Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Down But Not Out

Yet again we have been quiet for a week or two, but in the background things have been happening. I didn’t have to complain to the highest level of Direct Line, in fact once they pulled their finger out they actually move very quickly. That isn’t to say that it’s good news, the motor home has been written off, as we suspected it would. There were a number of deciding factors: the age of the vehicle, the fact that the chassis is ladder format means that any twisting would require the entire body to be removed, and it couldn’t be assured of being jigged back to form (of course this in itself  would be massively expensive). The damage to the front near side suspension turret was a good indicator that the chassis had moved from square to a parallelogram (for those that may not know that shape). The ding in the front of the chassis only compounded the issue of the chassis being true, as the front damage is on the opposite corner of the motorhome.

The deal we’ve struck is a compromise, as things always are. We’ve been paid out £500 less than the insured value. We have to buy back the carcass to extract our brand new equipment. Had we removed it prior to the assessment as everyone said we should do, to protect our investment and to re-use it we would have lost all the value, but it does sting that we have to buy back that which we paid over £2000 pounds for less than a year ago. Insurance companies don’t like paying out.
What do we do now? Well I started scheming the very next day after the accident. I was up at our local petrol station, and happened to espy a 13 year old Vauxhall Movano 3500 PTS Ambulance (Passenger Transport Service) in a small commercial van sellers yard. It’s long, very long, It’s white, it’s got 300000 miles on the clock ... that’s a lot of miles, a really huge amount of miles. However research says that a new engine complete would cost £1500 and about the same to fit it. The clutch, Alternator, Starter Motor, Disks and Pads are all under £200, as are the piston rings, shell bearings etc, so a re-build while a big job, isn’t in itself hugely expensive ... he says while remembering he’s skint from last year and all the work on the previous motorhome ... and he wants to start from scratch again ... you’d have thought he’d learned his lesson?

So there’s this ambulance, it’s 50cm longer than the Elddis, though not as wide. It is panelled and insulated, it has a blown air central heating system (they cost between £500 and £1300), It has tinted windows down both sides. It’s a semi high top with double rear doors and side access.
I’m under no illusion that it is a project. However I have already reserved the services of Blackdown conversions for the end of May. Paul was as sick as a parrot on our behalf for the loss of the Elddis, but on the Brightside he says the Movano is a great base to convert from. Our usual mechanic has said don’t touch it with a barge pole because of the mileage. My mate Rob he knows a thing or two about vans took it for a test drive a few hours after I had driven it myself, and said it felt very good for its age and mileage; I to was very pleasantly surprised when I drove it (after speaking to the guy who reconditioned the Elddis, I was ready to give up on the Movano).

The advantage to the Movano is that it has a service history as long as your arm, every A or B service, tyre change, replaced light bulb, brake pad and even the loss of an offside mirror have been recorded. Though this pales into insignificance against the critical service parts “Timing Belt and Cam Belt”, both are recorded as changed ... don’t care ... still going to get them replaced again. Did you see the hint there? The decision has been made, this Friday I’ll haggle over the asking price after taking one last look over the potential new wagon, I want to check the roof rails for rust and I want another drive from cold; that means turning up unannounced which only new car dealers are happy about. I’ll post again when I know more.

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