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Hi all,

I’m after some advice and info.

Myself, my partner and 3 young children are planning on having a complete lifestyle change.
We plan to sell our house, purchase a motor home and go travelling around the U.K and Europe for a year or so.

An opportunity has come up where we can purchase this Kon Tiki for a reasonable price. It’s been stood for many years but it does run and drive as far as I’m aware.

As I have no experience with motor homes I’m after some advice on whether it would be worth purchasing this and spending £5k approx to make it reliable and liveable or to just purchase one that is already done. Or whether we should get a large van and convert that.

Any suggestions would be great!!

Thank you!

Jordan
 

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We have a Kontiki 615 and love it, 2003 but low mileage. Before you take that plunge the vehicle has to be suitable and older one’s are harder to get parts for - Swift are unwilling to supply direct to customer and one that is already 32 years old may be extremely difficult. Even the basic Fiat parts are often unobtainable - we had to get a seat belt tensioner and were told ONLY the driver’s side is available now and that’s at a cost of around £500 and without that, the airbag light is on and it’s an MoT failure.

Remember due to Brexit you can now only easily spend 90/180 days in Europe, so the year long tours that some did are no longer permitted. Long stay visas MAY be available but are costly and, of course, if children are of school age impossible.

This all sounds very negative but I am just urging caution, really do your homework on the vehicle, get an MoT to check what MUST be done, and if it is possible. The only difference might be if your are a mechanic, but I suspect that you would have said if you had that background.

One VERY important consideration, particularly as you say you have young children, is how many seatbelts does the vehicle have ? VERY important because when your vehicle was built only the front driver’s and passenger seat had belts (same on ours which is nominally a 4 berth but only has two seat belts). It is virtually impossible to have extra seat belts fitted as they have to attach to the chassis, that is very difficult to do. We would never consider carrying children without seat belts, indeed the Law states that if they are available they MUST be used and for children under 12 it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure correct seats are used “except in emergency” but that would be VERY foolish to ignore. The thought of a collision with unrestraimed children is totally unacceptable.

This advert says “6 berth, 5 seatbelts”


More advice here;


That alone must be considered a “deal breaker”. They CANNOT be retrofitted.

I am very happy to give as much advice as I can - feel free to ask, please.
 

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2017 Hymer Exsis-i 504
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This advert says “6 berth, 5 seatbelts”
........
That alone must be considered a “deal breaker”. They CANNOT be retrofitted.
2 adults n 3 children - they're fine with 5 belts.

Hi Jordan, and welcome. Dave (Penquin) has given a very comprehensive reply which I suspect you'll find a bit depressing.

You mention touring UK and Europe so you can get round the Brexit problem by having 2 x 3-month trips in Europe alternating with time in UK. But timing is all as the restrictions are 90 days in a rolling 180. Here's a calculator to help with that.
Schengen Visa Calculator All the toing n froing will mean extra expense on Ferries or tunnel. It also means that if you spend winter in a warmer country (say Spain) which makes sense, living in a MH, then your other European trip can only be in summer - too hot?

You'd also need to be careful about payload - a family of 5 will need a fair bit of gear for full-timing. Did you get your licence pre-1996? If so, you will be able to drive over 3.5T on your current licence; if not, you'll have to take a C1 test to drive >3.5T. Whatever you decide to buy you should take it to a weighbridge (pre-purchase) preferably with all the family in it and tanked up with fuel n water so you have some idea of how much payload is left for all your gear.

It's a lot to think about.
 

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Hi and welcome

Some great advice above. A few things from me...

Re: Schengen as Jean mentioned above. Don't forget that some EU countries like Croatia are not in Schengen, so you will be able to extend your EU/Continent time there...just make sure you get your passports stamped going in and out so you have a record.

Check for damp when you buy the MH. If you buy from a dealer insist on a full habitation report. If private then get a damp meter and check everywhere inside (or even pay for a specialist to come with you to do a full check on everything if you are not confident yourself).

If you are planning on full timing it would be a good idea to make sure that the layout of the MH you go for, works for you. By that I mean can you make the beds up and take them down easily for you and the kids so you don't all have to go to bed at the kids bedtime. Will there be enough room and seating for the days when you are not outside (and for the evenings too)?

Depending on your preferred travelling plans, I may be worth getting an awning - perhaps a drive away type awning - so that this extends your living space and maybe provides sleeping options in nicer weather too.

Lastly I would caution about not having a place back in the UK just in case you cut short your trip or find that its not for you. Would renting your property out be an option? After all, presumably you will need a place to live after the year is up?

Loads of questions but exciting times though :)
 
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We full timed in our old Hymer. Husband was an amateur mechanic and boy did he need his skills sometimes. One abiding memory is of three bottoms, belonging to other, foreign, amateur mechanics, sticking out of the bonnet trying to figure why the lights failed in thick fog! No one could figure it out until husband tested the ignition switch :)
Do remember that you will have to take your motorhome into towns and supermarket car parks to buy provisions etc. You will need to store all the stuff you buy along with all the changes of clothes etc. Laundry is a major problem when full timing. Launderettes are not as common as they once were. Drying hand washed items inside can lead to severe damp problems. An awning might help but they have to be stored dry. There will be occasions when the van cannot be moved to where you want to go. Factor in the cost of a taxi or hire car. Perhaps carry a bike for one adult to ride to pick up urgent items etc.
All these problems are surmountable. We travelled for nearly three years. No children but two dogs :) I would never sell up completely. We found excellent tenants.
Think about insurance on the moho. They require a permanent fixed address. We used my mother's house with a post box on the wall stating "13A" as though her house was two flats.
Good Luck! :)
 

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Re: Schengen as Jean mentioned above. Don't forget that some EU countries like Croatia are not in Schengen, so you will be able to extend your EU/Continent time there...
I read recently that Croatia was hoping to join the Schengen area sometime soon (spit!) so worth keeping an eye on that.
Laundry is a major problem when full timing. Launderettes are not as common as they once were.
The continent (or France anyway) is much easier than UK in that respect, with a good number of fuel stations or supermarkets having external facilities, including driers.

Our Revolution Laundry laundromats: quickly find a list of laundries, their opening hours and access map./
Nos laveries - Wash'N Dry/
 

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My concern is very practical, before buying see what essential and wearing components are available for it, as it's 32 years old a lot of parts may need replacing in the future such as steering, brakes and suspension, cambelt, water pump, starter motor (could be rebuilt) engine and gearbox parts will by now be very difficult to find and even then with quite high mileage.

Barryd has a 1995 one and loves it but is looking to get something newer.
 

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OP - if you aim to use campsites then check to see if they have laundry facilities as many of them do. You would be looking around 4-5€ for a large load and similar if you wanted to use the tumble drier...although in warmer climes you can just hang it out to dry.
 

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Don’t forget if touring abroad you would be better with a least one refillable gas cylinder as each country will be different. Also be aware of emission zones, the older the van the more restrictions. Plan for mot time and your van if registered in the UK will have to conform with the UK requirements even when abroad. Some countries require winter or all season tyres or snow chains between Oct and March and some are tightening up the requirements. Spain is changing from warning triangles to flashing beacons for roadside break downs.
 

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My concern is very practical, before buying see what essential and wearing components are available for it, as it's 32 years old a lot of parts may need replacing in the future such as steering, brakes and suspension, cambelt, water pump, starter motor (could be rebuilt) engine and gearbox parts will by now be very difficult to find and even then with quite high mileage.

Barryd has a 1995 one and loves it but is looking to get something newer.
Mines a 1996 and yes it can be a pia to get parts which is partly why I've stopped taking it to Europe.

Main thing as said with a van that age is to check for Damp.
 

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OP - have we frightened you off? :)

Shame if so as thee is loads of really good advice on this thread.
 
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