Re: [MH-list] Which is best?

Pet Human <pethuman@...>

Hi Barry

The Caravan Club does a survey every three years of purchasers of new
caravans, which I found on their website (latest was 2005). That showed
that the British caravans were of much poorer quality than the German
ones, with a high proportion of the British vans having water ingress
problems in their first few years. Overall satisfaction with the German
caravans was much higher.

There is some overlap between British caravan makers and British
motorhome makers, but in general I have been put off the British ones.
If I was buying a coachbuilt motorhome, I'd definitely go for the German
ones rather than British, and if buying s/h I'd buy a German in Germany
or the Netherlands rather than pay the inflated prices sought on the
UK's s/h motorhome market.

I'm looking for a panel van conversion rather than a coachbuilt, and I
asked around people in the trade about which base vehicles were best;
the answers were not encouraging. Here's what I have been told:

* Mercedes vans are very nice, but in the last five to 8 years they have
been nowhere near as reliable as their reputation would suggest (just
look at the satisfaction ratings for Mercedes cars to see how bad things
have got there).

* The latest Fiat Ducato (aka Peugeot Boxer or Citroen Relay), the
X2/50, has a persistent problem with the reverse gear, which is too high
for a heavy motorhome. A fix has been promised, but has not appeared
... yet the makers continue to churn out Ducato-based conversions, which
retain the same problem.

* All of the new European vans use commonm-raoil diesel engines. The
common rail makes for a powerful and efficient engine that's nice to
drive, but it's a vulnerable piece of kit, and if it breaks the bill for
a replacement could be 2000. Similarly, many of the new diesels have a
dual-mass flywheel (DMF) to reduce vibration; this is another fragile
piece of kit with a high cost to replace if it breaks.

* The trade people I talked to said that the old-shape (1990s) Ford
Transits were very reliable, and still work well if not trashed ... but
that the new ones are not so good. They all said that the Renault
Master is a bad bet for long-term ownership

I recently hired a nearly-new Eura Mobil Profila Activa on a Ford
Transit chassis, and put 1700 miles on it. It was quite nice to drive,
and warm and comfortable inside ... but the quality of construction was
disappointing. Several bits of silly cost-cutting, such as cheap
locker-clips which didn't stay closed and were starting to break, a
flimsy main door with poor locks, a table leg held on so badly that it
broke off. Turned out it was a cheapo line of EuraMobil, and it wasn't
hard to see where the cost-cutting had happened.

So, if I as buying a motorhome, I'd look for a good European (not
British) conversion on a pre-common rail diesel engine. I'm only
looking for a panelvan conversion, and am increasingly tempted to to
restrict my choice to the Japanese vans.

But if you are thinking of buying, I'd strongly recommend that you hire
one for a while, and see the sort of issues that arise in use ... and
then look over any prospective purchase with a VERY careful eye. Many
of the vehicles I looked at had some very shoddy bits of construction,
which won't stand up to hard use.

Hope this helps.

-- Pet Human

B WEBB wrote:

Has anyone conducted a poll/survey comparing the various base
vehicles and firms that convert them to motorhomes? Names like Hymer,
do they live up to their reputations or is it just successful
promotion? A lot of people seem to have Ducato but Fiat used to have a
rubbish name in cars. Some motorhomes may be well made but are they
well designed for living in? Having settled for a lowly VW to see
whether we liked motorhoming after 60 years of camping and having
decided we do then what do we buy? Having looked at shows and
showrooms we're spoilt for choice but limited in pocket, what's the
best value? A readymade that seems to have been built to a price or a
more expensive conversion to our desire? Or a secondhand good 'un? Why
do people sell some models after only a few thousand miles?

'Confused of Cardiff'



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