Newbie from Stoke

jjturner

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Hi, I'm Jon based in Stoke. Currently planning a conversion that has a few specific requirements. My hobby is doing trackdays so it needs to be able to tow a trailer and car, ideally at least 2500kg tow weight. We've come to the conclusion a self build is the best (and cheapest) solution as professional builders seemed to downplate towing limits on older builds plus we can spec what we want and add things as we go along.

It will mainly be used for somewhere warm to sit for the wife with some of the other trackday widows. Rockingham paddock in March is like basecamp 1 on Everest. It will also be used for a few trips away but mainly on sites with facilities when we're away watching racing. Initially the plan is a campervan, no loo/shower, but full fridge/ cooker with blown air heating. I could squeeze it in a MWB and it would be easier for parking as it will be parked in some hotel car parks when we're doing some foreign trackdays, but contemplating a LWB so I can add a toilet later but not XLWB.

The current plan is probably a Sevel van (post 2007 so its galvanized), with at least a 130hp engine, ideally a 160, as they have a decent tow weight. I looked at Iveco's as they have mad towing capacity but have a reputation for rough ride, which wouldn't do the wife's bad back any good. I also looked at Sprinters as they have full auto's, perfect for towing, but can only tow 2000kg unless you order a factory special, never seen one secondhand.

current thoughts....
  • Underslung gas tank to free up space, as well as underslung water tanks
  • Gas blown air heating,
  • multiple batteries.
  • A 230v charger/inverter so we can run a microwave (with a good supply of batteries...)
  • b2b charger and add solar at a later date
  • layout will be an end lounge so can seat at least 4 round a table.
  • 12/230v compressor fridge as when we are away it will be on hookup, other times it only needs to last 24hrs.
  • sprayed insulation
Any advice or recommendations warmly received.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member

Guest
I would recommend a Fiat L3H2, but go for a Maxi. I am fairly sure that the maxi has 3500kg towing limit, the others 2500Kg. I have just towed my boat/trailer (3500kg) from brighton to Lincolnshire, no problems, but I did need to use low gears for the UPhill bits. My bus is the 2.3, the 3.0 litre would certainly be better towing. You seem to know exactly what you want and your above list looks fine. If it is your intention register as a camper/motorhome there are a few simple basic requiements which are very easily met. good luck with your conversion - lets see some piccies as you get on with it. Geoff.
 

Kermavio

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 8, 2016
Location
Cléguérec, France
Hi Jon and welcome to the forum.

Looks like you've already put a fair bit of thought into what you want to do and how you want to do it. At first glance, your spec list looks pretty sound. You'll probably get fuller replies in a day or so when the headaches have subsided.

I've got a Daily and yes, the ride is a bit agricultural. But having said that, we can travel all day in it without any discomfort despite having had a back operation last year. And Dailys are rear wheel drive which is better in muddy conditions.

Chris.
 
D

Deleted member 2

Guest
Hello Jon and welcome to the friendly knowledgeable diy forum.

With regards to your requirements, I would honestly go for a rear wheel drive as they tow so very much better, but the big down side of all of them with the exception of the very latest Iveco vans is that they all rust like crazy........... But having said that there is one fully galvanised RWD van around but it is rarer than rocking horse poo, namely the L4 Renault Master that comes with twin rear wheels, they are rare in France and even rarer over here!

I have done an enormous amount of towing over the years and have never found a FWD tug that can hold a candle to almost any RWD alternative because for one, when towing a heavy load as the weight transfer on an incline, most especially if it is a polished or damp surface, a restart is almost impossible.

Most track day people like to have a bit of instant go under the loud pedal, so going for a sluggish but brilliant Mercedes Vario might not tick any of your boxes, however there wouldn't be any problems with the towing weight.

I honestly don't think you will find a MWB van which has anywhere close to the towing capacity you are looking for.

If it were me I would go for a Merc Vario, convert it into a fully equipped motorhome along with a full shower room and beds and a decent sized kitchen and then there would be no need for you to ever have to think about stopping at hotels............ but they are very slow.

Happy New Year

Phil
 

jjturner

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Thanks, good call on RWD. I've looked at the renaults also, seems to be more of the Movano's about and not unreasonable costs. I'd guess they're galvanized as same vehicle basically. Most are XLWB and but there is the odd LWB about.
 

listerdiesel

Active Member
Deceased RIP
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Location
Rushden, Northants
Check on the towing weights, nearly all of the 3500kg or under vans won't tow more than 2000kg, and if you go over 3500kg towing vehicle, the C1E towing reg's require the trailer loaded weight to be no more than the unloaded weight of the towing vehicle.

That's why we ended up with the Vario. The 614D will tow up to 3500kg as it goes 4000kg unladen.

Things may have changed, but the last time we looked it had to be a twin rear wheel Iveco with the 150hp engine, or the Vario.

Peter
 

jjturner

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
After spending a lot of time trying to find old specs it seems a lot of the vans made after 2007 have models with a higher tow capacity, they were probably loosing sales (best tow van). Iveco is absolutely the best but the Sevel vans with 130/160hp have a higher capacity of 2500/3000kg, FWD Transits and Sprinters are still rubbish though. I'm ancient enough to have the old driving license but the wife isnt, so ideally stay within 3500kg GVW. The maximum weight I'll be towing is 2500kg as thats the trailer capacity and at the moment its 1900kg, just need some headroom in case I change cars again so not worried about the weight ratio once built as the Ducato is 1925kg unloaded for MWB, 2015kg for LWB.
 
D

Deleted member

Guest
Check on the towing weights, nearly all of the 3500kg or under vans won't tow more than 2000kg, and if you go over 3500kg towing vehicle, the C1E towing reg's require the trailer loaded weight to be no more than the unloaded weight of the towing vehicle.

That's why we ended up with the Vario. The 614D will tow up to 3500kg as it goes 4000kg unladen.

Things may have changed, but the last time we looked it had to be a twin rear wheel Iveco with the 150hp engine, or the Vario.

Peter
Peter, the ducato maxi L3h2 definitely has a maximum towing weight of 3500kg., but I agree that most other vans (not vario of course) can only tow up to 2500kg max. Geoff.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Darcar

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2016
Location
East Devon
Hi & welcome.. to this truly great forum....

I don't know what you track race, but have you considered carrying it ON BOARD?

My wife has horses & i used to tow her trailer around for a few years, but then we bought a half share in a horse box Lorry & it's much nicer to use than the trailers.

There's a lot of 7.5 ton box trucks around or you could convert a library bus into half living with carrying space.
Just another idea to think about! If you didn't have enough already!

Darren..
 
D

Deleted member 2

Guest
Thanks, good call on RWD. I've looked at the renaults also, seems to be more of the Movano's about and not unreasonable costs. I'd guess they're galvanized as same vehicle basically. Most are XLWB and but there is the odd LWB about.
Jon; the very first vans to have fully galvanised bodies were the Master/Movano/Nissan(thing, Christmas/New Years booze has numbed my brain!) back in 2004, later followed by the Sevel vans from 2007 onwards.

Take a look through Auto-Trader and you will almost certainly hardly ever see the L4 RWD versions of the Master/Movano ranges which is such a great shame as they are such brilliant vans. If it was me in your situation, I would go for an Iveco and spend a couple of bob on an air sprung passenger seat for your Mrs...................... You would also have to spend some time sorting out the dreaded tin worm that you would almost certainly find, but do this and boy oh boy would you have a great tug.

I used to know someone who tows his Porsche 911T throughout the UK to various hill climbs, sprints etc. and he towed it behind a Sevel based 3 axle extra long wheelbase flimsie and he said that anything other than an almost flat road would see the front wheels scrabbling for grip!

TTFN
Phil
 

jjturner

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
I guess only the latest Ivecos are galvanised? How much difference do air seats make? Happy to spend the cash if that ends up being a better option.
 
D

Deleted member 2

Guest
How much difference do air seats make? Happy to spend the cash if that ends up being a better option.
When I lived in France my tractor had an air sprung seat and it was fabulous, I also believe that a lot of large HGV's have them fitted.
 

time4t

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 2, 2016
Hi & welcome to the forum.

I have a 1997 4.6t twin wheel ex police riot van on which a lot of things are uprated.
When I've got rid of this bloody noro virus, I'll have a look at the towing weight which I believe is uprated to 3.5t.

I realise that there would be a licencing issue for your wife but it's a very strong vehicle. It has something called ABD ( Which I think is auto brake distribution ) & this acts like a kind of traction control.

It's a 3 litre diesel on an auto box that has so far if driven carefully returned 30ish to a gallon.

The rust problem got a lot worse on 2000 on reg vans.

ATB, Phill
 

jjturner

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
would love to hear how you get on with the policevan this as I've seen a few and thought they would give a great headstart to a campervan especially the aircon/heater
 

time4t

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 2, 2016
would love to hear how you get on with the policevan this as I've seen a few and thought they would give a great headstart to a campervan especially the aircon/heater
Yeh, it would be better if the previous owner hadn't botched so much of it.
I've been going backwards for most of the time. done a lot just doesn't look like it.

Can't find much info on the heating & aircon, I'm going to remove the pipes that go into the underfloor radiator to see if it's a separate system before I go further. The radiator has a big fan so I believe it only does the aircon but not sure, can't find owt ont web either.

It's a good solid van, only a couple of rust spots on the body & an all good underside, only done a genuin 51,000 miles.

Good luck with your search!!
 

Kermavio

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 8, 2016
Location
Cléguérec, France
How much difference do air seats make?
I dont know if the "spring" is adjustable or if you have to be over a certain weight for them to operate properly, but a van I hired some years ago had one and I was bloody nearly seasick driving it. As well as adjusting both vision and pedal operation to cope with the kangaroo effect. Cornering was interesting, too as it wanted to throw me towards the outside of the corner after the first bounce. It was like driving a trampoline. Very occasionally, the van and I wound up going in the same direction which gave an element of reassurance.

As a guide, I'm just under 60kg. And I may have exagerated just a little bit.

Chris.
 
D

Deleted member 2

Guest
In a van, I would only ever suggest fitting one to the passenger side of the vehicle as I believe they could be dangerous if used on the drivers side because of the distance changing constantly between the front edge of the seat and the pedals.
And yes Chris, I believe most of them are adjustable for weight.
Phil
 

listerdiesel

Active Member
Deceased RIP
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Location
Rushden, Northants
Bostrum or Isringhausen are the two market leaders.

The damping of the seat varies according to the vehicle weight and suspension cycles, so you may find that a truck seat isn't as effective as a seat for a light commercial.

Peter
 
D

Deleted member 63

Guest
Dunno if it'll help but Sprinters did at one time at least offer an air suspension seat.
 

Darcar

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2016
Location
East Devon
Dunno if it'll help but Sprinters did at one time at least offer an air suspension seat.
Yes that's right the sprinters sprung seats were very good if adjusted correctly, the movement was not extreme and did smooth out the bumps, improving the comfort of the ride.
You simply set the weight wheel on the side of the seat to your weight.
Darren.
 
Top