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a new FN windsurfing van

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Created by FormulaNova 2 months ago, 26 Apr 2019
FormulaNova
NSW, 8894 posts
26 Apr 2019 10:19AM
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Just what we all need when the wind has run out... another windsurfing van thread!

Here is my Elgrand that I have had for about 9 months, and over that time I tried a few configurations, and this is what I came up with that meets my needs.

Its meant to fit at least 3 boards, a bunch of sails, a few booms, and the usual stuff that you carry when you go sailing. Its also designed so that I can camp in the back if its non sailing season (or I go kiting).



















You can fit 3 metres down the centre aisle, and with the front seat as far forward as it goes and tilted forward, I can fit 2.7m boards in, maybe a touch longer.

I had photos of it loaded up with 4 boards, 7 sails, masts and 2 booms, but I don't know what happened with them.

The best part about driving this van is that it is quiet, powerful, and comfortable. Its a 3.5L V6 and more than capable of keeping up with traffic.

The negatives are that they use more petrol than you would prefer, about 12 to 14L/100km, and that they don't handle as well as the other cars I have that are lowered. They have a soft comfortable suspension, but you don't drive through tight corners fast.

You can fit two passengers in it the way I have it setup, just not one next to you. Without the boards in it, you can obviously have a front seat passenger.

The side visibility is pretty good when loaded up as the mirrors in these things are excellent, but I prefer it when its unloaded as its even better visibility through the side windows. These things have rear view cameras as standard, but I have fitted reversing sensors as well.

Ian K
NSW, 2869 posts
26 Apr 2019 2:19PM
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That'd be the Highway Star model then? You can't go wrong, it's a Nissan.

FormulaNova
NSW, 8894 posts
26 Apr 2019 2:44PM
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Ian K said..
That'd be the Highway Star model then? You can't go wrong, it's a Nissan.


Hi Ian, yes, it's a highway star. I think most of them are and its hard to find the base base model, and the Rider ones are a little more expensive.

For some reason the majority of vans have light interiors, whereas the Riders often have black or dark ones, which look better.

This is the first Nissan that I have owned and I am impressed with the quality. Things just seem to be well engineered, and even when taking things apart and putting them back together again, they seem well setup.

For a 2003 van to have keyless entry and ignition its pretty good. A bit of the other tech stuff you have to remove as its in Japanese and doesn't work outside of Japan.

They do have a terrible fault with them though that can catch you out. They have 4 cat converters. A front one can start to break up and then block the rear one. Meanwhile the other side might not be blocked and the engine runs but with less power and ends up pumping the bits of the catalytic converter into the engine where it ruins it. I think Nissan should have engineered it so that the exhaust merged before the second catalytic converters, but I guess they never expected that sort of fault.

Still, cheap for what you get.

berowne
NSW, 282 posts
9 Jul 2019 8:37AM
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FormulaNova said..

Ian K said..
That'd be the Highway Star model then? You can't go wrong, it's a Nissan.



Hi Ian, yes, it's a highway star. I think most of them are and its hard to find the base base model, and the Rider ones are a little more expensive.

For some reason the majority of vans have light interiors, whereas the Riders often have black or dark ones, which look better.

This is the first Nissan that I have owned and I am impressed with the quality. Things just seem to be well engineered, and even when taking things apart and putting them back together again, they seem well setup.

For a 2003 van to have keyless entry and ignition its pretty good. A bit of the other tech stuff you have to remove as its in Japanese and doesn't work outside of Japan.

They do have a terrible fault with them though that can catch you out. They have 4 cat converters. A front one can start to break up and then block the rear one. Meanwhile the other side might not be blocked and the engine runs but with less power and ends up pumping the bits of the catalytic converter into the engine where it ruins it. I think Nissan should have engineered it so that the exhaust merged before the second catalytic converters, but I guess they never expected that sort of fault.

Still, cheap for what you get.


Good to know. Any other warnings for this type of van??

FormulaNova
NSW, 8894 posts
9 Jul 2019 9:12AM
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berowne said..
FormulaNova said..

Ian K said..
That'd be the Highway Star model then? You can't go wrong, it's a Nissan.



Hi Ian, yes, it's a highway star. I think most of them are and its hard to find the base base model, and the Rider ones are a little more expensive.

For some reason the majority of vans have light interiors, whereas the Riders often have black or dark ones, which look better.

This is the first Nissan that I have owned and I am impressed with the quality. Things just seem to be well engineered, and even when taking things apart and putting them back together again, they seem well setup.

For a 2003 van to have keyless entry and ignition its pretty good. A bit of the other tech stuff you have to remove as its in Japanese and doesn't work outside of Japan.

They do have a terrible fault with them though that can catch you out. They have 4 cat converters. A front one can start to break up and then block the rear one. Meanwhile the other side might not be blocked and the engine runs but with less power and ends up pumping the bits of the catalytic converter into the engine where it ruins it. I think Nissan should have engineered it so that the exhaust merged before the second catalytic converters, but I guess they never expected that sort of fault.

Still, cheap for what you get.


Good to know. Any other warnings for this type of van??


What I think is a problem is that you need to be aware that some dealers have been known to change the mileage on them. When they are auctioned in Japan they have good records as the registration system there keeps track of it. When they are imported into Australia, the mileage is not checked against anything, so some people have brought them in, wound back the odometer, and the van now has 60,000kms instead of 160,000 or 260,000kms. The benefit to the dealer is that the high mileage cars are very cheap at auction.

Similarly, dealers have imported the poorer quality vans and then fixed them up here and sold them for the same price as a good quality one.

I imported 3 of these, and went through the process myself, so the kilometers are genuine. Its a drawn out process, but you can save a bit of money if you are prepared to wait for the right van to come along at the right price.

I have seen vans that appear better than mine, yet are priced at the same as what it cost me to import mine. I am a bit unsure as to whether they have done something dodgy or if they are doing the compliance themselves. Compliance typically costs $2000 to $2500, so maybe they are including that cost as part of their deal?

The thing with the cat converters is easy to resolve. You just replace the last 2 cats with a set of straight through pipes, but if you ever buy one of these, check that this has been done or has hollowed out cats and if not, get it done ASAP. Some people never have the problem, others have it almost straight away. You can't even base this on the mileage either.

They also don't have cruise control as a common option. It's not that common in Japan, so you normally have to fit an aftermarket system.

They are good vans though, and so far I haven't found anything i don't like about them.

peterowensbabs
NSW, 164 posts
9 Jul 2019 9:16AM
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What do the controls on the back of the driving and passenger seats do Foxtell? Netflix?!

FormulaNova
NSW, 8894 posts
9 Jul 2019 9:53AM
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peterowensbabs said..
What do the controls on the back of the driving and passenger seats do Foxtell? Netflix?!


These things are setup so that the backseat passengers can watch TV on the drop down screen in the roof, as well as adjust their own aircon controls. It has dual zone aircon at the front, and a separate zone for the passengers in the back, and the remote can control this.

The remote also controls the stereo. I am sure they do other things, but they are in Japanese, so who knows!

Another downside is that a lot of things are in Japanese. Nothing really important though, but it would be nice if everything was also in English.


Oh yeah, I actually forgot this, but they have TV tuners built into the vans as a very common feature. They are no use in Australia, and probably no use in Japan now that they have gone digital TV too. The remote controls the TV too. Near where the TV module is hidden in the van, they also have a small 110v inverter. Again, not so useful, but I guess you could use it for a laptop charger or something similar low wattage that will run from a 100 - 110v supply.

The series 1 of these vans, 2002 to 2004/5 have an electric sliding door on the LHS. The series 2, 2005 to 2007ish, have electric doors on both sides, or at least mine did. Pretty cool that you can walk up to the van, press the remote and the sliding door opens up for you. That said, I get lazy and leave the remote in my pocket and use the proximity key. You press the button on the door and it unlocks as long as you are within a few feet of the van. I never cared about this feature before, but now I love it, and in a 2003 model van, I am pretty impressed.



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"a new FN windsurfing van" started by FormulaNova