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Another Newbie looking for the perfect MH


Violet1956

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Hi all. I have been reading several threads with interest. Just signed up because I am searching for our first MH and I notice several members of the forum give good advice. I am searching for used MH but as it will be our first I am reluctant to spend more than £20,000 of our hard earned cash. After caravanning for many years when our kids were young we are coming up for retirement and fancy hitting the open road in the UK and Europe whenever we can. What I have found disappointing in the for sale ads I see is the limited information, in particular what the insulation standard is or whether older vans meet modern emissions standards. As I have to look for older vans with this limited budget I can rarely find helpful reviews. Oh how easy it would be if there was a legal requirement to state such things in every ad. I will spare y'all specific enquiries for now but hope not to irritate when I ask for advice about particular models in the future. At the moment I am persuaded that German marques may be for us given I want to ski for as long as my knees hold out and am sick of paying big time for accommodation in the Alps.

 

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Hello and welcome to the forum.

 

it occurrs to me that it is very unlikely that you will get much sense out of dealers regarding insulation or winterisation. As you are already aware , general concensus is the German vans are more likely to have better winterisation than uk vans, but my impression is that they cost more.

 

when you look at any van, you must pay attention to such things as water tank insulation, water pipe insulation, floor insulationsuch as fitted carpeting, double glazing in widows if you are planning winter use.

 

my guess is that many vans in your price range will not have the desired insulation levels, but it might be possible to undertake diy addition of some if it, but not easy task.

 

space heating for winter use will require propane gas, red bottles if calor, and worth checking if van has fixed regulator, or needs on bottle regulator.

 

Storeage for your winter clothing, skis etc should be considered, where does it all go?

 

WINTER TYRES, are they fitted or available, and at what extra cost?

 

Engine oil for winter cold weather..is it right grade..radiator antifreeze installed? Screen washer and wipers in good condition.

 

I bet the dealers wont be able to answer any of these points.

 

I cant recommend any particular van but hope above comments give you gentle reminders to think other than type or style of van, number of berths, fixed or made up beds,...dont forget weight limits, and driving licence requirement for over 3500kg rated vans.

 

Good luck in doing the rounds of dealers.

 

tonyg3nwl.

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Hymer vans with a double floor, Alko chassis is the thing to look for, mostly have a space under the floor that runs the width of the van, about 2m30. This floor means you don't have to drain all water when you leave the van in winter and don't have piercing cold comin up to your feet. You should get a modest 10 year old one for you budget.
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Many thanks Stalwart. You have mentioned lots of issues I had not thought of. On another note whilst a read quite a lot of criticisms of the motorhome depot guys on this forum one was helpful enough to tell me a Burstner Solano I liked that it was no good for us because of the insulation qualities. He seemed very helpful and not in the least bit pushy. I'm concentrating on searching for private sales as I am little wary of sellers who have decided to use a middleman. Seems to me it is somewhat akin to buying a puppy without seeing its mother! :-D
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Many thanks for your advice yokopups. I have looked at a number of Hymers but haven't seen any yet within my budget that young. Will keep looking though. We have given a thought to importing as we quite favour LHD. Seems to me though that second hand vans are not much cheaper on the continent and not worth the hassle.
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Skiing in a motorhome, been their done that, do not bother. Skiing and MH just do not go well unless you stay on a well run winter equipped campsite, then maybe. If you look around the accommodation is a pretty small part of a ski holiday anyway, the fuel alone will cost you more than cheap flights. Staying on aires a nightmare, even if your van is fully winterised it will not stop all the local outdoor water supplies freezing up, constant problems sorting out gas, you will use a lot. The clutter of skis, boots, wet ski clothes in a van, you will need a very big one to have any comfort at all. Try it for a week before you commit to a long holiday.
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I agree with you Stalwart on the many issues you have pointed out. We don't intend to stay in the van for a week skiing. Seems to me there are sometimes opportunities to just go somewhere to ski for a day or two, say in March and then drop down to warmer climbs. In my research I have singled out Samoens as a good place to do that. When we hired a monster of a motorhome years ago in California we were able to ski in Squaw Valley and then travel to the coast for some sun. I had hoped that we may be able to do that in Europe. Fortune favours the brave.On another note, you or others on the forum who have been so kind as to offer their views may be able to help me. I have seen a van which seems to tick most of my boxes on't tinternet. It's a Pilote Galaxy G614 2003 Mercedes Engine Alko Chassis. I like it a lot. Whaddiya think?
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  • 4 months later...
An update. We bit the bullet and bought a Rapido 746F on a 06 plate in January 2016. We were cautious about how much we wanted to spend and as it was within budget and seemed practical enough we went for it. The waste water tank was under slung so I remained concerned about it freezing if we took it skiing. Well we did go skiing, but in the middle of March when extremes of temperature are not the problem the cautious would have to worry about.There were a few problems on our way to the Italian Dolomites which my other posts detail so won't bore you too much with them here. Gas was one of them as was a dodgy V belt ( the fan belt to the uninitiated like me). That said we received really welcome advice from the stalwarts on this forum whilst we were away for which we remain extremely grateful. It was my first experience of owning a motorhome and taking it abroad. It surpassed all my expectations and I can't wait to get out and about again. Yes the grey water outlet froze (but that was resolved quickly as the temperatures rose in the morning), yes we had problems finding gas bottles and fittings to suit in the various countries we passed through but we overcame them. So if you are on this forum as a Newbie like us and looking for your perfect motorhome then soak up the advice on here. Small tip, if you have a dog and choose a fixed bed MH under 6.5 metres with only one comfortable bed don't expect your beloved pooch will be content sleeping on the floor. Also the Vet in Austria only cost 27 euros for the Drontal tab needed for the return journey, much cheaper it seems than the vets in Northern France. :-D
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I just can't wait for retirement Brock so we can wander about at whim. The government are constantly moving the goal posts so we are looking at a few more years until we can afford to be "where shall we go this week" kind of people. I suppose we should feel more sympathy for those who are still young who will have to work until they die.
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