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moving to the light side.


terry1956

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Well after too long a time fighting with the near dangerous road holding of the auto trail (due in the main part to the cab overhang) today it was exchanged for a globecar.the drive from somerset to oxford in the auto trail was one of nerve racking worry, lorries hogging both lanes of the motorway lead at times to a over take in the 3rd line, a place the auto trail was very unhappy with.however the drive back in the 150 bhp globe car was just like (well almost) being in my car.light controls and so much more car like.however only time will tell if its right for me.michael
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hi, not picked it up yet, but the test drive was good, light steering and gear change etc. with the two single beds its idea for us. the larger motorhome just sat around doing nothing most of the year which was mad.I intend to use the globecar as a 2nd car so it will get used each week. michael
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Which model of motorhome did you own? I must admit you can get a bit buffeted with any motorhome when overtaking larger commercial vehicles and straight line traction can be a bit hair raising when there are deep ruts (tramlines) to cope with. Having a larger than normal rear end overhang doesn't help either.

 

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We have made the switch from an Autotrail which was tall with a big rear overhang to an Autosleeper Warwick XL with the 150hp engine and Alco air assisted rear suspension. The difference in handeling especially when overtaking lorries is magic. Unlike then Autotrail with the wider rear suspension it simply does not seem to suffer from tram lining in ruts on motorways. I've not checked yet as the engine has very few miles on it but I'm sure the fuel consumption will be much better as well. The down side is that obviously there is less space and storage with no garage. Given that there are only two of us with one small dog I'm sure we will cope. Time will tell.

 

Don't get me wrong I never felt secure when driving the Autotrail especially in high winds where I often slowed down but I have to add that we never had an incident when driving the Autotrail. We just felt as if one was about to happen!

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terry1956 - 2015-03-04 2:32 PM

 

hi, not picked it up yet, but the test drive was good, light steering and gear change etc. with the two single beds its idea for us. the larger motorhome just sat around doing nothing most of the year which was mad.I intend to use the globecar as a 2nd car so it will get used each week. michael

 

Then you say

 

.however the drive back in the 150 bhp globe car was just like (well almost) being in my car.light controls and so much more car like.however only time will tell if its right for me.michael

 

Did you, didn't you?

 

Obviously a much smaller van will be less effected by the wind, try a VW T5 if you want a car like drive or stick to the Auto-Trail for a very useable and comfortable able to lounge in motorhome.

Personally, I think you will miss the Auto-Trail in every way, except for the motorway drive.

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Having owned all sorts of vans, mainly coachbuilts, for over 40 years I have only ever had one van that had real handing issues in strong winds sufficient to concern me and funnily enough that was an Auto Trail.

 

A 2009 Cheyenne 630 LB to be precise, not one of their largest, and as it seems I am not alone in having handling concerns with an Autotrail maybe, just maybe, the body design is aerodynamically more unstable than many other coachbuilts?

 

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Hi in answer, yes I did drive it back, but it was only a long test drive.i wanted to be sure of the drive so asked for a long test.i pick it up to keep on Saturday. As to the auto trail road holding, I am sure this was down to poor design.there are just far too many buffer zones.the wind force from the front at times tried to force the cab doors open when it turned into a vortex in that area.

The globecar did not thank god have the same issues, and I look forward to many a happy trip over the next few years to come.michael

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I am interested in the various comments re experiences with Auto-trail handling as I took delivery of a new Tracker FB (high Luton) in January. Since then we have travelled from Sydney South then west to a point half way across the continent.we have experienced strong winds, three trailer road trains, poor roads along with good road conditions. My views based on just 5000 odd klms is as follows;

Firstly it should be identified as a slab sided TRUCK, all coach builts are
Naturally we did experience the wind buffeting - normal for a slab sided TRUCK that is 7mtrs long & 2.3 Mtrs high.
Did I feel unsafe - no
This is my first experience with a motorhome but I have had experience with plenty of slab sided trucks and the solution is easy - drive to the conditions.
Overall I have found the whole experience a very positive and enjoyable one so far. The Auto-trail has performed perfectly and I am VERY satisfied with my purchase.

Please remember when driving a coach built you are driving a TRUCK not the family car.

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Hi Geeco , i agree with your sentiments all the way , it is often the way you drive that counts , ive had numerous kinds and sizes of motorhomes over the years and found its the way you treat and drive them that matters , you have to respect the conditions , roads etc , As for Autotrails ive had 5 and no problems with any of them at all .
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Tracker - 2015-03-04 7:57 PM

 

Having owned all sorts of vans, mainly coachbuilts, for over 40 years I have only ever had one van that had real handing issues in strong winds sufficient to concern me and funnily enough that was an Auto Trail.

 

A 2009 Cheyenne 630 LB to be precise, not one of their largest, and as it seems I am not alone in having handling concerns with an Autotrail maybe, just maybe, the body design is aerodynamically more unstable than many other coachbuilts?

 

 

A family member has the same model but slightly older and it`s horrnendous,

They`ve tried everything from changing the awful michelins and adjusting the pressures to

shifting the weight/load the best they can and nothing improves the handling.

They are not in a position to change it so they are stuck with it.

The dealer and autotrail aren`t interested.

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hi lets get a few things right. I have been driving for over 40 years. In that time I have held HGV glass one, and driven 100,000,s miles on all road conditions. and when I say that the auto trail had bad road holding , well that comes from years of experience. unlike many countrys, the roads of the uk are busy, in bad condition and the motorways are full of HGV,s hogging both the inside and in many cases the second lane. These HGV,s travel at 56 to 58mph due to the fitted conveners. so there I am stuck behind a HGV, yes I can remain there or over take. and if this is on the motorway or autobahn it places me in the fast line. and as soon as the auto trail got into the wind vortex of the HGV it was a nightmare. Yes if you travel at 55mph or slower then you will not have a problem. But that's not how I drive. michael
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We've never owned an over-cabbed Mh,, so I've no idea what the "norm" handling-wise is...but when some of the more bulbous ones (of any make) are driving towards you, it does almost appear as it they have just as much bodywork above the top of the cab, as they do below.... :-S

 

.. and the comparison with a "truck" is fine to a degree but at least with a truck it has the all-up weight and the underpinnings, to match it's "bulk"...

 

I've always had the impression that we ask/expect way too much from, what after all, are only extended, and at times, grossly over bodied light delivery vans. :-S

 

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Been reading this thread with interest,as I own an Auto trail, can honestly say I have never had a problem with the handling of it, mine is 7.6 metres with a large overhang at the rear but crucially it is a 'low line' with the large sunroof . perhaps that is factor that makes for better handling at speed ? Mind you the 'low line' still measures 3.03 metres at its highest point ! But a more aero dynamic shape at the front.Mine is still stable at well over the legal limit. Ray
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Genuine questions-

Of the Auto-trail owners who have described their handling whilst overtaking at speed, as being "horrendous" or a "nightmare", what are we comparing it with?..

 

Are we comparing them to similar sized & shaped MHs-but just from a different manufacturers -that they have previously owned?

 

Is it not just the case that threading any vehicle, the size/shape/ frontal area/ and comparatively lightweight, of an over cabbed MH, at 65-70(+?) through the bow wave caused by a couple of HGVs is going to be a bit "clenchy" at times...? :-D

 

Having looked at over cabbed Chaussons, Burstners and Euromobils in the past, I can't say that I'd anticipate any of them being any better behaved "at speed"...? :-S

maybe they are..and it is a quirk of the AT's "aerodynamics"..?

If so, is it something that has been extensively reported elsewhere?

 

Interesting thread.....

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Guest Joe90

My present low profile with an alko chassis is by far the best coachbuilt I've ever had for handling, no issues at all with travelling at speed, and the rear independent suspension rather than cart springs is far superior, it's light years better than any I've had with the bog standard Fiat chassis.

 

As some manufacturers stick a ruddy great over cab area, and some ridiculous rear overhangs all perched on top of a standard chassis cab, it's hardly surprising some of them like the first piece of crap I had before I was clued up has people hanging on for dear life.

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Some years ago I owned a Merc Hymer 550 which although was very well built was a bit hair raising when overtaking. As most people know they are an "A" class so being devoid of an overcab you would think that they would travel through the wind with ease. "Wrong", it was a suck it and see hope for the best when ever it overtook an HGV or coach in windy conditions. Although there isn't an over cab there is still a drop down bed over the front axle which affects the weight distribution and handling especially on motorways that are fairly rutted.

From my own experience with over cab Auto-Trails they seem to handle very well in just about every condition that's thrown at them in particular the 3 ltr version that I have at present.

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As Pepe says, an interesting thread but one that is raising some concerns for me. I am still new to motorhoming and my first and current van is a lowline Hobby which, even with limited experience, I have found to handle very well.

 

I am now waiting to collect my new Autotrail in June so am now starting to feel a little apprehensive, although not overly worried.

 

Someone please tell me that the new Apache is not as bad at road handling as some of the AT models are being described.

 

Many thanks.

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One factor that may act against the Autotrails with regard to their handling is that they are nearly all (the tandem axle Alko variants are an obvious exception) built upon the full height 'freetime' Fiat chassis i.e. not the lowline Fiat 'special' camper chassis. This does make them very tall, none are under 3m I believe, and gives a higher centre of gravity than many.

 

The situation may be about to get worse for some of their models: as discussed earlier on here in another thread the light chassis models (Tracker, Apache) that pre-2015 sat on 15" wheels are now being fitted with 16" wheels which raises them even higher in to the wind and further raises their centre of gravity.

 

As I believe I said in that earlier thread, if I was considering buying a light chassis Autotrail that now comes raised up on 16" wheels I would definately want a lengthy test drive to satisfy myself regarding its handling.

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I'm sure if 12 different people drove the same van there would be 12 different answers. i.e. There are many 'must overtakers' and just as many satisfied to cruise along at 55. There are many who like fighting the weather and there are those who avoid it so how can any single view be a deciding answer as to how a particular make fares. Even if 50 % provide the same result all it proves is that 50% of the drivers drive in the same manner

 

Its as unanswerable as an mpg comment.

 

Perhaps Nick is the only person who could provided a near perfect answer. I assume his vehicles are all driven by any number of drivers who perhaps all have different views.

 

Will

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Or maybe not?

Rather than many people driving the same van we have some people driving several different vans and as far as I can see from what has preceded the low profile vans handle better than the overcab bed type.

No real surprise there then whilst we await other owners of other overcab bedded coachbuilts to pass on their own comparative point of view?

Nick's fleet will probably have some Luton or box vans but I doubt they will have the rear overhang that many coachbuilts have? Nevertherless it would be interesting to know what those van's drivers feel?

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Budgie823 - 2015-03-05 12:29 PM

 

As Pepe says, an interesting thread but one that is raising some concerns for me. I am still new to motorhoming and my first and current van is a lowline Hobby which, even with limited experience, I have found to handle very well.

 

I am now waiting to collect my new Autotrail in June so am now starting to feel a little apprehensive, although not overly worried.

 

Someone please tell me that the new Apache is not as bad at road handling as some of the AT models are being described.

 

Many thanks.

 

 

 

don't be apprehensive... there a good van

mine handles sublimely you would think you were driving a car

just some folk like to AUTO TRAIL bash !!!! as said further up this thread because of the overcab OTHER MAKERS OF MOTORHOMES have the same problem just like tuggers have this problem when lorries pass it comes with the teritory

jon

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