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TinShack

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  1. Bear in mind there are two types of plastic used in plumbing fittings. One type is joined using a solvent cement which effects a permanent joint that can't be separated for service. The other type, 'push fit', has an 'O' ring inside each fitting and is a push fit often with a silicone lubricant to ease pushing home. These can be separated for servicing and is the type usually used in caravan sink waste systems. They require proper support by clips at strategic positions rather than being self supporting. The two types of pipe are a fraction different in external diameter and fittings often can't be interchanged. Also the 'push-fit' polythene type aren't properly joined by using solvent cement. The cement just dries on the surface rather than etching into the pipe. Alan is spot on with Swift vans still being assembled incorrectly and the drawer back sometimes interferes with the plumbing. Usual fix is to support the pipe with clips and maybe make a little wooden bracket.
  2. Remember to clean the area to get good adhesion and sealing. I probably used meths as I was doing another repair at the same time on something else while on holiday. Luckily I had a toolbag with me and found the LSX in that.
  3. I had a similar issue and used the Fernox LSX external sealant in a tube. Lasted 3 years so far. Available from any plumbers merchant and Wickes.
  4. Not sure where that's stated but the unit is quite straight forward to fit in a caravan. On the Unicorns I've seen there is a 4-way fuse block just inside the front bulkhead where pins 9, 10, 11 and 13 from the incoming 13-pin cable are terminated. These are the fridge and battery +ve and GND connections. The Wildside unit can simply be wired into that such that wires from the caravan for the fridge (10) and battery (9) are connected to the output of the Wildside unit instead.
  5. Erm - 11v is a dead battery, very dead. Older caravan battery meters are notoriously inaccurate. But that reading would be truly bad. I'd get the battery tested if you're not sure how to do it yourself. The 12v systems should just work with a good battery installed providing the tow vehicle is unplugged and the main van power switch is on. I would say check the battery inline fuse, but I wouldn't expect the battery meter to work without mains power in that case.
  6. For a spatula you can use a cheap Vitrex silicone sealant scraper shaped into a corner edge. Get them from Screwfix. But don't mess about unless you intend removing the frame and removing and replacing all the mastic. Don't just slap some more over the top. Just gouging some of the older mastic out is likely to stretch and wrinkle old drying mastic making it more likely to leak. Check what sealant is there now. Traditionally it's a non-setting mastic. Very occasionally I've seen a new van with silicone or maybe it was something like Sikaflex 512 adhesive/sealant. Don't know whether by design or not. White spirit will remove old mastic - eventually. Test paintwork to be sure no damage will occur. Soudal make both adhesive sealants and mastic non-setting types in cartridges. You can also get the non-setting type on a roll in tape form which makes it a bit easier to apply neatly. The adhesive/sealant types should be regarded as permanent as it makes repairs/replacement difficult. It can be removed with some effort, but sometimes damaging the part being removed.
  7. Unless it's leaking I would suggest it's best to leave well alone. The top surface of the non-setting mastics does degrade and look crumbly after a few years while the inside remains sound. In severe cases of degradation or leaks it can need replacing but then the frame must be removed, all traces of old mastic removed, then then re-applied. New mastic will not satisfactorily adhere or seal to old.
  8. To remove the vent, release the slide clips, hinge out by 20-30 degrees, then jiggle up and down on the left while pulling to the left. Eventually the tongues on he right will release and the whole thing can be removed. In my case the fans are mounted on a thin gauge ali plate that is sandwiched in place by refiitting the cover. The fan plate can be removed by simply removing the top cover, unplugging the cable, and lifting it out. Oh, the covers get easier to release with time.
  9. The Dometic fan doesn't blow in or out. It fits at an angle on predrilled holes blowing across the fins inside the space behind the fridge. Access is via the bottom vent. My experience of the Dometic fan on a RM8551 wasn't great. I can't say it particularly helped. Not sure where best to buy from now. I would give you my kit but I cannibalised the cabling. On my Barcelona the two vent clips are on the left. They slide 10mm or so then the cover is carefully hinged out part way from the left, then the plastic tongues on the right carefully disengaged before the whole panel is removed. The kit is self contained and generic, fitting several models , there's nothing complicated about fitting. Two screws into predrilled holes for the fan mounting, a plug goes in the 12v on the fridge rear, and a thermostat that clips onto the pipework. I'm pretty sure I posted a copy of the instructions on here a few years ago if you look. As said here and elsewhere almost nothing helps unless the fridge has been installed according to Dometic's instructions. i.e. almost no gap between the fridge fins and the caravan wall, forcing external air between the fins rather than around. them, and top vent above the fridge. Precool the food, don't over fill and pray. I've been interested to hear if the 10.5 series are better - comments seem mixed, much like the previous generation. Some are happy, some not.
  10. Sorry - long post! Dometic sell an after-market fan that screws into the back of the fridge at an angle into ready-made holes. It has a clip that attaches a thermostat to the evaporator pipework. In my case the existing pipework really didn't allow the fan to fit properly. Even when fitted loosely it didn't really help. I understand others have had better luck with it. I ended up making a thin aluminium panel with two 12v computer fans mounted on it that drops into the top vent and is held in place by the usual vent cover. It extracts heat from the top vent. There's a fixed 12v feed connector on the back of all the newer fridges that I use to power them. Initially I used a PC variable speed controller in series with the fans with it turned down fairly low. But I found that on cooler days the fridge didn't like the extra cooling - the gas vapourisation/condensing cycle wasn't operating correctly. For a while I managed that by simply turning it on only when needed and the fridge wasn't cooling properly. But of course that usually meant the fridge had already warmed up to 9-10 deg by the time I noticed. Later on as I wanted a retirement project, I swapped the variable speed controller for a simple Arduino that monitored the temperature in the vicinity of the heat exchanger and adjusted the fan speed from zero to about half speed. That has worked fine since doing it. Bear in mind that I find the fridge will never cool better than about 25deg below ambient. The maximum claimed is I think 30C below ambient for the 8551. So 35 degrees ambient still means around 10 degrees in the fridge, rather than the recommended 5 degrees. To get better than this you really need different cooling technology such as a compressor fridge. We now carry a small Waeco compressor 12v/240v chest fridge/freezer. This is used mainly for frozen food in transit and while waiting for the van fridge to cool down upon arrival. After that it goes under the bed. If it's stonking hot we keep the Waeco going in the awning. It will cool to -20 degrees if required pretty much whatever the weather. It's not as quiet at the evaporation models but isn't too noisy in the van if needed. Hope that may be useful for some... Oh - also note that a few continental sites will loan or rent ordinary domestic fridges for the duration of your stay. Stick it in an awning.
  11. I used to refill our Safefill cylinder at the Coneybury Country centre but that closed a while ago. Since then I've used the station on Honeybourne Industrial Estate at Evesham. I was hoping to find something nearer. None of the Morrison stations locally have LPG, and neither MyGas.com or the Safefill map show anything else in the area. There's a Flogas centre in Malvern but I can't seem to discover whether they have a working LPG pump I could use. Has anybody found another source locally? Replying to my own query: I find that you need an account to get LPG from a Flogas centre. The one in Malvern is on the KVH Hydraulics estate and is unmanned, requiring an account and key to get gas 24 hours by 7 via a standard UK LPG pump. Anybody can get an account by applying to Flogas and they bill you monthly. I typically refill annually, sometimes bi-annually if doing lots of winter camping. So am unsure whether that's practical. I'll look into it.
  12. Like quite a few I had the same issue and decided to fit a battery to battery unit from Sterling Power (Wildside unit). Instead of a single wire for fridge power it uses both the +ve and -ve terminals in the 13pin connector (2+2 wires total). It then brings up it's output to 13.7v ish so providing adequate power for caravan fridge and battery charging. So it compensates for low output from a smart alternator, and reduces the current hence voltage drop seen by each of the power pins in the 13pin socket (typically the fridge is the worst) because of sharing. Cables in modern vans are thicker for the fridge wiring than the 13 wire cable in the umbilical, so also help reduce voltage drop to the fridge. I think I now measure about 12.6v at the fridge instead of 9.9v I got before. I would say the Wildside unit is just about up to the task given the range of input voltages seen. It works quite hard with a 170W fridge element and low battery. I spent half a day with a generator and variable PSU testing it in the storage yard to prove it out. I can't remember the actual voltage that was the minimum it could cope with, but like I say it just about copes with my situation.
  13. I didn't have any luck in the classifieds for my awning. Will have to advertise elsewhere. Good luck.
  14. I don't know that model, but quite a few that have a hinged glass top require it to be lifted up when running the oven. There are ventilation slots at the back of the hob on those for when using the oven. Some even have a gas interlock to enforce it. Ignore me if not the case on yours.
  15. We found it easier to press the bead in from the front rather than try to slide it in like a channel. Sliding it was never very successful even with lubricant. Take a firm grip of the bead and press it in perpendicular to the face. The extrusion edges are fairly soft and deform to accept the bead, closing up behind it. Remove in the same way. It's worked for the last 5 years.
  16. Oops! I meant to quote the line saying
  17. Not the Triple QX Purple one I hope? Alde have now specifically removed that from the approved list. In fact I used that originally just before Alde removed approval. Being a nerd I replaced it a few weeks later with Comma XStream GG40. Other than their own ready mixed at vast cost to the public, they approve Fuchs Fricofin Maintain V in addition to the Comma one. Anyway well done on DIY!
  18. I see I made a post here back in 2017 about the Truma XT2 two motor mover on a Bailey Barcelona. As another reference point we still have the same van and mover and 3 years later I'm completely satisfied. There's ample speed and power for any hill I've encountered and it's very controllable. OK it won't turn quite as sharply as a 4WD but the extra time needed for a shuffle is seconds only, not minutes or hours. Since I last posted I've adjusted the roller clearance correctly and no longer have the wet tyre issue I mentioned before. I also like that the jacking points remain clear since the mover is on the front wheels. If I can think of any issue at all it's that the remote needs two hands to operate unlike our old powertouch.
  19. There seems a lot of variability with this model, with some owners having no issues at all and others with recurrent problems including myself. There's a few generic things to consider but no magic bullet. Don't expect good fridge cooling better that maybe 20 degrees below ambient at best Check the van is level, better than 3 deg fore & aft and 6 deg lateral Allow at least 24 hours for cooling Avoid direct sun on the fridge vent side Watch out for an awning on the Cartagena restricting cooling vent air flow The more intense heat of a gas flame is usually better at getting coolant recirculation going Paradoxically initial cooling seems better when not using the maximum setting. Use 3 or 4 rather than setting 5. Check winter vents aren't fitted outside of winter months Check the ventilation tunnel and vent filters are clear of obstructions. There's supposed to be 2-3 inches maximum behind the fridge carcass inside the tunnel to create a good chimney effect and force the cooling air over the heat exchanger. Consider gentle assisted air flow through the vents or even an after-market fan kit such as from Dometic. Too much forced airflow will also prevent the cooling process working properly. Try removing top and bottom vents to see if it helps. Sometimes crystalline deposits can form inside the heat exchanger preventing adequate coolant recirculation. Particularly if the fridge has been run extensively in the past when out of level. There's no solution except replacement of the heat exchanger which is a bolt in replacement. It takes several hours for the temperature to recover if the door is open for a minute or so. So don't keep opening the door to check| Check the temperature sensor is clipped correctly on the fins inside the fridge. Check the door seal for leaks I'm not aware on any compressor alternative apart from free-standing models. Perhaps something for the Australian market, but it won't run silently. Oh and reduce the fridge air volume by filling it while still allowing room for air circulation. I expect others on here may have better ideas.
  20. I would suggest the problem is more likely due to an intermittent connection somewhere or badly out of level van. I've found the greater thermal gradient with the gas flame will circulate the refrigerant where mains will not in borderline levelling situations.
  21. In general yes if the battery is in reasonable condition but read your charger and car manuals. My CTEK charger has several settings for different batteries and uses. For example AGM battery, conventional flooded Pb, reconditioning, and PSU. I would suggest that it isn't safe to use the reconditioning setting as that uses high voltage pulses that may damage sensitive electronics in the car. Usually safer to connect the positive terminal first then the negative to a chassis point away from the battery. Disconnect in reverse order. This is simply to reduce the chance of igniting hydrogen gassing from the battery when connecting/disconnecting a terminal.
  22. When I've had this it was the window surround and rubber seals that needed cleaning and then refreshing with a wipe of silicone lubricant.
  23. I've posted this before on here, but I had a similar problem removing the bungs on an old van. What finally worked was two lengths of cotton dental floss tape, each wound around the bung and tied. Then a steady pull on all four lengths of tape and a bit of wiggling... The reason was heavy condensation in the panel. I removed both bungs in each panel and ran a vacuum cleaner over one hole to pull fresh air through the panel with a bypass open to reduce suction. I was lucky I caught it before algae formed. Previous owner had it covered with a leaky caravan cover, window seals were shot, and rain ran down the inside panes around the bungs. Subsequently all good.
  24. But not nearly as convenient to turn off the site tap as the pump switch by the door when going out - especially when the site tap is several metres away across a wet & muddy grass patch. I've never found the direct connection gives me as good a flow for showers etc as the Aquaroll and pump. I no longer use the direct connection but never had a failure when I did. However I have very recently seen the consequences of a failure of the direct regulator on someone else's van when collecting ours from service. A bit of a mess as they had gone to a wedding and stayed in a hotel for one night, leaving the van connected for nearly two days.
  25. I've fitted the sterling power BBC model, and apart from the 15 minute delay after starting the engine it works fine. The delay can make testing confusing but it restores 12.3v to the fridge instead of the paltry 9.8v it used to get.
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