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Hi folks,

This post is probably a TL;DR for some, if so, just ignore and move on :D.

Me and Mrs Black have just returned from our 'caravan shakedown', well, two weeks ago ;), having spent 56 nights away (some shakedown huh), with friends who have been camping in one form or another for some 50 years and, who incidentally, were giving their new 'van a shakedown too. This was our very first caravan and our very first caravan holiday.

During our time away, we celebrated two birthdays, a 29th wedding anniversary (ours), a 50th golden wedding anniversary (theirs) and a hospital stay. We also experienced winds of 50 mph + after the first week, then storm Brian a few weeks later.

We purchased our new 'van on the 2nd of July, a 2017 VIP 520/4 Demonstrator, that had been well tested/abused in the showroom by various adults/kids, so if there was something that would have broken, it would have showed up before we'd even seen it (and been repaired right?)

We picked our new purchase up from the dealer on August 5th, an hour and half later, we were pulling in to our storage area which is a two minute drive or five minute walk away from our home. As you can appreciate, being first timers we had to buy everything. Our dealer was excellent, apart from the huge discount he gave us off of the list price, I also talked him in to giving us a free starter pack which he only offers on pre-owned 'vans, that saved us almost £450, then we hit the shops and camping stores (sheesh, that hurt, Mrs B loved it though).

We set-off on September 4th and experienced our first newbie mistake. I'd hitched up without problems (or so I thought), ATC ok, steadies up, handbrake off, jockey wheel up and secure, lights, indicators, brakes and fog all working. extended mirrors attached and off we set. Ten minutes later I'm pulling in to a lay-by to find out what all the 'banging at the rear' was. .. then I noticed the jockey wheel dangling. .. you guessed it, I didn't lock it off tight enough. So re-positioned the offending wheel, gave it a few hard wacks with the heel of my hand, and set-off again. The rest of the journey went without a hitch, as did the setting up on our chosen pitch.

The 'van performed great, yes there were a few niggles that I'll get the dealer to fix, other than that, no complaints whatsoever.

Niggles:-

Front near side small window blind stiff
Front middle window blind getting stiff
Dinette window blind stiff

Thetford Aspire 2 Grill. .. Really?

Ozio seats creasing and sagging and are a pain to make in to a double bed, newness maybe?

Front seats backboards squeaking
Front nearside backboard plastic keeps falling off

We're now looking forward to our next outing early next year and can't wait.

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Someone's got to ask - what's a "TL;DR" and a ":D" ?
John

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We used our 520/4 for the first time on the weekend of Storm Brian for 8 nights.

Things we found.

Grill was fine. Did crumpets in there no problem

Seat backs do indeed creak.

Brakes on van squeaking. (Put this down to being new and gloss on pads).

Quite a load creak when walking on the floor as you enter the van (I think it is the join between the dinette seat and the wardrobe, there does appear to be a small gap.)

Bed was fine, but a little tricky to get the cushions to fit flat, as you say, probably the newness.

Everything else was fine, the heating is awesome compared to our old van (blown air).

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There have been many reports here on CT about Ozio seats so take it up with your dealer now rather than next year. Some sag and lose their shape and some do that on replacements as well. You have paid a lot of money so get things sorted this winter before you go out in the Spring when the dealer is even busier. 

Best of luck.

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4 hours ago, Johnaldo said:

Someone's got to ask - what's a "TL;DR" and a ":D" ?
John

TLDR = Too Long, Didn't Read

":D" = :D

 

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4 hours ago, warrenb said:

Brakes on van squeaking. (Put this down to being new and gloss on pads).

We've had our Pastiche since Feb - the brakes are still squeaking, although maybe not as much as previously.   Hoping they'll get sorted at the first service.

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Same on ours. Must be standard and not an option. lol

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Standard on VIP as well. ..

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Sticking blinds can be cured by careful use of silicone spray (a can of this kept in the caravan for a Miriad of uses). . ..Peter

Edited by peterjohn
Predictive text again

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The sticking blinds can be caused by the plastic side runners flexing and allowing the blind to drop out of its position in the runner, if you look inside the side runner you will see that there is a track for the blind to move in. If the blind has come out of this track then put the blind at mid height and manipulate the blind back into its correct location within the track. For a permanent fix  screw to the "wall" between the windows a plastic timber panel jointing block at mid point of each track such that it holds each track against the blind and prevents the plastic runner from flexing away from the blind. I have done this on my last three caravans and it has cured the problem on all three. To clarify, the plastic joint blocks are either white or brown approx 20mm long x10mm high and wide with one 4mm hole in one long edge and two 4mm holes in the other edge, you can by them at DIY shops etc When screwing the blocks to the "wall" put all the blinds on the front windows at mid travel point where you are going fix the block so that you are clamping the tracks in the right position to secure the runners in the right horizontal position. Sorry if this sounds complicated, it is not and hopefully will be obvious when viewed in the caravan.

In the past some blinds have been strung too tight which can also cause stiff running, Swift had this problem about 2007/2008 and changed the blinds under warranty. If you pluck the blind strings they should be just tight but not like a guitar string. It is possible to remedy this your self if out of warranty by cutting 10mm max from one end of each offending runner to loosen the strings, but only do one side at a time or the blind may collapse. on refitting the blind runner a new mounting hole will be require to accomodate the now shorter runner.  I have done this on some caravans and it makes the blinds so that you can open and close them with very little effort, ie one finger.

Regards, dbn

 

 

 

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l have a 460 VIP 2 Berth bought at 30 months old dealer has put in for two new blinds near side front and the middle front window, We have also had the Master control panel replaced, best thing we did going this time for good secondhand van all others were new and had problems with all 3 of them. With this van just these two issues

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We have had three 520/4 since 2010 (one was written off) all three had sticking nearside front blinds, very odd, only the nearside

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7 minutes ago, Les Medes said:

We have had three 520/4 since 2010 (one was written off) all three had sticking nearside front blinds, very odd, only the nearside

Hi Les. I am not familiar with the layout of the 520/4's but I suspect that it could be something to do with the positioning of the blinds in relation to heat sources. I say this because plastics of one sort or another are very susceptible to expansion and contraction from heat sources such as on-board water heaters and general air flow through the caravan.

My experience of Coachman was restricted to a 1997 Genius 460/2 which served me very very well for several years whilst I worked away from home in Hertfordshire and pitched the van at Roydon on their contractors section of the park.

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