Newbie - intro and questions around Viking conversions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Andrew Berridge, Aug 5, 2020.

  1. Hi All,

    I'm new here! My family and I are considering a VW Bay Window camper. We are a family of 5! Children are ages 2, 11 and 15.

    First of all, I'd be interested to know what others' experiences are with touring with such a family.

    We don't mind using one pop up tent for the eldest, but would like to accommodate the others within the van.

    I'm particularly interested in the Viking conversions, for their extra sleeping space, but am put off by the dark and dated interior. I have also heard concerns around the safety of the Viking conversions, particularly with regards to the fact that most of the original roof of the van is cut away. Is this a valid concern?

    Has anyone modernised their Viking inside?

    What is a Bay window like as a practical touring van for a larger family?

    We hired one at the weekend, so we're not totally new to the experience. The one we hired didn't have any beds in the top and had a 3-quarter rock and roll. We found the 3/4 R&R bed a bit small, so would need a larger bed! However, we thought that the whole experience was a lot of fun!


    philntfc and paulcalf like this.
  2. I've had a Super Viking for many years, and toured France and Spain in it:thumbsup:

    2 kids in the roof ( and it will sleep four up there) and we were downstairs. Never really thought of the original interior as dark when in use, and liked the fact that we didn't worry about the odd bang or scrape as it got hard use.

    We've now modernised the interior to a full width R&R as it's more for just the two of us. I'll dig out some photos :)

    I absolutely love it :hug:
    Dicky, Andrew Berridge and paulcalf like this.
  3. With a pop up awning, it was fab as a touring set up.
  4. I don't have a Viking but I have a super Viking poptop and they are marvellous. Enough room for three teenagers up top plus their clothes etc. I would say that touring with a family of 5 is great unless it rains a lot, because there isn't a lot of room to move about 'downstairs'. You definitely want an awning if you are going to be spending much time in the rain.
    paulcalf likes this.
  5. I think @Dicky has a Viking roof & full width bed downstairs.

    A Viking sounds just the thing for your needs.
  6. Incidentally, long shot but does anyone happen to know how much a Super Viking roof weighs? The whole thing including the frame and bed base.
  7. The effect of cutting out the roof hole weakening the bus was emphasised by VW in a discussion with the likes of Devon back in the 70s as the Westfalia just used the factory sunroof hole so the roof has all its strengthening arches, and they were the 'approved' supplier of VW.
    But in the end they accepted the hole cut out if the bus had belly pans, and Devon became an approved supplier also.
    Belly pans these days are often permanently removed so you can see the rust coming and attack it rather than it all appearing as a disaster when the angle grinder finally goes in.

    So VW campers today with poptops on roofs with big holes in them happily go around without belly pans. Flexing bodywork has not really been a problem.

    One brilliant pastime is watching people in big white camper van boxes trash them on narrow gaps, or get stuck behind you following through a medieval French village, while you merrily drive through in your old VW, even with a poptop you dont even tower much above a big old Range Rover, and you are narrower than a lot of modern blobs.

    I have much more fun driving my bus than a modern car, challenging but rewarding once all the little issues are solved in the steering and suspension.
    Coda likes this.
  8. Full width downstairs :) 20190705_173313.jpg
    Dicky, Andrew Berridge and cunny44 like this.
  9. Didn't that chap who did South to North America in his Bay and vlogged it, buy a new Bay to drive it to Oz? His new Bay with a high top and a huge roof hole, I don't know much about the conversion but I thought he had body flexing problems? I gave up on the vlog after my broken leg got better and I bought my own Bus. But I did catch an episode recently that seemed imply exactly the problem that VW themselves were concerned about.
  10. we're a family of 4 with a large dog - we all sleep in the bus no issues; westy with rear hinge so a full width 6' long bed in the top. i changed the 3/4 r&r bed to be full width.

    viking has even more space in the roof than a westy
    Andrew Berridge likes this.
  11. Baysearcher

    Baysearcher [secret moderator]

    You lot are mad.
    We go away (me, the Mrs and a 5 year old) and I sleep in the awning.
    5 people inside a bus (to me) would be unbearable!
    Pickles, scrooge95, Gingerbus and 4 others like this.
  12. That’s Ben of Kombilife, his hightop had an even bigger hole than Devon cut and right down nearly to the gutters and back almost to the tailgate!
    He ended up putting extra strengthening loops in and seems ok now.
    Shouldn’t have that problem with a Viking .
    F_Pantos likes this.
  13. Kombi Life on YouTube?
    He put reinforcing into the roof as he was concerned about the flexing on the unpaved roads they would encounter. I am watching through them and am at the point where they are in Spain and I haven’t seen any further comments on flexing. Yet.
    F_Pantos likes this.
  14. It's great for 1 person, 2 at a push, couldn't imagine 5 without a huge awning to live in.
    scrooge95, F_Pantos and Baysearcher like this.
  15. Thanks guys! All useful info. My local dealer thinks he can find a decent Viking and would fit a custom interior. Let's see how that goes. Got lots of other options on the table at the moment including a modern motorhome. We are used to using an awning with our caravan....

    By the way @Fruitcake , I'm loving the R4! One of my other passions is the Mk1 Renault 5! I have several, including a Gordini Turbo :)

    Kruger likes this.
  16. Flexing is second only to their pure ugliness! :p
  17. I`d stick to the caravan , why would you want a small , slow , thirsty , unreliable 40 year old banger ;)

    Davipon, bernjb56 and Fruitcake like this.
  18. Thanks Lasty! My wife hates the caravan with a passion. The bus would replace a 1984 Rolls Royce. I'm trying to get the best of both worlds - a classic that I can enjoy as a classic and one that is genuinely useful to the family! But yes, it was nice, after hiring the bus at the weekend, to step into my quiet, air-conditioned, power-steering(d) Disco 4!
    Coda and Lasty like this.
  19. Baysearcher

    Baysearcher [secret moderator]

    I was going to say that with the market being as it is at the moment, you'll pay A LOT more through a "dealer" than through a private sale. Add a new interior (£1,000s) and you're in for a big spend.

    Then I noticed you drive a roller, so its probably irrelevant!
    Davipon and JamesLey like this.

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