Buying a campervan / motorhome

(22 Posts)
FrikkaDilla Fri 26-Feb-16 10:55:14

We're seriously considering one of these but don't know where to start really however one of the most important things for us is that this would be a daily vehicle too.

With that in mind we need to consider parking restrictions in towns and multi storey car parks.

Any advice most welcome. For two people only.

BetsyM00 Sat 27-Feb-16 08:27:17

Maybe look at a Mazda Bongo. Small, easy to drive/park and even with a lifting roof will still access most multi storey car parks. Cheapest form of campervan there is.

I recently bought an import Bongo from Japan. Have left it unconverted - just added a night heater and a leisure battery for interior lights and cig lighters (for charging phones/iPads). I love it and have been away "wild camping" in the Highlands several times this year already.

SunnyL Sat 27-Feb-16 08:38:38

I just bought a Ford Freda which is the same body she'll as a mazda bongo. It's great because it can fit into normal parking spaces so I can do the supermarket etc. Downside is she only has 4 seats since we have the side kitchen.

She's fabulous though and can't wait to take her out

Milliways Sat 27-Feb-16 17:10:40

If you can wait until May, I would highly recommend that you visit the Newbury Motorhome show link here as they have hundreds of second hand vans for sale every year of all shapes and sizes, and it is great fun trying them all out for size.
They also have loads of accessories and camping gear, so a good day out.

TiggyD Sat 27-Feb-16 19:57:54

Wow! Just found a Mazda Bongo for sale online for £1500. Fancy retro Campervans cost £150 per day to hire. It's cheaper to buy than to hire?!

SunnyL Sun 28-Feb-16 07:39:04

1500 is seriously cheap - are you sure it works?

For reference mine was 7k and while it drives and has an MOT it still needs quite a few bits and bobs doing. Everything under 5 seemed to have serious problems

BoGrainger Sun 28-Feb-16 08:04:34

I spent a year trying to decide on and then find the perfect camper. It never happened! The main problem was the amount of travelling seats (I needed 5). I don't understand a camper sleeping eg 4 but only having one rear travelling seat. Maybe my budget was too small. Good luck!

BetsyM00 Sun 28-Feb-16 08:55:01

Not sure I would touch a Bongo at £1500. Like SunnyL mine was 7k and is 18 years old - but was a fresh import from Japan with zero rust and an immaculate engine and underneath.

As it is unconverted it has 8 seats for travelling in, so looks just like a small minibus. The two rows of rear seats fold down into a double bed (and another double bed upstairs in the lifting roof). The first row of seats can also fold down into tables with the rear seats and flippy seats behind the driver & passenger seats giving 5 seats round a low dining table. This is the unconverted version and is perfect for me. I do all my cooking outside and have various awnings I can put over the side or rear door.

Loads of places will do a conversion (fairly expensive) with either a side or rear kitchen and a rock & roll bed.

List of dealers here. I got mine from Campers Scotland but JAL Imports also worth a look.

If it is just for two people the lifting roof might not be wanted, and a 'tintop' is much cheaper.

FrikkaDilla Sun 28-Feb-16 11:14:57

Thanks. Have read about the Bongos now and they look fine however I'm being drawn to the Ford Transit or VW T5.

Anyone have one of those?

What's the best configuration, kitchen at side or at back?

SunnyL Sun 28-Feb-16 14:36:00

Can you go to a showroom? We didn't have the cash for a new one but had lots of fun playing house in various vans at showrooms so we could work out the best arrangement for us.

Sadik Sun 06-Mar-16 20:40:02

I was put off Bongos by the fuel consumption - from what I've read it isn't great?
I've got a Vauxhall Vivaro, mine is more of a surf van than full on camper (just has rock&roll bed) as I use it for work as well, but it's very good to drive as a daily vehicle & no problem to park.

LexieSinclair Sun 06-Mar-16 20:44:09

I have a converted T5 with a pop top roof. I love it. It sleeps 4 people and has 5 driving seats. Best thing I ever bought. smile

Sadik Sun 06-Mar-16 20:44:32

BTW I looked first at VWs, but was put off by the much much higher cost relative to age/mileage. The T5 also didn't appeal to me as much as the old T4 (can't remember exactly what the downsides were, but I remember there were quite a few), but T4s are obviously getting on a bit these days.
Transit - I think rust is still an issue with them as I understand it.
I was also swayed by the fact that there are lots and lots of Vivaros/Trafics/Primastars (all the same basic vehicle) around, so it was easy to find one at the price/condition/mileage I was looking for.

lovefairylights Sun 06-Mar-16 20:55:32

Want to agree with Sadik on this - bongos are petrol automatics and really greedy on fuel, although their interior and size can be attractive. Mechanically my dp says to avoid at all costs!
We've got a diesel vw t3 which is probably the lowest cost small camper - but i would also say avoid as they need a lot of maintenance which works for us as DP is a mechanic but would be costly for anyone else.
In terms of good value then it's cheaper to look at transit/vivaro conversions than vw but if you can afford a vw conversion then they will hold their value better in the long run. Our next one will probably be a T5 that we will convert ourselves to our own spec.

LexieSinclair Sun 06-Mar-16 21:01:09

We did take advice from a mechanic when we bought our T5 who said, as fairy lights says they hold their value and that high mileage should not be a problem as long as they are well maintained.

zombiesarecoming Sun 06-Mar-16 21:55:42

Another one just adding to those who have already suggested a VW T5

Loads around so don't have to settle for crap through lack of choice

Huge following and plenty of converters and parts available

May be easier to find the van that suits first and have converted to your choice of spec afterwards

Although conversions are another minefield as there are both good and bad out there so do your research and ask on the forums and facebook groups of which there are loads about specific to VW's

FrikkaDilla Mon 07-Mar-16 01:33:28

Thanks all, have done a bit of research from my first posting and VW T5 is up there on our list. Still doing more research but the California looks good.

Milliways Sat 12-Mar-16 17:39:36

Thought of you today as we are on a campsite parked next to a Wildax Pulsar
It's lovely, only 5m long but has kitchen shower & loo, and can sleep 4 if you use the roof bed!

Milliways Sat 12-Mar-16 17:42:18

Looks like this

FrikkaDilla Sun 13-Mar-16 17:55:24

Oh thanks for thinking of me Milliways. It looks wonderful and I was ever so excited about it. The only thing putting me off is the height. We are trying to keep to max of 2 metres high as we think (maybe wrongly) that is a kind of cut off for getting in to parking spaces.

They really have managed to get lots in to that space.

Milliways Sun 13-Mar-16 20:39:18

Shame, it was sooo cute smile

minmooch Wed 20-Apr-16 13:45:37

I've just bought a 1989 Ford Frisky - arrives Friday. I'm beside myself with excitement and can't wait to go out in her.

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