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I bought a big.


puddlethumper
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15 to the gallon is pretty decent for that. I used to get 8mpg in my L10 powered Leyland Olympian. It truly was a 6 wheeler though... yours is 4 wheel, 6 tyres... ya fucking TEASE!!!

Although I can see where Mr @Inspector Moroseis coming from with his low opinion of Cummins C series engines, they are a nice engine when in good fettle (esp in 24v guise) but they are a VERY SOFT engine, especially for commercial applications.

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Big has been temporarily parked round the corner from where I live till I organised something better. Went round to move it and it wouldn't fuckin start. Bollox ! Don't need this. Spinning over just fine. Rang my garage man for suggestions and he said he didn't have time coz real busy but Saturday morning a mate was going to the garage who was a bus mechanic and would know more about it and he would get him to take a look.

Bus man comes round and said he hadn't worked on one of these engines for years. Years ? He only looked about 25. Turns out he was 38. I know I'm an old bugger and everyone looks young to me but he could have easily passed for mid twenties. A really nice bloke and found the problem in less than half an hour. Turns out it was the cut off above the rad under the rear engine hatch.  Hooked the terminals off and bolted them together and hey presto. Vroom vroom. Sigh of relief. Had to practically force a few beers on him.

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6 hours ago, puddlethumper said:

....Bus man comes round and said he hadn't worked on one of these engines for years. Years ? He only looked about 25. Turns out he was 38. I know I'm an old bugger and everyone looks young to me but he could have easily passed for mid twenties....

Must be that punishing moisturising regime.

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9 hours ago, bangernomics said:

This is absolutely epic, that interior space. I am following this closely as after having had some hymers over the years we were fancying something a bit bigger.

I keep coming back to these.

I wouldn't advise someone who has only driven a RHD car to buy one of these. If you've had LHD experience or driven something  this size then ok.  The size does restrict eg, narrow roads, narrow entrances etc.  The lanes on the larger roads, M/way, A and B, you only have a couple of feet, or less on either side. There is little wiggle room.

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A bit of the back story on getting Big.  I've been in Dudley for 11 years, not by design, and a couple of years ago I decided that when I retired I didn't want to be sitting in a very small flat looking out on a small carpark surrounded by an eight foot corrugated iron fence, nice eh? and on a state pension that with rent, etc it was going to be survival, to me, and not living. So something had to be done.

I started looking at alternative ways and to my mind there were only two possibilities and both were mobile. Either a narrowboat or a motorhome. I have a mate who went the narrowboat route so went to see what he got for his budget. He has a fairly short one and he is on an always cruising licence, about £900 a year, which allows him to tie up for a max of two weeks on the tow path. I know it's called a narrowboat for a reason but I found the sitting area was all on one side and the kitchen was small and the light wasn't great, small windows, and the view is always at water level, obvs, which I'm sure is lovely in the better months of the year, but winter ?  Plus side is there are points along the canals where you can get rid of rubbish, empty black water tanks and fill up with fresh water which is included in the licence fee. So I looked at what one would cost and for my dosh it was going to be a bit of a project.

I then started looking at motorhomes and all the uk/eu ones were with the bed over the cab and a sitting area that would make into one. As I am just on the right side of seventy I didn't fancy climbing a ladder for many years to go to bed or have to make a bed up up there. So had to have a fixed bed for ease of use. So I started looking for something larger and the answer was either a Merc/Ford 7.5 ton truck style or yank rv.  I started having a look at what was going and for what sort of price about six months ago. I wasn't in a hurry and was quite happy to wait, if necessary, till the end of the year when the price might be a bit better. I looked at truck Rv's but they tended to be race trucks or converted nag boxes and the lay out was more for a weekend rather than living full time in. So yank it was going to be.

I was watching Ebay, Scumtree and Farcebook every day for months and seeing what was going for up to 15 bags. The market for this size of vehicle is quite small due to the number of people with grandad rights so tends to be older buggers like me and how many have driven a Lhd 7 tonner? Not so many I would think. A lot of the ads were terrible. Crap photos and particularly on FB the details often only said message me for info. Nothing else. I mean Ffs put something, like how long, engine, mot, etc. The photos ? Minimal or pics like the toilet bowl or shower head or a close up of the cooker with no context to where it was inside. I saw a Georgy Boy Swinger, the name put me off a bit, I mean who the fuk comes up with these names ? within budget and there was a pic of a bookcase and one of a sink 3 or 4outside pics IN THE DARK and one of a view of a sunset out of a window.  Another one had a pic from inside looking out the front with the dash in view with a CAT lying on it. Well at least if I ever have a cat I know it will fit on the dash. I went and looked at a few which generally means a drive ranging from 1 hour to 5 hours as they all, apart from one, were in Norfolk, Cornwall , Scotland or the south coast somewhere. There was one near Devizes that was a 4x4 which sold before I could see it. 4x4 yank rv ? I can't imagine off roading one of these. It had been converted in America before coming here so I don't know what system it had. 

The Norfolk one was up for 8 and looked ok in the pics so arranged to view. No mirrors, lockers not shutting right, ceiling a right state, squidgy floor in the bedroom, sign of leaks, etc. 7.2 petrol/Lpg which sounded ok. I put it as a project and worth about 5, if that. The owner said he would take 7 for it before money was mentioned and at the end he would take a serious offer. I didn't want a project and a few grand more I could get something better. Another was near Cleckheaton and turned out to be another project. Looking up Mot histories for rvs most of them had no Mot and some hadn't had one since 2011/12/13. Not for me then. These things are not cheap to buy parts for and someone to do it, if you can't yourself, is not cheap. 

Saw the one I've got on FB and thought it was worth a look so trolled up to Hartlepool. Owned by a rally cross driver who is pretty good at it. National champ good. Jason Bleasdale if you want to look him up.  This one was on Ebay in May for 15 and no takers then turned up on FB for 14,500 then reduced to 12 when I took an interest. It was as described so I offered him 10 and we finished at 11 which I was happy with. I like the layout of these. Good sitting area for visitors, and good appliances generally although no grill is a bit shit coz I like grilled crispy bacon and a microwave which I don't use much at all.

Well, I've drivelled on enough so I'm off. 

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Yes I’ve drive some large stuff over the years, was backing trailers onto bays when I was 11. Driven LHD lots so the size doesn’t phase me.

I’ve seen quite a few Georgie boys and like you could never reconcile with the name.

Lots more photos please.

What size are the water tanks? Black and grey waste? I saw a guy with a washer and dryer in one and it really appealed as we would like when I eventually properly retire to do a few months in Portugal and moroc over winter as I reckon it would be cost neutral based on heating the old place we live in. Plus two dogs would be a pain in anything much smaller.

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I have to say one of these does appeal as a permanent liveaboard job, especially with how daft house rents are getting these days.  I'm a single bloke so don't need a huge amount of space, and I'm also (just) old enough to have grandfather rights.  Biggest LHD vehicle I've driven in the UK was a '77 Ford LTD wagon, but that was about 2/3 the size of this so probably wouldn't have too many issues from that perspective.

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  • 6 months later...

About time for a write up on the mobile house I suppose. The Mot ran out the month before I bought it so a pre arranged Mot got it from Hartleypool to Doodlay to my Mot man where it was found to have iffy brake lights which were sorted there and then. A bit of misting on the back shocks, which I will replace soon, although I would expect it to wallow a bit at the back if they were shot  and it doesn't seem to, and it was good for the road for a year. That will do nicely thank you very much.

Partly the reason I bought this was because the previous, and only, Mot was clean and since then had done about 700 miles so not a lot, although these things don't tend to do much really. This one is on 74k in twenty nine years 2500 ish a year.

After that it was down to the warehouse that the client I did maintenance for let me use so inside coming up to autumn and wetter weather. This gave me the opportunity to go over the roof and make sure it was water tight, something that has to be done on a regular basis. Every 3 to 5 years. There must be a reason why they don't make them out of something water proof to start with. So in spare time I patched a couple of bits I wasn't happy with and put 5 coats on of a rubbery paint that had to come from Canada where they seem to have cornered the market. 

At the same time I was looking at solar stuff. I went with two domestic 260w panels which should be plenty for what I will use and stuck them on the roof in adjustable frames. One near the front facing fore and aft and one in the middle going side to side. Ideally I need a couple of turn tables where they turn and tilt at the touch of a button. Will look into that. An Mppt controller, which on a sunny day at this time of year gets up to a high point of 16 amps which is pretty good and then to two 130 amp leisure batteries which I thought would do to start off with. As it turns out it's not quite enough so will be looking at that. Lithium works out about the 2k mark which is a bit ouch.

Heating is your Chinese 5k dizzle job which I have plumbed into the front part of the existing system with two outlets. I don't like a warm bedroom so no heating there and it's been fine with good duvets. Using red dizzle which I can get for £1,04 a litre in a couple of 20 litre metal jerry cans does me between ten and fourteen days weather dependant. The built in heating runs on Lpg and with a 100 litre tank, so 80 litres of gas for safety reasons, which seems reasonable until you start using it for cooking, generator, maybe, and fridge and heating and hot water I doubt if I could last a week before having to fill up which, dependant on where the nearest supplier is, could use up a fair few gallons of go juice. I haven't been able to work out Mpg yet but I'm thinking a bit less than ten to the gallon. Rated at 7.2 ton max although if that is empty or with fuel, water and stuff I have no idea, and with a not really light weight trailer with a 305 van on it it's got to be about 9 ton all up. The genny is an Onan 4k 240v Lpg job but seems to need to be run for a couple of hours to rev batteries up and is the best time to put the toaster on and any other appliances. I fire up the water heater when I want to take a shower which as I am now a skuzzy new old age traveller will be rarely of course. For the first time in my life I have a beard to emphasise the look so now I'm a new old age scuzzy beardy grumpy old shite traveller. 

The not starting scene was sorted  by taking the injectors to a brilliant bloke at R N Diesel in Wolverhampton who did the business for £120 cash which I consider very reasonable and sorted in 24 hours so now a couple of turns and it fires straight up. 

So I have been living in this house for about three months in laybys, the ones that are not right next to the carriage way, more the old curves of an old bit. I've got 5 of these and rotate between them every 4/5 days. The two furthest are about 20 miles apart so a bit of a different outlook every few days. Trees and greenery shizz.  Been doing this to see what the monthly expense is with minimum travel to see how much I can spend on moving further away. Wales is possibility or south coast. Darzet  or Zummarzet.

It's not a way of life for most people but for me on my own and having done it before in a self converted Merc 609 I find it's better than sitting in a small flat till, well, the end to put it bluntly. I jumped into this at the worst time of the year weather wise and it's been a learning curve on how to live in comfort and warmth for as little as possible. Eg combining getting Lpg, engine diesel and red in the same trip so being organised and planning is a must. Google maps are great for finding stopping places and there is an app, of course, called park4nite which is more use to van and euro camper sizes.

Well, that's about it I suppose so I'll fuck off. 

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56 minutes ago, loserone said:

I'm not sure I could honestly say that you're living the dream, but it certainly looks very comfortable.  

 

Obviously I love the 305 too.

Not yet living a dream more about finding out the best way and the finances to, when the weather improves, see how far I can get. Summer expenses will be half what they are at the moment which will allow more distance to be had and with a bit of savings chucked in will get me abroad. As you can imagine ferry cost is about the same as an artic.

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That is absolutely awesome, fair play to you and I look forward to following your escapades!

I note you bought it off the Bleasdales too - I've been commentating on them in Rallycross over the last couple of years.  Jason won the overall BTRDA Clubmans title last year, he's got a stupidly quick Vauxhall VX220 that gets off the startline like shit off a shovel in every race and by the first corner is so far ahead he usually can't be caught!  Will let him know this awesome house on wheels is in good hands.

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