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About PeteG

  • Rank
    Over 100 posts
  • Birthday 13/10/1952

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  • Interests
    Golf, Caravan, Travel
  • Towcar
    Mercedes Benz E350 Bluetec Premium Plus Estate
  • Caravan
    Bailey Unicorn Valencia 3

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  1. On a 2010 Mondeo fitting a towbar involves removing the bumper and the towbar replaces the crash bar. It's a bit fiddly to set the torque on the left hand towbar member due to the position of the exhaust, but usually easy enough to drop that to allow access. All pretty straightforward and shouldn't take too long. £380 probably means a bypass relay for the electrics rather than a dedicated setup, but on that model that's not a great problem. It's an easy DIY fit on that car but if you're not happy doing it yourself I think the price quoted isn't too bad if it's all in.
  2. If any of us knew the answer to this one we'd be worth a fortune! We're off to Europe in May/June and I'm basically just taking the chance as far as the exchange rate goes. I usually reckon that unless you are spending a fortune short term variations in the currency rate are not so big that it makes a massive difference to the overall bill for the holiday. There's a chance that the next few weeks could prove that theory wrong, but I'm prepared to chance it. I usually use my Nationwide credit card as much as I can rather than cash when abroad as it usually gives a better rate than I can get for cash.
  3. I have a rear wheel drive auto as well, Mercedes E class. My car has staggered wheels, 265/35 18 on the back and 245/40 18 on the front, all Michelin summer tyres. As you say, not a lot of use in snow, which we do get a bit of here in Scotland. I have a set of wheels with winter tyre that I usually put on from end of October until end of March or so. They are 17 inch wheels with all 4 tyres the same size, 225/50 17 Goodyear Ultra. They make an amazing difference when the weather is bad. I live up a fairly steep hill with an even steeper drive up to the house, and the car makes it with no problem. We had snow the other day and I had no trouble getting up the drive, I'm sure I would have been stuck without the winter tyres. I can't say I've had any problems towing in summer, but then I haven't too often driven on grass.
  4. There wouldn't be any problem leaving your van hooked up the the mains over winter. You could make sure your fridge was switched off, but unless you had its selector switched to mains it wouldn't go on anyway. If you like you could switch off all the circuit breakers on you master panel except the one that controls the battery charger.
  5. I did much the same as this in our previous caravan (Swift Challenger), in a very similar position to the one you intend to use, although the mounting I used was not exactly the same. As said above, you would be best to reinforce the wall by fixing a plywood plate behind the wall. I then left the TV mounted there and did not remove it when travelling, never had any problems. The mount you propose using looks as if it might allow more movement, so you might be best to remove the TV when on the move. In our present caravan (Bailey Unicorn 3 Valencia) I have the TV mounted to the fitting that was supplied in the caravan. Again, I don't remove it when travelling and have had no issues in over 3 years of use, all over Europe.
  6. We've done a couple of ski trips with the caravan, to France and Germany, and I wouldn't go without winter tyres. In Germany they are compulsory; in France only recommended but there are areas where you must carry chains. Either way, I don't think it warrants the risk. As you say, for most of your journey you are unlikely, even in February, to actually need winter tyres, but there is a good chance that they will be needed as you go up into the mountains. At home I do the same as happynomad - I have a set of winter tyres on their own set of alloys which I put on from November to April. As explained above, the only extra expense is really the extra set of alloys, which over a number of years doesn't add up to much. We live in Scotland, up a steep hill and with an even steeper drive to the house, and if it snows I wouldn't get near my house without winter tyres. Even if you never see any snow, they give better grip and braking in cold weather. Also, don't assume your 4x4 will be OK in snow, four wheels will spin just as much as two - plenty videos on YouTube to show this.
  7. I've had my car about the same time. It's an E350 estate, doesn't quite do the mpg that you get, but for a 3 litre car I'm quite pleased to average over 40 solo and 27 or so towing. You might want to look at a service plan. Mine costs £35 per month and covers all servicing costs, except of course for wear and tear items like tyres and brakes. It includes things like gearbox oil changes and brake fluid which often seem to cost extra on top of the usual service cost. Not sure which type of sat nav you have in the car - mine is the Comand system, and while it's not the best sat nav I've ever used, I can't say I dislike it too much. I hardly ever use the self parking system but it seems to work fine, and I agree that it's a great tow car. Like you, I'm not too keen on 4x4s.
  8. I can see both sides of this - like the OP, I'm not sure what I'm doing on a weekend up to 12 months ahead, and while I would not book sites all over the place on the off-chance that I might want or be able to visit when the time comes, there are some sites - York being a good example - where if you do not book almost as soon as the booking opens, it is most unlikely you will get a pitch there at short notice. As it happens, we have just cancelled a pitch that we had booked for June. Booked in good faith, every intention of going, but a family event has now turned up and we can't go away with the caravan that weekend. Hopefully we have cancelled far enough ahead for someone else to be able to use the pitch. It's difficult to know what the best answer is here. There are some people I'm sure who will misuse the system and make multiple bookings knowing that they will not use most of them but I'm equally sure most of us will be reasonable and only make bookings that are genuine, and if we need to cancel will do so as far ahead as possible.
  9. With electricity, never assume that the other guy knows what he is doing! Always check it yourself. He might say it's switched off, wired correctly, etc, and he might well think it is, but unless you have seen the switch to "OFF" yourself, or you know that live is to live, and not to neutral, you're never 100% sure. I'm not offended if someone checks my work, and I hope no-one is offended if I check their's. You only live once!!
  10. Ours arrived the other day, in a Royal Mail poly bag marked "damaged on arrival in UK". The books were hanging out of the cardboard container, and one of them was in a bit of a state, the other was fine. I emailed ACSI and received a very nice reply saying they would send me another copy of the damaged book. Very kind of them, considering it wasn't their fault that it got damaged in transit.
  11. As above, I've been caravanning for several decades with several different caravans, and all I have ever done is at the end of our last trip open the drain valve and set all the taps to open. The system gets a good shake out on the way home and I have never had an issue. We live in Scotland and regularly get sub zero temperatures in winter, so if freezing whatever drips are left in the system was going to cause a problem, I take the view that it would happened by now.
  12. I've had 3 Westfalia detachable towbars and I found them easy to fit and remove. Only problem I ever had was caused by lack of lubrication, so make sure you pay attention to that. My present car has a detachable Witter, which I initially found more awkward to fit, but it was probably more a case of just getting used to it and I don't have any problem with it now. I would have had a Westfalia again but they were out of stock for my car at the time. I paid about £700 to get it fitted last year. I would also recommend dedicated electrics, and check that the fitter can do any necessary coding that might be required. I'm not surprised to hear that a main dealer wouldn't fit your tower, I don't think many of them do, mostly they seem to farm them out to a local specialist. Perhaps surprising that your dealer didn't offer this and you might be advised to check any warranty implications of fitting an aftermarket towbar - another reason for making sure you go for dedicated electrics.
  13. I had a few Mondeos and they made great towcars and were generally very reliable in my experience. I didn't experience this kind of problem but I've heard that these cars can suffer from problems with gear changes. Difficult to say without knowing what your symptoms are, but it's not necessarily something that has to be desperately expensive to fix. At it's simplest it could be a lubrication issue with the gear selection mechanism, but I would guess/hope your mechanic has had a look at that? Only thing I could suggest is either a Ford specialist who knows more about the likely problems with this model, or as your mechanic suggests, a gearbox specialist. Obviously with an 8 year old Mondeo there's a limit to what you would want to spend, and if you've had a cam belt change then I guess it's done a few miles? On the other hand, if it's been well looked after and you know what's been done to it, and it's otherwise reliable, you find yourself wrestling with that old dilemma of when to call it a day. Never an easy one to answer, sorry!
  14. Not always - I am insured with the CMC, and checked with them, CaSSOA not required. My storage site isn't, but it is secure, floodlit, CCTV, and the owner's house is at the gate. £160 per year, Scotland.
  15. We booked the same ferry couple of weeks ago for much the same price, £540, going out in May and back in June, car & caravan and 2 adults. Same cabins, and we booked breakfast each way. I had an email from DFDS offering 15% if booked within a week. I actually booked after that time, but still got the discount. We're also from Scotland, not quite as far north as you, and I agree with your comments about avoiding the drive home from Dover after the holiday. We can get home from Newcastle in a day, from Dover needs at least one night, but avoiding the misery of English motorways is worth a few quid as far as I'm concerned even if it was cheaper to go via Dover.
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