Antecdent

Over seven years we had forged a new travelling lifestyle blessed with time, health and the means to enjoy it. Chief amongst our assets was our beloved Fiat Murvi Morello campervan. In our ownership it had travelled 41,000 miles, supported us on over 900 nights and it had evolved to meet our requirements. Additionally I found part of the fun of the lifestyle was keeping abreast of technological developments and looking to see what improvements could be made to our ‘van.

Ultimately opportunities for improvement become constrained and the biggest hurdle for us was the size of the base vehicle. Some years after we had acquired our van Murvi added the Fiat Ducato LWBXL to the list of vehicles they would convert creating the Morello XL. As increasing numbers of these ‘vans made their appearance at Murvi Club events I realised we needed one.

Choices, choices

Once we had decided that we would get a Fiat Murvi Morello XL, the first decision of the many that had to be taken was that once again the standard steel suspension would be replaced with a VB FullAir 4C system with auto-levelling installed by the Tiverton based Courtside Conversions Ltd. For us this was a fundamental step in the transition to a Morello XL.

Over many weeks and months both Fiat and Murvi options lists were researched and debated before a schedule of extras was compiled. In addition choices for fabrics and interior finishes also had to be made.

One of the advantages of choosing a Murvi is their willingness to discuss a prospective owner’s requirements and find ways of accommodating them if possible. To this end one technological development I had become interested in was the growth in the use of LiFePO4 (LFP) battery technology. After much discussion Murvi agreed to fit a LFP battery system and this was to become the enabler for a change to a compressor fridge.

Objectives

In our first seven years of travelling we had grown to enjoy leaving the ‘beaten track’ and increasing our self-sufficiency. Of the resources needed to sustain ourselves LPG could occasionally be difficult to obtain. So this time around we wanted to eliminate our biggest consumer of LPG by changing the fridge technology from absorption to compressor. This also drove a need to improve autonomy with regard to 12v power which was addressed by LFP battery technology and twin solar panels.

Increasing environmental awareness also prompted a decision to deliberately delay the ordering of the Fiat Ducato base vehicle until Euro VI engines became available. Individually we will not make much difference but at least we have done our bit.

First impressions

Once we finally collected our new Morello XL it soon became clear that the seven plus years since we acquired our original Morello had not been wasted by the manufacturers of all the components which make up our ‘van.  Much product development became evident as we started using each component. Immediately obvious is that on the road the engine is more refined but a lack of miles prevents a true assessment of power delivery just yet, a smoother ride is being delivered through a change in rubber compounds used for the suspension and the Webasto Dual Top has been tamed.

To be continued …

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