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Everything posted by micktheshed

  1. When I suffered bulkhead regulator failure some years ago (quite common due to oil contamination) a mate of mine came to the rescue with a standard (bottle top) regulator & BBQ adaptor. This was promptly put into use (with the original regulator turned off). Since then I've carried my own emergency ‘BBQ’ pipe set-up. Although I've tested it on every 'van since I been 'lucky' & not needed to use it in anger. The experts may 'pooh-pooh' & claim all sorts of potential problems regarding the idea all they like, but using common sense it really does work.
  2. Despite being careful when shopping etc. we attended our clubs AGM last Saturday. We are all 'of an age' but there were no signs of any one with a cough etc. Great sport was made of elbow shaking LOL but the time scale points to us having picked it up there. All was well until on the following Wednesday we did our weekly shop at Morrison’s & were amazed to find the shelves empty of toilet rolls & pasta etc ....pasta? really?: hardly a staple diet in this country but I was told people where buying up anything they could get their hands on. A bit like Christmas then, buying loads of stuff that will end up in the bin! Quite pathetic really. It reminded me of the 70's 'shortages'. It occurred to me that some enterprising type could be selling 'germ-free-air' to all these gullible souls. There were a few cans of beans & soup left but I didn't want any., so got hardly any of our shop. Typical snowflake panic reaction. I had remarked at the distinct lack of traffic & shoppers without actually realising the root cause. The wife began to suddenly feel unwell so we came home pronto not thinking too much about it. By Thursday we were both down with bad 'flue-like symptoms & thanks to our marvellous, but grossly under funded, NHS have been left to deal entirely with it ourselves. My wife is 75, I'm 72!, so thanks for that Boris. Things went from bad to worse & we both ended up bedridden. I'm been told to self-isolate for 2 weeks which we will be doing anyway. There are some signs of slight recovery meaning we might manage to get camping at the end of the month. (The first 3 meets of this month have been cancelled due to rain otherwise I would be chaffing at the bit!) The fist meet is totally outside so should be safe enough. Time will tell. It just goes to show how easy it is to catch! 'Be careful out there' as it looks like you are on your own!
  3. Being effective is not the same as 'appeals to the gullible' or 'gadget-obsessed' or 'don't have a choice as it's a standard fit'. As regards the latter: emergency tyres, or even worse foam, spring to mind. Is there any-one who can seriously claim to be pleased with either 'option' & chose it in preference to a real tyre? They were forced on (some of) us by cost-cutting but promoted as an 'advance'. Not for me though, I need, & have, a practical & reliable vehicle not a mobile disco full of sales gimmicks etc. Though I do realise there are some people who can't tell the difference between the two. Good luck to them.
  4. As previously stated, my point is that now we have K.E. the thieves can have it away WITHOUT causing any damage or even looking too obvious. As I recall remote locking (with deadlocks) & steering locks caused a dramatic reduction in thefts in their day, & still require some notable effort to gain entry. This may not have lasted very long but at least it had a positive effect. K.E. is nothing more than an out-&-out sales gimmick.
  5. It annoys me, given the deplorable incidence of cars with K.E. being stolen, that there is not a suitable specific increase in ins. premium. After all any other 'mod' or risk is, quite rightly, likely to attract such an increase. If such an increase became the norm we might see more actual security & less gimmickry.
  6. I've just read an item on Yahoo regarding the top 10 cars stolen: all are fitted with 'key-less'. Most of them are LR. Of all cars stolen 9 out of 10 have ......you've guessed it........KE. Hardly the most secure feature is it? (don't know how to reference it on here.)
  7. I don't understand why any-one would even want to do this. Alloy wheels are more easily damaged, are more likely to become porous, cost more even though they are usually made to a lower quality to keep the price down & on top of that are more likely to come loose as there is no spring seats to help retain the bolts (assuming correct fitting). The only benefit I know of is that the tyre is much more difficult to detach from the rim. They are not even markedly lighter. The only reason they are fitted as standard is as a sales gimmick. If improved looks are the aim what's wrong with fitting fancy disks? (Can you tell I'm not a fan? LOL).
  8. Because air awnings are 'self suporting' to some extent they can be inflated without being attached to anything. After inflating they can be propped against a wall for a realistic examination. Take care not to over-inflate as I don't think this model has a pressure relief valve.
  9. What else could I (or any-one else) be reasonably expected to do? Not buy any caravan would appear to be the only answer.
  10. Before buying any major item (beit caravan, car or white goods etc) I usually go to a great deal of effort to 'collect' other people's experience & notable faults. As far as 'vans are concerned my 2 year 'survey' on sites such as this one, & fellow camper's recommendations, provided me with a clear leader as far as 'acceptable' faults & customer service were concerned : Swift. No caravan is without fault, it's just a case of 'are you willing to live with it?' Despite this I've ended up with a grand lemon, it's all very much of a game of chance as to whether you get a good one or not. So my advice is do your homework but be even more careful when choosing a dealer. It's the after service that really counts in the end.
  11. It should be born in mind that there are many instances of tyres failing long before 5 years (or 7 years). There is nothing magic about an invented time life (which is what it is, there is no evidence at all to confirm it's validity). The danger is that such invented 'guidelines' are peddled, & perceived, as gospel when in fact actual tyre condition is all! I repeat: there is NO substitute for frequent inspection & proper maintenance, suggested times are only that: 'suggested'.
  12. Had my Alde fluid changed (by mobile) yesterday. Was very surprised to see the blue colour even though it was 5 year type & graded '13' (confirmed on container). The original 2 year fluid was also blue! When I changed the fluid myself in my last 'van to 5 year type that was red! Very confusing, don't think the colour is any guide at all these days LOL.
  13. The simple 'secret' to extending tyre life is NOT to leave them standing under load over winter. I've always put mine on axle stands, otherwise never left then stationary for more then 2/3 weeks, & have yet to have a tyre crack or fail even up to 10 years old. Tyres do like being used/moved regularly & inspected often . I do realise that some effort is involved: apparently far too much effort? I can only assume the neglect most people show towards their tyres is the main reason for the 'change at xx years' guidelines. They are, however, no substitute for the above.
  14. Apparently it has just occurred to the government that electric vehicles are even more prone to creating a dangerous hazard than IC powered vehicles if they run out of propulsion! There is, apparently, little warning between traveling at speed & rapid stopping, & no ability to 'coast' to a safer place. Towing of same is difficult/impossible/damaging (depending on model) as there is no 'neutral'. Therefore the only universally 'safe' recovery method is by trailer. I dread to think of the delay & additional difficulties involved. Imagine this happening in any running lane (let alone on an 'intelligent motorway!). Could we see the much praised EV being the end of 'intelligent' motorways because of this simple fact? I do hope so. Until then some serious re-design is needed. Perhaps whomsoever thought no neutral, a warning beeper, or even an emergency back-up power supply, was an acceptable idea/oversight would care to stand up?
  15. That reminds me of when my dad was teaching me to drive, his favourite expression was "assume 1/2 of the driver's are idiots & the other 1/2 are blind, but watch out especially for those that are both". His second favourite was "always keep your eyes moving & look as for ahead as possible". I'm only here today thanks to that. The no. of near-misses I’ve experienced over the last 55 years, & lived to tell the tale, are too numerous to mention. I have the strong belief that since driving schools became the norm in the 1970's (as opposed to being taught by experienced friends or family) the standard of driving has slowly deteriated. Instead of being taught responsible driving the emphasis is on passing the test-the two are not necessarily the same.
  16. '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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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).
  19. 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).
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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?
  23. Does any-one remember the days when 'vans had a check list stuck in the front window?
  24. 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.
  25. 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!
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