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My Autosleeper Symbol

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My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by squip on Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:47 am

My A/S Symbol
As the first, ans so far only Symbol on the forum I though I would tell you a bit about my Symbol, why I bought it and what I think of it.

Our Symbol is 7 years old and I have owned it for almost the last 6 years. It is our first and only motorhome.
It is the ES [extra seat] model which means that it has a fourth passenger seat. I did not specifically set out to buy the ES version but when you buy used you get what looks to be the best buy. The advantage of the ES model is that in addition to the passenger seat the driver's seat also swivels.That means that with both front seats swivelled they become part of the lounge and make the lounge bigger. Also, both front seats can be used to watch the tv if required.

When we bought the 'van we knew very little about motorhomes or really what our needs were. I am glad to say with the six years experience we now have that we got it right and this is the van for us. So often people buy their first motorhome and soon after sell it at great loss because it does not suit their needs. Perhaps this is what happened to the first owner of our van.
We wanted a small van so that we could travel to out of the way places [we can go anywhere white van man goes] and also so that we can keep it on our driveway and still sneak the car past it and into the garage. I find it a great advantage to have the van at home as I am often out fiddling with it or servicing it. Some people think that small panel vans are just for weekends away. That is rubbish. We often use ours for a month at a time without problem.

It has bathroom with a shower and toilet which was a criteria when we bought it as we need to access the toilet at night and there was no way I was going to a toilet block in the middle of the night. However that turned out to be far more important than we realised at the time because we use Aires in France and stellplatz in Germany and sometimes wildcamp in Scotland so a bathroom is essential.
Another thing we are pleased to have is an oven. Some motorhomers do no want an oven but we often use ours for meals and also for baking part baked bread. It is also used as a store whilst travelling.

We also like having the sliding door at the side of the lounge [patio door we call it] as you can almost be part of the outside whilst being still in the van if the door is open.

Problems
none with the base vehicle. I service it annually myself and apart from tyre a battery and a precautionary cambelt last year that is all it has needed.

conversion The major thing that failed in the conversion was about 18 months ago when I discovered a small crack in the shower base. However AutoSleepers had a new one in stock so I bought it and had them fit it at the Willersey service dept. They did an excellent job.
There have been other problems of a more minor nature which I have been able to fix eg broken fresh water drain tap, fridge difficult to light on gas and the grill performing poorly.

Modifications made
1) I have fitted a Nature Pure water filter. It took me a long time to decide on where it could be fitted and how to access the water pipe needed but I am glad to have it when on aires etc. I do not doubt the quality of water anywhere but on aires etc I am never certain that someone has not shoved the tap into their toilet cassette to rinse it so this is some safeguard.
2) I have made and fitted a book case. We always carry a lot of books both reading and nature reference books.
3) I have removed the wire mesh storage basket under the n/s rear seat and replaced with a selection of plastic crates/trays from the pound shop. This allows much more to be stored in this area.
4) I have repositioned the switch for the electric water heater from inside the cupboard below the oven to a more accessible position. In the cupboard it could often be inadvertently be knocked on by the saucepans we stored there.
5) I have re-wired the cab radio to the leisure battery and got rid of the 20 minute cut off feature.
6) I have individually fused various circuits to give more flexibility

things I would like to be different
1) the gas locker only holds 1x4.5kg and 1x7kg cylinder. It would be better if it could hold 2x7kg but I can see this is not possible
2) The leisure battery is 85ah which I think is barely sufficient. I would like a 110ah one but the battery is fitted under the driver's seat and there is not space for a larger one particularly with the way the battery securing brackets are fixed.

Overall
I am delighted with the Symbol and with my one particularly. If I were able to buy another van it would be a Symbol, Stratford or a Warwick but I would need to win the lottery for this to happen. As I do not play the lottery [I would not know how to] there seems to be little chance that I shall have a new van. However, the important thing is not what you have but what you do with it. We spend many weeks per year in our van and get a huge enjoyment from it. all good

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by Cruising Comet on Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:03 am

That is a lovely looking Symbol Squip :big thumbs up

Love your story all about it, can relate to much of what you say, some of us don't want big motorhomes, convenience of parking was the reason we didn't want a bigger motorhome, although we do find space inside tight at times (especially with dog on board) but hopefully we will get used to that as time passes, our last few trips away made us realize you have to have a sequence to do things, for example in the morning the missis takes the dog for a walk while I put the bed and bedding away and put the kettle on :grin: all good fun

A Symbol oe Duetto would have been our alternative choice but we opted for the Trident because of the VW badge, always wanted a VW split screen camper but worried about the reliability so the T4 was the most reliable and obvious choice, but I do like your Symbol very much all good

Be nice to see some inside pics? having an oven on board must be a real luxury :D

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by squip on Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:56 am

Glad you like the 'van CC. I must say that when we were looking to buy a van we were looking for one a bit older and therefore a bit cheaper than the one we have. But when we saw that one which was as new we seriously stretched the budget and bought it. No regrets now though.
I have added a couple of pics of the interior.

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by stevomar on Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:17 pm

Hi Squip

You seem as enthuiastic about your van as CC and I feel about ours !! I too can relate to many of the things you've said particular the bit about getting what you think is the best buy. I had a a look at a Symbol at Brownhills at Newark and was sorely tempted but the lure of VW won over in the end. The extra room would have come in handy but we've developed a routine in our smaller Trident and along with an awning and outdoor living we cope. We bought our van from a 75 year old couple who'd had it just over a year and had never camped in it as they found it too restrictive at their age - One day that might be me !!!

It's good to hear you had a good job done on the shower basin by AS - Everytime I've had dealing with them over the phone the people in the spares department have been most helpful

I also like the way you've done little mods to suit your needs when on the road - Was it easy to rewire the radio to the leisure battery ?

Cheers

Stevo



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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by Cruising Comet on Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:00 pm

stevomar wrote:It's good to hear you had a good job done on the shower basin by AS - Everytime I've had dealing with them over the phone the people in the spares department have been most helpful

Yes I'm interested to know more about this too Squip, did you take your Symbol into AS and leave it with them or did you hang around to watch? how did you find them? Guessing you dropped it off, then perhaps went into Broadway to look around?

We were in the Cotswolds last season and didnt realize just how close we were to AS headquaters, shame as we could have called into parts dept and get a few bits and pieces and find out what stripes etc they have, might well do this when we are next that way :)

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by squip on Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:46 am

Folks,
Shower tray:
The tray cracked when we were in France in September '09. We we got home I rang A/S who said they had a new one in stock and that as regards fitting it they liked that sort of work in the winter after the summer rush. So I bought the tray and A/S kept it for me and I booked the van in with the service deptartment for November.
We left home early on the day of the appointment and arrived at A/S around 7 to 7.30 am. We had no sooner stopped the engine when we were approached by an A/S service employee who knew my name and why I was there. We gave him the keys and went upstairs in the works to the rest area. There were magazines there and a coffee machine. By around 12.30 the job had been completed entirely to our satisfaction and we were on our way. First class.

Radio
My van has a Peugeot base so may be different from yours. I have added below my circuit diagram. The dotted lines represent the wiring that is removed/disconnected. The relay [I believe that you can use a diode but I happened to have a spare relay in my garage] I fitted behind the radio next to the indicator flasher relay which is accessed by removing the clipboard. The leisure battery is fitted under the driver's seat so I ran a wire down through the dash area, under the carpet and into the underseat area. I added a line fuse there. The switch is illuminated and is fitted to the casing around the base of the gearknob where it is in view from most places in the 'van.
When the swich is normal the radio is operated through the "ignition" switch so that if the radio is in use during travelling it is switched off when the engine is turned off and cannot be inadvertently left on. To use the radio when camping the switch is put "on" with the light being a reminder to switch it off when finished with.

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by stevomar on Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:58 am

Hi Squip

Thanks for the info about the radio - I feel a little project coming on

Stevo

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by squip on Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:43 am

Stevo,
One thing to bear in mind is that your radio may be different to mine. Mine is the standard Peugeot/Fiat/Citroen fitment which cuts off after 20 minutes of use. My mod removes this problem as well as connecting to the leisure battery. If your radio does not cut off after 20 minutes then the red & blue/yel wires may well be different for you.
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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by SpongeBobSquarePants on Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:10 am

:goodpost!: nice read there squip 8)

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by Dago on Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:49 pm



We had the same trouble when we got our Symbol in 2007.
Being a 2005 model, it was fairly straightforward to take a live link straight from the leisure battery and bypass the ignition switch.

Now that we are moving up to an Executive, I guess we will have to carry out the same process again.
At least it will be much easier to get to the leisure battery :lol:


Last edited by Dago on Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by Zozzer on Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:21 am

Hello Everyone.
Our Symbol is a 2003 model based on the Peugot Boxer. We bought in 2006 after I take volentory redundancy, and given the state of my health I also snatch a portion of my pension.
My first introduction to the world touring was as a 7 or 8 year old back in the 1950's when one of dad's workmates used to take us all for days out in his Commer campervan which he had loving built himself. I loved all those little trips out dreamed of getting one of my own. It was sheer bliss sitting in the back with packet of crisp and bottle of pop with a straw in, all laughing and joking.

Having grown up (a little) I'd started work, and got my a motorbike and eventually I got hooked on going to motorcylce rallies up and down the country. After the bikes had gone, I continued camping with the family for a number of years. Then one day in 2005 being a bit of a bird watcher, my wife and fancied going up to the Farne Islands to see the Puffin. So off we went on speck nothing booked in advance. We arrive at a particular hotel which had a Vacancies sign. We went inside to enquired, it's £100 a night for the both of you. My head is screaming inside "HOW MUCH, I only want a bed, not shares in the place.". Being late evening we took it, but forget.

2006 came, the redundancy and pension cheques were in the bank, and we decided to start looking around and asking advice. Then one Saturday, we decide we would drive down to Spinneys at Holmes Chapel, then up to Todds at Preston to see what they had. I reminded my wife "WE ARE ONLY LOOKING", arriving at Spinney's we had look around, and spotted
a nice little Symbol with only 7,000 miles on the clock. I was tempted, very tempted, "It's just what we need" I say, "Small to fit on supermarket carpark, or travel down narrow country lanes the big motorhome can't get down. We both kept looking at the van then at each other then at the price. but we didn't really need any pursuiding my the salesman, It was our destiny we were mean't for each other. With not even a been in my pocket, I told the salesman I have it. He said don't you want to test drive it. ? Suppose we should, should we. Arriving back from the test, I said "Wont be long I'll just nip home for my cheque book". As I walked away his face sank, possibly think oh another time waister. 50mile round trip and I return with cheque book in hand, the salesman jaw dropped, and I approached, I jokingly said "Bet you didn't think I would come back" Having bought the van we travelled home up the M6 feeling very happy, with a tinge of "What have we just done." Then my wife reminds me "I thought we were only looking".

Some 45,000 mile on, we can honestly say it is the best purchase we have ever made, and wish we could have done it much sooner in life. The salesman always speak on our occaisonal vists to Spinney's, "Been anywhere nice recent" he'd say, to which I'd "Now I've told before this van was bought for touring , not polishing". We love touring Europe and so ventured to (A),(B),(CH),(CZ),(F),(FL),(D),(I),(L),(NL),(SLO),(PL). This year we are hoping to add Slovakia and Hungry to the list of countries visited, that will of course depend on what is going to happen to the price of diesel.



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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by stevomar on Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:08 pm

Hi and welcome to the Forum Zozzer

That was a great read and one many of us can relate to - When we started "looking" I would willingly have have parted with £30k and bought a Symphony at Brownhills Newark within 10 minutes of getting there ! It was only my wife who reined me in and we waited a couple of months till we got our Trident

Cheers cheers!

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by squip on Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:54 am

Hi Zozzer, welcome to the forum. It's good to have another Symbol owner on board.
I wonder how many of us spent more than we intended/could afford on our 'van. We certainly did but have no regrets at all. Best thing we ever did. lolflag

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by chrisvesey on Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:02 am

Hi,
I also have a 2001 Symbol on the pre facelift petrol van and agree with most of what people say, we sleep across the van and leave all the extra cushions at home. We use two mattress toppers, a quilt and find these fit nicely under the settee with room for a couple of pillows. Auto sleeper fitted an extra worktop which drops down to lay against the toilet wall and we also had the latest mixer tap fitted as it's drip free. We noticed that later vans didn't have the top lockers split horizontally with two doors each and a shelf dunno I agree that fitting controls in the bottom locker so that you have to get on your knees to change the water heating was not a design masterpiece but everything else is pretty good. I have found no problem with the Petrol engine apart from 23mpg but is better in my opinion than the 1.9 diesel of the same age which seems to struggle at times, also the petrol is not penalised in London as it does not qualify for the LEZ. The gearbox suffers from water dropping onto it from the scuttle drain and entering through the breather, modifying the drain hose cures this however. Difficult gearchanges and speedo failure are a result of water in the gearbox (which I found the hard way) and so I NOW :roll: have mine checked or changed yearly, also Peugeot now recommend a thinner gearbox oil to "give easier gearchanges", on my van it made gearchanging really heavy and I have reverted to standard oil. Our first van was A Holdsworth Vista Lowline which we bought from a dealer when we went in to buy a bulb! it was really nice apart from having to use the front seats as part of the bed so when we saw the Symbol it was P.X.ed rapidly,
Regards,
Chris

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by squip on Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:25 am

Welcome Chris - yet another Symbol owner.
I think that from about 2002 onwards the gearbox was different and does not suffer from water ingress. The later gearboxes have reverse gear selected by moving the gearlever forward and left.
My van has the horizontally split upper cupboards. We find that one of the narrow ones can accomodate 5 plastic tubs to contain tea, coffee and sugar etc. I haven't got the extra worktop as I cannot see how to get behind the sidewall of the washroom to secure the worktop fixings through the plywood.

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Drop down shelf

Post by stonemarkate on Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:51 am

I absolutely love our Symbol and refer to it as "my wendy house on wheels" but the addition of an extra shelf across the rear door would be wonderful as I enjoy cooking (the oven is the reason we chose the Symbol) and could certainly use more work surface. Please give instructions so I can get my husband to fit one before we go off again at Easter. The technical stuff doesn't interest me at all but if there are any ladies or men out there with tips for daily living in the van then post away....

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by chrisvesey on Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:07 am

Hi,
Autosleeper actually make and fit a worktop that is fixed to the washroom wall and springs up when in use. The previous owner utilised the small table in a similar way with plastic fittings on the bathroom wall for it to rest on and a couple of blocks under the table to stop it sliding off. Be aware that when the bed is made up you need to have the worktop folded as you can't get past the bathroom door to open it and it won't swing open enough far enough for you to get past, I found this out the hard way and seem to remember a certain amount of sniggering while I cursed :lol:
Regards,
Chris


Last edited by chrisvesey on Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:09 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: My Autosleeper Symbol

Post by Cruising Comet on Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:54 am

chrisvesey wrote:Be aware that when the bed is made up you need to have the worktop folded as you can't get past the bathroom door to open it and it won't swing open enough far enough for you to get past, I found this out the hard way and seem to remember a certain amount of sniggering while I cursed :lol:
Regards,
Chris

Made me laugh that Chris larf

Good to see several of you Symbol owners here agree3

Oh, and welcome to the forum Chris & Stonemarkate wave

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