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Post by oneflewover on Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:10 pm

Hi all,
It seems a strange time to be thinking about buying a van, however, that's where we are. We are coming up to the age that includes retirement as an option and having the extra time on our hands. Travel is one of our hobbies and last year we hired a van and spent some time in the North of Ireland, a most enjoyable time it was. The van we hired had a double bed at the rear and while the benefit of continuously made up bed was handy, it also took up quite a lot of room, although the garage was handy. It was a 50k van and nowhere did I see the value in that. It had been new that season and bits where falling off already. it was a 2 berth Weinsberg.
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So we have been looking around and are fancying the Auto Sleeper Executive of ca 2000. The layout looks good, the toilet area big enough and plenty of storage area around the cab. Not sure on upholstery or all that wood but that could be addressed.  I've joined the forum to read posts, notice problems and enjoy your writings.

Paul


Last edited by oneflewover on Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:11 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added photo)
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Post by burlingtonboaby on Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:43 am

Hi Paul
Welcome to the forum from Bridlington 
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Post by Paramedic on Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:45 am

Hello and welcome to this most friendly and informative forum.  wave

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Post by modelman on Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:47 am

Hello & welcome from S/Yorks. drinksallround

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Post by MelB on Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:56 am

Hello Paul and welcome to the forum from S.Yorkshire.
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Post by harrysp on Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:08 am

Welcome. Where is your van parked? Looks beautiful.

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Post by oneflewover on Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:50 am

harrysp wrote:Welcome. Where is your van parked? Looks beautiful.

That's on the beach at Portstewart, glorious County Londonderry. Can recommend Harry's Shack a beach fish restaurant. Harry's was busy, but just about had the beach to ourselves. It is a National Trust property so free parking for members.

Google Map link
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Post by harrysp on Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:06 pm

If you go a little further west Benone Strand is very beautiful and, when we were there at least, mostly deserted.

Enjoy your search for your new van.

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Post by oneflewover on Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:12 pm

Thanks for the welcome all.
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Post by Our Tilly on Thu May 07, 2020 3:59 pm

Hi there oneflewover and a warm welcome from North Yorkshire.  I hope you find yourself a van to suit and that we can all get back on the road asap.  I cant believe we are unable to take advantage of the good weather we have been having.
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Post by Dave 418 on Thu May 07, 2020 4:49 pm

Hi folks and welcome from the top corner of Lincolnshire, ex North West Riding. 
We started by hiring a motorhome. That was well past it’s due date and the hiring was very disjointed. One person took the booking, one person owned the motorhome and the communication between the two was a shambles. 
That didn’t put us off and like you it helped us decided what wanted when we bought our own motorhome.
I hope you find the motorhome you’re looking for. We found being prepared to travel gave us more choice and a good look at what’s available. welcome_sign
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Post by SwissHugo on Thu May 07, 2020 5:34 pm

Hi Paul,
We bought a 2003 Executive around 18 months ago, as our first Motorhome, and have no regrets.  We had also hired a MH before - but only for a few days, but it was long enough to know that we did not want the size associated with a fixed bed.
To be honest the Executive did not tick all our long list of things we thought we wanted - but since we have had it we have totally fallen in love with it and would not want to trade it for anything else.
The build quality is great and the size is compact but big enough for everything we need.
We have the 2.8l engine which I believe is worth looking for - we have plans to visit Europe / Switzerland and the mountains will need that extra power. 
I wish you well in your search and feel free to ask any questions :)
Hugo
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Post by kaspian on Thu May 07, 2020 6:28 pm

Welcome Paul , just retired myself and updated our van but immediately put into lockdown so not used in anger yet! 
       Don't let a hire van of ANY make put you off. I saw one last year only a few weeks old and  literally tied together at both ends and cab roof with duct tape! Couple admitted they were not used to driving a large vehicle on small  Scottish country roads and had made some errors over the duration of their holiday !  Said luckily they paid collision damage waver! 
      Only a couple of years ago at the motorhome show I saw someone wrench the bathroom door off of a brand new display van. He quickly walked away muttering about poor build quality but the moron was trying to pull open a SLIDING door! Have some fun searching out the layout that suits then grab  it before prices rise due to folk deciding a staycation is preferable  in these times.
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Post by marc4242 on Thu May 07, 2020 7:18 pm

Hi Paul

I would just be a little concerned about rust on a 2000 vehicle.  We had a Symphony which was great, only 40k miles eg, but I did have MOT issues on rust, so make sure you get it well inspected.

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Post by Slow-Lane on Thu May 07, 2020 8:45 pm

Hi Paul, welcome to the forum.  A couple of years ago we were in a similar situation. Before making a purchase we hired a 1998 A-S Pollensa (very similar to the Executive) from a small hire company in Derbyshire that specialise in hiring out old A-S vans. Find them at www.derbyshire-motorhome-hire.co.uk
Obviously hiring a motorhome at the moment isn't possible, but it could be a good way to try out an older van before you buy. Jane & Peter who run DMH are both very helpful and friendly too. I'd spent a lot of time browsing MH magazines and thinking about the layout we wanted, and a Pollensa with its Pullman dinette layout looked good and hiring one confirmed our choice. But there's a fair amount of old tat out there and some of it over priced too, so my advice would be to take your time looking for your 'van. We looked at various vans at dealers - visiting dealers is another excellent way to see lots of different layouts, furnishings, etc. Eventually in April 2019 a Pollensa came on the market which met our criteria: age, fabric colour, accessories fitted, mileage, etc. and after a fair bit of negotiation we bought it. Ours is a 2006 'van, and in good condition, but there have been quite a few minor things that have needed attention so be prepared to get your tools out unless you want to spend a fortune at the garage. for me, tinkering and pottering around on the 'van is a pleasure and helps me become familiar with it, so I don't mind, but if you're thinking of picking up a 20 year old vehicle you must expect it to need a bit of TLC. But the older Auto-Sleepers are very well built. At the moment we're pining for the open road, we can't wait to get rolling again, but that will have to wait. Meanwhile we have fond memories of several trips around Britain in our 'van, and a long trip down to south-west France last summer to look back on. Keep an eye on Autotrader and Ebay (I set up a notification on News Now to alert me to new adverts for Pollensas, this will cover eBay and Gumtree etc. but not AutoTrader).  Enjoy your search, don't rush into anything; there are lots of these vans around so hang on for the right one.
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Post by burlingtonboaby on Fri May 08, 2020 6:30 am

SwissHugo wrote:Hi Paul,
We bought a 2003 Executive around 18 months ago, as our first Motorhome, and have no regrets.  We had also hired a MH before - but only for a few days, but it was long enough to know that we did not want the size associated with a fixed bed.
To be honest the Executive did not tick all our long list of things we thought we wanted - but since we have had it we have totally fallen in love with it and would not want to trade it for anything else.
The build quality is great and the size is compact but big enough for everything we need.
We have the 2.8l engine which I believe is worth looking for - we have plans to visit Europe / Switzerland and the mountains will need that extra power. 
I wish you well in your search and feel free to ask any questions :)
Hugo
Hi Hugo
Welcome to the forum from Bridlington 
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Post by gassygassy on Fri May 08, 2020 9:04 am

Hi Paul, and welcome to the forum. I have had caravans and motorhomes since my parents took us away in 1966. I bought my first motorhome, an AutoSleeper from the back of a caravan dealer - a chuck-out cheapie.
Since 2014 when I bought my first new motorhome following retirement lump sum I have lost count of the poor quality new motorhomes I have bought in pursuit of the ideal. I think that Weinsberg are the cheap, less well made foreign ones. I have had appalling build quality from Pilote and Rapido, which being European you would think would be well made. My current van is an AutoSleeper Nuevo and it too has less-than-best bits.
As a guide, if you remember the 2007/8 financial thingy, after that all motorhome manufacturers needed to make them cheaper and the quality suffered, including AutoSleepers.
In your situation, not looking for a new £50k one, I would look for a pre-2007 AutoSleeper with the one piece fibreglass body. As has been said the most important thing would be the chassis rust. The 2.8 engine has been described by the technical bods at MMM magazine as 'unbreakable'. The furniture is all made of tree wood, not the plasticised paper they use now.
The newer (and I include my 2015 Nuevo) Autosleepers are loaded with fancy gizmos which I think are showroom glitter, not necessarily what you need. Also they are 'below acceptable standard' items. For example the rear view camera is there, but not of acceptable quality. I could go on but I won't.
If you get a 2007-ish AutoSleeper you can bet on the furniture being intact - oak with brass hinges, handles that haven't fallen off and so on. Bear in mind that you can always renew the wash basin, kitchen sink, cooker, upholstery and so on, but you can't change the interior layout. In particular it might be useful to know that there are lots of re-upholstery companies specialising in motorhome and caravan upholstery and you can get completely new foam and covering material supplied and fitted for £1000.
Also things like the fact that a 2007 model won't have the engine computerisation that new ones have. There are a lot of lies that these computers tell and you can spend a lot of money replacing parts just because the computer says they are faulty, when they are not. These things can just stop the engine, or make it go in 'limp' mode when in fact there is nothing wrong. The only drawback with a 15 year old engine is you won't be able to drive through Paris or Berlin or London because of the emissions - shame! Who would want to do that anyway?
If it doesn't have a decent rear view camera (they do vary in Quality) or a solar panel, about 100 Watts, I would fit those.
If you haven't fallen asleep reading this, good luck and I hope you get one that you fall in love with.
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Post by oneflewover on Fri May 08, 2020 9:58 am

Hi all,
Thanks for the added replies, the forum has really come in to its own. Bomb proof reliability is just what i'm looking for. Buying something 'of a certain age' always gives a lot of scope for adding your own personality. Doing repairs to 15+yr old van doesn't seem as bad as doing them on a couple of year old van as described elsewhere.

@Slow-Lane that sounds a great idea, shall definitely be doing the that, will be a great insight.

Thanks again all
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Post by SwissHugo on Fri May 08, 2020 10:10 am

burlingtonboaby wrote:
SwissHugo wrote:Hi Paul,
We bought a 2003 Executive around 18 months ago, as our first Motorhome, and have no regrets.  We had also hired a MH before - but only for a few days, but it was long enough to know that we did not want the size associated with a fixed bed.
To be honest the Executive did not tick all our long list of things we thought we wanted - but since we have had it we have totally fallen in love with it and would not want to trade it for anything else.
The build quality is great and the size is compact but big enough for everything we need.
We have the 2.8l engine which I believe is worth looking for - we have plans to visit Europe / Switzerland and the mountains will need that extra power. 
I wish you well in your search and feel free to ask any questions :)
Hugo
Hi Hugo
Welcome to the forum from Bridlington 
Boaby
Thank you - it's great to be part of the Auto Sleeper Fan club :)
Hugo
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Post by stuknowles1965 on Tue May 12, 2020 4:22 pm

gassygassy wrote:Hi Paul, and welcome to the forum. I have had caravans and motorhomes since my parents took us away in 1966. I bought my first motorhome, an AutoSleeper from the back of a caravan dealer -  a chuck-out cheapie.
Since 2014 when I bought my first new motorhome following retirement lump sum I have lost count of the poor quality new motorhomes I have bought in pursuit of the ideal. I think that Weinsberg are the cheap, less well made foreign ones. I have had appalling build quality from Pilote and Rapido, which being European you would think would be well made. My current van is an AutoSleeper Nuevo and it too has less-than-best bits.
As a guide, if you remember the 2007/8 financial thingy, after that all motorhome manufacturers needed to make them cheaper and the quality suffered, including AutoSleepers.
In your situation, not looking for a new £50k one, I would look for a pre-2007 AutoSleeper with the one piece fibreglass body. As has been said the most important thing would be the chassis rust. The 2.8 engine has been described by the technical bods at MMM magazine as 'unbreakable'. The furniture is all made of tree wood, not the plasticised paper they use now.
The newer (and I include my 2015 Nuevo) Autosleepers are loaded with fancy gizmos which I think are showroom glitter, not necessarily what you need. Also they are 'below acceptable standard' items. For example the rear view camera is there, but not of acceptable quality. I could go on but I won't.
If you get a 2007-ish AutoSleeper you can bet on the furniture being intact - oak with brass hinges, handles that haven't fallen off and so on. Bear in mind that you can always renew the wash basin, kitchen sink, cooker, upholstery and so on, but you can't change the interior layout. In particular it might be useful to know that there are lots of re-upholstery companies specialising in motorhome and caravan upholstery and you can get completely new foam and covering material supplied and fitted for £1000.
Also things like the fact that a 2007 model won't have the engine computerisation that new ones have. There are a lot of lies that these computers tell and you can spend a lot of money replacing parts just because the computer says they are faulty, when they are not. These things can just stop the engine, or make it go in 'limp' mode when in fact there is nothing wrong. The only drawback with a 15 year old engine is you won't be able to drive through Paris or Berlin or London because of the emissions - shame! Who would want to do that anyway?
If it doesn't have a decent rear view camera (they do vary in Quality) or a solar panel, about 100 Watts, I would fit those.
If you haven't fallen asleep reading this, good luck and I hope you get one that you fall in love with.
Hi gassygassy. Excellent post. Could I ask you a question?
We have just bought a 2005 AS Executive and I was hoping to fit a solar panel, however it has come with a fitted Satellite dome which prevents a panel being installed. Have you any experience with briefcase solar panels, and if so are you aware of any good ones?
Thanks
Stuart
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Post by Peter Brown on Tue May 12, 2020 6:08 pm

Its worth investigating if you can fit in parallel two flexible 40 or 50W panels either side to the rooflight on the luton.
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Post by gassygassy on Tue May 12, 2020 8:01 pm

Unfortunately Stuart I am not familiar with the roof of an Executive. I take it from what you say that you have measured the available space and looked at dimensions of say a 100W solar panel, and it won't fit? As Peter Brown suggests you can get two smaller ones and fit them - there are arguements about whether they should be in series or parallel. I would say series because for the majority of the time they will not be at full output and it is better for charging to have the maximum voltage available. I.E. two in parallel in partial sunlight would give you 11 volts and quite a few amps but in series would give you 13.5 volts and not so many amps. However the 13.5 volts would drive charge into the battery whereas the 11 volts wouldn't. These are just arbitrary numbers to get the idea across
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