I'm seeking the community's opinion on a problem that has suddenly come to light in my fairly new caravan. I'm relatively new to the world of caravanning and still learning. What has helped me a lot is the way fellow caravanners are always eager and ready to give help and advice. I keep an eye on these forums as well as the many caravanning YouTube channels. These have been great in helping me choose a caravan and then how to operate it, etc.
After a lot of research my wife and I travelled to the NEC Caravan Show in Oct 16 where we selected a caravan - a salesman from a local dealer offered us a van at a very good discount, a price that our home dealer was significantly adrift of. The dealer is based in England - our home is in Northern Ireland. So we then travelled to England to collect a brand new caravan in May 17. Over the next 12 months it had a few quite minor problems which were fixed by the dealer under warranty at its first annual service in May 18. We went to England for a holiday last year and took the opportunity to have the van serviced there then.
When it's not on the road the caravan is stored under a canopy in a caravan storage facility near our home. We take care of our caravan. Because we're retired we're never in a hurry anywhere, we have masses of time, so it gets mollycoddled.
This year we took the van to Scotland for a month's holiday. On our first evening near Loch Lomond we noticed that the floor in the rear of the van was squeaking quite badly. On returning home I arranged for the van to have its annual service, this time at a caravan service facility near home - one recommended to me by the manufacturer. Again there were a few minor problems but I also made sure to mention the squeaky floor. Later in the day the service manager rang me to advise that the floor had delaminated, quite badly and would need a quite complicated repair, under warranty. This surprised me in such a young caravan.
Then he rang back again to ask if I stored anything heavy in the van's front locker. I had advised him earlier that my Alko hitch was prone to squealing and my attempts to clean the friction pads with emery paper gave only short term results. So I reckoned this is why he was asking about anything heavy in the front locker. The main items stored in the front locker are 2 metal 6kg propane cylinders, a small toolkit, and odds and sods such as squares of wood to put under the steadies, the hitch lock, brace to wind the cornersteadies etc - the main weight is the cylinders. Also stored there is a Milenco noseweight gauge to check that my noseweight does not exceed the recommended load of 80kg by too much. What the service manager then said shocked me. The front locker has broken away from the van, nearly fully on one side, and partially on the other. A metal angle section holds the locker to the van at either wall, many of the screws are missing and the screw holes in the metal section are badly elongated. The locker floor supports have come away and the floor section has dropped.
I can think of nothing that would cause this to happen. The caravan has been in the Lake District, France twice, the Cotswolds, a few sites in Ireland and most recently in Scotland. The roughest roads we travelled were in Scotland but I cannot recall any road that was so rough that it would cause this problem. All our travels have been on roads popular with caravans. The service manager is of the opinion that the sort of travels I've undertaken should not cause problems like this.
Interestingly the service manager told me that he serviced a year old caravan with a similar but more severe locker problem from the same manufacturer last year. The manufacturer advised that it be repaired under warranty but the caravan owner disagreed and held his ground until he was offered a new replacement caravan.
I'm now at the point where these problems have been reported to the manufacturer who has replied today that they should be fixed under warranty. As you can imagine I'm not very happy with this. There's no guarantee that the delamination fix will work in the long term, nor that the locker problem won't return. This van is only 2 years old. Delamination tends to happen in vans over 10 years old, I'm told. Additionally the service manager advises me that he will be allocated a certain number of hours by the manufacturer to fix these problems but that if the job takes longer, I will be liable. He cannot tell how long it will take him as he doesn't have the facilities of the factory.
I'd be grateful for your thoughts and advice.