Hello, I'm new to your club and have plenty of questions

Jul 31, 2014
1,255
1,611
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32,620
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EuraMobil Activa 820HS
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2007
Hello all,
I'm a newbie to your forum - finally pulled my finger out and joined after visiting and reading reviews and blogs for the past few months.
I'm looking at moving up in the world size-wise - something the wife has been threatening to do for a while now and changing from camper van to a large motorhome and I'm taken by some tag axle models. (I know they're big, but this purchase has got to last)

Would love to hear likes and dislikes on the following makes/models that I've narrowed it down to:

Autotrail Arapaho (like the end lounge)
Bessacarr E789
Burstner Argos 748-2 but considering the 747-2 as well. (like the lounge layout of the 748)
Dethleffs A7871

I've heard really good things about the build quality of the Dethleffs & Burstner models for winterisation and like the shape & styling of the Autotrail & Bessacarr models mentioned.

Grateful for owners experiences of theirs before I buy.
hoping to visit the forthcoming NEC show to view all of them - although my budget will be based on 2007-2011 year models.
Thanks!
Gav
 

johnp10

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Oct 12, 2009
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Hi Gav and welcome.
You'll get lots of good info on here, but also plenty good natured mickey taking.
The trick is to sort the two.(y)
 

Chris

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May 5, 2010
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Hi Gav and welcome.

I suppose it will come down to a choice - Build quality of a German van -v- Layout of a British van.

Not sure there is any van that actually combines the two.

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Dec 6, 2011
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Hi and welcome. you'll get complete conflicting views about build quality depending on who responds...:doh:

some will swear by a particular make others ( self included ) would not touch some vans with a long stick :blush:

making a van choice goes:-

layout,
layout,
Build quality,

you can have the best build quality ever produced if the layout aint right youll have wasted time and good money and move the van on quickly....
good luck
 

MHVirgins

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Aug 22, 2011
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Hello and welcome Gav, difficult question to answer, each of us have our own preferences and in the end it will be down to what suits you both. With us it was layout first, then build quality a close second and whilst some of the German vans might just have the edge for build quality, the layout wasn't right for us.

Look at as many vans as you can before taking the plunge(y)

Oh and welcome to MHFun!

Margaret & Bill
 

BreweryDave

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Aug 10, 2011
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Welcome!
We have the 747 but I changed the layout to that of a 748! All things are possible in this world:)
It's older than you're looking at (02 plate) but a good solid vehicle - can't go wrong with a European van IMHO - wouldn't touch that 'English' stuff:ROFLMAO:

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jonandshell

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Dec 12, 2010
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Welcome to Fun Gav!

You are looking at some big vans there, does the future involve more kids?::bigsmile:

Don't be seduced by the smooth lines of some vans, they are designed to part retirees from their pension pots and nothing else! Its the internal space which is important to you!
Also you specifically mention winterisation. If skiing is on your list of motorhome adventures, forget the Brit designs unless you like DIY!

Good luck with your choice!
 

funflair

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Dec 11, 2013
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Looking at a larger van you can now have a garage if you want one, do you want one.

I would not be without the garage so that dictates the layout to some extent in that it will be a bed at the back as opposed to U lounge etc.

The other big choice is RWD or FWD, if you are mostly on sites and hard standing it does not matter, if you want to do a lot of muddy fields RWD and twin wheels on the rear axle is certainly an advantage.

Whatever you get you are living in it so the layout is important as has already been said.

Martin
 
Apr 27, 2008
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Do be careful if you want to tow anything (such as a small car) most tag axle motorhomes have the GVW uprated by the tag to close to the maximum train weight and can tow very little if anything.
A few French sites, I am told, do not allow tag axle vans, for no real reason. It relates to the travellers trailer caravans with twin axles. In the French view, many travellers have twin axles, so if you have twin axles you are a traveller (not very logical of course)

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Wildman

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German vans are built for a northern European winter, British for a southern European summer, so you can guess which is fully winterised.
 
Jun 30, 2010
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Pick what ever is best for you!. You might find something that is almost right, at the right price, so get the knick knacks that will make it right, your taste, get it right for you! No one has the perfect van! We all have added the twitch, the touch that makes it 99%.

Welcome to the Forum, got a question? the answer will be here!
Start a serious thread? Don't be surprised if it is hijacked and turns every which way but!
We are a good crowd, we enjoy life, hope you will be happy with us!
 
May 1, 2009
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This is like asking what sort of house should you live in.Only you know the answer but Phill D is the best reply-layout is the important one. We have had the German A class Knaus for its build but got fed up with the layout,great at -12 up at Val Thorens Aire (car park) for ski-ing but will you be camping in such low temperatures for a prolonged period?.Presently in a British van and very happy with our choice of layout ,better than Europe vans though the new ones are trying to copy what the Brits like in a van-full cookers,workspace,feet up lounging,etc. One important thing we have come to appreciate in the Autotrail is the old fashioned looking Truma heater.On gas or lecy it is radiant heat with no pull on the batteries when on gas and no constant blowing noise always in the background .PEACE.
 
OP
GAVLAD
Jul 31, 2014
1,255
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Hello everyone
Wow, what a fantastic response.
I can see that I'll have a great excuse to lock myself in the spare room on my computer studying layouts and build quality.
Personally, I can't see us doing a week in the Alps in winter, seeing as my wife puts the central heating on in july at home and likes lights on in every room like Blackpool illuminations but you never know - whatever we end up with will hopefully open up new destinations for us.
One thing that I have noticed from trolling the likes of Autotrader MH's is the number of owners for some of the British built vans.
Some of the 2008 - 2010 years have had 3 or 4 owners, compared to one or two for the Germans.
Is that a sign of a Friday built van or do you guys like to swap your vans frequently?

What's your views on Bessacarr? - we've had a couple of Swift caravans in the past and the floor's warped - has the swift group improved over the years?
 

Puddleduck

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Jan 15, 2014
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Welcome! I can't add anything to the advice you have been given.

We had a huge Hymer at one time and it was sheer luxury - but once on site we didn't use it to nip to the shops or whatever as we can with our smaller new-to-us van.

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sedge

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Well, we had a 2009 Bessacar E435 (or was it 425?) from new for over 3 years, and NP at all.

But when you view S/H vans you do the same as you'd do in a S/H caravan, have a good clod-hopping walk with extra heavy footsteps all over the floor everywhere - if it feels at all soggy or doesn't bounce back in the expected manner - don't touch it with a bargepole.

Same as the upholstery and bed - bounce on em. Sit down heavily wherever you sit whilst viewing.

Really it's no different to caravan buying in those respects.

Then you have to also do the things you would do and try, were you buying a Fiat Ducato/ Peugeot Boxer etc , white van.

If you are happy with both parts, then Hoorah !

Bessie wasn't well insulated, and we did wreck our sink tap because the water wasn't drained quite well enough over winter. (wasn't our fault really as it happened) Most of the problem was actually the single floor, with the water pipes and tanks sort of 'exposed' underneath. But using it in spring summer and autumn really wasn't a prob. We also went round Somerset one week in November once, it snowed for about 3 days - and it was fine! Though we were on EHU all the while. The EHU was about the only thing that wasn't frozen solid on the CC site in Minehead LOL

As it happens, no vans are that well insulated round the walls and roof (unless you build em yourself) whatever nationality they are - you are living in a metal box, after all. Esp when you are used to double cavity brick walls, cavity wall insulation and central heating!
 
Feb 24, 2013
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Hello Gav and welcome

Slightly cheeky question, as you have been open enough to put your age on your details I can see you are at the younger end of the members on here

Will you and your other half both be planning to drive?

Do you both have the C1 entitlement on your licences to drive over 3.5T?

I think the rough rule is passed test before 1999 OK, after check carefully

David

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OP
GAVLAD
Jul 31, 2014
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Hi David

It will be just me driving as I have an LGV licence so driving this size/weight motorhome will be ok on my licence.
It's been a while since someone's made me feel youthful - I can see you & I are going to be great friends!
 

Cal54

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Apr 25, 2014
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I can only reinforce what others are saying, having changed vans numerous times the layout is the most important aspect. I have downsized from an Autotrail to a van conversion and now know I have eventually got it right. The number of owners isn't a major issue, most are exchanged because the layout was not suitable. Unless you are a DIY/mechanical genius I would deal with a reputable dealer who gives a good warranty and isn't too far away from home. Don't make the same mistake I did by buying from a well known dealer 150 miles from home just because I got a great trade in price. Not worth the hassle when the after sales is crap!!!

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Caramammal

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Jul 29, 2014
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I know nothing as im a newbie myself (and at the start of my MH recon mission) but during a chat with the dude at Spinneys, he was saying the tags aren't welcomed at some sites, it's common for site owners to think they're travellers vans and will wreck their fields (we were asking about the Autotrail Arapho). The scout, which is the same-ish layout was recommended and is actually my fave layout so far.
 

Goronwy

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Apr 29, 2014
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Have you considered a LA Strada Nova with Mercedes sprinter base,fixed bed at back,underneath garage big enough for a scooter/ motorbike.
 
Aug 6, 2013
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Self, wife, & two dogs occupy my motorhome (Hymer B584). It's our third MH after 20+ years of caravanning. I can only state what I like and don't like and why - might help your decision process:

A class for the drop-down bed - I use the drop-down and my wife uses a side single.
Front lounge so I don't waste the cab area and the best seats in the van
Bathroom with a separate shower
No rear bedroom because it's to drag around with me - it both lengthens the van and compromises living space.

Things that I don't need: more than 3 belted seats; a rear garage.

The advice I'd offer is buy your first van with one eye on residuals because unless you are very lucky it won't be the one you really want. And you won't know what that is until you've had a motorhome for a season or two.

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maz

Jan 26, 2011
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I know nothing as im a newbie myself (and at the start of my MH recon mission) but during a chat with the dude at Spinneys, he was saying the tags aren't welcomed at some sites, it's common for site owners to think they're travellers vans and will wreck their fields (we were asking about the Autotrail Arapho). The scout, which is the same-ish layout was recommended and is actually my fave layout so far.

As the owner of a tag axle, this comes under the heading of 'urban myths' - to put it politely. :rolleyes:

Presumably Spinneys have a Scout for sale but not an Arapaho ..........
 

Vlad The Impaler

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Apr 22, 2012
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I've got an Autotrail and love it,however if I were to change I'd go European.
Purely due to the fact that when my kids are older I could take it skiing,if I wanted too,or camp in a field on a crisp frosty morning without worrying about frozen pipes.
It's all about how and where you think you will use your van,with a British one you tick a few boxes whereas a European one ticks them all !
As said the most important thing is layout , despite what some have said ,there are European vans that give the build quality with English layouts.Have a look at the Eura Mobil range they offer everything from tags to small vans and A class as well.
Happy hunting!



Vlad
 
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