Worth the extra?

Tino11

Free Member
Jul 24, 2014
32
12
Funster No
32,532
MH
Nowt Yet! -Van Conversion
Exp
virgin newbie!
Hi Funsters,


Virgin poster, so be gentle with me! upload_2014-7-24_15-36-37.png(y)

I'm considering a PVC if I get the chance to accept a redundancy package. It won't be a massive amount but will hopefully leave me with £15-20k to spend, including the van.

If I do accept the package and get the funds then my use of the van would be full time, I would be homeless and joblessupload_2014-7-24_15-36-37.png. :cry: My intention would be to (once it's finished) ship the van to the USA (about £1k) and tour the US, Canada and possibly Mexico for 6 months or more.

So as well as needing hot water and heating, I would also need to use it on hook up (I don't even know what half these terms mean :D) but with the need to switch it to USA hook up (if that's possible). Plus any more mods I may need for use in the USA (all appliances and TV/audio etc would be standard UK).

I really want a rear u-shaped lounge, that is a must for me. As is a shower that is not part of an all in one wet-room. I don't mind the shower being in the same section as the toilet and sink but would like it to have it's own separate screen. I have seen a pro PVC that had the shower tray in the walkway with slide out screens which I thought was a good idea.

I would like it to feel as roomy as possible and not cluttered (hard in a PVC I realise).

Anyway, on to an actual question! upload_2014-7-24_15-36-37.png:)

I've decided I would go for one of the X250 Citroen/Peugeot/Fiat vans as they offer the best width, which I feel is important in a PVC. What I'm wondering about is if I should go for the XLWB (L4) over the LWB (L3) and if I should go for H3 over H2. I'm not bothered about the length of the van outside making it harder to park etc, I'm more bothered about if the extra space internally would be worth the extra cost.

According to;
http://www.helpfindmea.co.uk/vans/specs/the Citroen Relay (for example) L4 internal load length is 4070mm whilst the L3 internal load length is 3705. The difference in height between H2 and H3 (regardless of length is 2172 compared to 1932.

The difference in price for a used L3 H3 van with less than 70k on the clock compared to an L4 H3 is about £2k so quite a lot of money, which then eats in to the budget.

Bearing in mind I will only be able to do very basic parts of the conversion myself so will need to pay for favours and tradesmen do you think the extra length is worth the extra outlay?

Thanks :D
 
Sep 16, 2013
1,110
1,201
North Wales
Funster No
28,132
MH
Van Conversion
Exp
Since 2006
If it's just for yourself I would say the 6m is fine, I've stayed in mine for a few weeks whilst working (with my dog who isn't small) and it's been fine.

Not sure where you are in the UK but it might be worth having a chat with Terry on here if building the van isn't something you feel comfortable doing yourself.

There is also a forum called sbmcc which is just about self building - I couldn't have built my van without their help.

Welcome by the way :happy:
 
OP
Tino11

Tino11

Free Member
Jul 24, 2014
32
12
Funster No
32,532
MH
Nowt Yet! -Van Conversion
Exp
virgin newbie!
If it's just for yourself I would say the 6m is fine, I've stayed in mine for a few weeks whilst working (with my dog who isn't small) and it's been fine.

Not sure where you are in the UK but it might be worth having a chat with Terry on here if building the van isn't something you feel comfortable doing yourself.

There is also a forum called sbmcc which is just about self building - I couldn't have built my van without their help.

Welcome by the way :happy:
Hi,

Thanks for the reply, I saw the photos of your van on one of the other threads and I've read your blog, I really like what you've done with your windows and lounge etc so I'm hoping to do somwthing similar.

I'm in Newcastle but if I do get the van I'm willing to travel to get help! :D

Do you know how much you spent in total doing yours? (not including the van price)
 
Sep 16, 2013
1,110
1,201
North Wales
Funster No
28,132
MH
Van Conversion
Exp
Since 2006
I haven't worked out exactly what I've spent but I would guess about £10k.

It can be done a lot cheaper, in fact I spent about £1000 building my last van, but I wanted this one to be a very high spec (especially the electrics).

To give a rough idea where the costs are in my van I would guesstimate:

Windows and Rooflights £1000
Insulation and panelling £600
Heating and Plumbing £2000 (Truma Combi 4E most of the cost)
Kitchen £500
Front Single Seat £170
Building Furniture £1500
Rear Lounge Seating £400
Fridge £750
Electrics £2000
 
OP
Tino11

Tino11

Free Member
Jul 24, 2014
32
12
Funster No
32,532
MH
Nowt Yet! -Van Conversion
Exp
virgin newbie!
Thanks Wissel,

I'd like a good spec too, but I know you have a lot of computer stuff etc, I'd just be taking a laptop and smartphone, although I'd want at least a good wifi signal and for it to work in the USA too!

Would you say 6-8K would be a sensible budget for a nice conversion?

Sorry for all the questions! :D
 
Sep 16, 2013
1,110
1,201
North Wales
Funster No
28,132
MH
Van Conversion
Exp
Since 2006
WiFi antenna is not expensive, mine was £50 odd.

6-8k is very doable if you can build yourself or have good mates :)
 
OP
Tino11

Tino11

Free Member
Jul 24, 2014
32
12
Funster No
32,532
MH
Nowt Yet! -Van Conversion
Exp
virgin newbie!
WiFi antenna is not expensive, mine was £50 odd.

6-8k is very doable if you can build yourself or have good mates :)
Thanks Wissel (y)

Looks like I'll have to call in a few favours etc, one of my mates owns an electrical wholesale business so I should get all the cables, sockets etc for free and the appliances cheaper at least.
 
Jan 26, 2010
493
727
Conwy, North Wales
Funster No
10,092
MH
Panel van conversion
Exp
Since 2007
May also be worth your while in looking at saving the shipping costs out and buy in the USA. You could consider shipping back to the UK when finished or sell it to come home?
 

Terry

LIFE MEMBER
Dec 27, 2007
11,312
6,790
South yorks
Funster No
1,075
MH
C class
Exp
Since 2001
Hi look at the link below (y) everything inside is new total cost inc van is around 11k :)5 weeks ish to build (prob do it in 3 poss 4 if it had not rained so much -you can of course do it cheaper using second hand parts etc --
USA etc your electrics won't work as they are all 110 v not 240v -
USA best to make your van self sufficient with Solar etc that way you won't need hook up etc so does not matter where you are IN THE WORLD -tv won't work, so again either music or get a USB 1 TB unit and load it with lots of films etc to take with you but make sure the tv plays from the USB :)
All these things cost more than standard things but for your wants you need them
terry
 
Sep 16, 2013
1,110
1,201
North Wales
Funster No
28,132
MH
Van Conversion
Exp
Since 2006
You would also be able to charge your electrics by running your engine.

For TV just stream it on your laptop. Also, if you have Netflix in UK it will work in USA.
 

DBK

Jan 9, 2013
13,247
20,911
Plympton, Devon
Funster No
24,219
MH
PVC, Murvi Morocco
Exp
2013
I suggest put your cash in your pocket and go to the States and buy a second hand RV, they do small ones which you could then ship back here if you wanted. My worry is if you take a European van across, especially if it is a few years old, you could have real problems supporting it. Also, any mains electric gadgets will be the wrong voltage.

But, and its a big but, you will only get a 90 day visa for the US and nipping across into Canada for a spell doesn't mean you can go back for another 90 days. Fine if you want to split your trip 50/50 between Canada and the US, but not if say you wanted to spend longer in the US. You can get longer visas but I doubt they will grant you one if you are unemployed. Sorry. :cry:
 
Last edited:

Terry

LIFE MEMBER
Dec 27, 2007
11,312
6,790
South yorks
Funster No
1,075
MH
C class
Exp
Since 2001
Hi DBK has a good point :D I have never heard of anyone taking a MH to the states only importing them from there to here :)Knowing the Yanks there will be no end of loops to jump through ;)
terry
 

Minxy Girl

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 22, 2007
18,728
18,612
E Yorks
Funster No
149
MH
Globecar Campscout
Exp
Since 1996
Hi and welcome. Quite apart from what has been said about the van, have you considered the costs involved in insurance, health care etc for when you are in the USA (assuming you get a visa)? Also the implications of living in a van full-time once you return to the UK which I assume you will! What would you do if your van broke down, or you were ill etc ... it is one thing to do this as an extended holiday but quite another to do it with no job etc to come back to.
 
OP
Tino11

Tino11

Free Member
Jul 24, 2014
32
12
Funster No
32,532
MH
Nowt Yet! -Van Conversion
Exp
virgin newbie!
Thanks for all the replies. (y)

My initial plan was to just go out there, buy one and tour round in it, however you need a US address in order to buy a vehicle, this can be achieved though by getting a US mailing address, other Brits have done this. However the main problem is that the majority of US Motorhomes/RV's are well over 3.5t which is the limit for my driving licence. I'd also be getting something older for my budget too.

If I don't find a nice US chick to settle down with I'll have too ship the van back so a UK spec one would be better :D

I do have the option of buying a used coachbuilt here and shipping it over, but again it would be something a bit older (although newer than something in the US probably).

In terms of the VISA, I had a quick chat with the US embassy and everything is on a case by case basis, but they did say a 6 month VISA was possible, perhaps with a seasonal work permit so I could get temporary jobs to support myself. A vehicle can be waived for 90 days with extensions, again on a case by case basis. Obviously if I got the redundancy money I'd get the VISA and vehicle waiver confirmed before getting the van and getting the conversion done.

I'm surprised nothing about the electrics can be done, I've read sites about brits who have imported their RV's, all with USA electrics, when back in the UK, all the US stuff is left but a new board etc for UK stuff is installed plus sockets. I would have thought there would be someway of having a dual hook up, although obviously it would cost ££££££.

Solar power will have to be the way forward for that I suppose.
 
OP
Tino11

Tino11

Free Member
Jul 24, 2014
32
12
Funster No
32,532
MH
Nowt Yet! -Van Conversion
Exp
virgin newbie!
Hi and welcome. Quite apart from what has been said about the van, have you considered the costs involved in insurance, health care etc for when you are in the USA (assuming you get a visa)? Also the implications of living in a van full-time once you return to the UK which I assume you will! What would you do if your van broke down, or you were ill etc ... it is one thing to do this as an extended holiday but quite another to do it with no job etc to come back to.
Hi,

I've looked in to the insurance and it actually isn't too bad and I have included it in my overall trip budget. I would also look at extended travel insurance, again not as bad as I thought and would be included in my trip budget. In terms of the van, that would be a bit of a gamble, although the van I would buy would be 3 - 4 years old, with less than 70k on the clock but more like less than 50k. I have a few friends who are mechanics (one on lorries) so It would be given a good check before I set off. These vans can last over 400k so I shouldn't face any problems.

The whole trip is a gamble so I have to take a few risks :eek::D
 
OP
Tino11

Tino11

Free Member
Jul 24, 2014
32
12
Funster No
32,532
MH
Nowt Yet! -Van Conversion
Exp
virgin newbie!
Hi look at the link below (y) everything inside is new total cost inc van is around 11k :)
Hi Terry,

I can't get the first link under your post to work, it seems to go to an error page. I've looked at van on your own website, nice work (y):).
 
Jan 25, 2013
720
9,598
Dorchester, Dorset, UK
Funster No
24,414
MH
Tribute T620
Exp
Since 1991
Unless things have changed much from 2009/2010 when I toured for 6 months in a fifth wheel it was impossible to register and insure it in my name as I was not a US citizen or a student and had no social security number. Believe me, I tried, and it was only the goodwill of American friends who registered in their name was my trip possible. Also, a Uk licence will be OK but insurance will be considerably cheaper if you can take a driving test over there to get a State licence. I did not, but it looked very Micky Mouse and almost " roll up and give it a go". I would not even consider taking my own van over there as there is no spares back up at all for "foreign" vans and the distances you cover are huge!
I wish you well - and helpful American friends are almost essential!
 

DBK

Jan 9, 2013
13,247
20,911
Plympton, Devon
Funster No
24,219
MH
PVC, Murvi Morocco
Exp
2013
You have obviously already done a lot of research on this and I wish you the very best on the trip. Is the 3.5T limit on your licence solvable, or is there a health/eyesight issue? (Not our business but if it is just a case of a few lessons and a test this could save money).

Of course you could ditch the whole plan and stay in Europe! Or buy a push bike and do the trip that way. Having read a discussion on this recently on a cycling forum you would want to set aside two years to cycle from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. It can be done in a year but the consensus was this didn't leave a lot of time for sightseeing!

On a more ambitious scale this Dane is now in his fourth year cycling around the World:

http://www.cyclingtheglobe.com/2014/07/day-1405-patacamaya-la-paz-settled-slopes/
 

Minxy Girl

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 22, 2007
18,728
18,612
E Yorks
Funster No
149
MH
Globecar Campscout
Exp
Since 1996
What about a demountable and a pick-up? They are popular in the US so more than likely fairly cheap and no doubt easy to sell on afterwards ... just an idea.
 
Apr 27, 2008
7,844
5,143
Eastbourne East Sussex
Funster No
2,327
MH
A Class
Exp
Since 1972
A US RV can be used in this country on ehu by means of a 240v to 110v transformer. I would assume it would be possible to get one the other way round to use a European MH in the US.
 

PP Bear

LIFE MEMBER
Apr 5, 2013
3,780
9,470
UK
Funster No
25,395
MH
Coach Build
Exp
2012
http://www.xor.org.uk/travel/index.html

http://www.motorhomelifers.co.uk/#

http://www.livinginamotorhome.co.uk/Living-in-a-Motorhome-2011.html

I also pondered the thought of taking my motorhome across to Canada. Having served there a number of times in the Army, I love the place. Didn't like the stories I read and heard about the damage and theft that seemed to occur when you export a vehicle over there.

Seems you arrive at the docs and hand over the keys to the vehicle and from all accounts it gets passed from pillar to post. Stories I heard were damages to vehicle and breakins so kit missing :(

Of course you file it with port authorities, but everyone blames everyone else for the occurrence. Not sure what the answer is to that problem, or even how often it happens. Not scaremongering, just passing on what I heard so you can make due considerations.

Try looking at the links above. First 2 are from travellers and might contain some useful info.
Last link is from a guy who just got fed up and moved full time into an old Swift Konleaky and his adventures. The blog is a few years old now, but a good read. If you come across the story of the 2 soldiers in Malaysia it's yours truly and my mucker.

Just thought they might help in your planning and good luck on your adventures :)
 
OP
Tino11

Tino11

Free Member
Jul 24, 2014
32
12
Funster No
32,532
MH
Nowt Yet! -Van Conversion
Exp
virgin newbie!
Unless things have changed much from 2009/2010 when I toured for 6 months in a fifth wheel it was impossible to register and insure it in my name as I was not a US citizen or a student and had no social security number. Believe me, I tried, and it was only the goodwill of American friends who registered in their name was my trip possible. Also, a Uk licence will be OK but insurance will be considerably cheaper if you can take a driving test over there to get a State licence. I did not, but it looked very Micky Mouse and almost " roll up and give it a go". I would not even consider taking my own van over there as there is no spares back up at all for "foreign" vans and the distances you cover are huge!
I wish you well - and helpful American friends are almost essential!
I know the mailing address trick definitely works for registering a vehicle, but only certain companies and certain states are used to the paperwork. I know taking the US test does make a difference to the insurance but being able to take the test is difficult without a SSN, although I think it's possible in Texas.

Yes the US driving test is supposed to be very basic compared to a UK one! :D
 
OP
Tino11

Tino11

Free Member
Jul 24, 2014
32
12
Funster No
32,532
MH
Nowt Yet! -Van Conversion
Exp
virgin newbie!
You have obviously already done a lot of research on this and I wish you the very best on the trip. Is the 3.5T limit on your licence solvable, or is there a health/eyesight issue? (Not our business but if it is just a case of a few lessons and a test this could save money).

Of course you could ditch the whole plan and stay in Europe! Or buy a push bike and do the trip that way. Having read a discussion on this recently on a cycling forum you would want to set aside two years to cycle from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. It can be done in a year but the consensus was this didn't leave a lot of time for sightseeing!

On a more ambitious scale this Dane is now in his fourth year cycling around the World:

http://www.cyclingtheglobe.com/2014/07/day-1405-patacamaya-la-paz-settled-slopes/
I don't think I've ridden a bike since I was about 15! I'm far to lazy to be honest!

The 3.5t licence issue is just because I passed after Jan 1997 so don't automatically have the C1 entitlement. I am a confident driver but I've only driven an xlwb van a few times so would need a bit more experience of something a bit more lorry like I suppose. There are courses over 2-5 days but prices range from £600-1500.

But it would give me a lot more options, including even greater future employment options. It's something I may have to seriously consider.
 
SMC Motorhomes Newark
RoadPro
Johns Cross
Safeguard Motorhome Insurance
Rhino Installs
Friendly professional service from qualified technicians
Free Club Stickers
Dave Newell Leisure Vehicle Services
Top