Advice on buying first camper

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Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 07.10.2019  ·  #1
First time camper buyer, just went to have my first look this weekend and I’m gathering all the advice I can. My budget looks like it will get some some around 91-95. Is left hand drive hard to get used to? I sat behind a lhd and it didn’t seem to awful but maybe that’s because I didn’t leave the carpark!
Is a good sense of smell enough to detect damp or do you really need a meter?
What’s the story with rust, should there be none at all or is that unrealistic on a van this age?
When you think of your first camper what do you wish you did differently? If nothing, what made it such a good choice?
Also, did people look at you weirdly when you said you were thinking of buying a camper? I’ve had some slightly strange reactions to the idea 😀
Many thanks folks, my first post, so hi!


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 07.10.2019  ·  #2
Our first Motorhome was LHD and it wasn't difficult to drive, infact I wanted to replace it with another LHD, however we ended up with a Rhd and now I probably prefer the Rhd but wouldn't let lhd put me off. I would not recommend Lhd if you are the sole occupant because if you are overtaking something like a tractor and silage trailer your whole camper is at the other side of the road before you can see if it is safe to overtake. regarding Damp I wouldn't touch it without checking it with a damp meter, infact if it is your first Motorhome I would recommend you to get someone knowledgeable with Motorhomes to check it out for you. an old Motorhome can be a money pit if it is not in good condition.


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #3
Definitely stay away if you smell damp have a good poke underneath especially behind the wheel arches and where the bathroom is under the sink these are places where you will get most damp also around the skylights and seals around windows as said before take someone with you who has a Motorhome check if there is any service history on the engine anyone who loves their camper keeps a good record of everything that is bought or repaired in their van ,good luck I have mine up for sale dut it might just be out of your price range how much are you looking to spend ,


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #4
thanks Chausson, I get the LHD thing now, I won't be travelling alone so hopefully won't be an issue. When I find something I'm keen on I'll get an experienced person to take a look, guess I better find one! :D


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #5
thanks Hilton9, I thought that too, I'd hoped to see something on paper about the service history. I'm thinking 8k is the top of my budget, is yours much above that?


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #6
Three words - layout, layout and layout


Sit in it, all of you.
Pretend to make tea
Pretend to get a beer out fo the firdge
Sit on the toilet
Relax
Put your feet up
Go to bed - all of you


Three more words - damp, damp and damp

Squeeze the walls if you dont have a damp meter, smell damp, just walk away


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #7
Ha! We sat down and tested the beds but never sat on the loo! 😂


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #8
They say you dont get it right till you are on your third van,in terms of what works for you and what dosent. All good advice above.
Definitely crawl around underneath with a torch and walk away from anything remotely damp.
RHD seem to be dearer as there are less of them. I woulden't buy a LHD , but that's my personal view as we spend 50 weeks a year at home and maybe 2 abroad if lucky.


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #9
Quote by machosky

Ha! We sat down and tested the beds but never sat on the loo! 😂


Don't actually use it :lol: But DO pretend too, all the actions, depending on how big you are you might find you can't get the door closed when sitting, or other stuff I'll not post here :)


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #10
I have no idea what I'd be looking at if I crawl around underneath, rust?


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #11
Quote by machosky

I have no idea what I'd be looking at if I crawl around underneath, rust?


Rust, leaks and rotting floors or walls


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #12
Quote by machosky

I have no idea what I'd be looking at if I crawl around underneath, rust?

Rust,corrosion, repairs.


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #13
Push walls and panels inside the van with your thumb or finger and see if it it spongy. Try around my sort of opening in the van, eg door, windows and lockers roof lights etc. Any where there is an opening has potential to let in water


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #14
thanks for all the advice on how to check for damp. very helpful.
As for rust, is that also a walk away situation or can you slap a bit of hammerite on it? :D


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 08.10.2019  ·  #15
Word of advise,

Buy your self a moisture meter,

http://www.extech.com/mo57/ is an example and wont break the bank,

I looked a 3 lately and poking with my finger found nothing, the meter found moisture in the 3 I checked,

The best €75 I ever spent I can tell ya,


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #16
Quote by mad max

Word of advise,

Buy your self a moisture meter,

http://www.extech.com/mo57/ is an example and wont break the bank,

I looked a 3 lately and poking with my finger found nothing, the meter found moisture in the 3 I checked,

The best €75 I ever spent I can tell ya,


A dealer once told me there is a bit of education involved in using a moisture meter when checking for damp in a motorhome, in that some people would get excited about a false reading as a result of it being applied in a wrong location say, on a wet day or something! How true would that be,? What sort of readings would you deem acceptable when checking a van, and what would you start to get worried about? I might pop into Caulfields myself and invest, don't think they have the Extech M057 but do have a more expensive Extech M0280 which I assume would be fine for motorhome damp checking?


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #17
Quote by Stacks

A dealer once told me there is a bit of education involved in using a moisture meter when checking for damp in a motorhome ... ?


Good question. How do you use one of these things and interpret the results? I see that extech unit is non-invasive and doesn’t penetrate the surface it’s measuring. Say there is some panelling in your van that feels dry to the touch but for argument sake it is dripping with water on the inside. Can this be discovered with a meter?


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #18
Just on the subject of damp Meters, I carry the craic meter to every MHCC meet, if it hasnt been lent out to a member. If you wish to use it, then just asked. It is a non intrusive protimeter and was around £300, purchased by craic'ers at the time.


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #19
Damp meters also pick up electrical cables. They are only a guide, but a great guide.


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #20
So would one pick up damp on the reverse side of a vinyl panel or is it just wood the work on?


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #21
Machoskey where do you live?
As members are from all over the country maybe someone lives near you and could go along for a second opinion....
we all love an excuse to look at motorhomes😀 You can always write as a private message.

We will be on our third MH next week, trading in present one.
As someone said by 3rd one you hope you have it right.
For me number of Seats and
My No.1 priority toilet/shower area (even if you never use shower) combined in one area gives you elbow room even if from point of view of somewhere to step out of main area to get dressed. I will miss my “spacious “ one as new one is more bucket in cupboard size as separate from shower. We will see how that works out, but both face into the island bed area, which has sliding door between bedroom and main area, but 99% of time only 2 of us.
How many people? 2adults, or + kids...young/ teenagers? Will you have dogs? Will you need bike rack. Other sports equipment?
What about Storage cupboards , is there a garage, or only lift up space under bed?

Think payload not often in details...whole topic on its own....we were one day from buying a particular new one...but advice on other issues which was great from the regular members on here, we changed our minds.

You know if you live south but buy from one if dealers up north the VRT...not sure what happens other way around.

Is it under 3500 for driving
There are several MH insurance companies, generally you must be insured in a primary use car to get reasonable MH insurance.
Who knows if and when Brexit happens how it will affect insurance.


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #22
Quote by The Rambler

So would one pick up damp on the reverse side of a vinyl panel or is it just wood the work on?


Smart digital Meters that we have are supposed to penetrate without being intrusive to the material (no prongs) it seems to do the job ok.

I would suspect if there was surface moisture that would certainly confuse it.


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #23
Quote by Motorhome Ireland

Quote by The Rambler

So would one pick up damp on the reverse side of a vinyl panel or is it just wood the work on?


Smart digital Meters that we have are supposed to penetrate without being intrusive to the material (no prongs) it seems to do the job ok.

I would suspect if there was surface moisture that would certainly confuse it.


Cheers. I’m suspecting a household leak actually so trying to figure out what kind of meter to get and money to spend. But I’m sure any advice is relevant to motorhomes too.


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #24
Quote by Motorhome Ireland

Just on the subject of damp Meters, I carry the craic meter to every MHCC meet, if it hasnt been lent out to a member. If you wish to use it, then just asked. It is a non intrusive protimeter and was around £300, purchased by craic'ers at the time.


Great stuff. I suppose prior to getting my hands on one I am trying to find out how best to use a meter on a motorhome. What result or percentage level say would indicate a possible problem e.g above 20% moisture and what level would be deemed acceptable, anything less than 15%? I assume it be best to do it on a dry day when van is dry, especially if you would be checking on outside walls or underfloor areas? Oh yes, and a bit of common sense always comes in handy....


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #25
I'm in Dublin city centre, I'd love help from any experienced campers!
Is it allowed to post links to specific ads here?


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #26
Quote by Stacks



Great stuff. I suppose prior to getting my hands on one I am trying to find out how best to use a meter on a motorhome. What result or percentage level say would indicate a possible problem e.g above 20% moisture and what level would be deemed acceptable, anything less than 15%? I assume it be best to do it on a dry day when van is dry, especially if you would be checking on outside walls or underfloor areas? Oh yes, and a bit of common sense always comes in handy....



The craic Meter, goes green Amber & then red. I think they can rate different. Although it also gives a figure. I always tell people that are goign to use it, green is fine, amber, investigate and red "don't panic!" - check all other options first. Stick your finger in it, is it soft, could there be wiring going to a light - etc


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #27
Quote by machosky


Is it allowed to post links to specific ads here?


It is, but bear in mind it is someones pride and joy that they are trying to sell. Please go to private message if .... well............. you think it shouldnt be public.


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #28
Quote by Motorhome Ireland

Quote by machosky


Is it allowed to post links to specific ads here?


It is, but bear in mind it is someones pride and joy that they are trying to sell. Please go to private message if .... well............. you think it shouldnt be public.


definitely only want to post links to to campers that look like they might become my pride and joy :-) like this one
91 Citroen hymer


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #29
Looks in very good condition


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #30
Damp is only one thing to look for but can be an expensive mistake if missed. I bought a new Chausson Bora in 1991 and took it in for a trade in 2 years later. The dealership found damp under one of the windows so age is no guarantee.


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #31
Quote by Stacks

A dealer once told me there is a bit of education involved in using a moisture meter when checking for damp in a motorhome, in that some people would get excited about a false reading as a result of it being applied in a wrong location say, on a wet day or something! How true would that be,? What sort of readings would you deem acceptable when checking a van, and what would you start to get worried about? I might pop into Caulfields myself and invest, don't think they have the Extech M057 but do have a more expensive Extech M0280 which I assume would be fine for motorhome damp checking?


Common sense is needed alright,
When you get a reading of 99% that would open my eye,

Wire and beams etc will throw a reading off but on inspection you can see where they are,

Above 15% is cause for concern, ill leave the rest to your self


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #32
2 points to ponder on in the Hymer.
The scuttle panel where the wipers are will be a major job to replace for its awkwardness and the windscreen has to come out. I’ve known people to pay up to £800 as there is a lot of labour involved, the panel itself costs £30-40

The screws in the sides of the habitation above the cab are not standard so it would appear that this van had problems in that area so I would assume there would have been leaks at these points in the past so the question would be as to how well it was repaired


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 09.10.2019  ·  #33
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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 10.10.2019  ·  #34
Another thought the length of MH for space on driveway, and accessibility through gateway.


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 10.10.2019  ·  #35
Have a look here also.

topic.php?t=10582


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 10.10.2019  ·  #36
Quote by Albert the Talbot


The screws in the sides of the habitation above the cab are not standard so it would appear that this van had problems in that area so I would assume there would have been leaks at these points in the past so the question would be as to how well it was repaired
sharp eyes! thanks!


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 10.10.2019  ·  #37
Quote by Motorhome Ireland

Have a look here also.

topic.php?t=10582

I've seen this, I particularly like food, map, diesel, beer


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 10.10.2019  ·  #38
Quote by machosky


Watch the weight as well, thats 4000kgs MAM, you can't drive it on a car license.


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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 10.10.2019  ·  #39
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Re: Advice on buying first camper

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Posted: 10.10.2019  ·  #40
Quote


Watch the weight as well, thats 4000kgs MAM, you can't drive it on a car license.

yeah I don't think I'll be bothering with a new test, I only have the b licence .Anyway it's a lot of money to spend on an old van I know nothing about. Still pretty though :)


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