3.5T Van Conversions

AFB

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28 February 2017
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1,422
Hi

I'm potentially looking at getting one built as the second hand market seems all over the place - would anybody have any feedback on the more basic conversions specific to a builder, good or bad? I don't think budget will stretch to coach built unfortunately.

I'm so far initially considering Equibabe & Elite, so any feedback on either of these would be great. Equisport haven't responded to my enquiry from a few weeks ago so I've scratched them from my list. Any other recommendations or companies to avoid would be great.

Budget wise I am looking for a more basic conversion, but safety is priority so reinforced bulkhead and emergency exit are a must. It's only for one 480kg horse so payload isn't a major concern although the potential to take a bigger horse down the line would be ideal. Obviously this is the first time I'm considering this so any other must have tips are also helpful.

Thanks :)

ETA: Midlands based would be a bonus - I've ruled out SW as it's just too far to travel.
 

scats

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11 September 2007
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I have an Equibabe. Absolutely love it. They sourced the van for me and did the conversion to my spec. Cost me £9.5k
 

Pippity

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Warrington
Equi-sport have been having issues recently with deaths in the family, telecoms issues, flooding, building a new office, and a whole host of other stuff. That said, their communication is never great.

I have one of their boxes. I went for all the safety and reinforcement options, which has left me with a hair over 1.1 tons as a payload. I'm generally pleased with the quality of the build and after-service. The ramp did have to be adjusted to get it to shut, but they just sent a mechanic to my yard and he fixed it there and then. That said, the ramp design in general isn't the greatest. (You twist a handle at the middle, which shoots the bolts home at both ends simultaneously. If the ramp isn't lined up perfectly, it won't lock. I think this may be a design flaw common to all conversions, though.)

They sourced the van for me (although it's apparently difficult to get hold of suitable vans atm, so that may delay you), and I was pleased that they fixed the advisories that came up when they MOTed it, rather than just doing enough to get it through the test.

Build times are long, but that's the case with most reputable builders. It took around five months from buying the van to picking it up.
 

AFB

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28 February 2017
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1,422
I have an Equibabe. Absolutely love it. They sourced the van for me and did the conversion to my spec. Cost me £9.5k
That's good to hear - do you mind me asking how long you've had yours and how old the van is/mileage?

Really try to compare between what's out there second hand as well.
 

AFB

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Joined
28 February 2017
Messages
1,422
Equi-sport have been having issues recently with deaths in the family, telecoms issues, flooding, building a new office, and a whole host of other stuff. That said, their communication is never great.

I have one of their boxes. I went for all the safety and reinforcement options, which has left me with a hair over 1.1 tons as a payload. I'm generally pleased with the quality of the build and after-service. The ramp did have to be adjusted to get it to shut, but they just sent a mechanic to my yard and he fixed it there and then. That said, the ramp design in general isn't the greatest. (You twist a handle at the middle, which shoots the bolts home at both ends simultaneously. If the ramp isn't lined up perfectly, it won't lock. I think this may be a design flaw common to all conversions, though.)

They sourced the van for me (although it's apparently difficult to get hold of suitable vans atm, so that may delay you), and I was pleased that they fixed the advisories that came up when they MOTed it, rather than just doing enough to get it through the test.

Build times are long, but that's the case with most reputable builders. It took around five months from buying the van to picking it up.
Yes I hope I didn't sound narky and I totally appreciate that they have more important things going on, it just doesn't fill me with confidence to hand over ££££'s to someone that I might not be able to get hold of if there's an issue. I'm not the most patient person so it would really get to me so probably best to avoid the stress!
 

chaps89

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8 July 2009
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5,648
Location
Surrey
I was talking to my mechanic about a new build van conversion the other day - he said the cost of just the van at the moment is mad and it sounded like finding a suitable base van might be as difficult as buying a nice horse right now.
That said, the second hand market seems pretty hot right now too so if you're not in a hurry it's probably not a bad way to go but you might find a conversion is a bit more expensive than it used to be given as the cost of the vehicle itself is also currently higher.
 

scats

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Joined
11 September 2007
Messages
6,087
That's good to hear - do you mind me asking how long you've had yours and how old the van is/mileage?

Really try to compare between what's out there second hand as well.
The van is 2005 and I’ve had it for 5 years now. It was quite high mileage when I got it- think it’s on about 115k but these vans tend to have quite busy lives prior to becoming horseboxes, so its quite normal for them to be higher mileage.
 
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