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Van design ideas

Discussion in 'Transport - 4x4 - Canoes etc' started by Paul_B, May 23, 2018.

  1. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    I wonder what the collective wisdom of transport subsection contributors would come up with if I gave you a design brief for a van and left you to it. I not being lazy but I'm really shoot at coming up with good ideas of what I really want. Anyone want to give that a go?

    Two adults, one young child, medium sized dog, one mtb, one child's bike (20" wheels and either one touring recumbent or an xl gravel bike to go into it. Small enough to be used as a family runabout but large enough to fit things in. Use would not be a campervan to sleep in only to cook in and transport tents, bikes, dog and ppl in easy comfort. Basically want a small kitchen, garage for bikes and kit.

    I'm tall but I don't expect to stand up in the back by partner is a foot shorter and does want to stand up so perhaps a pop-up roof but it must still fit under a height restriction carpark = 2m.

    Price all in would be £15,000. No vw vans allowed! No defenders! It's a van only.

    What van would you suggest? We like the Citroën Dispatch but anything compact but roomy like that.

    Basically, I'm asking for ideas and opinions. Not going to be self build, we'll get a company to do it. I just need to get my head around what we really need / want before going to someone
     
  2. Mike313

    Mike313 Nomad

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    If you are getting a company to do it, I assume you mean a company with lots of experience who do this commercially? Why not write a detailed brief and ask them for advice? They are the professionals, after all.
    I've been looking at a similar idea but mine is a van to use as my daily transport, as a one-man camper, as a do-it-all van (rubbish to dump, shopping etc), and as the vehicle my partner and I use for day trips and camping holidays (with a tent for the two of us). My preference changes on almost a daily basis between something as small as a Ford Transit Connect and a high-roof short-wheel-base Transit. The problem with the former is it is relatively small and no chance of standing up. The problem with the latter is it is hardly the ideal vehicle for one-man daily runabout.
    Regarding van dimensions, if you want to do some research, try this site:
    https://www.grs.co.uk/panel-van-dimensions
     
  3. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Fiat Ducato?
     
  4. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    It seems we're looking for something similar. We're sick of cramming the car full on family camping trips, of putting bikes on the roof, etc. Also, when late off the fells having to decide whether to eat out (expensive or unhealthy if cheaper) or go home and risk our young child falls asleep and goes to bed without anything. The idea of a van with a cooking pod or station (you can get modular/removable campervan units apparently) interests us.

    We enjoy camping in a tent, being crammed into a van to sleep isn't our idea of fun. At most we'd use it as a bad weather sitting area.

    The main difficulty is size. As you pointed out too big and you can't feasibly use every day as your main or only vehicle. That's what I'm looking for.

    I think vw have that class of van nailed down but at a premium. There's a few Japanese imports that are similar sized van type MPVs. Algys motors are a good importer if that suits you Mike. Other than that I think Renault trafic is too big. Most transits seem too big these days. Citroen Dispatch looks a better size. They do it as a van based MPV with lifting rear door instead of side hinged van doors. That version has lots of seats which can be removed, slid forwards or backwards and generally makes for a versatile vehicle.
     
  5. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    Fiat ducato is the van a lot of motorhomes are built around I understand. It's a larger van than you'd want for regular use as a car replacement. I could be wrong, they might have a smaller version I've not seen.
     
  6. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Fiat Scudo/Citroen Jumpy.

    One size down.
    But it is a Citroen, so not every thinking mans choice?
     
  7. Mike313

    Mike313 Nomad

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    Yep, we are looking at solving similar 'problems'. So, in my mind, a compromise is needed. My feeling (tonight) is that the smaller Ford Transit Connect would be MY best bet as I'll do more day-to-day driving than camping ……… maybe the Scudo/Dispatch or similar will be best for you given your family is larger than mine?
     
  8. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    It's funny how you're changing your mind a lot. I'm similar in that one minute I looking at dispatch, another a connect or Peugeot partner or berlingo / doblo type of van then I'm looking at a japanese import such as Elgrand, stepwagon, Toyota Alphard or Mitsubishi delica.
     
  9. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    It was easier in the past. Very little choice. Everybody was still happy!
     
  10. Barney Rubble

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    Interesting conundrum. I guess I'm in a similar boat as I'm also looking at getting a van which can be used as a daily run-around which is also able to accommodate all my camping gear when off on frequent 'glamping' trips and summer hols. Personally, I'm not a fan of any French vehicles, I simply can't get over the concern of them being unreliable and built to a very low budget. I know the VW is more expensive but I'm inclined to believe that there is a reason why you pay a premium, it's a good van that comes with a solid reputation! I'm currently looking at getting the Caddy Maxi or Transporter in the crew cab configuration so that you get the extra row of seats.

    I think the next best alternative is the Ford Transit Connect. The new shape looks very nice indeed and is also available in a crew cab. Only thing to note is that the Ford transits are famous for being ever so easy to break into so I'd set aside some money to beef up the security.

    Have a look at the blog over on www.miscellaneousadventures.co.uk
    They've done an interesting removable camper conversion in a Mitsubishi Delica and I reckon that kind of set-up could also work nicely in a van for those times when you want a kitchen pod.
     
  11. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    BTW my local main Mitsubishi dealership supports Japanese imports. I asked them and got a kind of why wouldn't we response. It is known as being a very good dealership and judging by the way we get a lot of Mitsubishi drivers this way they get a lot of customers.

    I got a different response from other Japanese brands local main dealerships. One gave the stock reply that they'd work on it but it might take a long time to get parts in if they need anything. From what I heard even Japanese only supplied parts get here very quickly. I've read enough comments about Japanese sourced parts getting delivered before UK or European sourced parts. Guess airfreight can be quick at times. Although from the UK things often only got sent out at a weekend, at least that was when I used to be involved in booking airfreight collections.

    French vans are often part of a group of different brands. Nissan van was once designed with Renault trafic and the vivaro. Even other brands shared production / design costs. Similar with cars. The old tiny citroen/Peugeot/Toyota was the same car with variations in body shell made in a French plant and sold under different brands. In these modern days if quality systems that really do make a difference I do think the idea of one nation making quality vehicles that isn't good good enough is a thing of the past in the main brands at least. The new fiat pinto with zero ncap star rating is a rare exception.

    BTW my bosses have been round a lot of the UK plants and out of all of them it was Nissan that got the most criticism. Dirty for an automotive factory apparently. Toyota was the best, very impressed with them. A few years back so might have improved at Nissan but if the shopfloor is a bit of a mess what's production like? 5S audit system wasn't being used I reckon. Yet the Nissan Micra seems to go on for ever.

    There used to be issues with Ford cars too. A certain popular model was made in a German and UK plant. Both plants supplied the UK market. It was said if you got a German made one it good but a UK made one would have problems. Also, steel quality varied with Ford according to steel prices. If your car was made when steel was expensive they downgraded b the v quality and you got rust buckets. A few years back now obviously but you could once tell by missing reg plate years in certain models of Ford.

    My point is basically look for what's around now not in the past. You probably know a lot more such stories about particular brands but right now there's less chance of getting a real dog if a modern, western vehicle.

    PS your French car or possibly van could quite easily be made in Romania these days as in France.
     
  12. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    One more thing. Apparently most motorhome brands (certain types not the A-lines I think) often use fiat or Peugeot van bases for their builds. Both French and Italian vehicles once had bad reputations but now they're the most popular bases for motorhomes. Something must be right with them.
     
  13. Madriverrob

    Madriverrob Native

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  14. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    Cambee campers look good kit but vw focused. They do other vans but mostly just roofs for them and only fords/vauxhalls.

    There is a removable pod for a butane single ring camping stove and storage that clamps to the single seat fittings in a vw. This can be removed for cooking outside with a few simple clips.

    Looks neat and kind of what we want but with proper stove in it not a budget removable blacks camping gaz type of burner.

    It's things like removable pods for cooking, sink and storage that I like. You just carry what you want however unlike the slide pods I don't want full width loading. I only want single seat size at most. Narrow so that if located in the back it's only half width at most to allow bikes in and other storage of kit plus access.
     
  15. oldtimer

    oldtimer Full Member

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    Both my sons have bought second hand Fiat Ducatos.

    Elder son, who has more money, had his done by a commercial firm to his specification for two adults and two teenagers, and is very pleased with the result and value for money. He's as tight as a duck's ar*se,which accounts for why he has more money than me or his younger brother. His current van is his third having previously had VWs.

    Younger son has converted several vans himself and has found out just what works for him. His campervans are required to double up as a works van for his catering and decorating businesses. He usually sells on his vans at a profit before upgrading. He transfers some of the innards each time to the next van. The current van is tailor made for two adults and toddler.

    They must have learned a few things from me while they were growing up as they spent a lot of time in the various second hand VW vans we have had. But I note that this is no what you want. Our current van is a VW from a firm who buy used vans and convert them to a standard design but the buyer can ask for minor adjustments. Not top of the range but good value for money.
     
  16. Mike313

    Mike313 Nomad

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    In my case, I've ruled out those Japanese imports because of the big engines which probably are fuel hungry. I also wondered if I'd end up paying over the top for servicing/maintenance.
    Regarding French vehicles reliability or being made in a plant in Romania: I reckon reliability have improved especially (as someone else said) they are often the product of collaboration between different brands. PSA (Peugeot/Citroen/Opel/Vauxhall) and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi cartel have collaborated in the past to produce very similar vehicles so that price differential is partly to do with public perception/the badge. A Renault plant in Romania will have been designed and built to Renault standards under Renault supervision and all the technology used will be equal to the best currently available in French plants. And, at least until local talent was suitably qualified/experienced) many of the technicians and probably all of the middle and upper technical expertise/management will have been brought in from France. Quality control will be a function closely monitored by HQ. So. imho, it doesn't matter much if the vehicle is made in Eastern Europe, it will still be made to the same standards, and have the same warranty, as those produced elsewhere.
     
  17. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    There's a lot around about vw conversions. Not as much about other vans.
     
  18. crosslandkelly

    crosslandkelly A somewhat settled

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  19. oldtimer

    oldtimer Full Member

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    By coincidence, the latest edition of the Camping Club magazine which has just come through the letterbox has an article on the ququq kombibox www.ququq.info/English and wwwsouthcoastcamperconversions.co.uk .

    I don't think I'd buy one at £2370 but it got me thinking about a home made version. It reminds me of the box my father made to contain the camp kitchen when I was a child in the early 1950s.
     
  20. cbrdave

    cbrdave Nomad

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    I'd say the the dispatch lbw hi top would be favourite, I was going to get one and do a stealth camper, need it during week days for work so have to make sure every thing folds away and stores tools during the week, had an idea of doing a false floor for storage drawer, a mobile kitchen unit system that can wheel out for week days and wheel back in and lock in place for away days, solar power was obvious and a water storage tank for washing and as the wife would require a few mod cons it seemed to make sense, I was thinking of a folding bed that hinged across rear wheel arches that could clip to side wall during the week, only thing that is stopping me is the funds but once I get the van I'll be going for it.
     
    #20 cbrdave, May 24, 2018
    Last edited: May 25, 2018

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