Decision made!

#1
Well we've gone and done it! Made the decision that we're going to full time starting early next year, so we're selling off all our accumulated crap from the last 40 years, I'm using my pension cos i turn 55 in a couple of months, we're buying a motorhome and off we go!

Been looking all over the interet and boy, is there a lot of information out there - half of it rubbish of course - but so many things to think about!

We're planning to stay in the UK for the first year, lots of Scotland etc and then we'll see, apart from that, no plans. Mostly wild camping is the plan with the odd site stop for charging batteries, water and waste but we can decide that as we go along.

Lots of issues to look into, from what van we will buy to how we deal with monthly medication, but nothing insurmountable and if it all goes wrong - we just rent another home somewhere.

Here is where we are right now:

MH - looked at a few dealers, can't see much difference between the £40k ones and the £15k ones so we'll be looking at £10 - £20k and hope to spend as little as possible but getting what we want. It's got to be rear lounge/bedroom, right hand drive and easy to get into but apart from that we're open to anything really though a coachbuilt seems to be the way to go for now. Upgrades/breakdowns/repairs aren't too much of an issue as I'm pretty handy, I've never put my car in a garage for repair in over 30 years of driving and I've both rewired our home and fitted a central heating system before now so I think I can handle most stuff - though age makes it a little more difficult these days!

Insurance - we'll need fulltimer insurance and there's lots of scare stories on here, but spoke to Adrian Flux and they'll be able to insure us on whatever we get, no vehicle age restrictions, value restrictions etc so that sounds much easier than we have heard, I guess the industry moves on at a pace!

Equipment - well we don't bother with TV and haven't for the last 7 years so no issues there. Internet we'll probably use a mobile phone and free wifi when we can but we can always use a mobile dongle too if we need to. Looks like a SOG unit would be great but I'll make my own version, loads of rubbish spoken about these but as a microbiologist for 20 years I have a little understanding of waste breakdown.......lol. A rear view camera and/or sensors will also be on the shopping list if not already fitted as will new batteries and a few other things as we go along I am sure.

Great to see that there's forums etc to help out, this one seems to be about the best, and we're hoping to create a blog too but for the moment it's all plan plan plan and we can't wait to get going!!

Cheers
Alan n Ann
 
#3
Welcome to the forum and have fun looking at all the various motorhome options. We were passing Newark today so stopped into Brownhills for a look around as they have a wide selection of motorhomes, meaning you can get a good idea of each of the layouts and what might work for you. In our case it just reinforced that we think the layout of our current van is still the best fit for us (we have a 7.5m coachbuilt on a 2.4TDi Transit which has a traverse fixed rear bed with a large garage underneath).

Having said that, if I had your skillset I'd be tempted to convert a van myself.
 
#4
Thanks for the welcome!

Sounds like you have what we're looking for SteveG! Where in Brownhills is that? We're not too far away so that could be a place to look for us, we've only looked in Derby so far.

I'd love to do a conversion myself, but I just don't have space here - not even a driveway and I doubt I'd be popular doing it on the side of the main road!
 

Silver Drifter

Well-Known Member
#5
Hi both and welcome.
When I was looking for a van, a guy who had owned one for a few years strongly suggested a rear wheel drive, plenty of stored water and a Merc if you see one.....I followed his advice and in 6 years of driving in circles around Europe and Marroc I wouldn't change anything.....well actually I would☺ and I think you'll find that no matter how much you plan and search, the final selection will be a compromise (even if only a tiny one)
Soooo, be flexible and adapt, as life on the road is fantastic but not without obstacles to overcome.....most importantly, enjoy!!
 
#6
This is the place: https://www.brownhills.co.uk

It's in Newark - pretty much right beside the roundabout where the A46 and A1 meet. I think it's the biggest motorhome dealership in the UK and has lots of vans on display.

Our motorhome is an Autoroller 600G - it's a 2010 which we've had from new as it ticks a lot of boxes for us. The 2.4TDi Transit is surprisingly quick (a lot quicker than the 2.0TDi Fiat that our first motorhome was on) and being 3850kg instead of 3500kg it's got a pretty decent payload as well, which is necessary as we carry a small motobike in the garage. Ours is mostly standard except for a few changes we've recently made for longer term use e.g. Gaslow LPG gas system, 180W of solar panels and we've now got just under 200AH of battery capacity.
 
#7
Well, looks like we'll be having a trip to Newark soon! And it's not too far!

Autoroller has been probably the MH make that I like best so far, though I've not seen a Ford one. How do you get on with the extra weight? I've heard there are a lot of 3500kg limits around, both on roads and things like AA type recovery services - has this been an issue at all?


Sensible upgrades, I've been looking at just those upgrades to but it's all a bit presumptive yet as we don't know what will already be fitted as we'll be buying used initially.
 
#8
The extra weight hasn't been an issue so far, other than having to avoid the toll roads in Austria over to Italy when heading over the Alps as I think we were in a more expensive class for the tolls. Wasn't a problem though as there were interesting roads paralleling the Brenner pass and more enjoyable (if a bit slower) than the main road. In the few cases we've seen a 3.5T limit (mainly in France) I've tended to ignore them anyway as I think they're really aimed at stopping larger commercial vehicles and while plated to 3.85T we'd normally be under 3.5T anyway.

The main advantage of the extra capacity however is the extra payload as a lot of 3.5T vans are pretty short on payload. We like to travel with a full fresh water tank plus we've got the weight of the motorbike (which is only 100kg but that'd be a big chunk of payload for some) and a lot of vans you couldn't do that and stay legal. We've recently looked at a few vans with a similar layout to our current one and there is no way I could live with the payload on the 3.5T ones, meaning we'd need suspension upgrades and re-plating.
 
#9
With regards plating, if your van is plated at 3.5t, that is the maximum weight it can be? So how do you know what the payload can be? i.e. what it weighs as is? Do you need to use a weighbridge? or is there a plate weight to tell you that too?
 
#10
The weight you need to find out is the MIRO mass in running order. That's the weight of the van before you've even put a toothbrush in. You'll need a weighbridge for that. Subtract that weight from what it says on the plate e,g 3500 kg and that will give your user payload
 
#11
My 600G is plated to 3850kg and is supposed to have a MIRO of 2975, giving me a payload of 875kg.

The current equivalent to my motorhome is the Autoroller Zefiro 690 which has a similar MIRO at 2990kg but as it's only 3500kg maximum the payload is a lot lower at 510kg. That's not too bad, however some others in the range are as low as 400kg and I've seen vans with even lower payloads.
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
#12
hi, best self build .
put in what you need and if you base it on the right vehicle have lots payload as well.
after all big fuel tanks for coming back to uk or leaving morocco as fuel is good price there.
plus you dont want to be paying uk prices for beer or wine if you return for the summer etc .
take lots food as eu is getting pricey on food.
 
#13
Thanks SteveG, not heard of the MIRO before, but now I know! Great information and something to look out for going forward.

Love to self build vwalan, but I just don't have space, no driveway etc. Used to live on a farm and if I still did I would definitely self build but it's a non starter right now - just have to satisfy myself with self build upgrades as I go!
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#14
Sounds like you have a plan :thumb: My only comment would be your choice of having a rear lounge that is also the sleeping quarters. What if one of you is feeling under the weather or worse ? Having a separate sleeping and living arrangement means that if required, one can be recovering in bed whilst the other still has a space to live in :think:
 
#15
It may sound like we have a plan...........:sweating:

Our idea is that the bed will be made up and permanent, just because I'm sure we wouldn't want to make it up every night and put it away every morning, it's bad enough having to make the bed in our house now! :blush: We would also be happy with a fixed bed, though they often have a strange shaped mattress from what we've seen so far and replacement might be difficult and expensive but I'm guessing we might be able to fit something near a standard mattress on a lounge/bed. All the ones we have seen have an additional seating area/dinette near the front so the plan is to use that as everyday seating as there will only be the two of us.

One thing that we are wondering about is what are we going to do all day? We've been running our own business for the past few years and its not something we can take with us so we may find ourselves at somewhat of a loose end......A couple of weeks on holiday is great but what do you all do to fill the time??
 
#16
There is a case for having a rear lounge in that it maximises the living space in the motorhome, however we much prefer a fixed bed for various reasons. One is the obvious one of not having to make it up each time, but perhaps the main one is that we find a big garage to be essential and those normally go with fixed beds. Fixed traverse doubles (which is what we have) usually have the biggest garages as well.

Replacing an odd shaped mattress isn't a problem either - there are plenty of firms that will make you one up, but it's also possible to create your own using memory foam. We did that recently, replacing our worn out mattress by cutting a couple of single memory foam mattresses from Ikea to fit. Saved us maybe £400 and seems to be working well.

On the "what to do thing" I'm new to this myself, only being 2 nights into our first extended trip. However we're planning on doing a fair bit of sightseeing, some running to keep fit and probably a lot of lounging about in the van relaxing and reading.
 

Silver Drifter

Well-Known Member
#17
What to do all day......
Well, the first thing to adapt to is that multi-tasking is a swear word!
Secondly.......slow down.....do one task per day and don't work on tasks all day....I found it quite hard at first as I also used to run my own business and was on the hamster wheel 6 days per week.....now I research where I'm planning on going to. Mainly to make sure I get to see what it is I'm going for.....when there, potter around......sit and look around, smell the flowers etc etc......
 

chrisjones18

Well-Known Member
#18
We have a double bed over a garage, it was great at first but I have dodgy feet and now have a bit of trouble with the 5 steps on the ladder when getting up in the mornings.
So things change , though it made sense at the time.
Go for what you want and that way you can only blame yourself....?. Oh for a crystal ball.
There's no way I can sleep in an overcab bed ....
Leaving a bed made up in a rear lounge will loose you easy to get to storage space. So be careful
Now I'm wishing we had a low line front bed or island rear..

I ran a couple of trucks in a small haulage business years ago,
As for what to do....... you will think "how did I have time for work" ...... there's not time to do all I have in my head.....
You will get used to it...
 
#19
No steps into bed for me chris!! I'm sure we'll want to alter things as we go along, hopefully small things but who knows? I'm likely to end up stripping it out and moving everything around knowing me but that's certainly not the plan......:wasntme::wasntme:

We're pretty laid back about the whole thing for now, gotta learn the ropes then just get on with it and see where it takes us. Maybe w'll do a tour of British castles......:nod:
 
#20
We're both still reasonably(!) young (52 and 50) so cope fine with the higher bed at the back of our motorhome. I suspect as we get older, and especially as we start needing to get up at night to pee more often, then the vans with fixed singles at the back might become an attractive option.
 
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