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T3 or T4 Camper? I need help deciding

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Llamapup View Drop Down
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    Posted: 25 Aug 08 at 18:58
Hello All
 
I'm new to this forum and new to VW campervans and I could use a bit of advice.
 
I'm saving up cash to buy my first campervan next spring.   I need some help deciding if I should get a T3 or a T4.  Here is the criteria:
 
It should cost no more than £7,000
  1. It must be in very good condition and be ready to use right away.
  2. I will want to use it as my second car, so it will need to be very reliable
  3. My wife will need to commute in it 10 miles occasionally, and she will want it to be easy to drive
  4. Fuel economy is important to me
  5. It should be very safe for all passengers
  6. It should work very well as a campervan and sleep 2 adults and 2 kids with all their stuff

I'm sure that both T3s and T4s would fit this criteria, but will one fit the bill better than the others?  What do you reckon am I better off with?

Thanks
 
Chris


Edited by Llamapup - 26 Aug 08 at 19:51
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sportwomble Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 08 at 19:08
I think you need a t4 fella, the t3 is awsome and my prefered choice but you said 2 things that to be honest i dont think a t3 will quite satisfy  Fuel economy and very reliable, dont get me wrong the t3 is not terrible on either but I believe the t4 is better on both!  Although thats only my opinion. Phil
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dr Dub Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 08 at 19:26
I'd pretty much agree with that til you get to the sleeping 4 persons ! I'm fortunate to own both. My 2.5TDI T4 is fantastic on fuel and easy to drive, however my T3 is sooo much better for camping than the T4, more room, better equiped and your gonna need a pop up roof in either bus to sleep 4 and be very lucky to find a good T4 with one for £7k - bit of a difficult scenario. If you want RHD, i'd save a fair bit more and maybe find a nice T4 conversion,failing that, buy a good 1.6TD LHD T3 westfalia.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 08 at 21:09
T3 has got to be diesel to meet economy requirements - with a religious exhaust (very holy ;)) we are currently only getting about 30 to the gallon out of a 1.6D.  In fairness that SHOULD be a lot better.

The youngest T3 you will get your hands on is 18years old.  If it's lived in the UK that is a long tome for bits to rust and break.  That being said, they are "relatively" easy to keep maintained - though bits are getting scarcer.  At least the metal is thick enough to weld to if all else fails.

Campers were NEVER cheap.  If you factor purchase cost with inflation, and were about to buy a Joker, or a top range Autosleeper  in today's money, you would be paying well over £30K!.  That said, over the years, the depreciation rate is not that bad.

You can sleep with 4 (2 adults, 2 near adults) in a T3 pop-top - but it is a bit friendly.  Asmall tent and an awning ease things considerably.

We chose a T3, but bought it by a process that would be described by anyone with any sense as suicidal - I'll post the saga sometime.  I could see good case for buying a T4, but you've got to convert it and be sure it has not been flogged.

Hope this helps - all I can say is, don't even THINK about buying a Bay with those constraints!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Llamapup Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 08 at 21:18
Those are some good suggestions so far.
 
I should have said that it was 2 adults and 2 kids not 4 adults. 
 
I'm leaning towards a T3 because they appear to make quite comfey looking campervans. 
 
Taking on board your advice it looks like I'm looking for a T3 that is diesel, poptop and hopefully RHD that is in very good well maintianed condition.
 
Will my budget of £7,000 stretch that far?
 
Thanks.
 
Chris
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 08 at 22:56
An import, i.e. LHD is likely to have less rot.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote goblin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Aug 08 at 23:19
A lot of them are younger actually. Can't forget the SA vans can we now?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 00:15
SA vans are not going to come in less than £7K
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Llamapup Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 08:55

How much of a problem is it driving a LHD camper in the UK?  I will be using it as a second car, so it will get driven 2 or 3 times a week for commuting and for general errands etc. I live in Leeds, so this will include all the joys of urban driving (traffic, short trips, etc).  Is a LHD T3 worth considering in these circumstances?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote monsho Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 09:12
I, and loads of others on here, have no problems at all with driving a LHD in the UK, I kinda like it to be honest!  you're nice and high up, not realistically going to do much overtaking...

much better vans available in LHD (Westies!)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BenA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 09:19
Aye - LHD never been a problem me - very easy to get used to.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Llamapup Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 10:10
I like the look of the Westies as well. They look like they are very well designed and built. Before I get completely swayed by the draw of a good LHD campers, is there a RHD conversion that is considered to be of equivalent quality for price comparison purposes?
 
I'm reasonably convinced with the prospect of driving a LHD vehicle as I learned to drive in the States and spend over 15 years on the roads there, but are there any partucular legal issues about the vehicle or my UK driving licence that need to be sorted? For example if I buy a LHD Westie are there anythings I need to check to make sure they are road legal and I am legal to drive them.
 
I'm sure that shifting with my right hand will come back to me pretty quickly, but have any of you had any difficulties switching back and forth between your LHD camper and your RHD daily runner? 
 
What's the blind spot in an LHD camper like on UK roads?
 
Thanks
 
Chris 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 11:33
Headlamps need to have the correct beam pattern, speedo may or may not need changing.
 
No problems between swapping between the two - I confess I was worried at first but need not have been.
 
The only marginal area is narrow, high banked lanes (Devon and Cornwall type) where visibility of oncoming traffic suffers a bit, and getting stuck behind really slow, high wide loads (Hay ricks) where seeing past to overtake is a nightmare.  Most stuff you simply look over.
 
Holdsworth/Autosleeper conversions are pretty good, but you've got to remember the salt issue if they've been used on British roads in winter for any length of time - British units can be more prone to rot, but are usually cheaper than the imports.


Edited by johnb - 26 Aug 08 at 12:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Janner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 13:08
You may want to consider that vans tend to get more expensive from spring onwards (supply & demand), a little less than your 7k in the winter may buy you more.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vw venom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 14:42
after owning t3 and t4
i sold t4 and returned to t3 because the t4 was quicker,looked smart and cost alot more to buy but had no soul ,or respect that a good t3 has as for camping i have kids and they love the t3 as it seems to have more space?
the choice is yours,but i wouldnt go back to t4, unless it was me and wife alone
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vw venom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 14:46
four adults?i missed that then think about t4 then.
Or t3 karmann  cheetah loads of room
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dr Dub Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 16:00
Don't be put off by LHD - you get a lot more spec for your money and as T3's were never designed to be RHD, the gears are a lot easier to master, my friends misses was concerned when he bought his Whitestar but got used to it after an hour or so and drives it with the kids in all the time now. For camping with a family in a T4, your seriously going to need a long wheelbase with a poptop to have any quality room etc and thats gonna be well over £10k for a nice one.
An awning with bedroom is the only other option if you don't mind the cold ?? - possible compromise ?.   

Edited by Dr Dub - 26 Aug 08 at 16:02
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Llamapup Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 16:20
Originally posted by Dr Dub Dr Dub wrote:

as T3's were never designed to be RHD, the gears are a lot easier to master,
 
Why are the gears easier on a LHD?
 
Chris
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dr Dub Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 16:33
Bit hard to explain unless you've driven one but here goes - Later 5 speed vans have a dogleg first gear with reverse on the same side, from the left hand side of the van its much more natural to pull the gearstick toward you and back for first, also much easier to pull toward you, push down and then forward for reverse. This is because VW designed it that way. I'm not saying that a RHD van is hard to drive at all, just that they're not so natural in the gear dept.       
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote andycaddock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 08 at 17:07
or you can go for the auto option, and thats a lovely drive, t3 westie is the way forward, and thats the lawWink
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