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About ericmark

  • Rank
    Over 500 posts
  • Birthday 10/03/1951

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  • Gender
  • Location
    North Wales
  • Interests
    Photography, Radio
  • Towcar
    Kia Sorento XS Year 2007
  • Caravan
    Elddis Odyssey 524 Year 2002

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  1. ericmark

    Towbar Electrics help

    I tried to wire my old Kia Carens, it did not have canbus so should have been easy, however gaining access to reversing light and rear guard fog all in rear door not easy, in fact I never bothered, theory is easy, practice when you need to remove panels and route cables, it can be a real pain. Today both tow cars Kia Sorento and Jaguar XE were both wired by some one else, it seems the Jaguar was a manufacturers kit as today that is only way. There is a reason why it costs so much to have a tow bar and electrics fitted, and it is not excessive profit, so the non manufactures kits take all power from battery with suitable fuse, the connections to lights are only to trigger a relay, the major problem is how to ensure power is not drawn from the caravan battery when cranking car, yet can feed an anti snake device when engine is running, we suppose it should still supply anti snake while wheels are turning. Road lights are relatively easy, the problem is caravan battery, as long as no charging of caravan battery is attempted then simple relay will do the job. It is the charging of the caravan battery which causes all the problems, without that function don't need voltage dependent relays, blocking diodes, inverters or any other special device. However most caravans are set up to be charged while towing, so the tow car has to have something to stop caravan battery feeding car, easy before alternators were switched off under power and on again with overrun. So only safe method today is the blocking diode, it may mean caravan will not have it's battery charged as too much volt drop, but it means always power for anti snake and never is power drawn from caravan by the car when cranking, if you really want the caravan battery charged then fit a DC to DC inverter in the caravan. 2. 5 mm cable is rated around 22 amp, getting over 2. 5 mm cable in a 13 pin plug or socket is going to be a problem so I would expect to find supply from battery fused at 25 amp and no more.
  2. ericmark

    Battery Drop Test

    There are two types of battery tester. 1) A very large resistor which puts a huge load on the battery, with a volt meter and it requires skill on part of operator to work out if battery is good or not. 2) A large load is placed on the battery for a set time and the time taken for battery to recover after load is removed is measured and the info fed into the built in computer which in turns gives a report of battery condition, this needs very little skill on part of user. So 1) needs all bungs removing so you can see the reaction of the electrolyte so yes he is correct, little point with a sealed battery. However 2) would not really be a problem.
  3. ericmark

    the white peg

    If the rules are made plain, and you can see some sense in it, then simple accept rules or find another site. However if you are told for example you must reverse onto the pitch because of fire precautions so caravans can be moved in a hurry should the worst happen, you accept it as looking after general safely of all. But when you then walk around the site and see wheel locks it becomes apparent nothing to do with fire precautions, there is some other reason. Twice this year been to Forest of Dean CCC site. First time with Kia Carens second with Kia Sorento, the assess road is just a little on the narrow side to reverse into the pitch without front wheels of car leaving the road, with the Sorento no problem, all wheel drive, but February with Carens sorry I really messed up the grass as drive wheels went on it. Being fair no one complained and a lovely site, but being on a hill, I can see it would be very tempting to drive straight on and as a result get stuck, which in turn means a churned up site. So after realising how easy to churn up the grass it was clear why the rules were reverse in. However caravan brakes are designed to stop caravans going forward, I have seen caravans where brakes don't hold in reverse, I engage the motor mover before unhitching just in case, and would prefer to face caravan tow hitch down hill. But now towing with two 4 x 4 cars Kia Sorento and Jaguar XE however both also come in two wheel drive versions so it must be hard for site managers to judge which cars and/or drivers can drive across grass and which will turn it into a mud bath, so I can see why the rules are made. And to be frank the Sorento is part time 4 wheel drive and in high box it is auto selected, so I have not a clue as to if it would engage as required or not, OK low ratio is always 4 wheel drive, but never actually tried it in low ratio, I hope it would work, but don't know for sure.
  4. ericmark

    Towing Myths

    I got caught out, checked on internet and caravan dealers info as to what car could tow, said 1500 so caravan 1450 laden so within the law, then found log book and rated 1350 seems year before was 1500 and year after 1500 but one we had was not, so car changed. Other car rated towing capacity is zero, we tend to call it a Renault Kangoo however it was modified by a firm called GoWing and that is the manufacturers name on log book. Alterations before the vehicle is registered are clearly taken into consideration, as to something like a Landrover where it can have between 1 and 12 seats the weight can alter so much it must be taken as in the trim supplied. The Landrover is saleable with no body, as many vehicles sold as chassis cabs. There is nothing to stop me removing seats and replacing windows with light panels, glass is heavy so the weight of a car derived van is very different to the car, often much lighter. It seems year after our car was bought the vehicle had 7 seats, as a result it was heavier so towing capacity went up, I am sure if you wanted you could apply to have a vehicle reassessed, if some thing is permanently fitted or removed, this is exactly what happens when altered to carry the disabled.
  5. ericmark

    Sat Nav with a mind of its' own!

    We bought a Michelin sat nav, it was not as good as the phone, so has never really been used, the phones use to have their own sat nav, however today it seems they all use Google. They work well, but screen size of a note is not really big enough, really need a bigger screen, OK when there is some one in passenger seat, spoken instructions are confusing some times, really need to see screen. Just got a Jaguar XE, for first time car with built in sat nav, near to us there is a road works meaning main road is now one way, Jaguar sat nav picked this up, Google did not, so it seems Jaguar built in sat nav is good. Nice large screen, so easy to read, maybe because we have a British car?
  6. ericmark

    Without Car

    Have you got sorted out yet, can't help with tow car, however about to get rid of a ex mobility car, towing capacity zero, but will carry wheel chair with all holding down points, winch etc. Was used for my mother, it seems once you retire then you can't get a mobility car, however if you already had one, you were allowed to keep it. We always felt that was unfair, they gave mother a bus pass which included attendant but that was it. So we went to Ruthin to a garage which specialise in ex-mobility cars and bought our own, able to carry my late mother in her wheel chair. Insurance swapped to new Jag XE and it is sitting doing nothing in drive. Officially GoCar but based on Renault Kangoo 56 plate know I will not get much for it. Our tow cars are not suitable for severally disabled one too low, the other too high, I also lost disability payment, lucky old enough to get tax credits until officially retired. Tribunal said I could work, job centre said don't be silly we can't get you a job, your too disabled, which to be fair I am.
  7. ericmark

    caravan paint colour

    There was a glass fibre car which was advertised as any colour you want as long as it's tangerine, the reason was paint went into mould first and was an integral part of the panel. I want the paint to remain on the caravan and the plastic and glass fibre parts the colour is really deep so a scratch does not show, if available in many colours then likely plastic parts would be painted so my answer is NO.
  8. ericmark

    Towing with Petrol Auto's?

    Above 6000 rpm harmonics need to be considered, so most the older engines were under that limit, however as said some Honda motorcycles were going to 12000 rpm. I remember being shown around a high revving diesel, it ran at 300 rpm, where most ships diesels were running at 160 rpm, so all relative. In general lower speeds means better MPH, but as you change engine type clearly you also need to change how you drive it, steam engines had max torque at zero rpm, many electric motors are the same. My rev band should be between 2000 and 4000 rpm, and when towing with hills I may actually do that, however in the main light rarely go over 2000 rpm. OK as a mechanic I had to learn about torque and BHP and calculate BHP from torque and revs, and also things like volumetric efficiency, don't know why, we only repaired engines we did not design them, however the higher the compression ratio the more efficient, and for the petrol engine over 9:1 the fuel would ignite before time, but with the diesel you could have 22:1 as fuel was not injected until correct point in cycle so could not start burning early (pinking) however those diesels were noisy so to use cheap fuel in Europe a low compression diesel was developed.
  9. ericmark

    Towing Myths

    I am sure as a lad working on a farm I towed trailers over twice the weight of the towing vehicle, when only two wheels on the towing vehicle were braked, and there were no brakes on the trailer. And yes there was a problem with going down some hills, and the hitch was very close to rear axle, and the trailer had wheels very close to the rear so tow hitch weight could be a few ton, never mind 100 kg. When I started to speed allowed for trailers was a lot less, I got stopped for speeding on the A55 duel carriageway for exceeding 30 MPH which was at that time the maximum speed for wagon and drag. Lighter vehicles I seem to remember could tow at 40 MPH, and if the car weighed more than the caravan you could affix a 50 sticker and do 50 MPH, however you could be stopped and done even if under 40 MPH if the sticker was affixed and your car was not heavy enough. There were also some odd rules with duel purpose vehicles and twin close coupled axles, I seem to remember the distance between the axles was so small most caravans would not be considered as close coupled. But had a LandRover been able to do the speed it could actually tow faster than a car because it was classed as duel purpose. I never took my test with track laying or road rollers, but had all other groups, but was just 6 months too young when HGV came out, so had to sit class 2 test, never did get class 1. When we were allowed to tow faster, I soon realised go just a couple of MPH too fast and a snake could result, and also realised on duel carriage ways and motorways too much speed was more of a problem than on single carriageways, not a clue why, but a wagon travelling in opposite direction does not seem to initiate a snake in the same way as one going in same direction, so very early on realised it does not matter what the law says, to keep safe do not exceed 50 MPH, at least with a caravan. Towing a car trailer with a car on it the trailer weight did exceed weight of car, however never had a problem with speed with car trailer, however a welding set or compressor very heavy small trailer there was a snaking problem. However as said early days speed limit was 40 MPH with them due to weight. I have never understood why people Talk about ability to brake with a caravan being related to car weight, it is only the effort required to compress the spring on the over run brakes that should push the car, if that is not the case, then some thing wrong with caravan brakes. However again years ago, on hitching up, I would try to reverse, if I could not, then brakes were OK, today the brakes don't work when reversing so testing no so easy. So Massey Ferguson 35 weighed 1448 kg it had as name suggests 35 BHP and would tow easy double it's own weight, and up rather steep hills, I know there was a special tractor licence but that was to allow people under the age to drive a car, drive a tractor, most used a car licence. I seem to remember had to have a max speed of 16 MPH to be taxed as farm tractor and use red diesel, but today the JCB fast track goes well over that speed. There was also a 30 miles a week on the road limit from what I remember. Today I see these large tractors pulling trailers clearly well over 3. 5 ton charging along the A55 at 50 MPH, clearly some change in the law, as far as what is carried on the tow vehicle seem to remember for a tractor has to be zero to class it as tractor. I am totally confused now as to what I can drive and tow, OK I know I can tow my caravan, and as the law was I could not tow a caravan where the load was transferred to towing vehicle they were called class 4, I have seen a few at forest of dean camp site, normally towed with a pick-up. I would assume I still can't tow one without taking a test?
  10. ericmark

    Towing with Petrol Auto's?

    Most my tow cars were petrol auto, Marina 1800, Vauxhall Royal 2. 8 litre, Toyota Crown 2. 6 litre, Triumph 2000, to name just some. One did have to read the instructions as they did vary, seem to remember the Rover 3500 had two options and with the standard option it did not use 1st gear, others had the L (lock) where you could lock it in a low gear for long down hill runs. The old cars were not very fuel economic to start with, adding a caravan could reduce the MPG from 25 to 22 but one did not really notice the drop with the larger cars. Today things have changed a lot, and there is a huge difference towing and light, and often the larger cars actually do better MPG wise than the smaller when towing, we had a Kia Carens 2L diesel which we swapped for a Kia Sorento 2. 4L and towing the Sorento does better MPG to what the Carens did, however light the Carens was best. As to why, that's up for debate, it may be the larger engine does not need to work as hard, or it could be the larger body of the tow car reduces the wind resistance of the caravan. However also driving technique, to get power from an engine it should be revving between max torque and max BHP, once the revs drop below the max torque figure one needs to change gear far more often, so for easy driving the Sorento needs to be over 2000 RPM, however for economy likely 1500 RPM will give one better figures. Now with a Diesel you have quite a tight rev band say 2000 - 4000 RPM but with a Petrol often 2500 - 6000 RPM so as long as you allow the base revs to rise, life is easier with the Petrol. One can reduce the need to change gear, if you keep revs above max torque level, however as said allowing it to drop below that figure means better MPG. So with an automatic where the torque converter and old Wilson epicyclic gear box can change ratio with ease, in general when towing the MPG is better than with a manual. However the old 3 speed Wilson epicyclic gear box and torque converter are in the past, with infinity variable and 8 speed automatic gear boxes today all the old ideas and methods of driving are gone. Modern engines are very carefully matched to the car to get some fantastic MPG, the Jaguar XE my wife drives gets better MPG to my little Honda Jazz, when we went to look at cars, it seems some makes have moved forward by leaps and bounds, others are same today as they were in 2004. Even back in 2000 the Toyota Rave 4 was petrol only as Toyota had cracked lean burn engine with the cat so were getting fantastic MPG from Petrol. So if you were to ask how does a 1985 Diesel Automatic car compare with a 1985 Petrol Automatic car, the answer is easy, there were simply no Diesel Automatics, if you wanted Diesel it had to be manual. In the 1920's we had the old pre-select Wilson box, but most automatics did not arrive in this country until the 70's, and then only the larger cars, OK there was a 4 speed mini automatic, but the smaller cars had clutches and standard gear box even if automatic changes were done like the old 2CV. Looking at bigger vehicles the International loadstar wagon the base for typical USA school bus was automatic, and many buses were semi-automatic, but most wagons were manual, often with splitters and two speed axles with 18 to 24 forward gears, there were automatics, the CAT dump trucks were automatic but these were not really for road use. Even electric with the electro haul but working with 10,000 volt was not my idea of auto electrics. We have the technology, but as to using the technology is some thing else, back in the 1980's we saw an attempt at electric vehicles, the Bedford CF had the option of a Lucas electric system, but at that time it was lead acid, over 50 years we have advanced, but most is due to government incentives, what makes sense has nothing to do with it. No change there, that's why we lost steam wagons, the taxing favoured Petrol, there is no way to guess what will happen, as it is all down to government incentives.
  11. ericmark

    fridge watts plz

    The caravan we have the fridge uses 120 watt on 230 volt.
  12. ericmark

    Vauxhall Amongst The Most Unreliable Cars

    Within cycling distance of Ellesmere Port there are loads of Vauxhalls around here, so they were on the list of cars to look at, General Motors are still one of the big motor car producers and one would expect them to get it right, but what a corporate buyer wants, is not the same as what the user wants. As I was dragged around by her to look at new cars, we rejected some as I banged my head getting in, others as engine too small, and many as towing capacity too low. However could not believe how many cars were rejected by my wife because no cup holders or no sat nav, in the end we got rather an old car (Kia Sorento) with no sat nav, but she fell in love with the black beast. However since not very good fuel wise she wanted a second car to run around with, all attempts to steer to small cars failed, looked at small Kia but not actually that good MPG wise, so ended up with a Jaguar XE as second car, which means the tow car is not really required. However the Sorento does not require a pray mat to crawl under the car to plug in electrics, and can carry bikes as well as towing, is high up so we can see the countryside, and we can assess boot space from rear or side with seats down, so is the better tow car. However for day to day driving having a boot means no prying eyes to see all the rubbish my wife carries around with her. Worst car I have had for break downs is the Renault Kangoo, (GoWing) however the break downs were really not that bad, it was having mother in a wheel chair so we could not transfer her into any standard car. This is of course a big problem with a tow car, many years ago my dad had an accident in Sterling, we live in North Wales, car written off, but caravan was OK, so wanted to hire a car with tow bar to recover them and caravan. Only option was hire a Landrover it was after that he joined MayDay. As to working out how reliable using insurance claims, we took out a break down insurance, the linkage failed on the wipers, and it seems it was not covered, can't drive with no wipers, but it would not flag up as a break down. Then there is who you buy car from, the Kia Sorento in spite of age came with 12 months break down cover, the Jag has 90 days. So the Sorento is 4 times more likely to flag up as a break down to Jag. Using insurance claim data there was a report on which was the safest car, it was a percentage so allowed for how many cars on the road, so the safest car was a Reliant three wheeler, clearly not really the safest, but drivers of those cars knew they were vulnerable so drove carefully and it was the Volvo which came out bottom, which at that time was likely the safest. Now 4x4's are bottom. Honda have had a recall with our 10 year old car to fix a water ingress problem with door lock, Volkswagen has not done a UK recall even when caught out cheating, to me that kicked to touch all Volkswagen cars, even if the Skoda ticked all the boxes, would not buy one.
  13. ericmark

    Battery charging

    Reading the web site it seems there are two Ctek chargers for caravans, a 7 amp XS 7000 and a 25 amp XS 25000 I am sure both are very good, however both are rather expensive 7 amp at £163 on Amazon I see. Although we roughly call them battery chargers, in the caravan they are really power supplies, the idea being you can use all 12 volt lighting and the charger/power supply takes up the whole load, so your battery is just stand by for most of the time. So in my caravan with all lights on likely a 25 amp load, add fans and likely over 35 amp so the charger/power supply needs to take up most of that load, or the battery may be discharged when wanted to run without mains for example the motor mover. Some caravans do have mains lights, so the load does vary caravan to caravan, however very few can run with just 7 amp so most will need the XS 25000 RRP £319. 99 although found advertised at £209. 99 a standard caravan charger is around the £110 mark. Using a large charger has some down sides, if a cell goes short circuit the charger can give out maximum charge, while in the caravan you will smell this, bad egg smell, but in storage you may be unaware this has happened, so when unattended there is a good case for using a small charger which will not boil the battery producing hydrogen gas with the fire risk which goes with it. The Lidi charger 3. 8A is likely good enough, it does have a problem in that if supply is lost, the button needs pressing to restart it, where the Ctek will auto restart, but I would assume caravan would be checked once a month and not being charged for a month would not be a problem. Suggesting that people buy the Ctek XS 25000 is like suggesting they should buy a Roles Royce, there is no question Roles Royce cars are very good, however most people opt for a cheaper version of motor car.
  14. ericmark

    Battery charging

    20 to 30 amp seems wrong, one would expect zero - 20 or zero - 30 in the main called simply 30 amp or 20 amp. So I wonder what you have? There are many types of battery chargers, at 30A either it is a engine starter or designed to run 12 volt equipment as well as charge the battery. With for example the Lidi smart battery charger with just a 3. 8A output, within a couple of hours it has normally dropped to 3A, so in real terms a 30A battery charger will charge a battery around 2 hours quicker than a 3A battery charger as the battery simply can't absorb the energy any quicker. So a 30 amp engine start battery charger would likely damage the battery, where a 30 amp float charger would not, although for a short time it could possibly be used. Even the old 8 amp battery charger designed to equalise car batteries should not be used for more than 24 hours as they will damage the battery, the idea of those old battery chargers was to over charge the battery, as over time with the old dynamo the cells of the battery would end up some slightly over charged and some under charged, and the charger would cause all cells to become equal, so the battery would then need topping up with water. Valve regulated lead acid batteries however have no way to top them up, so this old idea is no longer valid. So to recover a battery today you need a long charge time and a low charge rate, my experiments showed me it can easy take two weeks to recharge a battery fully, however the charger often reports battery as fully charged well before that point. So best is a charger designed to be left running 24/7 like the Lidi, Aldi, or Ctec chargers. Unlike the float charger these vary the voltage 12. 8 volt to 14. 4 volt so will in time equalise the cells, however a float charge of 13. 4 to 13. 8 volt is normally a better option in a caravan, as not only does it charge the battery it also powers all the 12 volt equipment, in my caravan the lights can draw 30 amp, so the 35 amp charger is there to stop the battery discharging rather than charge the battery at that rate. So to get the answer, you need to tell us more about the charger, as without that, the answers are only a guess.
  15. ericmark

    Blown air heating not working

    Mine was far simpler, not switched on, had turned on at heater but missed selector on wall where you set temperature and how much power to use. Worked it all out using an energy meter as so slow to get any heat from heater but could see power come up on the display on tablet.