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PlanetHG

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About PlanetHG

  • Rank
    Over 10 posts

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Bedfordshire
  • Interests
    Hang gliding, photography
  • Towcar
    Saab 9-3
  • Caravan
    Lunar Planet Venus SE

Recent Profile Visitors

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  1. The car is a 2006, so it's 12 years old. That said, it passed it's MOT last October with no comments on the suspension. The outfit looks OK from the side to my untrained eye - thoughts? This was when we bought the van, so empty van, empty boot, and girlfriend and me walking round checking everything before setting off. On a normal run, the only extra stuff in the van is a few non-perishables (tea, coffee, pasta) in the top cupboards above the axle, along with the plates. There are 3 water bottles on the floor above the axle, 4 camping chairs in the forward lockers, and a wheel clamp in the gas locker (joining the hitch lock, gas bottle, spare wheel, and hookup cable). The porch awning and poles go on the floor over the axle. Clothes, bedding, etc all go in the car.
  2. A roads is 45 - 50ish. Dual carriageways is 55-60ish - although I've caught myself doing 65 past lorries with no issues, it has tried getting wobbly at 57ish before, and I've had to drop down to 50 to straighten the outfit out.
  3. The car is on 185,000 ish (not driven it in a week, can't remember!). It doesn't feel like it's wallowing, is there a test I can do other than replacing the rear springs and shocks?
  4. The Lunar is a 1997 Planet Venus SE, weighs 950kg with an MTPLM of 1,100kg. Assuming no weight increase from age, I'm probably running at about 1,000kg - but would need to find a weighbridge to confirm. The Saab is a 2006 9-3 estate, kerb weight 1,600kg, max laden weight of 2,090kg. Probably driven around the 1,850kg mark when caravanning (by dead reckoning). My only other thought is that the van is considerably taller / longer than the car, but that said, the previous owner's Mazda was even smaller than the Saab! I'm fairly sure I had the tyres at the higher pressure, but will be sure to double check before our next outing. Thanks!
  5. Hi Lutz, thanks for the reply! How would I know if the car's suspension or tyres are struggling? Is there a check that I can carry out? Re the nose weight, I've got it about as high as the car is plated to take. If memory serves, I think it came out as somewhere between 70 and 75kg on a spring-type nose weight gauge - 75 being the car's max. This is on a caravan with a mass somewhere between 950 and 1,100kg. The back of the van is almost completely empty, the only big additions we have put in so far have been in the gas locker and in the front underseat lockers, and I'm fairly sure those two are balanced. This is why I'm a little baffled by the whole affair!
  6. Evening all! Double barrelled question here: I've noticed when towing our Lunar 5 berth that on dual carriageways, it sometimes starts wobbling a bit more than I would like. It's a slow enough phenomenon that I have ample time to get off the throttle and let the whole combination straighten out, but I would prefer it didn't do it at all!! I'm strongly considering buying an Alko stabiliser hitch (van has a regular hitch), but I don't know if it will fix the problem, or whether there is something more fundamental that I am missing. The previous owner assured me that it was very well behaved on tow, and I'd have to agree - on single carriageway A roads, it's delightful. Most of the time, the same can be said for dual carriageways too, but maybe 2 - 3 times per trip, it does start to wobble, and needs me to back off to straighten out. In terms of the loading, I think I'm running slightly more nose weight than I perhaps need to for the running weight (I have a nose weight gauge, but not been to a weighbridge yet), but unfortunately, quite a lot of the equipment is concentrated towards the gas locker / front end. I have seen & read plenty about the dangers of insufficient nose weight, but have no idea if there is such a thing as too much - from a stability perspective. So, in summary: Should I buy the stabilising hitch, and will it be likely to resolve the problem I'm describing? Would too much nose weight cause the problem, and any tips on packing the van such to get sufficient nose weight without loading up the front lockers and gas locker? Thanks!
  7. Ditto. Hence my desire to get something readily available! The van has fairly good tyres, but will probably end up getting three new ones in March (one each side, and one on the spare). With regards to wheels, the only real concerns I have are overall diameter (so they don't catch), and the reduced shock absorption of a lower profile tyre. Hence the question!
  8. We've been watching a lot of videos on YouTube from Practical Caravan (and others) to get a better idea of what to expect from caravanning. In several videos, I hear that 13in tyres are difficult to get on the continent, and that most newer vans use 14in wheels. I suppose the first question is is this still the case? I was wondering whether there was any mileage in finding a couple of 14in wheels for the van, and fitting them with slightly lower profile tyres so as not to rub (our wheel wells are pretty tight). Has anyone done this before? Any tips?
  9. Time for me to start going through the posts then! Thanks all for the replies, looks like I'm attacking the caravan with a tape measure tomorrow, and spending the evening on eBay!!
  10. Super, thanks for that! Looks smart, how quickly can you assemble it? Our van has two side windows, is it a problem (apart from unsightliness, I suppose) if the awning cuts across one of them?
  11. Thanks for the reply. Is the height of the awning rail irrelevant then? I don't want to get something that won't reach the ground when fitted! Is there a pros / cons summary of poles Vs air that you could possibly point me to?
  12. Please forgive the complete ignorance of this question and the length of this post. .. When we went to view our caravan, it was fitted with a porch awning. Unfortunately, the seller wanted to hang on to it for his next van (and I'm hardly complaining, it's one of the few things he didn't include!). With Katy looking at booking a weekend away for a trial by fire of caravanning, I am debating acquiring one for muddy shoes, extra space etc. However, I am struggling to get my head around a few bits. 1) the type. This is fairly easy, as it is pretty well documented. I'm leaning towards a porch awning for simplicity's sake, and probably one with poles for the sake of cost! What sort of size is best / appropriate for a 5 berth? Am I barking up the wrong tree wanting a porch? Is an air awning the way forwards instead of poles? 2) the size. This is baffling me slightly. The handbook lists the awning size as 935cm. That's for a full awning (as far as I can tell), am I correct in assuming that that's irrelevant for a porch? Will all (or most anyway) porch awnings fit our van? If not, what's the dimension I need to know on both caravan and awning, and how do I measure it? 3) rubbish. Or at least spotting something that is. Any tips on what to look out for? Bearing in mind that we'll probably be looking at second hand awnings - at least to start with. Anything that's a massive no go on them? 4) brands. Ok, this might be contentious, but any brands that are particularly good or ones to be avoided at all cost? All thoughts and advice gratefully received! If you've made it this far - thanks for that if nothing else!!
  13. Thanks Gordon. I did have a look before starting this post, and even searched the forum to no avail! There was nothing listed within 10 miles, and only 2 options within 25 miles. Unfortunately, CaSSOA is a bit rubbish around us too.
  14. Annecy certainly is good! The Nationals this year are in Ager, Southern Spain. I want to get my head around caravanning in the UK first before committing to driving all that way though!
  15. There's a reason why most competitions these days are near good campsites - most pilots like their creature comforts! After a miserable year of tenting (including Wales in Spring!), we thought we'd join the comfy club.
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