Deposit paid on Medallion

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Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by circa75 on Mon May 16, 2016 8:49 pm

Hi all,

Having just posted my newbie Hello message, just thought I'd post something a bit more substantial.

So I've recently paid a deposit on a 1998 VW LT35 2.5 TDI AS Medallion. My first motorhome in adult life (the family had a couple of campers when I was a kid, Bedford and VW). It has full service history, 60k miles, great overall condition for the age. It's from a reputable independent dealer here in the NW, so I may be paying a little over private/eBay valuations and feel I may not have haggled enough, but out of his 60+ stock and my price range this one stood out as being an honest, very well looked after, solid example.

The LT35 drives well (though it could use a bit more power being only 101bhp – anyone had an ECU upgrade on their vehicle?) and comes with 3 months parts/labour warranty. Of course, it was above my price range and yes I agree – why didn't I look to buy in January rather than May?! Doh.


I'd like to make a start by asking you rare breed of Medallion owners (or AS owners in general):

– what bits of advice can you offer regarding this model; any specific issues, faults, quirks I should be looking for before handing over the sizeable balance due and driving this thing away?
– what MPG do you see, or how much to fill up and how many miles for that?
– are there any modifications or upgrades you recommend (ECU chip, airflow meter etc)?


One concern/doubt I do have now the deposit has been paid is that the Medallion is too big a vehicle to start with, not practical in a flexible, driving here, there, wherever the wind blows kind of way... My hunt started out for a Trooper, Trident or Clubman but then big brother showed up in the right half of the country for me, and reduced the need to travel far and wide in search of that elusive needle in the haystack. On vehicle size, is bigger actually better or would something smaller be more appropriate/usable to start with?!

Another slight niggle is the rarity of these things, built from 96-99 I believe, the number made must be low due to the tiny number now on sale – one in the country now this one is off sale... I hear slight alarm bells regarding cost/availability of parts etc, and fixability if things do go wrong. Yes, it's a Mercedes Sprinter underneath but it's still an 18 year old VW engine/gearbox Sprinter. Any opinions on age/rarity being a problem would be great.


Apologies for the ramble, will leave it there for now (though my head is full of much more!). Your experience and advice to a newbie like me would be much appreciated and welcomed.

Thanks in advance and look forward to your replies.
J
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by roli on Mon May 16, 2016 9:18 pm

You are right there wasn't many made, mostly on VW chassis with a small number on Mercs
It is a large van but I have never heard anyone complain about handling or stability, many owners hang onto them as there is nothing quite like them.  Regarding spares, the VW stuff should be ok and much of the habitation equipment was shared with other models.
IMO they were a nice van which should give you a lot of pleasure.
Which dealer did you buy it off ?

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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by circa75 on Tue May 17, 2016 1:30 pm

Hi Roger,

Thanks for your reply. I found the Medallion at Motorlands, close to Lytham/Wrea Green – lovely area. I'm sure people on here know much more about dealers than me, but the father/son running things there really know their stuff and seem genuine. Very unsalesman-like, you can wander around their 3 lots without anyone hassling you, which is great

Anyone here had experience with them?

They source some comparatively older vehicles direct from the bigger/main dealer trade-ins (there are a few in the area). The Medallion came from Marquis. From my experience with them so far, I'd recommend them.

Some interesting stuff on sale too – I was very tempted by an LHD Hymer B654, a bit old for me on a 1993 and even bigger than the VW, but great kit and still going strong.

Think I may have overdone things with my first post above, too many questions in one post but can't edit it down now. Will aim to post shorter, more specific things in future. Less rambling ha.

Cheers.
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by mikejack on Tue May 17, 2016 10:12 pm

We also have a vw medallion had it about 4 years now its just done 40k miles and is still like new. Never had a problem with it have gave it a good coating of ml3125 from here as i hope to never have to weld it like my last older vw lt. Only parts i have had to do was standard service parts and the timing belts and exhaust centre box. Parts are easy to find ebay/eurocarparts/gsf or micks garage. First thing i got after driving mine home was the blind spot mirrors that mount on top of the standard mirrors i got them direct from a merc dealer same price for the pair as vw wanted for 1. I had spotted that one on ebay as i like to see how much they are going for. Here is ours 
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by mikejack on Tue May 17, 2016 10:30 pm

Forgot to mention never found the need to up the power mines the 2.5tdi and it cruises at 70 and can go quicker if need be. I have read on other forums our ecu is too old to be remapped.

Mike
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by dbroada on Wed May 18, 2016 11:42 am

When I saw VW LT35 my brain immediately thought of one of these
  
Sorry. content

When I got my first van I thought "its too big! I can't take that anywhere". I then checked the dimensions and realised it was actually smaller than the Granada I had at the time. We are now much bigger with a LWB Hi Top Transit.  There are places I would rather not go but in reality it can go just about everywhere. I am sure you will soon feel the same about your LT35. Transits, Sprinters etc. can be seen just about everywhere and although mikejack's photo is of a slightly longer van it is not as big as many motor homes you see about.

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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by mikejack on Wed May 18, 2016 12:46 pm

I had the early lt35 like the one in your picture dbroada for about 10yrs it was my daily driver never let me down could park it in any car parking space. The medallion is slightly wider than a panel van and maybe the same length as a lwb panel van. You just learn to park the overhang over the edge of the carpark if possible or take up 2 spaces. The rear hab door can get blocked in on carparks if people park next to you but you can still get in via the cab.

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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by circa75 on Thu May 19, 2016 9:44 am

Thanks for your replies guys, much appreciated.

It's good to hear positive experiences from a Medallion owner. The vehicle is currently undergoing MOT, habitation check, valeting, think I pick up in a week or so... Hoping that my experience is a positive one too, and I've made the right choice going for something a bit bigger to start with. Time will tell. :)

The blind spot mirrors is a good tip, I'll look around for some prices. Will also post back any info I get on the ECU remap.


Mike: did you apply the ML3125 yourself or have a garage do it? If yourself, how did you get underneath?!

I've "schultzed" a few old car chassis over the years (motor trade upbringing) so not afraid of getting my hands dirty.

Yours looks and sounds spot on Mike, low miles and like new is a rarity indeed. Stand very proud don't they. Have you ever had any issues with the clutch or gearbox?

The cam/pump belts were done at 59k (900 miles ago) by Fuller Leisure, with a thorough service book/stamps, which is always a big plus.
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by Slaphead on Thu May 19, 2016 5:31 pm

I have a 1999 Medallion on a 2.9L Mercedes Sprinter base.  I have owned it for 16 years and never been tempted to change it.  Not too big to take into supermarket car parks etc. but big enough to be very comfotable to tour in.


http://illiweb.com/fa/pbucket.gif?sort=3&o=0

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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by mikejack on Thu May 19, 2016 8:45 pm

Did the rust proofing myself drove it up onto the leveling blocks to do chassis. Injected it into all the cavities and stripped most of the cab plastics and roof lining out to get into all the cavities. Striped the bumper off and all the lights to get in everywhere. The backs of the wings don't have much paint on so made sure they where well covered and door cards off. They are very easy to strip, never had any issues with the gearbox or clutch. I plan on keeping it for many years so wanted to give it as much protection as i could.

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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by circa75 on Sat May 21, 2016 11:07 am

Slaphead (great username!): 16 years ownership, it must tick all the right boxes for you. The Mercedes has more power and is chain driven isn't it, pretty much bullet proof if looked after aren't they.

Mikejack: sounds like a very thorough job you did there, not much chance of rust getting to your chassis! I'll see how things go and may consider it later if planning to keep hold.


To Medallion/AS owners of this era: after years of using your vehicles, is there anything you can recommend inspecting, any parts/appliances that break I should be aware of, an essential checklist of sorts for handover?

Just realised I didn't even look inside the external lockers, and I've already been to view twice! So many things to take in as a newbie. Will make another trip this week before pickup and payment.

The dealer says everything will be working as should, and will give me a walk through of all the kit etc working, would just be good to have any advice from you guys on anything I should be looking for...

Thanks in advance :)
J
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by Slaphead on Sat May 21, 2016 1:00 pm

Hi Circa 75,

"Slaphead" - ex Harley rider and no hair, hence the nickname!

The Mercedes has been pretty faultless and just last week had the exhaust from the box replaced for the first time.   Two exhaust centres said they could not get a side exit exhaust and were not interested.  The third I tried put the vehicle up on the ramp and discovered it was in fact a standard Mercedes rear exit exhaust that had been cut and a stainess bend side exit piece fitted by Autosleeper.  They simply cut the standard one to remove the tailpiece and clamped the bend back on as it was in perfect condition.  I was charged a very reasonable £60.  It was a local ATS workshop that carried out the work.

The Mercedes engine is great, bags of power, no timing belt to worry about and if you don't exploit the top end cruising speed, fuel consumption is not far off 30mpg.

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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by Pamponi on Sun May 22, 2016 12:00 pm

We have a Clubman but I'd love a Medallion!
A rare beast.
I bet you could re map it like I did.
Made a HUGE difference to both power/torque & fuel economy.
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by Pamponi on Sun May 22, 2016 12:04 pm

Pendle Performance are the guys to call.
Proper live re map tailored to your engine.
Had them do my work van too.
Ours was a 102bhp tdi, now has 145bhp & SO MUCH TORQUE!
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by circa75 on Mon May 23, 2016 9:00 am

Thanks for the advice Pamponi, I've heard Pendle recommended elsewhere where too. Will definitely give them a call.

Sounds like a great increase in performance you got there. I'm no boy racer but interested in a bit more power/torque for overtaking, hills etc.

Good tip on the exhaust/ATS there too slaphead.

Cheers.
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by Charliefarlie on Mon May 23, 2016 9:11 am

Congratulations on the purchase !  up!

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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by daisy mae on Mon May 23, 2016 2:32 pm

Hello and asof_welcome2 from Leicestershire, love the look of the medallion, have looked for one but they are thin on the ground . enjoy a great van. allthumbz allthumbz
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by circa75 on Mon May 23, 2016 4:12 pm

Daisy Mae/Pamponi (cute dogs in your photos!): the only Medallion currently for sale in the country is on eBay and autotrader motorhomes, think it's a private sale through motorhome depot... Around the St Albans area, 1 owner, very low miles, £17k... If you're considering a change from the Clubman!

I really like the T4 Clubman and feel it may have been a bit of a wiser choice as a starter van, but the layout/height in the Medallion is good (I'm above 6ft and there's plenty of room) and it's very light/airy in there too thanks to the big windows. But does that just mean more draughts and security risks?! Ha can't have it all can you.

Time will tell whether it's a suitable choice for regular trips and off grid/wild camping adventures. Of course, I'll keep you posted :)
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by daisy mae on Mon May 23, 2016 5:32 pm

Perhaps the Medallion wouldn`t be so good as an everyday vehicle in place of a car, as my Clubman is. Let us know how you find it.?

Happy camper
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by circa75 on Fri Jun 03, 2016 11:46 pm

Update: balance paid on Medallion.

So I picked up the Medallion (aka El Toro) on Wednesday, and it's big! Still kind of think the T4 Clubman might have been a better starting point for a few reasons, but there's no going back now! This may be a slow burn affection, rather than an instant passionate affair. But it's a genuine, excellent all round example for the age.

There are a couple of niggles you only find out once driving for longer spells than a test drive, but it has a short warranty and I know a couple of good mechanics, so we should hopefully get them sorted soon.

The habitation handover showed all components and bits n bobs in working order - impressively so considering the age. Just need to get out and test them for real sometime soon. Possibly with a bit of wild camping on Anglesey.

I've spent the last couple of evenings fine tuning my wax on/wax off expertise. Some serious wrist, shoulder and elbow grease later and the original gel coat is slowly transforming from a flat/dull plastic looking finish, to a very nice deep gloss shine. Another full side awaits me!

That leads me on to the pin stripe stickers! Bit of a shame to work hard and reveal some great bodywork, only to be let down by the 18 year old peeling, cracked, partly missing pin stripes/stickers. I'm all for authenticity but also tempted to heat and remove them, though daunted by the sheer length that would need replacing. And I know from experience that pin stripes are not easy to apply in straight lines! Also tempted to remove them altogether, just having the fibreglass and no stripes...  Sacrilege?!

Any advice or suggestions on what you've done with your stripes would be appreciated.

Leave it there for now.
J
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by Pamponi on Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:07 am

I spent a few days in the summer peeling my pinstripes off.
You then have to dissolve the adhesive that's left behind.
Takes ages & you need strong solvents.
Looks much more modern though.
You can have something cooler put on by a sign writer.
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by NORGIL on Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:46 am

Pamponi, do you have a pic of your van now the pinstripes have been removed. It would be interesting to see the ' more modern ' look, before I commit to having a go at mine. It's obviously catching on since you have done it and circa75 is thinking about it too.

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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by logburner on Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:12 am

Make sure that it is all transfer,and not painted stripe, with transfer pinstripe to finish it off, as was the case with my previous 1994 Trophy.
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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by NORGIL on Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:16 am

logburner, good point. I think the thick dark green stripe on mine is painted, while the silver and red stripes are stickers.

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Re: Deposit paid on Medallion

Post by circa75 on Sat Jun 04, 2016 2:24 pm

Pamponi: good advice there, thanks. Do you have a photo or two to share? What were the paintwork join lines (avocado/white, white/dark grey) like once you'd removed your transfers?

Upon closer inspection: all the pin stripes are transfers, the dark green background is glossy and resembles paint but is also a transfer. The join lines of the dark grey paintwork over the white of the cab/monocoque looks uneven and far from a smooth/factory finish (raised, a bit flaky in places, covered by transfers), otherwise I would be tempted to remove all the transfers and have none. 

Decluttering and cleaning up so to speak, though that idea may well be sacrilege to the purists!?

Realistically, I will probably leave it as is for now. I know there's another post on here where sign writer stripes are mentioned, would be very interested to see photos of anyone's stripe updates and hear how you did them.

Cheers.
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