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Researching motorhome purchase


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My wife and I have recently decided to take the financial plunge and get ourselves a motorhome.


We have spent a bit of time looking at forums, reviews, MH's for sale online and visited a couple of dealers.


After all this we think the Burstner Argos 747-2 2007 model is the one that fits the bill for layout and functionality. In particular we like the following about this model


Lounge area - Includes a 'couch' as well as the dining area

Back bedroom - This closes off so the little one can sleep in here

Shower - Looks like a decent size

Kitchen - 4 hob, decent size fridge and microwave


Does anyone have any advice with regards to this model or possibly another model we should consider.


Also we're not sure about what extras we should be looking for in a second hand model? We like our home comforts like Sky TV, decent music system. Also we like the idea of solar panels if we're not on a hook up site.





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No matter how much research and thinking you do, such is the wide variety of models and motorhoming lifestyles that you are unlikely to choose perfectly first tiem, so expect to have to change again within a couple of years, as you gain experience. If you buy second hand and wel (i.e. donlt pay too much, it's said to be a buyers market currently) you won;t lose as much when you make that switch.


Buying second hand is wise and most MHs have fitted accessories which effectively come free, because they don't influence the price that much. A 2007 model is a good age to go for in lots pf way - but check that the tyres aren't the originals, which would be getting too old. leisure battery reaching the end of its life too.


Among the accessories you would probably buy if they aren't fitted are:


1: Roll-out awning - bigger the better

2 Satellite TV aerial system - fully automatic type is best, big dish, modern type with skew adjustment is a bonus.

3 Solar panels, 120 watts or more, properly regulated and link to your leisure batteries.

4 Extra leisure battery, so two in total, of 80 AH each, matched type is essential.

5 Reversing camera.

6 Tow bar - if you might want to tow a car or trailer.

7 Silver Screens or similar for windscreen insulation.


Accessories you probably wouldn't find worthwhile:


1 Safari Room for the awning - far more trouble than worth!

2 An installed generator - more unnecessary weight that practical value.


Good luck

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I assume your driving licence will alow you to drive a vehicle exceeding 3.5 tonnes MAM? This is a 30 foot, 6/7 berth, "tag" axle van, with a 5 tonne MAM.


Does it have as many belted seats as it has berths? If not, is this significant for you?


The Argos 747 is over 3.0 metres tall and, were you to take it down French toll motorways, you would find the charges very high indeed. In effect you get hit twice: once for being over 3.5 tonnes, and again for having three axles, and you end up in class 4, which is where the HGV's all go.


At that size and weight, and for that year, I'd also make absolutely certain that there is no trace of the reversing clutch judder issue that afflicted early X250 vans. If it judders or vibrates when reversed, I'd say, on a seven year old van, walk away.


I'd also want to make sure the clutch is in generally good condition as regards wear. These large vans are permanently heavy, and far exceed the weight of the panel van on which they were based. In the hands of an inexperienced driver this is liable to have resulted in some clutch abuse, especially while trying to level, or reverse, the van on uneven ground. The reverse gear is, simply stated, too high to be able to reverse at low speed with the clutch fully engaged. But, that clutch will have been working hard every time the van is driven off, especially during hill starts.


It will also have a huge turning circle, making manoeuvering in confined spaces a challenge, especially when the height is taken into account (overhanging tree branches etc!).


It will drink like a fish, especially if you drive it much over 50MPH! :-)


If you might consider towing a car, look hard at the Gross Train Weight limit, as I suspect it would prove insufficiant when the actual laden weight of the van was deducted.

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Thanks all for your very informative responses!


I have seen a Lunar Roadstar 786 today which is a single rear axle so would reduce costs.


I think the best thing we can do is just go out and see some!


I will let you know how we get on.




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Big vans and relativity!


A van is only big if you are unused to driving a large vehicle, or want to explore narrow lanes and no through roads, or need to use toll roads, or don't need the space?


A small van is only small if you need more space than is available.


For most people a comproise exists around 6.5 metres give or take and under 3.5 tonnes mam.


Beware of payload limitations with such vans as getting so much in such a space often carries the penalty of miserly payload added to which some coverters are economical with reality when it comes to stated payload and a visit to a weighbridge is the only way to know for sure how legal you are.

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The clincher will probably whether you plan to use it in the UK or warmer climes.

If the latter you will spend most of your time outside so space isn't as important. You will only use or for sleeping and cooking, but even then many barbecue outside.

In the UK a lounge and dining areas including a cooker become more important.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So it's been a couple of weeks since first posting and spent a lot of time seeing numerous MH's around the country.


We have come to the conclusion that the Autotrail Arapaho, Cheiftain and Burstner 747 Argos are in the shortlist.


Just to touch on the helpful coments made -



Advice on accesories is helpful and sounds logical.


Brian Kirby

We passed out tests in 89/90 so we have the license to drive 5000kg


We need 6 belted seats as there are 3 of us (2 adults + 1 5 year old) and we will sometimes have family with us which includes kids under 13.


The toll charges are significantly higher (£300+ each way to south of France compared to £80ish for a car. Although a single axle is still £200ish I think), but we are saving on a £2k a week chalet at eurocamp with just plot charges.


MPG again somethign we need to consider but it would be a leisurely 60mph drive anywhere rather than racing to get there in the car. We have been lucky to get 28mpg on the CRV when driving to France before so I could live with 22ish mpg. I would want to get the engine mmanagement mapped to try and squeeze out as much as possible.



The issue with that Burstner seemed to be specific to the MH. I am assuming that MH's are built to deal with speed bumps and if a problem then somethign that needs fixing on the MH.



They are big, but a more than a couple of days with very little space would not be enjoyable for us.....



I have driven LWB trannies before, but this is another step up. We would both want to take a course that covers driving such large vehicles. Also we would try to use it as much as possible. Practise makes perfect!



I think the split will be 50:50 with regards to UK and abroad.




We have seen an Arapaho and a Cheiftain and we like both of them but we are torn between the rear lounge on the Araphao and the large cooking area of the Chieftain. Seeing an Argos tomorrow for comparison.


Will keep you updated!!



Thanks again all for the comments. All very useful :o)




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mikeymay - 2014-09-03 9:33 AM


We need 6 belted seats as there are 3 of us (2 adults + 1 5 year old) and we will sometimes have family with us which includes kids under 13.



Hi Mikey'..


I'd be thinking very long and very hard before buying a vehicle based on who thought may or may not travel with me... :-S


How often are these additional, ".. family..with kids under 13" actually going to travel with you?...


..and even with your own 15 year old, it probably won't be many years before he/she no longer wants to holiday with M&D anyway(..and even if they do, they may prefer to be their own tent/"space", rather than kipping in the van with M&D)...


..and a 30ft, tag axle van, is one helluva barge to be trundling around in, when there's only be the two of you...




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Guest JudgeMental

but if your following the sun, (south of France for instance) for how long are you going to be living/couped up inside...... family next to us in Italy in a giant luxury job, lived the same as us and everyone else..outside. I can assure you any teenager far happier and independent in a tent then being in van with mum and dad.


make sure yo get a professional damp check

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Hi pepe


I meant a 5 year old and not + 15 year old ;o)


Another thing as well we've discussed is somethimes we sleep in different beds at home.....if I've had a few drinks snore. I tend to have a few on holiday so having a 6 berth gives us options to deal with my snoring!



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I would endorse the advice about not giving too much weight to accomodating extra belted passengers who will rarely travel with you - that would skew the choice of motorhome too much.


Don't forget the need for extrenal lockers for things like chocks and buckets and such like - some MHs don't have any at all and you end up having to put stuff like that in your bathroom.


Don't assume that a six berth MH will comfortably accommodate six people. Even a big one is not much larger than your bathroom at home, so six people will be crawling/falling all over each other. Choose a layout which will accommodate your own mainstream needs (including sleeping separately if needed, so maybe single beds, maybe an A Class with a drop down bed at the front) and then use things like an awning or a pup tent to accommodate youngsters at necessary. They can cope with that - they're young!

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I think the extra belts is something we need just in case.


It may be that we only have extra passengers once or twice a year, but when we do no extra belts would mean we can't at all.


The Cheiftain and the Argos have the huge garages which I think is something we will need. The Arapaho has a garage but limited height and width and you wouldn't get bikes in there (bikes need to be locked in there overnight as wouldn't be comfortable with them on a rack overnight). I'd rather have too much space in the garage than not enough.


Our mainstream needs are somewhere to lounge in the evenings and somewhere for the little one to play for a bit when he gets up at 5.30am while we're in the over cab bed - the Argos has a comparatively large area around the dinete if the little one is asleep in the back, the Chieftain not so much space around the dinete but enough I think and the Arapaho gives us the option of the little one on the dinete bed or in the bed at the back.


We have looked at a lot of A class but they are restrictively expensive for the year we're looking at and also it's hard to get a 6 berth that doesn't cost a fortune!

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Best way to see most motorhomes in one place is to go to one of the big outdoor shows.Plenty of motorhomes on show including most makes. There is one in Lincoln at the end of this month details and booking available on this site (very top of the thread), would be well worth the visit for you at this juncture.. B-)
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Mikeymay (same old story people will have heard me say this before sorry to repeat myself) for us the arapaho was perfection two lounge areas acres of space we had loadsa room and sometimes that was four adults ; the tag axle gave us a lovely steady ride ,i cant recomend it enough: a big van is not so nimble at parking etc but lovely to live in : although we spent all our time in rainy blighty hence a bigger van for us so we didnt get on each others nerves(cabin fever lol) it was a three litre and seemed okay on the juice good luck choosing pp :)
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