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Unread 6th January 2010   #1
Rambler
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Adria and Fleetwood, plus heating

Am doing some research into some possible new vans that need to be suitable for living in all year round. Currently got my eye on an Adria Forma huge twin axle thing and a Fleetwood Garland 165, both 1991s. Am I right in saying both are/were built by the same parent company? Speaking to a sales advisor at the last caravan show, he was confident an Adria would last 20 years plus. Any comments on this and build quality of both vans? What I'm keen to know is if they are better insulated than other vans? Or if there are makers out there that provide better insulation?

Which brings me onto the point about heating - the Adria I'm looking at has blown air heating but a water heater retro-fitted, the Fleetwood has a water heater as standard but no blown air heating. It is however about 3ft smaller than the Adria so may not take as much to heat up. Ideally I wanted blown air heating as I think it's probably the most efficient way to heat the van but wondering if it really makes such a difference. Anyone had a van without and then one with to compare? How difficult/expensive would it be to retro-fit?
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Unread 6th January 2010   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissZetec2.0 View Post

Which brings me onto the point about heating - the Adria I'm looking at has blown air heating but a water heater retro-fitted, the Fleetwood has a water heater as standard but no blown air heating. It is however about 3ft smaller than the Adria so may not take as much to heat up. Ideally I wanted blown air heating as I think it's probably the most efficient way to heat the van but wondering if it really makes such a difference. Anyone had a van without and then one with to compare? How difficult/expensive would it be to retro-fit?
We've had blown air heating in the last 3 vans, which is fine if we're on mains leccy (a very rare occasion for me!!!!!!) but otherwise drains the battery.

If you're thinking of full time living in then you would find this very useful, although you have to heat up the heater first and have it higher than without blown air leccy, which brings up another point.

Some older vans heaters don't work on mains leccy, so check this out before you make any decisions - June2009's Delta twin axle didn't have, and this was a really comfy luxurious van, nor did out Swift Conqueror 1991 version. Good luck and take your time looking into eveything before you decide on a new home on wheels
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Unread 6th January 2010   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissZetec2.0 View Post
Am doing some research into some possible new vans that need to be suitable for living in all year round. Currently got my eye on an Adria Forma huge twin axle thing and a Fleetwood Garland 165, both 1991s. Am I right in saying both are/were built by the same parent company? Speaking to a sales advisor at the last caravan show, he was confident an Adria would last 20 years plus. Any comments on this and build quality of both vans? What I'm keen to know is if they are better insulated than other vans? Or if there are makers out there that provide better insulation?

Which brings me onto the point about heating - the Adria I'm looking at has blown air heating but a water heater retro-fitted, the Fleetwood has a water heater as standard but no blown air heating. It is however about 3ft smaller than the Adria so may not take as much to heat up. Ideally I wanted blown air heating as I think it's probably the most efficient way to heat the van but wondering if it really makes such a difference. Anyone had a van without and then one with to compare? How difficult/expensive would it be to retro-fit?

Adria had their own U.K. import company based in Bedford in 1990 when I bought my new Optima. They had a storage compound on the old airfield at Little Staughton a couple of miles from my daughters house.At that time Adria were the largest caravan manufacturer in the world. I'm pretty sure there was no connection with Fleetwood in those days.That came much later when some Adrias were imported and rebadged as Fleetwoods.
I had my Adria Optima for ten years without any problems at all. Build quality was excellent although the interior design was not to U.K. tastes being a bit basic.My Adria did not have blown air heating but all my vans have since then. It can be very efficient and only an Alde wet system would be better (and a lot more expensive).
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Unread 6th January 2010   #4
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You may be disappointed in the longevity of a touring caravan for full time living. However, most Carver or Truma space heating systems can be converted to run on electricity and/or converted to blown air. Talk to Gary at Arc Systems if you need to upgrade when you have made your purchase.

Hope this helps

Mike

Last edited by SBS; 9th January 2010 at 09:42 AM.
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Unread 6th January 2010   #5
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AS you well know netti i have a fleetwood garland 165/5 1993 model and it is very warm when the fire is on in winter and can get too warm at times with the blown air heating on and if you don't leave the shower on then the water and battery will last quite a long time too....Can't comment on the adria though as never had one but for full time all weather i can recomend the alde heating it makes things very cosy....


hope this helps







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Unread 6th January 2010   #6
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Adria were built in Yugoslavia and have always had very good insulation, as have most Euro built vans. I don't know if English built vans have reached the same level of insulation or not. The Adrias used to have 20 litre onboard water tanks particularly for winter 'vanning.
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Unread 6th January 2010   #7
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Hi Netti

We have the 465, and although being not being twin axle our van can get very warm. We dont have blown air heating or anything like that, but we use our little oir fired rad. If you leave it on full and you pop out you can come back and the van is baking. If we need extra heat we use the fan heater with the rad and in no time we can be snug as a bug!

As far as build goes i can't fault it. No damp and very sound construction. OUrs came with a 20 litre onboard tank but i got rid of it as it used a lot of space up, but if you are full timing then i can see it being a big plus. The only thing i will say is check the electric connections on the toilet as mine ran between the base of the loo and the shower tray and the connections where on the water. Also check if the hot water tank holds water as ours did but leaked. Easy to repair but spares for the carver cascade are quite easy to find, but gary at arc systems in nottingham is a font of knolwedge on these things.

As far as weight of the van goes i cant ask for more. Being an aluminium shell it makes for a lightweight but very robust unit. Ours is a 1992 and if you look inside and out it has been very well cared for, but all i do is give it a quick zap with the jet wash ( keeping clear of the seal and window areas ) and it comes up like new again.

Hope this helps you out

andy
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Unread 8th January 2010   #8
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That's something I hadn't thought about. Onboard water tank. That would be separate from the water heater as well wouldn't it? Good for winter and also good for the extra capacity. I shower in the van and go through loads of water so an inboard tank sounds like a very good idea to me. Might have to start looking for seriously at Adrias if they have an inboard tank and better insulation.
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Unread 8th January 2010   #9
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My first van was an Afria 430C7 1985 vintage, as already mentioned they were a bit quirky inside. Above the dining table they used to have a hanging light shade whic I always wore when I stood up, this was quickly changed for a flourescent strip light, I think I still have the old shade at home. They also had an eye level grill which was brilliant. The van was not supplied with hot water so had this retro fitted by the dealer, you would not know it was retrofitted, the work was excellently carried out. The build quality of the van was superb and we kept the van for about 5 years or so before buying a Besseccar 550GL twin axle. The heater in the van was gas fired blown air system, which in hot summer times is also good for blowing cold air. It may be possible to retrofit an electric fire if you intend going on mains.
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Unread 13th January 2010   #10
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We have the Fleetwood Heritage 560/4. It is a 2006 model with the Alde wet system in it, which has radiators under the bunks. It runs on gas or 1kw/2kw mains and is fully adjustable for heat output. The circulatory pump is so small and silent and does not take hardly any battery at all. The only downside is it takes about 2 hours to get warm, but when it does the temperature between front and back will be less than one degree difference, even when minus 10C outside. There is a separate bedroom at back with twin single beds and 6'' mattresses too. There is separate shower and toilet/washroom and all can be sectioned off in different combinations. The L shaped lounge is perfect. Microwave, full 4 burner cooker/grill/oven/platewarmer. There is loads of storage space too meaning that adding a 70 litre onboard tank would be a doodle (we plan to do that before next winter). The wall temperature is approx 3 degrees lower than the room temperature when below freezing outside, which we think is really good.
Personally we think this would be our ideal van for full timing as it ticks almost every box.
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