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Understanding GC680 Options

J

jonclareVWGrand

Messages
12
Location
Midlands
Vehicle
Grand California 680
Hi All

We've just ordered a new GC680 and would like some advice on options we've selected. Had a look through this forum and watch CaliforniaChris videos, as well as trying google translate on the German forum, but can't find all the answers.

Hoping the owners out there can help our understanding.

Our aim is to stay off-grid as much as possible - we've hired motorhomes before and the best days have been off dirt tracks hidden away from civilisation - getting a US 39' motorhome up a sandy dirt track in Colorado was well worth the effort!

Heating - we've ordered the diesel heating but don't really understand what the required add-ons are. There is a programmable remote diesel aux heater which we don't think we need as the main heating should be sufficient. Programming the heating isn't needed - if we're out for the day we can leave the main heating on low. But that then leaves an electric aux heater. I don't understand why this would be needed if the diesel option is just changing is the main boiler? I think this aux heater is in the main cab and allows the front blowers to be used on battery power from the main driving battery?

Wifi - being off grid we have struggled for phone reception in Scotland. I have seen others say that the van wifi increases the strength of reception in poor coverage areas? What have others found when on the same network, ie a phone and the van on the same network? Is reception much better on the van data SIM + aerial vs a phone hotspot? We could retrofit one, but it's really the integrated van aerial that we're after.

Bikes - we've got two road bikes and would much rather travel with them inside. Our hope is that we can remove the front wheels and store them top-to-tail under the main bed. Has anyone done this? I've seen pictures of a single mountain bike, but those have much wider handlebars. Measuring up a van in the dealers I think we would probably need to remove the vertical load retaining boards due to the length of the bikes? We'd rather avoid removing the back wheels if we can.

Rear cycle carrier - planning on getting this for longer trips when we need the space. Is it a Thule carrier? We've always found theirs are so much better designed for loading and unloading. So for short weekend breaks we can lift the beds and put the bikes in for travelling to avoid the road dirt, then put them on the carriers at night.

Ambient lighting - is it only in the rear above the bed, or are there coloured lights in the seating area as well? We ordered it for the seating area, but if its only in the back we can save ourselves some money.

Diff Lock - we've used these on 4WD in the sand and they are essential. But the Crafter has clever electrics so that it can apply brakes to low traction wheels to put power onto those with higher traction. Does this negate the need for the diff lock in most situations that the GC is likely to be in? Off road is more likely to be gravel tracks rather than anything wilder? Or maybe soggy and slippy fields? So really just getting the 4WD for extra grip due to the weight of the van.

Solar - definitely want this, but just wondering how much extra off-grid time it would give us in UK spring and autumn conditions? How many days can others go off-grid without needing to start the engine for a battery recharge? We've not ordered satellite so will watch films / listen to music on portable devices, so the electricity needs to power the heating plus device recharging mostly. I've seen that the diesel heating takes slightly more power than gas, and I'm happy with that to avoid the faff of remembering to changing gas bottles etc.


Any and all opinions welcome.

Jon & Clare
 
H

Holidaymaker

Messages
139
Location
Europe main-land
Vehicle
N/A
I can share to you of my experience you enquire this exact model i am owner.

Heating system - i am choose Diesel + Electric + remote diesel heat - is 3 heater.
Diesel reason is when you are travel across country which not you live, each is have different gas bottle - is why you gc arrive from factory is large box at back area and is inside many gas different kind gas pipe.
Diesel you are insert each time for purpose to drive camper and is use same fuel driving and make heating operations. Very easy and not problem you are country having gas bottle you are not have such connector.
Electric heating addition for when arrive camping ground who is offer you shore power connection - not use you diesel but is same heat system switch easy to electric operations make camper warm and hot water.
Remote heating is good winter time and summer time - can operate smart phone , is remote heat and cooling - hot climate you able remote ventilate camper - is extra comfortable not arrive back to very hot camper. Winter time from residence you can be operate heating make frost and ice disappear all windows before drive - is very convenient for ski locations morning times.

I am keep ebike under bed remover handles 4 screwings remove and is easy my bike keep safe nightime. I am Thule bike carry rack put towing hooker daytime drivings make easy access store area under bed if need.

Ambient light operate around bed and above kitchen little area. All place you can see locker you are experience ambient light. I am very recommend, is makes super atmosphere, can be use together white normal lamps and is very nice.

Diff lock is natural to 4M. I am 2 weeks before today satisfy i am 4M.
Camping area grass look dry, but is a false picture of beauty.
Heavy camper all wheel is go inside grass after 1 week stop.
I must helping other camper people push to make campers going - wheels going around but no motion, renault and ford.
When is time I go, is easy, press gas and go. I am not this time select DiffLock, but if come problem is good know is there for helping.
Vw i am believe is better should makes DiffLock a natural combination for all 4M, is not cost so much extra when is think cost price the camper complete.
If you are pay 4M, pay price little extra and having best combination 4M + DL is my thinks and i do.

I am most satisfy I have vw solar, today i see + 8A travels to my battery. I am not 6 months need operate engine motor for battery charge - solar is takes care this.
Fridge for me is hungry to battery - is eat 2 - 4 A ( is change up and down, not always steady ). When is I 1st time evening activation diesel heating, i am see short time - 12A, then is -8A, then is -4A. Of course when is camper reach choose temperature, heating switch to off and is not drink battery when is rest time.
I am not use night mode fridge, i am sleep sound even if is big bang occur such than celebration rockets.

Each camper is needs different option, for me, diesel + electric heating together 3 heatings, solar, 4M + DL, and not surving equipment but pleasant equipment of course is Ambient light.

I am recommend Sog - is keeps you camper not bad smells comes inside.
roof a/c is makes noise if you bed and is operation, is machine 50cm high than you head, but is good keeps camper cool hot daytimes when is you return day activities cool camper - is camper must be connection shore power roof a/c can operates.

Park Automat i am not recommend, is make Vw and not Tesla!. Yesterday it take my camper beyond parking place and try park where is roadlamp!. I am very happy i am keep watch camera, mirror and windows continuos check or is today i will require new bumper!.

Camera is make helpful you can see back what is obstacles - i am suggest is must have this.

Lane keep system - must switch off when is not wide road - is can try make camper drive to the bushes when is system not understand white line paint roads. You true must be hold 2 hands wheel all time when is lkas operate - is turning driving wheel strong action, if you is only hold one hand this system can create crash Is only good highway drives. I am activate to Off most time - then is orange warn lamp appear you dashboard - is not great.

I am hope this help you and wish you make great selection and enjoy you gc when is arrive. Is a really super camping machine or can make wunderful picnic at the lake and the ocean for pleasant weekend activity.
 
M

mpill990

Messages
76
Location
GB
Vehicle
Grand California 680
Re Bikes - you will definitely have to take both wheels out and probably drop the saddles. If you get some wheel bags then this is a fairly 'clean' procedure.
When I put my mtb in the back I also have to let the air out of the front forks but with a decent shock pump it's only a 2 minute job to reset the suspension before a ride.
This all sounds a bit of a faff but it certainly helps my stress levels compared with ££££'s left locked on a bike rack

Sent from my SM-G986B using Tapatalk
 
J

jonclareVWGrand

Messages
12
Location
Midlands
Vehicle
Grand California 680
I can share to you of my experience you enquire this exact model i am owner.

Heating system - i am choose Diesel + Electric + remote diesel heat - is 3 heater.
Diesel reason is when you are travel across country which not you live, each is have different gas bottle - is why you gc arrive from factory is large box at back area and is inside many gas different kind gas pipe.
Diesel you are insert each time for purpose to drive camper and is use same fuel driving and make heating operations. Very easy and not problem you are country having gas bottle you are not have such connector.
Electric heating addition for when arrive camping ground who is offer you shore power connection - not use you diesel but is same heat system switch easy to electric operations make camper warm and hot water.
Remote heating is good winter time and summer time - can operate smart phone , is remote heat and cooling - hot climate you able remote ventilate camper - is extra comfortable not arrive back to very hot camper. Winter time from residence you can be operate heating make frost and ice disappear all windows before drive - is very convenient for ski locations morning times.

I am keep ebike under bed remover handles 4 screwings remove and is easy my bike keep safe nightime. I am Thule bike carry rack put towing hooker daytime drivings make easy access store area under bed if need.

Ambient light operate around bed and above kitchen little area. All place you can see locker you are experience ambient light. I am very recommend, is makes super atmosphere, can be use together white normal lamps and is very nice.

Diff lock is natural to 4M. I am 2 weeks before today satisfy i am 4M.
Camping area grass look dry, but is a false picture of beauty.
Heavy camper all wheel is go inside grass after 1 week stop.
I must helping other camper people push to make campers going - wheels going around but no motion, renault and ford.
When is time I go, is easy, press gas and go. I am not this time select DiffLock, but if come problem is good know is there for helping.
Vw i am believe is better should makes DiffLock a natural combination for all 4M, is not cost so much extra when is think cost price the camper complete.
If you are pay 4M, pay price little extra and having best combination 4M + DL is my thinks and i do.

I am most satisfy I have vw solar, today i see + 8A travels to my battery. I am not 6 months need operate engine motor for battery charge - solar is takes care this.
Fridge for me is hungry to battery - is eat 2 - 4 A ( is change up and down, not always steady ). When is I 1st time evening activation diesel heating, i am see short time - 12A, then is -8A, then is -4A. Of course when is camper reach choose temperature, heating switch to off and is not drink battery when is rest time.
I am not use night mode fridge, i am sleep sound even if is big bang occur such than celebration rockets.

Each camper is needs different option, for me, diesel + electric heating together 3 heatings, solar, 4M + DL, and not surving equipment but pleasant equipment of course is Ambient light.

I am recommend Sog - is keeps you camper not bad smells comes inside.
roof a/c is makes noise if you bed and is operation, is machine 50cm high than you head, but is good keeps camper cool hot daytimes when is you return day activities cool camper - is camper must be connection shore power roof a/c can operates.

Park Automat i am not recommend, is make Vw and not Tesla!. Yesterday it take my camper beyond parking place and try park where is roadlamp!. I am very happy i am keep watch camera, mirror and windows continuos check or is today i will require new bumper!.

Camera is make helpful you can see back what is obstacles - i am suggest is must have this.

Lane keep system - must switch off when is not wide road - is can try make camper drive to the bushes when is system not understand white line paint roads. You true must be hold 2 hands wheel all time when is lkas operate - is turning driving wheel strong action, if you is only hold one hand this system can create crash Is only good highway drives. I am activate to Off most time - then is orange warn lamp appear you dashboard - is not great.

I am hope this help you and wish you make great selection and enjoy you gc when is arrive. Is a really super camping machine or can make wunderful picnic at the lake and the ocean for pleasant weekend activity.
Thankyou for your detailed answer. Really helpful.

I think we will probably cancel the ambient lighting, but as the build time is a long way away we may change our mind before then. We will need to go and see one in a dealership as its difficult to tell from photos.

For extra options we have already selected the SOG and camera. We didn't go for the a/c (no need for it in the UK) and didn't go for all the driving assistance - thank you for your explanation on the lane keeping system as we will be on lots of small roads like you describe.

Jon
 
J

jonclareVWGrand

Messages
12
Location
Midlands
Vehicle
Grand California 680
Re Bikes - you will definitely have to take both wheels out and probably drop the saddles. If you get some wheel bags then this is a fairly 'clean' procedure.
When I put my mtb in the back I also have to let the air out of the front forks but with a decent shock pump it's only a 2 minute job to reset the suspension before a ride.
This all sounds a bit of a faff but it certainly helps my stress levels compared with ££££'s left locked on a bike rack

Sent from my SM-G986B using Tapatalk
I'm still hoping road bikes are less upright than mountain bikes, and may be able to be squeezed in - ideally I want to avoid taking off the back wheels as that is more messy, exposes the chain and oil to the inside of the van etc. I'll get my measuring tape out and some wooden boards and see if I can make a mock-up of it. I suspect I may have to poke the wheels out into the living area and probably lower the seat - its much harder to lower on a carbon road bike due to a much snugger fit than a quick release MTB stem.

At least there is the inside option with wheels off if I can't squeeze it all in.
 
Mark C

Mark C

VIP Member
Messages
58
Location
Uk
Vehicle
Grand California 680
Hi John,

my thoughts on your extra’s.

we went with diesel heater and find it very good when off grid, we’ve never used the aux heater to my knowledge but didn’t have the option of not having it when we ordered the diesel heater.

wifi didn’t order as seemed expensive to me and you needed an additional sim.

bike rack wasn’t available when we ordered but I agree with comments on bikes in the back being a challenge, we will retrofit the bike rack at some point.

we added ambient lighting and really like it although it has broken twice so far, going back into garage this week.

we didn’t order dif lock and have had no problems so far on grass pitches even when have been very soggy.

we ordered solar panel and again very good battery charge tops up to 100%
when off grid most days, overnight never seen it drop below 70% charge.

I agree with comments on sog a must.

reversing camera and all round parking sensors again very useful As is adaptive cruise control.

AC we didn’t go for that option much prefer the skylight window above the bed.

my only other comment would be that after I placed my order I went back around three weeks later and asked for the extra keys and was told under no circumstances would any amendments be made to the order So I would say don’t wait too long to make any changes.

we’ve had our van for just over a year and yes we had the usual water pump issues, leaking wet room door and faulty ambient lighting but we have also had so much enjoyment from the van on our travels so far.

I would certainly recommend it.
 
J

jonclareVWGrand

Messages
12
Location
Midlands
Vehicle
Grand California 680
Hi John,

my thoughts on your extra’s.

we went with diesel heater and find it very good when off grid, we’ve never used the aux heater to my knowledge but didn’t have the option of not having it when we ordered the diesel heater.

wifi didn’t order as seemed expensive to me and you needed an additional sim.

bike rack wasn’t available when we ordered but I agree with comments on bikes in the back being a challenge, we will retrofit the bike rack at some point.

we added ambient lighting and really like it although it has broken twice so far, going back into garage this week.

we didn’t order dif lock and have had no problems so far on grass pitches even when have been very soggy.

we ordered solar panel and again very good battery charge tops up to 100%
when off grid most days, overnight never seen it drop below 70% charge.

I agree with comments on sog a must.

reversing camera and all round parking sensors again very useful As is adaptive cruise control.

AC we didn’t go for that option much prefer the skylight window above the bed.

my only other comment would be that after I placed my order I went back around three weeks later and asked for the extra keys and was told under no circumstances would any amendments be made to the order So I would say don’t wait too long to make any changes.

we’ve had our van for just over a year and yes we had the usual water pump issues, leaking wet room door and faulty ambient lighting but we have also had so much enjoyment from the van on our travels so far.

I would certainly recommend it.
Thanks Mark.

Diff lock is the option we’re still thinking about. We want to spend as much time as possible off-grid, so are worried about getting stuck - I’ve done a lot of 4WD camping where self sufficiency is essential so think we need the safety of the diff lock for when the driver‘s ambitions are greater than the van’s capability!

On the aux heater, is there anything in the van you can switch on independently of the main diesel heater? From my other post I think this is a diesel heater for the engine coolant and blowers, but I guess it is only activated when the engine is switched on? To activate without the engine I guess you need the additional control panel?

Other options we’ve gone for are the heated windscreen (I’m an early riser and sit in the cab looking at the views so want to clear condensation without starting the engine or using cloths), rear camera, folding mirrors, chrome pack, solar and step illumination.

Just hoping for a quick delivery - expecting sometime end of this year / early next year. Already planning trips in my head …. :)

Jon
 
H

Holidaymaker

Messages
139
Location
Europe main-land
Vehicle
N/A
Thanks Mark.

Diff lock is the option we’re still thinking about. We want to spend as much time as possible off-grid, so are worried about getting stuck - I’ve done a lot of 4WD camping where self sufficiency is essential so think we need the safety of the diff lock for when the driver‘s ambitions are greater than the van’s capability!

On the aux heater, is there anything in the van you can switch on independently of the main diesel heater? From my other post I think this is a diesel heater for the engine coolant and blowers, but I guess it is only activated when the engine is switched on? To activate without the engine I guess you need the additional control panel?

Other options we’ve gone for are the heated windscreen (I’m an early riser and sit in the cab looking at the views so want to clear condensation without starting the engine or using cloths), rear camera, folding mirrors, chrome pack, solar and step illumination.

Just hoping for a quick delivery - expecting sometime end of this year / early next year. Already planning trips in my head …. :)

Jon
i tell you how i am think - is cost you buy gc 4M eu100k + / - , and is give you 80% mechanism and electronic system to all wheels is can drive.
Is cost eu1000 or only 1% cost of GC only extra buying Diff Lock and is give to you 100% can be use 4M system.

Is for me same than buy eu1000.00 tent and shop tells to me, you pay extra eu 10.00 and we give you also waterproof version so is can also stay dry this tent when is rain!.


Heater - aux heater is separate control in middle drive cab above you head. This give immediate on and off this heater and is not must motor be switch on. Is very quiet and very hot.
This aux heater is more control you mobile telephone - is can blowings cold air also and can be 3 times programs 24hr when is operation to hot or to cold.

I am give you personal happenings if is help you -
Heat windscreen is terrible. Is take very long time such is anything happens - you must arise 15 minutes early to switching on and action begins.

Much better is you buying aux heater - you can be program what time is operations begins, This heater automatic is blowings to front window and all windows all camper.
This heater makes camper warm quickly and is ALL windows is can see, - what can be useful purpose electric front heat and is clean only front window and you must be cloth clean side window and back window seeing driving - if you are aux heating is take care all windows and is nice warm camper also - ready to drive and you can make such program you mobile telephone inside home.

Also aux heatering is comes extra radio-key. Is this key you can be operate aux heater 0.5km distance to camper such time that you are not have pocket mobile telephone.

Aux heater is really very super.

2nd most important is solar system - keep 2nd battery full and can be utilise all systems. You can be read many problems from peoples who is not solar and is to discovering 2nd battery become quickly empty. I am believe Vw ought building solar to every camper make easy life to all owner.

Camera is make for you safe reverse for you and other peoples. Chrome is nice - is keep me every weekend busy polishings to keep nice and auto shop happy i buying much chrome polishings!. I hope you are to enjoy polishings much times! Step illuminate is nice evening times i sit under canopy and can be easy see make food preparations or is only putting extra wine my glass and not in grass!. Folding mirrors i am have and is convenient but is not so important than to other D Lock and solar espicially i am to recommend you!.
I am wishing you make good choice to how is You will use camper - every peoples like and need different configurations and you will most enjoy - is fantastic camping machine.

When is comes time to selling /exchange new, I am believing D lock and solar is most valuable to keeping good value to 4M Gc.
 
T

The Yorkshireman

Messages
37
Location
So
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Hi we have a router that came with the vehicle and we just use my phone sim rather than a dedicated one. The article from Practical Motorhome attached may be useful.
It’s a good idea to keep the solar panel clean so you might want to think about how to access it.
Cheers

00A4320F-BDBA-4D44-8AEF-AD834DE81128.jpeg

9B735018-ECC0-41D0-83D6-C750EC78D2C0.jpeg

AF62907F-79FC-4643-8018-5A3993B7CEA6.jpeg

E2992F7A-FF0C-4A5D-AE71-F882CB3A9255.jpeg
 
Mark C

Mark C

VIP Member
Messages
58
Location
Uk
Vehicle
Grand California 680
Nope my van doesn’t have a separate button above drivers head for the aux heater. I will check though to see if their is a separate button other than on the main heating control panel.
 
J

jonclareVWGrand

Messages
12
Location
Midlands
Vehicle
Grand California 680
i tell you how i am think - is cost you buy gc 4M eu100k + / - , and is give you 80% mechanism and electronic system to all wheels is can drive.
Is cost eu1000 or only 1% cost of GC only extra buying Diff Lock and is give to you 100% can be use 4M system.

Is for me same than buy eu1000.00 tent and shop tells to me, you pay extra eu 10.00 and we give you also waterproof version so is can also stay dry this tent when is rain!.


Heater - aux heater is separate control in middle drive cab above you head. This give immediate on and off this heater and is not must motor be switch on. Is very quiet and very hot.
This aux heater is more control you mobile telephone - is can blowings cold air also and can be 3 times programs 24hr when is operation to hot or to cold.

I am give you personal happenings if is help you -
Heat windscreen is terrible. Is take very long time such is anything happens - you must arise 15 minutes early to switching on and action begins.

Much better is you buying aux heater - you can be program what time is operations begins, This heater automatic is blowings to front window and all windows all camper.
This heater makes camper warm quickly and is ALL windows is can see, - what can be useful purpose electric front heat and is clean only front window and you must be cloth clean side window and back window seeing driving - if you are aux heating is take care all windows and is nice warm camper also - ready to drive and you can make such program you mobile telephone inside home.

Also aux heatering is comes extra radio-key. Is this key you can be operate aux heater 0.5km distance to camper such time that you are not have pocket mobile telephone.

Aux heater is really very super.

2nd most important is solar system - keep 2nd battery full and can be utilise all systems. You can be read many problems from peoples who is not solar and is to discovering 2nd battery become quickly empty. I am believe Vw ought building solar to every camper make easy life to all owner.

Camera is make for you safe reverse for you and other peoples. Chrome is nice - is keep me every weekend busy polishings to keep nice and auto shop happy i buying much chrome polishings!. I hope you are to enjoy polishings much times! Step illuminate is nice evening times i sit under canopy and can be easy see make food preparations or is only putting extra wine my glass and not in grass!. Folding mirrors i am have and is convenient but is not so important than to other D Lock and solar espicially i am to recommend you!.
I am wishing you make good choice to how is You will use camper - every peoples like and need different configurations and you will most enjoy - is fantastic camping machine.

When is comes time to selling /exchange new, I am believing D lock and solar is most valuable to keeping good value to 4M Gc.
Thankyou again for your detailed reply.

I’ve contacted the dealer and changed my options - deleted the heated windscreen and replaced it with the parking heater. I hadn’t thought about the side windows, and also didn’t realise the price difference was only £250. Your logic and explanation was very good.

I think my options are now all good. Just need to hope that the 2023 model year introduces a second leisure battery Option ……:)
 
J

jonclareVWGrand

Messages
12
Location
Midlands
Vehicle
Grand California 680
Hi we have a router that came with the vehicle and we just use my phone sim rather than a dedicated one. The article from Practical Motorhome attached may be useful.
It’s a good idea to keep the solar panel clean so you might want to think about how to access it.
Cheers

View attachment 93077

View attachment 93078

View attachment 93079

View attachment 93080
Thanks - didn’t realise i could put my phone sim in. assumed it would need to be a dedicated data one.
 
F

far.landscape

VIP Member
Messages
110
Location
Edinburgh
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Hi All

We've just ordered a new GC680 and would like some advice on options we've selected. Had a look through this forum and watch CaliforniaChris videos, as well as trying google translate on the German forum, but can't find all the answers.

Hoping the owners out there can help our understanding.

Our aim is to stay off-grid as much as possible - we've hired motorhomes before and the best days have been off dirt tracks hidden away from civilisation - getting a US 39' motorhome up a sandy dirt track in Colorado was well worth the effort!

Heating - we've ordered the diesel heating but don't really understand what the required add-ons are. There is a programmable remote diesel aux heater which we don't think we need as the main heating should be sufficient. Programming the heating isn't needed - if we're out for the day we can leave the main heating on low. But that then leaves an electric aux heater. I don't understand why this would be needed if the diesel option is just changing is the main boiler? I think this aux heater is in the main cab and allows the front blowers to be used on battery power from the main driving battery?

Wifi - being off grid we have struggled for phone reception in Scotland. I have seen others say that the van wifi increases the strength of reception in poor coverage areas? What have others found when on the same network, ie a phone and the van on the same network? Is reception much better on the van data SIM + aerial vs a phone hotspot? We could retrofit one, but it's really the integrated van aerial that we're after.

Bikes - we've got two road bikes and would much rather travel with them inside. Our hope is that we can remove the front wheels and store them top-to-tail under the main bed. Has anyone done this? I've seen pictures of a single mountain bike, but those have much wider handlebars. Measuring up a van in the dealers I think we would probably need to remove the vertical load retaining boards due to the length of the bikes? We'd rather avoid removing the back wheels if we can.

Rear cycle carrier - planning on getting this for longer trips when we need the space. Is it a Thule carrier? We've always found theirs are so much better designed for loading and unloading. So for short weekend breaks we can lift the beds and put the bikes in for travelling to avoid the road dirt, then put them on the carriers at night.

Ambient lighting - is it only in the rear above the bed, or are there coloured lights in the seating area as well? We ordered it for the seating area, but if its only in the back we can save ourselves some money.

Diff Lock - we've used these on 4WD in the sand and they are essential. But the Crafter has clever electrics so that it can apply brakes to low traction wheels to put power onto those with higher traction. Does this negate the need for the diff lock in most situations that the GC is likely to be in? Off road is more likely to be gravel tracks rather than anything wilder? Or maybe soggy and slippy fields? So really just getting the 4WD for extra grip due to the weight of the van.

Solar - definitely want this, but just wondering how much extra off-grid time it would give us in UK spring and autumn conditions? How many days can others go off-grid without needing to start the engine for a battery recharge? We've not ordered satellite so will watch films / listen to music on portable devices, so the electricity needs to power the heating plus device recharging mostly. I've seen that the diesel heating takes slightly more power than gas, and I'm happy with that to avoid the faff of remembering to changing gas bottles etc.


Any and all opinions welcome.

Jon & Clare
I've done about 50 nights off grid in the last 12 months with a GC 600, largely over the winter.

Re Solar, I find it makes a big difference to off grid running the fridge, heater and pump, but still carry a 1000wh lithium pack to charge electrics. If you are driving around a bit, the engine charging will top up the leisure battery (esp if you push the fast charge button - surprising amount can be added in just 20 mins). If ordering new, I would definitely spec it, but wouldn't necessarily rule out a used van without it.

Regardless of 4wd & diff lock, consider the tyres. The default low rolling resistance tyres that come as default spec are great for the roads but not optimised for tracks.

I have the wifi router but don't use it - For wifi I use the mobile as a hotspot and carry some PAYG sims from other networks just in case, although tbh EE these days very rarely leaves me completely without signal. I definitely wouldn't spec it on a new van.

As you just ordered, can I ask, what lead time were you advised?
 
J

jonclareVWGrand

Messages
12
Location
Midlands
Vehicle
Grand California 680
I've done about 50 nights off grid in the last 12 months with a GC 600, largely over the winter.

Re Solar, I find it makes a big difference to off grid running the fridge, heater and pump, but still carry a 1000wh lithium pack to charge electrics. If you are driving around a bit, the engine charging will top up the leisure battery (esp if you push the fast charge button - surprising amount can be added in just 20 mins). If ordering new, I would definitely spec it, but wouldn't necessarily rule out a used van without it.

Regardless of 4wd & diff lock, consider the tyres. The default low rolling resistance tyres that come as default spec are great for the roads but not optimised for tracks.

I have the wifi router but don't use it - For wifi I use the mobile as a hotspot and carry some PAYG sims from other networks just in case, although tbh EE these days very rarely leaves me completely without signal. I definitely wouldn't spec it on a new van.

As you just ordered, can I ask, what lead time were you advised?
just added that to the lead time forum - c. 10 months.
 
J

Jester

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I've done about 50 nights off grid in the last 12 months with a GC 600, largely over the winter.

Re Solar, I find it makes a big difference to off grid running the fridge, heater and pump, but still carry a 1000wh lithium pack to charge electrics. If you are driving around a bit, the engine charging will top up the leisure battery (esp if you push the fast charge button - surprising amount can be added in just 20 mins). If ordering new, I would definitely spec it, but wouldn't necessarily rule out a used van without it.

Regardless of 4wd & diff lock, consider the tyres. The default low rolling resistance tyres that come as default spec are great for the roads but not optimised for tracks.

I have the wifi router but don't use it - For wifi I use the mobile as a hotspot and carry some PAYG sims from other networks just in case, although tbh EE these days very rarely leaves me completely without signal. I definitely wouldn't spec it on a new van.

As you just ordered, can I ask, what lead time were you advised?
Wouldn’t be so quick to dis a router.
I’m currently in Cornwall with friends the signal in this particular site is none existent with phones ie EE, Vodafone and BT, none of them work on their provider and yes they are all newish phones ie latest technologies.
But when connected via the router they work and very well. It is obvious that the antenna is going to pull in a signal where the hand held phone will not.

There are plenty of router options out there that will do the job so doesn’t have to be the VW option but a better solution than your phone.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the cabling at least for the router which is sited under the driver set is there should you chose not the VW router, that may give the option on the control panel.
EE and Vodafone IMO have the best provider coverage in the UK but particularly EE in Scotland.
 
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