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Post by forders Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:03 am

Hi everyone have just found this site and we ( my wife and myself) have been looking for a secondhand 2/4 berth motorhome / campervan for a few
months now, we are getting on a bit (64) , and we would love to give touring a try.
Everyone seems to rate Auto-Sleepers very highly and we've seen quite a few we like but we're unsure of what to look for as far as what chassis to go for, fuel economy, driving comfort, gremlins etc. The conversions themselves seem excellent but any tips would be greatly
appreciated .

Thanks in anticipation Forders
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Post by Admin Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:26 pm

Hello Forders

asof_welcome2

Hope you enjoy your stay with us smile!

It's always difficult to recommend vehicles as each owner is looking for something different, we have a large range of different vehicles types that members on the forum currently own so I'm sure you will get some feedback, otherwise have a browse through the forum sections to get a feel as there are quite a few discussions on different models.


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Post by deckie Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:06 pm


Hi and welcome Forders, wave

As Admin said, very hard to advise, i think most people compromise in one way or other ... best to take your time and

make lists of what you need or don't.

Regards Brian & Chris
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Post by CC Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:55 pm

Hi forders & welcome

Think the most popular Auto-Sleepers on the forum are Tridents & Symbols if you are after a camper van? Followed by Executives & Clubmans if a monocoque appeals to you?
Otherwise the Nuevo is a very popular choice and one of Auto-Sleepers best sellers I believe, but as already said it's a personal choice and most of us are probably biased towards our own vehicles smile!
If you have an idea of what kind of thing you are looking for? and an idea of your budget it's a lot easier to recommend something up!

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Post by roli Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:27 pm

Questions to answer between yourselves.

Panel Van Conversion or Coachbuilt

New or Used and how much to spend

then other questions

Space, Comfort or Economy

The VW based vans are by far the most economical to run, particularly the 5 cylinder diesels. They tend to be the more expensive to buy.

Fords are reasonable to run and spares should you need them are reasonable in price and widely available.
Pugeot vans are the run of the mill vehicles and Mercs are supposably the top of the range, but many on here including me would question this.

Will assume you want the convenience of a bathroom and not too big a van. Out of the current new range look at the Topaz or the Nuevo or Kemerton. On the medium sized vans there is the Broadway with a new model due out soon so exisiting stocks may be sold off at a lower price, similar situation applies to Nuevo.

If you are looking at used the Clubman, Executive, Talisman, Nuevo/Lancashire are also worthy contenders.

Take a couple of months looking at layouts and which would suit you best. Then choose a van and look at dealers.for another couple of months and dont rush into a deal. Its surprising what dealers will offer to get your business
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Post by Dutto Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:26 pm

Welcome from sunny Skegness.

"Getting on a bit." at 64??

My Mum moaned that the Doctor's diagnosis always ended with "Of course, you ARE getting on a bit."!! The first time she objected she had just turned 85 years old - the last time she mentioned it she was 98 years old; and pointed out to the doctor that, as he was soon due to retire, was he now "Getting on a bit?"!!!

We love our Duetto. We are 68 years old. Tomorrow we head off for France and Spain for the winter via a sailing rally in Chichester and visits to friends in Holland!

Best regards,

Dutto drinksallround
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Post by Ramblingon Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:39 pm

I can only tell you why I chose my AS Clubman GL -it was the classic reputation -the availability of spares-the reliability and comfort of the VW engine/cab, the unlikely event of water ingress as the monocoque GRP body was tried and tested,-the nice comforting look of continuous rounded edges and no aluminium edged corners just waiting to reveal damp!! up! good hunting.
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Post by forders Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:14 pm

allthumbz Well what can I say THANK YOU all for your useful comments I'll keep them in mind while we look.
Thanks again

Regards Forders
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Post by Ramblingon Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:00 am

I think it is also worth mentioning the possibility of an attempted fraudulent deal! quick_run Sadly campervan/motorhome sales are full of fraudsters -take watertight precautions when doing your deal.
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Post by deckie Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:58 am

Ramblingon wrote:I can only tell you why I chose my AS Clubman GL -it was the classic reputation -the availability of spares-the reliability and comfort of the VW engine/cab, the unlikely event of water ingress as the monocoque GRP body was tried and tested,-the nice comforting look of continuous rounded edges and no aluminium edged corners just waiting to reveal damp!! up! good hunting.

Hi Ramblingon, wave

Couldn't have put it better myself,

Brian
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Post by forders Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:03 am

confused3 Thanks for the heads up Ramblington I must say I'm a little bit out of my depth here, it's not like buying a car, there's a
lot more to checkout I'm going to stick to supposedly reputable dealers lol4( I'm a natural born cynic that may help ) in the hope that I
may get a good deal I know there's no guarantees and if I have any doubts I'll walk away. The problem is what to have doubts about
mechanically I'm pretty good, not so good with everything else, anyway thanks again for your concern.

Best Regards Forders
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Post by Wingnut Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:25 am

Hi Forders

We were looking for our first motorcaravan a few years ago after many years caravanning, and the advice from Roli (and others) is very sound! Living in such a small space involves a lot of compromises and it's really important to think through how you are going to use the van, what features you want/need and most importantly what you want to pay. We wanted something big enough to live in for a couple of weeks at a time, with a good kitchen and bathroom. But not too big to travel in- one of the big advantages of a motor van is that you can be very flexible in your travel, we tend to pick an area to tour with a loose itinerary and find somewhere to stop each night wherever we wind up- often on Caravan Club CLs or the Camping and Caravanning Club equivalent (in the UK) or 'camping municipale' in France, sometimes larger sites and sometimes wild camping. It had to have the facility to make up two single beds without too much cushion shuffling, for those overnight stops on long journeys. Also it had to have a reasonable amount of power as we often need to tow a large trailer.

After looking at many alternatives we found a 2002 Autosleepers Pollensa on a Peugeot Boxer 2.8HDi and it's met our requirements admirably. The build quality is very high and we have had very little trouble - the only niggle I can think of in almost five years is the split charge relays failing and discharging the habitation battery through the fridge, fairly quickly solved after an hour with a multimeter and £10 for a new relay. Economy wise it averages about 26mpg overall, we can get 28mpg on a long run at 60mph without the trailer. The base vehicle has needed nothing other than routine servicing and it's now up to 50,000 miles. Friends of ours prefer a panel van conversion, their current one is on a Peugoet 2.2 HDi and they get about 34 mpg. They did swop a couple of years ago for a large coachbuilt with a fixed bed but it didn't work for them and they traded it in for another panel van, quite an expensive mistake! So it really comes down to what works for you.

Good luck in your search! up!

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Post by forders Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:40 pm

Hi Wingnut

We have just read your post looked at each other and said that's exactly what we want to do, we've even looked at a couple of Pollensa's and they ticked all the boxes. We have stayed in small caravans before but they have been kitted out already so that's going to take some sorting,
the kenwood stays at home. A friend suggested that once we've sorted a van we should try a weekend stay at a campsite close to home to get used to everything and then maybe a lay-by ( here in North Devon we have plenty of both and they seem to be in regular use including the lay-by's ) .

My sister-in-lay has a place in the Charente region of France and we usually drive straight down from St-Malo, about six hours, It would be nice to take a week say to see a bit more of what we're driving through.

Thanks again for all your very welcome advice it is much appreciated.

Best Regards forders allthumbz



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Post by Wingnut Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:14 pm

Hi again Forders

There's a lot to think about and it has to be right for you so don't rush into anything, think it all through first - it's an expensive business changing 'vans and you don't want to do it too often! To balance up the picture on the Pollensa, there are a couple of negatives to counter the positives.

  • Access to the rear cupboard under the sink is awkward as the two small doors open out to each side within a narrow space making it difficult to reach deep inside. That drives my wife nuts nuts. I have less difficulty being taller with longer arms. I've seen a later model Amethyst with the same cupboard but a folding door which is much better.

    The rear door is a bit narrow to get in /out of when carrying stuff, eg when packing the van ready for a trip.

    There is no externally accessible storage in our model- some do have it, perhaps it was an option.

    The side dinette is not as comfortable to sit in of an evening, as two parallel benches.

    Getting a new gas cylinder into the external locker is a bit like open heart surgery (but that's the same with all Autosleepers of that era).

    Water tank capacity is a bit limited - 60litres fesh and about 50litres waste- good for two to three days for two. And both tanks are underslung so vulnerable to frost if the van is used in winter (if not in use they'll be drained of course).


On the positive side, the van is easy to drive and to travel with and can just about fit into a standard car parking space so long as there's a bit of extra room at the back for the rear overhang. The layout is well thought out and makes great use of space with plenty of storage. All the cupboard doors and fittings are of good quality and don't rattle when travelling- well not compared to some, anyway! The overcab bed, and the four travelling seats make it a practical four berth on the few occasions we need that. The rest of the time, the overcab is is huge and easily accessible extra storage space for bedding, chairs, coats & other fairly light things. The side bench and dinette convert very easily to two single beds and we use that layout more than the double- it's much easier for one of us to get up without disturbing the other. The kitchen layout is very workable as is the bathroom, tho' both are a bit on the small side of ideal.

Not trying to suggest you should go for a Pollensa, just pointing out the sort of things you need to consider when weighing up the merits of various layouts. We've been very happy with ours over the past five years, but we're now starting to think of a change and if/when we do it'll be something just a bit larger with either a caravan style end lounge or two parallel bench seats- preferably another AS, perhaps a Rienza or Amethyst if we can find one with the right spec in good condition.

And when you do get your new pride and joy, one or two shake down trips not too far from home would be a very good idea. It takes a while to work out what you need to carry and what you can do without, and where to stow it all so the bits you need most often are readily accessible. All part of the fun of course.

I wish you many happy years of touring.


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Post by Dutto Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:40 pm

[quote=] I'm going to stick to supposedly reputable dealers lol4( I'm a natural born cynic that . . .[/quote]


The secret of true happiness is to live more in hope than expectation!

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Post by dandywarhol Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:48 pm

I suppose we're all a bit biased towards what we have but I have to say that the 2.5 5 cylinder VW engine is a peach - even at 86,000 miles it runs like a new engine - and I've driven one when they were new.................

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Post by forders Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:00 pm

Hi Folks

Thanks Wingnut you are a very useful mine of information, I must confess I was going along the lines of "if it works when it's turned on and
stops when it's turned off then it must be ok", I let my wife check out the cupboard space if she's happy I'm happy.On the subject of the water tanks could these be winterized because even though the sister-in-law's place is quite a long way south in France (30deg+ in summer) it does get really cold in winter, we have been there in early February and in late October, and believe me it can get COLD. cold
We've made a list of the points you've raised and will check them out , Thanks again.

We loved the quote Dutto we're going to get a banner made and stick it across the top of the windscreen. up!

Hi dandywarhol funny you should mention the 2.5 VW engine my son drives a VW van with the 2.5 ltr 5 cylinder all day and he loves it,
in fact he would probably feel quite hurt if I considered anything else lol4 but he does have the choice of using younger Mercs and Transits but always uses the VW . drinksallround

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