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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all

I don't think I have ever wanted something as much as I want a van. But if you are spending all your savings how can you avoid buying a dud? What if I show off my new T4 and someone says 'shame it's not 1 year younger. VW introduced the double-backed overhead flange-sprocket ...much more reliable'. Or I find everyone buys the 113 bhp engine for a reason? Is there anywhere I can find out common mistakes?

On a different note, I want a van because I have recently added twins to my family of a husband and 4yr old. The prospect of jetting off to foreign climes has become zero so camping is the only option I can see. But why do so many people list 'had a baby' as a reason they are selling their pride and joy? Am I missing something? Is it code for "the gearbox is about to go"? Or is 5 in a van too horrible to contemplate?

Any van advice appreciated!
 

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Hi all

I don't think I have ever wanted something as much as I want a van. But if you are spending all your savings how can you avoid buying a dud? What if I show off my new T4 and someone says 'shame it's not 1 year younger. VW introduced the double-backed overhead flange-sprocket ...much more reliable'. Or I find everyone buys the 113 bhp engine for a reason? Is there anywhere I can find out common mistakes?

On a different note, I want a van because I have recently added twins to my family of a husband and 4yr old. The prospect of jetting off to foreign climes has become zero so camping is the only option I can see. But why do so many people list 'had a baby' as a reason they are selling their pride and joy? Am I missing something? Is it code for "the gearbox is about to go"? Or is 5 in a van too horrible to contemplate?

Any van advice appreciated!
5 just isnt enough lol..i have 5 children so we are aleways 7 up, plus gear plus trailer...the kids love it!!!
 

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I have had either a Bay(2) or T4 camper for many years and they have taken us all over camping,now kids are grown we still camp in our T4 and we are both in our 60's.I think people who get rid of vans because they have a kid or two maybe not so into camping anyway.You are right to be wary and are doing the right thing to ask questions but remember these will only be opinions.When I got my T4 I was quite happy with the Bay camper I had owned for about 10 years or so but made mistake of 'just going to have a look' at a T4 I knew was for sale,end result was I bought it,very sad to see my Bay go but I had to pay for it somehow.Many people would not consider my T4 2.5 petrol Caravelle but I love it.I did worry that I spent more converting it than I paid for base van but maybe I'll learn as I get older and wiser.
 

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2.5 TDI vs 1.9 TD engine is probably the most common argument among T4 folk and probably likely that T4's you look at will have one of the above two engines in them.

I can't tell you which is better in all honesty because in my opinion they are both great engines and both have a little list of pro's and con's.

One thing that I can say on that matter is that whatever bill you have in a 1.9TD would likely cost you double in the 2.5 as they are that much more complex and thus expensive to maintain and fix if they go wrong.

But find a peach in either of the above forms and you'll have minimal amounts of issues. I would say whatever you do always have a contingency fund for when things need sorting. You can't forget at any point that for the most part T4's are essentially commercial vehicles that by the time the likes of us get hold of them they have had 10 years of being worked hard so they cost money each year to keep going properly.

Although I'm sure the community on here for the most part do things properly I have had a lot of vans where when you start to dive a little deeper corners have been cut in all sorts of places.

The best ones are unmolested and unmodified with a lot of paperwork to show services and replacement parts - and not just what was replaced, but what it was replaced with (I.E 'proper' starter motor or a 'I need to sell this van so don't care' cheap euro car parts starter motor).
 

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What about the 1.9d it's better on fuel and it is a couple bhp slower than the td!
Less problems and easy to fix, what could be better
 

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Have a few test drives, you'll get a much better idea of whats important to you, I live up a ruddy big hill, getting my van upit would be tiresome if it were a daily driver (its a 1.9) but then you adapt and its great at a steady 60 (I got into my car after 5 days and 1200 miles in my van and scared myself senseless with its speed, it was like driving a dodgem car)

Check out the tax banding and the insurance on some models otherwise you can get stung.

If its not for you or youve bought the wrong one, its not terminal you can re-sell easily?! but most of all this forum, everything you need to know, its all on here, its already been fretted over by someone else :)
 

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if you buy one from a forum member you can look back through the history of that van, also, I expect you have a family friend or friend of a friend who is into vw's or at least a mechanic/clever bloke?! take someone with you on the test drives and get them to look it over with you, my van looks awesome, cost me 3500 as a base vehicle, 1.9td resprayed, windowed, lowered, 18 inch alloys, valeted and mot'd for 3500, then I have spent a further grand and literally only a handful of days/evenings converting it to have a bed/cupboards etc inside! total spend 4500!!! I run on veg oil too, saving myself hundreds for a bit of work each month preparing it, but its all worth it, the kids love it, and my wife is a camping convert now!!! we're gonna do a few trips here this year then venture to Europe next year! I love my t4..... look for rust, listen for rough noises, sniff for weird smells, and you'll be ok... its a Volkswagen at the end of the day! how many people on this forum have regretted buying a t4... a couple I expect but hundreds of us believe its out best ever purchase!!!!H:
 

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Bear in mind I'm not an expert.

You seem pretty fecund and congratulations.

If you are looking at a van it will have, at most, three seats;- a driver's and a passenger double.

To add more seats requires an engineer's certificate and Insurance kerfaffle and Vehicle Licensing changes and commercial speed limit restrictions and stuff.

Look for a Caravelle and the standard seats fitted by Volkswagen, (complete with seat belts), spell safety for your progeny.

Mind you lots of Caravelle's have been taxi's but that's not always a bad thing; regular maintenance.

Velles also have other bits like rear heating, trim, windows. But don't make this a deal breaker.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Excellent tips thank you. The seats issue had occurred to me. Double slider caravelles seem a bit problematic though unless you cook out back? I do have a family member into VWs but he's a die-hard T2 Bay fan. So identifying rust wouldn't be an issue (his being blueybrown). When I suggested he sold their two T2 's to get a nice modern van it was like I suggested he sell his kids ......
 

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5 just isnt enough lol..i have 5 children so we are aleways 7 up, plus gear plus trailer...the kids love it!!!
I read your build from end to end last night! Fantastic work but scared me silly. Is it a different van you take all the kids in? What is it? Where do they sleep?
 

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You'll be pushed to sleep 5 in any t4, maybe a couple of kids in a poptop/high roof and one across the front seat, but I'd say an awning and multivan would be an easier option. Look out for something like the kyham motordome sleeper, Ive got one and its brilliant.

With regard to common mistakes - dont underestimate how thirsty a 2.5 petrol is and how slow the 2.4d is. That said, they are both perfectly good vans, the former with LPG, the latter if you want to make statements like 'its ok Im not in a rush'. Think long and hard about swb vs lwb - my lwb is pretty much full with two of us, two surfboards, wetsuits, camping gear and beer for a week away. Lwb is a bit harder to park in supermarkets, but I live with it day to day and wouldn't consider a swb now. Dont buy the first/shiniest van you see, and dont buy one blind off ebay, good photos and a cheap respray can hide a multitude of sins, as many vans are old builders vans tarted up and sold at 10x their purchase price.

Finally, remember that the speedlimits are 60 on dual-carriageways in a van and 70 in a caravelle/multivan. The copper I had a chat with at the side of the A30 on friday said that many van drivers didnt know its a 60 speed limit...
 

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Poor excuse selling a van due to kids. If anything it's better cos the further back in the van you sit them the less you can hear them T:

Mine was a basic van completely bare in the back, I have fitted a triple seat and not had it inspected, all depends on if you want to get it reclassified or not.

I have a 1.9td, I'm more then happy with it.

Problem is every one has their own personal opinions at the end of the day you have got to go with what feels right, just go down the route you would with any vehicle purchase ie checking history etc one thing tho make sure cambelt and water pump have been down
 

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I read your build from end to end last night! Fantastic work but scared me silly. Is it a different van you take all the kids in? What is it? Where do they sleep?

Thanks for the compliment...
mines the 2.4D turbo'd LWB, sit 2 up front, has full width mazda bongo seat in rear sit 3 and i have a twin buddy seat(old front seat) on unwin rails that i clip in/out when required...for the extra 2
Dont sleep more than 4 in the van would be too cramped until we get the pop top, awnings with sleeping annex are excellent and i have my pod trailer which will sleep 3.

people spend there budget on what they feel is the best van at that time, but you will probably end up spending a fair few pounds on service stuff and jobs etc.. so i bought a van that was in a state and now everything has been done by me..
 

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There are a lot of choices but I will tell you about my T4.

It is a 1996 2.5 petrol with a LPG system fitted by Steve at GASURE.
It was converted for use by a disabled person. Part of the rear fllor had been lowered to make a ramp. Spare wheel was moved to a mounting under the side door. It still had the mushroom bolts in the floor for the two removable caravelle seats.

The mods I have made include a slide out bed 6'X4 with a small unit next to it which has a sink and storage.
I have built a cupboard along behind the driving seat side the side of the van that can be removed allowing me to use the two removable seats when I need to.

The 2.5 is a great engine the van will happily cruse at 80 mph I usualy stick to 65 to 70 on the motorway. I get arround 22 to the gallon on gas on a run 19 on short trips arround town. gas around hear (Doncaster) is .68ppl.

The caravelle is a good option because of the trim and soundproofing and in most cases were not used and abused by multiple users or builders etc.
 

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Hi,

Before you purchase, or before you make your mind up about your conversion, go to a few shows and ask about. Everyone will be cool to talk about their vans and businesses on their stands, all will be only too pleased to give you plenty of free advice. The best advice will be where they went wrong or what they would do differently. You will also be able to get a good understanding for anyone you may wish to use later. If you can make it Bus Fest at Malvern 6 - 8 Sept is fantastic and not long to wait.

I bought an empty panel van (the side windows, lowering, wheels, and side bars where complete), in many ways if you go down the conversion route it is better to buy an empty van so you can see what state it is in, no nasty hidden surprises. Plus you will know exactly what is done to it as you progress.

If you go down the conversion route the item that will probably generate the most discussion will be what type of RnR bed / seating to fit. Loads of opinions, again talk to people and look at theirs, try them out if they will let you.

Most important of all - SAFETY.

Best of luck.T:
 
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