Decided on a van for our family tour

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 11:39
ThreadID: 77137 Views:2585 Replies:2 FollowUps:4
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Hi Again

We have decided on buying a van for our long awaited trip. Having looked at a few the prices vary greatly between models. We don't want to spend a fortune, maximum up to $30,000 any do's or don't - we have 2 kids in tow so a family van would suit, but they seem hard to come by!

Thanks again.

PS. If anyone thinks they will be finished with their van by the middle/end of the year then please let me know!!!
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Reply By: Tenpounder (SA) - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 12:49

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 12:49
Hi there. Hope the search goes well. You ask for some do's and don'ts. Well here's a start:
DON'T kid yourself: there is no such thing a a perfect van (at $30k or $100k). All vans are a compromise between capacity on the one hand, and size/weight on the other. Start listing the things that you must have, and the things you can't put up with, and then try to eliminate as many alternatives as you can using that as a guide.
DON'T forget the van you buy must be towed by something. Do you plan to buy a tow vehicle to suit the van you buy? or do you plan to buy a van to suit the tow vehicle you already own? Lots of people own a decent tow vehicle, then go out and buy a van, only to find the van weighs half a tonne too much for the tow vehicle. And if you buy a nice big van (TEMPTING!!) because of the storage, living space etc., you may then find you're staring at a F250 or bigger to pull it!
DO think carefully about the cost of things your van must have. Adding them later is heaps dearer tan buying a van that comes with them. So an awning or annex may cost you a couple of thousand to add, but the price of a second hand van with or without these things may only vary by a couple of hundred.
Pop tops are about as heavy as full height, lower profile, less storage, require you to raise and lower the roof BUT significant issues if you have a low carport: that's when a pop top is a clear favourite (we like ours because of the low profile, less windage)
Is that enough for a start???
AnswerID: 410182

Follow Up By: harrisinoz - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 16:38

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 16:38
Thanks Chris, that's a great help. We are buying a van then buying a ute! I don't think we will go over 20ft. Hubby wants a pop top, but I'm concerned that we will be losing storage.

This may sound like a stupid question, but do all diners in the vans turn into beds?? When I was a kid we just stuck some board and foam to fill the gap and there was your bed!

Hubby wants an annex so that is at the top of the list.

If we start searching now, we may have a van by's a minefield!

FollowupID: 680100

Follow Up By: Tenpounder (SA) - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 22:44

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 22:44
Hi. No, its not a stupid question! Some diners become real beds (i.e. 6ft long or so) Some diners become childs beds (5ft or so). Our diner is a diner full stop, because it consist of a round table and two revolving chairs, which would indeed make an interesting bed!
FollowupID: 680163

Reply By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 18:18

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 18:18
Hello Karen, I reckon Chris has given you some very good advise to get you thinking & looking in the right direction. There are many pros & cons ref full van v pop top. We have a pop top & love the natural ventilation, but it certainly has much less storage than a full van. But.... You quickly learn to take what you actually NEED opposed to what you MIGHT need.

Start visiting a few used caravan yards & you will get a feel for the size that might suit your needs as well as price and floor plan etc. & the many options that are available. Also if you can purchase something you think will suit your needs, see if you can head off in it for a couple of weeks before setting out on your big one. If you do that you will commence to sort out the things that are necessary, the things you don't need etc & the things you wish you had of thought of. Hoo Roo & good luck
AnswerID: 410223

Follow Up By: harrisinoz - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 09:03

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 09:03
Thanks guys, we are going this Sat to have a look!!

Hubby has seen an old van that he thinks would be a good idea to gut and rebuild for our needs..........has this been done by anyone???

Thanks Karen
FollowupID: 680185

Follow Up By: Tenpounder (SA) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 11:06

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 11:06
I trust Hubby knows about caravan construction then? You wouldn't catch me trying that!
Is he aware that if you 'gut' most caravans, there's nothing left? the structural strength doesn't come from the outer skin - that's just to keep the draught out! The fittings (beds, cupboards, benchtops etc. ARE the structure, mounted on a plywood floor. the outer cladding is fixed (glue and or staples) to these, and the roof added like the top slice of a sandwich.
Also, I have read that materials are tricky (not always too easy to buy, and expensive)
From what I've heard, if you start with a $3000 van, gut it, refurbish, you could spend many thousands, and finish with a $2000 van that cost you $15000.
And remember with an old van (ours is a 1989 model) there's been time for 20 years of leaks, wear and tear on windows and doors, and both the fridge and stove will be well past their use by date.
FollowupID: 680201

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