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Inferiority of conversions

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Xylem

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T5 SE 174
Thanks for the output. So given the same van spec, the main arguments would be depreciation, warranty and more 'campervan' feel and finish. I guess even the last one can be achieved with good conversion or is it not so ?
I mean, campervan feel refers to carpeting, insulation...or some major technicality regarding the van? Isn't the base van, technically, the same with converters as it is with VW, just adding the roof, elektricity, tanks, kitchen, heater etc to that base?
 
WelshGas

WelshGas

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Cowbridge
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T5 SE 180 4Motion
Thanks for the output. So given the same van spec, the main arguments would be depreciation, warranty and more 'campervan' feel and finish. I guess even the last one can be achieved with good conversion or is it not so ?
I mean, campervan feel refers to carpeting, insulation...or some major technicality regarding the van? Isn't the base van, technically, the same with converters as it is with VW, just adding the roof, elektricity, tanks, kitchen, heater etc to that base?
Unfortunately a VW approved converter that buys base vehicles from VW is limited as to which vehicles and Options they can Order/Offer to their customers. I was unable to specify my vehicle, 4 Motion and 180 Biturbo not available. The only way around it was for me to buy the vehicle and let them convert. This was more expensive than an equivalent California SE.
The vehicle would have had a 3 yr warranty but the conversion only 1 yr.
 
kp64zl

kp64zl

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United Kingdom
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T6 Beach 150
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.
Uberbus does beach conversions - look very nice - almost went for one
 
B J G

B J G

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Stamford
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T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Thanks for the output. So given the same van spec, the main arguments would be depreciation, warranty and more 'campervan' feel and finish. I guess even the last one can be achieved with good conversion or is it not so ?
I mean, campervan feel refers to carpeting, insulation...or some major technicality regarding the van? Isn't the base van, technically, the same with converters as it is with VW, just adding the roof, elektricity, tanks, kitchen, heater etc to that base?
Ultimately only you can decide by physically checking out a VW California and any Conversion that you are considering.
Vast majority on here have already done that and gone the VW Cali route, says it all really.
 
GrannyJen

GrannyJen

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Off topic but ....

Why do I keep reading the title as "inferiority of conversations"? :shocked

I almost replied "if we are so boring and inferior then bugger off!!" before putting my specsavers on .....

Any way, carry on, back to topic ....:oops:
 
zesty_al

zesty_al

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widnes
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T5 SE 140
I owned a converted T4 before my Cali.
I was lucky, used an excellent perfectionist to convert mine and it came with quality materials, clever use of space and looked brand new when I sold it 6 years later.
Still isn’t a patch on the Cali!
Double glazed glass, sliding bed, clever table and chairs...
No brainer


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Ch1pbutty

Ch1pbutty

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Burgess Hill
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T5 Beach
We looked at buying a high spec 2nd hand caravelle (as liked the idea of twin sliding doors) and having an elevating roof put on, but when we when we priced it all up it wasn’t any cheaper than a 2nd hand beach. The resale value would have been less and would imagine harder to sell as purchasers would say “oh, it’s not a California then, ok, just looks like one”. It would also have meant driving round the country to get the bits installed.

The costs for a DIY build soon add up for the roof, heating, bike rack, reinforced boot struts etc...and more so for a full camper conversion. Sliding seat rails cost a small fortune hence us initially looking at caravelles as a base van as they already have them fitted.

We have owned 3 x professional camper conversions (T2, T25 & T4) prior to the current Beach, but the finish on the beach is far superior and same applies to the Ocean.

That said we purchased our last 1997 T4 Bilbo for £5k, and sold it for £9k 3 years later. Our other vans were also kept for a similar amount of time and we always got back the original purchase price if not more. So provided you have a good conversion it will always hold its value.

At the end of the day it’s down to personal choice and budget. You can have just as much fun in an old van as you would in a new van!
 
2into1

2into1

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So provided you have a good conversion it will always hold its value.
I think that’s more true of established brands, like Bilbos, who have their own strong identities, models and way of doing things. Perhaps less so that a Cali type conversion with an RIB bed and Reimo roof from an (excellent but small) converter around the corner from home.
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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Yeah, get a Bilbos especially if your after the vintage look.
Designed in the early 1970s and still the same today. God awful and dreary vans to sit in IMO
 
Velma's Dad

Velma's Dad

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One advantage of buying a conversion: you can bluff and slap on a "Built Not Bought" sticker, so you can still go to VW festivals and avoid the muttering: "Oop themsels... more mooney than sense..."

1566456957949.png

(To which my response is: "Wow, impressive. How long did it take you to turn all the pistons on a lathe then?")
:Grin
 
D

Donald Dub

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Ashbourne, Derbyshire, UK
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T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
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
Resale value. In terms of vehicle cost you are only funding the cost of the depreciation plus the 0.05% interest if you kept the money in the bank. Cali’s hold there value better than almost any vehicle, let alone campers, so you may have to shell out a bit more but more will go back into your bank account when you sell it.
 
hirsty

hirsty

Two Seat Beach DSG
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Any spec of van can have any spec of conversion added - a lot of the above is bias & nonsense, and also based on *everyone* wanting the same precise California spec.

It’s a broad church. Vive la difference.
 
JohnF

JohnF

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Nairn
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T6 Ocean 204
As I’m on the tall side, having the sliding door on the ‘right’ side and kitchen on left allows for a comfier driving position.
 
Skylark2.0

Skylark2.0

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We needed 4WD and automatic, the base vehicle is so expensive to buy and convert it made sense to have the perfect Cali solution.
We used to have a conversion which we loved until we tried the quality of the Cali conversion. Every seat was uncomfortable, the bed was more tug and curse than rock and roll. The locks on the cupboard doors were annoying. Even worse, I parked across a slope once, opened the door of the mini fridge and everything, including the wine, fell out and rolled down the hill.
It also wasn't insulated and we had ice on the inside once as I left the fan heater at home to save space........
I would rather have an older Cali than a conversion. The conversions often look prettier or flasher but I like the understated interior even if it is a bit grey!
 
S

Sandy beach

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2
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Newmachar
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T6 Beach 150
Before my Beach purchase, we looked at a conversation option, purely on price basis, until I spoke to a sage SE owner and was educated. Purely on safety alone, we went VW factory van. Concerns such as the rock and roll seat/bed, would you straps your family into something that has been screwed/ bolted into sheet steel or MDF, rather than the very efficient VW rail based system? Gas tank often located just behind the rear doors, or not thought through, unlike the VW install within the water tank, protected if you were in an accident? Most importantly an auxiliary heater which you run through the night fitted in some factory unit or lock up, rather than by VW to international safety standards. I realise people have their own thoughts and reasoning, but these were my considerations.
 
M

MattC

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N Wales
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N/A
Before my Beach purchase, we looked at a conversation option, purely on price basis, until I spoke to a sage SE owner and was educated. Purely on safety alone, we went VW factory van. Concerns such as the rock and roll seat/bed, would you straps your family into something that has been screwed/ bolted into sheet steel or MDF, rather than the very efficient VW rail based system? Gas tank often located just behind the rear doors, or not thought through, unlike the VW install within the water tank, protected if you were in an accident? Most importantly an auxiliary heater which you run through the night fitted in some factory unit or lock up, rather than by VW to international safety standards. I realise people have their own thoughts and reasoning, but these were my considerations.
All perfectly reasonable concerns, but all available to the same high standards with (some) conversions. It's quite inaccurate and misleading to tar all converters with the same brush.
(E.g. - https://www.jerbacampervans.co.uk/vw-registered/safety-quality/ )
 
Meoncoast

Meoncoast

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@MattC one of the main issues for me with say jerbacsmpers is the distance from home to the converter. Passed their site in North Berwick when on holiday. I found them when we were looking for a campervan but the practical issues for someone like me living in Hampshire made them a non started. Lot of converters in the West of the UK but also too far in my view for any habitation issue --- for us 7 miles from a 1st class VW van centre with a one stop shop = a reason for a Call.
 
M

MattC

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N Wales
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N/A
@Meoncoast, I can understand that distance from the converter may be a factor. Jerba, as you're aware, are in North Berwick and we're in North Wales, so a 5 hour 300 mile journey away. But their Sanna model fitted our requirements so well that we went with them anyway (we also hired a Sanna from them to try for a week first and then got the full hire cost reimbursed against our purchase).

In practice the distance hasn't been much of a problem. Anything to do with the base VW van is still covered by our 5 year VW warranty and could be dealt with by any VW van centre (touch wood - nothing needed yet). Regarding the conversion elements, we head to Scotland 2 or 3 times a year anyway so can make point of passing Jerba, saying hello, and having them take a look if we've anything needing checking over. Other than that Jerba are members of NCC which opens up a nationwide network of dealers and workshops capable of handling issues with common components such as fridges, sinks, cassette toilet etc. We've had a couple of small issues dealt with this way - all we've had to do is contact Jerba who have made contact with a local NCC outfit, let us organise a convenient appointment, and then they pick up any cost under warranty. In many ways it's preferable to the thought of dealing with a VW dealership (based on many years of VW car ownership).
 
2into1

2into1

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@Meoncoast, I can understand that distance from the converter may be a factor. Jerba, as you're aware, are in North Berwick and we're in North Wales, so a 5 hour 300 mile journey away. But their Sanna model fitted our requirements so well that we went with them anyway (we also hired a Sanna from them to try for a week first and then got the full hire cost reimbursed against our purchase).

In practice the distance hasn't been much of a problem. Anything to do with the base VW van is still covered by our 5 year VW warranty and could be dealt with by any VW van centre (touch wood - nothing needed yet). Regarding the conversion elements, we head to Scotland 2 or 3 times a year anyway so can make point of passing Jerba, saying hello, and having them take a look if we've anything needing checking over. Other than that Jerba are members of NCC which opens up a nationwide network of dealers and workshops capable of handling issues with common components such as fridges, sinks, cassette toilet etc. We've had a couple of small issues dealt with this way - all we've had to do is contact Jerba who have made contact with a local NCC outfit, let us organise a convenient appointment, and then they pick up any cost under warranty. In many ways it's preferable to the thought of dealing with a VW dealership (based on many years of VW car ownership).
That's a really important reply. I've always liked the Jerba vans, and from the link above tried to find an explanation on their website of a scheme like that. I did find the 2 year 'conversion' warranty.
Getting a fridge fixed / replaced at a local specialist is much better than giving it to a VW dealer who have never seen that fault as they spend all day doing timing belts.
 
ArunAlec

ArunAlec

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One aspect of where I think conversions could be at an advantage is DIY. Whilst I love the slick interior of my Cali I do fear that as it ages and wear and tear take their toll it would be nice to be able to carry out basic repairs myself without having to take out a second mortgage to buy parts. Most conversions fittings, whilst being a bit chunky use off the shelf parts which should be easy to replace or repair at little cost.
 

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