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  Owner Review - Hymer B584

 
 

1997 Hymer 584 on Fiat Ducato 14 2.5TD

After 20 years camping and caravanning we realised that we were becoming more and more ‘nomadic’ staying a maximum of 2 nights on any one site then moving on.  Packing up, emptying waste and clean water and hooking-up on a regular basis was becoming a strain and touring with the car meant you had to return to base, so we sold car and caravan and bought our first Motorhome.  Since then we have had 3 vans changing our original ’92 Swift Kontiki which was seriously underpowered to a Fiat LWB I.H.Campervan which we found too cramped especially in foul weather.  Bed-making was a hassle in both vehicles plus the fact that once the beds were assembled there was no other seating except in the cab area. 

We spotted a good second-hand Hymer B584 that gave us back the space we needed plus the over-head cab ready-made pull-down bed which still left loads of room if either of us wanted an early night or get up early and have somewhere to sit.  We also found that the Hymer scored well in the design and quality of the upholstery where you can sit comfortably for extended periods.  Both cab seats rotate which gives you a massive lounge area around the dining table, which extends allowing 4 to eat comfortably and all this in a vehicle 6 metres long.

I have made a few modifications (like you do) to this vehicle.  The first was to sort the radio that was not accessible once the pull-down bed was in place.  I fitted a further radio under the TV cupboard – see picture right:

This was fitted directly below the TV locker and does allow the handset to operate from the cab bed if you are double-jointed and into Yoga!  I did fit additional speakers as you can see on the left of the pic’ - I found the existing 3” enclosed speakers unsuitable.

Although there are loads of cupboards for storage, we found (like others have mentioned in postings) that there was no ‘crockery’ storage fitting.  We purchased a plastic fitting (Pic.left below) from Countrywide Leisure Renishaw (now gone) and ‘doctored it’ to fit one of the rear cupboards utilising a shelf divider for a back panel (Pic. centre left).  Towels are tucked around all the pots and crockery during travel and I have carpeted most locker areas.

The pullout basket drawer posed a problem in standing-up sauces and condiments.  I got round this problem (Pic.centre right) by using ‘Tubigrip’ flexible bandage (unused from a previous ailment!) as you see below.  Also in (Pic.centre right below) note the use of the waste bin for holding bleach, washing up liquid and fly spray Etc. 

We found the rubberised non-slip webbing brilliant for place mats and cupboards (Pic. left above) and note the ‘DustBug’ vac’ fitted below table area with ‘night lite’ plug-in but its mains only.  There is a large wasted space to the right of the driver under the front right storage/charger cupboards (Pic.centre left above) this now holds the trolley jack, water hose and other bits.  I fitted a length of 1x1” timber to keep the jack from moving and will eventually fit a lift-out panel to tidy this area.

I have recently fitted an additional 110-amp battery (Pic.centre right above) and it does make an amazing difference to extended wild camping.  There is still work to do in this area like fitting protective terminal covers to the new battery terminal posts, which I have bolted through. The area is covered with the small plastic picnic tabletop, which conveniently slots over and around both batteries but I intend fitting a spill tray and will allow ventilation to this area.  I have been carrying out regular checks on both batteries since and have found that they are both charging equally.  If you spot any glaring faults please let me know. 

The last picture above shows the digi’ box at the top which is powered by the 300 watt inverter below that converts the van’s 12v DC to 230v AC.  The inverter is fan cooled so the locker has to be kept ‘ajar’.  I have since learnt that the inverter should be as close as possible to the leisure battery so may move eventually but up to now have not had any problems and don’t like the thought of introducing more mains cabling around the van.  A Kerstan sat’ dish and suction base is stored here together with the sat’ finder and compass (when we’re really flush we’ll have an auto job).  The lower cupboard holds CD’s, Videotapes,  playing cards and the cab radio front plate.

Because the Hymer has no fitted topbox or ladder and measures just 6 metres (new models are a bit longer) I was loath to increase the overall length so I bought the ladder you see  (Pic.8) for 39 from Wickes and this is kept in the shower cubicle suitably fastened during travel.  This allows me to place the Sat’ dish anywhere on the top of the van and is useful for cleaning the top of the van. We were pitched on my brother’s back garden in Kermadec when I took this photo.  Newer Hymers now have a double step so you don’t need to carry an additional step.

Have you ever had to change a bulb in the rear lamp cluster? I had noticed green mould appearing under the Perspex surround (Pic.9) so I removed the 4 screws and withdrew the cluster to find that the bulbs were totally enclosed.  The cluster has to be split apart to get to the bulbs and water had got between the 2 mating perimeter faces allowing algae to form a very efficient bond which took 45 minutes to carefully separate with a table knife.  I have used white flexible sealant around the top of both clusters that should strip off when required.

I hope you have found something interesting in this article.

Vin   ( vin-rigby@tiscali.co.uk )


The Reviews

These reviews are all presented as long pages but at least you can read or print the entire article without having to follow several links!


Terminology

A-Class; a fully integrated body built on a commercial chassis or 'cowl cab'. Often has a drop down double bed in the cab roof. Somewhat confusingly Hymer refer to their A-Class models as B-Class and S-Class!

Reversing aids; these come in four varieties. 1. Rear view cameras - a tiny video camera attached to the back of the vehicle and feeding a picture to a small monitor on the dashboard. 2. Parking mates - ultrasonic sensors set in the rear bumper with a bleeper and possibly distance indicator in the cab. 3. Clear views - Fresnel lenses that act as magnifiers and also see round corners to some extent, they are attached to the back window. The long distance to the back window in a motorhome make them less effective here than in a shorter vehicle like a 4x4. All these devices are a great help since it is often quite impossible to see behind motorhomes. And No 4? - a helpful passenger standing behind the vehicle to direct operations!

Oven as an extra; few continental motorhomes come with ovens and grills as standard.

Fly screen; a fine mesh screen built into the window blinds for example to keep out flies and most mosquitoes while the window is open.

3-way fridge; one that works on 230v 'mains' when 'hooked up', on lpg gas when no mains is available and on 12v from the 'van while travelling.


To access the Hymer website click here.

 

 


 
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