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Cracks in ABS Panels - DIY repair feasible?


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Ignorance is bliss, at least with respect to purchase of an Elddis caravan!  If I'd come and had a dig around on Caravantalk before I bought my 2015 Affinity 550 in March this year I probably would have run in the opposite direction! 

 

However, we have it now and I've since been reading through the comments here on cracking panels and warranty claims.   This led me to check the one I bought and sure enough it has had repairs in the past to the top rear corners which I hadn't noticed when I bought it (first caravan purchased after having a folding camper for several years) - photos attached.   I believe the repair was done in July last year so am trying to get details from the dealer who did the repair and from Elddis as to whether it was a warranty claim, at least so I have an accurate picture of what has been done, when, why and by whom.

 

I bought the van privately and did go round it with a damp meter before committing.   There was nothing more than 15% and then that was only around the wheel arches.   Given that the Elddis warranty only covers the panels for 1 year then I don't think I've lost out significantly from not buying from a dealer.   I did look at second hand vans at some dealers but they seemed to just offer third party warranties which limit the payments for GRP and plastic panel repairs to £500 so given that the premiums are around £200/year this doesn't seem cost effective.

 

There are no specific issues at the moment but I'm guessing it's just a matter of time before there's a problem and I'm keen to understand whether DIY repairs to ABS panels are feasible if/when I do get problems.

 

So - eventually to the point of the post!  -

 

1. There are lots of articles on Youtube on ABS glueing/welding and it seems to be a pretty effective, simple technique, but I haven't found anything specific to caravans.   Would the technique be appropriate for crack filling?  There are also quite a few references to application of self-levelling sealants to seams to make water tight.   Does anyone have experience of these DIY techniques on Elddis vans? 

2. Any views on what's the best third party warranty policy on the market? 

 

Apologies in advance if these are topics covered on other threads that I've not found.

 

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Elddis will say they need the documents. It gives them a get out clause. It amazes me how caravan companies get away with this.   I blame people INCLUDING me for buying new vans.   Why oh

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That is the first time I have seen “caps” fitted to the top of the rear panel.  As far as I knew Elddis only fitted caps to the bottom corners and as soon as the top cracked they replaced the panel.  However that was when the panel was within warranty.   I can only think that the panel was out of warranty when this repair was done but whether that solution was recommended by Elddis I am not sure.  As you say if it was done in July 2017 then the panel would have been out of it’s 12 months warranty.

 

I have read other threads on here regarding ABS welding and it seems it is quite successful on caravans but don’t have any experience of it myself.  Hopefully you can get some info from the dealer who did the repair and/or Elddis as to what was done and why.  I am guessing the cap was glued to the panel with the same adhesive used in the “solid” construction process.  If so it’s likely to be quite a strong and reliable repair although perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

 

Mark.

Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona

Hyundai Santa Fe Premium 7 seater

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Personally I would have preferred the capping solution rather than invasive replacement of the whole rear panel when my previous Swift suffered roof corners cracking. I had doubts about whether the underlying insulation was replaced properly as we had a lot more condensation in the washroom thereafter.

Nissan X-Trail Tekna + Coachman Festival 450

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Thanks for the replies.   I've contacted the dealer who sold it last summer and am waiting for an update from them on what was done and why.   Elddis have refused to give any information directly to me.   As you say Mark it was probably out of warranty but the caps look designed to fit the unit and they could be the Elddis recommended fix and supplied by them.

 

I had a closer look underneath the back panel today and noticed these small cracks around the screws.   Think I might have a go at an ABS repair to see if I can fill the cracks and prevent them growing.  

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I have read on a forum Elddis are fitting caps now, the same As Swift, as it’s such a good fit around that area I would put money on it that the caps came from Elddis. You just need to find out what’s underneath but I’d imagine if a good job was done it’ll be fine, as for the under floor you will need to drill a small hole at the end of each crack before repairing as they will not stop creeping otherwise.

 

Kev

Kev H<p>Ford Transit Custom Campervan closely followed by a Lunar Lexon 640

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Are you aware that as the caravan is only 3 years old, if it has been serviced regularly, you can have the balance of the 6 year damp warranty transferred into your name for about £60.

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Thanks - yes, am aware of this and am trying to extract the appropriate service paperwork from the 2 dealers that did the 1 year and 2 year services.   Previous owner didn't have them and presumably didn't chase/bother because they were given a separate warranty by the dealer that sold it to them in July 17.   Elddis say they need these documents and also need CRiS registration to process the transfer.   I've done the CRiS registration already and just got inside the 3 year term for the MTPLM plate upgrade from Elddis which they supplied via the dealer I've just used for the 3rd year service.   3 year limit for the MTPLM plate is from date of manufacture not date of sale!  I think I have 3 months from purchase to complete the warranty transfer.

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Elddis will say they need the documents. It gives them a get out clause. It amazes me how caravan companies get away with this.  

I blame people INCLUDING me for buying new vans.  

Why oh why do we buy new vans.   no other manufacturing business would get away with the barriers they put up to avoid fixing any warranty work .

Swift Colonsay 2006 2013 bailey valencia u2-- 2013 Elddis Affinity 550- 2017 Adria adora isonzo 613 platinum

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14 hours ago, pokerwork said:

Thanks - yes, am aware of this and am trying to extract the appropriate service paperwork from the 2 dealers that did the 1 year and 2 year services.   Previous owner didn't have them and presumably didn't chase/bother because they were given a separate warranty by the dealer that sold it to them in July 17.   Elddis say they need these documents and also need CRiS registration to process the transfer.   I've done the CRiS registration already and just got inside the 3 year term for the MTPLM plate upgrade from Elddis which they supplied via the dealer I've just used for the 3rd year service.   3 year limit for the MTPLM plate is from date of manufacture not date of sale!  I think I have 3 months from purchase to complete the warranty transfer.

Wasn't the service book stamped?

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16 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

Wasn't the service book stamped?

 

Yes, but apparently this isn't sufficient.   They say they need the service report and the damp report.   However your question has prompted me to re-read the T&Cs in the warranty section in the handbook.  

 

It is pretty clear I think - 'Original invoices and damp reports must be retained as proof that the annual services have been carried out in accordance with the warranty terms'.

 

And in the transfer of ownership section it says 'Full documentary evidence that the caravan has been serviced annually should be provided at the time of transfer, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the warranty stated in the handbook.'

 

So, as John says, it does work very much in their favour in aiming to reduce the number of warranties that are successfully transferred although I have to take responsibility for not insisting that the seller provided the appropriate documentation when I bought the van.

 

But, if all the paperwork is in order and the transfer goes ahead, what justification do they have for reducing the integrity warranty from 10 to 6 years?  I'd say none .   It would be interesting to see stats on how many owners buying new keep vans for 10 years.   Probably not many and hence this element of the warranty would rarely get tested?

 

Oh - and there's another clause which impacts on continued validity of the warranty - servicing must be done +/- 60 days from anniversary of date of purchase in years 1,2,4,5 etc and no more than 60 days in advance only of the anniversary date on years 3 and 6.   This seems unnecessarily complicated to me and another mechanism put in place to be able to invalidate warranties.

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Service books for caravans (or cars) are worth nothing as evidence as anybody can fill them in. The only real evidence is proper invoices and damp reports.

The rear ABS panel on our Bailey developed cracks after 5 years and was replaced FOC under the then 6 year warranty with no problems at all. I did however have all the requisite paperwork.

Ian.
2013 Freelander 2 SD4 Auto / 2005 Bailey Pageant Vendée; 1952 Norton ES2, 1955 Francis Barnett Cruiser 75

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23 minutes ago, iansoady said:

Service books for caravans (or cars) are worth nothing as evidence as anybody can fill them in. The only real evidence is proper invoices and damp reports.

The rear ABS panel on our Bailey developed cracks after 5 years and was replaced FOC under the then 6 year warranty with no problems at all. I did however have all the requisite paperwork.

 

Yes, it's obviously best to have the full documentation, although if the dealer has stamped the service book then wouldn't that be considered an appropriate indication that they had done the servicing to agreed standards, particularly if they were Elddis and NCC approved?  I guess not but maybe it should be.   Pleased to see that the warranty held up for you though.

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15 minutes ago, pokerwork said:

Yes, it's obviously best to have the full documentation, although if the dealer has stamped the service book then wouldn't that be considered an appropriate indication that they had done the servicing to agreed standards, particularly if they were Elddis and NCC approved?  I guess not but maybe it should be.   Pleased to see that the warranty held up for you though.

 

If the dealer stamp is in the service book then they are confirming the service was completed in accordance with the service schedule. 

 However the invoice is belt and braces as that is their confirmation of a legal contract with you to carry out the specified work, and if the work was not carried out as specified then the dealer is in breach of said contract. 

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22 hours ago, Durbanite said:

Are you aware that as the caravan is only 3 years old, if it has been serviced regularly, you can have the balance of the 6 year damp warranty transferred into your name for about £60.

Also our dealer emailed me last Monday saying that the Eddis warranty on the rear panels is now 3 yrs and not 1yr (and that our claim for our 2014 van is just out of warranty- funny that!).  In your case, I wouldn't advise you do any repairs yourself just now, until thoroughly checking whether your van falls under this warranty extension to 3yr, which could greatly help you. No doubt you won't want to give Elddis more excuses not to touch it should you attempt any repair first. Hope this helps.

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29 minutes ago, Longtail said:

Also our dealer emailed me last Monday saying that the Eddis warranty on the rear panels is now 3 yrs and not 1yr (and that our claim for our 2014 van is just out of warranty- funny that!).  In your case, I wouldn't advise you do any repairs yourself just now, until thoroughly checking whether your van falls under this warranty extension to 3yr, which could greatly help you. No doubt you won't want to give Elddis more excuses not to touch it should you attempt any repair first. Hope this helps.

Not sure where the delaer got the information about the 3 year warranty as my 2018 Owner's handbook specifically states that body panels are excluded after the first year.   See page 112 left hand side.

2018-Buccaneer-Handbook.pdf

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26 minutes ago, Longtail said:

Also our dealer emailed me last Monday saying that the Eddis warranty on the rear panels is now 3 yrs and not 1yr (and that our claim for our 2014 van is just out of warranty- funny that!).  In your case, I wouldn't advise you do any repairs yourself just now, until thoroughly checking whether your van falls under this warranty extension to 3yr, which could greatly help you. No doubt you won't want to give Elddis more excuses not to touch it should you attempt any repair first. Hope this helps.

 

They haven’t updated their website yet if this is true. ..

 

http://www. elddis. co. uk/help-support/help-advice/warranty

 

GRP and ABS panels are still an exclusion in years 2 and 3.  If this was changed I would be very surprised if they applied it retrospectively to older vans. .. that doesn’t sound like something Elddis would do :-).

 

Mark.

Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona

Hyundai Santa Fe Premium 7 seater

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Either way ultimately it is then the responsibility of the dealer to sort out the problem after year one.

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Isn't there something in the Sale of Goods Acts that says a product should last a 'Reasonable time'?

 

If so, I would expect caravan panels to last longer than 12 months.

 

For the OP, I use acetone to stick printed ABS parts together very successfully.  

The difference between a master and a beginner

The master has failed more times than a beginner has ever tried.

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4 hours ago, Lost in France said:

For the OP, I use acetone to stick printed ABS parts together very successfully.  

 

Thanks - do you use pure acetone or is cellulose thinners OK?  Also what do you use as your source of ABS?  I see you can buy ABS 'welding' rods on eBay quite cheaply.

 

By printed - do you mean 3D printed?

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Have a look at what plumbers use to stick ABS pipework and fittings

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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2 hours ago, pokerwork said:

 

Thanks - do you use pure acetone or is cellulose thinners OK?  Also what do you use as your source of ABS?  I see you can buy ABS 'welding' rods on eBay quite cheaply.

 

By printed - do you mean 3D printed?

Just 1 Litre bottles of acetone from local supermarkets, it doesn't give the purity but it will dissolve 1. 75mm ABS filament if left for a couple of hours.

Yes, 3D printing, I would guess ABS welding rods are the same thing as the kg rolls of ABS filament I buy for printing, check Amazon for ABS filament to see what colours are available.

The difference between a master and a beginner

The master has failed more times than a beginner has ever tried.

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The stuff plumbers use comes as a gel and is ready to use :)

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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2 hours ago, Paul_B said:

The stuff plumbers use comes as a gel and is ready to use :)

The problem with abs solvent is that both sides of a panel crack need the abs solvent applied and then they have to be pulled firmly together to weld.  The solvent itself  has no filling capability on its own so a solvent welding filler paste is really needed.

 

Solvent weld waste fitting are an interference fit with each other. .. the solvent simply 'melts' both surfaces which then weld together.

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