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Another Wanna Be 'van Owner Seeking Advice.


MonkeyMark
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Morning all,

 

 

I know there are loads of "What first van should I get" threads but as everyone's needs are specific to them I though id ask for some advice. Its probably a little different from the norm too. I was pointed this way from another (unrelated) forum by someone who was very helpful so I'm hoping others on here will be too. From reading through many posts it appears your a lovely bunch.

 

I have wanted to get into caravans for years, but I’m only now getting around to it due to work and family.

 

 

A bit of background info. My wife and I have 4 children, two teenagers and two toddlers. Holidays for six of us are expensive and sometimes hard to organise and that it what has given us the push to finally get a 'van. I know it’s not as cheap as it used to be but it should give much more opportunity for holidays than we currently get.

 

 

Here is the question. Whatever we get will be on a tight budget. We could save for one next year (maybe the end of this year) for the £1000 - £1500 mark or the year after for the£4000 - £5000 ish mark. That may change slightly (increase) as I am looking for a new job, but for now I’ll go on these figures.

 

 

As there are six of us were either looking for a 6 berth or a 4/5 berth with awning and preferably something that could be pulled by both of our cars (Citroen C8 HDi and Nissan Primera 2. 2 dci). I’m not too bad with a set of spanners so I would be willing to take on something needing a little work but my experience with 'vans is limited and my wife would probably prefer something that was ready to roll.

 

 

The problem being we are totally new to this so don’t even know where to start looking. It may sound strange asking when its 1 or 2 years before we can buy but planning ahead is the only way we could manage this and will hopefully enable us to get a better suited and priced deal.

 

 

So. .. If you were in our situation what would you do and which vans would you consider?

 

 

 

Many thanks, Mark

 

 

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Well go to as many dealers as you can look at the many different layouts as you can to find the one or ones that you like. Always get the dealer to set it up from the day setting you will be looking at into the night position.

When my two became teenagers they either were put into the awning to sleep or a small tent placed behind the caravan, first time was difficult to get then to but from the first time they loved it. As we often went to a club rally all the teenagers soon made friends and pitched their tents together, was great we only saw them at meal times!

Back to subject we all like different caravan layouts, it is also like many things we buy you buy first to find out what you will get next time.

Enjoy looking around and then getting and enjoying your first caravan.

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Hi Mark,

 

other caravanners on here with far more experience than I will offer good advice i am sure, but one thing I can say (being fairly local to you) is to be careful when buying 2006/2007 manufactured caravans around here as a lot were used as housing during the flooding. I know that was here in Hull, but they were sold on far and wide.

 

I was warned about this because they were lived in for minimum 6 months, often up to 12 months by maybe a whole family which gave them a lot of wear and tear. Once the houses were fixed the owners could keep the vans for free. As they were proveded for free by the insurers, they werent cherished.

 

One thing I wish I had done looking back was take a fully charged battery, some gas and some water before I looked at vans as no one seemed willing to show me how things worked (or IF they worked).

 

Good luck in your hunt!

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Hi MonkeyMark,

 

There is a necessary sequence to your planning. If you intend using those two cars.

  1. Establish the maximum permitted towing load that your cars are rated for.
  2. It is recommended by the Caravan club that drivers new to towing should start with a caravan that is no more than a maximum of 85% of the kerb weight of the tow car and that is when fully loaded. In your case with six people in the car I would also calculate the expected weight that your tow cars will be both carrying and towing.
  3. Make sure you do not exceed the car manufacturers maximum load limits.
  4. Check your driving licence, depending on the year you passed your tests and the total train weight you may need to take an additional test.
  5. All that said when you have arrived at your ideal maximum caravan weight the spec you should look for in a caravan is the MTPLM, that is the maximum fully loaded weight the caravan will be plated for.

You may find these URL web site links useful in your research….

http://www. uktow. com/towing%20capacity. asp

 

Also this board has an excellent article on safe towing for those new to towing. You will find a good source of information at this URL….

 

http://www. caravantalk. co. uk/caravan-advice/towing

Good luck in your deliberations. When you get into it it’s good fun and well worth all the hassle.

 

Tow safely. ;)

Edited by WindlePoones
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Firstly - welcome Mark :) Great to have you here, and best of luck choosing your 'van.

 

Secondly, I do apologise for briefly hijacking the direction of this thread. .. :ph34r:

 

We just want to remind everyone that the first ever Ask The Expert Evening with Elddis will be kicking off in just over 5 hours time.

 

The Elddis team will be on the forum from 6-8pm today answering your questions on SoLiD Construction. It doesn't matter if you're an Elddis owner or if you'd just like to know more about it. ..we'd love you to join us for the discussion.

 

The thread is now live, and we'll be unlocking it at 5. 55-ish this evening so you can get your first questions in just before 6pm.

 

Can't wait to hear from you all later; see you there! :)

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Hi Mark and welcome. :)

 

The local dealers to look at caravans around the Durham area that I know of are:-

 

Catterick caravans and Ropers leisure - both at Catterick .

Kimberly varavans just off the A1M on the A68

Washington Caravan and leisure and Tyneside leisure world.

United British caravans up past the Metro centre.

 

I would go and have a look at as many vans as you can at dealers and then try and find the van you like as a private sale, where you might get all the kit needed to start caravanning.

 

Happy hunting. :)

 

Graeme.

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Well go to as many dealers as you can look at the many different layouts as you can to find the one or ones that you like.

When my two became teenagers they either were put into the awning to sleep or a small tent placed behind the caravan,

 

Thanks David,

We are planning to have a trip to some dealers soon for exactly this. We have a rough idea of layout but seeing it in person may change all of that.

We have thought about using tents too and think one of the older ones would like this, not sure the other one would though. Hope they could make friends and tent together, that would be good.

 

 

be careful when buying 2006/2007 manufactured caravans around here as a lot were used as housing during the flooding.

One thing I wish I had done looking back was take a fully charged battery, some gas and some water before I looked at vans as no one seemed willing to show me how things worked (or IF they worked).

 

 

Very good points to keep inmind there, thank you.

 

 

Hi MonkeyMark,

 

There is a necessary sequence to your planning. If you intend using those two cars.

  1. Establish the maximum permitted towing load that your cars are rated for.
  2. It is recommended by the Caravan club that drivers new to towing should start with a caravan that is no more than a maximum of 85% of the kerb weight of the tow car and that is when fully loaded. In your case with six people in the car I would also calculate the expected weight that your tow cars will be both carrying and towing.
  3. Make sure you do not exceed the car manufacturers maximum load limits.
  4. Check your driving licence, depending on the year you passed your tests and the total train weight you may need to take an additional test.
  5. All that said when you have arrived at your ideal maximum caravan weight the spec you should look for in a caravan is the MTPLM, that is the maximum fully loaded weight the caravan will be plated for.

You may find these URL web site links useful in your research….

http://www. uktow. com/towing%20capacity. asp

 

Also this board has an excellent article on safe towing for those new to towing. You will find a good source of information at this URL….

 

http://www. caravantalk. co. uk/caravan-advice/towing

Good luck in your deliberations. When you get into it it’s good fun and well worth all the hassle.

 

Tow safely. ;)

 

My cars are, i believe, rated as such.

Citroen C8 with the following:

Weight 1710 kg

Kerb Weight 1760 kg

Unbraked towing weight 650 kg

Braked towing weight 1850 kg

Gross vehicle weight 2505. 00kg

 

Not sure if thats right as this would give a fairly low limit for towing i think. I could be wrong on this as im still trying to get my head around this.

 

Nissan Primera:

Kerb weight 1436. 00kg

Towing limit 1500. 00kg

Gross vehicle weight 1940. 00kg

Nose weight 75. 00kg

 

 

I hope these figures are right as i seem to have come across some contradicting info.

I passed my test after the licences changed however my wife was well before so i would aim for the higher limits as Id probably do the test anyway at some point.

 

Im still not totally sure about all the weight limits. I think im confusing myself as im trying to work it out for two cars instead on one.

 

Ill have a good look through the links you posted later today as i dont have time right now.

 

Thanks for the warm welcome and any advice or help will be greatly appreciated. Mark

 

 

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Could anyone kindly point me in the right direction to understanding these weights?

 

I thought i had it down but the more i read into it the more confused i become. Im not bad with maths so thats not the issue, i must simply be miss understanding some of the princicples behind it.



Hi Mark and welcome. :)

 

The local dealers to look at caravans around the Durham area that I know of are:-

 

Catterick caravans and Ropers leisure - both at Catterick .

Kimberly varavans just off the A1M on the A68

Washington Caravan and leisure and Tyneside leisure world.

United British caravans up past the Metro centre.

 

I would go and have a look at as many vans as you can at dealers and then try and find the van you like as a private sale, where you might get all the kit needed to start caravanning.

 

Happy hunting. :)

 

Graeme.

Thanks Graeme,

 

I'll have a trip out to these at some point. Already looked on some of the websites since you listed them and think the would be well worth a visit even if just to get an idea of what would suit our family best.

Edited by MonkeyMark
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Could anyone kindly point me in the right direction to understanding these weights?

 

I thought i had it down but the more i read into it the more confused i become. Im not bad with maths so thats not the issue, i must simply be miss understanding some of the princicples behind it.

 

Thanks Graeme,

 

I'll have a trip out to these at some point. Already looked on some of the websites since you listed them and think the would be well worth a visit even if just to get an idea of what would suit our family best.

You should be heading for 85% of the kerb weight of your tow vehicle, so look for a caravan that has a MTPLM (maximum technically permissible laden mass) of this figure. In theory, you can tow up to the maximum braked towing weight of the car ( this is the maximum the car is physically rated to tow) but then you have to take into account train weight etc. Some figures you will see quoted are MIRO (mass in running order) - this is the empty caravan weight with no personal effects in it, so don't use that as the basis for your 85% calculation.

 

Confusing but keep reading about it and you'll get the idea. Incidentally, Practical Caravan this month has a calculator page in it that describes how to work out what you can tow. .....

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Incidentally, Practical Caravan this month has a calculator page in it that describes how to work out what you can tow. .....

Thanks for the input. And ill have to find a local stockist of the mag.

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Have you tried camping ? It maybe a way of testing the water for a lot less,...... just a thought. .... :)

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Guest Rita

I was thinking on those lines as well Shirl

 

Folding campers are roomy

 

What about something like this

 

http://www. gumtree. com/p/cars-vans-motorbikes/trailer-tent-conway-camborne-400-dl/1016625333

 

there is one at Priced but no pics as yet And as you have no trade in reckon you could get a good deal

 

http://www. leisureworldgroup. com/trailertents/5053/conway_conway-canbourne-400dl?searchkey=797a2cad95da421d946e25a2ae9afc71

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Hi Mark, I'll try to help you with the weights.

Citroen braked towing weight = 1850kg. This means that the heaviest BRAKED trailer, (caravan fitted with brakes), that the Citroen can legally tow is 1850kg

Citroen unbraked towing weight = 650kg. This means that the heaviest trailer NOT fitted with brakes that the Citroen can legally tow is 650kg.

The Caravan Club suggests that inexperienced towers should not exceed 85% of the kerbweight of the towing vehicle. This means that, in the case of the Citroen, the heaviest caravan that you should aim for is 85% of the kerbweight of 1760kg, (i. e. 1760kg x 0. 85 = 1496kg). Thus, you should be looking for a caravan with an MTPLM of 1496kg or lower. This however is only advisory. Many experienced towers DO pull more than the 85% advisory.

Thus, you are ADVISED to tow no more than 1496kg with your Citroen, but you can LEGALLY tow up to 1850kg with the Citroen.

Hope this helps, Mike.

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Hi Monkey Mark,

 

I think in your case you are going to find it’s all about carrying capacity and maximum weights. So forget about the Nissan Primera and concentrate on the Citroen.

 

You mention it is a Citroen C8 HDi, but don’t state; year, engine size or gearbox type, so I have assumed it is the 2. 2 litre variant with an automatic gearbox.

 

The Citroen’s specifications are:

Maximum Bhp 130

Kerbweight 1750 Kg

Maximum gross carrying weight 2505 Kg

 

For the sake of calculating your ideal safe first caravan to tow we will stick to the Caravan Club’s recommendation of 85% of the car’s kerb weight.

 

This gives us an MTPLM weight of 1488 Kg which is the maximum fully loaded weight on the road for your ideal first caravan.

 

Note. Think of it like this, when you have loaded the caravan with all your family’s clothes, food, belongings. If you then took it to a public weigh bridge, un-hitched it from your car and then weighed the loaded van, (Excluding you and the family) the weight should not exceed 1488 Kg.

 

Some typical six berth caravans.

Try looking at:..

 

Abbey Adventurer 330

Ace Jubilee Courier

Sterling Europa 540

Sprite Major 6

Swift Charisma 570

Sonata Prelude 6

 

These caravans will no doubt be over your upper budget. I have not checked out the second hand prices of them nor am I recommending anyone in particular. It is just a list of size and weight suitable caravans to get you started.

 

They are a small selection of newish six berth caravans that are within the 1488Kg safe towing capabilities of your Citroen C8 Hdi and should give you a feel for what is possible.

 

I hope it helps. ;)

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Hi Monkey Mark,

 

I think in your case you are going to find it’s all about carrying capacity and maximum weights. So forget about the Nissan Primera and concentrate on the Citroen.

 

You mention it is a Citroen C8 HDi, but don’t state; year, engine size or gearbox type, so I have assumed it is the 2. 2 litre variant with an automatic gearbox.

 

The Citroen’s specifications are:

Maximum Bhp 130

Kerbweight 1750 Kg

Maximum gross carrying weight 2505 Kg

 

For the sake of calculating your ideal safe first caravan to tow we will stick to the Caravan Club’s recommendation of 85% of the car’s kerb weight.

 

This gives us an MTPLM weight of 1488 Kg which is the maximum fully loaded weight on the road for your ideal first caravan.

 

Note. Think of it like this, when you have loaded the caravan with all your family’s clothes, food, belongings. If you then took it to a public weigh bridge, un-hitched it from your car and then weighed the loaded van, (Excluding you and the family) the weight should not exceed 1488 Kg.

 

Some typical six berth caravans.

Try looking at:..

 

Abbey Adventurer 330

Ace Jubilee Courier

Sterling Europa 540

Sprite Major 6

Swift Charisma 570

Sonata Prelude 6

 

These caravans will no doubt be over your upper budget. I have not checked out the second hand prices of them nor am I recommending anyone in particular. It is just a list of size and weight suitable caravans to get you started.

 

They are a small selection of newish six berth caravans that are within the 1488Kg safe towing capabilities of your Citroen C8 Hdi and should give you a feel for what is possible.

 

I hope it helps. ;)

Many thanks.

My C8 is an 03 2. 0hdi manual so probably slightly lower limits than that, though i do very much appreciate your help.

(And the primera is an 04 2. 2dci t-spec)

 

I'll keep looking to see what is available. If i can find one that both cars can pull then that would be ideal as we may not always holiday together due to work commitments etc. If needs be we may look at 5 berths so both could tow but think a 4 berth would be a little too small even with awnings, though i could be persuaded if i saw something suitable.

 

Though the information that you and also that Townie above you gave (Thanks Townie) are helping me clear things up.

 

And it looks like i'll have to do the B+E licence whatever we get (though my wife wont) so i'll have to take that into account and find the cheapest way to do it. I could borrow a trailer to practice with but it would not be suitable for the test.

 

Who would have thought it could all be so confusing. :blink:

 

On a positive note. ...Everyone is so very helpful. I can see why people stick with caravans once they get started due to who'm you get to rub shoulders with.

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Hi there, as a very new member myself here you will find lots of help. I have just got my first 'van and I would say look at everything you can, be open minded. Look at all the options for when you want to take it out.

 

I looked online, had my heart set on a fixed bed, they looked better. Then went round to dealers to look at some and fell out of love with a FB, then carried on looking at found that a FB would suit my majority camping needs so got a fixed bed.

 

Keep your options open and look look look, don't rush, there is lots out there to buy ;)

 

Honk.

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Mark- after many years of foreign holidays and uk hiring statics for holidays we took plunge and bought our first tourer last year. Like you we have 4 children and I personally wouldn't have anything smaller than a 6 berth. Time of year weather etc decided when awning could be used for sleeping so a lot of times it had to facilitate us all! Now think what age the eldest will be when you actually get van as my eldest is 18 this year and hates it which is sad as we choose layout (double dinette) to give him as much privacy/space and in reality was wasted as he only went several times.

 

We have just traded in our van for a fixed bed 6 berth,which dosnt seem to be as popular over the bunks but it felt right for us and it works infact I love it!

 

Buy what ur budget can afford sooner rather than later see if you all take to it,I'm sure you won't look back :)

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Honk: We certainly intend t look around. we need. ti see examples to get a good of what we want I agree.

 

dab: The oldest is 15 so depending when we buy he will be 16/17. He's adamant he wants to come but this will probably change once he finds drink/girls, though I have a feeling it will be a while yet. But we have another adult family member that may want to come from time to time too so his space would still be used.

 

Im happy going cheap to get sooner but I'd also like to spend more and get something better but that requires longer.

 

So many decisions!

Edited by MonkeyMark
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Monkeymark where are you going to store your Caravan when you get it? At home or in storage? We used to store at Shotton Colliery (£200 per year) let me know if you are interested and I will pass on the storage sites details.

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I think you will know its the right van for you when you see it -everyone has different needs.

Just make sure it's not riddled with DAMP!

You may well find that after you have bought your first van and used it for a while, you will realise what's important to you about a caravan, and may well end up changing it anyway - not too big a deal because you probably won't lose very much by doing this. .

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Monkeymark where are you going to store your Caravan when you get it? At home or in storage? We used to store at Shotton Colliery (£200 per year) let me know if you are interested and I will pass on the storage sites details.

I'll send you a PM but i'll also reply here for anyone thats followed the thread.

 

We cant keep caravans out the fron of our house, its prohibited in our house deeds. We couldnt put it in the back garden (which is a shame as it wqould be big enough) due to access and although it may fit down the side of the house it would be a very difficult approach.

 

I live in Peterlee so very near to Shotton so yes I would be interested in the details please.

 

I have looked around and most places seem to be around £300 with the nearest me (wont mention names as i'm not sure on the rules) being on bracken hill industrial estate, which is the same estate i work on, being about £360/year inside and about £300 if you have it outside.

 

But as you will know the area somewhat Meg55, one of the entrances to Shotton is only a mile or so from this industrial estate so could be perfect.

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But as you will know the area somewhat Meg55, one of the entrances to Shotton is only a mile or so from this industrial estate so could be perfect.

 

 

I store my van on that site, and it is a CASSOA silver site, so you should get some discount on your caravan insurance. If you wany and more info. just let me know. I only live a mile or so from the site :)

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Thanks David,

We are planning to have a trip to some dealers soon for exactly this. We have a rough idea of layout but seeing it in person may change all of that.

We have thought about using tents too and think one of the older ones would like this, not sure the other one would though. Hope they could make friends and tent together, that would be good.

 

 

Hi your c8 at 1850kg max tow will tow my elddis 636 firestorm 1700kg max its a 6 birth

 

 

Very good points to keep inmind there, thank you.

 

 

 

 

My cars are, i believe, rated as such.

Citroen C8 with the following:

Weight 1710 kg

Kerb Weight 1760 kg

Unbraked towing weight 650 kg

Braked towing weight 1850 kg

Gross vehicle weight 2505. 00kg

 

Not sure if thats right as this would give a fairly low limit for towing i think. I could be wrong on this as im still trying to get my head around this.

 

Nissan Primera:

Kerb weight 1436. 00kg

Towing limit 1500. 00kg

Gross vehicle weight 1940. 00kg

Nose weight 75. 00kg

 

 

I hope these figures are right as i seem to have come across some contradicting info.

 

I passed my test after the licences changed however my wife was well before so i would aim for the higher limits as Id probably do the test anyway at some point.

 

Im still not totally sure about all the weight limits. I think im confusing myself as im trying to work it out for two cars instead on one.

 

Ill have a good look through the links you posted later today as i dont have time right now.

 

Thanks for the warm welcome and any advice or help will be greatly appreciated. Mark

 

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Thanks David,

We are planning to have a trip to some dealers soon for exactly this. We have a rough idea of layout but seeing it in person may change all of that.

We have thought about using tents too and think one of the older ones would like this, not sure the other one would though. Hope they could make friends and tent together, that would be good.

 

 

Hi your c8 at 1850kg max tow will tow my elddis 636 firestorm 1700kg max its a 6 birth

If you need photo of lay out will send some if needed, my car has 1690 max tow and tows no problem

 

Very good points to keep inmind there, thank you.

 

 

 

My cars are, i believe, rated as such.

Citroen C8 with the following:

Weight 1710 kg

Kerb Weight 1760 kg

Unbraked towing weight 650 kg

Braked towing weight 1850 kg

Gross vehicle weight 2505. 00kg

 

Not sure if thats right as this would give a fairly low limit for towing i think. I could be wrong on this as im still trying to get my head around this.

 

Nissan Primera:

Kerb weight 1436. 00kg

Towing limit 1500. 00kg

Gross vehicle weight 1940. 00kg

Nose weight 75. 00kg

 

 

I hope these figures are right as i seem to have come across some contradicting info.

I passed my test after the licences changed however my wife was well before so i would aim for the higher limits as Id probably do the test anyway at some point.

 

Im still not totally sure about all the weight limits. I think im confusing myself as im trying to work it out for two cars instead on one.

 

Ill have a good look through the links you posted later today as i dont have time right now.

 

Thanks for the warm welcome and any advice or help will be greatly appreciated. Mark

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