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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning forum users,

A rather controversial (!) question, but as a prospective camper van buyer, I think this question pops up quite regularly among people in similar position as us.

We've been doing some homework for the last few months and this is what we've narrowed down to:

  • T4 2.5TDi (88 or 102BHP with remap in mind), SWB, tailgate rear door
  • Rock n roll rear seat with seatblets
  • Pop-up roof is a bonus but not must
  • Budget of up to £6000.
Searching on the classifieds section in this forum, ebay, gumtree, auto-trader, trying to find a good example of what may be good for us is a minefield, as everyone else may have experienced.

So that got me to thinking, what other vans are possible alternative to T4? We have the following in mind:

  • Vauxhall Vivaro / Renault Trafic / Nissan Primastar (2.0 dCi 113BHP)
  • Mercedes-Benz Vito (2.0 CDi 102-110BHP)
I am more concerned of the mechanical side of a van rather than the looks, badge, or loading capacity. This is what I found out so far about them: Vivaro is basic, readily available and cheap parts but poor reputation on geabox. Vito gets the second place next to T4 for its reputation as MB's reliability and durability but pre-2005 models were prone to rusting as the bottom of the vans were not galvanised (post-2005 is all galvanised).

Obviously, T4 is the ultimate van as VW has been doing campers / minibus / vans for decades and they are the leading manufacturer in the class with it's VW craftsmanship. Another advantage of T4 is this very forum: huge resource on its know-hows, support and camaraderie. Vivaro nor Vito has online forum as active and vast as T4/T5 forum. But I do wonder if Vito or Vivaro are as good or nearly as good as T4 to consider as an alternative for base van for a camper.

What do people think? Any experience of owning either Vivaro/Trafic/Primastar or Vito as a work van or a camper? How would you compare them to a T4?

Thanks very much and happy motoring!
 

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You've answered your own question really. Everything else comes second and resale values confirm this fact.

However If I were having to choose something else it would be aToyota hiace of an earlier variety.
 

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Vivaro is cheap and cheerful and if you want to spend your hard earned dosh then be my guest- waste them ! They drive better than a t4 stock and have much more modern engines (cr vs ve tdi) but are riddled with electrical issues which sometimes are hard to get to the bottom of it ! Vito is a cracking car for the money however rust issues and expensive prices on injectors and spares are what put me off however they are good as a base and you will recoup most money back however I think you've answered your own questions- buy a t4 and watch it improving on price- most money you will get back at the point of sale.
Buy a decent van, convert it as per your taste, throw a set of eibach springs and bilstein or Sachs HD shocks on some 18" wheels and watch how a 20 years old design looks better and handles better than much, much younger offerings from other manufacturers ! You will also look cool on the road and get a few waives from fellow campers ! Throw an remap, injectors and hybrid turbo at the engine and it will go as good as it looks whilst being bullet proof !
 

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Sort of running with the pack here, as you would expect on a T4 forum!

Been a T4 owner for 25 years .................. so you know where I am going with this.

I have or at least had the need for a Multivan, which is now almost 19 years old, if there was something better I would have bought it by now. I am pre Forum, and pre 'scene', I simply chose the best vehicle to do the job, and in my opinion it still is. It has most of the modern car 'toys', but more than that it has a distinctive look all of its own; and is not just another 'box on wheels'. With regard to future value, it will be worth what someone will give me ................... but will still remain desireable ;)

You choose .................................................. I did :mw:mw:mw
 

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Plenty of decent vans around of different makes to a VW :)

Most will be a lot cheaper to buy used, due to the "VW scene" effect; but they will also be worth a lot less when it is time to sell though, due again to the "scene" which is unlikely to go away anytime soon, so the end result is the same (or tipped towards the VW).

Where getting a Transporter is a winner is when it comes to your conversion, there are far more companies geared up with products for Transporter based conversions then any other, so your off-the-shelf selection, feedback from other buyers, and advice from others will be massively bigger (but the prices are not, as long as you avoid the tryers)
 

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However If I were having to choose something else it would be aToyota hiace of an earlier variety.
Lachlan, used to have one for the shop and to transport my race bikes. Often the van racing in between circuits was better than some of the racing on the circuits.

Only ever 'almost' let me down once, clutch slave cylinder whilst at Snetterton. Fluid reservoir was dash mounted, so top up, 'pump' and change gear (column shift), got me back home .............. called ahead and got someone to buy one, fitted it on arrival.

I bought a brand new Mazda E2200 (remember large wheels at the front, twin smaller at the rear), sold that before I even had time to ply line it. Transits were ok, Bedford was a disaster, then in 1990 along came the T4 ................ never looked back since LOL:LOL:LOL:LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks very much everyone for your thoughts.

Currently owning '98 Audi estate (182,000miles) for over three years and having done some usual DIYs on common things with these (1.9TDi), I have first-hand experience of the build quality and durability expected from VAG vehicles of similar age. So, I'm glad to hear these comments (and obviously no one will comment against T4 on a T4 forum...). Also, it's very true about the re-sale price retention and more options for interior customisation and abundance of businesses for professional conversions.

We are pretty much set up on the engine spec (future plan is to get B+E licence and tow a small horse trailer), so it's a matter of continuing to search for a good spec T4 with an interior that we are happy to do little customisation. We want to get something not too expensive to try out if we really need a camper, but I think we are already set on what the outcome for that will be! We haven't viewed a T4 for sale yet, and when we do we need to be very tough on ourselves not to buy the very first one we see.

Our estate is doing perfectly fine and it fulfils its purpose for our current needs so we have the time on our side to wait for the best T4 for us.

Thanks for your comments and happy motoring!
 
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