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Post by yammy on Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:38 pm

I started with a 1990 Talbot Express Autosleeper which I had for 3 years and then decided to go for a fixed bed and bought a Bessacarr E560 second hand 6 months ago to see if I liked and could handle the size difference. Every thing is fantastic and having a fixed bed, twin settes and a BIG fridge is the perfect  setup IMHO. My aim now is to decide on my next van and I have always fancied the Autosleeper Broadway FB but I want the fully automatic gearbox ( but not the comfortmatic as Autosleeper are now doing if you specify when buying new on the Fiat chassis). Then Autosleeper answered all my prayers and produced for 2015 the new Autosleeper Malvern which I think is perfect. My only problem is that if you are going to spend nearly £70, 000  why do Autosleeper not include or make changes to the following:

5 really annoying points that need to be added or changed

1. Twin Armrests (perfect for driving and reading a book.... when stopped !!)
2. Corner shelf on each side of the bed (for drinks, glasses and mobile)
3. Room seperater (it is afterall a 4 berth)
4. All plastic shower cubicle ( for easy cleaning)
5. Main dining table is stored on floor underneath the bed.(you have to clear everthing out to get to it)


I could go on but it really annoys me that a van as expensive as this omits some designs that would make it so much more appealling or make life easier, I quess its just the little things but when you have been motorhoming for a while , these little things do count. I also think that Mercedes need to update their dashboard as I find it a little boring and very flat. Am I the only one who feels this way or are there others out there feeling the same way !!!? Please let me know what you think especially those who already have the new 7 speed gearbox and is it worth it ?  I am travelling around at mo so I am thanking everyone in advance for any replies. Cheers  Rob.
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:34 pm

1. Mercedes  do not design the seat to take 2 arm rests. They wouldn't redesign it for AS for such small numbers. Goo idea though.
2. My Gloucester 2011 has shelf each side of bed. Omitted on later models.
3. AS fitted curtain track to ceiling to some fixed bed models recently. this photo of later Gloucester layout shows it.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]"
4. Agree.
5.My Gloucester has small fridge next to sink with wardrobe over heater on nearside. This layout has dedicated narrow cupboard for table, with tv cupboard over. Don't know why they changed to the big fridge. with wardrobe on offside.

I would buy a Gloucester if I was you. allthumbz (Save £25K as well.)

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Post by Peter Brown on Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:40 pm

PLOUGHLIN wrote:

I would buy a Gloucester if I was you. allthumbz (Save £25K as well.)

Or the original Malvern - the current one is in fact a Broadway FB on the Mercedes chassis.

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Post by Liam on Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:05 pm

Rob, 
Regarding main table storage - I think you will find that the 2015 model has a slide out table storage wardrobe next to the habitation door which overcomes the issues associated with the under-bed locker you mention and which was completely unworkable. 
So far we have found no problems with the shower and it is very easy to keep clean.
On the question of the base vehicle design - there has been a lot of discussion in the forum on this issue in the recent past but suffice to say Merc dictate the standard of vehicle they will provide for the price that AS are prepared to pay. And the word standard being the issue here - because, if AS start offering base vehicles with lots of options then the draw down time from Merc production line becomes longer and less predicable. Also, I believe AS operate on the JITs (Just in Time) system as I understand they have to pay Merc on delivery of the base vehicle (unlike other manufacturers) - so keeping things simple and I guess the only variation would be chassis size.  
The only thing I would really have liked are the steering wheel controls which IMO would allow for safer control of the radio whilst driving - otherwise we are very happy with the internal configuration.
As to the 7 speed box - it is very good, almost seamless - all you notice is the rev counter dropping as it changes up through the gears - don't forget that you also have the option of manual holding it in a particular gear should you require.
I am sure you will not regret it if you decide to take the plunge with the Malvern!
Cheers,
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Post by yammy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:04 pm

Thank you Peter and Liam for your replies, I understand that mercedes and Autosleeper have to keep costs down but are they not putting potential customers off by not adding these things as when you look at the likes of Swift, Auto-Trail and Elddis etc they all have these things added already or are able to do a deal to fit them. Can the twin armrests be fitted on the Sprinter Cab ? Surely it wouldnt take much cost wise to add a couple of shelves either side of the bed !! Mercedes seem to be so concerned with safety, i would have thought that steering wheel controls would be up there .  

I do like the Gloucester but i also like a big fridge !!

cheers

Rob
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Post by yammy on Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:10 pm

Liam

Have you got the latest Malvern ? what sort of mpg would you expect ? I gather that the Sprinter does tend to wallow in corners compared to the Peugot equivalent ie Broadway FB. What were the main reasons you went for the Malvern?

Cheers
Rob.
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Post by Liam on Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:34 pm

Rob, 
Yes, it was manufactured this year (June 2014) at our special request (it was not advertised in their 2014 catalog) as we wanted a FB configuration on the Merc chassis  - but of course it is now in the A/S 2015 catalog!! 

Not checked the MPG - but it does not seem to be a guzzler! Suffice to say that the gaps between fuel stops is not alarming.

I think you will find the wallowing story is a bit of a myth (at least in my experience) - particularly as it has all of the necessary electronic stability controls (ESP, ABS, ASR, EBD and BAS) which make it rock steady to drive in all road conditions and all of which were factors in our buying decision.

We liked the slightly bigger chassis of the Merc as it gives you a few more inches all round in the accommodation and in particular the fixed bed area - if you compare the two specs.

The final driver for us was the higher engine BHP (greater flexibility) together with the 7 speed auto (I have had enough of gear changing) and of course the resultant higher user payload (548 kg - which is fine for our requirements) - so there was no need to get a weight upgrade and all of the consequent paperwork to have it re-plated.

Hope this helps,

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Post by Peter Brown on Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:06 am

Liam wrote:
I think you will find the wallowing story is a bit of a myth (at least in my experience) - particularly as it has all of the necessary electronic stability controls (ESP, ABS, ASR, EBD and BAS) which make it rock steady to drive in all road conditions and all of which were factors in our buying decision.

The wallowing is no myth on my 2011 model. On an unsurfaced road up to about 5 mph it rocks extremely violently! Above that speed it handles very well both at high speed in a straight line and on fast bends - super to drive.

The soft suspension also means that deployment of the steadies is necessary as moving around the van and high winds rock the van. If we are just overnighting on an aire we don't bother but at all other times we find the steadies necessary.

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Post by yammy on Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:48 am

Liam wrote:Rob, 
Yes, it was manufactured this year (June 2014) at our special request (it was not advertised in their 2014 catalog) as we wanted a FB configuration on the Merc chassis  - but of course it is now in the A/S 2015 catalog!! 

Not checked the MPG - but it does not seem to be a guzzler! Suffice to say that the gaps between fuel stops is not alarming.

I think you will find the wallowing story is a bit of a myth (at least in my experience) - particularly as it has all of the necessary electronic stability controls (ESP, ABS, ASR, EBD and BAS) which make it rock steady to drive in all road conditions and all of which were factors in our buying decision.

We liked the slightly bigger chassis of the Merc as it gives you a few more inches all round in the accommodation and in particular the fixed bed area - if you compare the two specs.

The final driver for us was the higher engine BHP (greater flexibility) together with the 7 speed auto (I have had enough of gear changing) and of course the resultant higher user payload (548 kg - which is fine for our requirements) - so there was no need to get a weight upgrade and all of the consequent paperwork to have it re-plated.

Hope this helps,

Liam
Liam
thank for the info, very interesting, I must admit I do love the idea of having a proper automatic as opposed to the comfort-matic on the Fiat as I gather that Autosleeper can supply now supply if pre-ordered with it (on Van conversions and Nuevo / Broadway) but I have heard mixed feelings about the "robotized" system.  Because motorhoming involves a fair amount of driving it must be lovely to sit behind a 163 bhp 7 speed auto. Just a shame they havnt got steering wheel controls.

cheers Rob.
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Post by yammy on Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:52 am

Peter Brown wrote:
Liam wrote:
I think you will find the wallowing story is a bit of a myth (at least in my experience) - particularly as it has all of the necessary electronic stability controls (ESP, ABS, ASR, EBD and BAS) which make it rock steady to drive in all road conditions and all of which were factors in our buying decision.

The wallowing is no myth on my 2011 model.  On an unsurfaced road up to about 5 mph it rocks extremely violently!  Above that speed it handles very well both at high speed in a straight line and on fast bends - super to drive.

The soft suspension also means that deployment of the steadies is necessary as moving around the van and high winds rock the van.  If we are just overnighting on an aire we don't bother but at all other times we find the steadies necessary.

Peter
Peter
thank you for your reply, i think most vans would rock violently if on an uneven road at 5 mph, i know mine can have its moments !! But i would hope that most of the driving would not encounter such roads too often  smile!

would you ever change back to a manual and do you have and info on the comfort-matic, i know there is no comparison, just alot cheeper !!
cheers
Rob
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Post by Jaytee on Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:11 am

Just a quick input as have the Merc 5 speed auto on the Winchcombe. I get a consistent 25 to 26 mpg, and I cruise at an 'actual' 65 (indicating 68). Usually have half water so reasonably heavy.
The five speed box is flipping awesome so the seven should be even more so. Would hate to go back to manual now.
I don't notice the rock and roll and rarely use the rear steadies.

I think the reason swift et al have the gizmo's is so they can sell the vans along with the leaks lol4

Agree, would like the little corner shelves for morning cuppa etc. Am going to fit some 'one day' confused3

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Post by Peter Brown on Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:19 am

yammy wrote:
would you ever change back to a manual and do you have and info on the comfort-matic, i know there is no comparison, just alot cheeper !!
cheers
Rob

'Ever' is a long time.

My main cars have been automatic (by choice) for 35 years (the latest one can switch between auto and manual) but all big petrol engines.

It was only about 20 yrs ago that they managed to get relatively small diesels to work sensibly with auto boxes in cars and about 10 yrs ago in light commercials, the 5 speed box in my van is super, indeed once run in (about 5000 miles) I would say faultless. It would be nice to drive one with the 7 speed box to see if I can detect any difference. All my previous vans have been manual so I've no experience of other 'auto' boxes in vans.

The auto box comes into it's own in city traffic and traffic jams and by choice I would have one, however if I wanted a new van today, AS do not have a configuration on a Merc that I would want so I would have to compromise on layout so may as well have a Peugeot manual and save the money.

Actually I think the most useful gadgets on the merc are the maximum speed limiter and the diesel fuelled auxiliary heater for the engine. I have steering wheel controls on both cars for the audio systems but as I don't use them that often and need to look at them (very dangerous) so I tend to use the dash alternatives. On my main car the cruise control is also on the steering wheel - I would much prefer it to be on a stalk as in the van.

Peter

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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:17 pm

I have the 5 speed auto in the Gloucester, but the 7 speed in my E Class. Whilst  the 5 is good and one of the main reasons I went for the Merc based van, the 7 speed is awesome, absolutely seamless. You won't regret getting it.

I have only had my Gloucester for 5 months but so far in 2500 miles it has averaged 26.5 mph, latterly towing a Smart on trailer.

I have the Auxillary Heater but haven't needed it yet. How much does it affect consumption?

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Post by yammy on Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:43 pm

Jaytee wrote:Just a quick input as have the Merc 5 speed auto on the Winchcombe. I get a consistent 25 to 26 mpg, and I cruise at an 'actual' 65 (indicating 68). Usually have half water so reasonably heavy.
The five speed box is flipping awesome so the seven should be even more so. Would hate to go back to manual now.
I don't notice the rock and roll and rarely use the rear steadies.

I think the reason swift et al have the gizmo's is so they can sell the vans along with the leaks lol4

Agree, would like the little corner shelves for morning cuppa etc. Am going to fit some 'one day' confused3
Hey Jaytee

thank you just what i wanted to hear, I am very keen to get back to an Autosleeper although at this moment in time I have a 2007 Bessacarr E560 (similar to Malvern) because i love the layout and it is leak free (at the moment) !!   content
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Post by yammy on Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:46 pm

PLOUGHLIN wrote:I have the 5 speed auto in the Gloucester, but the 7 speed in my E Class. Whilst  the 5 is good and one of the main reasons I went for the Merc based van, the 7 speed is awesome, absolutely seamless. You won't regret getting it.

I have only had my Gloucester for 5 months but so far in 2500 miles it has averaged 26.5 mph, latterly towing a Smart on trailer.

I have the Auxillary Heater but haven't needed it yet. How much does it affect consumption?

Very interesting as i have just got an A-Frame to tow my Smart car, hopefully wont make too much difference in fuel consumption. currently i get about 30mpg, havnt used the tow car yet as only had it for a couple of months allthumbz
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Post by Peter Brown on Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:25 pm

PLOUGHLIN wrote:

I have the Auxillary Heater but haven't needed it yet. How much does it affect consumption?

I suspect that if you only fired up the van for long trips, not a lot; but all year round I use the van at least twice week for 'shopping trips' of just a few miles and I like the fact that the engine gets up to temperature within half a mile even in freezing conditions but with that type of use you do notice the fuel gauge dropping much more rapidly than it would without using the heater - I have no intention of quantifying it!

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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:54 pm

Peter Brown wrote:
PLOUGHLIN wrote:

I have the Auxillary Heater but haven't needed it yet. How much does it affect consumption?

I suspect that if you only fired up the van for long trips, not a lot; but all year round I use the van at least twice week for 'shopping trips' of just a few miles and I like the fact that the engine gets up to temperature within half a mile even in freezing conditions but with that type of use you do notice the fuel gauge dropping much more rapidly than it would without using the heater - I have no intention of quantifying it!

Peter
I see from the manual, there are two types of auxillary heating, hot water or warm air. Do you know which is fitted? Is timer control available?

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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:59 pm

yammy wrote:
PLOUGHLIN wrote:I have the 5 speed auto in the Gloucester, but the 7 speed in my E Class. Whilst  the 5 is good and one of the main reasons I went for the Merc based van, the 7 speed is awesome, absolutely seamless. You won't regret getting it.

I have only had my Gloucester for 5 months but so far in 2500 miles it has averaged 26.5 mph, latterly towing a Smart on trailer.

I have the Auxillary Heater but haven't needed it yet. How much does it affect consumption?

Very interesting as i have just got an A-Frame to tow my Smart car, hopefully wont make too much difference in fuel consumption. currently i get about 30mpg, havnt used the tow car yet as only had it for a couple of months allthumbz
As we bought a nearly new Smart Cabrio, I decided not to fit the A frame, as it would invalidate much of the warrantee, so went for a Smart-Trailer, secondhand as the new ones are wider and wouldn't fit through the garage door, older ones  have 2mm to spare.

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Post by yammy on Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:16 pm

PLOUGHLIN wrote:
yammy wrote:

Very interesting as i have just got an A-Frame to tow my Smart car, hopefully wont make too much difference in fuel consumption. currently i get about 30mpg, havnt used the tow car yet as only had it for a couple of months allthumbz
i did think about a trailer but didnt have anywhere to store it so the a-frame fits nicely in the boot.
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Post by Peter Brown on Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:22 pm

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for info on heater follow link above.

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