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Hi. I am reserching buying my first Motorhome.

Does anyone have a view on the best engines, base vehicles & power?

I am looking for a 2 berth Van/Coachbuilt under 3,500kg no more than 6.5m in length.

I have identified an initial list of vehicles with BHP between 85 & 140.

My inclination is towards the Ducato 2.2TD as it is by far the most populatr base vehicle.

I appreciate views, thoughts & experiences? Thanks

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What a minefield!

More BHP = more relaxed driving

Many vehicles now specify power in killowatts, so 1 BHP = 0.746 Kw


Rear wheel drive gives more grip in the wet, especially on grass and more equal tyre wear. Most front wheel drive vehicles have a more limited turning radius because of the front constant velocity joints.


Beware Fiat / Peugeot with reversing problems (judder)


Fiat / Peugeot are the cheapest base vehicle.


Try before you buy.


Its your money so they need you more than you need them!.


take care




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Guest JudgeMental
The 2.3 132 bhp with 6 speed box is a good start, Personally if buying again I would have the auto. it is available across the range now so you dont have to have the 3 litre. Buy from Europe and save yourself a packet....
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Clive - 2012-06-15 11:40 AM


If going for the 3 litre Fiat with Auto box pay close attention to front axle loading.





It's relatively simple to make sure that you do not have any problems with this by only buying a vehicle based on the Maxi chassis. Front axle weight goes up from 2100 to 2400KG which is more than enough to compensate for the (approx) 70KG increase in weight for a 3.0 Auto over a 2.3 Manual.



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The 2.2 engine is shared with Ford (Transit, Mondeo etc|) Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen. It is a 130 PS (about the same as BHP) or about 96/97 kW.


Mine has the Ford 5 Speed box, the 6 speed would be best, I have a preference for anything other than Fiat or Citroen so that left me with Ford or Peugeot. Since my research showed Ford parts to be (marginally) cheaper I went for a Ford based vehicle.


First gear is a bit high with a 5 speed box but it doesn't judder. any Fiat that is a couple of years old needs careful testing with hill starts in first and reverse.


The Ford chassis is 3500 MGW which gives me a generous payload of around 500Kg, check the payload carefully, you need (IMHO) at least 400Kg don't take the brochure figures as accurate, weigh it with a full tank of water, fuel and driver, the brochure figure can be ( usually is) 10% out.


My 2.2 gives me 30 MPG, more if I use a light right foot.


Clive is right, grip can be limited in the wet and on grass etc with FWD, but it's not a big deal, I am about to fit some winter pattern tyres on the front to improve things (they are worn out anyway).


My turning circle is excellent (13.3 mtrs) as opposed to 14.28 for the LWB Ducato.





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But.....................! :-)

Rear wheel drive variants are rather few and far between. Clearance for the prop shaft means that the van floor has to be set higher off the ground, and the manufacturers seem to see this as an off-putting feature, so FWD with a lower floor is more popular and, I suspect, also cheaper.


Transit has higher rear axle load than Fiat/Peugeot/Citroen, which is useful if the van is a shortish wheelbase with longish rear overhang.


That shortish wheelbase with longish rear overhang will give greater manoeuvrability than a van of equivalent length on a longer wheelbase, which is good - but it will have less usable traction due to its lower front axle loading.


So, if FWD, you have to balance the loss of LWB manoeuvrability against greater SWB manoeuvrability on the one hand, and greater LWB traction on soft surfaces against less SWB traction on soft surfaces on the other. Never easy, is it? :-) The ideal, for traction, whichever end is driven, is getting close to 50/50 laden weight distribution because, all other things being equal, the more the load on the wheel the greater it will depress soft ground, and getting the wheels out of their depressions is where most of the soft ground traction problems begin. With only one driven set of wheels, if the vehicle weight is more or less evenly spread, most times the driven set will gain enough traction to drag the idle set free, and if it won't, you'd probably experience the same problem with a more heavily laden driving set, because they'd simply have sunk in too far to get themselves out! Best advice? Don't drive onto potentially soft ground before you walk it, and if you judge it too soft for half tonne tyre loads, don't go on at all!


So, although relatively less manoeuvrable, a van with a short rear overhang is likely to ride better, and to have more favourable weight distribution and better traction, and to have less problems with axle load restrictions, than a van of the same length with a longer overhang. Which feature may prove to be a problem will depend greatly on where you take it. There is no perfect, "fits all sizes", solution.


Not all vans are offered with the option of a Maxi chassis. It is of advantage to get this where available.


150PS auto would be very good. The robotised boxes are, by all accounts, excellent, but they are additionally complex and I have no idea of the reliability of the robotic components, or the cost of fixes if they fail. Expensive, I would imagine!


Payload is all. Make absolutely sure you know how the manufacturer calculates his claimed payload. They should conform to a standard presentation, but some quote the mass in running order with gas, water and fuel reservoirs at 90% capacity, while others (the honest ones? :-)) quote some or all at 100% capacity.


Watch quoted capacities of gas, many large UK made vans take only small (7kg) gas cylinders.


Watch German made vans, because even if they quote 100% full gas it will frequently be based on aluminium cylinders (about 5kg net), whereas in UK nearly all, of not all, exchange cylinders are steel (about 13kg net).


Many have gas lockers to take two cylinders but quote payload with only one fitted.


German aluminium cylinders are around 11kg capacity and are slightly smaller diameter than the normal UK 13kg cylinder. Get the dealer to demonstrate that two 13kg cylinders will actually fit a two cylinder gas locker on a German made van (most will, some are very tight).

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