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Coach Built or Converted Van

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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by Bigplumbs Sun Mar 20, 2022 12:20 pm

Having owned the little Nuevo for a while now and also looked at several other vans as one does. I am bemused why so many people have the metal converted van rather than a coach built. It seems to me that you have worse space in the metal van and other things seem not to be as good. I was wondering why so many people seem to go for the metal option which seem to be more expensive and have often done more miles whey buying second hand

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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by Tinwheeler Sun Mar 20, 2022 1:26 pm

It’s pretty obvious when you think about it. The PVC is slimmer so easier to fit in narrow lanes and easier to park needing only one bay widthways. The inside space isn’t so very different, depending on which models you compare.

Also, catch a protruding branch in one of the said narrow lanes with a coachbuilt and you may have serious damage. Do the same with a PVC and you’ll likely get away with a scratch. 

Workshops are often more able to cope with PVCs than coachbuilts, especially if the coachbuilt is on the Alko chassis with wider wheel track.

I’ve had both types, as have many other people, so my words are from practical experience. 

I don’t know what other things you consider not to be so good but, as for more miles when second hand, if that is true it could be down to PVCs being easier to drive and manoeuvre so people use them for sightseeing rather than towing a car or catching a bus.

At the end of the day, it’s personal preference but the pros and cons are clear to see.
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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by SENTINEL Sun Mar 20, 2022 1:30 pm

I have no doubt that there will be quite a few replies to your question, here is ours -
PVCs (Panel Van Conversion) generally smaller width & height wise but that does depend on the compared models. Can be shorter in length as well which makes for easier parking in car parks etc. "More like a car to drive", that seems to be a frequent comment by those who have downsized from coach built to PVC. Can be used as an alternative to a car if opting for 5.4 or 5.9m. Less prone to damp/leaks than a coach built. Overall appearance of a smart PVC is some peoples preferred choice.
There are always compromises whichever type you choose.....for us our 5.4m long Symbol suits us well. We enjoy the same heating, hot water, kitchen facilities, loo/shower/washroom etc etc as the coach built albeit perhaps with some size differences depending on models. We do admittedly, lack the same amount of cupboard/underbed storage as the Nuevo but if you look at the bigger PVCs, not necessarily just AS but companies like IH, Vantage, Swift, Devon, Consort, they have just as much.
A lot depends on what sort of trips you want to do with your MH, and where....glad that there are many options for the many different needs!
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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by Paulmold Sun Mar 20, 2022 1:37 pm

I've had both. For me, I was fed up of having to swivel front seats around to make single beds in the nuevo. I wanted two single beds ready made and on a coach built the shortest was 6.3 metres long but our drive is exactly 6 metres so the Sussex (or Warwick) duo fitted our needs, would have preferred the XL but too long. There's always a reason for people's decisions.

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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by Bigplumbs Sun Mar 20, 2022 1:52 pm

Interesting views. For me there was one vital criteria which was a fail on two PVC's we tried but a pass on the little Nuevo and it is to do with width.

Was there enough space in the toilet area to comfortably sit on the Bog was the Criteria.

I don't think the height thing makes any difference because most barriers are set at 2.1 - 2.2 m and nothing other than a camper van can fit under that. As for length there are several Coach builts at the 5.4m Mark including our little Nuevo.

As you say good to have choices

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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by roli Sun Mar 20, 2022 3:03 pm

We went from coachbuilts to a PVC, mainly due to the Warwick being a lot narrower than the Windsor.    We have a problem here there was 3" either side of the Windsor and the garage on 1 side and the house on the other.  It was ok for me but Liz didnt like it, and during the 6 month spell when I wasn't allowed to drive (for medical reasons) the larger van wasnt her favourite on the narrow roads of N.Wales and Scotland.  The Windsor was due for a swop anyway so the decision was easy - a PVC.
Now to current times- the Warwick is more aerodynamic hence more MPG
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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by BornAgain Sun Mar 20, 2022 4:18 pm

Before swapping our Broadway for a Bourton, we climbed all over every PVC that AS make; more than once! The compact size and driveability were the main attractions plus the likelihood that we wouldn’t get damp as we did with the Coachbuilt. 
I find van conversions claustrophobic and whatever you do it still feels like a van. For my wife, she can’t handle the large sliding door and the lack of flyscreen is a problem in the hot parts of Europe that we visit. Having said that, PVCs are a more practical vehicle for visiting towns, parking etc.
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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by IanH Sun Mar 20, 2022 5:14 pm

Any Mh has 3 dimensions, Height, Length and far and away most important.....Width
Height you can do nothing about
Length, IMHO is best at L3 van which is 5999mm, so 6m for ferries, and supermarket car parks
Absolutely essential is width, if you want to explore small villages etc or any narrow lanes, roads etc then width is critical.
To show you the difference, on the Ducato and all other of that ilk are 4 different rear view mirror mountings, the narrowest being on White van man's van....ours!
Next time you see a fat coachbuilt look at these, they can be MUCH longer to be able to see as mirrors should.
The Warwick Duo is, for me, as good as it gets, two extremely comfortable single beds or, a vast double, no b**gering about with zillions of cushions to make an uncomfortable bed (Harmony was so bad we sold it at a loss!) Narrowest it can be and 6m long.
Also not mentioned PVC's don't leak and don't twist over bumps which is partly why they don't leak!!.
Now we have an Executive having had all sorts, but have it for a reason, and actually, as its 2002 its overall width is more or less identical to the Warwick, just because the Peugeot cab is narrower!
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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by Dave 418 Sun Mar 20, 2022 5:34 pm

When we decided to give motorhome life a try we bought a Duetto because it seemed the right size at the time. We had some great travels but when it became costly to keep on the road we looked for another similar van with no thoughts about a coach build. Whatever we bought was with retirement in mind.
Most people down size but the Rienza we found seemed huge but it was too good to leave. Yes it has taken some thinking with some car parks and a couple lanes but the extra room ,storage space and better heating made it worth while.
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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by harrysp Sun Mar 20, 2022 7:10 pm

We have had coachbuilts for 20 years, and when deciding on what will probably be our last van have chosen a PVC. This thread is therefore very interesting as our PVC (sorry, not an AS) hasn’t arrived yet. We spent a lot of time making the decision and found that although narrower the PVC had good storage, two single beds at the rear, a smaller bathroom that we felt we could live with. Our drive is narrow, the Broadway just squeezed in so our options were limited anyway. We also wanted a van we could both comfortably drive and the PVC felt better for this. Mrs H had concerns about operating the sliding door, but several goes at the manufacturers (it’s a Vantage, so no dealers) have found this to be ok.

Time will tell of course, but I think we’ve made the right decision for us. Incidentally we also spent a lot of time in a Warwick XL at Marquis of Tewkesbury and there was little between them.

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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by gef Sun Mar 20, 2022 9:59 pm

Having had a selection of Coach built  vans we are more than happy with our pvc.  Good rear lounge and enough storage for us and easy parking with great mpg.  No worry about damp either
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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by Caraman Sun Mar 20, 2022 10:24 pm

The rear axle on PVCs is much closer to the back of the van than on AS coachbuilts of the same length, which allows a more equal weight distribution between the front and rear axles.  This plus the reduced overhang of the PVC, particularly at the rear, and its lower COG improves road handling and therefore safety.  Rear heavy FWD AS coachbuilts have less off-road traction than their PVC equivalent.  The PVC's longer wheelbase results in a larger turning circle but this is offset by their reduced width.
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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by harrysp Mon Mar 21, 2022 8:05 am

gef wrote:No worry about damp either
Another good reason, we had damp in our first year in the Broadway, all sorted by AS, but a stress we’ll be happy not to repeat.

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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by Lorfal Mon Mar 21, 2022 8:25 am

We have had both too. Best descsion ever to change to PVC for many reasons already mentioned. It’s a joy to drive, it’s punchy and even at just under 6.4 m, handles highland roads easily.  Have no problem with space , but we use a driveaway awning if we need too.

In fact just last August we had family away with us, they had hired a coachbuilt but still we needed our awning as a another room.  One evening it was too cold and wet to eat at din8ng table in awning, so we managed 7 adults and three dogs for dinner in our fairford! We did however have takeout that night so no cooking involved.
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Coach Built or Converted Van Empty Re: Coach Built or Converted Van

Post by Caraman Mon Mar 21, 2022 8:42 am

It's already been said but it really depends on how the van is used.  If it's not used or rarely used as a runabout, a caravan mounted on a chassis, i.e. a coachbuilt, is probably best as it provides better accommodation and insulation. 

Although a coachbuilt's road manners are less good than a PVC, it's a considerable improvement on a tow car and caravan.
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Post by groundhog Mon Mar 21, 2022 9:09 am

We use the van as a day van mainly, going to the beach and just watching the world go by, but, when we do an annual European trip do like the comfort and space of the Worcester. It is a very wide van though and requires care on these Cornish roads.
We have owned a van conversion in the past and it was fine but each has its own merits and on balance we would not go back to the van conversion. We have masses of parking space at home so size is not an issue, would probably choose a Warwick XL for the long benches if that was the way forward.
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