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How to identify your Model & Year

Some of what we know about esterel.

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How to identify your Model & Year

Postby Dormy » 1. Apr 2018, 10:41

One of the club's members (thanks JohnP) has researched and decoded the VIN sequence. If your van pre-dates the 'VIN' system then sorry, decoding these is still a work in progress but you can look at the dateline put together by Christiaan Here
If you use Facebook you can also check out the Esterel brochures (1979 & 1991) which are in the 'Files' section of the club's page Here

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is an international standard for vehicles. The VIN can be found with other info. on a metal plate on the left side of the caravan's 'A' frame ('A' Frame - the bit of the chassis between the body of the van and the tow-hitch). It is also stamped into the right side of the 'A' frame but may be a little harder to read under the paint.

For example: VFMCAC31NJE000351

* 'VFM' identifies the van as being made in France by Esterel.
* 'CAC31' is Esterel's model identification.
* N (or L or U). Denotes the internal seating/bed layout.
* J is the year of manufacture, (J = 1988).
* E is the manufacturer's assembly plant code.
* 000351 is this Esterel's unique 'chassis number'.

Model identification;
CC, C, CAC, CA for Caramatic models
TV for Top Volume Models (TU was also used but only for the Caramatic TU34)
SG, SGE for Slimline (Sillge) Models
S, SU for Supermatic models
These letter combinations are followed by 2 numbers which denote the body length (not overall length) in metres e.g. 31 = 3.1 metres
If the letter T appears after body length then your van should have a toilet compartment.

Date Codes: A = 1980 (Used only in USA ?), B = 1981, C = 1982, Etc ...............Y = 2000, then 1 = 2001, 2 = 2002, 3 = 2003, 4 = 2004 (Production ceased).
An Esterel is for holidays, not just for sleepovers !
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Re: How to identify your Model & Year

Postby johnt64 » 2. Jun 2018, 22:31

Great 8-) But what if your Esterel is build before 1980 ?

I have C34 with real glass . This makes it pre 1981 . No VINnumber . I indentified the year by looking on the axle . Which was 1978 .

Today I did the same thing with another Esterel. Plexiglass windows made me first think after 1981, but the owner sad it was from 1979 . Puzzled about that I got under the Esterel and took a look on the axle . It was build in 1978 .
BMW 525E 1983
ESTEREL C34 1979?
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Re: How to identify your Model & Year

Postby Dormy » 3. Jun 2018, 21:47

Hi John,

Welcome to the Esterel forum.

Referring back to the first post ^^^^ "If your van pre-dates the 'VIN' system then sorry, decoding these is still a work in progress but you can look at the dateline put together by Christiaan" Here

Glad you found the date on the axle. This obviously must pre-date production though maybe only by a few weeks or months. Some thought crawling underneath to look for a date on the axle was just an April fool's joke !

Hope that helps
Ian
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Re: How to identify your Model & Year

Postby esme » 3. Jun 2018, 23:40

Is the date stamped into the axle or on a plate also where on the axle might I find it? These days my mature figure might find it difficult squeezing underneath the front but not so bad from the back.
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Re: How to identify your Model & Year

Postby DonV » 4. Jun 2018, 07:49

On the FTF tow hitch there is also a plate. Mine has a date. This may not be the date the Esterel went out as the tow hitch could have been in stock for a while but it would be a guide to the year of manuafacture (Assuming it is the original).
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Sillage VFMSGE29NJF000198
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Re: How to identify your Model & Year

Postby esme » 4. Jun 2018, 10:04

On Esme the hitch was replaced by the caravan dealer with a new Alko one suitable for the 750 kilo weight, the original needed some oil to free it up but they fitted us a new hitch. The VIN is in the usual places , stamped into the chassis at the front and more detail on the plate but I was wondering about an axle plate with date on it. Not that I think it is of much use as they would have used axles from stock rather than it seems to me stamp each one with the caravan date. In a similar manner axles destined for another year might well have later daters than the actual construction date for the van itself. Many years ago my Father in Law bought a new Ford Orion and was assured of the year of manufacture however when we came to change a cam belt we found Ford had used many different components destined for the next year's production so finding spares then became a question of which year were the parts for so not only little companies play these games but big international ones as well.
Feels like rain soon so Esme stays under cover again.
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Re: How to identify your Model & Year

Postby Birna » 11. Jun 2018, 19:39

Hi my plate says
Vfmcau39amd000663

it is a top volume 1991 - but does not say on the plate -do someone know why this is 8-)
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Re: How to identify your Model & Year

Postby Dormy » 12. Jun 2018, 09:48

Hi Birna, welcome to the forum.

The 'decoding' of the VIN was done using info from various sources plus examples sent in by individuals and what Esterel they had. It is not 100% fully comprehensive and what you have provided in your post adds more information to the data.

Why the Esterel company changed the codes (and even the VIN sequence) will probably only ever be known to them !

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Re: How to identify your Model & Year

Postby esme » 12. Jun 2018, 11:40

Can you possibly show us a photo of your Esterel as that might help to solve the mystery.
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Re: How to identify your Model & Year

Postby Birna » 13. Jun 2018, 01:09

Hi i cant figure out how to upload an image from my phone :(
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