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Newby, would be Alphard camper


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Hi, I'm considering buying an Alphard to convert to a camper. I'd really appreciate some honest advice about the pros and cons of buying an imported vehicle, and things I should know,  things like;

Insurance ?

Is servicing and maintenance more difficult or costly?

Does much on the vehicle require converting to UK and the cost (stereo? Odometer? Anything else?)

Are pop tops worth having? Easy to source? Costly? 

Getting it re classified as a motorhome? 

The pros as well as the negatives, PLEASE but just anything you found out or wished you'd know! 

Will start another  thread regarding the conversion itself! 

They look like fabulous vehicles! 

TIA JANINE

 

 

 

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Were in same position as you but have not yet taken delivery of ours, so can let you know where we are now, why we have come to this decision, and hth.

Weve bought an 05 with less than 30k on the clock, direct from a Converter.We've gone for the 3.0l as this will be mainly a camper use van, and having test driven both the 2.4 & 3.0, my preference is for the 3.0, which will I think be better on long motorway hauls.

 

Insurance - dont be scared by some of the stories & prices you will get from some Co's. Initial price I got from the Co pushed on here was over £700 for an 05 3.0l...

                    However have got that down to less than £400 with CaravanGuard (used before when we had a tourer), spoke with them as well so happy were getting full cover.

Conversion - We are going down the conversion Co route, no way we can do ourselves. Take a look at likes of Calder Campers / Wellhouse Autos (there are others but weve    

                       been to both these), and were going with Calder. But yes, the whole interior from behind driver & passenger seats needs doing so a lot of work.

                       Some converters wont touch the speedo/odometer but Calder change it to MPH and equiv mileage (our preference). 

                       I would say the average cost of a full side kitchen conversion, roof, heating, bed etc is circa £13-14k through a Converter.

Pop Tops - I guess this comes down to personal preference, but for us its a yes, as no way could we function without the headroom. This again is being done by the

                    Converter.

Classification - For us this is being handled by the Converter

 

So hope that helps, but one question you also need to consider is are you going to use this just, as a camper, or for an everyday vehicle as well. Ours will be just for camping, me fishing, and odd trip out, so not a day to day van.

 

Cannot wait to pick it up....good luck

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We've just purchased a 2.4l Alphard Conversion 2003 with just over 50K on the clock. Very comfortable to drive and the conversion is of a high standard. We went for the Hi- Top roof and not the pop-top just to give us more storage and space. 

The convertor handled the registration of the vehicle.

The stereo is in Japanese as its fitted with a Satnav etc which is not compatible in the UK. The front camera tbh is pretty poor, however, no real intention of needing it, the rear is excellent. There may be a few other boxes which were for toll bridges etc, they can be removed, however, they don't take up any space if left.

The odometer will probably need converting to MPH  and you will probably need to under seal it as they don't do this in Japan due to the climate.

Our insurance was from Safeguard and was about £360 that was with a £250 excess.

Tax is about £280

We are also using this as an everyday vehicle as our weekly mileage is low.

Servicing and maintenance is pretty standard

We purchased it from Fantastic Campervans in Dairsie Cupar Fife. He has a few ready for conversion and few converted, seem to be becoming popular due to the price and they covert very well.

Haven't found any cons 

Good luck with the conversion.

 

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On 7/11/2021 at 9:03 AM, Jixipix said:

Hi, I'm considering buying an Alphard to convert to a camper. I'd really appreciate some honest advice about the pros and cons of buying an imported vehicle, and things I should know,  things like;

Insurance ?

Is servicing and maintenance more difficult or costly?

Does much on the vehicle require converting to UK and the cost (stereo? Odometer? Anything else?)

Are pop tops worth having? Easy to source? Costly? 

Getting it re classified as a motorhome? 

The pros as well as the negatives, PLEASE but just anything you found out or wished you'd know! 

Will start another  thread regarding the conversion itself! 

They look like fabulous vehicles! 

TIA JANINE

 

 

 

One issue you need to know, since January this year a pop-top conversion is no longer classified by the DVLA as a camper van (this is an ongoing issue)  Im converting my 3.0 ltr right now, for example one issue already is the wheel size is not so easy to alter as would be with a VW.  Purchase your vehicle from a dealer who has been dealing with these vehicles for several years, don't expect to find knowledgeable people when considering customising..... you should be able to pick up a clean alphard 2006 onwards for under £9000

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  • 2 months later...
On 7/11/2021 at 9:49 AM, Pritch said:

Were in same position as you but have not yet taken delivery of ours, so can let you know where we are now, why we have come to this decision, and hth.

Weve bought an 05 with less than 30k on the clock, direct from a Converter.We've gone for the 3.0l as this will be mainly a camper use van, and having test driven both the 2.4 & 3.0, my preference is for the 3.0, which will I think be better on long motorway hauls.

 

Insurance - dont be scared by some of the stories & prices you will get from some Co's. Initial price I got from the Co pushed on here was over £700 for an 05 3.0l...

                    However have got that down to less than £400 with CaravanGuard (used before when we had a tourer), spoke with them as well so happy were getting full cover.

Conversion - We are going down the conversion Co route, no way we can do ourselves. Take a look at likes of Calder Campers / Wellhouse Autos (there are others but weve    

                       been to both these), and were going with Calder. But yes, the whole interior from behind driver & passenger seats needs doing so a lot of work.

                       Some converters wont touch the speedo/odometer but Calder change it to MPH and equiv mileage (our preference). 

                       I would say the average cost of a full side kitchen conversion, roof, heating, bed etc is circa £13-14k through a Converter.

Pop Tops - I guess this comes down to personal preference, but for us its a yes, as no way could we function without the headroom. This again is being done by the

                    Converter.

Classification - For us this is being handled by the Converter

 

So hope that helps, but one question you also need to consider is are you going to use this just, as a camper, or for an everyday vehicle as well. Ours will be just for camping, me fishing, and odd trip out, so not a day to day van.

 

Cannot wait to pick it up....good luck

 

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