operation Germany advice please

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  • right then lads n lass's, me boy goes on the 31st :-( but i start a new job Monday working 7 days a week long shifts loadsa hours tryin to get cash fast to get a truck sorted to convert to live in over in Germany for me n my boy on weekends there, im lookin to save 1500 notes for a truck, but what to buy? was thinkin sprinter or smiley transit luton???? o on a side note what toilets do people use for live ins? cheers folks

  • Mercs have a reputation for long lasting engines and if you're in Deutschland, any parts needed should be easy to obtain. Transits are prone to rusting. LDVs seem popular on here, so hopefully you may get some advice about them.

  • From what i know you will be able to get ford parts just as easy as merc parts in germany. Would stay away from ldv as there ment to be difficult to get parts for abroad. All the best, hope it goes well for you no matter what truck u have

  • It may be to your advantage to try and get a petrol/lpg conversion van as older diesels are now banned from a lot of German City areas as I am not sure where you are staying


    As for toilets I use a normal chemical one as most towns have a disposal point in the Stellplatz which for a few Euros you can park overnight and dump all your waste and fill up with water some are free !!

  • My loo is a Portapotti 165. Does a great job and I think they're about £60. Clean, strong and efficient madrat, with a flush. I tend to wee mostly outside otherwise it fills too quickly and I don't like to keep emptying it all the time.
    My van's a Transit, and they certainly do get metalworm but I'm told Mercs are worse, so who knows. Probably not much in it really, and best to keep your options open, especially as you're a professional welder (or is that pro wrestler?).

    Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is meant to be serious.

  • cheers all presuming i could find work with a decent gaffer rots not a problem but I'll do any platin before i go an grease etc, do love a smiley but i want as much room as i can get on a 3.5 license, stellplatz??? sounds interesting, maybe a 10 year old sprinter would be ok in sketchy diesel areas?

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    [h=1]Boff’s Mini-Guide to German Motorhome “Stellplatz” sites[/h]
    [HR][/HR][h=2]Introduction[/h]During the last 10-15 years a vast network of sites for motorhomes has grown up all over Germany. This is similar to the “Aires de Service” network in France (see Peejay’s Mini Guide here), however there is an important difference: While the French system focuses primarily on providing service points for motorhomes, where you can dump waste water and top up your fresh water supply, the primary intention behind the German “Stellplatz” is to provide a sleeping spot. Nevertheless, like many Aires de Service cater for the tired; many Stellplatz sites are equipped with a service point.
    Some words about the term “Stellplatz”: When you look around in German motorhome forums and magazines, you will find that this term will have many different meanings, ranging from an unofficial “Wild Camping” spot over what we are discussing here up to a place for winter storage. So there is some need for a definition, and that is what I mean with “Stellplatz” in this guide:
    A Stellplatz is a place not on a camp site where you are officially allowed to spend at least one night in a motorhome.

    By the way, the plural of “Stellplatz” in German is “Stellplätze”, and you may find some different terms as well (like “Reisemobil-Übernachtungsplatz”), depending on the imagination of the provider. But the motorhome icon has meanwhile become standard almost everywhere.
    On most Stellplatz sites you may only stay for a limited period. This is usually indicated on local signs either by the number of nights (or days) or by number of hours. If there is no indication at all then a period of 2-3 nights can be seen as appropriate. Sometimes, as seen left, a Stellplatz may only be used on certain days of the week. Usually in such cases there is another Stellplatz serving the remaining days near by.
    Like in France many sites in Germany are run by the local councils, but you also find many private sites e.g. at motorhome (accessory) dealers, wine yards, restaurants, swimming pools, marinas, adjacent to (but not on) camp sites. There are also some successful Stellplatz projects being run as a commercial private enterprise like the one in Recklinghausen at the “Arena auf Schalke”, home of the famous soccer club “Schalke 04”.
    [h=2]What do they provide?[/h]You will find a wide variety of Stellplatz sites, ranging from a grubby motorhome dealer‘s backyard over secluded, almost “wild” spots up to almost campsite-like, well kept sites with dedicated pitches and all kinds of facilities. In the Stellplatz guide books and databases (see below) it is normally indicated what services they provide.
    Be aware that the typical Stellplatz is designed for self-sustained motorhomes, so do not expect toilets, showers or any other facilities you would take for granted on a camp site! As a consequence the bye-laws on most Stellplatz sites allow only motorhomes with built-in waste tanks and toilets, so tuggers and some campervans have to stay out. Be also aware that you are in Germany, where public toilets (at least such in working condition…) are far less abundant than in UK!
    [h=3]Service Points[/h]Most sites nowadays do provide at least some kind of service point for motorhomes. And on many sites without a service point you will find at least a notice board which describes the location of the nearest service point. Most of these service points are industrial motorhome service posts similar to the ones you find in France, but usually from other manufacturers. However you will still sometimes find the “hole-in-the-ground-plus-water-tap” solution, which can even be very handy especially for large vans but bear the disadvantage of not being frost-proof.
    The most frequent service post model is called “Holiday-Clean”. This has a common emptying point for grey and black water under a lid at the front base of the post. It is very handy to empty a portable toilet cassette into it, but emptying a built-in tank is impossible without a flexible hose. The sink can be flushed by pressing a button on the front of the post. While dumping and flushing is free of charge with this model the fresh water connector (usually ½-inch thread) is usually coin-operated. Sometimes there is an additional ground sink available where you can drive over. This is then normally only intended for grey water and not for toilet wastes.
    Still second on the “charts” is the “Sani-Station”. Here all functions are coin-operated and timer-controlled, so you should have everything ready before you throw in your coin. After inserting the coin the green light on the control panel will light up, then you select with one of the two white buttons which function you want to use (dumping or fresh water). If dumping is selected then a shutter will now open on the side of the post giving access to a common sink for grey and black water. Again you need either a portable container or a flexible hose. Behind the shutter is also a fresh water pipe which is only meant for flushing toilet cassettes. After a certain time a beeping sound indicates that you either have to insert another coin or the shutter will close. If fresh water is selected then the water tap to the right of the coin slot will be activated for a certain period of time.
    Another model which is found more and more frequently is the “ST-SAN”. This is a stainless-steel box with a ground sink in a certain distance in front of it. Here the ground sink is covered by a lid and used both for grey and black water. You can drive over the sink, but open the lid before as depending on the ground clearance of your van this may be impossible once the van is parked over it. On the front panel of the box is a knob for flushing the ground sink and on the side is a (usually coin-operated) water tap.
    There are meanwhile numerous other models. Some of them will even talk to you, as seen on the new Stellplatz in Osnabrück! All have in common that they can be made winter proof. However not all of them are, so you might find places where the service point is turned off at times of frost.
    [h=3]Electric hook-up[/h]Some of the more comfortable Stellplatz sites also provide electric hook-ups. Usually they are the blue CEE sockets known from camp sites. But, unless explicitly indicated, do not expect them to be rated to more than 4 Amps, so should you operate an electric heater you might blow the fuse. The typical fees range from 0.5 to 1 EUR per kWh or 10 hours. Sometimes their usage is included in the Stellplatz fee or they are even free of charge. In quite some cases the capacity of the Stellplatz will exceed the number of available hook-ups, and then you either have to be there early enough, or stay without hook-up, or share a connection with your fellow motorhomers.
    [h=3]Pitches[/h]Most Stellplatz sites do not have marked pitches. So if the site gets cramped you may have to come to terms with your neighbours and sometimes live with reduced space between the vans. That is part of the “Stellplatz Feeling”. Keep in mind that you are not on a camp site.
    This also means that in many cases it is not possible to reserve or pre-book a pitch on a Stellplatz.
    [h=2]How to find them?[/h]There are several Stellplatz guide books available. Usually they are on stock at motorhome dealers, camping accessory dealers, magazine shops at railway stations and at some petrol stations. Some of them can also be ordered via Internet.
    The most comprehensive guide book and my personal favourite for Germany is the “Bordatlas”, issued by the publisher of one of Germany’s two most important motorhome magazines. It can be ordered via http://www.bordatlas.de/ . It is only in German, but as it is alphabetically sorted by town name and all important information is provided by pictograms you should have no problem using it. It also provides geographic coordinates to feed into your GPS if you have one.
    There are also some Web pages providing Stellplatz lists, the most comprehensive I have seen so far being http://www.touring24.info/.
    Once in town there are usually local signs (local means black on white in Germany) with motorhome symbols indicating the way to the Stellplatz. These signs are sometimes very small, though.
    [h=2]How to pay?[/h]Well, sometimes you just don’t. Many Stellplatz sites are free of charge and you only pay for the services you use like fresh water, hook-up etc. Sometimes even these services are free! Some others are basically free, but ask for a donation. Please give generously in such occasions! Sometimes you will find a Pay & Display model, and of course there are the sites where a warden goes round and collects the fee. In the latter cases there usually is a box somewhere close to the exit where you are requested to put in your fee should you leave before the warden arrives. Please do not follow the habits of some others and drive away without paying just before the warden arrives.
    If the Stellplatz is run by a restaurant, hotel, vineyard or shop, then you usually pay there. Sometimes the fee will be reimbursed if you buy something. Unfortunately especially some of the restaurant sites have been misused too often, so that the owners now only allow overnight stops for customers.
    As already mentioned the service stations, hook-ups and ticket machines are usually coin-operated (Germany still is a “cash-country” where credit cards are not very common), so see that you have an ample stock of 50-cent, 1- and 2-Euro coins in your van. “Jetons” like in France are hardly ever used in Germany, its cash that counts.
    In some very few cases you need to get a key (against a deposit) e.g. at the local tourist office to operate the service point and/or the hookup. I am not really fond of such solutions as you are dependent on their opening times, but if you intend to stay a little longer then you probably don’t mind.
    [h=2]Some Don’ts[/h]This is a somewhat difficult chapter, as you will sometimes find (usually German!) motorhomers who don’t give a damn about such things. Nevertheless I want to encourage you to follow some basic rules when using a Stellplatz:
    Be aware that quite some Stellplatz projects are disputed; there have even been cases where local camp site owners have started a lawsuit against the local council providing a Stellplatz. And certain rotten apples among our community provide ideal arguments for the Stellplatz opponents.
    Of course, many Stellplatz sites have their (written) charter, which is usually on display on a notice board and which will tell you clearly what you may do and what not. Remember, you are in Germany! ;-) But if there is no such charter, then I recommend respecting the following rules:
    Never dump any waste water elsewhere than into a sanitary station. Also do not dump any rubbish except into a rubbish bin. Both would be a punishable act under German law, even if you release grey water into a street drain that is not explicitly assigned for it. Only if you are using no chemicals then it seems appropriate that you dump the contents of your toilet cassette into a public toilet.
    Especially if a Stellplatz is crowded: Don’t occupy more space than needed. Especially never “reserve” a pitch, unless this is in agreement with the site owner.
    Don’t run a generator (or the engine for battery charge), unless all your neighbours (including those in the houses nearby) agree. Complaints about generator noise (and barbecue fumes) are the most frequent reasons for Stellplatz closures.

  • Was told that the chemical for toilets to be used in Europe is the organic one and they pull and dip tanks? something to do with crashing and water safety? is this right?

    We have a Thetford cassette toilet in ours, got it from a caravan breakers.

  • I wouldnt get an ldv if youre gona live in germany, we were over there in ours a while back and no one had ever seen one before! We had everyone staring at us at traffic lights and stuff!

  • Have a look at 'wag bags' from cleanwaste I think. I use these when I have no other option, along with a kampa khazi. I don't like dumping in the van and there is usually another option, public bogs in built up areas, spade and matches in the wilds. The bags are good because they allow you to 'dump the dump' in normal bins!

  • It must be unbearable for you mate, I was heartbroken having to tell my girls I was leaving them years ago, and I was only going a mile down the road.
    Really feel for you right now.