Worried about new van (1 Viewer)

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Nov 6, 2013
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We are thinking of trading in our Autotrail Tracker for something with a fixed bed. However, a FB van with a decent lounge area seems to be around 7 mtrs.
I am used to driving and parking my van which is only 5.9 mtrs.
I am not worried about driving this length but would ask all you experienced motorhomers if 7M causes a problem in small towns or supermarket car parks?
I know many of you drive much longer than 7M and would love to hear from you.
Thanks
John.
 
Nov 25, 2014
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Since 2006
Our Euramobil is 8.1 metres long & I've never had any problems parking in supermarket car parks. It tends to be easier to park in small towns rather than cities but we usually manage & just have to walk further. We're about to collect our new Carthago M Liner which is just on 9 metres but I don't expect much difference. Height is often more of a problem.
 

Gellyneck

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Jun 5, 2014
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More than toes wet now!
Just moved from a c12m towcar \ caravan combination to an AT Savannah.
So far, no problems. Just be wary of the tail end swinging out as you make a tight turn.
Would also suggest you have a reversing camera on the back.
 
Jan 24, 2010
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Our is a 7m, maybe be a little more selective but other than that...no probs
 

motorhomer

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We had 7+metre vans for years and would have said that there were few serious issues.

But this year following some health issues we decided to downsize to make travelling as easy as possible. We bought a 6.4 metre van conversion and it really is easier to drive and park. The biggest difference is because its narrower. Much easier on some of UK narrow roads. Previously in some car parks if we could get in at all we really needed 4 spaces because the van was both longer and wider than most spaces.

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Feb 24, 2013
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Bolsover, Derbyshire
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not long enough
Ours is 8m, no real problems other than supermarket car parks where we tend to take up at least 2 bays and even then are more or less on the bay markings

We would always aim for the quietest part of any car park, but in light of recent posts am now more concerned about getting 'fined' for not parking properly in bays

Other then that, grounding has been a minor issue mainly on Scottish ferries and a couple of tight turns on camp sites
 

CWH

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Jan 29, 2014
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We got our first MH just a year ago, approx 7.2m, and because of the places we want to go we're seriously considering downsizing to 6m despite the financial loss that would entail. Because so many people are now looking for 6m and under, there are some really nice new MHs at this length with drop-down beds which are the next best thing to a fixed bed - no construction or bed-making to do. Small towns & supermarkets not really a problem with the 7m as others have said, but very rural roads can be narrow and twisty and we aren't really comfortable with it in parts of Cornwall where we live (no passing places) & n-w Scotland.
 

camocam1

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Moved up from 6m to 7.5 in the summer and spent 2 weeks in Cornwall with no real problem with the length
Our biggest problem was the width as its 2.4 + mirrors.
We check with one retail park who have barriers for entry that we could get in ( no height restriction) gave them the width and they said no problem
Turned into the road to the carpark and we had 1" either side with mirrors folded to get through the barrier that was scary
 

wingman

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Feb 10, 2013
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I moved up to 7.5m from 6 ish. I'm being honest here; when I went to pick it up, I thought "Christ! That's bigger than when I fist looked at it". I'm not inexperienced, but the biggest problem that I find is the rear overhang. Not just when getting used to it, but all the time! The van you are looking at seems to have a similar rear.

When making any turn, you really have to watch the rear. Reversing is less of a problem, but going forward, you can't just 'turn'. The rear on mine seems to pivot on the rear wheels and really swings out. I remember almost taking the front off a Merc on the opposite pump when pulling out of a tight petrol station in France! It's even possible to side-swipe something with the rear when negotiating tight narrow roads and corners. As supermarkets have been mentioned, I'm sure you know that you will have to pull forward enough to clear the rear swing.

I guess the HGV and RV drivers on here will probably think my experiences are daft, but I find it's easy to forget the rear when occasionally distracted.

Another point to remember is that some ferry companies charge more for a longer vehicle. BUT, all of this is out-weighed by the extra room and comfort that a larger van affords.

Hope this helps?
James

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MikeD

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Dec 21, 2011
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We have a tracker FB and yes we do have a few problems with its length. But not really in the UK but in Spain and France.

Some of the sites the pitches are a bit tight on some of the sites.

But something nobody ever mentions regarding the Trackers are their height. At over 3 mtrs you often get hammered on the toll roads.
 
Dec 10, 2013
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Ours is just over 7 metres long and I must admit having never driven a motorhome before last year I found it quite daunting. Now after driving it for 18 months it doesn't bother me, as said on here just be aware of the overhang when you are alongside anything and take care when turning left so you don't cut the corner.
 
Dec 24, 2009
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2009 previously a tugger for thirty years
If you are on an autoroute in France not sure about any other European countries and the toll is anything other than class 2 press the help button and tell the operator camping car they usually alter the toll without delay to class 2 HTH.

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OP
OP
Baycott
Nov 6, 2013
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We have a tracker FB and yes we do have a few problems with its length. But not really in the UK but in Spain and France.

Some of the sites the pitches are a bit tight on some of the sites.

But something nobody ever mentions regarding the Trackers are their height. At over 3 mtrs you often get hammered on the toll roads.
The one we are thinking of Mike is the Swift Bolero FB which is a low profile so shouldn't have the height problem. It was mainly the access and parking problems I was interested in but as so many are this length and beyond you guys seem to encounter very few problems.
Thanks for all your replies.
John.
 

JockandRita

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Aug 2, 2007
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Since May 05 (Ex Tuggers).
But something nobody ever mentions regarding the Trackers are their height. At over 3 mtrs you often get hammered on the toll roads.

If you are on an autoroute in France not sure about any other European countries and the toll is anything other than class 2 press the help button and tell the operator camping car they usually alter the toll without delay to class 2 HTH.
Mike, I concur with the advice given by trophychap above. I wasn't aware until I too was advised and tried it. That's why I use the credit card booths, rather than the manned booths, on the few ocassions we have had to use the Peage.

Cheers,

Jock.
 

funflair

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Dec 11, 2013
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I moved up to 7.5m from 6 ish. I'm being honest here; when I went to pick it up, I thought "Christ! That's bigger than when I fist looked at it". I'm not inexperienced, but the biggest problem that I find is the rear overhang. Not just when getting used to it, but all the time! The van you are looking at seems to have a similar rear.

When making any turn, you really have to watch the rear. Reversing is less of a problem, but going forward, you can't just 'turn'. The rear on mine seems to pivot on the rear wheels and really swings out. I remember almost taking the front off a Merc on the opposite pump when pulling out of a tight petrol station in France! It's even possible to side-swipe something with the rear when negotiating tight narrow roads and corners. As supermarkets have been mentioned, I'm sure you know that you will have to pull forward enough to clear the rear swing.

I guess the HGV and RV drivers on here will probably think my experiences are daft, but I find it's easy to forget the rear when occasionally distracted.

Another point to remember is that some ferry companies charge more for a longer vehicle. BUT, all of this is out-weighed by the extra room and comfort that a larger van affords.

Hope this helps?
James

Hi James

If you have a large overhang on 7.5 metre van it will swing out more than our 8.5 metre as we will be on a longer wheelbase. And to answer the OP as others have said in car parks you will need two spaces or an outside spot with somewhere to hang the back over, if we park up in town we pay for two spots.
Only experienced grounding the tow-bar once and that was somewhere quite extreme where we should not really have been, grounding is as much a height thing as it is overhang so it depends on the chassis.
 

Judge Mental

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Sep 2, 2009
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Possl 636 FR panel van
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Moved from a 6 to 636 m panel van camper this year and we certainly notice the difference, with touring parking being the main issue. I know it dont sound much, but we have a fancy swing out bike rack as well which adds up to approx 6.8, when with last van if a car could get in to a spot we could..........

So no more parking in tiny quaint Tuscan hill town car parks. Just means have to park further out and cycle in, but do miss the convenience.
 
Apr 12, 2010
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Weinsberg Cara
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8.4 mtrs long and 3.4 mtrs high. Have had no problems when driving along, it makes little difference. Parking on some sites can be a problem. 8 mtrs seems to be the preferred length for some site pitches but I always seem to fit it in somehow.
Phil

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TerryL

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Mar 5, 2010
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The one we are thinking of Mike is the Swift Bolero FB which is a low profile so shouldn't have the height problem. It was mainly the access and parking problems I was interested in but as so many are this length and beyond you guys seem to encounter very few problems.
Thanks for all your replies.
John.
We've got a Swift Bolero FB, chosen to give us the room we wanted for "extended" touring. Would agree with most of above i.e. watch the swing when making tight turns; need bigger spaces, often 2 or even 4 in some supermarkets. Never had a problem with grounding.
Our only consideration sizewise is, as has been mentioned, in towns and cities. Unless there's dedicated parking finding an off-road space can be virtually impossible - but we get round that by choosing campsites/aires near public transport and use that. It's actually quite fun and usually a lot cheaper than parking charges (fines?).
We put up with it 'cos we felt plenty of internal space was our priority.
 
Oct 24, 2013
446
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6yrs ish!
Just changed from 7.5mts. to 8.8mts only noticed a slight difference when driving, but conscious of the extra length. Not tried supermarket or site parking yet, that's all to come !!!!!
 

Jackyboy61

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Jun 6, 2014
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The one we are thinking of Mike is the Swift Bolero FB which is a low profile so shouldn't have the height problem. It was mainly the access and parking problems I was interested in but as so many are this length and beyond you guys seem to encounter very few problems.
Thanks for all your replies.
John.
Hi we have a Swift Bolero FB I find no problem with driving it the only thing to watch when turning out of say a petrol station or parking bay just watch your tail end in case you side swipe anything that's parked near you it's (Mirrors ,mirrors move off slowly or get the other half to watch and guide you out)
 

Minxy

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Aug 22, 2007
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As you already have a MH of the same manufacturer why not have a tootle out in it and 'pretend' you have the bigger one and drive/use it as if you had and thus compensate for the extra length/overhang ... it will give you some idea at least.

Another option, which is one which we used in the past when looking at a larger MH, is to think carefully of the places we'd been to and imagine being in a larger MH then and deciding if it would have stopped us from doing the same thing ... if so and we didn't want that restriction then it wouldn't be any good no matter how nice it was.

We went from a 5.5m coachbuilt to a 7.2m approx coachbuilt which was a BIG change! However we had decided that it would do what we wanted at the time and kept it for 3 years until we decided that something a bit shorter (6m) would be better for the way we wanted to use a MH then, similarly we changed again to our current campervan over 2 years ago which is still 6m long but being around 25cm narrower is much more suitable to our use nowadays.

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Minxy

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Aug 22, 2007
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Another thing to look out for is when you are turning right or left off the main road into a side road, that the impatient idiots behind you don't try to go down your side as you turn the other way and you 'wap' them with your rear overhang! We'd never done it but came close!

In a nutshell, it's not just the extra length when going in a straight line or parking, its the extra length when turning and this is what hubby found most 'annoying' of all and made driving stressful at times.
 

Movinon

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Feb 1, 2012
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7 metres is no problem, no problem at all. Breeze down the motorway, glide into CPs. Easy peasy.

But.... when you make a mistake in that small town you arrived at by the backroads, find yourself going down a narrowing side road with parked cars and you really need to turn around, or find yourself hemmed in by others after a nice lunch in that enticing waterside restaurant, or on a narrow country road find it suddenly blocked for road works, you will perhaps have cause to reconsider.

The longer the motorhome the greater the internal comfort at rest and the greater the external limitations on the move. It doesn't really matter what others say, their views will tend to reflect how they use their motorhome. The question is, how do you intend to use yours?
 
Aug 6, 2013
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Another view? Go for an A class and forget the fixed bed. I know this is a minority opinion but I just can't understand why fixed beds are so popular. It seems to me like dragging an extra 4 or 5 feet of MH around that can't be used as living space - and suffering reduced lounge space as well. :imoutahere::D
 

Movinon

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Another view? Go for an A class and forget the fixed bed. I know this is a minority opinion but I just can't understand why fixed beds are so popular. It seems to me like dragging an extra 4 or 5 feet of MH around that can't be used as living space - and suffering reduced lounge space as well. :imoutahere::D
With a fixed bed one person can lounge up front - work or watch TV - whilst another can get an early night or read in bed. Otherwise I tend to agree with you, it just depends what your priorities are. Flexibility or maneuverability.

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