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Fireman Iain

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About Fireman Iain

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    Over 100 posts

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  • Towcar
    Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Caravan
    Swift Kudos 530sb

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  1. Re. your rounded Allen bolt. Before you get the drill out, get a Torx bit that’s slightly oversized for the Allen recess and hammer it in before trying to unscrew. Very often works. If not, have you got space to access the bolt head to file a couple of spanner flats on the sides of the head, or cut a slot across the head for a large screwdriver or flat metal bar? Drilling a bolt out with a hand held drill and not damaging the threads it’s bolted into isn’t the easiest task and would be a last resort for me. You’ll need a new bolt regardless, so it’s worth a try.
  2. At the age you’re considering, any vehicle has the potential for expensive problems. Big cars that were expensive new are all likely to be expensive to maintain as they age. The LandCruisers of that era are no longer the paragon of reliability that they once were. If you’re looking at big heavy 4x4’s that’ll tow well, there’s the Touareg, Grand Cherokee, XC90, Pathfinder and various Land Rovers to consider too. My choice last year was a newish Grand Cherokee.
  3. My 2017 GC had a ‘dedicated’ wiring system fitted. Non OEM though. The caravan lights work every time, however there was no warning when a caravan brake/tail bulb failed recently. We only realised when we checked the lights before setting off. I don't get any warning buzzers for anything. I’m not sure exactly what warnings, if any, that I should get from a ‘dedicated’ system, but since everything works reliably, I’m not concerned. I’ve not had any software updates, it’s in the main dealer for a service tomorrow, it’s first since the towbar was fitted, I’ll wait and see if anything comes from that.
  4. I agree with Stevan, any brand can suffer with problems. For your budget, getting something damp free should be the priority. Look for service records, check with your own damp meter and/or get an independent check. Other than that, overall condition will be a good indicator of how well any van has been cared for. There’s always lots of vans on the market at that sort of price, finding a clean, dry one is more important than who built it.
  5. For a lot of people, who have to work, and therefore can only manage a couple of weeks at a time....france is a great deal more expensive than the Uk. The cost of diesel, tolls and food has increased so much, plus there’s the cost of the ferry or tunnel, which have gone through the roof in recent years. Site fees are broadly similar. We were dead keen on heading to the Rhône alpes this summer, but I reckon just travelling there and back would around a grand, and for us we’ve got extra costs associated with the dogs. And then there’s site fees. Sadly, much as we love visiting France, the 2 week holiday there would bust the budget. £1500 will more than pay for the 50-60 nights in the Uk that we’ll get all year.
  6. I think a lot of people have. Looking at the uncertainty of the last few months, it’s difficult to blame them. Over the the last decade or so, I think a growing number of people are spending an increased amount of their holiday time ‘at home’ rather than abroad. The price of the Euro must have had a lot to do with it too. All of which has had to be good for the UK economy surely? More money being spent here rather than supporting another countries’ economy.
  7. Having picked up a stone chip on the front of our brand new van on its first tow, I rarely tow anywhere without my front cover now. Its more for stone chip protection than cleanliness for me, but I do appreciate never having to clean baked on dead flies off the front. It’s a breeze to fit in 4-5 minutes, and if it’s wet when it comes off, it goes in it’s bag in the gas locker, same as normal. It can sit there for a week or so with no obvious issues and I can put it back on damp just as well as dry. I fold it so the inner surface never contacts the outer. After 3 years and probably 10-12000 miles there’s a few marks, but it looks good for years of service yet. Ours is a Pro Tec.
  8. Having just read the reviews BG posted a link to, I think they’re pretty fair. Both major on how much Jeep have improved the GC over earlier versions. Having driven the 2003 model some years ago, I can only agree. And mentioning that the ability improves with the extra transmission and ride height options that go with the air suspension is true too. What the reviews don’t focus on is how much the Jeep offers for the money. An Overland diesel lists at about £55k new, the equivalent Discovery is quite a bit more. Wander into a Jeep dealer as a serious purchaser and you can get a decent chunk off the list price, try that at LR and they’ll laugh you out of the showroom. The big Jeep is seriously good value for money. The Vw/Volvo cars at similar prices don’t have a fraction of the Jeep/LR off-road ability, and weren’t even on my shopping list. Audi/merc/Bmw are pretty much just road cars too and are also relatively pricy.
  9. Borussia, I wasn’t far off then, considering I’ve never owned one and didn’t have a manual handy.
  10. I’ve no doubt you know your own truck, but my understanding of Super Select is (was) that you could switch between 4H and 2H at any speed, but engaging either 4HLc or 4LLc needed the vehicle to be stationary.
  11. Generally, the shift from low/high and back again can only be done when stationary, or at very slow speed. With older vehicles you could force the mechanical levers to move, and with a bit of rev blipping and mechanical nouse you could often do it half smoothly once under way. The modern vehicles I’ve used (land rovers and Jeeps), have had electronic shifts and cannot be forced. As above, with a torque converter auto and powerful engine, starting off in high should be no problem with even the heaviest trailers. I’ve towed c3000kg with my Grand Cherokee and certainly didn’t need low ratio for that. The only times I have needed it have been for increased control and engine braking when driving off-road, just as I would in an old Defender.
  12. We had a Freelander 2, the 150bhp version and it makes a very good towcar indeed. Very stable under all conditions, with great grip when needed. We pull around 1500kg and I found the power adequate to make good progress, although it dropped a gear or two sometimes, it never felt like I was struggling. We had 2 over 10 years and about 110000 miles. contrary to what a lot of naysayers will say about the brand, ours were impeccably reliable.
  13. Been looking around and ruminating a bit more. As as someone mentioned earlier what is the Challenger challenging? Or are Swift cleverly suggesting it’s built like a tank? And if so, what do you add to a tank to make it a Challenger Sport? Maybe it’s so it can keep up with the high speed bailey Pursuit? And what do Elddis add to their tropical storm to take it from merely a Cyclone and make it a Super Cyclone? How many true VIPs enjoy caravanning. Maybe Prince Charles tows a Coachman for his holidays. eriba have the amusingly named Troll, which is quite witty given the very low roofline and presumably little headroom. There’s an Elddis Chatsworth opposite us now, which is pleasantly inoffensive and a Coachman Wanderer along the way, which is probably the best caravan name I’ve seen yet.
  14. I sit at our favourite site near Beadnell, after a long sunny dog walk, bbq and a glass of wine, and looking around the site, a thought goes through my little mind. Which demented nutters choose the names for caravans? Ours is a Swift. Although I tow fairly quickly, at about 65-70mph on motorways, whatever else it may be, it isn’t Swift. We have as neighbours a Crusader, which brings up images of Knights in armour heading off to battle, which I’m not sure the septuagenarian owners can live up to. Then along the way theres a Sirocco, a hurricane force desert wind. And in the next field is an Olympus, some sort of Greek God, if memory serves. And a Pastiche, a poor copy of something else. Our own hideously named Swift is further lumbered with the title Kudos, which as a tarted up basic caravan, it has little of. What sort of marketing loony believes these these names actually help sell their products. The only realistically named van is opposite us, an Elddis Rambler, which brings to my mind gentle wandering around the lanes, with a side association of unhappy walkers who complain a lot about trivial things. That is pure marketing genius. Anyone got any other gems?
  15. Fireman Iain

    Grand Cherokee Overland

    It’s huge. As you’d expect of a car this size, it’s very roomy inside, and comfortable even for the biggest driver and passengers. More than powerful enough for me, air suspension gives a very comfortable ride and adjustable ride height helps make it amazingly good off-road and in bad weather even on standard tyres (and I thought my previous Land Rover was good) Jeep ergonomics and cabin quality are now in a different league from earlier versions. Very well equipped as standard, it’s well loaded up with gadgets, far too many for me to get my head round. The seats are huge, adjustable every which way and mega comfortable, albeit lacking lateral support for rapid driving.
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