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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Searching for a Camper Van

    Now that I have everything in place to register and insure my own vehicle as a non-resident, I am on the lookout for a vehicle. I have some specifics, and since these are not common - though not unknown - in North America, I thought I would ask the RoadTrip Enthusiasts if they ever see one for sale, to let me know, so I can check it out. I have already had a great deal of assistance from some members on this site, for which I am most grateful. I have also spent much time on forums and sales sites, looking. I have seen a couple, but would like to see more to get some idea and comparison of prices, models and makes.

    What I am looking for is a camper, similar to, but not necessarily identical to, a VW Eurovan. Definitely no larger. It is irrelevant where it is located, as I am able to pick up from... well, anywhere in the 48 States.

    My specifics are: it needs to be in good mechanical condition, with the priorities being safety, reliability and economy, in that order. It must have a bed and three way fridge. If it has more, that would be a bonus. Cosmetic appearance is not as important as the priorities mentioned above.

    Other requirements are automatic transmission, cruise control, air conditioning, a full-size spare tyre and radio. A pop up roof would be nice, but not essential.

    I am ready to buy when the right vehicle becomes available. It will not be needed till late March next year.

    Thanks for reading.

    Lifey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Cool !

    I'm pleased to see that all your hard work appears to have paid off !

    I am ready to buy when the right vehicle becomes available.
    Are you considering purchasing 'the right one' before your next visit ? Personally I don't think I could take that risk and purchase via the Web or advert, unless of course a family member and trusted mechanic could look it over in person beforehand and take delivery. [?] I have travelled many miles, many times, to look at a vehicle after talking to the owner who answered all my questions and convinced me it was 'the best', only to arrive and find what we refer to as a 'shed'. A seller can be real selective about what they tell you and what Angles they take their photo's at.

    Great news though and good luck with the search !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default It's all in hand, mate!

    Dave,

    Believe me, it takes a lot to get me to part with my precious few dollars. Contingency plans are in place in some regions, and now that I know how to go about getting that information, am sure I will be able to find the contacts I need at the time, no matter where in the country it is. Much information has been gained from those with whom I have been in contact over the last 12 months or so. Thank God for Skype. Without it I would never be able to afford to make international calls as frequently as I do.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    So, may I assume that a full-size conversion van like we discussed is no longer in the picture?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Not completely.

    No, not completely. If it has the features for which I am looking, then that may still be an option. But my preference is for a VW or similar. I am familiar with them, and they are smaller in stature and not so heavy.

    Here we have conversion vans, much like the VW campers, made by Nissan and Toyota, and if I came across one of them, I'd be very interested. But I don't think a massive Dodge or Ford or ?? is what I want.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Lifey, I will keep my eyes and ears posted (once I'm back home). I think what you're looking for is called a Class B motorhome, here. Class C's are full motorhomes with a bunk over the cab, and Class A's resemble a Greyhound bus. But Class B's are just a "van camper". In CA they're hard to buy, but I will definitely watch for you!


    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Donna, I think she is looking for something smaller than a typical Class B. It looks to me like most Class B's you find here are built on 3/4 or 1 ton truck/van chassis with big V8's or diesels. VW's don't have sufficient support here in my opinion - but I *have* seen conversions built around minivans such as the old Ford Aerostar.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Prime time to buy

    So RoadTrek is too large for what you're seeking? They are some of the best-built Class B's in North America. I'd still recommend renting one for a trip and see if that really is going to work. Just for information sake: pricing on used RoadTreks.

    I still really like the Chinooks - although I like the smaller versions from a decade ago more. Here's a 2000 model for pricing comparison Compare this with the pricing for a 1996 model at ~ $17,000

    Or even this model -- which I think is home-made -- I've never seen anything like this referred to as a Chinook for $5500

    One of the best time of the year to be looking is late Fall to early Winter (in North America = October to November) when many folks are putting their camper vans to bed for the winter and debating about the storage costs.

    What I really recommend you do is contact our two long-time RV Lifestyle correspondents -- they know just about everyone in the greater RV "commercial" community and they'd be an excellent resource for you. Jaimie Bruzenak and Alice Zyetz.

    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    The RoadTrek was what I was thinking of....that, or the really older VW camper vans (of the 70s). Some of those had pop-up roofs. Some of those other things listed as Class B's, seem to me to be small Class C's.



    Donna

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Those Roadtreks are all based on 3/4 and 1 ton vans.

    That $5500 Chinook is definitely not homemade, I had a friend with one of those back in the 70's. It's a 1977, and that's exactly what the original Chinook was - a converted Toyota Hilux. If she could find a later model with a V-6, automatic transmission, and A/C, I think that's exactly what she's looking for.

    From Wikipedia:

    Recreational vehicles (RV) have been built on Toyota truck chassis since the introduction of the Toyota Chinook in 1977 on a standard duty chassis until 1993 when the last Winnebago and National coaches were completed on their last remaining 1992 chassis. Since that time there have been a number of manufactures that have used the small Toyota truck chassis to build small class C motor homes including Chinook, RBR, New Horizons, Coachman, Huntsman, National (under both the Dolphin and Seabreaze names), Winnebago Industries (under both the Itasca and Winnebago name), and Gardner Pacific (under the Sunrader name). Beginning in 1986 RV manufacturers began using the heavier Toyota 1 ton cab and chassis.

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