UKC

Camper Van

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 coinneach 09 May 2022

Going to ( potentially ) bite the bullet and purchase one tomorrow.

Volkswagon T4 high mileage but new engine, internally looks excellent.

Hints and tips please from you lot . . . . ?

T
 

 ExiledScot 09 May 2022
In reply to coinneach:

If it has a fridge check it works, check the leisure battery and all electrics, some wiring is appalling. Don't be afraid to test and ask about everything, it's odd as you kind of feel you are challenging them over their pride and joy, but once on the road for a weekend you'll notice all sorts of things you missed before buying. 

Think about bed, seat positions, table etc.  Will it work for you. Pop top - look at seals.

Rust, exhaust, clutch, wheel bearings.. 

Don't buy on first visit, it's too easy to go all gooey eyed and soppy over first camper. 

Post edited at 20:50
 65 09 May 2022
In reply to coinneach:

All of what ExiledScot said.

Check for rust. T4s are all old now and they do rust. It very easy to end up spaffing a lot of money keeping on top of rust. Budget for major repairs, every component on any vehicle that age and mileage can potentially fail. Especially think about the gearbox and check when the clutch and DMF (if it has one) were last replaced.  Same for cam belt and water pump. Also check servicing. I assume you have looked at many others for sale online and have an idea of what a reasonable price is. These VW vans are solid and parts are relatively inexpensive. There's a reason why there are still so many old ones trundling around.

Check out the heater if it has one. Make sure the seller can fluently answer any questions you have and if not be suspicious. A badly fitted or faulty heater can be a death trap, or you could end up spending a lot of time/money refitting it properly. Assuming it's been self converted, you can get a good idea how good it is by the general tidiness of visible wiring, plumbing etc.

With regard to layout, don't get too hung about it as you won't really know what works for you until you have used it for a while. I had a T5 hightop for a few years and loved it, but all told if I have another it will be a pop top. That's just me though.

Post edited at 21:27
 bobpilgrem 09 May 2022
In reply to coinneach.

Very simple advise 

Get AA to do Vehicle Inspection Report on base vehicle.

No point in getting a lovely conversion if base vehicle is not sound.

Anyone in your position would, (in  my opinion), be mad not to .

Hope this helps, good luck.

1
 Wainers44 09 May 2022
In reply to coinneach:

What's the roof arrangement, low, hightop or poptop?

I looked at a couple without really thinking about the height, and boy oh boy am I pleased that we got a poptop in the end. So much more usable, speaking as someone 6ft tall!

In reply to coinneach:

No advice but I do love my T4, it's in the garage now. Things I wish I had know would include don't get the 1.9TD, they are good solid work horses but are slow and you can't add after market cruise control like you can on the 2.4TDI. Another tip is if you are on Facebook join Just T4s! loads of good advice and help. Also plenty of parts available second hand.

T4s can rust, mine is 23 years old and has a little on a sill but that is getting fixed in the summer for £80. Ask if the ball joints have been done recently and if not there is a place in Bristol that will do them very quickly, they are not standard and I wouldn't let me normal garage near them. There are also a few specialists dotted around the country. Old vans but have a strong following. 

Post edited at 23:22
 wayne1965 10 May 2022
In reply to coinneach:

Be aware that many French towns have restrictions on older vehicles. There are air quality certificates 0-->5, 0=all electric & 5 or no class for pre euro1 class vehicles.

Your T4 is likely to be 5 or no air quality cert. at all.

class 4 & 5 are already banned in a lot of towns in France ..... 

The interest of a smaller van is that you can easily go into town and park anywhere !!??

Chances of being checked are low ... for the moment

 Uncle Derek 10 May 2022
In reply to wayne1965:

> Be aware that many French towns have restrictions on older vehicles. There are air quality certificates 0-->5, 0=all electric & 5 or no class for pre euro1 class vehicles.

> Your T4 is likely to be 5 or no air quality cert. at all.

> class 4 & 5 are already banned in a lot of towns in France ..... 

> The interest of a smaller van is that you can easily go into town and park anywhere !!??

> Chances of being checked are low ... for the moment

That is interesting, I have only been thinking about UK emission zones. Does the classification as a camper van as opposed to a commercial vehicle make any difference?

 jimtitt 10 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

Fun and games in Germany and many other countries, T4's are a particular problem as their production runs over two different regulations, you have to decode the production number to work out what class it is. Then fit a particle filter to have any chance! Each country has it's own rules and everybody has to conform, tourist aren't exempted.

 65 10 May 2022
In reply to wayne1965:

That’s interesting. We got stopped in a village somewhere south of Blois on our way home by  the Gendarmerie. They wanted to see the docs for the van, however we couldn’t find them and as the van was in that state of ‘going home’ chaos (interior completely filled with bikes and cases of wine, dirty laundry etc) they gave up and sent us on our way with pleasantries.

We found the docs at home, I’d forgotten to pack them. A lucky escape.

 Uncle Derek 10 May 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

Can a particle filter move a vehicle from euro 5 to euro 6.

In the UK in many areas a registered campervan is treated differently to a commercial vehicle, IE a van. It has nothing to do with being a tourist.

 mutt 10 May 2022
In reply to coinneach:

Is it a camper or a t4? Your post doesn't make it clear. Environmental regulations are going to hurt and will only get worse so if you are going ahead think of it only in the short term. Having owned a camper for a while I would guard against bells and whistles. I guess if it's not a camper at the moment or otherwise making a choice pare down your ambitions to the absolute minimum and you'll relieve yourself of maintenance headaches. The comfort of a camper is chiefly in sleeping off the ground imo. Everything else is available on campsites so you can live without other facilities.  Wild camping demands more but it is becoming socially unacceptable in almost all situations. 

1
 Darron 10 May 2022

 In reply to Uncle Derek:

There is no tax classification as camper van. It will be Light Goods Vehicle. The V5 doc might have the body type as “Motor Caravan”. This is worth checking as some insurance companies will not insure unless it’s described as such.

Re emission rules in France. A ‘Crit air’ sticker is easy to get, lasts the life of the vehicle and only costs about 6 Euros. Google lead the way.

 jimtitt 10 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

It's just on the weight, under 2.8t it's a car, over it's a truck. The exact rules vary from city to city, as do which category is or isn't permitted. Some have or had exemptions for tourism but you have to check.

From 5 to 6 is possible, couple of grand apparently. I drive a petrol car!

 wayne1965 10 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

IN FRANCE ..... no idea about other countries .... the air quality classification is the same for van or camper van. BUT.... the restrictions are more severe(enforced sooner) on commercial vans..... Then you have a little more "breathing" space. Even so, older camper-vans are likely  to be banned very soon if not already. I have a neigbour with a 2006 T5 who in theory is not allowed to leave his own home  

To get an idea of your vehicle class goto here.....

https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/

tap in what you know about your T4 .... M1 + fuel + euro-cap rating and it will give an indication of your vehicle class.

For a map showing town/regions where restrictions apply (not so many at the moment), goto to here ...

https://www.bison-fute.gouv.fr/zones-a-faibles-emissions-mobilite.html

restrictions typically mean no class 4+5.... in a few years 3 and later also 2 !!!

OP coinneach 10 May 2022
In reply to mutt:

It “was” a camper but after a test drive and the very helpful comments on here ( planning a trip to France later in the year ) I decided not to buy it, so thanks all ! 


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