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About Stockcroft

  • Rank
    Over 100 posts

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  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests
    Being a long term liability to the pension fund
  • Towcar
    Discovery 4
  • Caravan
    Coachman VIP 520/4

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  1. When we started 4 years ago I read all those towcar reviews saying things like 'it tows like a dream' and 'you can't tell there is a van on the back'. So when I picked up our new, modestly sized, caravan and towed it home with my Disco I had expected to have a smooth cruise. That was a rude awakening with what felt like a lot of push and pull type of action and pitching. It was empty at that time of course so things improved once we started towing with loads. But it was very much a question of experimentation with placing of the loads on the floor and I was really surprised at how much difference it made by just moving the weight forward or backwards just a few feet over the (single) axle. I now carry the awning in the van and adjust that to get the right balance.
  2. Just driving off the pitch and then heading down the field we were on (a reasonable slope).
  3. Slightly off topic - we pulled off pitch in Norfolk mid morning last week to start our journey home. Driving slowly through the site we heard the distant sound of a caravan alarm. Oh dear, we thought, hope someone hasn't gone out for the day and their alarm has triggered - the neighbours won't be happy. We were looking around to see if we could determine which van it was, slightly puzzled that the volume wasn't reducing as we drove on....but then noticed many eyes were following our progress. Sudden realisation, quick stop and out of the car - yes its us! The alarm button on the fob had obviously been pressed, and set to on, in my pocket whilst grappling with the Alko prior to departure. Now added to (long) list of learning points through experience.
  4. Brought my 4 year old Coachman home 2 weeks ago from storage in preparation for first trip away of the year. I noticed that I was getting a significant squeak from the floor area around our side dinette. A quick investigation revealed it was the screws in the L shaped plastic brackets holding the dinette seats to the floor that were loose. `A quick tighten with a screwdriver was all that was needed to eradicate. I went on to try tightening screws in a number of other locations in the van - surprisingly the majority needed tightening. Separately, over the period of ownership I have found a series of small round headed screws on the floor but have been baffled by their origin. Last week, whilst away in Norfolk, I was sitting on the dinette seat and happened to look across at the cooker surround and realised that all 6 retaining screws holding the cooker to the wooden carcass were missing....mystery solved! So lessons to be learnt (i) Coachman could increase the torque settings on their electric screwdrivers (ii) regular tightening never goes amiss.
  5. Re checking the pressures prior to departure. I simply unscrew the 2 Tyrepal valves and manually check with the accurate hand held pressure gauge I keep in the car. Seems a lot easier although perhaps not so on a twin axle. I too have used the Tyrepal system (single axle) for over 4 years with just one battery change and no other problems. I find it reassuring that the alarm is set to sound when pressures decrease to the predetermined level. Can those using the 6/8 wheel sets for both car and van input differentiated alarm pressures on different axles? (eg when towing my front tyres are at 37psi, rears 43psi and caravan at 65psi).
  6. I had my van serviced last week - they showed me a smallish split in the tread of one of the tyres but said they thought it would be OK. However, as they were 2014 manufacture (almost 5 years old ) and not wanting to take any risks I had them both replaced yesterday. My sizes were almost the same as yours but 15inch rims. The suggested load rating for my van (Coachman) was 104. I looked around online and eventually had Continental Vanco200's fitted. I looked for ones that had a good fuel economy and wet weather rating. The place I went to price matched the best internet price and I had them both fitted for a total of £150. Not the cheapest but on a single axle want some reassurance. It may just have been my imagination but on the drive back the towing experience seemed significantly improved. Don't forget, if you have Tyron Bands you will need to check that the fitting place can deal with them (mine wouldn't have done if I had them).
  7. My renewal invitation (with CMC) has also recently arrived......and has also increased by just £1. Is that just coincidence or is their approach to show a minimal increase for all in the hope that policyholders simply accept and don't seek to market test.
  8. Battery is trickle charged by the solar panel whilst in storage so needs to be permanently wired in. The battery was dealer fitted from new and, to be honest, all the wiring in there (inc solar panel and motor mover) looked very snug and slightly involved - wouldn't want to be regularly inserting and extracting....and shouldn't need to. Good point about the loo cassette - haven't checked that is still there. Might get a bit of a surprise when away next week! CASSOA isn't an insurance company - just a trade association for storage compound owners and effectively providing an indicative rating agency for consumers. It is for individuals to obtain insurance for their caravans and most sites want to see evidence of cover before admitting. I think the owner of our site is acting responsibly in covering the costs of replacement batteries and associated repair rather than insisting owners claim through their insurance. It would be nice to think that CASSOA gold classification guaranteed security. But as we know if someone is determined to do something like this they can normally find a way. It would be interesting to know to what extent the CASSOA rating people actually look at site specific prospects for intruders getting over perimeter fences rather than simply putting a tick in the box if the necessary fence of defined specifications is present. Also, do they look at the extent to which CCTV covers the whole compound and whether there are 'dark' areas - or is it a case of 'yes, there is CCTV'....tick?
  9. They are not certain which is, of course, unsettling in itself. It is a large storage facility and the area where my van, and the others similarly targeted, are sited is directly bordering a rural main road. There are about 4 metres of trees, bushes and undergrowth between the road and the site's perimeter fence but, in my view, it wouldn't be difficult to get in undetected there and evade the CCTV whilst removing a few batteries. Needless to say, I have asked to move to what I consider to be a less vulnerable location within the compound(s). I was abroad when I got the notification that this had happened. Got back yesterday and have been out to have a look - they have somehow snapped the internal plastic retaining lug on the battery box (ie that is turned using the key) to open the door. Then they have just cut through all the wiring to remove the battery - taking the battery tray too. The site owner has been proactive in contacting the van owners to determine what types of batteries were there and has engaged a local AWS mobile firm to effect the necessary repairs. By chance we had already booked them to do our annual service so they are now going to combining the repair and service later this week.
  10. Yes, I know - can't get to the storage site until early next week to have a proper look and see what associated damage has been sustained. Was quite a quick phone call from them yesterday but I subsequently e-mailed them back seeking a more complete report of the damage. They said over the phone that the perpetrators had simply 'broken the plastic tab' to get into the battery box. But on reflection the actual locking mechanism is a proper metallic affair - would need some force to get it open. However, possibly pretty straightforward for someone who knows what they are doing to access the simple lock.
  11. Don't yet know how many caravans are affected. But given the number of vans in storage there and the annual price being charged I think they can afford the outlay!
  12. Just been called by the owner of my CASSOA gold storage site to tell me that the leisure battery has been stolen out of the van (2015 VIP 520/4) - ie simply forced the box door. Apparently a number of other vans have had similar treatment. The owner asked for the type of battery I had and told me that they would sort it. So assume that they will be getting new and having someone who knows what they are doing to replace it??? But I recall an issue with the solar panel fuse relating to the battery insertion/removal. If I remember correctly the fuse sits in one of the wires leading to the battery and needs to be removed prior to the battery's removal/insertion. Is that correct? If so I presume the fuse may have blown....or will do if the new battery isn't inserted with the correct process. Grateful for any guidance as to what I need to tell them in advance of them installing a new battery.
  13. You mention the neighbours' possible reaction. Personally, I would always let them know what was being considered so as to keep things as harmonious as possible. Assuming the house to the left is the same design as both yours and the house to the right then it looks as though where you are proposing to park the caravan may be almost immediately adjacent to your neighbour's lounge window. And the fact that your drive is set higher than next door would presumably exaggerate the height of the parked caravan from their perspective. Only you, and they, know where the light falls and whether this would have a major impact for the neighbours. It may not be any issue to them - but, in my view, a friendly chat is usually best and may help you decide whether siting there is OK or whether a few hundred pounds for remote storage in the interests of a harmonious life might be money well spent.
  14. Link to article quoting Elliot Hibbs: https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/business/sales-up-caravan-builder-coachman-2631549 "On the back of the warm summer we had in 2018, people will look at purchasing new motor homes,” he said. “I am very confident, moving forwards, that the caravan sector will have a good few years ahead of it. Now we need to give people that confidence to buy a caravan.” "A good few years ahead of it....." definitely sounds like a finite horizon envisaged ahead. Will be interesting to see how quickly there is a move to diversify to motorhomes. The new link with Kabe is probably a sensible strategic decision and keeps options open.
  15. I have just received my card having applied well before Christmas. Having read some of the earlier experiences I was pretty certain I wasn't going to use it even if it did arrive. But they have clearly done a lot of work on processes ahead of the new iteration, initial reports here seem to suggest its working better so have looked at things a bit further this morning. The main Esso card website shows the two types of cards issued (National and International). The CMC card received is clearly an international one, useable in Europe. Where it talks about the fuel card network on the site it suggests that the card is also useable at BP and Shell garages - see https://www.essocard.com/en-gb/network/ Am I reading that correctly? But I see that the Pump King T&Cs only refers to Esso stations in its definitions. Not sure which is correct. Apologies if this has all been covered before in this, or other threads. Couldn't see specific discussion of this point.
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