First time Buy guidance required (1 Viewer)



Deleted User
Hi everyone. I am looking to buy my first motorhome and will be using it for at least 6 months in the continent with my partner. There is so many models out there and i need some advice. I want a fixed bed and a decent size bathroom and something easy to run. I am looking at 2005 models
If you were to buy a motor home now you have the experience what model and features would you list and please can you rank them in order of importance.

Peter JohnsCross MH

Deceased RIP
Jan 5, 2008
East Sussex
Funster No
Hi Shelly,

Welcome to FUN, I am sure you will get loads of replies but if you need professional advice, give our Andy a ring, not only is he a saleman:Blush:, but he is also an experienced MH owner.:thumb:

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Tony Santara

Free Member
Jul 26, 2007
Cheshire (ex Mancunian)
Funster No
A class RV
since 1994
Hi Shelly &welcome
It's a difficult question to answer because what suites me may not suite you.
for me I like the idea of a fixed bed somebody else will prefer a U shaped lounge
I will tell you I looked for about a year at shows and dealers before i bought, so take your time and look around at differant makes and models till you find a layout that suites you. and a size that you are comfortable driving.
But keep in mind that a lot of seasoned motorhomers say the first one you buy will not be the last

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Free Member
Apr 19, 2008
East London
Funster No
C Class
well over 5 years
Hi Shelly we have just bought 2nd as our camper got trashed.

John Cross Motorhomes have been so very helpful on this website even though we couldnt afford their price range as we were limited by the insurance payout.

I would suggest as you are looking at a 2005 motor they should be your first point of call.

Have a look in MOTORHOME CHAT room. look through the advice I was given on the thread listed as Talbot talisman as roomies were helpful when I looked at one for the first time. In there is a link to a checklist.

Things to consider -

Length of vehicle - where are you going to park - you wont easily park a 30ft vehicle in town centres but you would be okay with an 18ft.

As your driving on the continent a left hand drive is best.

Look within this site on various laws and regulations as its important that what you buy is legal in the countries you are visiting.

As you are looking at buying a newish vehicle ensure it has had all maintenance etc carried out in accordance with the manufacturers warranty including yearly habitation checks.

As I am still a novice on motorhomes this is the best I can do

Good luck on your search for your perfect vehicle xxxxx
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Jul 31, 2007
Herne Bay
Funster No
Low profile Rapido
Since 2005 ish
Hi Shelly
You've asked the "how long's a piece of string" question. As tony says ''what suits us, may not suit you.
Research, research, research = you can't do enough.
Payload, if your away for a long time you may want to take loads of 'stuff' with you
Storage for all that stuff + can you get at it once it's stored?
Wild camping or sites, if it's wild will you need a second battery? if-so where will you put-it?
Do you have hobbys? can you take all your hobby stuff without it getting in the way?
It all comes down to research, many people advertising in the back of mmm didn't do theirs and it's an expensive way of making mistakes.
Our van ticked non of our must-have boxes to begin-with and yet we've found little to better-it for our use.

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Free Member
Aug 22, 2007
Funster No
Van Conversion now sold
8 years
1. What size van?

I would replace this by two questions – the bed arrangement and where would you like to take the van.

If you want to use the van as a car or, get into smaller towns and villages particularly abroad then you need to give consideration to length and size – no good getting to a site only to find you have to take the van to do the shopping and can’t get it there or you can’t visit places you had set your heart on visiting.

Do you want a fixed bed or are you prepared to convert a lounge, sofa or chairs every morning and put the bedding away so that you can sit down and eat breakfast? Most seem to prefer the fixed bed. This immediately puts a size imposition on the van. Lengthways a fixed bed adds six feet to the length sideways around four feet and sideways also requires the van to be six foot wide plus. I think this is the key consideration – get the bed arrangement you like and the van can become unwieldy and defeat the objective. The over cab bed has much going for it – you can retain the permanent internal arrangement you like and the only size element affected is the height – but still an important one - and the width.
Some find overcab beds claustrophobic, difficult to get into up a ladder and as most are across the van it means one person is at the front and unable to get down without climbing over the other one.
A three-quarter bed in the rear usually has the bathroom alongside making it difficult to make the bed and getting out may still involve an element of climbing over the other.

You also need to consider the eating arrangements – are you prepared to put up a table every time you want to eat because you’ve selected U-shaped lounge that also has to become the bed or you have swivel seats with small individual tables?

2. What use it will be put to?

If is largely to be site-based and you are going to use site showers and loos then considerations of toilets and showers in the van become secondary along with utilities provided the site power is sufficient. An oil-filled radiator or small fan heater allows use of site electric rather than the van’s gas.
If not then your bathroom arrangements may need consideration – are you prepared to to have a combined one where the shower tray is where your feet land if you use the loo and need a clinging curtain to protect the loo getting wet while you shower? Is the bathroom big enough and can you actually get in there to use the loo?

If you’re going to wild camp or, end up at sites with limited power, then you become more dependent on your own resources. How dependent will be dictated by how many nights you will be off a site or the power limitation. So you need to consider heating, cooking, lighting and water. This means adequate gas supplies and where you will be camping and winter or summer. Are you staying in the UK or going abroad when you will have to consider changing cylinders or fit a refillable GASLOW system. You need a battery or two (not all vans have room) of sufficient size – driving and hooking up charges the battery but if you don’t have acces then you need another means of recharging – either solar or a generator. Solar panels need to be big enough and generators light enough so they don’t take your limited weight carrying capacity in a European van.
Remember that running your engine will charge the battery anyway.

An inverter can be useful to convert 12-volt tp 230-volt but better to by 12-volt appliances to start with.

3. Weights and Dimensions:

Think about what you will want to take with you – is there space – are you taking bikes or even a scooter – what carrying capacity does the van allow – do you have a licence to drive that weight.

Some random thoughts just rattled off for you – hope they help – go and see lots of vans – think about hiring one to see what’s you like and what doesn’r suit your purpose.

Good Luck
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