Submitted: Sunday, Jan 16, 2022 at 08:04
ThreadID: 143110 Views:3292 Replies:2 FollowUps:5
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We have enjoyed 15 years of travelling all over the country with our Trayon, but now looking at buying a van, and are in the market for a small pop top. Not looking to get into the AOR class, but something that will give us some comfort, larger bed, shower and toilet and not too heavy to tow and with limited off road capabilities. We have a BT50 with upgraded suspension and are considering the Golf 499 pop top. Any advice, either positive or negative would be appreciated.
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Reply By: RMD - Sunday, Jan 16, 2022 at 09:48

Sunday, Jan 16, 2022 at 09:48
A short time ago in thread 143001 the same van is discussed. That may be of interest!
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Follow Up By: Member - MIKE.G - Monday, Jan 17, 2022 at 08:04

Monday, Jan 17, 2022 at 08:04
Thanks RMD.

Interesting replies.


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Reply By: Rusty Iron - Sunday, Jan 16, 2022 at 20:33

Sunday, Jan 16, 2022 at 20:33
I bought that exact van late last year. While I was very happy with the value for money, and the layout was perfect for our specific needs, I was eventually very disappointed with some of the workmanship on it. To cut a very, very long story short, mine was a 2021 build and is one of what people are calling "Pandemic Vans". Built in a huge rush to try and satisfy the incredible rush for vans. The workmanship in places is unbelievably bad.

Having said all that......

It tows beautifully. I am towing it with a 200 Series so there's a bit of an advantage there. Sometimes I honestly forget it's there. But I reckon it will tow nicely behind the BT as well. I had 2 x 120 ah Lithiums, and a 2000 watt inverter fitted. I did this mainly to run my computer and monitors as I often work while away. But I can also make toast any time I like! (draws 140 amps while doing it though!)

I'm a smidge under 6ft and a bit on the heavy side and I find the combo ensuite very tight for a shower, but way, way better than heating a bucket of water over the fire. The toilet is also so much more civilised than our old camper trailer days.

If you're going to look at one, make sure of the following;

1) Get on yer back and look underneath before making final payment. I sure wish I had, but I must say, haven't had any problems yet and I can fix most of the stuff under there myself anyway (mainly poor protection against sharp edges for pipes and electricals)

2) Try the ensuite out for size before buying. It does have an external shower as a plan B though.

3) Make doubly sure you know the tare weight and just how much you can carry. You'll use up the standard payload very quickly. Consider a GVM upgrade for the van if you can't travel very lightly. Mine has a 500 kg payload but that is not standard.

4) Mine has a 180 litre three way fridge. Had no problems so far but some people complain they don't work very well on gas when it's very hot outside. Some prefer smaller compressor fridges but beware of how much battery power you'll have for that.

5) Consider the seating layout. Mine is an L shape, others are a cafe style.

6) Be prepared for dust if you go offroad. I fitted my own positive air pressure system consisting of a marine bilge fan, flexible hosing, a small Donaldson air filter and an external pre cleaner.

7) Go here; and do as much homework as you can on the Golf vans. I bought thinking it was a very good brand with a good reputation. I have been a bit disappointed but to be honest, I haven't had any real major dramas in the first three months and 4500 kms of ownership. Don't know how long that will last though. Many others have no complaints at all, but there's a few other unhappy campers like me as well.

Good luck. Do your homework, inspect thoroughly, and stand your ground.

Nil Illegitimus Carborundum

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Follow Up By: Member - MIKE.G - Monday, Jan 17, 2022 at 08:02

Monday, Jan 17, 2022 at 08:02
Hi Rusty Iron.

Thanks for your advice. Will be having a good look before purchasing.

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Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, Jan 17, 2022 at 11:56

Monday, Jan 17, 2022 at 11:56
Rusty Iron
Really good feedback!
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Follow Up By: Member - MIKE.G - Monday, Jan 17, 2022 at 14:37

Monday, Jan 17, 2022 at 14:37
Went to a Qld dealer today and had a look at the Golf 499.
Out of 10
Finish - 6 - Cupboard door hinges loose. Cheap cupboard latches. Window zips in pop top very flimsy.
Layout - 7 - Would prefer the café style table layout rather than the "L" design.
Wiring - 4 - Little or no protection on wiring under floor.
Toilet - 2 - Have to agree with my wife that having the toilet right beside the bed is a no no!
Shower - 5 - a very tight fit and door style would let water into the van.
Warranty - ? - Asked the dealer re the warranty they advertised regarding driving on corrugated roads and his answer was that "of course there is warranty but we don't put it in print as people would abuse the van and expect warranty to cover misuse." ???
Price - 4 - At $69999.00 not good value. One currently advertised by Adelaide dealer for $57900.00

Thanks for your replies.

We will keep looking.
Cheers, Mike

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Follow Up By: Rusty Iron - Monday, Jan 17, 2022 at 14:58

Monday, Jan 17, 2022 at 14:58
Mike - run away. Quickly. At $70k (mine was $69k drive away in Perth Oct 21) it would have to have the following at a bare minimum;

1) 2 x 120 a/hr Lithium batteries
2) Victron 2000w inverter
3) DOT 35 offroad hitch
4) Air bag lifter kit for the roof (includes a compressor. Hit a switch, wait 10 secs, push roof up with one hand)
5) Full anti flap kit including side wall and one end wall and curved rafter
6) 24" Smart TV

It also already had a GVM upgrade to a 500 kg payload, included in the starting price of $60k.

I had all those fitted prior to delivery as part of the deal. Probably paid top dollar for all those things, but every bit of it is under warranty as well.

Regarding the loo location - honestly mate, as long as you use it correctly with the right chemicals, setup and maintenance, there is absolutely zero odour. However as for living with another human being in a van, well that's for you to consider. But I just couldn't find any other van with a layout that suited.

Re the shower - as long as the van is level, we've had no problem at all with the water getting out. BUT....they cleverly made the shower with a very flat floor. So van has to be dead level and drainage is still poor.

There are a number of things that in hindsight....I should have looked harder before buying it. But, it had the perfect layout for us, was delivered in three weeks, and after a life changing episode early last year, I did not want to wait one more day than I had to, to get out there again and use what time we have left. Simples.
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