Worth the extra?

Discussion in 'Self-Build Motorhomes' started by Tino11, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Tino11

    Tino11 Read Only Funster

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    Hi Funsters,


    Virgin poster, so be gentle with me! upload_2014-7-24_15-36-37.png (y)

    I'm considering a PVC if I get the chance to accept a redundancy package. It won't be a massive amount but will hopefully leave me with £15-20k to spend, including the van.

    If I do accept the package and get the funds then my use of the van would be full time, I would be homeless and jobless upload_2014-7-24_15-36-37.png . :cry: My intention would be to (once it's finished) ship the van to the USA (about £1k) and tour the US, Canada and possibly Mexico for 6 months or more.

    So as well as needing hot water and heating, I would also need to use it on hook up (I don't even know what half these terms mean :D) but with the need to switch it to USA hook up (if that's possible). Plus any more mods I may need for use in the USA (all appliances and TV/audio etc would be standard UK).

    I really want a rear u-shaped lounge, that is a must for me. As is a shower that is not part of an all in one wet-room. I don't mind the shower being in the same section as the toilet and sink but would like it to have it's own separate screen. I have seen a pro PVC that had the shower tray in the walkway with slide out screens which I thought was a good idea.

    I would like it to feel as roomy as possible and not cluttered (hard in a PVC I realise).

    Anyway, on to an actual question! upload_2014-7-24_15-36-37.png :)

    I've decided I would go for one of the X250 Citroen/Peugeot/Fiat vans as they offer the best width, which I feel is important in a PVC. What I'm wondering about is if I should go for the XLWB (L4) over the LWB (L3) and if I should go for H3 over H2. I'm not bothered about the length of the van outside making it harder to park etc, I'm more bothered about if the extra space internally would be worth the extra cost.

    According to;
    http://www.helpfindmea.co.uk/vans/specs/the Citroen Relay (for example) L4 internal load length is 4070mm whilst the L3 internal load length is 3705. The difference in height between H2 and H3 (regardless of length is 2172 compared to 1932.

    The difference in price for a used L3 H3 van with less than 70k on the clock compared to an L4 H3 is about £2k so quite a lot of money, which then eats in to the budget.

    Bearing in mind I will only be able to do very basic parts of the conversion myself so will need to pay for favours and tradesmen do you think the extra length is worth the extra outlay?

    Thanks :D
     
  2. Wissel

    Wissel Read Only Funster

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    If it's just for yourself I would say the 6m is fine, I've stayed in mine for a few weeks whilst working (with my dog who isn't small) and it's been fine.

    Not sure where you are in the UK but it might be worth having a chat with Terry on here if building the van isn't something you feel comfortable doing yourself.

    There is also a forum called sbmcc which is just about self building - I couldn't have built my van without their help.

    Welcome by the way :happy:
     
  3. Tino11

    Tino11 Read Only Funster

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    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply, I saw the photos of your van on one of the other threads and I've read your blog, I really like what you've done with your windows and lounge etc so I'm hoping to do somwthing similar.

    I'm in Newcastle but if I do get the van I'm willing to travel to get help! :D

    Do you know how much you spent in total doing yours? (not including the van price)
     
  4. Wissel

    Wissel Read Only Funster

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    I haven't worked out exactly what I've spent but I would guess about £10k.

    It can be done a lot cheaper, in fact I spent about £1000 building my last van, but I wanted this one to be a very high spec (especially the electrics).

    To give a rough idea where the costs are in my van I would guesstimate:

    Windows and Rooflights £1000
    Insulation and panelling £600
    Heating and Plumbing £2000 (Truma Combi 4E most of the cost)
    Kitchen £500
    Front Single Seat £170
    Building Furniture £1500
    Rear Lounge Seating £400
    Fridge £750
    Electrics £2000
     
  5. Tino11

    Tino11 Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Wissel,

    I'd like a good spec too, but I know you have a lot of computer stuff etc, I'd just be taking a laptop and smartphone, although I'd want at least a good wifi signal and for it to work in the USA too!

    Would you say 6-8K would be a sensible budget for a nice conversion?

    Sorry for all the questions! :D
     
  6. Wissel

    Wissel Read Only Funster

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    WiFi antenna is not expensive, mine was £50 odd.

    6-8k is very doable if you can build yourself or have good mates :)
     
  7. Tino11

    Tino11 Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Wissel (y)

    Looks like I'll have to call in a few favours etc, one of my mates owns an electrical wholesale business so I should get all the cables, sockets etc for free and the appliances cheaper at least.
     
  8. martin1485

    martin1485 Funster

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    May also be worth your while in looking at saving the shipping costs out and buy in the USA. You could consider shipping back to the UK when finished or sell it to come home?
     
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  9. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi look at the link below (y) everything inside is new total cost inc van is around 11k :)5 weeks ish to build (prob do it in 3 poss 4 if it had not rained so much -you can of course do it cheaper using second hand parts etc --
    USA etc your electrics won't work as they are all 110 v not 240v -
    USA best to make your van self sufficient with Solar etc that way you won't need hook up etc so does not matter where you are IN THE WORLD -tv won't work, so again either music or get a USB 1 TB unit and load it with lots of films etc to take with you but make sure the tv plays from the USB :)
    All these things cost more than standard things but for your wants you need them
    terry
     
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  10. Wissel

    Wissel Read Only Funster

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    You would also be able to charge your electrics by running your engine.

    For TV just stream it on your laptop. Also, if you have Netflix in UK it will work in USA.
     
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  11. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    I suggest put your cash in your pocket and go to the States and buy a second hand RV, they do small ones which you could then ship back here if you wanted. My worry is if you take a European van across, especially if it is a few years old, you could have real problems supporting it. Also, any mains electric gadgets will be the wrong voltage.

    But, and its a big but, you will only get a 90 day visa for the US and nipping across into Canada for a spell doesn't mean you can go back for another 90 days. Fine if you want to split your trip 50/50 between Canada and the US, but not if say you wanted to spend longer in the US. You can get longer visas but I doubt they will grant you one if you are unemployed. Sorry. :cry:
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  12. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi DBK has a good point :D I have never heard of anyone taking a MH to the states only importing them from there to here :)Knowing the Yanks there will be no end of loops to jump through ;)
    terry
     
  13. Wissel

    Wissel Read Only Funster

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  14. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    Hi and welcome. Quite apart from what has been said about the van, have you considered the costs involved in insurance, health care etc for when you are in the USA (assuming you get a visa)? Also the implications of living in a van full-time once you return to the UK which I assume you will! What would you do if your van broke down, or you were ill etc ... it is one thing to do this as an extended holiday but quite another to do it with no job etc to come back to.
     
  15. Tino11

    Tino11 Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for all the replies. (y)

    My initial plan was to just go out there, buy one and tour round in it, however you need a US address in order to buy a vehicle, this can be achieved though by getting a US mailing address, other Brits have done this. However the main problem is that the majority of US Motorhomes/RV's are well over 3.5t which is the limit for my driving licence. I'd also be getting something older for my budget too.

    If I don't find a nice US chick to settle down with I'll have too ship the van back so a UK spec one would be better :D

    I do have the option of buying a used coachbuilt here and shipping it over, but again it would be something a bit older (although newer than something in the US probably).

    In terms of the VISA, I had a quick chat with the US embassy and everything is on a case by case basis, but they did say a 6 month VISA was possible, perhaps with a seasonal work permit so I could get temporary jobs to support myself. A vehicle can be waived for 90 days with extensions, again on a case by case basis. Obviously if I got the redundancy money I'd get the VISA and vehicle waiver confirmed before getting the van and getting the conversion done.

    I'm surprised nothing about the electrics can be done, I've read sites about brits who have imported their RV's, all with USA electrics, when back in the UK, all the US stuff is left but a new board etc for UK stuff is installed plus sockets. I would have thought there would be someway of having a dual hook up, although obviously it would cost ££££££.

    Solar power will have to be the way forward for that I suppose.
     
  16. Tino11

    Tino11 Read Only Funster

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    Hi,

    I've looked in to the insurance and it actually isn't too bad and I have included it in my overall trip budget. I would also look at extended travel insurance, again not as bad as I thought and would be included in my trip budget. In terms of the van, that would be a bit of a gamble, although the van I would buy would be 3 - 4 years old, with less than 70k on the clock but more like less than 50k. I have a few friends who are mechanics (one on lorries) so It would be given a good check before I set off. These vans can last over 400k so I shouldn't face any problems.

    The whole trip is a gamble so I have to take a few risks :eek::D
     
  17. Tino11

    Tino11 Read Only Funster

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    Hi Terry,

    I can't get the first link under your post to work, it seems to go to an error page. I've looked at van on your own website, nice work (y):).
     
  18. DiggerJon

    DiggerJon Funster

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    Unless things have changed much from 2009/2010 when I toured for 6 months in a fifth wheel it was impossible to register and insure it in my name as I was not a US citizen or a student and had no social security number. Believe me, I tried, and it was only the goodwill of American friends who registered in their name was my trip possible. Also, a Uk licence will be OK but insurance will be considerably cheaper if you can take a driving test over there to get a State licence. I did not, but it looked very Micky Mouse and almost " roll up and give it a go". I would not even consider taking my own van over there as there is no spares back up at all for "foreign" vans and the distances you cover are huge!
    I wish you well - and helpful American friends are almost essential!
     
  19. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    You have obviously already done a lot of research on this and I wish you the very best on the trip. Is the 3.5T limit on your licence solvable, or is there a health/eyesight issue? (Not our business but if it is just a case of a few lessons and a test this could save money).

    Of course you could ditch the whole plan and stay in Europe! Or buy a push bike and do the trip that way. Having read a discussion on this recently on a cycling forum you would want to set aside two years to cycle from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. It can be done in a year but the consensus was this didn't leave a lot of time for sightseeing!

    On a more ambitious scale this Dane is now in his fourth year cycling around the World:

    http://www.cyclingtheglobe.com/2014/07/day-1405-patacamaya-la-paz-settled-slopes/
     
  20. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    What about a demountable and a pick-up? They are popular in the US so more than likely fairly cheap and no doubt easy to sell on afterwards ... just an idea.
     
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