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About micktheshed

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    Over 1000 posts

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    mickgordon113@yahoo. co. uk

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  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests
    Caravanning & Enjoying Retirement
  • Towcar
    3L Auto Nissan Terrano
  • Caravan
    Swift Elegance 530, 2018

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  1. 'False' activation of the ATC has been evident to me ever since I first had a 'van with it fitted (9 years ago) but I must be hyper-sensitive as most people don't appear to notice. Upon 1st having the Bailey Unicorn (March 2011), on the trip home, I had an unnerving 'near miss' when going round an undulating corner I had travelled many times without incident. The ATC applied so viciously that I thought the engine had stalled & the resulting reaction caused the car to swerve dangerously onto the grass verge. I can only claim superior driving skill saved the day (T-i-C) LOL. Strangely the SWB 4x4 I had then was much more affected than the LWB I have now (I would have expected the opposite). My present Swift Elegance is also less affected than the Bailey (it's 225mm shorter but 100kg heavier!). Why is anyone's guess (better weight distribution most likely?). I have subsequently discovered several sites where this phenomenon can be replicated & to this day I have to take suitable precautions. As stated by James Donald, it can happen at the most inappropriate times. I originally blamed 'over-adjusted' brakes but it has been the same all the time since so I assume it's just a feature of the system & have simply learned to accept & accommodate it. My main concern is that the rear brake lights are not activated when ATC applies, surely this is dangerous? I've heard screeching of tyres from behind me on more than one occasion! Annoyingly the one time the 'van went into a ' snake' (hit a patch of oil going round an island) it didn't activate at all so, overall, I'm none too impressed.
  2. Having had an air awning for three years I find it just only slightly harder to get through the rail than my pole awning. The problem is not so much which awning I'm using as the rail joints (Swift) which are very restrictive even after some attention with an electric burr. The only aid that has worked for me is using a step ladder (tip given me by other campers much younger than me (74)). This also has the added advantage of being able to clean the solar panel beforehand LOL.
  3. The CCC survey shows just how bad the British-made 'vans really are: approx. only 1/3 without faults! This is even worse than even I expected! Given more use/years that would be even worse still. It's way past time consumers changed their mind-set & stopped accepting 'vans with faults. That is the only way quality will improve, if only by weeding out the worst. Blaming it on Brexit will no longer cut the ice. Personally I think (at the moment), that Bailey are the best bet having: the least built-in faults as far as I can see. Unfortunately they do not make an 'up-market' 'van anywhere near the Unicorn mk1 spec. (which has spoilt me for anything less LOL).
  4. I read somewhere (years ago!) that the unused pin was reserved for a reverse sensor signal. I even had a length of 13 'wire' cable at one time, but the 'unused' one was a fibre optic thread! I've always used the spare pin as an extra earth (can't have too good an earth LOL).
  5. The original mk 1 model (I had the Valencia) was originally built in limited quantities as an up-market promotion of the then new Alu-Teck construction. The spec. of just about everything was top grade & extensive. Seating was velour with expensive bolster design & Ist class foam that was both comfortable & stood up to abuse. The fitments & general build quality appeared to be superior to other models at the time & gave the impression that it had been built to a higher standard altogether. It also had reliable electrics (very sadly missed!) & a generous-sized shower. In the well-used 7 years I had mine it displayed no 'inbuilt' faults that appear to have become the norm in modern 'vans. What faults it did have were few, minor & mainly down to wear & tear. The oh-so-useful front side lockers have yet to be seen on any other current 'van (because they cost too much!). Included were a 16" Avtec TV (that I still use!) Al-Ko wheel lock, properly rated axle (couldn't resist that one!) & the removable int. tank that proved a god-send in cold whether. It was also a noticeably warmer 'van than any I've had before or since. I camped in it all year-round. I didn't fully realise just how good it was until I'd had my present 'van a month & started on the long (& unfinished!) journey of frequent fault-fixing. Don't think this has biased my views in any way as I've always felt the Valencia was on the top of the pile based entirely on my ownership experience. Apart from minor front locker damp it was also dry. Each subsequent mk. had the large front window (which originally was not up to the job) less 'goodies', & more potential leaks. The quality went gradually down hill, though the price didn't exactly reflect this! But then again, I've been told (by various dealers) that the Mk1 spec. would cost around £30/35K+ at today's prices, which somewhat brings things more into perspective. After 2 years, nostalgia apart, I still wish I'd kept it. Which is not to say I'd buy one today, but then I don't, sadly, consider the general quality level of any British-made 'van worthy of my money anymore. It's just as well every-one doesn't expect a fault-free 'van or they would never sell any.
  6. If you can find a 'goodun' the Mk1 was much better spec. , there's been nothing to touch it, below 30K, since. As a bonus the front side lockers are a camper's dream.
  7. A friend of mine has a Volvo of 1992/3 vintage that he bought around 2003 with an indicated 120,000 miles on the clock, mainly to tow his 'van. He found out, some months later, that it had actually done nearer 150,00 but it was in very good condition. Shortly afterwards the odometer stopped working. Since then it has never been fixed & now he estimates it's now done well over 200,000! All, through the years it has had, apparently, only had standard servicing & minor repairs. It passes the MOT every year with only minor faults. At 25YO the brakes needed major work & the (original Volvo brand) 7 pin tow socket failed: he hasn't stopped complaining about it yet LOL. It still runs reliably, if more than a little rattley, so he refuses to replace it with "something newer & more troublesome". Despite the indicated/actual miles it was a bargain! So it's now approaching it's 1/2 century but well below average mileage (according to the reading anyway)! Any offers?
  8. Does any-one remember the days when 'vans had a check list stuck in the front window?
  9. micktheshed


    The 60 limit I referred to was definitely mid 60's (I even remember the Standard Vanguard I was driving!) as I'd just moved to a small village. As to being 'single carriageway only' I don't recall as the 18 mile commute I was doing didn't include any dual carriageways (a rare thing in those days?). However it just goes to show how posted speed limits can have a negative effect rather than the one intended.
  10. micktheshed


    I well remember (mid 60's) when a blanket speed limit of 60mph was introduced (petrol shortages?) Before then 40/45mph was considered a reasonable cruising speed, afterwards 60 became the norm!
  11. This description bears no resemblance to the Bond 875 (1968 van or 1971 hatchback) that I owned. & no, I'm not just remembering the good things only! When it comes to cars (or anything else) I speak as I find. Even allowing for the fact that my previous car was a Reliant 3/25 (which much more closely fits the description, with the definite exception of the wheelie!) the Bond 875 was a revelation in it's day. One thing is true: it was possible to do a wheelie by holding the brake & power-winding-up the rubber doughnuts in the drive shafts! Surprisingly didn't do them any good though. As an example of the capabilities: the Bond was largely unaffected by side winds (especially the tapered clamshell bonneted mk. 2) & got more stable the faster it went. I had a Vauxhall Viva in 1974 which was no slouch (also keeping the Bond for another 7 years) & corners that the Viva felt safe taking at 35mph I habitually took, in the Bond, at 40/45mph with no qualms! When it snowed I preferred the Bond as the traction was superb, it just never got stuck, though on one occasion 11" (300mm)+ of overnight snow packed under the front bodywork causing the front wheel to lift & act more like a boat tiller! If anyone remembers the horrific snowfall of 1969: it took me 5 hours to travel the 18 mile that normally took 40 mins (from Coventry to Leir (a small village nr. Lutterworth) due to traffic hold-ups & snow drifts. I spent most of my time digging other people out so I could get by! Living out in the country, at the time, being self-sufficient was essential as snow drifts of up to 3 feet had to be dealt with most winters. The Bond ploughed through them all, granted with some difficulty, but on one occasion, a Land Rover following me got stuck & had to be pulled out by tractor LOL. I well remember on several instances of travelling down single-track lanes, with snow banked-up both sides, meeting cars coming the other way & digging out enough room for me to back into. Everyone but me being surprised that I pulled away again with no trouble. This doesn't sound anything like the car 'matelodave' is describing, to me. Mind you, I would seriously hesitate to attempt some of the things I did then even with my present 4X4 Terrano!
  12. That's the one I remember! Perhaps there were 2 specs available? My very first car (also only had a m.bike licence) and the 'bees knees' of the day (1967). Better spec than a Mini (winding windows, proper door locks, heater! etc.). Absolutely atrocious to drive: bouncy, wondering steering, very affected by side winds, gutless & thirsty 600cc alloy engine, very noisy (I always wore ear plugs!) & very prone to turning over (was on ludicrously large 13" wheels). This was accepted as a Reliant characteristic. I 'only' managed it once but came close several times! If you survived driving one of these you could drive anything! It's no wonder I found the Bond 875 such a revelation in comparison. Three things stick in my mind: 1, when driving over a matchstick it was possible to tell if it had been used or not (really!) LOL, 2, if an approaching Reliant driver held up a no. of fingers it meant that he'd turned over that many times! It didn't inspire any confidence that the roof would collapse to dashboard level!). 3, the engine was fairly easy to service from the driver's seat via a large cover. I kid you not! Interesting times, when cars required some skill to drive them....& indeed survive them LOL.
  13. micktheshed

    What is this?

    Scarey..............whooOOOOOooooo!!!! (Ghostly noise) or crash!!!! (as shed collapses) LOL.
  14. Matelodave: thanks for the nudge, that's just promoted me to re-wire the battery cables on my decade-old Aldi charger. Having had a lot of use/abuse over the years it had started neading a 'waggle' of the wires to get it working. I was not surprised to find the insulation failing so re-wired it & all is now well (for another decade?). Although I don't doubt c-teck are made to a higher spec. I can't possibly justify paying 5 times the price, even for the 'bragging rites' LOL. Bit of a 'boys toys' thing going on here methinks. I've yet to feel a need for more than the 3.5A output of the Aldi anyway, or been even the slightest concerned by the very rare potential occurrence of power cuts. Otherwise things might be different. I also carry a spare in the 'van (the original Aldi bought well over a decade ago!) As an emergency to charge the 'van or car batteries or my wife's buggy. Rarely used it but it was indispensable when l did need it! I might be slightly biased but I find the Liddle version slightly inferior (but that's another story).
  15. Bulko1: Since you live just down the road from me (& where I was actually born LOL) I would be very interested to know the name of the dealer. Especially since our local main dealer used to be Pedlys of Bedworth -who are no more. He deserves a mention just for his excellent response!
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