UK Motorhome with garage/external storage

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by davidsmerv, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. davidsmerv

    davidsmerv Read Only Funster

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    Hi all, im new to this forum and am looking for some advice regarding purchasing a motorhome, any help would be much appreciated.

    My wife and I have looked at motorhomes for a few years now and after returning from france this year on holidays we have made the decision that we should finally do something about getting one. That leaves us with the problem of finding the one that suits us best, so far its proving to be harder than i would have thought. Ill outline a few of our requirements and if anyone has any ideas i would love to hear them.

    Ideally we would like a lowline four berth with two forward facing seats in the rear with seatbelts to help keep our 2 1/2 year old restrained and safe of course!! A fixed bed in the rear, either french type or i think they may be called transverse going across the rear of the body. The other thing i would really like is a garage which seem to come with the transverse bed type more, i have a couple of surfboards which i would need to find a space for along with everything else and ideally i would like to not have to store them inside the van when travelling.

    We have looked at the Bailey approach 745 which looks to us to be a great motorhome and would be pretty close to what we would like to end up with, although it doesnt have any external storage. It appears that there dont seem to be any uk built homes with the layout we are looking for, at least i havent found any on my many hours of surfing internet. Does anyone out there know of one that i may have missed, it does seem that european models have a much bigger choice of layout which incorporates a garage. What would be your thoughts on buying a european as opposed to a uk model??

    Thanks for any views on this
     
  2. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    I never considered a UK-built motorhome. For us the decision process went A-Class > German > Hymer.
    Despite many claims, UK vans tend not to be properly winterised whilst German ones generally are.

    There are some good French vehicles about and the Italian Laika has many fans, but from our point of view, the Germans practically invented the motorhome (I hope RV owners will allow this) and they have benefited from long experience.

    I would always buy a second hand German van in preference to a new British one, even though they would probably be the same price.

    p.s. we also set out to find a left-hand drive motorhome - it's so easy to use 'over there' and no problem 'over here'.
     
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  3. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    Hi David :welcomefunster:

    Personally, I'd go for European anyday! Much more choice with better sized fresh and waste water tanks (more important for families).

    We have Chausson Flash 04 which is our 3rd consecutive non-UK motorhome, we would be very hard pushed to go back to a UK one (with the exception of a few van conversions which closely match their European counterparts).
     
  4. DesRes

    DesRes Funster

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    Hi David,

    It looks like your requirements are pretty much the same as myself, one child and I'm a surfer!(Albeit a kitesurfer...)
    We recently bought a Tribute 723G coachbuilt, british made by Auto-trail.
    Twin forward facing seats, fixed rear transverse bed and one massive garage. I've bought the Luton version, my daughter has the enormous overhead cab bed, though low-line versions are available. Mine is a 2011 version, I understand that they have lowered the height of the rear beds on the 2012 versions, this makes the garage smaller, but the higher bed is still available as an option.
    The debate British v European will go on but this van fitted my budget and was brand new. It is said that you get what you pay for but at nearly half the price of a similar size different maker it was a no-brainer....
    Time will tell if it was the correct decision but well pleased with the purchase so far. The "tranny" drive is a dream compared to my previous 1999 Ducato...:BigGrin:
    www.tributemotorhomes.co.uk
     
  5. Popeye

    Popeye Funster

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    Well I think it has all been said, if I were buying again I would probably end up with the same purchase.

    I too have the overcab bed in my 'Geist Spirit 700 G' but it is available in low-line as well. In most cases we simply carry gear up on the overcab bed.

    The insulation / Tank size and again tank-insulation and build quality put the Uk built vans that I looked at, to shame.

    Besides a Garage that takes two folding bikes along with my motor-scooter it has a roof rack which has carried my sons two canoes.

    Make me an offer..............:Wink:
     
  6. DesRes

    DesRes Funster

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    That's a bonny van you have Popeye, just "googled" it.
    Agreed on the tank insulation on mine, been thinking of a low cost plan...
    Size of the tanks are fine for us that do mainly campsites.
     
  7. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    I do hope you aren't being seduced by the cool external looks of a low profile van!
    In our experience, kids love to have their own room in an overcab. Going to bed up a ladder appeals to them too!
    When you consider also that your longe will be ready to go at all times, one can't really see why you would want a lowprofile for family use.
    An overcab bed is a fantastic space multiplier and shouldn't be ruled out for family use.

    No amount of panoramic skylights or sporty mouldings will make up for a family-unfriendy layout!
    Go for a six berth overcab garage van for family happiness!

    Chausson do a fantastic collection......
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  8. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

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    June123

    We've just bought a Burstner Viseo 3 berth. Single very comfy transverse bed up two steps at rear and drop down very large double over cab (small ladder for this one). Has garage into which we've just managed to fit spare wheel, two full size electric bikes and assorted junk. With the fixed bed you sacrifice a bit of lounge space and there is no oven (we carry barbecues and portable electric oven). Time will tell if we've made the right choice but we're not young and it's wonderful not having to lift bikes onto rack and bliss having beds ready to roll into at night without even easy pulling out and making up. It also means one can go to bed before the other which isn't always possible in other models. Also we wanted to stay under 6 metres - much more maneagable when driving into towns. There are so many to choose from aren't there. Take your time and weigh up all the pros and cons for your particular lifestyle.
     
  9. knokinonabit

    knokinonabit Funster

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    If I were in your situation I would opt for something with a fixed bed (we happen to prefer island beds) and at least a bed-over-cab for the kids.
    It can be a real pain if they are tired and you have to make beds up for them, and then you have nowhere to sit and chill. Or in the morning when you want to be up and about and the kids want a lie-in.
    We have just bought an Autotrail Comanche and it has a "garage" under the island bed.
    Try and come up with as many manufacturers as you can (google) and have a look at their layouts so you can narrow it down a bit. You can still find layouts for some of the older models if you put in a year etc.
    Good luck. :thumb:
     
  10. aba

    aba

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    euro built everytime over british

    as has been said dont rule out overcab bed models.
    ideal layout will be a compromise but you cant beat space (yes a small american does space better but at a cost , spares may not be as readily available and most have large v8-v10 petrol engines)
    but if there are 4 of you and you wish to be comfortable look at 6 berth vans as generally 2 people in a 4 berth gives enough.

    a 6 berth fixed rear bed central diner overcab may be your better layout.
    http://www.motorhomes.mobi/Motorhomes/tabid/95/ItemID/24058/Motorhome/Dethleffs-Fortero/Default.aspx

    http://www.motorhomes.mobi/Motorhom...otorhome/Weinsberg-Meteor-790-MQ/Default.aspx
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  11. Tincataylor

    Tincataylor Funster

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    I have read the comments on this thread with great interest as I am also in the process of doing my homework on the most suitable first time motorhome purchase. It had never really occurred to me the differences between UK and European built motor homes because all we see when we visit retailers near us is UK built machines. We intend to do at least 1 two to four month trip every year in Europe with occasional weeks away in the UK. Judging from some of the comments then we should be considering makes from Europe (LHD) as well as the home grown stuff. One of the problems with forums is that there is a constant stream of newbee’s coming in asking the same old questions that have probably been hammered to death before so I crave your patience if I am asking you to repeat yourselves. Is there a previous thread that you recommend I read or is there a “Pro’s and Con’s of Purchasing a Motorhome Abroad” book that I could purchase?

    Richard & Lynne
     
  12. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    I suggest you buy a copy of this book from Vicarious Books:
    https://www.vicarious-shop.com/Go-Motorhoming-and-Campervanning-9780956678119.html

    It was written by the couple running Vicarious and recounts their experience of planning and executing a year of full-timing in Europe. We bought the first edition in 2006 called 'Go Motorhoming Europe' and it became our reference book in searching for our Motorhome. Full of useful and practical advice from people who have 'been there and done that'! I still dip into it on occasion.

    p.s. since you live in Devon, this website may be of interest:
    http://www.bundesvan.co.uk/
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  13. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Hi Richard and Lynne

    The alarm bells are ringing!!!

    Please forgive me if I am wrong, but you seem to be under the impression that continental-built vans are all left hand drive. That is certainly not the case. Continental builders produce models in right hand drive for the UK market.

    You sound an adventurous couple. I do believe that your needs will best be served by a French or German built van in any case.
    Key points to look out for would be water tank sizes and the degree of winterisation built in to the van, especially if, like us, you like to ski.
    Please don't be drawn in by the current marketing bull of 'grade 3' insulation in British vans. It doesn't mean they will remain serviceable in sub zero conditions!
    Please believe that I have no beef with British manufacturers, they make some lovely products for their intended use, ie sitting on a Caravan Club site in the summer, but they need work to be suitable for year-round use on the continent.
    Our Chausson had no problems on a recent ski trip where the temperatures were as low as -20 and never rose above -5. This was due to all the water piping being followed by heater ducts and being within the body of the van.
    You won't find that attention to detail on a British van sadly.
    Another example of the differences, our 6 berth van has a 130 litre internal fresh water tank, a 6 berth British Elddis has an underslung 45 litres.

    The downsides? You don't often get a massive oven in continental vans, but you often get a HUGE fridge to make up for it!:thumb:
    It is horses for courses in the motorhome business. Many people make mistakes in buying vans and that is demonstrated by the high number of low-mileage nearly-new vans that frequent dealer forecourts.
    As they say fools rush in! A fool who makes a bad buying decision will pay for it in pounds and pence at trade-in time when they get it wrong!:Sad:
     
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  14. june123

    june123 Read Only Funster

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    Second comment from me. Look at Burstners - fixed beds and garages - various sizes. Our smaller Class A has two forward facing seats with seatbelts plus fixed table. Ideal for a little one to spread her books/games out on on a long boring journey. I believe Hymers have similar features.
     
  15. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    Our first van was a British built 2004 Elddis Autoquest 100 but its replacement is a German built 2003 Burstner T625 Harmony. The build quality of the Burstner is definitely superior but, having said that, the Elddis is supposed to be at the budget end of the market.

    You wouldn't get surfboards in the locker of the Burstner but you may be able to strap them to the roof rails.
     
  16. Popeye

    Popeye Funster

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    Very well put. My three grandsons all use the overcab sleeping sideways, mind you they are not 4feet tall yet and the fun they have up there is amazing.

    They also seem to get fun out of the adventure of climbing a ladder, almost tree house fun.

    When they're not up there my laptop and even the table gets slung up there if I'm too lazy to put it away properly.

    One other thing I'd sling into the mix is that the six berth seems to have a better resale value price for price.

    In other words there are more people looking for the six berth than most others for all sorts of reasons not just because they intend to sleep six.
    :Smile:
     
  17. Tincataylor

    Tincataylor Funster

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    Jonandshell
    Thank you for taking the time to pass on your experience to us. We are an adventurous couple but we temper that with a good helping of common sense and we tend to plan meticulously before jumping in. When we were in our late 30’s we got fed up with the daily grind and we drove our old home converted Type2 VW from our home in Torquay to Nairobi in Kenya. This involved crossing the Sahara Desert and (much harder) driving through the rain forests of what was then Zaire. The trip took 6 months and left us with memories of places and people to treasure for the rest of our lives. It also left us stony broke and suffering from Malaria but that all seemed part of the fun back then. On returning home we returned to “normal life” and have worked hard and made a few bob and with retirement less than two years away the call of the road unexplored is back with a vengeance. We will quite happy pootling around the near continent this time though...I think. Anyway this wonderful web site is the next best thing to actually doing it at the moment and we really cannot thank people like yourselves and others who take the time to give advice. It’s also a lovely thought that we will probably have the chance to meet some of you in the flesh one day and offer a glass or three of liquid sunshine.
    I hope this next bit does not sound too over the top but if anyone is interested I kept a detailed diary of out African trip which some of you may find interesting. Given the length of time we were away it is rather a long document and I would have no idea how to put it on this site anyway. I have put a single day entry below to give you a flavour of it so if anyone would like more please say so. To aid understanding our camper was called Ralph and this diary entry was about 1/3 of the way across the Sahara at Christmas time.

    Wednesday December 24th
    Mileage covered 3266
    Christmas Eve. Left In’Salah about 09:30 after buying some bread etc for the journey to Tamanrasset. There was a very strong wind in the night (not unusual when you have been living on a diet of dried beans) and although we were sheltered in the campsite I think it must have been very unpleasant out on the sands. The road so far is the usual mixture of bad and terrible with a bit of impossible thrown in to stop us getting bored. There is the added problem that the wind has blocked the route in several places with sand the same way as snow drifts in the UK. We have encountered three of these blockages so far. The first I drove straight into and had to be pulled out by a passing lorry (nice people these Algerians). The second we managed to spot in time and drive around it, but the third was a right bastard and there was a line of Italians and French all stuck up to their axles in the sand having penetrated different distances into the virgin piste beside the track in their efforts to bypass the obstacle.
    We parked on relatively firm sand and got out to do a survey of the area to try and decide on the best route through. This may sound like common sense to anyone reading this account but the realities of spotting potential trouble up ahead in the desert have to be learned and are much harder than you think. Firstly soft sand and hard sand look identical to the untrained eye and you find yourself stuck before you know it. Also quite large (and sometimes very steep) undulations in the sand that can cause your vehicle to take off if hit at any speed are rendered invisible by the sun being overhead and therefore casting no shadow. However by this time, after having dug Ralph out of the sand with a shovel in the heat of the day several times, we were beginning to learn our desert craft through necessity caused by my lifelong aversion to hard graft. Also the local lorry drivers were always offering kind advice as to how we could travel better (lowering tyre pressures by half being the most important) and we took all this on board, which is more than could be said of some of the more arrogant travellers who thought their four by four technology was all that was needed. Trust me the desert has no respect for four wheel drive, if you do it wrong in a 4x4 then you just get stuck twice as fast.
    To be honest it seemed pretty impossible as the patches of soft sand were large compared to the small oasis of gravel and hard sand. However we had learned that if you “walked the course” and marked out the firm ground by dragging your heel trough it these marks could be easily seen from the driving position. After about half an hour’s surveying we had marked out a winding route around the worst of the sand and the semi abandoned vehicles, which was about 250 meters long. The assembled travellers had during this time observed our strategy with some distain. As soon as they know you are British they automatically think you are a bit eccentric which seemed odd to me as anybody out in the middle of the bloody desert up to their arse in sand on Christmas Eve is not, in my opinion, what you would call mainstream.
    The time for action had arrived and we backed up as far as we dared on the hard sand where we were parked to get a good run up and everybody stopped what they were doing to watch us fail. To cut a long story short Ralph, with the honour of Britain at stake, blasted through like a good ‘un to well deserved cheers and clapping from all around, a moment to savour as we left them in our dust.
    We found no more sand on the road but could not really drive on the piste either so it was the usual 10mph over the pot holes for most of the way. Really pleased with the miles we have covered today. Will try and wash off some of the sand and dust tonight as I have never felt as dirty in all my life. We are camped in the middle of nowhere about 10K south of the town (?) of Arak and will make an early start tomorrow as we have learnt that the piste is at its most firm after the relative cool of the night and that the sun makes things much more difficult once its warmed up.
     
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  18. journeyman

    journeyman Read Only Funster

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    Really good. I want more!!!
     
  19. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    Choices choices LOL ! - too many of em ... every time you think you like one, you see another that 'might' be better ....

    What you could do, in fact why don't you? visit one of the shows where MHF are holding a rally? wander from the parking to the camping bit where 'we' are, introduce yourself as a member to the first person you see and ask who's marshalling and Bob's your uncle - anyone on site will happily show you round their van and you'll be able to see how they are when they have people and normal everyday things in them.

    We've all been beguiled by the walk round a show-home not realising they have three quarter beds or teeny three piece suites in them until you later check the measurements in the brochure and discover the seemingly capacious master suite is actually smaller than your current boxroom ...... and where will your bookcase ever fit?

    Only then, with the cynicism borne of the snags/possible snags in this or that which other owners have furnished you with, should you ever visit the sales areas! There are still salesmen who could sell ice to the eskimos ......
     
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