A rough guide to buying your first Trafic motorhome

Compiled by RTMR members Tom Rowan, Pete Tate and Frank Todd

1) Check MOT history online - this can tell you a lot before you even go to see the vehicle but you need the reg number to do so.
Take someone with you when you go to look at it, for moral support if nothing else, but they might notice something that you haven't.
Click this link to go to the Gov site and check to see if the vehicle is taxed and MOTed [and also that the reg number matches the vehicle].
This link will take you to the Gov's MOT history site

2) Rust - Check inner wheelarches behind the front wheels, rear ends of the sills just in front of the rear wheels and behind the rear wheels.
Take something you can lie on, a torch, and get under and have a good look around. Check for chassis corrosion, (take a magnet) wheelarch filler and under rear bumper outriders for rust/filler.
It might look perfect from above but be rotten on the underside.
If it needs a lot of welding doing then walk away, unless you are good with a welder or are very good friends with someone who is.

3) Engine - take rocker box cap off, take dipstick out, check cleanliness of oil. When was the cambelt last changed? Does it start / run smoothly?
If it is left sitting idling for 15 minutes or so does the electric cooling fan turn on and off to control the engine temperature?

4) Look around the engine bay for any signs of oil / coolant leaks. Check the brake fluid. Look under the battery for corrosion.
Look under the engine and gearbox, any leaks from the front or rear ends of the crankshaft or driveshafts?
Diesel engines are often covered in an oily mist so don't mistake that for a leak [but be aware that the oil has to be coming from somewhere].

5) Look around under the rest of the vehicle - exhaust condition, suspension condition - shock absorbers / brakes leaking?

6) Driving - does the steering / brakes work OK? How well does the engine pull, is it making any smoke? Does it change gear smoothly?
It may not have power steering so the steering may feel heavy compared to a modern vehicle. [Electric power steering can be added nowadays].
Do the brakes stick - does it roll smoothly by itself at low speed?
The brakes are of an older design so will need more pedal pressure than a newer vehicle but they should not need too much pressure to stop you - and in a straight line of course.
The gearchange will not be as 'slick' as a car and the gear lever has a longer travel but you should not have difficulty selecting the gears.
[A point to note here, the gearstick shaft has a small plastic grommet on the gearbox end. If that grommet is damaged/worn/not in place, it will make gear changes very difficult and cause the stick to rattle around. Quick to check, by shining a torch underneath and looking at the end of the stick shaft. Not a huge issue, but you can't buy them, so they need to be made]
*Update - see bottom of page

7) Inside - look for water leaks in the roof and rain guttering leaks- check the roof linings and carpets for water stains, check that the floor is not wet near the rear doors and that the cabinet bases and floors are not rotten.
The interior should not smell damp, [if it has a toilet / shower compartment, this might smell a little bit damp though] Look and smell inside cupboards, wardrobe and lockers too.
Upholstery can be very expensive to repair / recover unless you can do it yourself or know someone who can. So don't consider upholstery repair or reconditioning as a minor item.

8) If it has a rising roof, check that it works as it should, is in good condition and does not leak.

9) Appliances / lights - all working? Beds / seats / cushions / tables all present and working? Check that the fridge and cooker work OK.
Also check if it has warm air heating and water heating, that they work too.
Does it have the facility for mains electric hook-up? If so, does it look like a proper, safe installation with circuit breakers, rather than a potentially dangerous botch up?

* Update on gear linkage
In an email, Rob Watson, Lesharoe FB forum moderator says:
"I wanted to let you know that all the grommets are available in the Peugeot Museum Parts Store for the 505. (Yes, the Renault Douvrin engines shared the same linkage with those in the Peugeot 505... the '87-95 505's also used Douvrin engines.) The grommet that usually fails is this one and can be ordered from the Peugeot Museum Parts Store for delivery worldwide. The schematic can be seen in the Peugeot 505, Group 2 listing at the Peugeot Museum Parts site."
Go to webpage

Please note that is page is meant as a rough guide to offer some help to anyone when buying a Trafic, much of it will apply to any older van.
There may be things that we have missed, if you know of something which should be included - please let us know.
If there is something you are not sure about, please ask - we'll help if we can.

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