Pre purchase worries and warranty issues

Dec 1, 2020
12
20
Oakham
Funster No
78,255
MH
VW T5
Exp
Newbie
Looking for some advice from you experienced funsters

I'm in the process of purchasing a used coachbuilt from a private seller.
The van is two years old, 7.5 meters long, made in Germany, low mileage and one owner. The layout and options are perfect for us and I went to view prior to this latest lockdown.
Unfortunately the owner has not been able to use the van for the last 12 months and it has been sitting uncovered on his driveway, a stones throw from the sea and has not been washed for some time, the interior looked well presented and no signs of damp (other than a couple of ill fitting/slightly warped doors). It has been plugged into EHU and batteries kept charged. The exterior did look a bit dirty but I expected that. He also has the heating on occasionally (I don't know if this is a good idea or not) !

I asked for a damp/hab check to be performed prior to purchase and have agreed a price to subject to test drive etc (which couldn't be performed at first viewing due to having no tax) with the aim of collecting the van once the damp/hab check had been performed and these current restrictions have been lifted.

The damp/hab check was performed last week by a mobile MCEA technician and several areas of damp were discovered. One area is around a window that doesn't concern me too much, the other area is at the roof/wall join in the living area where some readings of 20% - 30% were recorded.
Now the van has supposedly got 4 years water ingress warranty remaining however the seller has never been able to get any warranty issues sorted with the original supplying dealer so that's a non starter and he's also been unsuccessful with other dealers local to him, although this is possibly to do with the current lockdown.
I spoke with a dealer local to me yesterday and they said they couldn't help as their workshops are booked solid for the foreseeable future and they will prioritise work for vans supplied only be themselves - which I understand completely.

Seems I have two options :-

1. Contact the seller, explain my concerns and politely pull out of the deal. Repairs could be very costly, ongoing and frustrating. There will be other vans!

2. Don't worry too much as this van ticks all our boxes except the damp issues (which are possibly minor repairs) and these issues will be rectified fairly easily by a competent workshop. It could even simply be condensation! I appreciate the warranty is probably not worth the paper it is written on so will end up paying for any repairs myself.

My gut feeling is number 1 but welcome peoples thoughts.

Thank you
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
29,020
49,919
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 Dynamic Line
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
You say it's a German van as the damp check was not done by a dealer of the make it will have lost it's water ingress warranty therefore as damp problems can cost thousands to fix properly I would walk away.
You could probably get a new van in Germany for the same price as a 2 year old one here.
 
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Apr 27, 2008
9,269
8,381
Eastbourne East Sussex
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2,327
MH
A Class
Exp
Since 1972
I don't think that there is necessarily the much to worry about. If its not been used for 12months and we have had a lot of cold damp weather, it may just be condensation especially as the heating has been on occasionally which may make matters worse. I suspect areas of my van have much higher damp readings for the same reasons.
It would be useful for people to know the wall material and construction.

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Sep 26, 2011
3,046
6,456
Spalding LINCS
Funster No
18,300
MH
A Class Carthago
Exp
Since 2008
Well if the warranty has 4 years to run it must be a Hymer we had a Hymer never had any damp issues in 3 years but plenty of other issues mostly repaired by my self as the Nottingham dealers were pretty useless, my vote option 1
 
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old-mo

Funster
Extra Special
LIFE MEMBER
Oct 16, 2008
15,726
73,190
Bearpark, Durham or Northumberland. or Weymouth.
Funster No
4,470
MH
coachbuilt
Exp
Caravan & motorhome 45 + yrs
Just sold mine.... OK it was old...

No damp issues when I first bought it and a hab check a few weeks before viewing was OK... and me doing a quick check with damp meter the day I collected it and nothing showing at all..

5 months standing with no use at all and the ceiling was like a wet soggy sponge..

And that is on a Monocoque body..

Aerial and roof vent seals had broken down, just from sitting in atrocious weather..

Sold to a dealer, so he has a lot to fix...

Walk away..
 
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OP
Wadski
Dec 1, 2020
12
20
Oakham
Funster No
78,255
MH
VW T5
Exp
Newbie
I don't think that there is necessarily the much to worry about. If its not been used for 12months and we have had a lot of cold damp weather, it may just be condensation especially as the heating has been on occasionally which may make matters worse. I suspect areas of my van have much higher damp readings for the same reasons.
It would be useful for people to know the wall material and construction.
The walls are aluminium and the roof GRP. This is also my thoughts regarding condensation, just seems a big gamble though.....:cautious:

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Nanniemate

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Oct 1, 2019
1,299
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Wales
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64,882
MH
IH
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Owning my own a newbie
If your gut instinct is telling you to back out, you know what you should do, I think you want a little reassurance but you need to do the right thing for you.

The right van will come along don't buy because your desperate, or feel obliged to.

I was in a similar position just before Christmas with a house purchase, put an offer in because it was were I want to be but with the amount off work it could have ended up a money pit.

Luckily someone outbid me and I did not have to withdraw the offer. I still waiting for the right house to come along, as will your perfect van
 
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two

Aug 4, 2011
4,152
3,087
West Midlands
Funster No
17,624
MH
A-Class Fiat
Try 1(b):
Contact the seller and see if they are willing to put the problems right.
They ought not to be major but, if they are I'd walk away.
 
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OP
Wadski
Dec 1, 2020
12
20
Oakham
Funster No
78,255
MH
VW T5
Exp
Newbie
It would help if you said what the van is what the internal walls are.
I'm not sure, the manufacturers website says aluminum sandwich construction. I was hoping to get a lot of replies along the lines of "they all have a bit of damp so don't worry" - but I think I'm going to look for another van to be honest :cautious:
 
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Minxy Girl

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Aug 22, 2007
24,844
38,058
E Yorks
Funster No
149
MH
Carthago Cmpct i-138
Exp
Since 1996 we've had Elddis, Swift, Rapido, Rimor, Chausson MHs and Autocruise & Globecar PVCs
As already mentioned the vehicle no longer has a warranty from the manufacturer if the hab hasn't been done within the stipulated timeframe by an authorised person so you'd be buying it 'as is' and have to rectify any faults yourself which could be quite expensive and you'd then have difficulty selling it in the future too as most potential owners, and dealers, would either not be interested or knock a lot of dosh off the price.

Is it really worth the 'worry'? I wouldn't touch it personally.
 
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Apr 19, 2019
670
1,047
Funster No
60,021
MH
Carado T339
Exp
5 years
This is a tricky one. Any van that has been standing for a year in a humid atmosphere will have slightly damp spots. It could be condensation rather than ingress. They might be cold spots.

Saying that, if you have other choices then go for them. At the end of the day depends how much you liked it.

20% water content is not really really bad but 30% is starting to be very concerning.

Only other option would be to have a repeat and more thorough damp check once it has been aired a bit.

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Apr 19, 2019
670
1,047
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Carado T339
Exp
5 years
I just went out and checked ours. It's a 2year old German van too. It's a very cold day and perfect for condensation. The Isle of Man has high humidity and we are close to the sea.

On internal wood surfaces i am getting 5 to 8% which is good considering the atmospheric conditions. By the windows I am getting 10 to 15%. The highest reading was in the garage which was also 15%.

Last time I did them it was warm but wet. It was less than 5% everywhere. So my conclusion is that a one off test, if it's cold outside is not reliable.
 
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Apr 19, 2019
670
1,047
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60,021
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Carado T339
Exp
5 years
There’s plenty of vans around, walk away and find another, patience is the key.
That is one of the problems buyers have at the moment. There aren't plenty of vans about, they are hard to find. Look at the dealers forecourts, they are desperate for vans to sell.

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Apr 19, 2019
670
1,047
Funster No
60,021
MH
Carado T339
Exp
5 years
I'm not sure, the manufacturers website says aluminum sandwich construction. I was hoping to get a lot of replies along the lines of "they all have a bit of damp so don't worry" - but I think I'm going to look for another van to be honest :cautious:
You measure the damp at the nearest wooden part to the wall. The wall itself will show 0%
 
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Jun 30, 2011
4,782
8,301
Durham
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17,128
MH
Concorde Concerto
Exp
Since 2011
That is one of the problems buyers have at the moment. There aren't plenty of vans about, they are hard to find. Look at the dealers forecourts, they are desperate for vans to sell.
Well all the more reason not to buy at the minute then, wait while this crazy period is over, you can’t use the van anyway so just buy one then not use or sorn it? You still need insurance.

I think it’s crazy to buy now unless your dream van comes along.
 
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OP
Wadski
Dec 1, 2020
12
20
Oakham
Funster No
78,255
MH
VW T5
Exp
Newbie
I just went out and checked ours. It's a 2year old German van too. It's a very cold day and perfect for condensation. The Isle of Man has high humidity and we are close to the sea.

On internal wood surfaces i am getting 5 to 8% which is good considering the atmospheric conditions. By the windows I am getting 10 to 15%. The highest reading was in the garage which was also 15%.

Last time I did them it was warm but wet. It was less than 5% everywhere. So my conclusion is that a one off test, if it's cold outside is not reliable.
That's really good of you, thank you so much for doing this. Most of this readings were around/under 15%, it's the 30% on roof/wall that's most concerning. Yes possibly a one off and as the point in question is actually under the trauma heater it could easily be condensation. Like you say not much choice around at the moment. Such a dilemma as it's perfect for us in all other areas. The seller has indicated that he'll pay for repairs (although not done under warranty) so will effectively nullify the warranty but as there's no dealers able to do warranty work anyway I don't think it matters.
I'll sleep on it and call the seller tomorrow. Thanks again

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Jun 30, 2011
4,782
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Durham
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Concorde Concerto
Exp
Since 2011
The seller, once sold to you privately, may be non contactable then

He should get all the repairs done and sorted out BEFORE selling you the Motorhome.
 
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Apr 19, 2019
670
1,047
Funster No
60,021
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Carado T339
Exp
5 years
The seller, once sold to you privately, may be non contactable then

He should get all the repairs done and sorted out BEFORE selling you the Motorhome.
It's a strange thing to say though isn't it? If it's genuine water ingress how would the seller know what the cost could be? Unless they already knew.
 
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Jun 30, 2011
4,782
8,301
Durham
Funster No
17,128
MH
Concorde Concerto
Exp
Since 2011
It's a strange thing to say though isn't it? If it's genuine water ingress how would the seller know what the cost could be? Unless they already knew.
Regardless, a lot of people do sell knowingly damp vans and plead ignorance that they didn’t know. The OP knows before purchase here, now the seller knows there is a problem it could very very expensive to repair.
I say unless thorough further investigation is done walk away.

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Apr 19, 2019
670
1,047
Funster No
60,021
MH
Carado T339
Exp
5 years
Just out of curiosity, what damp meters do the professionals use.
Just posher ones I guess. I use a damp meter for my firewood. It was a tenner on eBay. However the results are 100% repeatable and I have checked it against a work one that cost £100s.

The technology is very simple, they are just conductivity meters. They measure the passage of electrical current from one electrode to the other.

The professional ones have longer remote probes and also things like a memory and even Bluetooth etc.

A small one off eBay is fine for just casual monitoring

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