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About John_b_45

  • Rank
    Over 1000 posts

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  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests
    Scuba Diving, Travel, Steam, Photography.
  • Towcar
    Sante Fe 2. 2 CRDi Premium 7 Seat Manual 4WD
  • Caravan
    Swift Eccles 480 plated to 1500 kg

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  1. Superb web site (so easy to navigate and clear to understand) and congratulations on your success.
  2. Always on the look out for decent CLs and this one is very close to the railway if that's a priority. Had a look on Google - as you do - and just one question please. Are the 5 vans parked with their back up against the large shed with solar panels on the roof on the designated the CL pitches? If that's the case, and since space between each van is approximately the width of each van, are cars parked in the hedged off area away from vans? There looks to be a few cars there!
  3. Bit of a downsize as you suggest but will be putting adverts in the local press next week for a "driver"!
  4. I think that could be possible. In my crawlings around under it I realised the chassis is the new type - made of single "beams" and not bolted together in sections for size adjustment as was the case in most vans. It's possible that the axle was left in the same place (distance from the hitch) as the previous model and the extra length with associated extra weight behind the axle is the culprit. It's equally possible the new chassis design has a bearing. In all honesty I've not the faintest idea - all I know is that unhitched on the hill I live on the nose weight is negative with only a battery on board.
  5. It is baffling isn't it? I think some people believe I'm making this up. I'm not. I can tell you that releasing the van outside the house was strangely difficult because I now knew it was trying to tip backwards and pressing abnormally on the stabiliser. As it came free the hitch started to rise. As I've explained I managed to hold it down - very little effort was needed - and my wife took over whilst I sorted the mover. One on the drive and lever the van, of course, sat normally. I wish I had checked the nose weight at that time but it was late afternoon and cold. Next day, without thinking about weighing, we started adding stuff to the van. You will know the event I'm sure - will it fit here? Where do the chairs go etc. The addition of the cycle rack was another "event" and in this case, after adding both bikes I did measure nose weight and it was 45 kg. This truly worried me. Since then I've moved the spare to the gas locker, moved the outer cycle inwards by about 6 inches, added a second gas bottle plus other items and redistributed as best I could stuff inside the van (this latter change is negligible I think) I've never been in a situation where I'm adding things to the van rather than carrying them in the car! I measured nose-weight yesterday having added the caravanstore to the awning rail but with an empty fridge and wardrobe and it was close to 105 kg. That gives an idea of just how much I put forwards! With the bikes on and fridge and wardobe filled that will, obviously, decrease. I'll know by how much when we are packed to go later this week. Fingers crossed. If the van had not been uprated to 1500 kg, thus giving me a payload of 248 kg it would have been impossible to load safely with the bikes on the back. We live and learn I guess.
  6. Yes, agreed. Certainly on this van. But they do and with a decent nose weight to start from then not an issue. Hey Ho. I've amended, rearranged and modified to get something that hopefully works so all is well. I'm not going down the road of trivia and point scoring but suffice it to say that: 1. In my stupidity I presumed that Swift would not fit a cycle carrier to a van that is patently not balanced for one and certainly could not be made safe without the upgrade to 1500 kg. It beggars belief what weight issues would arise with 3 bikes on the rack. 2. Secondly I had no opportunity to weigh the nose weight when initially viewing the van - of course you would have asked for a gauge and checked I know - but I didn't. 3. As a matter of fact I do check my nose weight as a matter of course. But that's on my drive and not at a dealer. Of course when I next buy a van I'll take my Milenco with me just like every other customer arriving at the dealership has one tucked under their arm.
  7. According to Swift Talk the 2016 van was shorter than mine. There were no issues with nose weight. This van is around 2 feet longer and has the tall fridge. The opinion seems to be that adding the extra - and with cooker, fridge and wardrobe all behind the axle, this has caused the light nose weight. It's worth noting that without my upgrade to 1500 kg there is no way I could have added sufficient weight to counter the effect of two bikes on the rear. I hope no-one wanting a "lightish " van and towing with a smaller less powerful car, and wishing to carry bikes reads this post! In a nutshell my gripe with swift is that there should be no rear mounts if the van cannot handle them. It should NOT be necessary to have to upgrade the MTPLM to 1500 kg to get a satisfactory nose weight. Errr - Not sure where to find the "signature file!
  8. I tried and changed in my profile but it doesn't seem to appear here. No. But have considered other possible ways forward. I've joined Swift Talk now I have a Swift and posted there too. If you have the time and patience this sets out my thought from this point on. Having slept on this here are my immediate thoughts (thanks for the interest Yorkguy) The carrier has provision for a 3rd bike. I am intending moving the outer current "channel" inwards to the place where a 3rd channel would fit. I will need to do a bit of drilling but hopefully straightforward. This will move the outer bike back towards the van by around 6 inches - not been out to measure it yet. Obviously doing this makes fitting the bikes rather more difficult but once a loading pattern is achieved it will be easy to replicate. The bike holder "grasp the frame thingy" will , of course, now be too long but I will either angle it up or down to grab the bike somewhere plus, a few extra webbing ties to complete the job. This I hope will add another 5kg approx to nose weight and reduces overhang by 6 inches. Not a massive gain but anything is worth having. Second job is to remove the contraption that holds the spare to the now redundant AlKo carrier. This should easily screw to the bulkhead at the front right (few more holes for extra screws easily made). Reasoning is that the spare will be rarely used and shifting stuff to get at it quick and simple. Outer right facing van because that side of the van is lightest when taking account of fittings and the spare will be a constant weight. Third job, having ordered a long pigtail, is to remove the existing clamps and adapt one to fit the wider base of my Safefill. This will then be placed to the extreme left of the gas locker. Reasoning it will balance the spare to some extent when full but more importantly it leaves a large area for other items including the wastemaster and the aquaroll. (Amazed that these fit in but glad they do since firstly the shower door is too narrow for the aquaroll and secondly carrying both in shower would only add to rear weight. Fourth job is to literally check how things fit and if need be move the second gas bottle clamp to accommodate. I was hoping to be able to leave the second bottle behind. The massive advantage of Safefill is, of course, that I can fill it at any stage and always leave home full. Perhaps now the second bottle will stay or other "ballast" will be used. Suck it and see time for this one! Fifth job is to re-arrange a few things inside the van although little will be gained by this I'm afraid. The next day or so will show just how successful I've been. Failure to achieve a decent nose weight will be disappointing to say the least. I will not go away for 6 and more weeks to Europe and live out of suitcases to leave the wardrobe fairly empty. I might leave a single bike on the rack and carry one inside the van but this will be a last resort. I will not carry the bikes on the roof of the car for a number of reasons not least of which is the risk of damage when putting them into place. 13.2 kg at arms length leaning over the roof (SUV high roof) is not going to happen. Oh, and no, I won't be buying one of the expensive slide on carriers either. Phew - Thanks for reading. Will report back after doing the above if you can stand more from me. And someone please tell me why my profile does not match the current van.
  9. If I can achieve 85kg after adding all the weight I can to the front then I'll be content. Nice to know you manage it although maybe you have a different van. I don't blame the dealer - without cycles and with spare moved I had 70kg and could have added a bit more. But if Swift add the carriers to a 480 then you'd expect them to be functional. Next idea is to move the outer bike carrier inwards to where a 3rd carrier would be fitted. I'll need to drill a couple of holes but should be a straightforward job. Hopefully this will gain another 5kg of nose weight. I didn't actually measure the nose weight with the van level - the wife was busy adding stuff and I hadn't the heart to ask her to take it out. In reality whatever it was is irrelevant since a loaded figure is all that matters. I posted a very similar post on Swift Talk (Joined since now have a Swift van but, (someone, please tell me how to change my profile here since I've already added the Swift but it does not appear on my posts) amazed at a few of the responses which range from disbelief to almost mockery! Maybe I'm too sensitive. Can't think why having been on this forum for quite a while.
  10. Well - Yes the 45 kg figure was with van level and bikes on back. 55kg with just one bike on. The hill will have added to the apparent weight distribution which is why I mentioned it. In all my years I've never ever had a caravan with negative nose weight when on a hill or a mountain side! This van has without gas in locker. The spare is under-slung and the removal saves around 6k behind the axle for the carrier. The wheel now resides in the front locker. I didn't hitch up or doubtless I would have noticed it. Noticing it would not, of course, solve the problem. Yes, roughly speaking I have worked out the extra weight required to bring the nose-weight up to sensible figures. I've also wondered what to move forward knowing that anything behind the axle when moved the same distance forward in front of the axle will double its effective weight. I was surprised to see that the A frame seems quite significantly longer than my Lunar Clubman. Much more room behind the jockey wheel. Whilst there is fairing to deal with I do wonder if a bike would fit and solve the problem instantly. Only worry - apart from fitting - is manoeuvrability (turning) . Plan is to fix spare holder to front bulk head and shift gas to other side of front locker. Then add weight to see if I can get a nose weight of around 70kg at least. Of course, as soon as the wardrobe is filled and the fridge..........................! To be honest I never gave a thought to this sort of an issue and, as I said, if Swift published nose weight figures for empty van maybe a penny would have dropped. Why fit a cycle carried to such a caravan?
  11. I've just changed my van to the Eccles 480 and brought it home a few days ago. I live on a hill and I wondered why unhitching was quite difficult - I found out when the van released and tipped backwards. Luckily I was quick enough to hold down the hitch and my wife held it down as I manoeuvred onto my property with the mover. There was nothing in the van except a battery so I could expect a sensible nose weight but I was gobsmacked to find that it was negative! A sleepless night wondering just how things might look with a couple of bikes on the back - the main reason we changed to a Swift. I managed to get the nose weight up to 70kg by putting the spare wheel, aquaroll. waste-master, full gas cylinder, heavy jack, levelling blocks and a few other odds and ends in the front locker. Bike rack now fixed to van and with two 13.2 kg bikes (total with rack around 36kg the nose weight was 45kg. Removing one bike brought it up to 55kg. The inherent stability issues that come with hanging any heavy weights off the back of the van would, I fondly imagined, be overcome with loading the hitch to as close to 100 kg that I could. I've always towed with around 95kg and believe extra weight improves stability. I've uprated the chassis on the van to 1500kg which gives a payload of 248 kg. The closest place inside the van to the hitch is around 6 feet behind it - that's floor immediately in front of the front locker/cupboard. We have 99% of our equipment in place but NOTHING in the fridge which is behind the axle nor in the wardrobe which is against the rear wall of the van. I use a Caravanstore canopy and have no heavy awning to add weight although anyone with some physics can work out just what weight must be added to bring the nose weight up to a sensible figure. To add insult to injury we have also just bought the bikes especially to take with us on the van. Surely Swift should publish nose weights that would warn people off from carrying bikes. Yet they still put the carrier supports on the rear of the 480! In the blurb they warn of the need to add more weight to the nose weight when carrying cycles but I'm sure with some vans that can be easily achieved. I said we are bitterly disappointed and we are. But perhaps anyone reading out tale of woe might be forewarned of the issues that this particular model brings. Any advice from others on the forum welcome. Bottom line for me is that no way will I tow with a nose weight of 45 kg (maybe even less with wardrobe and fridge in use ) and two bikes hanging a couple of feet from the rear of the van. Thank God bringing the van home didn't involve motorway driving with a negative nose weight!
  12. John_b_45

    Cleaning Wastepipes

    Found a short piece cut from a standard (if there is such a thing) wooden broom handle blocked the exit hole perfectly to allow soaking of pipes. Slight swelling as it got wet made it a tug to pull out but still easy. As for what to use there have been a few suggestions already.
  13. John_b_45

    Gas connection.

    No pigtail supplied with my new van and consequently will be using steel braided ones I bought and removed from the old van (which again did not come with pigtails supplied)
  14. John_b_45

    What belongs to caravan

    Just changed my van and dealer expected original equipment to be left. That included pump, plastic original steps, external shower thingy, mover on/off handle, corner steady winder but not battery, pig tails or AlKo lock. (AlKo locks are caravan specific so you may need a new lozenge but can re-use your lock bit. Check ebay for your new lock number and you may get the red cast iron bit for about £20. If you have to buy from AlKo think around £150 I think - disgusting. . And then add on a further £11 for the plastic that protects the wheel! I didn't leave my elec. cable and it maybe that dealers must supply new for health and safety compliance - not sure about that. As for number plate they simply remove your plate from the old van and re-use it on the new!