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Everything posted by KnausCol

  1. We started enjoying mobile holidays by renting RVs over the pond in the US Canada and Alaska. Then invested in a caravan to enjoy the same type of vacation at home and in Europe. For a change we occasionally hire a boat and have just returned from a week cruising the Thames. We just enjoy being on the move and being self sufficient and these type of holidays offer much more opportunity for meeting people and socialising. We find hotels a bit isolating.
  2. I wonder if metered electricity usage will lead to a change in the usage patterns of caravan vs on-site facilities? Once metering is introduced your showers/washing up costs (i.e. water heating) are included in the pitch cost if using site facilities, but you pay extra to use your own. During warm summer months the main electricity cost is most likely to be water heating (unless you have aircon!). Given that the cost of the site facilities must be covered by the pitch price, if you use your own metered facilities you end up paying twice! Admittedly in colder weather heating the van itself will use electricity also.
  3. Looking at something up to 15 years old obviously requires consideration of the possibly inevitable invasion of rust either in the tow bar itself or the chassis where attached. Obviously if you go the route of retro fitting the towbar you at least know that is sound and only have the chassis to worry about. The advantage of going the towbar already fitted route (if an original factory fitment) is that it will be a more integrated unit, although at the age you are considering this will matter a lot less because the technology was less sophisticated then. I'm guessing that budget is a significant factor so if you can find a vehicle with towbar that you are confident is structurally sound, that will be the most economical choice, because at that age the towbar will not have any effect on the vehicles price but would cost you to have retro fitted.
  4. At least you are more experienced now so will be better equipped when you come to buy again. Good luck and it's good you haven't been put off.
  5. It's more than annoying to discover that you've been misled and it probably is worth 'discussing' with the vendor though personally I doubt that will bear any worthwhile result. The thing to remember is that age is only one factor that possibly affects the value of a caravan or indeed any vehicle. Condition is far, far more important. You accepted the caravan as it was and were happy to pay what ever you did for it. Ask yourself honestly how much difference knowing the real age would have made. This may help you to accept the situation you find yourself in. If you've got a good van at a price that was acceptable, don't stress about it too much.
  6. Bought a new van a year ago and have spent many hours on 'improvements' and tailoring to our requirements. Like Mr Plodd I enjoy designing, improving, tinkering, call it what you will and consider it part of the enjoyment of owning a van.
  7. 7 nights at the fabulous Thornthorpe site near Malton making 35 nights for us so far. Forum total 390
  8. AL-KO wheel locks are generally regarded as the best. Several hitch locks are top rated Gold secure. Any extra security will depend to some extent on where you are storing your van. If at a storage site you may be more restricted. If at home you have more options as suggested above to make it as difficult as possible for a potential thief. If not using it for some time, I've known people go to the extreme of jacking the van up, putting it on blocks and removing the wheels! All you are trying to do is make it not worth the bother and persuade the bad guy to find an easier target.
  9. Buying a Safefill isn't cheap but you gain every time you fill up and I've never had a problem finding a supply, plus you can fill up any time and don't have to wait for a bottle to empty. Which means you can easily manage with only one bottle, topping it up whenever its convenient.
  10. Afraid I have to disagree. Having owned both I can honestly say that the extra 6 inches inside makes a disproportionate difference to the perceived space. Yes you have to be aware of the width when on the move but I've towed in The Lakes, Yorkshire Dales and the South West and with care it is perfectly possible. Wherever I travel there are always HGV's on the roads - if they can manage so can I!
  11. We normally do the same with a frozen pre-cooked Spag Bol and Chilli. My interpretation is that these are meat products and would be banned - though what threat they contain is debatable unless you want to question my culinary expertise .
  12. Were the car lights and hence caravan lights still on? Even so not enough to drain a good condition battery in 15mins. Only other possibility is that your car is erroneously energising pin 10 of your tow socket (should only properly be live if engine running). This could result in connection between your car battery and leisure battery. If the leisure battery was not fully charged it could drain the car battery.
  13. Before you go to take delivery make sure that your dealer knows you are expecting a detailed handover and require sufficient time for it - ask how long they are giving you. You don't want to be rushed because the dealer has x number of handovers to achieve and has only allocated limited time for yours. Beyond that just examine everything you can and ask for all equipment/appliance operation to be demonstrated. Collecting a new van should be an informative/enjoyable/exciting experience so make sure your dealer does everything required to make it so. You've paid for it!
  14. You've raised questions there that will no doubt bring plenty of response. Here are my views. Caravan quality is hugely debatable. Don't be surprised to get massively opposing views regarding any particular manufacturer's products - this is because individuals have had their own good/average/horrendous experiences. This may be due to the general quality of a manufacturer or be down to individual caravans i.e. the Friday afternoon bad egg. On top of that some specific models from a manufacturer may have a better or worse reputation. For every person praising a particular van there will be someone advising don't touch! For what it's worth Coachman is generally regarded as the highest quality British manufacturer but many, myself included, believe German vans are altogether better put together. Once you have decided on a van you like, picking a dealer is the next decision. If you can get a much better deal financially from one dealer over another, that may sway you, but your proximity to your supplying dealer is also very important for sorting out any potential problems. Remember you will likely have to take the van back to them to get warranty work done as non supplying dealers are usually reluctant to undertake warranty work. So having to travel a large distance each time is a pain. Indeed some would say choose your dealer first taking into account any recommendations you can find. Finally, if you are a reasonably confident tower, don't be afraid of an 8ft van. It's only 6 inches wider after all, and you will soon get used to it, just take care. But you will be surprised how much difference 6inches makes to the perceived internal space, it really is much better. Good luck in your quest, take your time, do your research and happy caravanning.
  15. If the damp is 'fixable for this season' it cannot be too bad. Just because you choose not to continue with it doesn't mean there isn't someone who would be prepared to take it on either a dealer or privately. Given the current lack of stock there will certainly be dealers who would take it and as long as you accurately describe the condition there should be no issue selling it privately either.
  16. I think the advice to turn off the pump when absent is directed mainly towards systems with pressure switched pumps. If the pipework inside gets a leak and pressure drops the pump will activate and any water available will be pumped into your van - very nice to come back to. As already stated running the pump dry doesn't do it any good either. The possibility doesn't really arise with micro switch enabled pumps which I have but if I remember I switch that off too anyway when leaving the van for any significant length of time.
  17. Totally agree. Mine is fitted only for travelling. On the one occasion I didn't get around to removing it immediately when getting home because of a couple of days of horrendous weather I was surprised at how dirty it had got behind the cover in that short time.
  18. Recently back from Somerset/Dorset which boast some similarly narrow roads and overgrowing vegetation. Was a bit dismayed on getting home and washing the van to discover the nearside had suffered numerous 'scratches' from said vegetation. I'm obviously not being obstructive enough and driving too close to the nearside . Fortunately the scratches were only very light and polished out.
  19. A tow cover is a very worthwhile extra provided it is a quality well fitted product. I've seen 'universal' covers which I suspect cause more damage flapping about than doing good. Obviously a cover won't protect from any major impact but will stop damage from stone chips etc. and just the avoidance of baked on insect debris and general road grime makes one worth it for me. I can recommend a Specialised TowPro.
  20. My only Fords have been the epitome of reliability - Sierra XR4x4, Mondeo ST24. Both were great cars.
  21. My previous tug was an Audi S4 Avant. Lovely car but an absolute dipsomaniac especially when towing. Current Cayenne Diesel S is not only more powerful and capable of towing much greater weights but is also much more frugal. I maintain that currently one still cannot beat diesel for the best compromise of performance/towing capacity/economy. I intend to keep my Cayenne for a considerable time because better alternatives seem a way off although technology advances quickly so who knows?
  22. My on board tank has a sensor that sends to the van main display unit which shows the %fill of my 70 litre tank and I have a simple switch which directs power either to the onboard tank submersible pump for normal operation or to the Aquaroll submersible pump when want to add water to the onboard tank. When I want to add more water I flick the switch from 'internal' to 'external' and the submersible pump in the Aquaroll pumps water into my onboard tank. The Aquaroll is kept half full by attachment to the mains controlled by a ballcock in the Aquaroll (when mains available). A float sensor in the onboard tank detects when full and switches power from the Aquaroll pump to a buzzer alarm which prevents overfill and prompts me to flick the switch back to internal. Job done. Why would I need anything more?
  23. Another vote for Avtex. As usual you get what you pay for. Ours allows viewing via Freeview or Freesat which means we can use a mobile sat dish if a normal TV signal is unavailable or weak. As usual with all 'full screen' TVs, sound is compromised by being projected out the back, but we solved that by adding the Avtex soundbar which is also excellent.
  24. Brand perception has changed out of all recognition over the decades. When I first started having company cars there was very much a feeling of being either a Ford or a Vauxhall man. I was Ford and that preference remains today! But in those days Skoda were a joke - look at them now. The main difference between then and now is that quality across all the high volume manufacturers is much higher with a smaller difference between them. Image, latest technology and interior quality tends to be the main differentiators today. The only real age related perception I ever really had was the usual Volvo being an old man's car but even that has dissipated now.
  25. In the case of my car, yes. Reversing camera was one of the few things omitted in the original spec and I've enquired about having one retro fitted and it can be to factory spec, fully integrated.
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