Thinking of change up - Vario maybe - thoughts?

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DaveS
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Thinking of change up - Vario maybe - thoughts?

Postby DaveS » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:08 pm

Hi all

Really debating upgrading our 4x4 MWB Sprinter to a Vario - likely MWB again, ideally 4x4 (the one listed on here a wee while ago got me thinking...!).

Anyway, I know the Vario 4x4 was the base for Travel Vans, and I've driven a 2 WD version, so I get that they are basically a van body on a truck chassis... but beyond that I'm looking for opinions. Is the upgrade from a Sprinter worthwhile?

Any thoughts welcome!

crinklystarfish
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Re: Thinking of change up - Vario maybe - thoughts?

Postby crinklystarfish » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:15 am

More room, especially that afforded by the slight extra width and purer 'box' shape.

Reputedly more robust, more durable, and indeed mechanically more akin to a 'true' truck than a van.

Seen lots in use, owners rarely complain about them. Many who travel overland seem to go from Sprinter to Vario, few seem to go from Vario to Sprinter. Maybe therein lies a clue.

As always with these things though, so much depends actual requirements, which - of course - is a massively individual thing.

DaveS
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Re: Thinking of change up - Vario maybe - thoughts?

Postby DaveS » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:57 pm

Biggest drawback we have with the current arrangement is really down to the limitations with the size of the van (being a MWB Sprinter) - so the main bed is by necessity a fold out couch/bed - the van is too small for us to have a permanent main bed - and there's only room for a portapotty rather than a proper plumbed in cassette toilet. With a Vario or similar we could have a full size bed across the back and still have room for the kids bunks, loo, etc, etc.. without going over 6.5m long.

To be honest for the travel we're planning (short term at least) we don't need something as capable as a 4x4 Vario, so we could go the much cheaper RWD route, but that said we have found the 4x4 Sprinter extremely useful on occasion and you can happily explore with little worry of getting stuck. It would also mean that, hopefully, we won't need to swap vehicles again in another couple of years, when we decide we do want to get more adventurous... I guess we could look at LWB 4x4 Sprinters or Ivecos as a cheaper alternative.

Any other thoughts/advice?

crinklystarfish
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Re: Thinking of change up - Vario maybe - thoughts?

Postby crinklystarfish » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:31 am

With the LWB format you might start to compromise breakover angle when on really cut-up terrain, plus, if more room is the primary driver, I'm not sure how much difference a little more length would really make. The extra width and 'upper half' volume of a Vario would give a much more roomy feel and would allow the luxury of a transverse fixed bed etc.

The 4x2 is definitely very capable but the DA (4x4) will bring the obvious advantages, you can get just as stuck on a wet campsite field in Wales as anywhere else in the world. Again, much depends on real-world use.

Clive and Ann Barker (SRMN members) took a Vario to China and back and regularly attend shows, they'll undoubtedly be happy to give you the true pros and cons. Incidentally, by pure coincidence I bumped into the new owners of their black Vario a while ago. It now takes its new owners to all sorts of out-of-the-way places in pursuit of watching birds. They love it and it still looks like it's good for another 20 years of use.

By the way: there's lots to be said for retaining a Porta-Potti style loo - we use one with with a 'fixing' kit and it works really well. Much simpler all-round and far more flexible than a permanently mounted cassette.

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Brian-reynolds
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Re: Thinking of change up - Vario maybe - thoughts?

Postby Brian-reynolds » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:55 am

crinklystarfish wrote:By the way: there's lots to be said for retaining a Porta Potti style loo - we use one with a 'fixing' kit and it works really well. Much simpler all-round and far more flexible than a permanently mounted cassette.


I also have a Porta Potti, but it does not have a hold down fitting so I have relegated it to the barn, a shame as it is a great loo to use, flush and empty.

So I had to buy a Dometic version that does have a clamp down kit, but the loo is nowhere as good as the Porta Potti... it has a pump to pressurise the system then has a button on the front for flushing which pointless.... the handle on the front for the slide busted early on and I was unable to get the makers to reply to my request for a replacement, so gave up, and I find emptying it difficult when trying to access the air vent.....

I still think this is a better way of having a loo system as opposed to having a completely fitted system.

A fitted system does look more professional though......

B.

DaveS
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Re: Thinking of change up - Vario maybe - thoughts?

Postby DaveS » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:59 pm

Thanks guys.

Re toilet facilities, I guess I really mean a fixed place/private space for one, not necessarily the cassette - its not long before my daughters won't want to be using the portapotty in front of their parents (or vice-versa for that matter LOL!). Hadn't thought about using a fixing kit - this could still be built into a small loo stall. Interesting.

Yes, interested to hear what experience people have had with 2WD Varios - guess we could fit a winch and a rear diff lock to make up for the lack of 4WD and save a significant amount of cash...

Good luck Jonathan
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Re: Thinking of change up - Vario maybe - thoughts?

Postby Good luck Jonathan » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:29 pm

How about "supervarioworld.com" :shock:

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Re: Thinking of change up - Vario maybe - thoughts?

Postby Grommet1 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:23 am

I have the portapotti in a corner on the Gaz with a shower curtain on hooks from the ceiling around it that can hook across. It's simple and basic but functional and maintains some dignity without taking up loads of space.
Am looking at adapting it to make a corner shower too without making a fixed cubicle.

Looking at the youtube videos of the vario 4x4 it looks a pretty capable off roader.

Cheers
John

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RussG
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Re: Thinking of change up - Vario maybe - thoughts?

Postby RussG » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:10 pm

So my 2 cents worth.
We have a 906 Sprinter which is slightly bigger than the T1N (pre 2006).

It has a permanent king size bed, we sleep side ways. I'm 6'1" ish and I sleep fine. If I want to stretch out I just sleep slightly diagonally.

It has a small shower/toilet cubical. With a fixed cassette toilet. I got fed up of carrying the portapoti out through the van.

I've been pondering a Vario, the extra space does appeal for long term living. Imho
The Vario is certainly a more rugged vehicle. But then everything is a compromise. I like that apart from the height we can go where any largish car or 4x4 can go.
It also drives like a car compared to the Vario truck like characteristics.

Many years ago my job involved off road access. I had a choice of a LR or a twin wheel Transit. I took the transit and I'm not kidding I could get pretty much anywhere a Defender could get to. And I was nice and warm and dry :D
So a 2wd Vario with decent tyres has probably 80% of the capability of the 4x4. Even better if you could retrofit a diff lock.

But then there is just the 2 of us. Anymore and it would be a Vario.

DaveS
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Re: Thinking of change up - Vario maybe - thoughts?

Postby DaveS » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:36 pm

Cheers Russ.

I guess your van is a fair bit wider - at the point we have the kids bottom bunk mounted my Sprinter is about 5'7" across - as Jan and I are both 5'11" we felt this would be too much of a compromise, especially as we both stretch out! Out of interest could you measure what width you have at around the waist line in your van?

Ultimately I'd like to keep the next build for 5 years or so, maybe more... so we need to have something the kids can "grow into"... :-)


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