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levidated 22-11-2014 08:32

Engine size and buying advice - mobilvetta top driver 52
Hi everyone, I'm considering buying my first motorhome and would like some advice please.
The mobilvetta meets my criteria of compact size, four berth including four seat belts and within buget.

I have two main questions.

In 2000 Fiat supplied the top driver with three engine sizes to chose 1.9, 2.5 and 2.8. From this range which is the more desirable or reliable?

I'm viewing a mobivetta soon is there anything I should check / know issues with this model.

Thanks for any help.

bognormike 22-11-2014 09:02

engine-wise, the 1.9TD would be sufficient for the smaller vans, I had the peugeot version in my first van (an autocruise starfire). I had a 2.5TD in my 1999 Pilote Galaxy (3850kg) and it was a bit sluggish on hills etc, but was fine for cruising.

I think the 2.8td replaced the 2.5 version

trek 22-11-2014 09:31

As with any 2nd hand camper of this type of construction get a full damp check,

Check underneath exposed unprotected timber Where the wall timber frame joins the floor along both sides and across the rear

A friend had a driver 52 with the 2.8 engine from new it was the nearest thing to driving a sports car

I think most driver 52's came with the 1.9engine

The 1.9 turbo would be fine in a camper this small

TheNomad 22-11-2014 10:23

The old 2.5TD was the one which Fiat had been fitting into vans for the previous ten(?) years or so. From memory I thought they finally stopped fitting it to new vans in 1999.
Solid old lump to chug around with, but quite a lot of turbo problems with them nowadays, given their age.

The 2.8JTD that replaced the 2.5TD is/was a much better engine.
A lot more power, a lot more torque and comparatively better economy too.
My strong vote would be to go for the 2.8JTD engine. Many more spares around still too.

In all cases take it for a good long test drive, and work the gearbox a lot to ensure no jumping-out of 5th gear problems.
Make sure you get the thing up into top (5th) many times and then put your foot hard down to check for clutch slip too......many people have put engine oil that is too modern/thin into these old lumps (stick to 20/50 mineral oil and you'll be fine), and that causes the crankshaft oil seals to leak, which can then contaminate the clutch plates. Expensive.

Whatever you end up buying, make changing the gear box oil your first priority. On many such vans it's never ever been changed, and that can cause big gearbox failure issues.

peejay 22-11-2014 10:46


I had a 2000 Top Driver 52 from new (X635WRB, wonder if its still about?).

Mine was on the 2.8idtd and went like poo off the proverbial although as mentioned the 1.9 obviously wasn't as quick but would be adequate for such a small van. I didn't realise they did one with the 2.5 engine, must have been some of the very first ones.

The layout was great for us with one of the best kitchen layouts ever and compact dimensions that won us over.

Now the bad bits

About 18 months from new damp appeared in the rear corner by the locker door and all along the rear end of the floor and needed extensive warranty repairs to sort out.
Unfortunately about 6months later the damp was back again so we got a favourable trade in deal with another van from the same dealer and got rid.

Get a proper damp check and if its there - walk away.

Great van and we really liked it apart from the damp obviously. If it hadn't had that problem we would have kept it much longer.

The electric step (Project 2000) was another known problem for failing on these vans although ours was ok.

Check the foam in the dinette seating and the overcab bed, it was cheap and known to sag making it uncomfortable to sit and sleep on after a while.

All in all, a great little van at a great new price, but let down a bit (on ours) by dubious build quality, they cut corners to get that price imo, they sold very well though.

I think Knaus did one with a similar layout and compact length around that time if you can find one of them.


jo662 23-11-2014 13:45

Our first motorhome was a Mobilvetta top driver 52,it had the 1.9 diesel engine,which i found ok if not abit under powered.We liked this motorhome very much,but found it a little small.
The only thing wrong with ours was a damp smell in the rear locker,but no signs of any damp apart from the smell.And the gearbox had a tight to engage 2nd gear.
Was an ideal introduction into the world of motorhoming for us.

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