Unsung Heroes : Leyland-DAF/LDV 400 – vantastic success!

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

A variation on a theme of our popular Unsung Heroes section.

This time we pay respect to what was once ‘The biggest selling and biggest sized van in the UK’.

Words: Mike Humble


It’s Britain’s biggest van!

Leyland DAF turned a worthy but tarnished Freight Rover into a global winner.

Funny as it seems, but to feature a commercial vehicle in the ‘Unsung Heroes’ section actually makes perfect sense. Firstly, the Leyland-DAF/LDV 400 sold in epic numbers from its launch, right through to its deletion; and secondly, it’s British almost to the core. Of course, the biggest selling van in the UK is the Ford Transit, but what’s interesting is the way the two biggest selling vans intertwined in engineering terms for some years.

The 400-Series van has its roots well and truly buried in the British Leyland/Austin Rover era, when the light commercial division was re-named Freight-Rover. The new marque operated under the wing of Leyland Vehicles, following the shake up of group divisions during Sir Michael Edwardes’ reign over BL. Leyland bus was sold to the management, while the truck division was sold off and merged into the mighty DAF B.V concern of Eindhoven in the Netherlands (Rover Group maintained a 40% shareholding).

This made perfect business sense, as DAF had no product under 16-ton in the UK, nor did it have any light commercial vehicle in the range in mainland Europe. The subsequent merge created the largest range of commercial vehicles on the market – ranging from 1.5- to 38-tonnes along with a specialist division. The largest van became the Leyland-DAF 400-Series.

Immediately, and with considerable capital investment, the Sherpa 350 was re-engineered to feature two new diesel engine options from Peugeot – the non turbo EN55, and turbocharged ET70 both 2.5-litre. The 2.0-litre petrol O-Series version (in low compression tune) remained in production alongside the V8 3.5-litre, which was aimed at the emergency services market.

Leyland-DAF was quite keen to prove how robust this new Peugeot driveline was with a series of endurance trails. They would have a van running round the clock, both out on the roads and on test circuits. Leyland-DAF made great use of these trails in advertising soon after they took over the Freight-Rover concern.

Once commercial customers were aware that these re-engineered vans were vastly superior to the old Land Rover powered vehicles, sales rocketed beyond imagination. This was partly thanks to some vivid marketing and the legendary Leyland DAF Aid back up programme, which included European cover, freight forwarding and parts availability that was second to none. The vans were also a huge success in mainland Europe (which were badged and sold as a DAFs), but it didn’t stop their either, as new markets for light commercials opened up as far away as Australia and New Zealand – especially as emergency service vehicles.

The maximum capacity 3500kg GVW versions offered a high roof option. These became known in the UK as the Hi–Loader, and were sold in either turbo or naturally-aspirated form. Very quickly, the Hi–Loader became the vehicle of choice for Royal Mail (with some depots running their vehicles as much as 22 hours a day), also earning the accolade of ‘Britain’s biggest van’. The Peugeot powered 400-Series gained an enviable reputation for rugged reliability.

Leyland DAF also ploughed huge resources into the bespoke chassis department at the Birmingham Washwood Heath plant, which was simply known as SVO – Specialist Vehicle Options.

The Hi-Loader was Britain’s biggest van at the time – This `92 Turbo 400 was one of many delivered to British Rail.

The dealer could offer pretty much anything on a van chassis: Ambulance, Police response crew bus, drop side tipper, PCV-spec minibus and even a certified fire appliance. Leyland-DAF was rightly proud of the fact that anything you could possibly require on a chassis could be designed, engineered and built under one roof by a dedicated team of specialist fabricators and designers. The Police, Army, Navy and even the AA were regular consumers of Leyland DAF special products. The simple nature of the van design made common sense to cost conscious buyers, even some of the base models lacked features like power steering initially, but they pretended to be nothing more than a dependable box on wheels.

In 1991, the vans were updated with a revised facia using better quality materials to the air vents and centre console. The previous dash had been continued over from the Freight-Rover era and the heater benefited from a bigger matrix and fan unit answering customer complaints. The biggest improvement came in the form of the seating, thanks to a new driver’s seat supplied by Isri. This was a welcome addition along with heavier-duty fabric and the two man co-driver seat was redesigned to match. Petrol engines now included just the 3.5-litre Rover V8, as the 2.0-litre O-Series had been dropped due to lack of demand.

The early-’90s recession took its toll, and sales in both light and heavy commercials took a nose dive. On the Continent, the big truck makers were battling for business, and DAF’s main rivals – Scania and Volvo – went on a price offensive. In 1993, the inevitable happened, and Leyland-DAF entered bankruptcy by order of the Dutch courts.

A clever clause in the merger contract meant that the Leyland side of things were not included in the administrative process. In fact it was the DAF business which collapsed; Leyland was actually riding the storm and selling plenty of its home-produced vehicles. But both Washwood Heath and Leyland were in turmoil.

Things took a turn for the worse, when major component supplier AP products stopped the parts flow, worried about the company’s future, even though a takeover was pending. Things looked bleak in Brum. Especially as other parts companies heard the news and followed suit.

After some frantic discussions and help from the Banks, the senior management of the van plant successfully forged a take over of the van business of the failed Leyland-DAF concern, and duly re-named it LDV Limited. The name was chosen to keep some kind of association with the old company. The Lancashire truck plant also remained in business thanks to a buy out – but now LDV was very much a small fish in a big pond.

Visual differences between the Leyland-DAF and LDV vans were limited to a new badge and some cost saving touches to the interior. The cloth trimmed head rests were replaced by padded ‘A’ frame units, while the Philips radios were substituted for cheaper ones. By now, all models featured power steering as standard, but from the inside out, the LDV 200 and 400 range carried on with little change. Even though the vehicle continued to sell in respectable numbers, it was more than obvious that a replacement was badly needed mainly due to some superb new vans from rival makes such as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and the Volkswagen LT. Drivers were no longer accepting the ‘box on wheels’ approach to van design.

Management secured the collapsed van division of Leyland DAF in 1993 – Only the badge gave a clue.

Despite the 400 being popular with Public service or Municipal sectors, these markets generated little or in some cases; zero profit. And in the light of stiff competition from most of the rival vehicles, retail and small business sales dropped off a cliff. A hasty but fairly decent restyle brought the LDV Convoy on the scene in 1997, with most of the underpinnings heavily based on the previous 400 or Sherpa origins,  subsequent future replacements would require extra financial investment and radical cost-cutting.

To summarise the 400, it would be fair to say that just like the Sherpa that came before it, it was a simple no nonsense van.

A tough as boots chassis allied to renown, reliable and economical power units made the 400 van a sensible cost effective choice in a world of shrinking profit margins. With the aim of further reducing costs, later vehicles used the superb Ford 2.5 Di diesel engine and gearbox. LDV could even Type Approve its own in-house mini bus, making the 400 and the Convoy range that came later – King of the self drive or school mini bus.

Towards the end of production and certainly once no longer a part of Leyland DAF, the LDV 400 was not seen as a premium choice, but one of cost only – and by 1997 it was hopelessly out of date. Once a common sight on our roads; the 400 series is now a rare spot indeed, slowly fading away from memory – rather like the parent company, which entered administration in 2010.

The 400-Series was sold in Europe as a DAF.
The 400-Series was sold in Europe as a DAF.

Mike Humble

Upon leaving school, Mike was destined to work on the Railway but cars were his first love. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications

47 Comments

  1. I had a ’94 ambulance just like the one pictured back in 2003, for such a simple vehicle it broke down in an amazing number of ways. The bodged (i.e. converted to ambulance specs) electrics caught fire, the legs that held the ambulance body came off, dampers detached themselves and the engine ate it’s small ends. It was a nightmare to fix the rear brakes (again bodged to fit air suspension).
    The body was also really strange looking, it was designed to fit a Transit chassis so when perched on top of the shorter wheelbase LDV 400 platform it ended up with a massive ass.
    That’s not to say I didn’t have a huge amount of fun driving around European raves in it, and it did make it from Scotland to Croatia and back, which isn’t bad for a £900 van. RIP L945JFS aka me Julie

  2. I currently own what was Britain’s Biggest Panel Van. Biggest by load volume, biggest by interior width and it also featured the strongest axle load tolerances in its class.

    My van is the Hi-Roof, rare, EXTRA long wheelbase fitted with the current Transit’s 2.4 TDDI engine, gearbox and propshaft. It is an LDV approved motor home conversion by Devon Motorhomes.

    Its a great drive, smooth suspension, quick, accurate steering and surprisingly good ergonomics, and much cheaper and less rot prone than the Transit.

    I’m following in the family tradition, my dad taking delivery of a 300 series in August 1986 and my uncle getting a new 200 series every year also.

    They’re great vans, sadly saddled with an undeserved image to those who aren’t in the know.

    • Hi Mike
      We can supply new keys cut to the reg or vin of any LDV vehicle can also help out with a EPC to help anyone struggling to visualize parts and location- ideal for part numbers or exploded diagrams for knowing what you need or whats missing!.

      We rung a few facebook pages to help people with campers or normal working LDV Convoys/pilots/Maxus vehicle.

      Facebook page here.
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/Remobilise/
      and our ebay site here (keys/fobs/parts etc)
      http://stores.ebay.co.uk/remobilise-ltd
      Hope you do not mind Mike that I have posted this info here..:d
      Thank you.
      Kev
      Remobilise Ltd 01792 896404 info@remobilise.co.uk
      We have the full LDV Diagnostic kit if you need help.

  3. Gloucestershire Police used to run V8 Police vans- and boy did those things motor! Glorious noise too!

    The replacement Sprinters look the part but don’t seem to go as well, despite presumably using the 3 litre V6 diesel, which in a van ought in theory to give the petrol V8 a good run for the money.

  4. I hired a 400 to move two sofas (only wanted a 200, but it was all they had). Went all right, stable handling, good to drive.
    At least one of these reached South Africa (Cape Town – you don’t get much further South without swimming)
    Apparently the German importer did a customer survey – how could we sell more vans in Germany? One answer was, “100 mph cruising speed”. Presumably closely followed by fliegende Schweinen.

  5. I was once part of a club that went off on many trips along the coasts, a few of the members bought ex-Royal Mail Leyland Daf vans and converted them to camper vans. There were a few in various states, from the fully converted and fully featured (albeit painted in the local bus company’s shade of off-white…) to the red with ‘Parcel Force’ sticker shadow still visible and a sofa bolted to the interior.
    Good times, the vans seemed to do the job well – spacious and reliable, even when towing a large boat.

  6. I drove a few of these some years ago. My school had one and we borrowed and hired others to take children to the Malham/Settle area of N Yorkshire.

    The one we often borrowed was available free of charge to any youth group. Consequently no one really owned it/looked after it. To pick it up you always took jump leads. It was a 200 model and I think it had crew bus seats – all in the front after an emergency stop!

    The others were 400s. Both broke down, on different trips, within 1/2 mile of each other. One was dead – but started on the key when the AA turned up. The other snapped its clutch cable on a 1 in 5.

    They were robust but inherently unreliable, they also looked tatty after a while. One wrote a car off when it hit the bus amidships. Minor scratches to van.

    They were popular with schools as they were the only lwb 17 sweater available with a low roof and so could fit into more garages than Transits and Mercedes. Also cheaper.

    Later we often hired a Peugeot Boxer. Bigger, faster and much nicer to drive.

    Happy days though and we took a lot of pupils up into the hills – many stil talk about their visits. Sadly they were stopped because they ” disrupted learning”

    CP

  7. @ Chris.p

    Interesting about the clutch cable, Leyland DAF cobbled a strange looking cantilever device to use a cable on the Pug engined versions.

    It was a right “Heath Robinson” piece of engineering that was scary to look at – especially when what looked like an extended Metro clutch cable was hooked onto it!

  8. I’ve always had a soft spot for them. Interestingly enough, a 400 minibus is still in service at a local secondary school.

  9. @9, Frankie,

    They are still common in the private special needs transport sector- there is one slightly tatty 55 plater opposite with what I thought was ‘Ass Care’ signwritten on the side.

    A little too specific, I thought…

    Turns out it is A2Z care, but with the font used makes it look like ‘ass’*.

    *With apologies to the swearing police who will comment about ‘language’…

  10. we had a 200 that we managed to topple over whilst laying down a Large Victorian monument, using its mini hi-ab. It was never quite the same after it was returned to the upright. They were a good workhorse slow. noisy and probably the narrowest in their class at the time. Making them perfect for sneaking down cemetery paths. It was replaced with a Nissan cabstar? forward control thing, that had nowhere to store your gear in the cab. I would still have one for local work but never do a journey in one again.

  11. The 400 aged badly, and the continuing reliance of having to buy in running gear, tied with the low production volumes, the odds were stacked heavily against it. The Iveco Daily started to pinch fleet sales, and that was available with capacity even greater than the 400 Hiloader. Even Postman Pat’s Parcel Farce division switched to Daily vans in the mid 1990’s, buying hundreds of them with ‘coach type’ nearside entrance doors to enable easy entry and exit to the load area. Laugably though, the Daily was even older in basic design than the 400, as it dated from the 1970s, and even the 2.8 TD was no ball of fire, and drank like Ollie Reed!

  12. I was lucky enough to drive the V8 versions in anger as a police response driver. they were fast, handled well enough but the brakes were non existant. I remember pursuing a Granada 2.8 south on Blackpool prom early hours one morning reaching speeds of 100mph…..when the Granny hit the armco I realised i wouldnt make the corner at Squires Gate hit the brakes and subsequently set fire to them. Caught the driver of the Granny, stolen obviously, his street cred destroyed by being run off the road by a van…..Fuel pumps died regularly and rust was an issue but the blue flame from the exhaust on the overrun and the V8 howl when hurtling towards an incident were amazing…happy days!!

  13. When my old man started his job with a utility firm in the early 90s he was assigned a 400 2.5 turbo to shift about his equipment. To say the van was underpowered with a load on was to say that the pope is a bit religious. Up one local incline he’d regularly be passed by articulated tankers as the van went so slowly. The best thing that happened to it is that the engine blew up one afternoon on the way home and he was assigned a brand new 300TDi Defender which was a much more capable vehicle.

    My work also runs a couple of LDV minibuses, but they’re gradually changing them for Transits as the LDVs are proving unreliable in service with very expensive repair bills cropping up.

    The LDV range’s success is that it was cheap, but nasty. A more integrated approach to development would have helped, and I’m sure the maxus was a better van, but sticking with the old sherpa underpinnings for so long when even the Transit had gone over the FWD and comfortable interiors was misguided.

  14. Of course they would have renewed sooner if they could have done! It was remarkable – and a credit to those who were running it – that LDV survived from 93 to 2005 with such ageing designs. Ironic that when they finally got a new design, the company went ‘bust’ (although mysteriously the then owner continues in business and I wouldn’t be surprised if production of the Maxus continues in a certain eastern european country?!)

  15. I owned a 1998 Convoy from the year 2000, until 2011. I covered many tens of thousands of miles in it. It was one of the first with the Ford 2.5di engine. I have to say it was the most dependable vehicle I have ever owned.
    Whatever the weather, it would always start, & get me where I wanted to be.
    I only scrapped it because of the ‘Pink fluffy’ London low emission zone. I reckon it would have gone on for a good couple of years more.
    It was a shame that LDV went pop. It’s kind of sickening when you hear all this current (2012)talk of rebuilding British manufacturing, & yet the Government did sod all when British owned companies like LDV were struggling. Yet, as has been said, bailed out the banks.

    This is a great website. Congratulations to those who run it. I spend hours on here. It’s better than modern Tv any day! 🙂

  16. At Post 2

    I also own an XLWB convoy with the 90Ps TDDi engine and your van sounds completely different to mine!! Vague steering, noisy, slow unless empty, in which case its best described as average for a van! Crap to drive, shocking brakes and did I mention slow??

    However there is but and a big but! Its dependable and can take vast loads, modern vans can get nowhere near the payload of the Convoy, If I wanted to carry the payload in an equivalent Merc or VW i’d need a 4.6 tonne van which would restrict me to 56mph, require me to run a tachohraph and most importantly rquire me to take another driving test as I dont have grandfather rights.

    In the last 14 years of me driving them, these vans have got right under my skin, much like the MG’s that my vans haul around I should hate them, but i dont as they have character, I’ve been all over the UK in them and even through Sweden and up into the Arctic circle, They tow surprisingly well even if they do get outdragged by trucks on the motorway and the only time these vans have ever failed me it been the Ford bits that have gone wrong, Yes they are crap compared to a modern van, but everyone loves an underdog!!

  17. hi,i recently bought a 400 series, a lwb hi roof,only done 20,000 miles,ex-police support vehicle from sussex,its in excellent condition and even has lpg kit on it, i have almost finished converting it to a 3 berth camper, it drives like new,as it should do really,unfortunately its only the 2 litre version,a little under powered so considering at some stage maybe fitting a transit 2.5 diesel, probably wait until i get fed up of driving in the slow lane lol, anyway you cant beat a good old workhorse and as stated already at least its not a rot box or falling apart, i hope to have many years happy motoring/camping!!!

  18. Hi,i own and use a 1992 400 minibus each day,seats removed,blanked off windows,great for carrying, 72,000 slow
    miles,a twenty year old engine returning 0.5 smoke test on the mot and the mig welder has nothing to weld,happy days.

  19. Got the train past the site of the old Washwood Heath factory yesterday. It has been totally cleared.

    Sad end to a proud heritage.

  20. I used to work with a Leyland Daf Mobile First Aid vehicle (ex Scottish Ambulance Service) a good few years ago now with one of the Voluntary Aid Societies, as a matter of fact it was the first I worked in, and in spite of the experience of some people, such as the first poster, in the years we had it we found it an excellent piece of kit, to us it was First Aid Post, crew transport, comms/command room, training room, sleeping quarters, breakroom, and store room in turn, sometimes more than one at once! And it served those roles with distinction for much of its career with us.

    Eventually, at well past its 15th birthday, it was scrapped, replaced by a younger Ford that was the worst vehicle I’ve ever worked in, with body, electrical and mechanical problems, which didn’t last long and was replaced by a succession of another Sherpa, this time an LDV Convoy (which didn’t have the quality of the earlier one in spite of a more modern appearance, more modern (Ford) engine and interior, and a gentler life before it reached us. The paint in particular scarcely existed in places, and only looked good after a strong rain.), then several Mercedes Sprinters, before I eventually moved organisation.

    Some good, some bad and some ugly (particularly that Ford which was definately the latter two!) but none ever captured my heart like that old K Plate 400 Series. Although admittedly that might be due in part to nostalgia, as I say it was the van I first treated casualties in, as an overenthusiastic kid fresh out of training.

  21. I have Daf-400 which still in use.For the year jan 1994.
    i need the parts [ OIL COOLLER] chassis no XLRVEO4ET0N925767 andchassistype VH 431 ET 3.20
    CODE;00dafv-10915767D04070131
    With much regards
    E Tetteh

  22. I have owned convoys since 1990 ,I have just bought my sixth a thirteen year old model, thought I had moved on from convoys but after trying “modern vans”,i intend to own convoys as long as possible, they are slow have little comfort but are reliable easy to repair and service, have good heaters

  23. Hi Guys,its very sad that cannot enjoy my leyland van like youle in the Uk cause I cannot get a windscreen anywere in South Africa.I bought the van with the broken windshield not knowing it will stand for tree years To date.Because of our poor Rand Valeu,its very expensive to import one from the Uk.I’m very sad about this couse no one is willing to help me and all the police wants to do is to wright me a ticket for the screen and its not even my folt,ill never give up on my leyland daf 400 ldv cause its one of the nicest vans in S Afica.I thank you.

  24. Hi All,
    Bit of a weird one but I am looking for a toy/model of a LDV Convoy school bus for a little boy with special needs I know, who takes this bus to school every day. He would be over the moon if he had a toy to play with to remind him of his journeys.
    If anyone could help me out and knows where i might get one it would be fantastic.
    Thanks

  25. Bartlet

    there is a superb model shop I personally know in Bookham (Surrey) called Roxley Models… give them a shout.

    Located a few miles from Leatherhead, they do a lot of specialist stuff!

  26. I bought an LDV Convoy LWB Hightop van second hand back in April 2009 for £725 with 92,000 on the clock. Almost 4 years later and the mileage, now up to 123,000 miles – she’s still going as strong as an ox.

    Converted to a stealth camper van (I’m almost 6’6″ tall), in the back of her I’ve got my 2 seater sofa bed, a single memory foam mattress (extremely comfortable), a little kitchen, overhead storage racks, a little woodburner in the back of her (lovely), mahoghany shiplay flooring, large solar panels on the roof feeding a bank of 12V batteries, Internet onboard, TV / DVD – she’s a bloody lil beauty. Albeit a little nervous with the MOT coming up in late January 2014. Fingers crossed she’ll sail through again.

    She’s ponderously slow (2.5TD transit engine) I once had an old 1950’s tractor pulling a hay trailer behind it overtake me going up a steep hill in Dorset lol but having said that, for all her quirks, vague steering etc; I still love her to bits.

    Together we’ve toured all over the country, from west Cornwall where I live to the top northern coast of Scotland. She just seems to go on and on and on and on and on.

    MPG wise, I get 25mpg around town, 35mpg on a reasonable run and if a particularly long run, if i stick to a constant 52mph she’ll return 48mpg which for a van this size is brilliant. Case in point, I filled up the tank (15.4 gallons) at Asda (Tain – Scotland) and on this single tank did the 750 miles back to west Cornwall without refueling once.

    Worked it out afterwards, the mpg was 48. Brilliant. Mind you, it did take me 17 hours non-stop driving to get back here.

    Here she is up on the Isle of Skye autumn 2012:

    http://www.lochalsh.com/mobile_phone_coverage.html

  27. as a van driver I do have a soft spot for ldv’s.
    I moved house in a 200 then bought a 200 for my business, a 91 prima engined ex utility. it was a hoot to drive, and after 4 years hard work scrapped it, it never let me down.
    as for the 400, I have never owned one, but my brother has had 2….. they have been ultra reliable for him !

    little known fact – an RAF airfield driving permit did not cover the f/rover 200 – as when empty, the backend had a tendency to overtake the front in damp conditions!!
    so were tested separately.

    I also used to work for a man who worked in procurement for the mod, and he signed off the orders for freight rovers amongst others, and approved of my “wheels” !!

  28. So my last LDV Convoy van which I referred to above did finally kick the bucket last spring. The engine was still fine in her but she just needed a little too much doing for the MOT to justify the expense so she was sold on. Bless her – I loved that van.

    Of course, I went straight out and bought another one. This one is the same as before another high top LWB Convoy albeit this was a former minibus with the 2.5TD (Peugeot ET70 engine in her). Less MPG but goes like the clappers. I say less MPG it’s actually 25mpg around town, same as before but only about 35mpg on a run. So far she’s been very reliable. A 1997 model, I bought her in April 2014.

    Again converted into a camper van using all of the materials from my first LDV Convoy van. Not quite as much character as the previous one but still love her to bits. No daft silly electronics or computers or electrics to worry about, everything is just solidly clunky. Mind you, I guess I am a bit old fashioned, I’m still using a Philips Savvy mobile phone, nice big buttons and would you believe it, it makes telephone calls whilst out and about on the move (and not a lot else). Just the way I like it.

    This one cost £1,000 with a full MOT on her and in April (2015) come MOT time again she veritably sailed through needing just £50 in parts and labour to get a fresh MOT ticket which is pretty darn good for a van which is almost 20 years old. The mileage on this one is a little over 80,000.

    Of course I recommend them, I think they’re wonderful old vans. Cannot praise them enough. Reliably on the whole and drives like a dream.

    You can this one here:

    http://CamperVanTravels.com

  29. Recently obtained a burger bar that seems to be built from an ambulance.

    Has loads of extra electrical circuits and a massive fuse board, how can I find out its history? Is any one familiar with this vehicle?

    Reg No M886 LPB My aim is to covert this to a camper….

  30. Hello..I am the owner of a Ldv Convoy Converted to a camper and along with lots of others we are still Happily motoring along!…Mine has the Ford 2.5 di..Noisy but so reliable it would put All German vehicles to shame!..it is also the easiest to maintain and fix when things do go wrong!..For instance if the Cam belt were to snap it will only take 2-3 hours to fix and the most damage caused will be maybe 2 Valve pushrods bent which can be replaced without head removal!…We have our own Club on Facebook..Club Ldv….there are a few others on facebook but the one I mentioned is the Best!…Like Ldv are famous for Cheap and cheerful..:)

  31. hi everybody peeps just been reading all the comments watt a great read my 400 convoys a w reg i luv it 2.5di transit bannana engine best and most reliable i have ever owned 48 miles to gallon at 55mph .steering is a bit vauge at times adjusted steering box a few times all ok for a week or two .

  32. Hello to all the fans of the Leyland 400 vans, my name is Peter I’m a retired Dutch barges living in France. I’m looking at a DAF400 with the Peugeot Indenor 2.5 TD engine that I would like to make into a pretty basic stealth campervan.
    Can someone tell me who supplied the gearboxes for these vans, as I can’t imagine they were specially made for DAF, Leyland or LDV, and that they were most likely supplied by another van maker.
    Thanks in advance for your answers.

  33. Peter

    If your 400 has the ET70 Peugeot Turbo engine as you state.

    The options are thus:

    Lift up tab for selecting reverse = Peugeot gearbox as fitted to the 504 pick up and 505 in beefed up form

    No tab for selecting reverse = MT-75 Ford gearbox as fitted in the older 2.5Di Transits

    • mate that bit of info about the lift tab on the gearbox’s is the most helpfull thing iv found on my beastly ldv 400 COWL XLWB 2.5 turbo. been trying to find out what engine it is for days x

  34. Thank you very much for your information Mike, much appreciated and my excuses for the late reaction.

    I haven’t managed to buy the DAF 400 that I’m interested in yet, hope to get a positive answer of the actual owner soon.

    Cheers,

    Peter.

  35. Finally the owner of the DAF 400 phoned me, the van is still for sale BUT…
    the engine (that has been overhauled a few years ago) is not running.

    The reason he said was that they’de taken the fuelpump of for a repair job, and now the timing is out.

    Is it an fairly easy job to check and reset the timing ? and where are the marks for the right positions ?

    Hope someone can answer these questions.

    Thanks very much in advance,

    Peter.

  36. I have a 2001 LDV Convoy ex Royal Mail LWB van with the Ford 2.5D “banana” engine. The steering has got more sloppy lately. I know I probably need to change the king pins as they have come up as an advisory a couple of times in the MOT. Does anyone have experience of either adjusting or replacing the steering box? I get the impression that LDV steering is never without some play even from new! How much play is too much? The manual does not mention this at all!
    Any useful information is appreciated!

  37. I’ve been the proud owner of a LDV 400 COWL XLWB TURBO 1995 for over a decade .. I reckon it’s goto be close to the last one of its kind in exsistance as I’ve rebuilt most of the metalwork myself. She’s pea green with a go faster strip down the side the body is a coach built special. It’s an X north wales social services coach with proper bus doors and wheel chair lift.
    The mighty Mushy Pea lives on 🙂

  38. hi just purchased a ldv 400 ci campervan 1995 with peugeot engine 2.5 been awhile since i drove one of these i do love the engine had a peugeot 505 for a while 8 seats still room at the back for tools whatever not like ones now gear change a bit vague floppy going to have a look to see what set up is love all the comments i too dont like al the modern computerised rubbish its a conn to get you money

  39. I bought an ex Post van 2004 with the Duratorqe engine installed..Been great and converted to camper as I go along..I live in her full time and have had the best 6 years ever meeting lots of people and plenty of fellow ldv owners..More popular than they are given credit for and not expensive to fix or maintain..Most expensive thing so far was the electronic fuel pump which a garage told me.”You may as well scrap it pal that will cost about £1000 to fix!..So I set about the scrappers and bought 2 that I had no idea if Any good and I tinkered with all 3 until i managed to make one good one!..Hey presto fixed!..Dont giv eup when told such nonsense from Lazy mechs!..Carry on camping Folks i am..:)..

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