A growing trend is to source an older van (eg Mum and Dad’s old camper or a cute nostalgic caravan) and aim to restore it to good working order.
A bargain can quickly turn into an expensive mishap.
Spending money on an aged van may still be a significant benefit over the cost of a new caravan however is it likely the cost outlay will exceed market value not be recovered in a future sale.
Once this is accepted, understood and appropriate allowances made (ie Cost and time) owning and restoring van can be rewarding.
Some basic traps are:
- The materials are no longer available or are so rare they are now more expensive then their modern counterparts
- Certain components may no longer comply with regulations or good safety precautions (eg Gas fittings, electrical standards, towing set-up).
- The chassis may be weakened by rust or metal fatigue (Not always obvious to the untrained eye)
- The suspension is likely to need upgrading
- The brakes and tyres are critical and would need a thorough and professional inspection
- The weather seals must be inspected and likely replaced – This may entail removing and refitting panels, hatches etc.
Any van older than 20 years would need a thorough inspection for all of the above plus leaks and general wear and tear. It would be wise to accept that a definitive quote could not be given to restore a van beyond this age to good working order without such an inspection and then possibly to be given a caveat depending what may be discovered during any agreed repairs.
Vans older than 30 years are likely to incur high unexpected costs and would be best tackled as a DIY project.