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Help!! I'm thinking of buying a Fiat!


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#1 Guest_Lynn and Alan_*

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To put my cards on the table, I had a Peugeot back in the 1990s which I only kept a year and was a load of trouble, so I swore a mighty oath that I would never have another from that stable. Since then have had a VW and our present Mercedes, owned from new, which has a Rapido on the back with which we have been very satisfied. But it's 11 years old (749M model) and I have been thinking of downsizing.

Rapido have now designed the "Van" which is a van conversion and has everything we need but it's on a Fiat, the Ducato JTD 120 2.2 cc. The dealer tells me (of course) that all Fiat's well reported problems are behind them, but reading Van reviews in the commercial sector the reports are very mixed.

I have read Motorhome reviews here and elsewhere which praise it, but reviews only report on when it's new. So, if there are any long time users who would like to comment on their experiences, I would be very grateful and interested to read them.

Thanks in advance.

Cheers

Lynn and Alan

#2 Whotsit

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In excess of 74K on the clock with a 2.8TD and would buy again without hesitation.

Ken.

#3 smifee

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My first Fiat is 6 years old now with just under 50k miles on the clock.Having been a green & yellow van man for a few years I had driven most makes of van. My preference was the Transit.

I think that layout is the most important thing in choosing a van. We all spend most time in the van with the wheels not turning.

Only had 2 problems. A hose rubbed through on a piece of plastic at the top of the radiator. An oil seal has a slight leak.

Would I buy another. YES.

#4 Guest_kelly kelly_*

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To put my cards on the table, I had a Peugeot back in the 1990s which I only kept a year and was a load of trouble, so I swore a mighty oath that I would never have another from that stable. Since then have had a VW and our present Mercedes, owned from new, which has a Rapido on the back with which we have been very satisfied. But it's 11 years old (749M model) and I have been thinking of downsizing.

Rapido have now designed the "Van" which is a van conversion and has everything we need but it's on a Fiat, the Ducato JTD 120 2.2 cc. The dealer tells me (of course) that all Fiat's well reported problems are behind them, but reading Van reviews in the commercial sector the reports are very mixed.

I have read Motorhome reviews here and elsewhere which praise it, but reviews only report on when it's new. So, if there are any long time users who would like to comment on their experiences, I would be very grateful and interested to read them.

Thanks in advance.

Cheers

Lynn and Alan



#5 Guest_kelly kelly_*

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hi lynn and alan my name is kelly my parents have a 2008 rollerteam 600g 6berth fixed bed motorhome for sale its alovely van with lots of service history and is in pristine condition they only used it a couple of times and my dad fell ill and it is parkerd up which is a shame because its such a nice van i have contacted a couple of dealers and they quoted us crazy offers that my parents would not take the van is advertised on ebay and motorhome trader where there is pitcures and all information about the van if you are interested let me know and we could take a sensible offer thanks from kelly

#6 Guest_kelly kelly_*

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hi lynn and alan my name is kelly my parents have a 2008 rollerteam 600g 6berth fixed bed motorhome for sale its alovely van with lots of service history and is in pristine condition they only used it a couple of times and my dad fell ill and it is parkerd up which is a shame because its such a nice van i have contacted a couple of dealers and they quoted us crazy offers that my parents would not take the van is advertised on ebay and motorhome trader where there is pitcures and all information about the van if you are interested let me know and we could take a sensible offer thanks from kelly



#7 Guest_Cheryl_*

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Hiya Lynn and Alan

We have a Fiat Ducato 2.8 on a 56 plate that has done approx 20,000 miles with no trouble (so far) but we do have friends that have an Autotrail on a FD 2.8 on an 08 plate and they have had to have a new clutch at just 20,000 miles. Fiat refunded their money but they have been told by the fitter that they will need another new one at 40,000 as the clutch used that year had problems. I am not sure if this is a one off or whether its commonplace, but I am sure that the members on here will advise.

Someone else I know who is a mechanic says he would not go for anything later than 05 as Fiat Ducato's were at their best then!

To be perfectly honest, who knows, you pay your money and take your chance.

#8 fjmike

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Working in a dealership my opinion may be biased but here goes. I think the juddergate was vastly exaggerated, yes some did judder but I think most of the others were down to poor driving. It appears that the most recent models are definitely judder free. With the facelift model due in September it maybe a good time to buy as the new models might mean new problems

#9 johnmc

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I've got as FIAT, had no trouble with it! Have treated it nice, serviced it every year, thought ahead! Does this need doing etc! My advice ! Treat 'em right and they will do for you!

#10 Guest_Lynn and Alan_*

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Thanks to all who replied - very helpful.

Anyway, we have been and gone and done it. This all started because we bust our camping toaster on a trip down south and called in at Brownhills to replace it. Saw the Rapido V53 and it ticked all our boxes, apart from the base vehicle. We had been thinking about downsizing from our Rapido 749 M which we have traveled all over Europe in for the 11 years we have had it. It itself was one of the smaller coachbuilts as we have always worked on the principle of buying the smallest van you could be comfortable in.

Lynn has arthritis and a fixed bed is a bonus which has become very important, and this new Rapido is a van conversion with a transverse fixed bed at the rear. It is even smaller so we will have to work on the comfort bit. We have just about gone full circle as our first van was a T4 VW Camper with the loo in a cupboard. However, we have all passed a lot of water since then!

We are also going to sell our venerable old Audi A3 which will be a wrench, but will cut down on outgoings, so, interesting times as we try the V53 in supermarket car parks.

Lots of doubt about the outlay at our age, but as a friend of mine put it, "when you get near 70, a pound saved is a pound wasted!!"

The new van is advertised as being for the "spontaneous traveler". I wouldn't mind that description on my tombstone.

All in all the most expensive toaster you could imagine.

Lynn and Alan

#11 Guest_Cheryl_*

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Thanks to all who replied - very helpful.

Anyway, we have been and gone and done it. This all started because we bust our camping toaster on a trip down south and called in at Brownhills to replace it. Saw the Rapido V53 and it ticked all our boxes, apart from the base vehicle. We had been thinking about downsizing from our Rapido 749 M which we have traveled all over Europe in for the 11 years we have had it. It itself was one of the smaller coachbuilts as we have always worked on the principle of buying the smallest van you could be comfortable in.

Lynn has arthritis and a fixed bed is a bonus which has become very important, and this new Rapido is a van conversion with a transverse fixed bed at the rear. It is even smaller so we will have to work on the comfort bit. We have just about gone full circle as our first van was a T4 VW Camper with the loo in a cupboard. However, we have all passed a lot of water since then!

We are also going to sell our venerable old Audi A3 which will be a wrench, but will cut down on outgoings, so, interesting times as we try the V53 in supermarket car parks.

Lots of doubt about the outlay at our age, but as a friend of mine put it, "when you get near 70, a pound saved is a pound wasted!!"

The new van is advertised as being for the "spontaneous traveler". I wouldn't mind that description on my tombstone.

All in all the most expensive toaster you could imagine.

Lynn and Alan


Congratulations on your purchase, it looks very nice, I hope you have many hours/miles of travelling in her and I am sure your Fiat Engine will be superb.

Cheryl

#12 Guest_Lynn and Alan_*

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Just to update - we have now got a 10 day trip to the Borders and Northumberland under our belt in the Rapido V53 and the general impression so far is good. It is far quieter than the Sprinter, but that was a 2000 model and there are no doubt lots of refinements generally since then.

The fact that it is not as wide has meant not only that we can go down lanes we wouldn't have risked before, but it will fit width ways into a standard car parking bay even if it overlaps a bit length ways.

I was amazed to find that all the kit we have carried in the bigger van fitted into the storage space easily with space to spare - however I haven't weighed it in fighting weight yet.

More discipline is needed in getting stuff out, using it, then putting it away, but as we move on most days that works out as a bonus.

Looking forward to using it for more shorter breaks than we previously did with the thought of a trip to France in September to keep us going.

I have some thought on camp sites and availability in the uk, but will put them in a separate thread.

Thanks again for all the feedback.

Lynn and Alan

#13 Guest_Lynn and Alan_*

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A further update.

Irony of ironies- we felt uneasy buying a Fiat but wanted the Rapido van attached. Our experience so far has been that the Fiat is fine but we have had our share of Rapido troubles.

The main one has been the skylight over the lounge. We thought from the brochure that we were getting a mini-heki, but the one that is fitted is in fact a Remis and the operating winder seemed stiff and jerky from the word go. It is also situated at the opposite side from the hinges which implies a complicated mechanism.

The first problem we had with it was in Norfolk when in admittedly torrential rain, water came in through the sides. I assumed that there was something wrong with the sealant around it so we took it back and to be fair Brownhills took it out and refitted it. I should add that the roof has corrugations running back to front, presumably to strengthen it and this means that the skylight has to fit over these, which leaves a lot of sealant showing in the dips, if you see what I mean.

On the first night of our French trip we had similar conditions and again some water penetrated, although only a few drops, I spoke to Brownhills on the phone and they suggested that in very heavy rain some water might get through the ventilation system. Is this something anyone else has experienced?

Subsequent "normal" rain has not got in, so there may be something in this.

However, on the south coast of France at our far point of the holiday the winder mechanism broke completely as I was winding it up, leaving it stuck half way open. I borrowed some steps and found that you could push it back down by hand, but it wasn't now locked in the closed position and would flap up and down freely, so resort was had to gaffer tape, and we had to drive around and then back home at less than optimum speed for fear of it flying up if the tape failed.

As we had to come back a week early due to a near relative having a serious fall, this was more than a little inconvenient.

We did feel that someone was on our side when we stopped in a deserted French motorway aire with some of the tape having lost adhesion and allowing the roof to lift. As I was struggling to stand on the driver's seat and reach over to it a French van pulled in next to us with ladders on the roof. The guy jumped out and as I looked longingly at the ladders he opened up the back and pulled out a pair of steps. Then he wouldn't take my offered gratuity for "a beer". God bless the French say I.

So, Brownhills are looking at it again in a week or two and I am left wondering if this is a known problem with Remis skylights, whether we should try and get it changed for the one listed in the brochure, and whether it is likely to happen again.

We still think the van is the right bit of kit for us and it has performed well as a tourer. If only bits didn't break!!

Lynn and Alan

#14 Supertractorman

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Hi, It is amazing how water can find its way in, and I think the prevailing wind and how level the van is, plays a part.
I had a problem with the main roof light when we had our Bessacarr, and it was cracking from the corners of the roof where the light was mounted. The van had to go back to the factory for roof strengthening around the light, and was no problem afterwards.

David.

#15 Guest_Mrs Millerson_*

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Hi Lyn and Alan

This is not really about your original question, but as you have got a V53, you will probably know the answer - dealer doesn't, but what's new?
We are in the process of purchasing this Rapido - seems good for our needs, but would you know what the purpose is of the "slot" between the double seat and bathroom wall - suggestions have been table storage, but there is no restaining device to prevent the table falling out, or storage for the squab which makes up the kiddies bed, but the squab seems to be a little too fat to go in this space.

Many thanks

#16 Guest_Lynn and Alan_*

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Hi Mrs Millerson

We don't know either!! We can only suppose that the table could be stood there on site if you wished to leave the space between the seats and didn't want the table on the bed, which is a safer place when travelling.

However we have put it to good use, we think. Lynn stuck four adhesive hooks spaced out at the top and we use it to hang coats on, particularly if we come in damp. The hole at the bottom is also ideally placed for a wet umbrella.

Hope this helps and that you enjoy the new van. If we can only get the roof sorted out it would be perfect.

Incidentally is the one you are getting equipped with the Remis roof light that our's has or do you have the midi heki which is the one specified in the V53 brochure. We shall be making an issue of this when we go back to Brownhills next week.

Lynn and Alan

#17 Guest_Mrs Millerson_*

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Hi Lyn and Alan

Many thanks for the reply - good idea that about the coat hooks.

Yes, the Technical Dept (him indoors) says ours is a Remis as well. We won't know if we have the same problem as you until we take delivery, so watch this space!! Didn't know that this is not the one in the brochure - just read it now. We were told that there were carpets for the whole van, but it seems that you only get a cab carpet.

How do you find the pull out flap for the other bed - somewhat rickety??

Did you see the review on the Caravan Channel (you tube) - that guy is quite pernickety and he only had 3 moans - he banged his head on the roof light when he got in - his fault - he is 6ft 2.5" - that's not normal, so that doesn't count; flippy floppy bracket to hold the worktop extension, he didn't like the shower curtain, and there was no light in the wardrobe - would think £20 would sort those out.

I hope you get a result when you go back to the dealer - there are always warranty items, but this seems beyond what you would expect.

Glad to hear you're pleased otherwise - I have read another review which is also favourable, so that makes 3 good ones. Don't know how many are around, but make sure and wave if you see one on the road - it may be us!! At least we'll be easy to spot with our smiley faces!!

Regards

Mrs M

#18 xgx

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... he is 6ft 2.5" - that's not normal...


OH YES it IS ! Anything less qualifies as Vertically challenged and is often looked down upon ...

#19 Guest_Lynn and Alan_*

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Thanks for the info. What do reviewers know? There is a comparison test of this in this month's MMM and we know that they used a van from Brownhills which might actually have been mine. He makes no mention of the fact that the storage under the bed can be accessed from the front as well as the back by lifting the front half of the bed. He also goes on about making a through access by altering the front bulkhead of the bed so as to mimic the other van tested. Would never work as there is equipment in the way as well as a central bulkhead which would just about remove all the support from the bed. He praises the bathroom for size, correctly,but the tap is one of the weaker bits as the pull out tap makes the basin just about unusable unless you pull it out after filling it.

Like the clock that strikes thirteen the review errors tells you not only that it is wrong but casts doubt on all that has gone before!!

Cheers

Lynn and Alan

#20 Guest_Mrs Millerson_*

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Hello again Lynn and Alan
Just wondering if you had resolved your leaking roofie issue? We have now taken possession of ours - 3 weeks late - due to various issues and faults!!! I asked for them to test the rooflight and it was done twice - no evidence of leaks - but we collected it yesterday, it rained last night and guess what??
So, 1 day in and more probs already - still no more than we expected really.

We have been informed that Rapido are intending to do a recall on the rickety 2nd bed supports - at some point in the future - until then, we will make a low tech solution that does not involve drilling or fixing or alteration of any kind - basically a free standing support.

Don't know whether yours is okay, but if not, seems that Rapido have got it in hand.

By the way, did you get a manual with yours? We got various literature for the fridge, Truma, etc, but no general guide to using it.

Regards

Mrs M




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