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royalcamper

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I have just sold my house and when everything goes through I will be looking to buy my first motorhome after nearly 25 years of tenting. I have a budget of 15k-20k and I have studied all the various types of vehicle that are available so I have a good idea of what I am looking for. However I hope to tow a small car on an a frame and I wondered what the thoughts of experienced motorhomers would be regarding the type of vehicle to buy. A friend thought that a rear wheel drive would be best but are front wheel drivers capable too? Also would I be better off avoiding automatics for towing? In the long term of course I have to learn what is good practice with regard to winter storage and when to do what. I know this sounds a bit vague but as a novice I guess I have a lot to learn. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated as I look forward to joining the great fraternity of motorhoming. Thanks for help and happy camping all.

 

 

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Hi Royal camper,( or should that be your majesty ?) and welcome to the forum.

 

As you are contemplating the use of an A-frame I suggest you scroll through the Motorhome Matters section of the forum where there has been much debate on the subject - many times.

(You can use the search facility at top right of the page to find A- frame discussions ).

 

It's not my subject, but I don't think you can tow automatics with an A-frame.

 

Also note that if you intend to tour on the continent, towing with an A-frame is illegal in Spain.

 

Happy travels !

;-)

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Received wisdom is that RWD is preferable to FWD for towing (though 4WD is probably best) as it's likely to offer better grip in trying conditions and under accelaration when weight gets transfered from the front of the towing vehicle to its rear, But plenty of motorcaravanners nowadays tow cars on A-frames using a FWD motorhome and (apparently) without this causing problems.

 

Towing using a vehicle with a conventional automatic gearbox may lead to the transmission overheating and it used to be commonplace to install a supplementary oil-cooler to address that tendancy. See

 

http://www.kenlowe.com/oil-coolers/automatic/automatic.html

 

However, many current 'automatic' gearboxes are robotised manual gearboxes with a load of extra hydraulics/electronics that allow the clutch-pedal to be dispensed with. This type of gearbox should be no more prone to overheating than a manual gearbox.

 

(You might find with a vehicle with an automatic gearbox that the maximum trailer-weight specified by the vehicle's manufacturer is less than for the same vehicle with a manual transmission. Something to check before you buy.)

 

As you've studied all the types of vehicle that are available in your budget range and decided which are likely to suit, it would be useful to know what you've concluded.

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I haven't decided on a specific model, but just what we require. A fixed rear bed is a must and a separate shower desirable. A solar panel would be useful and a towbar would save us having one fixed later. I would prefer a Merc or Ford chassis for ease of maintenance but this not essential. A 6 berth would be ok if it has a rear lounge to permanently convert to a bed but a low profile 4 berth would be preferable. This gives me a fairly wide range of models to choose from.
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In view of your chassis preferences, layout and towing requirements, and budget, you may find that your choices are less than you anticipate. Motorhome secondhand asking-prices don't plummet over time like cars' and, for £15K - £20K (and needing a largish vehicle) you may well be looking at motorhomes 8 to 10 years old.

 

Not many Ford-based motorhomes were marketed in the UK back then - Auto-Sleepers, Buccaneer, Rimor, and that's about it.

 

Mercedes-based motorhomes were more commonly available, but were not sold in huge numbers - Auto-Trail, Elnagh, Eura Mobil, Hymer, Laika, Mirage, Pilote, Rapido, Rimor.

 

A couple of converters - Laika and Mobilvetta - built coachbuilt motorhomes on Iveco Daily RWD chassis.

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Thanks for that Derek, I realise that choice is limited but I am in no rush. I wouldn't totally rule out the Ducato/Boxer especially if a bargain became available but would prefer a Merc/Ford. I am looking at 8 - 10 years old as I have a limited budget but I'm sure there are decent vans out there in this category. When the move goes through I will start serious reasearch.

 

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