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Inferiority of conversions

X

Xylem

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7
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T5 SE 174
Hi,

there is a lot on this topic throughout the forum, but still - what are the main disadvantages with conversions or what would a proper conversion never have compared to original, beside the brand ?

lv
 
GrannyJen

GrannyJen

goody goody 2shoes
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Apart from that...

the integration of a "from the bottom up" factory made vehicle to a cut and paste conversion.
 
Digger

Digger

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caledonia
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T6 Ocean 150
Conversions are built on vans or if lucky a Kombi. California is based on Caravelle spec and base vehicle is assembled from start to be a camper. You also have access to spares worldwide and a better re sale value. Plus of course it is a California:)
 
2into1

2into1

Née T4WFA. Now running 2017 150 DSG Ocean
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Given the same layout, there is more storage space in the Cali, because of the way the water (x2) and gas storage is organised. Only a big producer like VW can afford to make those components that use every mm of the body shell.
Also the sliding /tambour doors, although fiddly and prone to breakages, create a lot more usable space. Given these vans are small, the extra space is significant.

I'm not going to allow this to become a total Cali love in though.... In response to the Eurowide availability of parts from around the corner? Well that partly involves VW's approach is to replace not repair. You'll need the forum's help if you want to try repair anything in a Cali. Similarly, most manual roofs in conversions can be temporarily fixed with a screwdriver and a few cable ties. Not with a Cali roof.
And its also this availability argument is simply not true! The things that fail on holiday (water pumps, fridges, power systems etc) in conversions are pretty standard throughout Europe, so you can get the fridges in conversions replaced or repaired easily when away from home.
Should be an interesting thread!
 
W

Wild Bob

Messages
59
Location
Bolton
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
Conversions are built on vans or if lucky a Kombi. California is based on Caravelle spec and base vehicle is assembled from start to be a camper. You also have access to spares worldwide and a better re sale value. Plus of course it is a California:)
I was looking at conversions, I had a new Kombi Highline lots of extras but my main concern was handing my lovely van to a company and having the roof cut open electrics tampered with etc and Not cheap. I always wanted the Cali so managed to get this August the colour I wanted and the spec :)
 
H

HB19

HB
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Burford
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T6 Ocean 150
The big thing for me was that ALL conversions have A LOT OF CARPET glued to the walls, which is really unattractive. It’s usually a pretty dark grey and very gloomy. I couldn’t imagine being stuck inside on a rainy day looking at carpet on the walls, no matter how bright the ‘furniture’. The California has more of a normal car type finish, which looks much better and feels more tactile. Also, you’ll have to look hard to find a conversion with an electric pop top, a hatch to hide the bellows and sliding rear seats. I didn’t think these things mattered too much at first, but the more I looked, the more I realised that for me, there was no better than the ‘real’ thing.
 
Velma's Dad

Velma's Dad

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T5 SE 180
Conversions typically use a folding bench/bed type that leaves very little baggage space behind, compared with a Cali.
 
GrannyJen

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Given the same layout, there is more storage space in the Cali, because of the way the water (x2) and gas storage is organised. Only a big producer like VW can afford to make those components that use every mm of the body shell.
Also the sliding /tambour doors, although fiddly and prone to breakages, create a lot more usable space. Given these vans are small, the extra space is significant.

I'm not going to allow this to become a total Cali love in though.... In response to the Eurowide availability of parts from around the corner? Well that partly involves VW's approach is to replace not repair. You'll need the forum's help if you want to try repair anything in a Cali. Similarly, most manual roofs in conversions can be temporarily fixed with a screwdriver and a few cable ties. Not with a Cali roof.
And its also this availability argument is simply not true! The things that fail on holiday (water pumps, fridges, power systems etc) in conversions are pretty standard throughout Europe, so you can get the fridges in conversions replaced or repaired easily when away from home.
Should be an interesting thread!
Really ...

Depends how much you want to pay.

My Sister's caravan is 3 months old, the fridge has failed and even though being a Europe-wide caravan, Eriba, I'm still having to lug it 90 miles back to where I bought it from as opposed to nipping down to my local VW dealer if the fridge failed in my Cali.
 
Erbster

Erbster

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I’m going to speak up for conversions.
I had a Bilbos conversion for eight years and loved it. When we bought it, our kids were 3 and 7.

No carpet on the walls
More storage than the Cali
Good spec base vehicle
When there was a problem, it was dealt with swiftly and efficiently
No roof rot
The camping components are standard well known brands, so parts are easily available
Depreciation similar to Cali
Clever folding bed which was much more comfortable than Cali downstairs bed.

But..
Back seat not comfortable for travelling
Very “old fashioned” looking compared to Cali.
The clincher: upstairs bed terrible. By the time we replaced it, the kids were 11 and 15. The Cali was the only camper we found which could sleep two adults and two teens inside comfortably. (many campers seem to be targeted to couples).

All campers are a compromise- you have to pick the one that suits you best. If a good spec base vehicle is important to you, then Cali is best value (base spec is great, even without any options). However, if you don’t want many “toys”, just a no-nonsense vehicle to get you to places and sleep in comfort, then some conversions are a good option. However there are very many badly done ones. We went to a couple of camper van shows and looked at lots, side by side. They all looked at least acceptable as new, but many we thought would look tatty after a few seasons use. Although the Cali fittings look fragile, they stand up to sustained (careful) use.


caliventures364847572.wordpress.com
 
2into1

2into1

Née T4WFA. Now running 2017 150 DSG Ocean
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Really ...

Depends how much you want to pay.

My Sister's caravan is 3 months old, the fridge has failed and even though being a Europe-wide caravan, Eriba, I'm still having to lug it 90 miles back to where I bought it from as opposed to nipping down to my local VW dealer if the fridge failed in my Cali.
There will be different +/- s based on whether the van is in warranty or not but I think you are comparing one big European wide manufacturer with another the same. Many (most?) conversions that compete with Cali's are made by small businesses using standard components that are available everywhere, or you can buy on ebay / amazon / multiple independent suppliers and have it delivered next day to the campsite where you are stuck. The part can be fitted by most competent owners with a multi-tool or a local garage without the need to buy special tools or plug into the Hanover mainframe to update the van's brain.
The idea that you can pop into your local vw dealer and they'll instantly fit a new fridge from stock or fix your broken roof, without wrecking your interior seems far from the mark.

I can see both sides. I own a Cali so came down on that side of the debate, but mainly because of their current stellar depreciation performance. Selling a conversion, particularly when it's been done to your taste is not an easy proposition.
 
gvick

gvick

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Essex
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I looked at conversions as most people did when considering a Cali
In my opinion
The finish on some is first class - the wood veneers look and feel nice
Some have built in voltage meters
You get front loading fridges and ovens with grill in some.
Draw backs
Poor spec on many base vehicles (no radar cruise, app connect etc- if that’s important to you?)
Depreciation is generally higher (than Cali) and they can be harder to sell on.
No dealer network nor extended factory warranty.

I chose a California so confess to Cali bias but in reality when
Considering a wel specced conversion there wasn’t much price differential. :thumb
 
W

Wongo

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315
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South London
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T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Had a Bilbo Celex, good conversion but still obviously a van, the Cali is built as a camper (do go on a factory visit) from the drawing board. Love it.
 
Wiggly Woo

Wiggly Woo

née liaoyang
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545
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South Wales
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T6 Ocean 204
If you have an accident in a Cali you’re not joined in the front by all that glossy mdf furniture and a rock n roll bed that wasn’t fitted properly by some outfit in Merthyr that subsequently went bust.

Actually the main thing for us was that it isn’t much more expensive by the time you’ve spec’d a T30 T6 van with the same base spec as a Cali and then added on min 17k for a conversation. The cost difference gives you so much more (eg no carpet lining or curtains) that it’s a no brainer, especially given the top residual values.
 
Karlos

Karlos

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49
Location
Liverpool
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
I had a conversion built on a 6 month old LWB T6 Highline which was 6 months old, designed and specked by myself. Loved it but couldn't get away from feeling it was a van conversion and when I had a problem with the pop top in Italy had to deal with it myself even though the product was under warranty but as the pop top manufacturer was based solely in UK we were left to our own devises. Chose a Cali now as it feels light, bright on the inside and dare I say it indulgent and with 3 years warranty on the whole unit which is a major factor for us as we will be in Europe a lot (hopefully)
 
GillianC

GillianC

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Basingstoke
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Some years ago we had a very expensive, brand new Timberland conversion. Some good features eg underfloor gas tank, solar panel, diesel heating, electric awning (fab), electric step and full cooker and fridge freezer. However, so many things went wrong with it which involved going from Hampshire up to Hull and back, staying in their compound over night. It was a PITA and we sold it at a huge loss. Never again.
 
B J G

B J G

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Stamford
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T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Conversions are based on the SE or Ocean bed/cooking/water and fridge specification, I'm not aware of any converters doing a Beach equivalent. A raised roof conversion can be done to a Caravelle of course.
As mentioned earlier most conversions start with a much lower spec van base than a Cali. This will give a cost advantage to the conversion ticket price meaning that purchase price comparison isn't on a like for like basis and shouldn't be regarded as such without a detailed specification listing.
 

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