am far happier using the Old Girl here in Portugal where many uncomplicated local garages are used to, and still have the skills to, repair and service rather than in a country where the garages have computers they plug in and a parts store where they get a new part from to "solve" the problem.

    I dread the thought of a breakdown in the UK when we visit in August... unless we are close to Sennybridge where the best garage in the world is...

    JJ:Cool:

     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
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  3. busby

    busby Funster

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    Well touch wood, had my 15 year old SYMPHONY on 2.5 turbo with 139000 on clock. for the last 3 and a half years and it has taken us trouble free all over France Spain and Germany. When you think that a new one costs in excess of £42000, it leaves plenty of cash for repairs. Had a brand new 2008 Fiat, had more problems in first six months than i have ever had with old vans. Mind you its what ever you are happy with. BUSBY.
     
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  4. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi 4matt AND WELCOME :thumb: just my thoughts- you can always get parts no matter what even though they may take time finding :BigGrin:Older fiats are more plentiful in euro than say Trannys.Although Trannys are plentiful here unfortunatly they are prone to rot underneath :Eeek:Take great care on 80s early 90s trannys simply because rot where the back axle fixes to the chasis :Eeek:
    I have had to remove base units from a couple for them to cut a hole in floor to get to weld them up :Eeek::Eeek: then they weld floor back in :BigGrin: sounds drastic but mate swears it.s the only way or scrap it :Sad:
    There are loads of well looked after old vans around and it's a cheaper way to try vans without looseing much money--providing you don't want the newest plushest van around :Wink: the only thing I can advise is make sure the layout is right for your needs :thumb:
    terry
     
  5. stcyr

    stcyr Funster

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    We had a MB608, 1986, with between 6 and 700.000kms on the clock, which happily did a 29.000km trip to India & Africa needing only a replacement centre propshaft bearing, quickly and easily sorted at the side of the road. She returned and went straight through the mot, in 2007 with just one advisory (delamination of the rear number-plate).

    Our current Dethleffs, 1991 Ducato, has only needed a driveshaft gaiter in 3 years.

    Friends here have a Hymer, also 1991, same van as ours apart from being Citroen-based - in a couple of years they have replaced the starter-motor when it let them down during a trip to the Midi. It was sorted, over the weekend, no problems.

    Both vans are used extensively all year round.

    Friend's MH has breakdown cover included in their (French) insurance and we belong to Adac.

    :thumb:
     
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  6. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Like JJ, I am an aficionado of the older motorhome. I have long haul travelled all over the place in old motorhomes with little or no problems. The few problems I have had have been an easy and cheap fix. If you are thinking of an older vehicle then consider a Mercedes base as all parts are available both new and second hand. The one am running now is 23 years old and I would travel anywhere in it. What you must remember with these older vehicles is that they move at a more leisurely pace and generally are not so fuel efficient. This is generally offset by better build quality and if looked after, virtually no depreciation.
    These older chassis were built to cover many thousands of miles as commercial vehicles and many are still earning there keep as such around the world. It always seems to be the habitation parts that let them down ie fridge or heating systems. These are easily replaceable but are not cheap.
     
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  7. teddybard

    teddybard Read Only Funster

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    We have an old Autosleeper
    which has been well maintained
    and I would rather have that than any of the new models by AS
    which seem to have many small niggles which are a pain.

    Incidentally the base vehicle is a ford transit. 96
    parts are available more or less anywhere.


    on balance the older vans seem to be better
    from most manufacturers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  8. busby

    busby Funster

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    Hi was looking at a 1998 EXCELSIOR on a 2.5 turbo Transit last week. Lovely van but i was a bit disappointed with outside storage and gas locker size. How do you rate this model? Regards BUSBY.
     
  9. Mel

    Mel Funster

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    At least with an older moterhome{pre engine managment}
    You wont end up in limp mode to get home.
    You wont need your life savings to buy it
    You wont cry with the first scratch
    You wont get upset with the first bump
    You dare fit things if you have to drill anything.

    You wont loose 35 per cent in your first year.

    With a new one you have back up from the dealer:Rofl1:

    No one has used the bed or kitchen

    Beter power ratio

    Beter fuel use

    But whatever either is beter than none

    And at least on this forum you are not judged on what your motorhome is.

    Mel
     
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  10. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    You have asked for views about older motorhomes and aimed your question at owners of older motorhomes........

    You are unlikely to get many disparaging remarks from these owners :hardhat:

    For me personally I did not want to buy an older, heavier motorhome with possible reliability issues. I also expect any vehicle I travel in to have high levels of passive safety and at the very least airbags for both front occupants so many older motorhomes were already off the list for me.

    It also depends on how many miles you intend to do and how often.

    I really do think that technology has come a long way and 'old' is not always best.

    Before any proud owners of 'mature' motorhomes get on my case, I am only putting forward a viewpoint that may help to balance the argument.

    Now if the argument is about total initial purchase price then the case for a newer motorhome quickly becomes weaker.

    Horses for courses and each to their own :Smile:

    Don't shoot me :Eek!:

    :Smile::Smile:
     
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  11. joner8888

    joner8888 Read Only Funster

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    We use ours in europe and it is more of pleasure to drive over there than here.
    RAC Arrival covers us ok.

    You really don`t have to blow £40k + ---i have 16 year old Fiat Autotrail --37k miles.
    Just a little more input for care and maintaince you should end up with a small depreciation over some years.
    I enjoy fiddling around with mine ,a bit of a hobby.
    They may not have BHP of later ones , but that`s all, i still do 60 to 70 on the motorways.
    Horses for courses really----all MH`s were new one day,so someone has to buy them.
     
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  12. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    I have just re read my previous reply and should add the following....

    I always envy people who seem to 'spend less and get more' but when ever I try to do this I end up with something that I regret buying, costs me a small fortune to repair/replace whatever.

    I have only a limited mechanical aptitude so don't really fancy DIY repairs either.

    I do have to agree that older motorhomes do offer better value for money too.

    Having said all of this I should also state that I wanted a good quality van conversion and good 20 year old ones are not readily available either. I won't drive old cars so why should I drive old motorhomes?

    I realise I have just shot myself in the foot completely over this one :Eek!: and my answer is indeed biased :Eeek:

    Still, like someone's signature here says....if you can't laugh at yourself......blah blah :Blush:

    I'll get me coat :Rofl1:

    Really? just do what is right for you and enjoy it, that's what matters most I reckon :BigGrin:

    My old dad used to say to me 'Son, 95% of what I tell you is cr*p, but the the remaining 5% is pure gold!"

    I guess it's a bit like that on this forum :Rofl1:

    :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
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  13. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    chockswahay is quite right. Owners of older vans are likely to be in favour of them...

    But I have heard many people who have started off with an older van and then buy a brand new one and wish they hadn't. Of course this could be the case the other way around but I haven't heard any...

    ...probably will now though :Rofl1:

    JJ
    :Cool:
     
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  14. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    To give some idea of value the van I now run was the most expensive I have ever owned and cost £13000. I have travelled up to the Nordkap and all over Scandinavia in a van that I paid 4000 Euros for. I have travelled all over North Africa in vans that have cost less than £5000. I have never owned a new van, as if I was willing to spend in excess of £40000 for a tiny bedsit it would have to be built from something more substantial than aluminium and plywood.
    Call me an old skinflint if you must, but at least there is a bob or two left to travel in an old van and they are always a talking point unlike all the rest of the modern vans that all look the same when lined up.
     
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  15. 4matt

    4matt Read Only Funster

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    No I dont really want just owners of older MH's to add replies I want both the views of those who have new and those who have old.

    The MH we liked Is a Swift Royal 610 rear lounge feels very comfy in the back. Drivers seat is a tad wobbly and it laks refinement in the cab. But I can deal with that as long as its up to long runs and isn't to noisy. ( is that spelt right).

    If It is still for sale in a few weeks we may have a second look at it or third look. Had our hearts set on an AS legend with rear lounge but that went out the dealers more or less the same day it came in.

    Like many I would have an older one and not be too bothered by it getting its first scratch or bump. Having a 30k plus MH I would be dreading the first stone chip...:Doh:
    Keep all your views coming I am enjoying the read, remember too this thread will help others make an informed choice.
     
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  16. stcyr

    stcyr Funster

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    We're only biased because we're 100% pleased with our ancient MH, not because she's venerable. Having owned new/newer vehicles over the years we always revert to older ones - there's a limit to what can be improved in more recent vehicles ... we have everything that newer ones have, at a fraction of the price - no gimmicks, 35mpg, no electronic gizmos, central heating, beds, tables, room to move about, light weight so plenty of load capacity... etc.etc.
    Same with cars - had plenty of new ones over the years all beaten by a Volvo V40 bought from a friend for £400 4 years ago with 120.000 on the clock - not a single thing has gone wrong despite intensive use (now 176.000) - straight through all mots - compared to mate with new Range Rover which failed 1st mot through rust...
    When we bought the Dethleffs we made the decision solely on the first impression we got on entering her, the layout, the décor, the condition, the space - not on age/mileage/price.

    :Smile:
     
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  17. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    I have had old vans, but my current one was just 2 years old when I bought it.
    I would not buy a brand new one for any money as I prefer someone else to pay the VAT and the depreciation that occurs in the first 5 minutes of ownership. New vans seem to suffer from a lot of problems that should have been, but haven't been sorted out, before sale.

    The advantage of older vans to me is that I can look under the bonnet and recognise things and even replace them if they're faulty.
    The new ones you are told of problems by the computer, but have to get someone else to fix the most trivial things.

    There is probably a happy medium somewhere.
     
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  18. Janine

    Janine Funster Life Member

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    My 'Shirley' is based on a 1995 VW T4 and has never missed a beat. She has only done 35,000 miles in 18 years though so hardly even run-in :Smile:

    There was talk on other forums that the parts for T4s may be being phased out but I'm sure that they will still be available for a few years to come.
     
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  19. Daveo2006

    Daveo2006 Read Only Funster

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    There is also the issue of emissions, If they are too high you can have restrictions on which route you can travel.
     
  20. busby

    busby Funster

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    Never had to change my route for emissions. If its a city just take bikes off and cycle in. Probably less trouble than a warning light coming on and putting van into limp mode. BUSBY.
     
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