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It happened - change from T6 Ocean to Grand California 600

Eber123

Eber123

Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
1,192
Location
Kilcock, Kildare, Ireland
Vehicle
Grand California 600
So far it was a long week and an even longer day (well, yesterday). But it is done - we changed our T6 Ocean against a Grand California 600.

What happened....?

Well, I don't know really. Everything happened very fast.

We got our T6 Ocean in November 2017 and were happy with the camper. We got a lot of accessories and to make it more practical and used it in various countries in Europe (and of course in Ireland). It was my daily drive used to go to work, shopping or day trips.

Because of the pandemic we had a long break using the camper (as everybody else). The travel restrictions, at least for Ireland, changed and we were allowed to travel. So of we went. Our first trip after almost 13x months was to Killarney for a few days and after that up to Norther Ireland for another few days.

But there was no real enjoyment coming up. Everything felt so, hm, cumbersome. Making the beds in the evening, taking down the beds in the morning, bending down to get something out of the drawers for breakfast or so, get into the wardrobe to get something out. Strangely it was not as it use to be. If felt as there was no room to move. So we decided that the time has come to get a bigger vehicle.

It seems that in Ireland there are only about 3x bigger motorhome dealers. We visited a few of them or gave them a call. But as expected there where no camper vans available (almost none) in the entire state. So, just to get some information we decided last week to contact our VW dealer. The choice was either a Buerstner or Hymer or something like that or a Grand California. I was interested in the Grand California 680, but had never seen one. So I asked if there is one in Ireland. There was one but with the steering wheel on the left side. So no option for us. But our dealer had several GC 600 on stock. So we had a good look and test (drive) that day (it was Wednesday last week).
My wife was not in favour of the GC 680 because it is rather long. She preferred the GC 600 even though it is a bit higher (just only 14 cm, but I think it looks much higher). That day later in the afternoon we discussed the options and we made the decision to get one of the GC 600 in white. The plan is to wrap it and get the design it the way we like.

Today (well, better to say yesterday) we collected the camper! Well, it was an exciting morning. We went for a short drive afterwards and started the setup later in the afternoon. Water, gas, electricity, We Connect, toilet, etc. Water (cold and warm) is checked. I wanted to check the heating too, but I forgot. It was too late.

So that is the story. Friday we are off to Glencolumbkille in Donegal for a few days. We plan to use the recommended overnight parking lots. Now I am totally exhausted, time for bed. I will put up some pictures of the camper after we have it wrapped.

Happy Grand California
Eberhard

PS
During the next days I will put up some first impressions. Now it is too late.
 
Great, but will it also be used as a daily driver? Can you use it to move stuff etc or have you solved that another way?
 
Congratulations, we are finding that we are getting a lot more use out of our Grand than the California. We are also wild camping a lot more. I’m sure you will love it.
 
Lucky you. They do look great vans.
…and you already know….we like photos.
 
Great, but will it also be used as a daily driver? Can you use it to move stuff etc or have you solved that another way?
That will be one of the biggest changes - use of the camper as a daily drive.

The plan is to use it as much as possible, everywhere where I can park it safely. For example shopping going for a walk with the dog etc. But there will be also many places I simply cannot use it anymore. For that I will use the Corrolla. As long as my wife is working from home I can't see a problem with this. As soon as she is going back to work more forward planing is needed.

Beside that I am rather happy with the change. If I have my reservations I think of the huge gain in the camping improvements we can enjoy.

Happy Grand California
Eberhard
 
Congratulations, we are finding that we are getting a lot more use out of our Grand than the California. We are also wild camping a lot more. I’m sure you will love it.
I had a look at Park4Night for example. There are so many places that seems to be useable for overnight parking that we will be busy for a long time. The plan is to be out more and take more advantage of the camper. So it was important for us that the "camping mode" is more relaxing and easier as with the Ocean (but I must stress, the Ocean was a wonderful vehicle).

Happy busy California
Eberhard
 
Great, but will it also be used as a daily driver? Can you use it to move stuff etc or have you solved that another way?
they are not meant to be a daily drive.
 
I had a look at Park4Night for example. There are so many places that seems to be useable for overnight parking that we will be busy for a long time. The plan is to be out more and take more advantage of the camper. So it was important for us that the "camping mode" is more relaxing and easier as with the Ocean (but I must stress, the Ocean was a wonderful vehicle).

Happy busy California
Eberhard
I spent a month travelling around Ireland doing the wild Atlantic way, pretty much stealth camped everywhere.
Ireland has so much space and so little camper vans/motor homes.
Apart from ring of Kerry but if you head 5mins up into the mountains (mangerton mountain) very quiet spent a few days up there and hike up was great. Another good mountain one is Mount Errigal, stunning views.
Great memories and will never forget watching the dolphins from loophead lighthouse cliff tops.
I did go in April so maybe busier later in the year, atleast having no pop top now you don’t have to worry about that WIND!
:thumb
 
they are not meant to be a daily drive.
Yes, but I don't want to leave the vehicle in the drive way not used. Beside the height the vehicle is the size of a standard delivery van. And those van's will be used all the time.

But we will see. One of the Ocean's strengths was the option to use it as a daily drive (even though my insurance company didn't like this at all) but then the camping mode caused us so many problems (it seems that age finally caught up with us). With the GC 600 we expect a huge improvement using the vehicle as a camper, but there is no denying it is very big, maybe too big for daily drive.

Happy California,
Eberhard
 
Talking about Grand Californias ...

As mentioned above we plan to get it wrapped and designed a bit different than the normal 2tone VW Calfornia.

I googled a bit to find some insperations and ideas of how we can design the wrapping. If you know a good web page with pictures of Californias (or motorhomes in general) with interesting wrapping please let me know.

Happy looking California,
Eberhard
 
Talking about Grand Californias ...

As mentioned above we plan to get it wrapped and designed a bit different than the normal 2tone VW Calfornia.

I googled a bit to find some insperations and ideas of how we can design the wrapping. If you know a good web page with pictures of Californias (or motorhomes in general) with interesting wrapping please let me know.

Happy looking California,
Eberhard
A starting point


If travel and cost aren't a total constraint you could go to these people.

 
Last edited:
Talking about Grand Californias ...

As mentioned above we plan to get it wrapped and designed a bit different than the normal 2tone VW Calfornia.

I googled a bit to find some insperations and ideas of how we can design the wrapping. If you know a good web page with pictures of Californias (or motorhomes in general) with interesting wrapping please let me know.

Happy looking California,
Eberhard
A52B8D43-A35D-454B-BCF3-DA70FBF3166C.pngI love the mountain ones people do, thought about doing that to new joker
 
So far it was a long week and an even longer day (well, yesterday). But it is done - we changed our T6 Ocean against a Grand California 600.

What happened....?

Well, I don't know really. Everything happened very fast.

We got our T6 Ocean in November 2017 and were happy with the camper. We got a lot of accessories and to make it more practical and used it in various countries in Europe (and of course in Ireland). It was my daily drive used to go to work, shopping or day trips.

Because of the pandemic we had a long break using the camper (as everybody else). The travel restrictions, at least for Ireland, changed and we were allowed to travel. So of we went. Our first trip after almost 13x months was to Killarney for a few days and after that up to Norther Ireland for another few days.

But there was no real enjoyment coming up. Everything felt so, hm, cumbersome. Making the beds in the evening, taking down the beds in the morning, bending down to get something out of the drawers for breakfast or so, get into the wardrobe to get something out. Strangely it was not as it use to be. If felt as there was no room to move. So we decided that the time has come to get a bigger vehicle.

It seems that in Ireland there are only about 3x bigger motorhome dealers. We visited a few of them or gave them a call. But as expected there where no camper vans available (almost none) in the entire state. So, just to get some information we decided last week to contact our VW dealer. The choice was either a Buerstner or Hymer or something like that or a Grand California. I was interested in the Grand California 680, but had never seen one. So I asked if there is one in Ireland. There was one but with the steering wheel on the left side. So no option for us. But our dealer had several GC 600 on stock. So we had a good look and test (drive) that day (it was Wednesday last week).
My wife was not in favour of the GC 680 because it is rather long. She preferred the GC 600 even though it is a bit higher (just only 14 cm, but I think it looks much higher). That day later in the afternoon we discussed the options and we made the decision to get one of the GC 600 in white. The plan is to wrap it and get the design it the way we like.

Today (well, better to say yesterday) we collected the camper! Well, it was an exciting morning. We went for a short drive afterwards and started the setup later in the afternoon. Water, gas, electricity, We Connect, toilet, etc. Water (cold and warm) is checked. I wanted to check the heating too, but I forgot. It was too late.

So that is the story. Friday we are off to Glencolumbkille in Donegal for a few days. We plan to use the recommended overnight parking lots. Now I am totally exhausted, time for bed. I will put up some pictures of the camper after we have it wrapped.

Happy Grand California
Eberhard

PS
During the next days I will put up some first impressions. Now it is too late.
Congratulations we hope you’ll have great enjoyment and safe travels in it.
 
So far it was a long week and an even longer day (well, yesterday). But it is done - we changed our T6 Ocean against a Grand California 600.

What happened....?

Well, I don't know really. Everything happened very fast.

We got our T6 Ocean in November 2017 and were happy with the camper. We got a lot of accessories and to make it more practical and used it in various countries in Europe (and of course in Ireland). It was my daily drive used to go to work, shopping or day trips.

Because of the pandemic we had a long break using the camper (as everybody else). The travel restrictions, at least for Ireland, changed and we were allowed to travel. So of we went. Our first trip after almost 13x months was to Killarney for a few days and after that up to Norther Ireland for another few days.

But there was no real enjoyment coming up. Everything felt so, hm, cumbersome. Making the beds in the evening, taking down the beds in the morning, bending down to get something out of the drawers for breakfast or so, get into the wardrobe to get something out. Strangely it was not as it use to be. If felt as there was no room to move. So we decided that the time has come to get a bigger vehicle.

It seems that in Ireland there are only about 3x bigger motorhome dealers. We visited a few of them or gave them a call. But as expected there where no camper vans available (almost none) in the entire state. So, just to get some information we decided last week to contact our VW dealer. The choice was either a Buerstner or Hymer or something like that or a Grand California. I was interested in the Grand California 680, but had never seen one. So I asked if there is one in Ireland. There was one but with the steering wheel on the left side. So no option for us. But our dealer had several GC 600 on stock. So we had a good look and test (drive) that day (it was Wednesday last week).
My wife was not in favour of the GC 680 because it is rather long. She preferred the GC 600 even though it is a bit higher (just only 14 cm, but I think it looks much higher). That day later in the afternoon we discussed the options and we made the decision to get one of the GC 600 in white. The plan is to wrap it and get the design it the way we like.

Today (well, better to say yesterday) we collected the camper! Well, it was an exciting morning. We went for a short drive afterwards and started the setup later in the afternoon. Water, gas, electricity, We Connect, toilet, etc. Water (cold and warm) is checked. I wanted to check the heating too, but I forgot. It was too late.

So that is the story. Friday we are off to Glencolumbkille in Donegal for a few days. We plan to use the recommended overnight parking lots. Now I am totally exhausted, time for bed. I will put up some pictures of the camper after we have it wrapped.

Happy Grand California
Eberhard

PS
During the next days I will put up some first impressions. Now it is too late.
Good for you, we had similar issues with out T6 Cali Ocean 12 months old. We could not cope with the limitations of gave us anymore. We have not got a Crafter Hopton from Hillside
 
Preparation and loading has been done for our first trip to Donegal tomorrow. We can't wait. The bed seems comfortable, but of course we only will know on Saturday morning how well we slept. :)

But even though everything is bigger we need to work on our "camping workflow" which includes the dog. I hope she feels well in the camper too.

During the preparation I found out that the front skylight didn't open very much and that the back skylight didn't open at all. It is not a problem for the next days, but I will go back to the VW dealer to get this checked. I had a look in the hand book but it seems to be straight forward. So there must be something wrong.

Also I found out that it seems that the camper has not VW alarm system. I was shocked! I expected that a vehicle in this price class comes with a car alarm from the manufacturer. I asked the VW sales person by email and can't wait what he hast to say. About this I am not happy (to say the least).

Beside that we are very exited for our first trip. The weather forecast seems to be ok (kind of) but we plan to be back on Sunday anyway. When we are back I will give a short update about our first trip, the issue with the skylights and the car alarm :mad:

Happy travel and secure California
Eberhard
 
Preparation and loading has been done for our first trip to Donegal tomorrow. We can't wait. The bed seems comfortable, but of course we only will know on Saturday morning how well we slept. :)

But even though everything is bigger we need to work on our "camping workflow" which includes the dog. I hope she feels well in the camper too.

During the preparation I found out that the front skylight didn't open very much and that the back skylight didn't open at all. It is not a problem for the next days, but I will go back to the VW dealer to get this checked. I had a look in the hand book but it seems to be straight forward. So there must be something wrong.

Also I found out that it seems that the camper has not VW alarm system. I was shocked! I expected that a vehicle in this price class comes with a car alarm from the manufacturer. I asked the VW sales person by email and can't wait what he hast to say. About this I am not happy (to say the least).

Beside that we are very exited for our first trip. The weather forecast seems to be ok (kind of) but we plan to be back on Sunday anyway. When we are back I will give a short update about our first trip, the issue with the skylights and the car alarm :mad:

Happy travel and secure California
Eberhard
Are you sure your GC has no alarm as the UK has a CAT 1 alarm fitted.
 
I am not 100% sure. On the drivers side there is the blinking LED (the same as it was in my Ocean) but at the B pillar there is no button to switch off the internal alarm (in the plastic cover is space for the button, but covered with plastic).

I went into the camper yesterday. Locked the camper with the remote control (while I was inside). Even though I was inside for about 2 minutes, the alarm was not triggered (motion sensor). So I opened the driver's door (while the camper still was locked) and no alarm.

I wait to see what my VW dealer will come back to me

Regards,
Eberhard
 
I am not 100% sure. On the drivers side there is the blinking LED (the same as it was in my Ocean) but at the B pillar there is no button to switch off the internal alarm (in the plastic cover is space for the button, but covered with plastic).

I went into the camper yesterday. Locked the camper with the remote control (while I was inside). Even though I was inside for about 2 minutes, the alarm was not triggered (motion sensor). So I opened the driver's door (while the camper still was locked) and no alarm.

I wait to see what my VW dealer will come back to me

Regards,
Eberhard
If you managed to open the door from inside, the van was not deadlocked. Alarm is only set when deadlocked?
 
Normally the camper will be locked with one press of the button of the remote control. I was the opinion that at that point the alarm system is active. I had a brief look at the manual and it seems that way.

Even with the presence of the little LED at the door I believe there is no alarm. This is a problem. Yes, I didn't ask specifically if the camper has an alarm, because I was so convinced it has one.

The next step is to see what my dealer has to say. If he deals with it easily or if he said tough luck. Even if he said we retrofit one, I have to ensure that a good alarm system will go in and not the cheapest one.

It is a bit messy.

Never the less, we are off in 10 minutes and will enjoy the weekend (I assume nobody will steahl the camper while we are inside :)) and sort the rest out next week.

Happy traveling California,
Eberhard
 
Look up Safelock in the manual.

I can never remember which way round it is whether safe lock is deadlocked or not deadlocked, but it sounds like you have it switched the other way to normal ie in "ferry" mode.

One press of the button should have deadlocked the van, if you managed to open the door from the inside then the deadlocks were not applied.

As I said before, if deadlocks are not on, the movement sensors on the van won't be on - ie the alarm won't sound.
 
Normally the camper will be locked with one press of the button of the remote control. I was the opinion that at that point the alarm system is active. I had a brief look at the manual and it seems that way.

Even with the presence of the little LED at the door I believe there is no alarm. This is a problem. Yes, I didn't ask specifically if the camper has an alarm, because I was so convinced it has one.

The next step is to see what my dealer has to say. If he deals with it easily or if he said tough luck. Even if he said we retrofit one, I have to ensure that a good alarm system will go in and not the cheapest one.

It is a bit messy.

Never the less, we are off in 10 minutes and will enjoy the weekend (I assume nobody will steahl the camper while we are inside :)) and sort the rest out next week.

Happy traveling California,
Eberhard
Morning you have a MY 2021 with the new infotainment head unit the button on the B pillar was removed an relocated to the menu within the head unit, this i know as whilst travelling the Scottish Isles I needed to turn off the internal alarm, check in there. My alarm works as it was activated on the ferry’s
 
Good afternoon,

We are back from Donegal. While we were out and about I got an email from my VW dealer to confirm that my GC 600 has no car alarm. The LED on the driver's door is for the immobilizer.

"Alarm systems are not a requirement in the Irish market just the immobilizer system." :oops:

I rang Pandora Car Alarm to make an appointment to install "Pandora Camper mini". At the end it is a far better product as the standard VW alarm.

Just some feedback about our trip:

Driving
The GC drives wonderfully, I love it. The automatic is brilliant, power more than enough, steering nice especially if one has to manoever in narrow places or twisty bendy roads.
What hurts (even though expected) the GC 600 burns 10.5 l diesel. That is quite a lot. That means I must refeuel latest about 620 km.

Bed
Brilliant, so much better as in the Ocean. In the Ocean I had every morning pain in the back, not after the 2x nights in Dongeal. I love it.

Wetroom
Well, in theory it works fine, in practise I believe something is not ok. After a shower there was water outside. The SOG System in the wee cabinet is wet inside. I can't believe this is ok. I got up at night at about 4 am to look after the dog, there was some water on the floor also (no, it was not the dog). Also during a shower the water stopped several times. Water pressure was not that great either (I don't expect the same as at home, but a wee bit more).

Is it wet in your wee cabinet in the wetroom?

Kitchen
The gas cooker is good, better as in the Ocean. The sink was ok, but no water pressure on the tap, but it dripped.

Storage
I feel that storage is no practical in the GC. There is no much room in the boxes and storage in the kitchen is restricted.

Practicallity
Well, VW had a good idea to build the GC on a Crafter. The van itself very good. The rest there is so much room for improvements. For instance:
The USB sockets at the end of the bed. Firstly it is only for one person and when the cable is pluged in, it can be easily be damanged. Why is there not another USB plug beside the kitchen?
There is room to add bags to the wall for spices or other small things or for a kichen role.

Windows
The windows are ok.
We have the problem that the front skylite only opens about 5 cm (how far does your skylite open?). The back skylite does not open at all.

Just my first impressions. Beside that it is a brilliant camper. Many people stopped and asked us about the vehicle. The possiblity to have all facility in the camper gives us so much more opportunities. We love this.

The camper will go to VW next week Tuesday and the following week to get the alarm installed. Either in between or afterwards we will be out and about again.

Happy free California,
Eberhard
 
@Eber123 thanks for the update and feedback from your first trip. I’ve been curious to hear how it went. Probably also because I switched from an Ocean to an Eriba - initially with a Kombi as tow vehicle but switched to a Beach Camper when that became available in the UK.
I love the Cali Ocean, but for different reasons, also found I was not enjoying it as much as I should. As a daily driver it is fab.
My new set up seems to tick all the boxes so far. I hope you get the (relatively minor) issues sorted and can continue to enjoy camping with your wife and dog.
 
I am puzzled about your rear skylight as in our 600 GC it opens up fully. Our front skylight - opens up way more than 5 cms, it opens up to approximately 30 cms.
I think you need to get them to check the tap pressure of the sink as in ours it is fine. We are really enjoying the GC - we had our California for 11 years and loved that too but it is great to have a toilet and shower on board. We have just come back from 9 days in Cornwall where we had lots of rain, grey skies. The solar panel was brilliant as it kept topping up the battery we had no electrical hook up. Hopefully the dealer will sort out the issues with your van - happy camping.
 
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