I am looking for a base vehicle... Seeking opinions.

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  • I hope to be able to save 3000-4000 until spring, so I could buy myself a van for a very basic conversion. It won't be live in vehicle, mostly a weekend getaway vehicle, but hopefuly we will do some long trips in it. As the only thing that stops us going away every weekend is weather, we want to get a vehicle that will be not only a sleep-in vehicle, but the one, where you can comfortably sit behind the table, had a good sleep on the full size bed and stand up. So we decided to look for something bigger than vivaro etc. Over my years of living in Britain, I've noticed, that there is a reason why "transit" or "sprinter" are used as synonyms of "vans". For some reason everyone seems to think that van has to be Transit or Sprinter and it has to be white. Well, I am not everyone, so I am looking different direction. I was convinced when I started to browse internet to see what I can look for in my budget, and noticed that for a price of rotting sprinter with mileage to the moon and back or a transit, that has info given by the seller "most of the rust was welded for the last MOT" as a incentive to buy, I can actually have a 2009-ish van of one of the other brands. The choice is not that big (things like Fiat Ducato or Peugeot Boxer, which are plentiful in Europe seems to be really rare here), but then there is not a case that 90% of vehicles were used by transport companies. It seems that there is quite a decent choice of LDV Maxus or Iveco Daily. Iveco seems to be more popular brand in Europe, parts are cheap as chips, it is more spacious inside and the one I had in my work was indestructable. Unfortunately Iveco is still relatively popular in transport companies for the same reasons, so the LWB versions are often quite abused. BUT: a MWB Iveco Daily still offers more space inside that Jumbo Transit. And it's nice to drive, and have very nice turning cycle. At 3.5 lenght of loading space I should have enough space for all I want to put in it. And most of those MWB Dailys on the market tend to be high roof versions, but at the same time, they seem to come from other sources than transport companies - small family firms, tradesmen, local councils etc. So my belief is that I should be able to fetch a nice MWB Hi-roof Daily with not too big mileage and less than 10 years old in my budget... But then, I wonder, if it's so easy, why others don't do that? Where is the catch? :) So what is your opinion? I am mostly seeking advice on British market, as while I live here for over a decade, I am not an experienced buyer. Where to look, what to focus, what to be aware of? Also, if Daily is a good idea, are there any engines I should look for, and any that I should avoid? Is buying 6t version and then downplating it a viable option, or should I avoid over 3.5t ones like a plague? And if Iveco Daily is a stupid idea, then what? * * * Also, I got some ideas of conversion - I have no tools, no skills, and no place to work on my van. Also, not much money, as I would rather have better van with simple conversion than a luxury motorhome on the back of the towing truck. So my idea is as follows: - one window in sliding doors (to meet DVLA requirements). - basic insulation (like in: insulating, not necessarily beautiful)- sleeping area converting into the sitting area with table in the front (I could use just a fulton bed or something, or ask a talented friend to build something simply for me. - on the back wood burning stove and some storage on one side, kitchen on the other side. - no electricity (just some battery operated led lights, perhaps in the future very small solar panel just to charge mobile or camera. I have few led lights that run for years on original batteries, so I can buy some rechargeable ones and recharge them once in couple of months). - very basic water (I wonder if I just place a canister with tap over the sink and then another canister under it to gather dirty water, will that be up to DVLA requirements for running water?). As per kitchen, I was thinking about mounting it to inside of my back doors. That way I could cook from inside, but when the weather is nice, I could fold the doors open and cook outside, thus avoiding steam and smells gathering inside my vehicle. I haven't seen such a solution before, is that before I was the first one to get that genius idea, or it is just a stupid idea and I just didn't managed to see why yet? I would be concerned about weight of the kitchen, but if you can have bicycle racks on back doors, or carry a spare well, I can't see why not a basic cooker with a small gas bottle? But, anyway, I got carried away. So the TL;DR is: Iveco daily, good or bad idea?

  • For some reason my posts don't get across as they should, so all formatting is gone, and since I am unable to edit them properly, I just have to leave it as it is and apologize for this wall of text...

  • I wouldn't get fixed on a specific make or model. I've seen decent Sprinters for £1500 and fucked LDV Convoy's for the same.
    Iveco daily cans have a reputation for rusting and I personally don't like the idea of a computer controlled engine. Electronics tend to die before mechanics so I'd personally stick with an older van.

  • The way to get hold of a bargain is to have a wedge of cash available and to not be in a hurry or to be looking for anything too specific, get the cash and hang on to it for a while as you look around.


    Something else as good or better always comes along if you miss your target as long as you have time to wait for it.

  • That's a good advice and that's how I am planning to do it. It's not that I need it to go to work or something, so there is no deadline. And if I will have to wait more, I'll save more, so I'll be able to buy something better!

  • There are two issues as I see it.... Firstly the condition of the vehicle... Obviously a more recent van is likely to be in better nick than an older one, but it can't be taken as gospel... There are many very well looked after older vans that are in much better nick than abused newer ones... I got lucky with my '99 Convoy Luton... Owned by a family furniture company from new, it was probably kept in the warehouse every night for its first 15 years... Apart from a rusty cab floor (LDV cabs are notoriously leaky), the chassis is practically pristine...


    Secondly, there's the level of technology you want to deal with... Earlier vans have simpler engines with mechanical control of the injection system... the more recent ones are swarming with computers, to the point that the ECU will only work with the parts it was originally built with... Very recent vans are probably better from a reliability point of view than older ones.. some injection systems on the cusp of the change from mechanical to electronic are renowned for being unreliable. Mine has the Lucas EPIC system which is meant to be horrible to fix when it fails, and it may cause me untold grief in future, but on the plus side, because of it's age, my van doesn't need to pass modern emissions standards, so I can go backwards to a fully mechanical system if I need to...

  • Vehicles are becoming more disposable than they used to be. That's not to say that they can't be repaired, just that often it's not rust that kills them but cost to repair vs cost to replace a defunct or damaged part.


    I think if I was looking for myself I would be picking something modernish for it's reliability economy and comfort levels but I'd go for a chassis cab with a box on the back so you don't lose your accommodation if the van itself dies in a bad way you can just swap the box onto a different one.

  • "I think if I was looking for myself I would be picking something modernish for it's reliability economy and comfort levels "^ This. I would rather drive something more modern, as I plan to go to Poland or to Italy from time to time - and it has to be able to do long journeys. I don't want to plod at 45 mph on the slow lane leaving a trail of rust behind me. This might be good if you are mostly stationary, or use it for short excursions only, but after 2 hours in something like this at motorway speeds you are more tired, than driving a modern sprinter for 15 hours. I know something about that, this was my first work van: https://upload.wikimedia.org/w…0px-FOS_Polonez_Truck.JPG. It had only four gears and it was so noisy, that we saw no point installing radio in it :) Of course late 90's vehicles are pretty modern already (the Polonez above was designed in 70's) so if I would find something like realnutter in mint condition it would be great. But I guess it's more likely to find something newer, especially that I don't know many people here, and such gems usually go to some trusted people, who were waiting for them already :) Also previous generation of Daily's seems to enjoy opinion of being indestructable. From my experience that might very well be the case - company I worked had one that landed there by some strange coincidene, and since it was already pretty old, bosses decided to keep it "until it starts falling apart". Nasty bugger was loosing some bits here and there (for example a ball on the top of geat lever, or some switches that fell inside the dashboard) but it was still going everywhere as a fart. Finally they've decided to sell it and it was bought by some guy who run it from England to Balkan countries regularly for next few years... Also, since I am Polish and go to Poland quite often, I have a chance to have it serviced properly and by fraction of the price I would pay in the UK. I am doing that with my car, and money saved on servicing easily offset difference in cost between driving my car and flying Ryanair to there. But this is another point for Iveco - Iveco is very popular in Poland and parts for it are manufactured there, so I can have it easily serviced. LDV's on the other hand are quite exotic there... As per luton bodies - I am not excluding that option, but will rather be looking for a panel van. I am not planning any costly conversions, it will be extremaly basic and cheap, and since it will be my first one, in the case of changing vans, I'll propably rather start over again with all the wisdom I've learned from mistakes I made the first time :)


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    "I think if I was looking for myself I would be picking something modernish for it's reliability economy and comfort levels "^ This. I would rather drive something more modern, as I plan to go to Poland or to Italy from time to time - and it has to be able to do long journeys. I don't want to plod at 45 mph on the slow lane leaving a trail of rust behind me. This might be good if you are mostly stationary, or use it for short excursions only, but after 2 hours in something like this at motorway speeds you are more tired, than driving a modern sprinter for 15 hours. I know something about that, this was my first work van: https://upload.wikimedia.org/w…0px-FOS_Polonez_Truck.JPG. It had only four gears and it was so noisy, that we saw no point installing radio in it :) Of course late 90's vehicles are pretty modern already (the Polonez above was designed in 70's) so if I would find something like realnutter in mint condition it would be great. But I guess it's more likely to find something newer, especially that I don't know many people here, and such gems usually go to some trusted people, who were waiting for them already :) Also previous generation of Daily's seems to enjoy opinion of being indestructable. From my experience that might very well be the case - company I worked had one that landed there by some strange coincidene, and since it was already pretty old, bosses decided to keep it "until it starts falling apart". Nasty bugger was loosing some bits here and there (for example a ball on the top of geat lever, or some switches that fell inside the dashboard) but it was still going everywhere as a fart. Finally they've decided to sell it and it was bought by some guy who run it from England to Balkan countries regularly for next few years... Also, since I am Polish and go to Poland quite often, I have a chance to have it serviced properly and by fraction of the price I would pay in the UK. I am doing that with my car, and money saved on servicing easily offset difference in cost between driving my car and flying Ryanair to there. But this is another point for Iveco - Iveco is very popular in Poland and parts for it are manufactured there, so I can have it easily serviced. LDV's on the other hand are quite exotic there... As per luton bodies - I am not excluding that option, but will rather be looking for a panel van. I am not planning any costly conversions, it will be extremaly basic and cheap, and since it will be my first one, in the case of changing vans, I'll propably rather start over again with all the wisdom I've learned from mistakes I made the first time :)