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TOPIC: what budget to spend

what budget to spend 11 months 6 days ago #452489

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interested in purchasing a caravan just for 2 possibly 3, would it be better having a fixed bedroom also what is a good brand well built and when is a good time of year to buy and which part of the country would be better buying from a dealer or private.
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what budget to spend 11 months 6 days ago #452494

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I would by from a dealer as you have stronger consumer rights. There are no good quality U.K. brands just differences in quality. Coachman come out on top on most surveys but not by much. If you go for a more modern van say post 2014 the makers tended to use materials that are resistant to moisture ingress but that doesn’t mean you won’t get damp. The only van I’ve ever owned that did not have damp was a French Trigano. Make sure it has a full service history at main dealer or NCC approved workshops. Look at layouts before you decide. I go on condition has it been well looked after and I’m good condition.
Don’t buy too far from home as getting it back for any defects to be sorted can be a pain.
Look at MTPLM to make sure it’s within car towing limits. A good guide is the cars kerbweight should be around 85% of MTPLM especially for inexperienced towers.
Remember the car makers max towing limit related to its ability to restart on a defined incline. It’s nit a good guide to its ability with a caravan. Hence the 85% guidance.

I buy cars and vans around December-March as dealers are keen to shift stock in low sales periods.
Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDi SE CR 170ps DSG 4x4 carrying two Springers, Sprite Musketeer TD 2013.
Last Edit: 11 months 6 days ago by otherclive.
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what budget to spend 11 months 5 days ago #452516

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For what it's worth: I decided to start off buying a used van from a private seller. This comes with loads of pitfalls but at the end of the day IMO unless you can afford a brand new van well worth it. Having said that as I speak today, reading some posts on this forum, I get the feeling I am better off with my re worked old van than a new one. I agree with OC that the best time is off season or near to start of the summer season. In off season dealers and private sellers have less demand consequently you are likely to get a better deal. Most established caravaners that are upgrading like to do so a few months before their summer season starts, which was the case with my seller. Although I had caravan-ed in Africa extensively, I had been out for at least 15 years so in principle I did not fully understand all the things to look out for. In the end however have ended up with a great Swift 2010 van purchase price £7500 and have spent about £3000/4000 on improvements. We are very happy.

Things I would now look out for.

1. IMO the first time you see the van, look at the outside general condition, make a big decision about how much love you think that van has had during its life, then test and reaffirm that opinion the first time you get in the van and look at the general appearance of the van.
2. In my case, both first impressions were good. Only if these are good bother to look deeper.
3. Even though we were happy, we still ended up basically doing a deep clean of the whole van interior including steam cleaning all cushions etc “to make it our own”.
4. The next test I would do is test for moisture. A leaky van is a nightmare. A simple meter costing around £10.00 is good enough for this purpose. Find bad readings, walk away.
5. www.manomano.co.uk/humidity-sensor-1234?...qEAQYBCABEgIsufD_BwE
6. Now start looking at the electrics, ask and check things that should work on mains and things that should work on van battery.
7. In my case the battery was missing, another extra cost to replace a 110 VA battery. About £100
8. Old vans mostly have halogen light bulbs, so you will need to change most of them to reduce battery load especially for off grid use.
9. While on about it try and check that the battery charger is working.
10. All this is difficult so just do the best you can under the circumstances. Small things, but no battery gives you a “physiological” advantage when haggling price.
11. Then ask the seller to demonstrate and explain every fuse and circuit breaker in the van including the “control panel” if it has one.
12. On this point DO NOT EXPECT TO REMEMBER. Use your smart phone to video every point explained so you can go back and check if in doubt.
13. Ask and if possible check main electrical appliances like Space Heater, Water Heater, Cooker and Fridge etc.
14. Water heater includes Gas and Electrical controls, knobs settings how to fill start the system up, how to drain, how to switch pump on etc. How not to turn the electrical heating element on without a full tank, burning out the element is a big headache.
15. Same applies to Space Heater, both electrical and gas operation including controls for both.
16. While on the matter of GAS check where the isolation valves are located for each appliance, there should be one for each, water heater, space heater, cooker and fridge.
17. Ask about awnings etc that may come with the van. Would be surprised if they do but check all that out.
18. Check out the tyres, ask when they were last changed and then to see the jack and spare if there is one. Does the van have a lifting bracket fitted?
19. Be sure to check that the van is registered with CRIS, the last thing you want is a copper calling saying you are the proud owner of a stolen van.
20. If you can ask a van dealer to check the expected book value of that make and model van to at least have some idea of price range.
21. Remember if a dealer bought it they would expect to make a minimum of 20 % on resale.
22. Check if it has a motor mover, they are almost and essential today, I had to fit a new Powrtouch which cost about £850.00

Anyway I am sure others may have suggestions but all things being equal, go about it this way and you should be fine.

USE THAT PHONE VIDEO RECORDER!
Reborn caravanner !
Last Edit: 11 months 5 days ago by Grey13.
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what budget to spend 11 months 5 days ago #452524

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Personally for a first buy I would regard a dealer as far safer although you can still find dealers who are not all they should be.
Before you see it get the chassis number and check it with HPI and NCC to make sure it is not on HP and therefore owned by the finance company and not recorded as stolen. Even then I would get good proof of ownership and you then need all service records to make sure t has been maintained. If you are not satisfied walk away. If it is on HP I would settle the outstanding amount with the finance company if you buy. but I would not trust someone who failed to mention this.
Beware of anything that looks too cheap as they tend to be the suspect ones.
Ray
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what budget to spend 11 months 5 days ago #452547

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If you already have the towcar then start there - establish the MTPLM and if there is any towing limit. Usually about 85% of the car kerbweight is a good stating point (or less if limited by the manufacturer). If not fitted already you can get mobile towbar fitters and all later vans will have a 13pin plug, and adapters are available if you have 13pin on the car and 12S/12N 7 pin plugs on the caravan. Then visit a few dealers in the locality to view some layouts - most dealers have the vans open so you can have a good peruse. Also there will be vans from new to maybe 10 years old so you get some idea of value for money or what your budget will afford. Then you can start your search in earnest. Personally I looked at both dealer vans and private sales, but the warranty offered and starter pack (battery, water, waste etc) and a 'good honest van' that had been initially sold and p/exed by the dealer about 18 months later was what settled it. The warranty offered might be between 3 months and 3 years - even the minimum length is enough for you to have lived in it and tested it all out. The long list of things to inspect given above to me underlines the risks if you buy and drive away privately. Either way some service and damp check record is a must, often accompanied by stickers on the drawer-bar.
Good hunting!
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what budget to spend 11 months 5 days ago #452551

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Reborn caravanner !
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what budget to spend 11 months 5 days ago #452567

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what i need to do is Attend a caravan show or Rally of some kind, as i have Already viewed a few different makes all 2 berth caravans but like you said all different once you step inside .
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what budget to spend 11 months 5 days ago #452570

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i have looked at a couple of 2 Berth vans compass omega 482 2014 model

swift challenger 408 2 Berth 2012

swift conquerer 408 2 Berth

Abbey 215 gts 2008 2 Berth

coachman vision 450 2 berth
all vans where single wheeled
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what budget to spend 11 months 5 days ago #452574

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Grey13 wrote:
For what it's worth: I decided to start off buying a used van from a private seller. This comes with loads of pitfalls but at the end of the day IMO unless you can afford a brand new van well worth it. Having said that as I speak today, reading some posts on this forum, I get the feeling I am better off with my re worked old van than a new one. I agree with OC that the best time is off season or near to start of the summer season. In off season dealers and private sellers have less demand consequently you are likely to get a better deal. Most established caravaners that are upgrading like to do so a few months before their summer season starts, which was the case with my seller. Although I had caravan-ed in Africa extensively, I had been out for at least 15 years so in principle I did not fully understand all the things to look out for. In the end however have ended up with a great Swift 2010 van purchase price £7500 and have spent about £3000/4000 on improvements. We are very happy.

Things I would now look out for.

1. IMO the first time you see the van, look at the outside general condition, make a big decision about how much love you think that van has had during its life, then test and reaffirm that opinion the first time you get in the van and look at the general appearance of the van.
2. In my case, both first impressions were good. Only if these are good bother to look deeper.
3. Even though we were happy, we still ended up basically doing a deep clean of the whole van interior including steam cleaning all cushions etc “to make it our own”.
4. The next test I would do is test for moisture. A leaky van is a nightmare. A simple meter costing around £10.00 is good enough for this purpose. Find bad readings, walk away.
5. www.manomano.co.uk/humidity-sensor-1234?...qEAQYBCABEgIsufD_BwE
6. Now start looking at the electrics, ask and check things that should work on mains and things that should work on van battery.
7. In my case the battery was missing, another extra cost to replace a 110 VA battery. About £100
8. Old vans mostly have halogen light bulbs, so you will need to change most of them to reduce battery load especially for off grid use.
9. While on about it try and check that the battery charger is working.
10. All this is difficult so just do the best you can under the circumstances. Small things, but no battery gives you a “physiological” advantage when haggling price.
11. Then ask the seller to demonstrate and explain every fuse and circuit breaker in the van including the “control panel” if it has one.
12. On this point DO NOT EXPECT TO REMEMBER. Use your smart phone to video every point explained so you can go back and check if in doubt.
13. Ask and if possible check main electrical appliances like Space Heater, Water Heater, Cooker and Fridge etc.
14. Water heater includes Gas and Electrical controls, knobs settings how to fill start the system up, how to drain, how to switch pump on etc. How not to turn the electrical heating element on without a full tank, burning out the element is a big headache.
15. Same applies to Space Heater, both electrical and gas operation including controls for both.
16. While on the matter of GAS check where the isolation valves are located for each appliance, there should be one for each, water heater, space heater, cooker and fridge.
17. Ask about awnings etc that may come with the van. Would be surprised if they do but check all that out.
18. Check out the tyres, ask when they were last changed and then to see the jack and spare if there is one. Does the van have a lifting bracket fitted?
19. Be sure to check that the van is registered with CRIS, the last thing you want is a copper calling saying you are the proud owner of a stolen van.
20. If you can ask a van dealer to check the expected book value of that make and model van to at least have some idea of price range.
21. Remember if a dealer bought it they would expect to make a minimum of 20 % on resale.
22. Check if it has a motor mover, they are almost and essential today, I had to fit a new Powrtouch which cost about £850.00

Anyway I am sure others may have suggestions but all things being equal, go about it this way and you should be fine.

USE THAT PHONE VIDEO RECORDER!

I think Grey has given some very good advice. I would just offer a caution. Once you have seen the van have a proper damp check carried out unless one has been done recently. I’ve had two caravans now where the service Center picked up cracks in front or rear roof panels. The first time this happened was a new van. It had a replacement front in year 2 and a back in year 3. My current van now proudly sports a 2018 rear panel as the service picked up only 20% damp in the rear offside corner and being experienced they then looked for micro cracks on the panel. Fortunately it was covered under warranty. But i dread to think what it would have cost me. Damp round windows, roof lights, doors, lockers etc I’d relatively inexpensive to fix providing it’s not rotted the frame etc. Front and rear panels ugh!
Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDi SE CR 170ps DSG 4x4 carrying two Springers, Sprite Musketeer TD 2013.
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