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Looking for a new MH

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Post by gemdeco on Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:15 pm

Hi Everyone
           As you may have guessed, I am looking for a new MH French Fixed Bed, Auto under 3500kg. I went to a well known dealer in Surrey at the weekend to look at an Autotrail Tracker FB (Sorry everyone AS seem to behaving problems lately) The Autotrail was based on a Fiat Chassis with the new autobox and the 160bhp engine just what I wanted. We looked inside the MH the trim round the front of the MH had fallen off,trim around the window behind the cooker was buckled with double tape fighting to hold it on Inside the front top lockers the plywood carcass had no finish to it just rough sawn edges. To cap in all the control unit was a Sargent EC700 unit. The MH had a gross vehicle weight of 3300kgs so very little payload once a towbar was fitted. The part exchange allowance was poor, no discount on the new MH and the Salesman got quite annoyed when I said I was not going through with the purchase, telling me that he would offer me a even lower price for my MH as it was getting older all the time and new MH's were going up in price, so all I can do is hope for my C1 and keep looking
Regards
Alan
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Post by bolero boy on Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:41 pm

im afraid youve found yourself in the world of the modern day 'quality' MH...what you've seen is pretty much what you get for £50k+ at many a Uk MH dealer...
cost cutiing and attempts to cut weight despite adding more and more 'bling/gadgets' to entice customers in is the order of the day....
however, as youve found, just a few minutes hunting in the belly of the beast will soon reveal where that cost/weight cutting is manifest.
FWIW, id be looking at a 3-4 yr old 'proper quality van' which is well built and would cost you about the same as a typical new AT, Swift et al, with 'paper' walls....
i wish you luck with your hunt.

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Post by groundhog on Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:10 pm

If motorhome manufacturers made yachts we would all be sunk..... and that goes for all of them British, German, French they are all built down to a weight and many a poor quality to keep the price down. I faced not knowing about the C1 as well and would have bought a secondhand newish model rather than brand new, avoided the initial depreciation and let someone else correct all the faults you can guarantee will be there so agree on that with bolero boy.
I do struggle with the concept of a "proper quality van" though having seen the problems first hand from people with friends and neighbours running vaunted makes such as Niesmann and Bischoff, Concorde, Hymer and Burstner.
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Post by bolero boy on Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:49 pm

i guess im not allowed to give my view on that one:scratch head:however....as you (I) mentioned it....
BTW, "first hand from people with friends and neighbours...." sounds like second hand to me....??
i agree, the lower ranges of Hymer and Burstner are certainly not built as they used to be...even the two seasons since the build of my own van i would say the changes have varied in success....improvements in 'design' (extra double floor storage, continued increase in water tanks sizes etc) have been welcome but i would say the changes in materials (not for the better) havent been as successful...and this is the issue for so many of the 'light' (under 3.5t) vans.
Concorde, N+B, Frankia, Morelo, the top Carthago ranges all produce top line products (usually where weight isnt a problem) where design is in a different league from many lesser marques....storage solutions, heating, plumbing, electrics are all 'designed in' to the whole and not bolted on as after thoughts
however, as you say, this doesn't mean even top line vans are always problem free but you certainly dont get the repeated 'known faults' that come up again and again on some forums (damp, heating, plumbing, electrics, solar issues all rife on some forums....) 
i post on my own brand's forum and you just dont see the same issues over and over in the way i see them on some other forums i visit.
im delighted with my own choice and i'd choose the brand again (ive already had two) although i have a hankering for a (smallish) Frankia...
one thing is for sure, i wouldnt ever buy a new Uk van....none build an A-class and apart from a tiny number of 'more bespoke' upper end vans (RS, RC etc) only the venerable Kontiki (that i recall) has a double floor, where tanks, storage, plumbing and electrics are found as on more upmarket continental vans.
these (A class design/double floor) are important (fantastic visibility and far better insulation for full over winter travel) and i wouldnt have a van now without those two things....apart from perhaps a really good panel van....but IMHO only Carthago, Adria, Dreamer and La Strada build to the design and insulation/build standards id be looking for...

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Post by groundhog on Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:07 pm

Whoops! I meant first hand from friends and neighbours of course! Brain in gear next time. Whistle1  
It was my son's Hymer built van the toilet fell through the floor and a valued friend who recently proudly showed me his new German A class, dropped the bed and it fell out! 
We all want something different, I have no need for winter insulation, a fixed bed or a large garage but would be lost without a large lounge area. Others will take the opposite view.

I can really only repeat my lighthearted comment, I can buy a new yacht for about the same money as a new motorhome, the build quality though will be in a different league, maybe I am comparing apples with oranges to some but you don't see many yachts with bits falling off when new. It can be done, if you are paying £70K for a new van wouldn't you rather pay a little more and be sure what you were getting was properly turned out and bolted together?

Good luck in your search


Last edited by groundhog on Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by bolero boy on Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:19 pm

a lot of well heeled friends and neighbours with N+B's and Concordes:up!:

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Post by groundhog on Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:34 pm

The Estate Agent with the NB lives just up the road, he also owns the most beautiful classic yacht which he keeps immaculately, the NB looks like a shed after a couple of years of not being polished! hugegrins
I am just the poor old pensioner in my 8 year old AS
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Post by steamdrivenandy on Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:32 pm

One thing that needs to be borne in mind when comparing forum posts about issues suffered by different brands is the volume of vans involved. It would be interesting  to know how many A/S, A/T, Swift, Bailey, Carthago etc  so that you could work out how many and what percentage have problems. I mean if A/S supply 500 vans to the UK market and N&B sell 20, then the chances of issues, all things being equal, are 25 times more likely. That's not to say that problems are acceptable, but a sense of proportion is called for.
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Post by RML Yesterday at 7:23 am

I'm going against the grain here, see what I did there?, but heavy wood based accommodation doesn't always mean good. Our van is German and I accept it's not made of oak but the materials used are adequate, fully fit for purpose, constructed to a very high standard, has absolutely no rough edges, with no damp and after 4 years of use nothing is worn or broken, it's as it was off the production line. We spend the winters in Spain so it is fit for full timing and fully loaded while we're there. I'm fully in favour of lighter materials to meet current needs and premium brands still seek to do this and the market for these products is there. IMO British manufacturers are always playing catch-up.
Rich..


Last edited by RML on Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:25 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Post by bolero boy Yesterday at 8:10 am

i agree that volume of sales (to a degree) will determine the percentage of errors.....but even that will only be equal if all manufacturers are equally sloppy/competant.....and this is where the difference is....
if a company makes 50 MH a year and 5 have many faults, thats appalling and the service team will be under the spotlight or much worse.
if a company makes 500 vans, its certainly not acceptable to suggest that (say) 50 vans (the same percentage) are delivered with many issues 'because they sell more'... 
in both instances, these numbers are way too high..but reading typical forums (and the number of repeating complaints) these seem to be in the ball park for uk mid priced vans...
however 'the chance of issues, all things being equal' (thank goodness) isnt the case....some companies dont take 'chances' with their quality, they take far more measures than some others and this is the basic difference...perhaps AS/AT leave the finish of their goods 'to chance'?
like Rich above, we use our van for around 30 weeks a year (Covid excepted) incl 2 x 10 week plus tours a year and, apart from the failure of a Dometic PCB in our fridge/freezer a year ago its been as good as it left the factory (as was the previous same branded van)...
ive been in scores of ATs, AS, Swifts, Elddis, Baileys (coachbuilt and PVC) and it only takes a few seconds to find drawers that wont slide, doors that miss catches by centimetres, cupboards that misalign, sawdust in bed lockers, cabling not tied, push fit narrow bore waste pipework, minimum spec elements as part of the design.
i also said that top line brands dont always make perfect MHs and im sure this is true, too....however, having seen the way the market is going im happy with where we are.
as Rich says, the Continentals are ever the innovators in design, often using this to save space and reduce weight, whereas Uk vans stick with the same (conservative, tried/tested) designs but can only resort to 'other weight saving measures' (cheaper, thinner materials) when customers demand more and more gadgets..
vans that have poor payloads at 3.5t end up with worse payloads AND a flimsier build...
Colin Chapman (owner/designer at Lotus) famously said that 'lightness had to be designed in to his cars'....thats not easy to do....perhaps it why some cant be bothered?
what's the point of (say) a MH company using a 'domestic quality door handle' in the washroom door (as in typical sales blurb) if the door is made of cardboard and doesnt even close properly? 
perhaps this is where the definition of 'quality' varies between a typical converter and a customer...
id rather the blub said (honestly) 'all doors shut properly' irrespective of how they acheive it...

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Post by steamdrivenandy Yesterday at 8:51 am

Some comparisons.
Autotrader entries.

Autosleeper 
New vans advertised 98
Total vans advertised 365 
Price range of new vans £52k to £86k
Average cost of an Autosleeper van circa £65k

Carthago
New vans advertised 31
Total vans advertised 64
Price range of new vans £52k to £199k
New vans priced between £52k and £86k 12 
New vans priced over £86k 52
Average cost of a Carthago van circa £110k
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Post by bolero boy Yesterday at 9:06 am

so, does your analysis suggest that its OK for AS to have twice as many issues as Carthago?
...or half as many as Elddis with a much lower price?
of course not...
the price reflects the complexity of the product/build and the amount of extras/equipment in the base vehicle and the conversion...
by comparison to (say) Carthgo/Concorde etc AS vans are 'simple' to build yet are susceptible to repeating errors....
stuff like the AS/Swift Command type control panel linkage is an area where 'simple' used to work but now its far more complex and customers know it...more and more dependency on Sargent systems doesnt seem to have been a good move.
MH are priced at their market point and perhaps those more expensive vans have more/better quality control as well as better basic design and build....
of course the customer pays for this....a Concorde customer pays with the higher price....a Swift/AT customer 'pays' with more visits to the dealer and less time in the van....

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Post by groundhog Yesterday at 9:01 pm

Many of these 'surveys' differ but overall a Dacia seems to be as reliable as a BMW so surely it should be the same for motorhomes. Most of the problems you see here are not so much the actual vehicle as the way it is screwed together and the dreadful PDI that goes with it. Doubtless as Chris says the more expensive the van is the better the overall quality should be and the better the equipment in it. I wonder what difference it would make if the licence requirements were raised to say 5000kgs and manufacturers weren't building everything down to a low weight and payload?
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Post by steamdrivenandy Yesterday at 9:14 pm

But a 5k kg limit would go totally against the policy to reduce emissions etc, so no real chance of such a thing happening.

Generally, the base vehicles are the same, the appliances are the same, the furniture is provided by the same few companies and the accessories are from the same sources.

I suspect that the Italian furniture companies build their stuff with the spec of base material that is stipulated by the brand and that in most cases more is spent on finish than interior strength etc.

It would be interesting if, say, a dozen owners of up to 3 year old A/S vans would post an exact history of their warranty repair experience. I'm just wondering if there are issues that repeat, if they're fairly random and who made the bits involved.
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Post by bolero boy Today at 9:08 am

groundhog wrote:Many of these 'surveys' differ but overall a Dacia seems to be as reliable as a BMW so surely it should be the same for motorhomes. Most of the problems you see here are not so much the actual vehicle as the way it is screwed together and the dreadful PDI that goes with it. Doubtless as Chris says the more expensive the van is the better the overall quality should be and the better the equipment in it. I wonder what difference it would make if the licence requirements were raised to say 5000kgs and manufacturers weren't building everything down to a low weight and payload?
i agree upto a point, but aren't Dacia part of Renault and like just about every modern car brand is built (as much as possible) by robots for all the tasks like welding etc....
so, the Fiat/Peugeot bits 'should' all be as good as a Dacia or a BMW...?
Yes, there are a few problems with base vehicles...the latest Merc is causing problems....but is this when its trying to integrate with iffy habitation electrics? 
MH 'converting' is where the majority of issues lie....the materials used, the care in assembly, the checking of the build, the testing, the infamous PDIs....there is video from Morelo on you tube which shows the build process and it is pretty eye opening...
Andy has a good point about going too high on weights but MH numbers are tiny compared to cars and could easily be 'worked around' with a higher (say 4t) general license weight.
i don't think 'appliances' in general fail too often, IMHO its the installation and integration than sometimes causes problems (Truma Combis)....however, its also how faults get resolved.
i had a problem with a Dometic fridge when the van was a month out of warranty (2 yrs on Continental vans for habitation appliances from their manufacturers)..
i spoke to Dometic and they werent interested in reimbursement/warrenty at all....i didnt mess about and got a local Dometic guy to come round (the fridge/freezer wouldnt light on gas) and he replaced the igniter but to no avail...eventually we tracked it down to a faulty PCB (poor connection?) in the control panel which wasnt sending the 'light' command to the burner...so, cant be fixed, a new control panel £145....plus call out plus time etc....£350.
i visited the NEC show a couple of weeks later and had a right 'chat' with Dometic who remaind uninterested and told me it was the dealers problem....
as it happened, my dealer was hosting the Carthago stand and, as usual, welcomed me warmly...i explained the situation and they were so embarrased by Dometic's approach that I was immediately 'reimbursed' with a free full habitation and water ingress check when next due....which i took up at the end of last year.
they then went to the Dometic stand to have 'words' about what customer service meant to their customers and how it seemed to differ from that dispensed by Dometic....
perhaps the same might have happened at the Swift/AS/AT stand....

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Post by steamdrivenandy Today at 9:25 am

It is the dealers responsibility to sort anything. How they then get recompensed and by whom is of no relevance to the owner. If the dealer requires assistance/support from an appliance manufacturer to resolve an issue it's up to them to organise.
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Post by rgermain Today at 9:48 am

groundhog wrote:Whoops! I meant first hand from friends and neighbours of course! Brain in gear next time. Whistle1  
It was my son's Hymer built van the toilet fell through the floor and a valued friend who recently proudly showed me his new German A class, dropped the bed and it fell out! 
We all want something different, I have no need for winter insulation, a fixed bed or a large garage but would be lost without a large lounge area. Others will take the opposite view.

I can really only repeat my lighthearted comment, I can buy a new yacht for about the same money as a new motorhome, the build quality though will be in a different league, maybe I am comparing apples with oranges to some but you don't see many yachts with bits falling off when new. It can be done, if you are paying £70K for a new van wouldn't you rather pay a little more and be sure what you were getting was properly turned out and bolted together?

Good luck in your search
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Post by modelman Today at 10:12 am

Or a leak. hugegrins

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Post by groundhog Today at 10:25 am

bolero boy wrote:
groundhog wrote:Many of these 'surveys' differ but overall a Dacia seems to be as reliable as a BMW so surely it should be the same for motorhomes. Most of the problems you see here are not so much the actual vehicle as the way it is screwed together and the dreadful PDI that goes with it. Doubtless as Chris says the more expensive the van is the better the overall quality should be and the better the equipment in it. I wonder what difference it would make if the licence requirements were raised to say 5000kgs and manufacturers weren't building everything down to a low weight and payload?
i agree upto a point, but aren't Dacia part of Renault and like just about every modern car brand is built (as much as possible) by robots for all the tasks like welding etc....
so, the Fiat/Peugeot bits 'should' all be as good as a Dacia or a BMW...?
Yes, there are a few problems with base vehicles...the latest Merc is causing problems....but is this when its trying to integrate with iffy habitation electrics? 
MH 'converting' is where the majority of issues lie....the materials used, the care in assembly, the checking of the build, the testing, the infamous PDIs....there is video from Morelo on you tube which shows the build process and it is pretty eye opening...
Andy has a good point about going too high on weights but MH numbers are tiny compared to cars and could easily be 'worked around' with a higher (say 4t) general license weight.
i don't think 'appliances' in general fail too often, IMHO its the installation and integration than sometimes causes problems (Truma Combis)....however, its also how faults get resolved.
i had a problem with a Dometic fridge when the van was a month out of warranty (2 yrs on Continental vans for habitation appliances from their manufacturers)..
i spoke to Dometic and they werent interested in reimbursement/warrenty at all....i didnt mess about and got a local Dometic guy to come round (the fridge/freezer wouldnt light on gas) and he replaced the igniter but to no avail...eventually we tracked it down to a faulty PCB (poor connection?) in the control panel which wasnt sending the 'light' command to the burner...so, cant be fixed, a new control panel £145....plus call out plus time etc....£350.
i visited the NEC show a couple of weeks later and had a right 'chat' with Dometic who remaind uninterested and told me it was the dealers problem....
as it happened, my dealer was hosting the Carthago stand and, as usual, welcomed me warmly...i explained the situation and they were so embarrased by Dometic's approach that I was immediately 'reimbursed' with a free full habitation and water ingress check when next due....which i took up at the end of last year.
they then went to the Dometic stand to have 'words' about what customer service meant to their customers and how it seemed to differ from that dispensed by Dometic....
perhaps the same might have happened at the Swift/AS/AT stand....
I really don't know the answer to all this, with the weight issue a new Winchcombe which is essentially the same as my Worcester weighs in at 4250kgs, the Worcester is 3880kgs but the build quality is certainly no better. Just buy a brick.........house US built RV and accept the 12mpg that goes with it. hugegrins
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Post by bolero boy Today at 10:51 am

steamdrivenandy wrote:It is the dealers responsibility to sort anything. How they then get recompensed and by whom is of no relevance to the owner. If the dealer requires assistance/support from an appliance manufacturer to resolve an issue it's up to them to organise.
Andy, its not the dealers responsibility if its out of warranty..
.i was kicking Dometic because their product failed a couple of weeks out of Warranty and in my view it shouldnt have....
my point was that they, the mznufacturer, werent the slightest bit cincernened or even interested in why such a new device had failed..
my dealer, on thr other hand (who had no obligation to do so) immediately stepped up to the plate with their offer.
i was just highlighting how differently some companies take what we loosely call 'customer servive'.

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Post by steamdrivenandy Today at 10:53 am

Well as Hymer and therefore Elddis, are now owned by the US Thor Industries Group we can all look forward to 12mpg brick ----houses soon.
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Post by steamdrivenandy Today at 11:02 am

bolero boy wrote:
steamdrivenandy wrote:It is the dealers responsibility to sort anything. How they then get recompensed and by whom is of no relevance to the owner. If the dealer requires assistance/support from an appliance manufacturer to resolve an issue it's up to them to organise.
Andy, its not the dealers responsibility if its out of warranty..
.i was kicking Dometic because their product failed a couple of weeks out of Warranty and in my view it shouldnt have....
my point was that they, the mznufacturer, werent the slightest bit cincernened or even interested in why such a new device had failed..
my dealer, on thr other hand (who had no obligation to do so) immediately stepped up to the plate with their offer.
i was just highlighting how differently some companies take what we loosely call 'customer servive'.

It's surely the difference between a direct customer facing business that would like you to order another van from them and an indirect supplier whose customers that order more product are van manufacturers. They effectively provide a margin, at second hand, for dealers to handle any end user concerns.
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Post by groundhog Today at 11:02 am

Different indeed Chris 
Our fridge packed up just out of warranty and Marquis Plymouth not only fixed it but kept the workshop open after hours to do it... For free
There is another thread running here about dreadful experience from the same branch. You couldn't make it up
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Post by PLOUGHLIN Today at 12:44 pm

groundhog wrote:
I really don't know the answer to all this, with the weight issue a new Winchcombe which is essentially the same as my Worcester weighs in at 4250kgs, the Worcester is 3880kgs but the build quality is certainly no better. Just buy a brick.........house US built RV and accept the 12mpg that goes with it. hugegrins

Isn't that just an uprated chassis, MIRO is about the same for each (ie build methods similar), just an enormous 865kg user payload for the Winchcombe?

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Looking for a new MH  Empty Re: Looking for a new MH

Post by bolero boy Today at 12:52 pm

groundhog wrote:Different indeed Chris 
Our fridge packed up just out of warranty and Marquis Plymouth not only fixed it but kept the workshop open after hours to do it... For free
There is another thread running here about dreadful experience from the same branch. You couldn't make it up
that is really good...its things like this that keep the relationship where it needs to be....
...and, yes, i would have no hesitation in looking to my dealer for my next van, they always treat me very well...though this one is exactly what we want, so not looking...
ok, they are investing that goodwill in me and other customers...i rather like that..refreshing isnt it?

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