Archive | April, 2013

Update on expected progress

28 Apr


We are hoping to re-run previous trips to France (which we did in our previous Ducato Trigano) in July, during the Tour de France. We are trying to meet with neighbours and greet them on top of one of the Tour Climbs with a burger! To do this, we need the nv200 well before this, to ensure all is functioning.The photo shows a campsite close to the Pyrenees. We are also going to visit my brother’s place to stretch our legs. Will almost certainly take the caravan too but will await this decision until we have tried the van solo.
The converters should be ready for us this week and we can expect a 2 hour drive then a train trip home involving a taxi ride, two changes of train and a bus ride.Should have plenty of time to complete.
Yesterday, the spare wheel “basket” had well protected threads and ony needed a finger of grease if you are really fussy. Up to now Nissan seem to have considered lots of little details which is encouraging.We noticed that the sliding doors are much quieter to close than on the Ducato we had. This can be important on a quiet, crowded campsite late at night.
If I get the chance, may try the alloys out and check that they fit OK at this stage, so that we have plenty of time to sort out any issues.

Found the camera.So here are some pics.

27 Apr


The anti-roll bar nuts, brake hose fittings and exposed bolt heads will all be getting a dab of protective waxoyl. From experience, it just helps when you come to do maintenance in a couple of years time. At the rear of the van, there are the towbar nuts and bolts and the spare wheel drop down cage mechanism but overall it is pretty well protected on the underside. Just noticed that the Thule towball is removable. More pics and Video Clips to follow now that the camera has shown up.

Perceptions of Space. The nv200.

26 Apr

average human dimensionsperceptions

On Thursday night, the crowd from the pub insisted on seeing the unconverted van so that a “before” and “after” comparison could be made. Some of them simply could not see that there IS enough space within an nv200 to make a functioning Camper Van. We all laughed when one neighbour actually climbed in and lay down on the load space rubber mat to prove to himself that the van was long enough!The nv200 is only marginally smaller than a VW T4/T5 (not the LWB versions) but the perception amongst some is that the nv200 is much, much smaller. I have to tell you that for some strange reason, this irritates me! LOL

Detailing whilst the underside is clean

26 Apr


Firstly welcome to our most recent interested parties, Stefwen,Philippe and Stefaan.
( Have you seen the Freedom Microlite ( aka Predom n126) further down the Blog?)

Planning on brushing a little Waxoyl on a few bright and shiny suspension nuts, bits and pieces underneath the van whilst it’s all still clean and salt free. Not doing a major spray at this point until the converters have completed. Also going to do something which I have done on the little caravan that we tow which works well. I plan to take off the spare wheel from under the van, wax the steel rim and treat both sidewalls of the new Goodyear with tyre protector. This keeps the worst of the road dirt off , in case of a wheel change and helps when cleaning periodically.Will make sure all exposed threads on the mechanism are waxoyled too (if they need to be !).
I shall be treating the spare wheel purely as an emergency, get you to a garage , temporary replacement and limit the speed as you would a spacesaver tyre,which some manufacturers provide. The difference in diameter between the original steel rims and tyres and the new Alloys/low profiles, which will go on eventually is only 5mm and so, I believe that this type of emergency usage is acceptable.
We have chosen the upholstery fabric for the “rock n roll” bed and will put up a picture when I find my camera………….

Bulkhead removed and Converters on standby !

25 Apr


I think I must have had a Spanish weightlifter who fitted my bulkhead. The fittings were really tight,especially for such small diameter threads (!) and I found evidence of “thread lock” compound on some but not all bolts (?). Took my time and got ’em all undone and drilled out the “snap off” bolts to just reach through the heads and they then came undone with small mole grips. All the tips worked, thanks Guys!No scratches incurred !
The bulk head is in two parts, upper and lower with two “baffle” plate brackets which hold the bulkhead to the rear of the cab door frames. Mine is now for sale. It’s painted black at the factory and as new. Apply here in comments! Otherwise going on to e-bay shortly.
Also phoned the converters and awaiting completion of a job on a Scudo next week before our van can be slotted in. Not in a massive rush and willing to wait for a good job by a well respected outfit.Also found a choice of 3 upholstery fabrics to be narrowed down to match in with the existing seats. We do not wish to have the cab seats covered because of the fitted airbags and hence just need to match in on the rear seat/bed.More details on all this later.

Got the van. Very early first impressions.

24 Apr

sade diamond life

In the words of the very lovely and talented Sade: “Smooth Operator!”

The Thule swan-neck towbar was fitted this morning and following a technical hitch with the paperwork transaction, which was very swiftly settled, we collected the base vehicle this afternoon. (The chauffered lift was enjoyable.Not been in a Land Rover for ages. Great fun)

The journey home was only around 50 miles with some motorway but mainly “A” roads. On the standard steel rims and Goodyears the handling is light and crisp, very like a decent modern car. Noise levels were very acceptable (the bulk head is still fitted) and the radio coped easily with road , wind and engine noise.Even empty, the suspension coped well with pot holed roads at legal speeds. No complaints on that front. The engine (110ps dci) and 6speed gearbox offer a very smooth driving experience. It pulls like a train! Plenty of torque (with van empty) at low revs, feeling quick off the mark up to 60mph in 6th gear.I believe in running in an engine with careful restriction of maximum revs until the engine feels to have loosened up properly. It has paid off on my last 2 brand new vehicles with low oil consumption and reliability with performance after a thousand miles or so.
A most pleasant and enjoyable first drive. Already feel sure that this was a good choice of van. I think that I am in love !

Send in your photos and see them “Up in Lights” !

24 Apr


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Happy St George’s Day!

23 Apr

st george's day 23rd april

Late posting this but it’s not midnight yet! Insured the van today and added it to the Caravan Club Mayday breakdown cover. Collecting it tomorrow , we hope if the towbar is fitted first thing. Quite excited as we are also getting a lift in a brand new Land Rover County. That’s what I call a rural taxi ! Saves a lengthy bus/train and taxi trip across the country.
Please keep the comments and news of other nv200 projects coming in. Hope to be able to publish your photos soon.

Some better news and a Welcome to a Swiss Contributor!

22 Apr

nv200 alternative

Firstly, a big welcome to Fred, from Switzerland and thanks for his contribution. If you scroll down to the same picture as seen above, very early in the blog history, you can read his original comments. The van above is Fred’s ! He took the light leg pulling in good faith and I am proud to show his photo again! Joking apart, his van offers superb space and a novel, exciting camping experience.

The other bit of good news is that the Nissan dealership came back with what I believe is an honest and representative new price for the “SE” spec van. All being well should pick it up (at last !!!!!) mid-week, this week. I have informed the converters and await their response.

Brochures, Specifications and some Jargon Busting.

21 Apr

check list

After going through the Brochures to refresh our memory of what should be fitted on each Spec van, we visited the dealership today. They had already ruled out any retrofitting of Sat Nav and/or Cruise control.(but thanks for the prompt, Pete !) I do find it hard to believe that this cannot be done though!
We easily found “our” van as it had the fairly rare but bargain priced rear glass, wash wipe and heated glass on the door with the wiper. It was badged only as “nv200” and “dci” , which I believe denotes the Euro 5 spec engine. The 6 speed manual change denotes a 110ps rated engine. Once inside we went through our checklist to see what was missing from the original order. The Aircon is signalled by just a tiny button below the heater dial controls. A passenger airbag is marked on the dash and the seats had bags marked in their outer edges. The dealer says that the bags are located in the seat sides but more about this later. The van is an “SE” spec. This includes reversing camera. The lens is under the rear number plate shroud. When you hit reverse, a colour screen comes up on the right of the dash instruments. This looks cool. The windows and mirrors are electric and fog lights sit in the front , black plastic bumper. There were 7 miles on the clock from running around dockyards and shipping centres. (Hope we did not get the “nutter” transfer driver !) I checked that a spare tyre is fitted under the offside rear. It had a full black painted bulkhead with window ( which is coming out).
The radio/CD has Bluetooth but the dealer could not find an MP3 socket.
As part of the standard spec all vans have ABS (anti lock brakes) and EBD (electronic brake distribution). We could not check if ESP (electronic stability control) is fitted. It should be as part of the “safety pack” (airbags, fogs and aircon).
ESP has swerve detection and is supposed to prevent overturning when slaloming a vehicle with high centre of gravity. You must have seen those 4 x 4 s on Top Gear? Extra sensors actuate the EBD and cut the throttle appropriately. Pity all these electronics could not prevent the “admin error” which missed off the N-Tec extras……………..
We also took note of the registration in case we actually buy this example. We now await the price reduction which should be based on the difference in price between SE and N-Tec vans. If the price is right, rather than wait a further 9 weeks, we will probably go ahead but we will not subsidise this error by paying more for less.I have a figure in mind but we shall see.
Having said all that, make no mistake, I still feel that all nv200 s are super vans.The “SE” is very well equipped and with the safety pack becomes a very “classy and comfy” bit of kit.This brings this potential motorhome up to what can be expected from the very well established Ducato from Fiat.