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Author Topic: Van recommendations?  (Read 9434 times)

Dudegoeswalkabout

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Van recommendations?
« on: February 11, 2015, 12:06:00 PM »
After much procrastination, I decided to cut my losses and sell my van.  I was already toying with the idea of getting rid for something bigger after seeing that Mike has installed a shower in his. the head gasket then blew on my van so so I had to decide whether or not to fix it and sell it, fix it and keep it, or just get rid.  I decided that I would make a bigger loss if I pay for the repairs before selling it so sold it as it was and only made a loss of 200.

So, I am now on the lookout for a good vehicle to convert.  I am now seriously considering an LDV Convoy myself, based mainly on the fact that Mike has proved the van is very capable, and, after having a look on eBay, parts are very easy to come by and reasonably priced.  I would probably hope to get a Turbo version though for the extra power up hills etc.  What are peoples thoughts on this?  Turbo or non-turbo?

Or perhaps you can recommend a van of similar size that I have over looked? 


Tai-chi wanderer

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Re: Van recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 12:48:34 PM »
Hi Dude, getting a quick reply in before Mike does switchoff.

Tried a lot of vans, panel & Minibus. How about a jumbo transit, they have squarer (think that's a word) body builds these days. Also found spares easier on the Transit and the engines are solid, although the LDV has a Ford engine I believe.
Mind you going for s/hand is always a pain on vans you just have to strike lucky, unless you are rich and can afford a newbie (I wish) :-[

Will be a good Forum once spamitis is removed!

Dudegoeswalkabout

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Re: Van recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 01:27:26 PM »
I didn't know there was a switch off?  I see some people have been logging in to say they are real people - did I miss an email that was sent out?

Rich I am not... But I quite like the older looking vans that have a bit of character!  I'm not sure about a Ford transit, only because of how many have been abused by builders!  As you say though, any second hand van is going to be "well used!"  I don't want anything too big to the point where it will cause me problems parking etc.  I suppose really I should start by getting the load space dimensions for various vans and then seeing which had the smallest overall length but with a nice sized load space - perhaps I am wanting too much!!

richwill

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Re: Van recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2015, 05:21:15 PM »
I'm guessing (and this is speculative rather than practical) that i'd be looking for a long wheel base (or extra long) and as high top as possible.

I've noticed a couple of British Gas vans that look like transits at the front and have what is effectively a massive rectangle on the back. Possible prime real estate.

Cheap is good and obviously (for want of a better word) the holy grail. It's finding something that doesn't turn out to be a money pit, can be worked on for a reasonable price and will allow you some space to actually live and yet travel as/when you want to.

Nirvana? Should be attainable.... I'll certainly keep a look out for any of you who are in the market if I come across anything. Though i'm no expert :-)

cheers

Rich
Life is a journey. Make the most of it.

Camper Van Travels

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Re: Van recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2015, 12:50:05 PM »
I'm completely biased as like Mike, I've been living in an LDV Convoy 2.5TD albeit for a lot longer than himself. 5 years this spring it'll be.

My first one was the LDV Convoy 2.5TD which I had for 4 years. She had the Ford Transit 2.5TD engine in her. The turbo (lol) was non-existent, this thing literally drove like an old tractor. Once I was heading for this rather steep hill I could see in the distance coming up, so I gunned it down the long straight getting up to a dizzying 60mph would you believe it?

100 yards up the hill I was already down to 3rd gear at 30 mph.

No more than 50 yards later 2nd gear and 15 mph.

Still struggling, I slipped her into first gear and slowly huffed and puffed my way up at about 5mph. Looking in my mirror, with rather great pleasure it has to be said, I spied about 2 miles of traffic behind me - I was just hoping Jeremy Clarkson was in there somewhere.

Then astonishingly, I saw behind me an old tractor starting to overtake me up the hill. An old 1950's tractor of all things pulling a trailer to boot. The tractor driver had this massive great grin on his face (I'm pretty sure I was the first vehicle he had overtaken in about 30 years) he was whipping that thing up that hill like a thoroughbred race horse on the final furlong.

Mind you that van although she was extraordinarily slow...she did return fantastic miles to the gallon:

30 mpg around town.

35 mpg on a medium run.

And get this, a massive 48 mpg on a long run. No joke. I am being serious.

When I toured the west cost of Scotland a couple of years ago, one day I was up on the north coast and it being late autumn it was blowing like ruddy mad and freezing cold when I thought stuff this blinkin' malarkey, I'm heading back to west Cornwall today.

So first I drove to Tain (Lidl) where I filled up the diesel tank completely (15.4 gallons). I then set off south keeping to a steady 52mph all day. I didn't go above 52mph, I didn't go below 52 mph on the motorway and dual carriageways south. I rolled into my usual spot in west Cornwall with the van veritably gasping for life (diesel) where I topped her up out of the 1 gallon plastic can of diesel I keep on board. I worked it out and she had returned 48mpg! Not bad at all for a 3.5t van eh?

I've now got another LDV Convoy van which I bought almost 1 year ago to the day. This one cost me slightly more than the last one at 1,000. She came with 12 months MOT (which has just run out) I'm taking her to the garage this afternoon to get the brakes sorted out.

Soon as I got her, I bought some more Berger holly green gloss paint and a paintbrush and hand painted her in exactly the same colour as the last one (may she rest in peace bless her).

This one has the Peugeot 2.5TD ET70 engine in her and she does go like the proverbial clappers. Albeit the fuel economy isn't so good. This one returns 25mpg around town and just over 30mpg on a medium to long run.

I do love these vans, they're small enough to get down the narrowest Cornish lanes yet big enough inside to not experience cabin fever, even when taking shrooms on a cold winters night on top of the moors, even when the wood burner in the back briefly did turn into the gateway to hell for a short while - due to my strict religious upbringing. I shut that door pretty darn quickly I can tell you. Plenty of room for everything I need the big outdoors is my living room anyway.

Headroom is a pain in the arse (I'm 6' 6" tall) so it's a bit of a palaver wearing my head lopsided on my left or right shoulder at times, but you get used to it or just bump your noggin on the ceiling. 'Tis all the same to me, still at least I can still dance to The Levellers in the little space close to the back doors next to the wood burner.

I'm truntering on aren't I - I'm sorry, too much time spent in my own company see. Sometimes my middle finger just gets the better of me and I go into a trance like state then look up from the keyboard after a while and realise I've just about written a ruddy chapter to a book - sorryyy.  ;D

Anyway I hope this helps for what it is worth.

Chin chin,

Mark

Tai-chi wanderer

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Re: Van recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2015, 03:35:29 PM »
We love our Transit, it started out as a private school minibus, last year. Because its RWD the headroom is restricted, as we are shorthouses it does not matter. But on the plus side I can just roll under her with me overalls on and fettle her, if I have to.
Mind you I'm saying her, we call it Kev, ho, hum.
Found a Carver 1800 gas heater a better bargain than a stove. Runs the van up to toasty on a frosty night and all the nasty monoxide bits are on the the outside underneath. Only cost us 50 on Fleabay, and it was in ruddy good nick.
There are van bargains out there you just have to keep looking.

Dudegoeswalkabout

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Re: Van recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2015, 07:56:20 PM »
Thanks for the detailed reviews guys!

I'm still leaning toward the LDV, although I have seen some nice looking Transits on ebay.  What other vans do people think would lend themselves well to a camper conversion? 

Gee

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Re: Van recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2015, 06:19:37 PM »
After a couple of months of deep thought and too much time wasting i went for a citroen relay lwb. 12'x6'x6' in the back. The plus points for me was wide enough to fit a 6ft fixed bed across the back doors and the flat(ish) walls (dont curve in too much near the top), oh and they're cheap as chips. It's been pretty reliable and pretty solid bodywork (compared to my work van merc sprinter) Also love the fact the handbrake is tucked down the drivers door so dead easy to walkthrough from cab to back. Next one would be a exlwb L4H2
Be happy whilst yer livin, for yer a lang time deid.....

Roman

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Re: Van recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2015, 11:03:13 AM »
What about a chassis cab, less body work for rust (sills etc) loads space under for water tanks, batteries & a box is easy to fit out. Some are quite compact (less then 2m wide) for the smaller roads! Just my two pence.

Dudegoeswalkabout

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Re: Van recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2015, 10:08:54 PM »
Well, thanks for all the input guys, very much appreciated!  I have now bought the van that I will be converting into a home.  It is an 04 plate LDV Convoy!  Terrible rot, but I've done over 600 miles in it in three days and it hasn't missed a beat.  Great to drive, plenty of power up hills and sits on the motorway happily at the speed limit.  Steering is a bit sloppy but apparently the steering box can be tightened on these so I'll have a look. This is a project that is going to take time to do, but its definitely a keeper! 6 months MOT on it and taxed until end of April. A bargain!


Damps

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Re: Van recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2015, 02:04:57 AM »
Please keep us all up to date on your progress!  :)

Dudegoeswalkabout

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Re: Van recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2015, 09:46:33 AM »
Please keep us all up to date on your progress!  :)

I will for sure!  It's going to be a long slow project owing to lack of funds, but I'll get there!  First job is welding, lots of welding!  Sills are shot, drivers step has almost all gone, and side step by sliding door is rotten also.  I'm sure there will be more rot underneath the flooring! Mechanically sound though so I'm happy to spend a few quid on welding to end up with a reliable van that I know is solid...

Camper Van Travels

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Re: Van recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2015, 06:36:13 PM »
Steering is a bit sloppy but apparently the steering box can be tightened on these so I'll have a look.

I wouldn't worry about the sloppy steering too much only they're all the same you just get used to it. It's a common feature of LDV Convoy vans. Just wait until you're driving down the motorway on a really windy day, your arms will get the workout of their life.

Seriously though believe me, there is probably no need at all to tighten the steering unless you just really want to. I'm not joking when I state that they're all like it. Every LDV Convoy owner I knows joke about the same issue. It's just one of the quirks of these vans.

Btw there are also a couple of good FB groups for LDV owners which might be worth checking out.

You also mention that you're on a tight budget for the conversion, this being the case head down to my blog below as unlike many of the conversion enthusiasts I believe you can get a decent van conversion for very little money indeed. I explain on my blog how to go about this.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 06:40:18 PM by Camper Van Travels »