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Subject Topic: Campervan advice - what to get?
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Message posted by katjajulia09/10/2012 at 9:06pm
Outfit:  Khyam Ridgidome XXL and many others     Location:  Leicestershire
Joined: 28/9/2007
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Thanks to "bigtoe" John for the advice, it's been invaluable! Funnily enough as I already own one fantastic Quechua family size pop up, I was set upon buying the lounge only version to be my awning and also looked into the IKEA Lycksele bed as I used to own one and it was very comfortable. The fact that you've been happily using that set-up confirms that I may well be on the right tracks here.

Did you have to modify the Lycksele to fit it between the wheel arches? Some T4 owners have used it but had to modify the bed's undercarriage to fit in over the wheels.

My OH cheered me up endlessly by recently declaring: "You are not buying a bloody campervan!" What can I say...

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My OH is convinced that a permanent raincloud follows my tent where ever it is pitched. Apparently, I could end all drought and famine in Africa simply by pitching my tent there!

Message posted by southfields10/10/2012 at 1:53pm
Outfit:  None Entered     Location:  None Entered
Joined: 13/9/2012
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We went through the same process.

Our requirements were for:

4 seats with 3 point belts, 4 berths, to accomodate myself, wife and 2 children aged 4 and 3, with ability to use it as an everyday vehicle. It also needed to be able to double as a tow vehicle for our boat. If it was side conversion we wanted a walkthrough to the cab since we did not want the children getting out on the road side when abroad. It also needed a decent size boot, ideally with sliding rear seat along with the ability to fit under height barriers in car parks- pretty much every carpark around us has height barriers

We looked at the Merceedes Vito, Mazda Bongo, Ford Transit and vw t4.

The bongo seemed a bit too small and whilst seemingly reliable and nice to drive may have overheating issues, the engine seemed overly complicated/ sophisticated with a complicated cooling system, four wheel drive and reliance on electrical systems, even the roof  on some opened via electrics. The vast majority came in automatic only- not so good for towing or fuel economy.

The merceedes frightned us with rust issues and seized injectors, we have always worked on the simplicity principle and I like the idea of doing some maintenance myself. The vito engine seemed more difficult to work on/ access than some. We also were unable to find much information on their towing ability .The conversions we looked at seemed smaller than others, not sure why as a tape measure showed comparatively small differences, but they just did not feel right.

My wife vetoed the transit on bais was too "white van", we also found there were few converted ones around to either buy, or view for ideas for our own conversion

Having discounted the above we ended up with a vw t4 by default, initially I was dubious believing VW to be hyped up as "fashionable". Having now lived with ours for a year I have to say we made the right choice- the driving position feels right and it does not feel too big for everyday use and is not too bad fuelwise despite being a 2.4 engine and having the aerodynamic qualities of a brick. Ours has sliding rear seats to give an enormous boot if needed and the walkthrough cab is great with young children.At less than 2m high height barriers are also not an issue Our only grumbles are that it is not the quickest in the world and is noiser than some more modern vans at speed, but as we tend to avoid motorways we can live with these points.

(Ironically we have just bought a dandy trailer tent to go with the van, but that is beause two wet weeks in June with the four of us in the van, with awning tested our sanity!)

Good luck in whatever you choose

 

 

 

 


Message posted by bigtoe11/10/2012 at 6:51pm
Outfit:  VW T4 and quechua base second      Location:  Chateau du Wirral
Joined: 30/4/2009
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With the Lyksele as with the t4 we had to make adjustments for the Vito. I put together a simple base for the bed to rest on. The standard 120 cm width of plywood is perfect for this purpose. Basically it consists of a base with an 'H' shape support structure underneath which is pinned to the underside of the base with L shape brackets. This lifts the base above the height of the inner wheel arches.. Very simple to do - I'm completely useless at DIY.

The Lyksele became useable once I took off all the legs,wheels and everything except the metal frame which the mattress sits on. It's wider than the 120 cm base but it sits on nicely.

I'm interested to know what you've seen t4 owners do to deal with the Lyksele wheel arch problem. The only thing I can think of other than build a base would be to weld metal pieces onto all the legs to lift It to a useable height.

Southfields, I kind of know what you mean with the Ford transit. It was about the only van I didn't short list - for no other reason that it just wouldn't have been right!

Glad you're happy with the T4. I understand that the 2.4 engine is snail like but spot on for durability. Who needs acceleration on camping trips?! We were looking at the 2.5 t4 but the extra 1500 quid over the Vito to buy into the VdUb scene wasn't really worth it. The vito rust problems are obviously easy to see so we were aware of what to avoid, and it's fairly cheap to inject with a proofing liquid.

Technically you are right re the VIto side conversions. The load length of the Vito (pre 2003) is about 18cm shorter than the equivalent T4 even though they share the same chassis. The Vito is wider though so you can make better use of the side units and bed - I've never understood for the life of me how two adults can sleep on a three quarter rock and roll bed. It's smaller than a standard single bed . We're looking at a side conversion on the Vito for next year but it will consist of a narrowed set of side units with a wider bed. Not full width but it will be over 4 feet wide and should still give us decent storage capacity in the units.

Avoiding an awning is surely a good move! We moved over from tenting to avoid an hours hard labour after a long drive through France. We watched in envy as campervans set up in no time. There was no way I was swapping a tent for an awning. The big pop up Quechua is easily the best bit of camping kit we have. For us it makes awnings obsolete cos there easy to attaché to the van if that's what's needed.

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John

May/June.....France
Aug.......somewhere else in France

Message posted by katjajulia16/10/2012 at 2:24pm
Outfit:  Khyam Ridgidome XXL and many others     Location:  Leicestershire
Joined: 28/9/2007
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Here's a link to show what the T4 owners are doing to their Lycksele sofabed to fit it so that it clears the wheel arches :-)
http://www.vwt4forum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=80827&highlight=lycksele

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My OH is convinced that a permanent raincloud follows my tent where ever it is pitched. Apparently, I could end all drought and famine in Africa simply by pitching my tent there!

Message posted by bigtoe17/10/2012 at 6:52pm
Outfit:  VW T4 and quechua base second      Location:  Chateau du Wirral
Joined: 30/4/2009
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Many thanks for that. Theres a link on the thread you pasted too which gave a really good close up of how the bed leg extensions are welded on (to lift the bed over the height of the wheel arches).. A local metal worker could do this very easliy.

Im very tempted because it would mean swapping from bed to seat will be much easier than it is at the moment.

 



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John

May/June.....France
Aug.......somewhere else in France

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Message posted by jimsmimm18/10/2012 at 6:50am
Outfit:  Chausson Flash 22     Location:  Paisley
Joined: 20/12/2006
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something I think you should consider is that at some point you will want to sell your campervan and the extra cash you spend on purchase of a vw will be recouped   far easier than any other van on the market ..this is especially important if you plan to spend a lot of time and cash on the  van after you purchase it...I went through all the considerations everyone has all ready discussed and this is why I eventually bought a vw t5 ........dont forget vw T4/5 come in a LWB version which makes a huge difference when camped up but very little on day to day use ....


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