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Advice On Used Purchase


Coupe

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Looking for advice on a used caravan purchase. Starting looking around dealers to get an idea of what is available and was surprised at the different layouts and how they seemed to make a difference. In the end very much like the layout of the Bailey Pageant Champagne. Are there any other makes and models that are similar I should keep an eye open for? As I'm starting and want to put my toe in the water would really only like to spend between 2&3k and see how it goes. Also on this model the one we looked at had a large sky light which seemed to make the whole caravan much lighter. Is this an optional extra and if so what does the standard one come with. Any other thoughts appreciated.

 

New to towing. Would have liked a VW Passat but it seems a bit too light for this size of caravan although not planning doing a lot of travelling - so perhaps a BMW 3 or 5 series diesel would be better suited. Have a dog so need an estate. I know I can check the towing capabilities of cars but there is nothing better than word from the horse’s mouth so any experiences welcome.

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Coupe, tread very carefully indeed at this budget, mind you, you might just find a total gem.

Read everything you can do on here and in the mags about buying an old van as you will get loads of hints and tips.

Go out and buy yourself a good quality damp tester.

When you go looking at the vans, make sure your nose is very clear and have a very good sniff and look-see in all the hidden places, most especially in the far lower corners.

The large window light in the van became standard fit to vans way back in the ??? early 2000's and is commonly known as a Heki.

No doubt the vans you will be looking at will not be loaded so this is a good time to do a very basic check on the suspension as well. Most of these vans are fitted onto an AL-KO chassis and their axle and suspension units and these somewhat crude 3 rubber block systems can collapse with age, so as a quick check, do a visual check of the gap between the wheel rim and an adjacent area of the caravans bodywork on both sides of the van and if the suspension is in good condition it should be virtually equal, if it isn't, walk away.

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Hi there, most manufacturers do an end washroom, side dinette layout like the Champage (we've got a 2010 Champange at present) We used to have a 1998 Bailey Ranger 540/4 which is the same layout and very well specified but didn't have the big roof light but has got nice large windows so is still quite airy It is still going strong (my mate bought it and still thinks it's great) and I should think that it's now worth about£2- £3K. Not everso heavy - about 1200kg and we towed it with a 2 litre Focus and then upgraded to a 2 ltre diesel C-Max, brilliant towcar. A Passat should have no problems towing it provided you get a reasonable sized engine and preferably a diesel - it does make a difference.

 

You have to be a bit more careful with vans of that age but don't be put off, there are some real bargains and decent vans out there (and some dogs as well). You just have to look a bit harder. I was at a dealers last week and he had a couple of nice ones for about £3K, not up to minute modern, but clean tidy and sweet smelling - use your nose. Check out wear & stains on the carpets & seat upholstery, look for damp & rot around the doors, windows and rooflights and around the shower & toilet. Has the cooker been well used or is it pristine - that will give you a feel for how much use the van has had.

 

Our first van was 1982, dry as a bone, as basic as you can get, cost £350 and got us hooked on caravanning (we tarted it up and sold it for £450 after a year) :D

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As said What ever caravan you buy make sure it has a damp test carried out by a independent engineer and it has paperwork if purchased privately .

 

As you have no caravan to trade in you can buy private as you can get some good buys with all the extras thrown in .

 

 

 

Dave

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I've always been lucky in buying old, cheap 'vans in reasonably good condition. Sometimes I could afford to go higher but then I like doing the repairs long as it's not TOO bad, and making it my own I get a bit satisfaction.

 

Anyway as said above check for damp and don't be afraid to have a good poke and prod about at the walls to see if they're spongy / soft, also I usually knock at the top all the way down to see if it sounds the same. If not it could indicate damp. As said above check under the seats, corners etc. Damp can be fixed if not overly bad as i've just did my own first damp repair successfully.

 

Have a good walk about the floor and look for soft spots.

 

Can't help much with the weight as I don't drive, i'm on a seasonal pitch and it's usually my Dad who tows when needed :)

Compass Shadow 1988

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Just to let you know that we got a real gem of a van for £2k this year as our starter van and we are very happy with it.

 

Take your time in choosing and if you are not sure then move on to another one.

 

From our experience dealers are useless with anything under £4k. All they seem to do is strip out all the extras you will need (awning step aquaroll) and try to charge £3k for a heap of ****.

 

Private, yes you need to take care but as long as it all checks out OK (and look up CRiS if you are new) then there are some good vans out there for the price. Should expect it to be clean, dry and all working.

 

Others have commented on the tow car which for us was not a problem with my existing car and out two berth van. Estates are better as the suspension is usually uprated for more weight.

 

Let us know how you get on!

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