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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

New to this forum and I'm looking to downsize from a Motorhome to a T5 based camper and after some advice on which van to use as a base. I'd like a/c and probably the 102ps engine but I'm unsure about the starter vehicle. The Caravelle looks like it has all the windows and a tailgate to start with but is it too much of a premium for just ripping most of the stuff out? plus what use is the o/s sliding door?

- Is it best to go for tailgate or barn doors in a camper?
- Hardly any vans on Autotrader seem to have rear windows, although some of the Kombi's do, although they command more money it seems.
- Is it best to look for a van with all or some of the windows in it, or cheaper to buy a panel van and put them in after?
- Does anyone tow using the 1.9 102ps engine, or is that best left to the 2.5 ?

Thanks in advance for any answers.

Carl.
 

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Hi Carl i would say your better off buying a pannel van and having the windows fitted. If you buy a caravelle you obviously have the windows fitted it will be colour coded and have a tailgate, but you will be paying a fair few thousand more for the van. For the priveledge of removing half of what you have just paid for. I am a camper convertor and i will always advise customers that havent yet bought a van to buy a pannel van. With a tailgate or barn doors well thats a personal choice a tailgate will always sell better. I have barn doors on my van and i have had a few with tailgates, as far as im concerned theres no difference. Engine well in the T5 the 1.9s are not bad they have more power than the 1.9 T4 and obviously the 2.5s are even better. Cheers James
 

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I'd say go for one with the tailgate. You get somewhere to shelter when it's wet such as when you are loading up, setting up bed, etc. Also no division in rear view mirror.

You will obviously miss the space of a motorhome but you will gain so much more.

It is a true multipurpose vehicle especially if you choose one with sliding removable seat as you then get most of the benefits of a van as well.

If you can deal with it, go for a low line elevating roof as you will gain access to all those car parks you can't get into with a high top or a motorhome.

Have fun,

Peter
(Waiting for my California)
 

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2015 SWB T6 T28 Highline Camper van
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Carl I've done what you are doing. I downsized from a motorhome to the T5 in my sig. I love the versatilty of the T5 but miss the bathroom in a M/H. Still we have gotten around that in various ways and camper ALL YEAR round with an elevating roof.

I got a 2.5 with aircon and a tailgate. Mine had no glazing at all even the tailgate. I paid for my conversion and had a reimo seat simply because it slides to and fro. I suspect having seen them that a RIB is more comfortable.

We keep ours fully loaded all of the time except awning, so if we don't want to go home after a day out we don't but stay out instead. Even the 104 1.9 will be working hard with the units, flooring, insulation, electrics, roof, heavy seats, water (ours is 49 ltrs), fridge, cupboard contents, sleeping gear, awning, bikes...you get the picture. Many people happily use 1.9s but we have 5 in our family so need a lot of stuff.

With a tailgate you can get a tailgate awning which clips underneath it allowing a seating/cooking/showering area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies, I was leaning towards a 2.5 with a tailgate (to shelter against the rain as you say!) and air con. I'm hopefully visiting a couple of conversion companies this week to get an idea on what to do with the conversion, So far I've decided on a RIB seat/bed for the safety rating, and a Reimo elevating roof with bed.

Still not sure what to do about seating five, the fifth would be an occasional passenger so we were thinking about getting the folding front pair of seats which would allow us to perch on them when folded rather than using a captains chair.

Not sure about how many windows in the side either, I know the cabinets would cover one side but it looks pretty dark for the rear passengers without a window on the nearside ?

Also do many people use these as their daily car?
 

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i've done exactly the same down sizing from a fiat ducato based m/h to a t5 best thing i've ever done,better than having 15k doing nothing and the added bonus of using it all year round
 

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I have a short wheel base 174bhp panel van that I use most days, I dont have a car, though use my motor bike when I can. So yes they can be used everyday. I find the mpg is fantastic compared to my old car, loads of room but can still park it pretty much anywhere.

The tail gate with tinted rear window is the way forward I would say. More practical with cleaner lines giving a better look. I hunted around for ages for a 174 with tailgate and electrics pack, decent milage and the right price.

There are loads of companies out there for putting windows in. I've not had mine done yet and am still in the research/working all the overtime i can get phase.

What ever you get im sure you will enjoy it H:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I visited a couple of conversion companies this week, one I was really impressed with the quality of finish in Exmouth. I learn't a lot and it looks like the second row of seats you find in a Kombi is what I'm after, so I can keep the single second row seat for occasional use when we take a 5th passenger, but still have the captains chairs in the front. I also liked the idea of having two sliding doors so that there's a nice through flow of air from one side of the van to the other in the summer.

It looks like the second row of removable seats (with a double and single) are found in the Kombi and the caravelle/shuttle. Of course these are naturally more expensive!

Does anyone know if you can retro-fit this vw second row (or just the single seat part of it) the converter in Exmouth said it was difficult to get to the underneath of the van there and that there might not be a top seat belt mounting in the side pillar in some models?
 

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Hi Carl, sent you a pm. I'm also in Berkshire and in a similar position, although i don't have a motorhome to trade down from, so may not have quite the budget you may do ;-)

What i'm trying to do though is arrange for my wife to have a drive in a T4/5. She's worried about the size of it (i could fit parking sensors), but i'm trying to reassure her it's only slightly larger than a Ford S-Max. She's never hired a van before, which we could do, but then you don't get to look out the back window do you. I need to hire a VW Shuttle from somewhere i guess?
 
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