Adria 660SL

Our first van.

Our first van.

Adria Corral 660SL
We had for years loved to camp and in our youth have owned a folding tent and a caravan but in those days we seemed more interested in work and our house and never really enjoyed the full delights of being away from the very things that kept us occupied.
Move on a good few years and here I am in my mid 50’s brain still thinks I am 21 but the body is showing all of the signs of the excesses of the previous 30 some years, it was on a camping trip to the Cotswolds that I realised rolling over on all fours to get up is not a pretty sight and so began the quest for a more senior style of camping.
We started looking at motorhomes in dealers and even visited the NEC, but what to buy? The NEC was a big mistake as it really showed that what we wanted in terms of features and build quality did not fit with our meagre budget, in fact our budget would not have been considered a deposit on some of the more prestigious marques.
I started to look at trade magazines and one day in June 2013 came across an advert for an Adria Corral 660SL, nothing unusual about that other than I passed this vehicle every day going to and from work and had always admired how the owner had looked after it as it was always clean and looked in good condition, a phone call and a few days later found us looking over the very same vehicle, a deal was done and we were soon to be the proud owners of our first motorhome.

Adria at Setthorns in the New Forest

Adria at Setthorns in the New Forest

The Corral 660SL is a traditional European layout with a half dinette and has high single beds over a large garage, the singles can be made into a huge double using the infill cushions with the half dinette making a transverse single despite the seating having two belted seats, so this was more a three than four berth vehicle, but more than ample for the two of us and our ageing dog.
Our Adria was a 2006 model based on the 2.8 litre Fiat Ducato, we had blown air heating, hot and cold running water a combined wash room toilet and separate shower, pure bliss who would ever want to be under canvass again. The kitchen was a simple affair three gas rings and a grill above a fridge, no more cool boxes for me, that could hold more beers, sorry food and essentials than you could imagine!

We made a trip to the South West and stayed at a number of sites in Cornwall and made our way back along the South Coast and decided to stop overnight in the New Forest at a site called Setthorns, well was this just the bee’s knees, what more could you want, sipping a cold beer sat under a canopy of trees watching the wild life just stroll by, this was to be the start of many visits to this particular camp site.

 

Adria at Setthorns in Winter

Adria at Setthorns in Winter

 

So was this our idea of pure bliss? Well not exactly, we soon realised that the high position of the singles was not the best of layouts for us, a visit to one camp site with a severe slope brought it home, after a late night/early morning visit to the bathroom when I came to understand the full effects of gravity on a mass. The step down from the bed when missed, coupled with the severe slope not levelled correctly with the blocks we had, resulted in a visit to the dashboard accompanied with a mild savaging from the now awake and very disgruntled dog!

We did however further develop a taste for what we already enjoyed but now it was posh camping and we were determined to explore and experience anything and everything we possibly could.
We cut our teeth in this van and on local sites and gained experience of the lifestyle it could offer and we were always planning where we would go next.

 

What did we change and what went wrong with Adria?

Well to be honest we loved Adria and had very few issues with her, we changed the tyres for new as the ones on her were the origional 2005 /2006 ones and were showing signs of cracking on the sidewalls. The only changes we made were to replace all of the halogen bulbs with LED types bought on the Internet! We covered around 5000 miles in the six months we had her and averaged about 22 or 23 to the gallon. One thing we were concerned with was how easily it was to overload the van, with a huge boot and storage space inside under the beds and over the cab we could easily exceeded the 3.5ton gross.

We initially had a problem with the engine management light coming on when we were on faster roads and making the van work, this was traced to a boost fault and with the help of some WD40 on the pivot arm on the vacuum cell to the wastegate of the turbocharger, once free and lubricated with a smear of copperslip all was good. I would think this was a common problem with this engine and the low mileage and use this type of vehicle normally has. For us this problem manifested itself very early on and once corrected we had no other mechanical issues with the vehicle at all.

What did we learn? Well lots and I am sure we will continue to learn as we get older and wiser.