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Author Topic: Fixer upper or fully fixed up van?  (Read 1952 times)

Lorrelau

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Fixer upper or fully fixed up van?
« on: March 01, 2017, 12:48:36 PM »
Hi everyone! I'm am preparing a 6 month trip through Europe and I have been looking for a van for quite some weeks now. I'm based in the Netherlands and 10.000 euros in my bank saved up. It's very hard finding a van within this price range (I know, this country is crazy expensive!). It needs to be a van which is already fully converted because of tax regulations and such (so no awesome conversion by myself I'm afraid).
Within my budget I either find old not so well kept vans (T3s, T4s and other brands such as Ford, Mercedes etc.) OR bit newer vans from dealers, already fixed up and ready with some months warranty.

Problem is, if I buy the fixed up van... all my savings are gone... no space for any other fixes.
BUT if I buy an older fixer upper it gives me some space to fix things myself or on the road... but what if the whole thing breaks down? Then I still lose everything. Both dealers and private sellers can be real scams, so still hoping to find a reliable person.
It's a scary decision for sure, especially since I'm far from being a mechanic, although very willing to learn to do small fixes myself.

What to do?

Thank you for your time responding :)

Camper_Dan

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Re: Fixer upper or fully fixed up van?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2017, 03:03:18 AM »
I am in the USA now, but have also done your side of the pond...

I've had tons of problems with newer vehicles, and have concluded that older is better, like from the 70's & 80's here in the USA.  Just watch out for frame, suspension, and steering components rust.  The body isn't as important rust wise.

Dealers tend to make stuff look good to resell it, but it is extremely rare that they will do any mechanical work on them to actually make  them reliable.  Instead they just make them run good enough to sell, and do it as cheaply as possible.

I have had the best luck buying from private parties.  Someone who has loved and cared for their vehicle but just upgraded to something different.

Today, I buy window vans, take out the rear seats, then move my camping interior in.  If you're not building anything in, then  you shouldn't run into any problems.  A futon sofa/bed, or a camping cot with a comfy foam mattress topper, a low set of drawers to stay below the window line, and double as kitchen counter/work space.  A camp stove for cooking & heating, dishpans with spray bottles for sinks & water.  A portable toilet, and a shower made from a weed sprayer, a hula hoop for a shower curtain rod suspended from a luggage rod near the ceiling.  If you don't have room to stand and shower, you can shower while sitting on a stool or overturned 5 gallon bucket.  A storage tote to hold the shower curtain in and catch the shower water.

The beauty of this plan is if you ever switch vehicles, it is easy to take with you, and it also makes it nice so you can rearrange things if you find a different floor plan would be better later.  Paracord, rope, or twine, top and bottom makes good curtain rods.  TV Trays make great  portable tables.  A simple ice chest for a fridge, and an extension cord through a window can provide power.

If you need directions for a house battery system, I can provide that too.  All in all this type of setup can save you a ton of money, while actually providing greater comfort than a pre-made camper van.  It's also much stealthier than a factory camper van, and you can just keep it licensed as a passenger/personal transportation vehicle.

Good Luck!

nomadnovan

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Re: Fixer upper or fully fixed up van?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2017, 04:49:16 PM »
Hi everyone! I'm am preparing a 6 month trip through Europe and I have been looking for a van for quite some weeks now. I'm based in the Netherlands and 10.000 euros in my bank saved up. It's very hard finding a van within this price range (I know, this country is crazy expensive!). It needs to be a van which is already fully converted because of tax regulations and such (so no awesome conversion by myself I'm afraid). ...
Hi Lorrelau, I know from looking in the UK that you really don't get a lot of camper van for for even 5000 (I assume  you want to keep something back for your travels).

I'm interested in the thing about tax regulation? Is this a thing in the Netherlands? Can't you buy a van in the UK (or Germany, or ...) and then drive it to NL.

What Camper_Dan said above (and I've read his other posts) has been a revelation for me. I've read Mike's book and I what he said about getting a van not a minibus, but now I've definitely changed my mind.

One like this looks like a ready made campervan (they've even removed some of the seats for me!), and if I followed Camper_Dan's advice I'd be ready to go for a few hundred more. I could then add bits to it as I my needs changed or funds allowed (picking items up from all the different countries I've visited sounds like an interesting way to do it).

If Camper_Dan is reading this, is it possible to post a picture of your van (or one like it) just so I could see the lay out? I was also interested in how you fix everything down so it doesn't move.

Also you mentioned you used a kerosine/parrafin heater, what does that look like?

Thanks,

nomadnovan



Camper_Dan

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Re: Fixer upper or fully fixed up van?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2017, 11:10:45 AM »
I've made a few PDF's about camper van life, and choosing a vehicle.

They can be found at: http://slabcity.net/members/camper_dan

I think the "Quick & Dirty Guide" will answer most of your questions about my setup, but if it doesn't, let me know and I'll try to answer them.

nomadnovan

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Re: Fixer upper or fully fixed up van?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2017, 09:01:54 PM »
Thanks for this Camper_Dan. Had a good read through and I will be putting it into practice soon.

Camper_Dan

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Re: Fixer upper or fully fixed up van?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2017, 06:52:23 AM »
Sounds good, always glad to help.