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Hi all. I am a hair's breadth away from purchasing a 2004 Alphard campervan. The only thing stopping me is my concern about the low ground clearance particularly at the front. Our travels will be including the nearby Scottish Highlands and Islands and I worry about the front of the van grounding on uneven remote roads or when getting on and off ferries. Can anyone put my mind at ease or give me useful advice? Thanks.

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 A lot of imported Alphards are lowered, unfortunately if this is the case there is no quick fixes to this issue other than change of the suspension springs which can lead to finding other faults ...how do I know this, because mine is lowered and sits on 19" wheels and I had learnt very quickly to avoid deep pot holes...yes its looks great but not for rough ground ie: camping

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30 minutes ago, IanM said:

Hi all. I am a hair's breadth away from purchasing a 2004 Alphard campervan. The only thing stopping me is my concern about the low ground clearance particularly at the front. Our travels will be including the nearby Scottish Highlands and Islands and I worry about the front of the van grounding on uneven remote roads or when getting on and off ferries. Can anyone put my mind at ease or give me useful advice? Thanks.

 

How much ground clearance will you have if you buy your favourite model ?

How much clearance will you need.

 

The earlier models tend to have more ground clearance; as the later models tend to have trendy lower front valances / air dams.

Tired front springs will lower the front even further. What mileage has your vehicle covered ?

 

Just a silly note, food for thought, these machines are not off roaders, even the 4 x 4s, and they are heavy !

 

I think I measured the clearance mid way down the body, between the wheel centres, of mine as 160mm.

Are you thinking side conversion or rear ?

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Hi Rojie,

Van is already converted, it is a 54 plate, so is early model. It is a side conversion.

https://www.fantasticcampervans.co.uk/used-toyota-alphard-fife-scotland-4013964

Mileage is about 38000, so low (I guess).

The quoted clearance online is 157mm (so pretty good measurement by you!). I am not sure how much clearance I will need - I'm not really thinking of driving places I woudn't drive with my Vauxhall Zafira which has a smaller clearance. However, I think that what is concerning me more is the approach and departure angles rather than the clearance. I can't find data for those. The problem is the shape at the front which doesn't rise up as most cars do.

Looking forward to many a trip iin it (if I can pick up the courage to actually buy it!).

Ian

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High kerbs and rocks on off road car parks, campsites can be problematic,  everything else is pretty much standard as with any other car. 

 

You will get used to it.

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Approach angles ?

 

Without researching the specifications, my view is the approach angle is not the issue.

What may be the issue is what front spoiler, valance, aim dam is fitted to your target vehicle.

If you are planning to negotiate pot holes, ditches, etc, I respectfully suggest you are looking at an unsuitable vehicle in an Alphard or Vellfire.

These vehicles are MPV limousines. They are not intended to deal with rough terrain.

I have a steep drive; and cannot get mine on it. I could get a different vehicle but the Alphie provides me with what I need.

 

If your vehicle has been lowered, it can be raised; but it isn't cheap; and you may need new wheels and tyres. Not cheap at all.

I measured the rear clearance on mine recently and (I'm guessing, but will confirm tomorrow) it is significantly more than 160mm.

Some Alphies, mine included, have self levelling suspension which will affect ground clearance too.

 

There are other vehicles with higher ground clearance, perhaps you should consider one of those.

(There are also many other (leisure) vehicles with a lower ground clearance than an Alphie.

 

Proceed with caution. Be clear about your NEEDS, wants are secondary !

 

Good Luck with your search.

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We have only had our 07 Alphard for about 6months, when we were buyng it I was slightly concerned with front ground clearance,on return from the vendor I measured the front ground clearance on our Ford Connect van,which as it turned out was virtually the same, we live a bit out in the sticks down narrow Devon country lanes. We have had the van 15years and haven't hit anything yet. The same with the Alphard it's just a case of remembering it's not an off road vehicle and watch where you drive and parking.

Our Alphard had tired rear springs so if you read my recent posts you will see there was no real problem having heavy duty rear springs fitted. I would suggest if you have new front springs fitted,you fit standard fronts. I have just today driven ours well over 250miles  on all types of road and the ride was so much better[a big wash tomorrow to get rid of all the road c**p].

My big dislike are the poor VW Campers and other makes[this goes for cars as well] which have be lowered to such a degree that the ground clearance is only inches. Watched a VW Camper leave a classic vehicle show a few years ago and driving out of the field left a trail of GRP and sparks from the exhaust as it too dragged along the floor.

No such problem with the Alphard though,go for it and enjoy,as someone has said you will soon grt used to it.

 

I don't want to start another MOT/Insurance topic and I may be wrong, but I understood that commercial vehicles must not be altered from manufacturers specifications.

I'm sure someone will correct me. I know Insurers need to be informed of any alterations to manufacturers spec.

Sorry I must chop up my soap box!!

Edited by starider
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