Decision made!

#61
Coolasluck - that's a lot of solar! I've got a big roof and so far nothing on it except the two metal fan shrouds so plenty of space. How many panels do you use to get 675amps? And how do they perform when there's no sun?
 
#63
Really? That's very useful information - thanks!:thumb:

I was considering fitting slightly larger tyres on the rear to improve mpg, have you had any experience of this? I know it'll affect the speedo but my satnav gives very accurate speed readings so I can recalibrate and the acceleration might suffer a little but overall the van seems very low geared so I'm wondering if it might be a good idea as I wont be carrying the full 5200kgs so I would expect the van to cope ok
 
#64
The only way you could reduce engine revs ( I have the same issue) would be to fit larger diameter wheels and tyres, I really don't think they would be available. But as things are I've found the gearing perfect for climbing mountains, just make sure your cooling system is 100%
 
#65
A higher profile tyre on the standard rims would work too, I'll see what size tyres I have and see if there are options available - might only get 5-10% but anything is worth having really and I wouldn't want to go too far and lose that mountain climbing ability - we are heading to Scotland in Spring!!
 

Willum

Active Member
#66
.......................Another good reason to not buy plastic fantastics who seem to enjoy polluting the roof with too many vents amongst other crap people think nessarsary to put up there. .......................
........................ but fortunately for the rest of us not as talented as you, coola, there are options that make life easier when the option choices narrow. ;)
Will
 

coolasluck

Well-Known Member
#67
Coolasluck - that's a lot of solar! I've got a big roof and so far nothing on it except the two metal fan shrouds so plenty of space. How many panels do you use to get 675amps? And how do they perform when there's no sun?
I fitted 7 panels. 6x100 watt panels and 1x120.Your most important way of starting is too work out where to fit your batteries and how many you can have. There's no point having 720 watts if your battery capacity is only a single 100 amp battery.lol
You will still get some charging during a cloudy but bright day. Summertime though I can't use the power quick enough.Also a decent battery to battery charger when on the move is useful.
 

coolasluck

Well-Known Member
#68
........................ but fortunately for the rest of us not as talented as you, coola, there are options that make life easier when the option choices narrow. ;)
Will
I was a keen learner and certainly not talented lol. As we were giving up our bricks and mortar I wanted something that would make a suitable replacement. Manufactured vans in my view are way over priced and fit for holiday use. Your van needs to feel like home and make you want to be in it.Most plastics I have been in are just uncomfortable and horrible.Your always evolving though making improvements along the way.Its great. At least you will know how to fix any problem that occurs. There are some really clever people out there who have done some fantastic conversations.
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#69
Our original van was very comfortable and it was our only fulltime home for the first 18 months, then 8 months of the year thereafter. However, I do agree with you about building your own, being able to design it around your own requirements and being able to fix things yourself. My daughter and her partner are doing their own conversion on a Sprinter van. Although he was a former Avionics engineer, so knows his way around electrics and wiring, the rest of the conversion he is doing with the help of others on 'You Tube'. There must be a great satisfaction with self builds and I take my hat off to anybody who is brave enough to do it, it requires time, patience and determination but the reward is a van built with your own hands :thumb::clap:
 

sundowners

Well-Known Member
#70
One of the big advantages of self build is that you can have a level of technology that suits you------- I am very simple and like everything to be like me!!!!!!!
The problem with engine battery on modern vehicles is that there is a constant parasitic draw of power, our van has two trackers fitted amongst other crap!!!! The battery will drain too quickly, our previous vehicle, a Dodge ram could not be run for months and never discharge engine batteries!!!!!
With that one I fitted a manual switch so that I could control the power between camper and engine, that sort of thing works great------ unless you forget to switch it!!!!!!!!!
 

sundowners

Well-Known Member
#71
We find that we have got used to using a lot of leccy, usually use what is available according to the sun, but in winter when the sun is very low and less hours on duty we use the little honda to top up when using the washing machine etc, if at all possible set you panels up so that you can tilt them to a better angle to the sun, the difference in performance is quite amazing!!!!
Unless your tyres need replacing now I would try with what is fitted and see how it goes, it would be a shame to buy seven new all season tyres and find they are not suited!!!!-------- we would only ever fit all season or winter tyres as a lot of countries insist on them for winter use!!!, You will eventually be driving through these countries even if it is just to get to some winter sun!!!!!!
Your wheels will be reversed on the front--- same ones as the rear. We have stuck to original size tyres but increased the load rating as original ones only just met the max gross weight, if one axle was overloaded a little they would be overloaded.
 
Last edited:
#72
I was a keen learner and certainly not talented lol. As we were giving up our bricks and mortar I wanted something that would make a suitable replacement. Manufactured vans in my view are way over priced and fit for holiday use. Your van needs to feel like home and make you want to be in it.Most plastics I have been in are just uncomfortable and horrible.Your always evolving though making improvements along the way.Its great. At least you will know how to fix any problem that occurs. There are some really clever people out there who have done some fantastic conversations.
I was a keen learner and certainly not talented lol. As we were giving up our bricks and mortar I wanted something that would make a suitable replacement. Manufactured vans in my view are way over priced and fit for holiday use. Your van needs to feel like home and make you want to be in it.Most plastics I have been in are just uncomfortable and horrible.Your always evolving though making improvements along the way.Its great. At least you will know how to fix any problem that occurs. There are some really clever people out there who have done some fantastic conversations.
fit for holiday use? I must have been on a permenant very comfortable holiday for the past ten and half years then !!
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#73
fit for holiday use? I must have been on a permenant very comfortable holiday for the past ten and half years then !!
I think that there is a lot of 'verbal disdain' of mass built production Motorhomes which, unsurprisingly, is in the main by those who have built their own. Now I am on my fifth production built Motorhome and like them, generally because I have neither had the time, the facilities, the knowledge or more importantly the confidence to have a go at building my own, that doesn't make me a bad person, although it may in some other people's views :giggle: However, and let us stop being understandably defensive of our mass produced vehicles, for they are primarily built and sold as casual use 'holiday' vehicles and not as permanent 'fulltime' liveaboard homes. That is not to say that they cannot be used for that purpose, that is not to say that they are less spacious or indeed less comfortable than self builds, there is so much choice out there these days on chassis types, engine variations, equipment levels and internal layouts that the biggest factor is 'cost' and 'age' of vehicle.

The difference with self builds is that the person doing it has more individual choice on the layout that suits them, the chassis and the equipment levels, and if they get it right, the satisfaction of having built something themselves with their own hands, which must bring a great deal of personal satisfaction and pride. Then there is the point that Coola makes, if you have built it yourself completely, then if something does go wrong, you know how to fix it. With mass produced vehicles, unless you strip everything back yourself, then it is not always obvious where cables, ducts and pipe work are located and quite often they can be difficult to access.

Personally I disagree that 'all' mass produced vehicles are uncomfortable or cannot be made homely, although to be fair, Coola only stated that he found 'the ones that he had been in' to be uncomfortable and not homely, so obviously he did not, for whatever reason, have the right vehicle. Certainly my Autotrail Comanche was very comfortable and very homely :thumb: Some who have completed self builds give an opinion that mass produced vehicles are not 'fit for purpose', again, personally, I disagree with that opinion solely because it depends on the individual's purpose. If they bought and use it to travel on normal accessible roads, to stay on Campsites or Aires, or to use it to do some free camping and the vehicle does this, then it is fit for purpose. So, if you want to go off roading down muddy rutted tracks, or go into the desert, or stay in the mountains in snow and ice, to ski or snowboard etc. then I guess that it would be very adviseable to purchase, or build, a vehicle that is fit for that purpose, simples :thumb:
 
#74
I understand everyone has choices, that's what life all about but I personally wouldn't criticise someone else's choice wether it be a motorhome or anything else that person might purchase in his lifetime. My motorhome is big, spacious and extremely comfortable with plenty of roof space for my solar panels. Btw, we spend all of our time off grid
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#75
I have always advocated that there is no right or wrong way to do it, each individual has the 'right' to fulltime, long term, short term, whatever way they want to, it is called freedom of choice. Likewise with the vehicles they choose to do it in. There should be no preblems with people 'asking' for guidance, advice and even opinion just as people are free to give their opinions. Remember that saying, "it's not what you say, its how you say it", but it depends on whether you care how you choose your words and that is true on many things in this life, not just Motorhome lifestyles or choice of vehicles ;)
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#76
Btw, we spend all of our time off grid
And yes, I agree that the majority of factory produced Motorhomes, fitted with the right equipment, can quite easily spend time 'off grid' :thumb: But there is a difference between 'off grid' and 'off road' and the majority are not designed or capable of going 'off road', without four wheel drive, however, this also applies to self-builds/conversions ;)

Please do not misinterpret what I am saying, I am with you on this. My 'Plastic Fantastics' have been capable of doing exactly what 'I' wanted them to do, so 'fit for my purpose' and extremely comfortable, but I accepted that they had limitations as to where I could go with them :thumb:
 

coolasluck

Well-Known Member
#78
Christ the forums come alive again whatever next.
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#79
Yes, rear wheel can make a difference, just a pity that there are not a lot more options for that, or even 4x4, on the range of production Motorhomes, which is probably another advantage of going down the self build route ? I believe that you have to just learn to live, or accept, what you have. Is their such a thing as the 'perfect' van ? Even with self builds I have had conversations with owners who have said, "If I had that extra foot I could have done this, or that", sometimes you get something that appears perfect, until you start living in it, then you just wish it had.......... ? For me, my van has to have a separate sleeping/living area, a washroom (Sink/WC/Shower), a galley with Hob/Grill/Oven/Fridge and a bit of worktop space, a good heater (water/space heating) and a decent garage space to carry what I need to enjoy my lifestyle when on the road as well as the essentials (Tools/EHU Cables/Hoses etc). Our 6 metre Hymer has all those things, it does not have the internal space that the Comanche had, which I do miss, but that was nearly 3 metres longer and 1.5 tonnes heavier !! which meant that it had some limitations as to where I could get to in it and where I could Park. Right now I am living in the Hymer for 7 consecutive months of the year, but it can fit into most car parking bays, take me down narrower roads as it is only 2.2 metres wide and it very much meets all our requirements so more than happy :thumb:
 
Top