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Still crazy after a year of Humphrey



VIP Member
Lake District
T5 SE 180
I suspect that a good number of people don't contribute but enjoy the huge support, advice and recommendations that this Forum has of offer. A big thank you to all those who regularly post and give freely their knowledge. Opinions and advice sometimes differ, even contradict makes, the Forum a stimulating read. Your collective experience and wisdom have been reassuring and confidence building to me over the past 12 months. However, there is one topic I have not seen raised in the Forum. This topic is constantly present in covert and hidden sub text, eventually dawning on the unsuspecting .........

Humphrey 5* - 2015 California SE T5 SWB 180PS 2.0 Bi TDI BMT 7sp DSG in Blackberry, Cascavel wheels and the most important chrome side bars - was purchased just 12 months ago and has been an absolutely great purchase. For us it is our 'big journey' vehicle. I love the twin turbo kicking in at 70 mph. We had dithered for about a decade before buying - and reckon a combination of our age, change in travel patterns, outdoor activity level and having a bit more spare cash made the purchase right for us at aged 66. Both of us love the drive; smooth and powerful, great vision and precise. All those bleepers and TVscreen when parking, super. DSG is absolutely fabulous.

2017 has seen Humphrey on many journeys; 67 sleeping nights (wild and sites) and another 25 or so days and nights away with other accommodation. We have travelled from the furthest northern tip of Shetland, Orkney and throughout Scotland, and down into Northern Spain. Our interests are in the mountains which makes very good use of Humphrey. One draw back would be that I am not prepared to risk loading my canoes onto the roof, so the big Scottish river and lake journeys involve car topping.

Starting one very fine morning on Shetland, Humphrey's power steering had failed. This is a long story .....
VW Roadside said a breakdown vehicle would be 1.25 hours - oh yea? Jim's Garage from Lerwick took less than an hour. The guys were brilliant. Yes it was the belt. Yes they could fix it. NO - they wouldn't fix it because it Humphrey was under VW warranty. There isn't a VW dealer in the Shetlands.... So, it goes like this and I will answer your question at the end. Overnight (cabin and meals) ferry to Aberdeen (all sorted by the Jim's guys and NorthLink absolutely superb service), collected by Clark's of Aberdeen from the quay (great help, support, repair and service), overnight in Aberdeen, return overnight ferry back to Lerwick (cabin and meals). Your question - yes - all paid for under warranty by Roadside and AA. (And, VW insisted on the replacement of the starter motor, power steering motor and tensioner too.....)

I am pleased to find how easy Humphrey is to keep clean. We live in south Lakeland and in our small isolated Cumbrian village it is unusual not to own a van or caravan. There is social pressure to keep up with neighbours in competitive cleaning. So much so I invested in a day with a car valeting expert. Huge amount to learn and a really good day spent with him (£150) - I shall return next year as there was simply too much detail (no pun intended). All I do now is one aspect at a time, eg floors or windows, and then return at another time. I use a water brush to remove the mud and crud regularly which takes no time at all. What is so impressive about this vehicle is how well designed and thought through it all is. At no point have we looked for something that we have needed or hasn't been included. The manual is comprehensive but the Forum reveals so much more. Drawer handle didn't work; great photo and explanation on this site.

Residuals, always a great topic and of interest to everyone. Looking at the current batch of asking prices, the debates about availability and incredible demand I am confident that future value will reflect the purchase price.

Question - has anybody experience of Warranty Direct at the end of their VW warranty period? The deal looks excellent and if you take it up before the VW warranty expires you are good to go. Any comments?

And what haven't I found openly discussed on the Forum, or perhaps I just haven't looked that hard?
Van Envy. Unbelievable and regular adoration; envy and comment from the whole world. Neighbours comment, friends discuss, complete strangers in car parks come over for a look. A great white owner lusts on a Yorkshire campsite; a Frenchman raves about the colour; a Spanish family want to explore and a teacher from the UK complained that they could 'only afford a Transporter Conversion' but could she indulge in a little 'van envy?' The loading staff for ferries comment (22 ferries in total for Shetland) chat to you about it. And this beggars belief, a true anecdote trust me. Ten days after we bought Humphrey our closest friends purchased 'Victor' (Ocean 204 4 motion with all the bells and whistles 6 months old). They have never, ever, in the 32 years we have known them, even been remotely interested in campers or motor homes. Pure, unadulterated, green, raging, all consuming, un biblical, fanatical, van envy. Does the name give it away?

Without the psychological and emotional support from this Forum I would be a nervous wreck. Especially with life long friends like mine......

Thank you one and all.

Excellent Introduction, but where is the photograph/photographs?

I know exactly what you mean regarding Van Envy. My neighbour has just bought a motorhome now his son has gone to University, they used to have one when he was younger, and he was astonished how much is packed inside the California and is re-considering his acquisition as he was fed up having to park up outside towns and villages etc: and envious of our frequent trips camping or visiting friends etc: while his stays on the drive.
Great post. My dad was called Humphrey.

Weirdly, over the last few years, I've owned a BMW, a Citroen Berlin go, a Nissan NV200 & now my T6.

All 3 vans attracted comments, way more than the Beemer. People love vans!
A Great post. The rescue service from Lerwick quite amazing. I was rescued from the Highlands of Wester Ross by Jim, from Ullapool, and he also arrived about an hour or more earlier than expected so I suppose the moral of the story is if in Scotland and broken down ask for a Jim somewhere!

Brilliant first post snd welcome,
Welcome very interesting first post cant help with the extended warranty .question but I am sure there is a post on the subject from what I can recall most thought it was not worth while but I could be mistaken.

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