We have had the Timberland Freedom now for five months and have done 8000 miles. In this time we have done two long trips one of 17 days and one of two months.
Due to ill health we had to downsize from a Laika A Class with a payload of 1050 kg to a LWB hightop van with a 470 kg payload. For the past 11 years (except 03) we have spent three or four months (Jan - April) away each winter. We needed a self contained van that would allow us to continue this life style. The Timberland Freedom seemed to fulfill our needs and the factory was conveniently situated only 30 minutes away.
FIAT BASE VEHICLE
The LWB Ducato 15 2.8 JTD is a pleasure to drive with very comfortable cab seating.The factory fitted optional extras we had fitted were Cruise Control, Mud Flaps and Reversing Sensors. The Fiat PDI left a lot to be desired. Faults noted on pick up were flashing airbag warning lights and the vehicle pulling to the left (tracking way out). Two days after pick up the cruise control on button stopped working.
We opted for the two single bed version of the Freedom. This meant a smaller fridge (60 litres) and no microwave (no great loss for us).
Both cab seats swivel, six foot sofa and two single seats. The forward facing dedicated seat (with lap seat belt) leaves a lot to be desired. For dining we have removed the fitted swinging arm table and converted the bed infill base to a table top used with a pedestal and tripod legs. This doubles for outside use as well.
Full domestic cooker. We manage without the additional worktop table which is not carried. Sink and drainer with mixer taps and water filter. The 60 litre fridge is situated below the sink unit.
is situated at the rear. Large drop down basin. Sitting on the loo is slightly cramped for the larger person. The shower compartment is more than adequate. We have the optional two way fan fitted which we would not be without.
We have the Eberspacher D2 Airtronic diesel heater. So far we are very happy with it. We were concerned about battery drain and noise, but it only uses 2-3 amps while up and running and the noise did not cause us any problems.
We have two 85 amp batteries fitted under the cab seats. They are connected to the main engine battery via a battery master and all three are kept topped up by the sixty watt solar panel situated on the roof. We have a 100 watt inverter for the laptop, charging the mobile phones and electric razor. We don't have a TV.
One 13 kg refillable bottle with an external filling point. This allows us to refill the bottle anywhere in Europe with the exception of Spain.
Adequate except for large bulky items like chairs/loungers. Because we already had them and needed the comfort of loungers over the winter we had a Sporty Trailers Back Box fitted. The van came equipped with saucepans, cutlery, melaware, thermal interior screens for the cab, warning triangle, gas bottle, colour coded roller blind and TV aerial. There were minor faults that showed up in the first couple of weeks. A manufacturing fault in a double glazed window and a small leak in the hot water system. The Eberspacher heater and timer were wired into the conversion 12 volt electrics which switch off when the engine is running. This meant the timer had to be reset every time you ran the engine and the heater could not be used while on the move. They have now been connected to a permanent 12 volt supply and all is well. We would have liked an extractor fan in the kitchen area and hanging space for towels in the toilet compartment. Overall we are very happy with the comfort and the convenience of the facilities. We have not missed the “Ballroom” space of the last van. We like the ability to park more easily, use narrow roads and streets and rather like the large sliding “Patio” door.
The downsizing went far better than we dared hope for and a very big bonus is our fuel bill has halved.
Factory standard layout
FOUR YEARS ON
Our Timberland Freedom 11 was four years old on the 1st June 2007.
We have had no major problems with the base vehicle or on habitation side.
Minor faults were fixed at the factory as we live just over the Humber.
Fiat Ducato LWB 2.8 jtd.
Only one problem, front off side wheel bearing had to be replaced at 44,600 miles.
New tyres fitted at 47,000 miles. Brake pads have still plenty of life left in them.
Cam belt, tensioners and alternator belt replaced at 47,500 miles
Other than that it was just routine servicing. No oil used between services.
We had a Van Aaken Smart Box fitted that increased the BHP from 128 to 147.
Van Bitz Battery Master this allows the solar panel to charge engine &
We had the van up rated from 3300kg to 3500kg. This was a paper exercise carried out by SV Tech. It cost us £200 for the certification, no mods were needed on the vehicle. We did not change the axle weights as they were adequate for our needs but when fully loaded for our long winter trips we were very close to the 3300kg limit. It was done really for peace of mind.
Timberland Freedom 11 Twin bedded version.
No major problems but a minor inconvenience is the fridge has to be removed to be serviced as there is no lower fridge vent due to the fridge fitting over the wheel arch.
The waste pipe from the tip up basin split and had to be replaced.
Facia on the control unit had to be replaced as we were unable to read the symbols.
The shower compartment tray had to be replaced due to too much flexing in the floor.
We removed the swinging arm table system, for us it was as about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike. Just our opinion of course. We use a tripod and pedestal leg (two sizes) and we use the bed board as a table and we also have a small circular table for drinks etc. The system can be used inside and out. We don't carry any other table tops at all. The bed board/table is secured in the shower compartment against the gas locker wall.
We had to make a trap door in the bottom of the wardrobe so we could get the gas bottle (13kg) into the gas locker.
Extras added after purchase
Remis cab blinds.
Silver Screens Solar View.
Sun Blocker side & front for use with roller blind/awning.
Full length aluminium back box.
60 watt solar panel
Refillable gas bottle with an external filling point.
Two 100 AH Elecsol batteries replacing the 85 AH batteries fitted.
We did have problems in the shower compartment, the tray had to be replaced due to cracks around the plug hole.
The other problem was self inflicted where we used tensioners over the sink unit to hold towels. This caused the sealant to come away in places. We have now done a couple of mods and the factory resealed the compartment for us.
All in all we are very pleased with the van, we did not have too many problems downsizing from a Liaka A Class Ecovip 400i at 4200kgs.
Don Madge ©2007