Eek, What have I done? (1 Viewer)

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Kannon Fodda

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I've signed on the dotted line. I've raided the mortgage. I'm taking out HP. I'll need to work day and night to pay for it if I'm to avoid bankruptcy. But hey, you only live once!

I'm a little impatient as it's yet to be built so probably not going to be ready till at least July :( It's exciting since I'll be new to the motorhome world, moving up from canvas, so many might say perhaps I should first try second hand.

Some will be surprised by my choice, given the number of people on here that had problems, on the other hand many seem happy. It's a new Autotrail V-line 540SE. After a lot of looking around I think I have a good price (I'll keep quiet on the exact amount). It will have the 2019 spec with the media pack (camera, DAB radio and stuff). After due consideration of some earlier threads I compromised on the 130BHP engine with comfortmatic gearbox (the 150 would have been nicer, but I've really overstretched the budget).

I've spent a few months looking around. Van length was critical to choice. It's only for me, and had to fit on drive so the 6m lengths where there is much more choice was out. At less than 5.5m there are few manufacturers, and most of those are unaffordable new. The Autotrail is more realistic priced, especially with the discount I was offered (but perhaps there is a reason for that). Second hand there is so little choice (i have looked for a number of months) especially when I wanted rear lounge / bed, with the toilet option, only 2 berth / 2 seats (why waste space on the front added travel seat / dining table that I'll never use).

I suspect I'm a fair weather Spring to Autumn user. But the convenience of the van outside the house so I can jump in and go most weekends will be great. So the aim is to escape for 2-3 day long weekends, charge off to tranquility so I can then meander around an area on the e-bike and then chill out for an evening. A couple of times a year to venture a bit further afield for a week or so, perhaps a ferry and see how the Europeans treat us Brits if Brexit ever materialises.

So now I'm scouring this forum to find out all the things I never knew about motorhomes. The toys I might need, and what I will not. If I let it, this could become a very expensive new pastime.

But it's also a battle understanding some of this new jargon. I have yet to really understand the differences between an Aire, a CL, a campsite or whatever. It seems to be a nightmare what chemicals you shouldn't put into your toilet. Really not sure why I might need a watering can to fill up a tank with water :p And as for how you still have electricery left after a couple of hours parked up somewhere this is going to need some real wizardry. And who knows what perils of insurance, trackers, breakdown cover and other hideous entrapments await my pleasure.
 

Anthea M

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A bit of advice, dont buy anything you think you may need until youve been away a few times (y)
Ditto I agree we have a garage full of stuff we thought we needed.!

Congratulations and look forward to seeing photos and hearing about your adventures.

We often travel 15 miles away but it suddenly seems a new world and very relaxing.

Hopefully it will be winterised so try and use it over winter with silver screens and heating on they are lovely and cosy .
And MHs don’t like to be stood for a long time unused , it’s not good for tyres , batteries , engines , brakes etc and it’s a lot of money to be sat on the drive.

Enjoy!
 
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irnbru

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Congratulations from another Autotrail owner.

If you are working day and night to pay for it I hope you get the chance to use it .

Try not to work too hard and get out there using it as much as you can.

We use ours regularly but do a lot of wild camping so helps keep the expense down.
 
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Hollyberry

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Congratulations ! Don't buy masses of stuff you might not need.
Re the toilet I used the cheapest Sainsbury's own brand laundry powder , worked perfectly, no smell at all from the cassette. Tried the chemical initially, ugh, messy and as it says in the bottle, it's chemicals.
Motorhoming in the winter can be great, I really enjoyed it but just see how you go.
Aires are French. Aire de Camping Car are particularly for Motorhomes and can be in villages, towns or rural areas. Many are free or there's a few € charge. You can buy an ' All the Aires' book.
Aires on motorways are a different thing and to be avoided. Generally rather unpleasant.
CLs and CSs are small privately owned sites, generally low cost, very simple.
Google Jasmine Camping Lincolnshire to find Jim's site and that will give you an idea.
Happy travelling.

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We've been traveling around Spain for more than a month in out 5.4m Ducato. If you spend most of your time looking at the sights and not at the site, it's perfect.
 
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Blue Knight

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Welcome to the MoHo fraternity (y). I have two wee points from when we recently started motorhoming back in late 2016.........and three new vans later:

1. Ensure that you allocate the time to use the van, even if it's just for weekends etc. We fell in love with the idea of motorhoming and then realised that our work-life balance was crap so our first van just sat on the drive looking sad and unloved.

2. Our first van was also an Autotrail and I swear to this day that it was built by Stevie Wonder and his plastic Lego toolkit. In hindsight we should have rejected the van from the outset of the handover but you live and learn eh!! I would highly recommend that you study the Motorhome FUN buyers guide to ensure that you are happy with the van before you drive it away from the dealer.

Happy adventures :cool:

Andrew
 
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bobandjanie

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Exciting times ahead, you do know that this will be the longest wait ever, :eek: we are on our second 6m panel van conversion and love them. :LOL:
Happy travels. (y) Bob and Janie.
 
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GPW

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Slight to minor!
5.4m is a great size and the layout looks good.
I gave up looking for a 5.4 I liked and ended up ordering a 6m!
Like you we ordered before we were quite 'ready', but if you wait for the perfect time you never do these things! Best get in there and explore while you can.

I recommend making sure it has a reversing camera if you are unused to driving such a big vehicle. Also camp locally (maybe to the dealer) to get the hang of it all before setting out on a European adventure etc!
 
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suavecarve

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Have fun with it when it turns up.
For some reason we dont have many from the leafy suburbs.
I work Guildford and live the other side of the tunnel (Hindhead not Channel) should i be required.
 
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Cheshirecat57

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Hope its a great lifestyle change for you
The fact its a PVC and not a Coachbuilt means it should be quite solid

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Mar 10, 2019
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Ok the good news and the bad.
We purchased our first Motorhome sept 2018 and still buying things for it, water houses, levelling ramps, security stuff, club membership. The good news we have enjoyed every time we have taken it out travelling the UK. I will say though it is a big learning curve with great fun. We had never camped or MH before and now we travel the UK in our Bailey 79-4T. Wayne & Alison.
 
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Kingham

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Exciting times ahead for you and the long wait will pass in the blink of an eye, even though it never seems to while you’re waiting.

I had close to a 6 month wait for mine to be built, but it was very much worth the wait !
 
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Kannon Fodda

Kannon Fodda

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Thanks for comments:

Yes it will have reversing camera (part of the media pack). I consider that essential I wouldn't be without it even in my Toyota, and since there aren't parking sensors (a bit of a surprise) I'd soon be bumping into all sorts. I'm also having a towbar fitted as the e-bike is a bit heavy so better on a ball mounted carrier (that I already have) than straining door hinges (but it might restrict ability to open those rear doors).

As for buying stuff I don't need, it's more a case of knowing what I might need. Apart from a EHU leed, and perhaps a hose, initially the real basics of a frying pan, plate, cup and sleeping bag all transfer from the tent, and after that. Who knows.

And as for patience, when the weather is like it was yesterday, patience swiftly disappears. Knowing that I'll have to get through a couple of May bank holidays in the "comfort" of the tent as the van won't be ready will be really testing.
 
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Congratz on taking the plunge. Enjoy your new Big Boy's Toy! (y)

A gas bottle probably won't be provided unless you insisted before you signed so add that to the must-have list. You won't get a full tank of diesel either.

I had to remind the dealer quite forcefully that I had been promised a 25m EHU lead as a sweetener. Conveniently forgotten, but not by me.
 
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Alfie159

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Hi I brought a new vw in 2017, and after falling in love with van life! I’ve recently purchased an Adria Twin

I like many, splurged on everything possible and by the end of season 1 a lot of it was sold, stored or gifted away!

For me, essentials being; mattress topper, seat covers, waterproof cab mats, non slip mats for cupboards to stop sliding pots/ rattling. Cadac (small one after selling bigger one), pan set with detachable handles. Ridge monkey gridle pan.

Everyone’s needs are different... my tips are based around what’s worked for me re comfort, storage and protecting the precious investment so no stains and scratches.

As said before, don’t buy anything until you’ve had a couple of trips, buy slowly and consider how much will I use it/ it weighs.

Have great fun

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Kannon Fodda

Kannon Fodda

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So I've had an update that delivery is likely to be closer to end of July than beginning of the month. I guess that was to be expected given I changed the base vehicle spec engine when I first discussed back at the NEC. But I really want it now. Having frozen my wotsits over the last couple of bank holidays in a tent. I'm looking forward to a little comfort when I can get away.

Already looking around at times for "bargains" on some of the more "essential" items I think I will need. So some stuff will transfer from the tent like sleeping bags, but there is plenty of stuff I won't have like leads, hoses, leveller blocks.
 
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Alfie159

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But those 3 things and build from that based on your needs. EHU, water container/ hose. Ramps.

You can afford to carry nicer chairs! I happily traded my folding £15 chair for a recliner (well two) chairs with a headrest. This was my only must list item with bigger van!

I like to have the external black out window screen cover. Not thermal ones but saves the flimsy ones being used as they don’t feel robust enough. Mine have ‘eyes’ on and show my fun side :) these from fuel lagoon I think they’re called !?

I purchased a 12v tv off eBay as the van has a bracket built in, it hides the bracket and if I ever fancy it, I can watch a film. Although yet to do so as had great weather so far.

I’ve always had my safari cadac as like the cooking outdoors of strong smelling foods and it’ll stop grease build up inside too.

Disklok steering wheel cover, would annoy most thieves alongside 2 wheel clamps ... not the triangle ones, lighter through the alloy ones. Not foil proof but enough to make it annoying to steal :)
 
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Langtoftlad

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Don't buy anything until you've had a couple of nights away in it... then you'll begin to know what you 'need' or want...
I suspect most of us have kit we thought was essential but have rarely if ever used... mine is levelling ramps... carried faithfully for the last 2 years, never used on this van.
 
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Mark and Mindy

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We also have a 5.4m van conversion but with a front lounge rather than rear - suits our needs very well as 2 adults and 2 small dogs, we looked at a lot of vans before we finally made our decision - new conversion in a pre-reg van (pre-reg in this case being just 1 month old!). It fits nicely onto our drive and we can have the rear doors open without them overhanging the road.

We've had a few 1 or 2 nights in it, and are away next Saturday for our first full week with a week booked for France in September. We're starting to add bits and pieces to the van which we've decided are needed - a towel rail, kitchen roll holder, hook to hang plastic rubbish bag etc.

Small vans are small but with a bit of trial and error its amazing how much they will actually take and the payload is massive due to their small size.

Hope you enjoy your van as much as we're enjoying ours and w2f
 
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Kannon Fodda

Kannon Fodda

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Wohoo, I've had a message from the dealer that AT have a completion date of 19th July. Then all that's needed is transport to the dealer and the dealers PDI checks. Dunno how swift (or slow) the transportation bit would be, but I can't imagine it would be that difficult.

Really, really, really want to get my wheels. Patience is not going to be a virtue much longer .....
 
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