Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

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Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by debhumberstone on Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:05 pm

Hi there, I posted recently that I'm on the look out for my first van (VW Trident or similar). I viewed one at the weekend which looked pretty good, but would like people's opinions and thoughts. I've copied the link to the listing below, and below are also answers to some questions I had.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VW-TRIDENT-AUTOSLEEPER-L-REG-11000-/272561013466?hash=item3f75e702da:g:c64AAOSwfVpYqEey

The van is in really good condition from what I could see. Underneath seemed sound - a bit of rust underneath at the back, around where the spare wheel is, but otherwise it seemed ok. It drives well, and sounds ok, though I'm no expert by a mile (or even several miles!)

The van failed its MOT last week, but they are putting a new MOT on the vehicle so assume the things it's failed on will be rectified. The van hasn't been serviced since they bought it, but that's only a little over a year ago. It was bought from a garage, and had full hab check and service when they bought it, and they have only done maybe 2000 miles since they've had it. I have seen the paperwork for this, and checked the online MOT history. 

The owner has offered to get the van serviced before selling, but is less prepared to negotiate on price if this is done, and £11K is really outside my upper spend limit.  I'm not sure if getting it serviced is necessary/sensible given it hasn't done much mileage since last done, but for security and peace of mind, I would feel better if it was serviced. What do people think about this?

Any thoughts generally would be much appreciated. I know with only £10-10.5K to spend I'm not going to get perfect, but want to be sure I get the best I can, and given I've not owned a van before, I'm still learning.

Really appreciate any help/advice. Thank you, Debbie.



On last mot the only advisory was a tyre needed to be replaced within 4 months --- I have replaced 2 tyres which means 4 new tyres in the last year
When I purchased the Campervan from B.T.A. Motors in Fareham they advised me that the CAMBELT was replaced by the previous owners in 2015.
There are no oil leaks and no work has been needed on the Brakes, Discs or Suspension as all work fine.
There are tiny rust spots only and no welding has been done as far as I know, the underneath of the Campervan has been sealed.
The Water and Waste pump work
There have been 11 previous owners in its life
There will be a gas bottle provided
There is no Porti Potti 
The fridge we have used with on-site electric and the leisure battery whilst driving but I have not used the the gas on the fridge but I will check it and let you know
The heating works fine there is hot and cold air but this drains the battery and we have only used with on-site electric
There is a good leisure battery installed which is charged with the main battery or a normal battery charger
There is only cold running water
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by KMRTOPAZ on Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:07 am

I would be inclined to offer £10K subject to a survey by AA or RAC. If it passes muster, then arrange the servicing after purchase.
It looks clean and your words above appear to be positive, but I think the asking price is a bit high considering the mileage.  Others may disagree with this comment !
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by -mojo- on Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:33 am

A 10k offer sounds reasonable to me, given the miles (which in fairness are probably close to average for a van of that age and not a concern in terms of wear) and more importantly the number of owners - 12 owners is a lot, even on a 1993 van, and there is always the worry that short-term owners skimp on maintenance, leaving the big bills for the next buyer.
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by biffobear on Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:00 am

I agree with the above on the number of owners issue so an RAC/AA check would be worth it. But it's how you feel personally about the camper. If it feels right for you then it probably is.  Go for £9,500. Face to face. Not on the phone. They can only say no. Take cash and tell them so. Being VW there is lots of meetings and advice out there and here so any problems won't be to hard to fix. The VW has the biggest members club for vans. I'm going to one of their meeting hopefully this year and I have a Mercedes Vito hugegrins  It's just that high ownership that is a slight concern. Check the VC5 for accident damage etc. let us know how you get on and good luck!
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by debhumberstone on Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:44 am

Thanks for this everyone :) I'm a bit puzzled by the suggestion of AA/RAC survey, as this doesn't seem to be an option - when I've put in the reg to organise this, they say they don't inspect vehicles over 15 years old! Am I missing something?
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by -mojo- on Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:47 am

I wasn't aware of the 15 year old limit, and I've reservations about AA/RAC inspections anyway. I had a bad experience with an AA survey a few years ago, but got forced into spending out on one when I bought my A/S Flair because the owner wouldn't let me drive it! I kept that van for 10 years with not a single problem, other than traditional Transit rust.

Personally I wouldn't offer below 10k, because smaller VW's are still very much in demand and the owners will probably hold out for more - even if they don't (eventually) get it.
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by rose49f on Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:51 am

It looks like it's been resprayed sometime but don't let that put you off. How did you feel about the sellers. Can you get someone who knows a bit about cars to go with you for a drive in it. Go with your gut feeling which I think says no or you wouldn't have asked for our opinion. You will find one soon. You could always ask a small motorhome dealer near you to keep a look out.
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by Greyhound on Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:26 am

I think it's quite expensive TBH.  I've seen Duetto's a few years younger recently with half the mileage for similar price.

Reasons for recent MOT failure:
nearside Rear reflector missing (1.5.1a)
offside Rear reflector missing (1.5.1a)
offside rear brake binding (3.7.B.1)
offside rear brake recording little or no effort (3.7.B.5a)
nearside Front position lamp(s) not working (1.1.A.3b)
nearside outer Front constant velocity joint gaiter damaged to the extent that it no longer prevents the ingress of dirt etc (2.5.C.1a)
rear Brakes imbalanced across an axle Axle 2 (3.7.B.5b)

If they are getting a new MOT I would check all this has been done, especially the brakes.

Also, the history is very odd.  They had a passed MOT in Feb 2016, but then had it re-MOTed in April 2016 at which point it failed.  Why would someone have a new MOT done 2 months after passing one?  Maybe accident damage and they wanted to get it re-done, hence the re-spray?

Personally I'd walk away, plenty of good examples out there.
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by -mojo- on Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:24 pm

Hmmm... that MOT record makes the seller look "economical with the truth" [Edit: actually perhaps it doesn't - the description is slightly ambiguous]. I would guess that the MOT in Feb 2016 was obtained "within the trade" when being prepared for a dealer sale - and then the new owners may have had suspicions that not all was right? Just guessing.

Yes, it's expensive, but if you have looked for a small VW-based camper, as we did last year when looking for a Trooper, there is big demand and so prices are high. Agreed, you will get more for your money looking for a Transit-based A/S - but you'll probably get a lot more rust too...

I think the reference to a respray is because the bumpers are body-coloured (which I don't think A/S models of that age were from the factory). That's not necessarily anything to worry about - dealers have taken to doing this on older vans to give them a more modern appearance.

I personally wouldn't get too worried about brake work having been necessary - it's common on vans of that age, and significantly younger. I'd be more concerned that the engine and transmission have been well maintained, because major work on either of those will make brake part replacement pale into insignificance!
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by rose49f on Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:23 pm

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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by debhumberstone on Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:31 pm


I asked about this one a while ago, but the feedback was steer clear as its MOT history shows excessive corrosion issues, and the same bits being patched up over and over! But thank you so much :) I'm keeping an eye out all the time, and am making a few more enquiries into the one I posted up here. The owners seemed like a very genuine couple, but as I've never owned a van before, I'm worried about making the wrong decision, and I'm newly on my own so don't have anyone to help me on that, so this forum is useful to get the thoughts of people who know what they're doing and have experience and knowledge I don't. Really appreciate everyone's help x
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by rose49f on Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:52 pm

One will turn up soon. I went to a dealer as I know nothing about mechanics and a least I got 6 months guarantee when I got my Trident. And I did love it. smile!
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by Onlysme on Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:10 pm

You can look at the mot history yourself at the following website, you just need the registration number and make:

https://www.check-mot.service.gov.uk/

It shows that it was put in for an MOT last week on 2nd March and failed for a few reasons, but nothing too serious. Rear brakes tend to bind with lack of use, and replacing them isn't too big a job for a competent DIYer or too expensive in an independent garage. Likewise the front CV joint gaiter.

VWs tend to hold their value more so than other makes of base vehicle as they have their own VW market as well as an Autosleeper market. That said I too would bid low and be prepared to go to an amount you feel comfortable with. The seller will have an amount they feel they have to get out of a sale and also an amount they would like to get. The advertised price is the amount they would like to get.. I wouldn't bother getting the current owner to service it, I would do that once you have the vehicle. That way you know its been done properly and not just an oil & filter change and leave the rest!!
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by Onlysme on Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:14 pm

As a thought, a bargaining chip for you could be that the current owner is advertising it as the 2.5 diesel engine which it certainly isn't. It is the earlier 2.4 diesel which is not as powerful and does not return the same MPG figures. This can be checked on the V5 which I'm guessing shows 2370cc. Nothing wrong with the 2.4 engine, but it feels old compared to the 2.5
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Re: Looking for advice/thoughts on this camper

Post by burlingtonboaby on Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:21 pm

debhumberstone wrote:

I asked about this one a while ago, but the feedback was steer clear as its MOT history shows excessive corrosion issues, and the same bits being patched up over and over! But thank you so much :) I'm keeping an eye out all the time, and am making a few more enquiries into the one I posted up here. The owners seemed like a very genuine couple, but as I've never owned a van before, I'm worried about making the wrong decision, and I'm newly on my own so don't have anyone to help me on that, so this forum is useful to get the thoughts of people who know what they're doing and have experience and knowledge I don't. Really appreciate everyone's help x
Have a look on the VW forums, I'm sure they have a classified sales section, also the CAMC classified adverts
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