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Hello and some help please


tangled up

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I have just registered on the forum so hello to you all :-D

 

My wife and I are just about to begin our motorhome adventure by hiring a Bailey Autograph 745 for a long weekend in September with a view to making a purchase of a new van next year if we like what we see.

 

We are visiting the NEC show in October and we began to make a shortlist of vans we'd like to see up close before hitting a BIG roadblock in our research...Payload! I really can't believe that vans are sold in the UK (and elsewhere for that matter) and this is not the first thing that is discussed by manufacturers and dealers.

 

The van will be used for regular long weekends away in the UK and 3 or 4 trips per annum of up to 4 weeks duration in the UK and continent throughout the year so we would like our creature comforts during these vacations.

 

With this in mind wondered if anyone could offer some advice on vans we should consider that offer the following:-

 

3.5 ton

Useable payload (I'm thinking around 600kgs +but am happy to be advised otherwise). We will be adding a number of options (i.e. auto gearbox, a/c, satellite TV) so these need to be borne in mind

Island bed

ALDE heating

Safe (bolted to chassis)

Strong residual values

 

We don't really mind what style of van it is, though I have a leaning towards an A Class. Also budget is not an overriding consideration (though still important) if we can source the perfect van.

 

The nearest model I have come up with is a Hymer Exsis I 698...but I can't see that ALDE heating of a safe being available on this model.

 

If feels like we are looking for the holy grail of motorhomes and so realise that some compromises will probably have to be made, but if there is such a van out there we'd love to know about it.

 

Any help and guidance will be greatly appreciated.

 

Many thanks,

 

Paul

 

 

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Hi Paul,

 

And welcome to the forum.

 

You do seem to have given the matter a lot of thought and I commend what you are doing by hiring first as you will learn so much from those few days. The Bailey is quite a wide van comparatively speaking so should be very spacious inside.

 

Are you staying on a site - if so there should be other campers to talk to and hopefully a helpful manager/warden should you get stuck.

 

Personally I think you have sussed the payload issue very well but if you do find the ideal van but it is short on payload there are ways to increase payload - but they usually cost - talk to SVtech who are very helpful and are the real experts on the subject.

 

http://www.svtech.co.uk/motorhomes.html

 

Meanwhile perhaps we could hold fire on suggesting suitable vans until your feedback from the hire experience?

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Hi Paul & Welcome,

If you are keen on an A' Class, then it will have to be a Foreign manufactured one, as only 1 UK manufacturer makes one RS, and it's very expensive. Autotrail did make one, but only for a short time, and I think Autosleeper 'Re-badged' one and sold it for a while.

You seem set on 3500KG, did you pass your test before 1997 ? if so, then you are not restricted to 3500kg until your 70th Birthday, then all you need is a medical/eye test to keep your entitlement.

If payload is important for you, perhaps you should be looking above 3500kg ?

No recommendations, as I think we are all differant, and half the fun is choosing.

As for the Safe, I fitted one myself, they are quite cheap to buy and easy to fit.

Alde heating is great, and the nearest to 'Home' type heating, but it is usually only on 'De-luxe' type Foreign vans, but getting quite common on UK made ones. Ray

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Welcome to the Out&AboutLive forums, Paul.

 

As long as you are prepared to forego the ALDE heating and a chassis-bolted safe, the Exsis I 698 seems as good an on-paper choice as any as far as your requirements are concerned.

 

I’m not 100% sure what Carthago are offering for 2015, but it’s likely that your ‘bits and pieces’ and 3500kg requirements could be met by one of their "c-line" A-class models, with ALDE heating being specified as an option. Snags are that a) Carthago "c-line" motorhomes aren’t cheap to begin with and when desirable options are added to the base specification the price rockets, and b) the usable payload for “c-lines” isn’t huge to start with and will rapidly be eroded as the basic specification is upgraded.

 

You could also look at Rapido’s 2015 A-class range (that no longer includes Mercedes-based models) as ALDE heating will be an option on some vehicles.

 

You’d be wise to prioritise your requirements strictly into, say, 5 must-haves followed bty 5 like-to-haves. If a 3500kg maximum is a must-have then any motorhome above that weight MUST be rejected. If an auto-box is a must-have, then Peugeot-based vehicles MUST be overlooked etc. This filtering process should reduce your shopping-list to a manageable length, at which point you can apply the like-to-haves.

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The 3.5T limit and payload will be the issue as mentioned above.

Especially if you intend to use it for extended trips abroad and add a/c, auto gearbox, satellite, and probably an awning, bikes, and the clothes needed.

Using the lighter Ducato chassis would help, but would give no leeway if you want to extend the payload later.

Whether the safe needs bolting to the chassis is debatable, mine is bolted back and bottom in a corner where there is no easy access and it is concealed as well.

Good residuals are uncertain, but buying at a good price is key, motor dealers say you make your money when you buy, not when you sell. Winter is a good time to buy but always haggle.

Some prefer buying abroad if you don't mind the hassle, and lhd doesn't seem to be a problem for many.

Good luck and accept that you will never tick all the boxes.

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If you are restricted to 3,500kg MAM, and you want a 600kg payload (which I personally think about right), I think you will strggle to pair these requirements with an island bed. Island beds result in longer vans which, somewhat inevitably, results in higher unladen weight, and so less payload. I also think the Exsis is not realistically wide enough to take in island bed, and the equivalent A class would work better though, again, it will tend to be heavier.

 

I would add that the Fiat robotised box is not, in practise, an automatic, and has a number of quirks. It struggles to downchange appropriately on hills, especially twisting hills, necessitating selection of manual mode to match engine speed, torque, and gear. It is generally good, and works well when the going is easy, but it adds cost, complexity, and weight and, in retrospect, I'm not entirely sure its advantages outweigh those disadvantages.

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I think you are very wise to have the 3.5 ton limit in your sights, going over that weight leads you along quite a different path. Tolls are more, speed limits are different and uprating the plated weight of a vehicle generally means you intend to make it work even harder. Always keep in mind that you will be permanently operating the vehicle at or near it's maximum weight, and that increases the stress, both on the vehicle and the driver. Also consider carefully the driving licence implications if you are anywhere near your 70th birthday, it is not always just an eye test and a note from your doctor, I have heart problems going back over 20 years but with modest medication I live a perfectly normal,for me, life and only recently retired from being a fulltime chauffeur at the age of 76, but every time I sent in my licence renewal I had to go and undertake a stress test. In 2011 I was charged £600 for the pleasure, and this year they wanted £750, and paying the fee is not the worst part, I seriously thought they were trying to kill me, so I retired when my licence ran out.

It would be a tragedy to buy a heavier van and then find that you cannot drive it.

We find that we can manage quite well in our 3.5 ton A class van, we are fairly careful about not carrying junk, we have aluminium chairs and tables and so on, but we do have satellite TV and carry bicycles and awnings etc without problems. If pay load is a problem for you, have a look at some of the bigger panel van conversions, they seem to do quite well in this respect and all sorts of layouts are available, and some will build pretty well any layout you want.

Do enjoy your adventure

AGD.

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The Exsis is just about workable on a 3500kg chassis even after you have added the extras. We manage it and we always run with a full water tank (we don't do sites much).

Alde heating is just more weight & complication the latest Truma C6 works very well & is even better with the CP Plus controller (I've just fitted one) should come as standard now on new vans. The island bed is a bit tight in the Exsis in the night time position and you don't get a full height garage. I have heard Hymer are revamping the i698 with a higher bed & full size garage probably worth a trip to Düsseldorf.

 

Despite what Brian says I think the Comformatic box is very good the only quirk I have found with it is, it can be a bit slow on changing up if you go for a quick getaway but a bit of careful footwork on the throttle can overcome it.

Obviously, you can't have an auto box on the Bailey as they are only available on the Fiat chassis.

 

Our Exsis is the first A class we have had certainly wouldn't want any other type of van now.

 

Derek mentioned Carthago, nice vans, but be careful on payload I know two people with the new lightweight C-Tourers both weighted in 80kg over brochure weight where as both Hymers we have had have been 50kg under, bear in mind tolerance on weight is +/- 5% on a mass in running order of 3000kg that's 150 kg.

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Welcome to the Forum.

 

We bought an A Class as our first MH and learned the hard way about payload - but fortunately we had bought second hand and relatively well, so we were able to sell without loss. We've had two more A Class since then, the last one bought new and kept it for eight years so far.

 

Even if you have hang ups about the hygiene of living in a second hand MH, try to persuade yoursslef to overcome those and to buy second hand to start with, because you will almost inevitably be on a learning curve and will want to change MHs after a short while, as you learn more about what works for you and what doesn't.

 

Some things which feel important turn out not to be and other things you don't think about straight away.

 

As a general point, we haven't found going over 3,500kg to be a problem at all. Payload is what counts and anything under 500kg is likely to be hopelessly insufficient.

 

Good luck.

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StuartO - 2014-08-26 12:45 PM

 

 

As a general point, we haven't found going over 3,500kg to be a problem at all. Payload is what counts and anything under 500kg is likely to be hopelessly insufficient.

Good luck.

 

Depends on why you want to stay under 3500kg, our choice is to stay under the reasons being, more and more small towns & villages in France have now banned all vehicles over 3500 kg. German autobahn speed limit of 80 kph (50 mph). We find the A class so quiet (quieter than our cars) we now tend to cruise at 70 where as before, we were quite happy to potter along at 50-60 doesn't worry us in France as we don't very often use the Autoroutes.

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Many thanks to you all so far for your kind replies...certainly given us more to consider :-D

 

Tracker

 

Yes we are staying on a site where we met the manager when we went to the Rapha Cycling Festival at Broughton Hall for the Tour de France and he said he would assist us if needed.

 

Rayjsj

 

The RS A Class...WOW, but a bit out of our budget! Both myself and Mrs Tangled passed out driving tests in the 80's so can drive van's up to 7500kg and are both in our mid 40's.

 

Why I'm thinking about the max 3500kg van is that from what I have read there appears to be a definite shift in that direction from manufacturers (I read that Hymer expect 90% of their vans to be below this weight by 2017) and I don't want to get stuck with a large van who's future value is compromised as it isn't what the market wants. Also I would prefer to avoid our van being designated as an HGV (have I got that correct?) and have speed limits, village exclusions, extra tolls etc. imposed upon us.

 

Derek Uzzell

 

I had a look at the Carthago's as suggested and I agree that the payloads do seem to disappear very quickly with added options *-) The Rapido's look interesting and that also led me to look at Pilote whom I believe are bringing out a new model to the UK at around 7meters with an island bed and ALDE heating as an option. Doeas anyone have any experience of them good or bad?

 

Billggski

 

Many thanks for you advice on when to buy...makes perfect sense. As I have never purchased a motorhome before what kind of discount should I expect percentage wise with no trade in for (a) a stock model and (b) a factory build. Not to hold anyone to anything, its just so I have an idea what to expect and if I do go new and have a factory build should I also expect discount of the options?

 

Brian Kirby

 

Interesting what you say about the Fiat auto box, or rather robotised. Again both of us can drive a manual but both drive automatic cars...it can be a bit embarrassing when you approch a roundabout in a manual when your used to an auto and find yourself stalling in 4th or 5th gear :$ Jokes aside we both just prefer an auto.

 

Archiesgrandad

 

Those tests sound like a nightmare. As mentioned earlier I am in my mid forties, but I am Type 2 diabetic so health is a consideration for me as I get older. I will look at some of the panel vans as suggested.

 

lennyhb

 

I had noticed that you owned an Exsis with an auto box so hoped you would post. With the blown air system you have in you van can I ask if it is noisy at all and if it keeps all areas of your van warm (assuming you have used it in winter)? The reason I ask is that we had blown air central heating in our first house and it was almost useless, but that was 20 odd years ago and this is a motorhome.

 

Also am I correct in the following calculations for your Hymer:-

 

MIRO - 2960kg

Max Payload - 540kg

MPM - 3500kg

 

What I am trying to get my head around is what does the MIRO include (and exclude which it shouldn't)? I think I read somewhere that there is fresh water taken into account. If so can this be dumped in real life and filled up as we get to sites therefore giving us a bit more payload to play with?

 

Stuart O

 

We will of course look at pre-loved vans but I know what Mrs T is like *-) One of the advantages we do have is that we are not in a huge rush as we are keen to be sure that no matter what we buy is right for us so we do intend to hire an 'A' Class motorhome with an island bed later in the year when its a bit colder to make sure that we are happy in a van in November/December and that we like the island bed. Assuming we are still happy we will more than likely rent a van a couple more times before either acquiring a pre-loved unit or putting an order in for a new one.

 

Once again thanks to you all so far :-D

 

Paul

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For the Hymer MIRO you need to go to the Hymer website and download the priced catalogue (the one with the facts and figures, not the pretty pictures) as it is all explained therein as well as the weights you will add with any options you select. The main thing to spot is that they quote MIRO with only 20 litres of water on board, and if you consider you would travel with the tank full you need to take the weight of the full tank at 1kg per litre, and then deduct 20kg.
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tangled up - 2014-08-26 2:33 PM

 

Hi Paul, Thank you for taking the time to reply to everyone.

 

As I have never purchased a motorhome before what kind of discount should I expect percentage wise with no trade in for (a) a stock model and (b) a factory build. Not to hold anyone to anything, its just so I have an idea what to expect and if I do go new and have a factory build should I also expect discount of the options?

 

If you can accept a model a dealer has in stock it does mean it will be available for immediate delivery and you may get a slightly better deal. I prefer to spec a new van and get what I want. I have only brought in Belgium expect a minimum of 10% (and no silly £2000 delivery charge you get on new UK supplied Hymers) I managed much better on my Exsis. Overall, I saved 10-12k on best UK price.

If you buy in Germany or Belguim you will get the discount on the accessories as wel may well struggle to do that in the UK.

 

I had noticed that you owned an Exsis with an auto box so hoped you would post. With the blown air system you have in you van can I ask if it is noisy at all and if it keeps all areas of your van warm (assuming you have used it in winter)? The reason I ask is that we had blown air central heating in our first house and it was almost useless, but that was 20 odd years ago and this is a motorhome.

 

Also am I correct in the following calculations for your Hymer:-

 

MIRO - 2960kg

Max Payload - 540kg

MPM - 3500kg

 

What I am trying to get my head around is what does the MIRO include (and exclude which it shouldn't)? I think I read somewhere that there is fresh water taken into account. If so can this be dumped in real life and filled up as we get to sites therefore giving us a bit more payload to play with?

 

The heating in the Exsis is excellent Hymer have really paid attention to heat distribution in this van compared to our last Hymer. Only had the van a few months did use the heating a bit over the weekend, we were at the Twinwood festival had a couple of cold nightsthe van was a bit chilly when we got back to it a 2:30am also my daughter came with us (a 32 year old) complaned about being a bit cold in the drop down bed so I set the heating to 12 deg I think it came on as she didn't complain again. Also once up to temperature you can hardly hear the fan. The heating in the van is really very good.

 

For Hymer the mass in running order includes full fuel tank, 20Lt water, 1 x 11kg Aluminium gas bottle & driver at 75kg. The Certificate of Conformity will show Mass in Running Order and Technical Mass in Running order the later includes factory fitted extras. Our Technical Mass was 3087kg

 

The Hymer website now has info on 2015 models, Exsis's appear to be 40kg heavier, the i698 appears to have the higher bed with bigger garage still not quite as big as other models.

 

One of the Assuming we are still happy we will more than likely rent a van a couple more times before either acquiring a pre-loved unit or putting an order in for a new one.

 

If hiring a Hymer do it Germany half the cost of the UK we did it twice before buying.

 

 

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As others have already commented in detail your "definition" of your requirements takes you in the direction of a bigger van but your requirement to stay under 3.5 tons then limits choice. You need to be especially careful about payload and be VERY sceptical about manufacturers and dealers data.

Getting it wrong is an expensive mistake but many people need more than one attempt to get it right and there is no perfect van, every one is a compromise so you should just get as close as you can.

 

For me a smaller Van works well and provides sufficient levels of comfort on long (56 day trips) to some distant parts of Europe. The ease of driving parking and and low fuel consumption more than make up for space limitations. Bear in mind that from Spring to Autumn in Europe you can live outside the van much of the time. Also analyze what you NEED in terms of clothing and equipment. You can travel much lighter than you think.

You should buy read and make an effort to fully understand "Go Motorhoming" from Vicarious Books. (Google it) This contains a wealth of information about choosing and using the vehicle especially in Europe .

You may be on the verge of a very exciting period of adventure if you get it right so your approach of intensive research and hiring is absolutely correct.

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HymerVan

 

Many thanks for your reply.

 

We are beginning to realise more and more that compromises will have to be made *-) with vans that are available at present if we want to tick as many of our wish list as possible so what we have decided to do is rent different motorhomes with different layouts over the next 12 months throughout the year for varying periods to see how we get on before committing to the purchase of our own van possibly following the release of the 2016 model year vans this time next year.

 

Also thanks for the advice on the book...I have just ordered it and it will be delivered tomorrow :-D

 

Paul

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