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About robhar

  • Rank
    Over 100 posts

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  • Gender
  • Location
    South Cumbria
  • Towcar
    VW Touareg R Line 3. 0 tdi
  • Caravan
    Lunar Clubman SE (2018)

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  1. As its your first trip to France by all means go via Paris if you wish. However it is prone to major traffic congestion in the peak season and the advice you are getting here is from people who have travelled to France many times and having experienced Paris once, choose to avoid it like the plague. For route planning use the via Michelin website as it will give you the tolls and fuel costs. As I've said earlier. we do Calais to Satlat in the Dordogne every year for the last 25 years and now I'm retired we go for 8 - 9 weeks so can take our time or explore other areas in France at the beginning or end of our visit. If going direct, our preferred route is A16 and A28 to Rouen, then the N154 to Chartres, then pick up the A10 north of Orleans. A71 to Vierzon then A20 to Souillac where we leave the autoroute. My toll fees for the trip down last year were 37 euro plus £2.50 for the Dartford Crossing. Its probably best if you decide how long you wish to travel each day and prebook sites accordingly but if you wish to remain flexible most towns in France have a Camping Municipal which is a site run by the local authority. They will have basic facilities like water, electric hook up and toilet/shower blocks and are cheap. Far safer and quieter then staying overnight at an Aire. If you can decide on your route and which locations you might like to stay at come back and tell us and I am sure you will get site recommendations from the members of this forum.
  2. Its better then it used to be as its popularity has led to some villages being bypassed and sections of dual carriageway. There is still the odd bit where you go through villages and can be stopped at traffic lights but thats the price I pay to avoid Paris. The bit I don't like is the ring road around Chartres, it has 7 roundabouts so is very stop start.
  3. We do the Calais - Dordogne journey every year going down to Sarlat at the beginning of July and coming back early August. No kids but we have a dog so need to accommodate her needs and as we go for 8 weeks we take our time travelling down and back with several overnight stops. The route we take is via Rouen then the N154 to Chartres and picking up the A10 north of Orleans. This year we are doing shorter hops on a different route so first night at Le Colombier (avoids going through Rouen) then to Samuer then to Limoges then Sarlat. If you are planning to do a lot of autoroute mileage get yourself a tag as it saves the hassle of searching for cash or cards at the toll booths.
  4. LV for me. 180 days cover on the same terms as at home. Some insurers will reduce your comprehensive cover to third party only when abroad so check the cover offered,
  5. I often run the Alde system without water in the boiler so can confirm it works OK without water and the Alde user manual confirms this - "The central heating can still be used with no fresh water in the system. The air in the hot water cylinder is heated but no damage can result"
  6. I have a VW Touareg with factory fitted towbar and yes the stop start function is disabled along with the lights you mention. I believe it also keeps the intelligent alternator charging to power the fridge etc as if car battery is fully charged the alternator only charges when decelerating - saves fuel and emissions apparently. However, my previous Touareg had a dealer fit towbar and electric and behaved similarly to yours. May be worth going to a towbar specialist to see if the system needs programming.
  7. You will need an emissions sticker on the car in France - apply here - https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en/ Depending on Brexit negotiations you may also need Green cards for car and caravan , international driving permits - I think its a different one in Spain and France so you will need 2, available from the Post Office and in Spain you may need speed limit stickers on the caravan. If you have the euro flag GB symbol on your numbers plates these will also be invalid if we leave. GB flag cover up stickers can be found on ebay.
  8. Is there a switch on the power control unit under the seat that needs turning on?
  9. I had the same issue when I retired as had spent years with company cars but restricted to what was on the list. I use to tow with VW Passats, BMW 320d and a BMW520d estate. When I retired I decided to treat myself to a proper towcar and purchased a year old VW Touareg which proved to be such a good towcar that I replaced it after 3 years with another newer Touareg which I currently run and will probably keep it for much longer then I usually do. Both have been totally reliable but do cost more to run then an estate car. To help you check on towing ability there is a website at https://towcar.info/GB/ where you can check how your chosen vehicle will behave with your caravan. I did find that my BMW 520 estate was less stable than other cars I had towed with and subsequently found out that if the car was ordered with factory fit towbar, modified rear suspension and engine cooling was fitted, presumably to address this issue. Car electronics are also very complicated these days so a factory fit or approved wiring kit is essential to ensure that the car knows you are towing and modifies the behaviour of traction/stability control system, intelligent alternators (which can impact on fridge efficiency) for example. My point is that a used car with factory fit towing equipment is probably a better bet then a car with retrofitted towing equipment Another source of advice is the towcar of the year event which occurs annually so if you Google Towcar of the year you will get a listing of previous years events so if looking for a 3 or 5 year old car you can see how some popular towcars fared. Personally, if I was looking for a big estate to tow with, I would look at VW Passat, BMW 5 series, Skoda Superb, Volvo, Mercedes C or E class. However, given you are towing a big heavy caravan I would feel happier in a heavy SUV.
  10. The ambient temperature is shown in my post 12c at 8:30 rising to 13c at 8:59am. The outside temperature was 8c. Given these temperatures I think most users would expect the system, on leaving night mode, to heat up and raise the water temperature to 60c and start to raise the internal temperature to the 18c set as the default. My point is that the boiler has not put any heat into the system during this 30 minute period resulting in no hot water and cold radiators.
  11. To Alde, here are some more test results. Night mode set at 10c, hot water off, gas only and to end at 8:30. Default set at 18c water on, gas only. At 8:25 this morning just before Night mode ended the Glycol temp was 30c, water temp 28c, ambient temp 12c. At 8:30 the system left night mode and the pump could be heard running. It ran for 2 minutes or so and then went off for 5 approx. This cycle continued for the 30 minutes smoothing period. I had the service menu displayed so could observe temperatures. At 8:32 the circulation pump was running and glycol temperature dropped to 28c water remained at 28c boiler had not fired up (see exhaust fan rotation speed in pictures). At 8:59 after 29 mins of on/off running in the smoothing period the glycol temp was 22c and water 21c ambient was 13c. During the entire 30 min period the exhaust fan speed remained at zero. See photos (file name gives time). So, it is clear no heat has been produced in this 30 smoothing period, in fact all thats happened is the cooler glycol in the radiators has been pumped into the boiler and has reduced the temperature of the hot water.
  12. Thats my problem oldboy, the sensor/thermostat is not allowed to do its business because of this smoothing period. Yes I can choose not to use this feature and in the summer months heating is normally off anyway. I have had this Alde system in 2 previous caravans so have experienced it working normally. However my latest caravan does not behave normally as it creates this 30 mins of smoothing which actually turns the heater on for about 10 mins and keeps it off for 20 mins after night mode. This feature is not there to protect the system or user as if you just turn on the system when arriving on site it heats up quickly without this on/off cycle for 30 mins.
  13. Well I ran another test today. Set night mode at 8c with water heating off and power level set at 3kw electric. Night mode to end at 8:30am this morning. At 8:25 am, according to the service menu, the Glycol temp was 12c and water temperature was also 12c. Air temperature was 11c At 9am when night mode smoothing ended the Glycol was 33c, water temp 26c and air temp 12c I think this clearly shows that the smoothing algorithm is not fit for purpose because there is barely any heat from the radiators, the water temperature is too low for a shower and the system has raised the temperature in the caravan by 1c ( which could be my body heat and the cup of coffee I had with me as I cannot feel any warmth from the radiators and the bathroom radiator is cold). In contrast I ran another test with night mode off. At the beginning Glycol temperature was 20c and water temp 19c. Exactly 30 minutes later running on 3kw electric only the Glycol was 58c and water was 49c. The ambient temperature in the caravan had gone up 3c and you could feel hot air rising from the radiators. The towel rail was also hot. I think this clearly shows, as Bob Sandy has said, that the smoothing function prevents the glycol and water systems heating up sufficiently to be any use. As for the comment about installation issues, this is my 3rd Lunar Clubman with Alde heating and the previous 2 were fine so I doubt Lunar has forgotten how to install it correctly. Also Bob Sandy has a Bailey so again its a major manufacturer who has plenty of experience in installing Alde systems over many years. Rather then blame the caravan manufacturers, I think the R&D people at Alde need to rethink the need for this smoothing function or at least allow it to inject some heat into the radiators and water tank during the 30 minute period. Perhaps if it ran for 5.5mins then off for 2,5mins would be an improvement.
  14. Try this website to see if your chosen car is suitable. - https://towcar.info/GB/
  15. I shall run some more tests this week looking at the service menu on the control panel as this will tell me the temperature of the water and glycol in the system. I will check the temperatures near the end of night mode and then again 25 - 30 minutes after night mode ends.
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