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Paul90125

Cost for quality

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If money weren’t an issue, is a more expensive caravan a “better” caravan? Here’s an example. I’m looking to buy a 2 berth, and there are lots with very similar layouts. I’ve been looking at Elddis recently. They’ve got the Xplore 422 (£15000), the Avanti 462 (£19000) and the Affinity 462 (£21000). I’ve only seen an Xplore so far. I’m guessing the more expensive ones will be more plush and may have a greater range of features (they’re both slightly longer) - but are they better in terms of solidity, durability, reliability - and any other ilities? Thanks.

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Regardless of cost and what is in them, they are put together on the same production line by the same people, so any one of them could have a propensity to let in water, and suffer from poor assembly and workmanship. 

 

Now if they offered a custom build with a better cast iron guarantee on quality and workmanship for the extra money then fine, but as it is when we looked at the various models available we struggled to quantify £6,000 of betterness from the lower model to the highest, if you get my meaning.

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The extra money doesn’t mean any better. 

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Always wondered about Vanmaster.

 

Yes I am sure that with the likes of cabinetry etc. the quality difference would be apparent but not sure about the usual let down for most of us, the dreaded damp.

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Elddis, Compass, Explore and even Buccaneer are all made in the same factory in Consett.

 

So the difference is generally different features, more toys and possibly upmarket fabrics. It similar with cars, different ranges within the same model have extra features some of which are just cosmetic, but the additional charges become disproportionate to the real cost, it's in the perceived value to the customer that bumps up the price.

 

However there will also be a big premium for the "badge" so although Buccaneer are probably made on the same production line with the same people as Xplore, they make fewer of them, add more bits and charge a lot more because they make fewer of them so they become more exclusive. There are also features, like underfloor heating, auto levelling and leather seats which aren't available on the lesser marques which adds to the cost and exclusivity but the main box is still the same

 

 

Edited by matelodave

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More money means better quality because you can buy bespoke caravans like the Vanmaster and the Inos that are hand built by small team and not mass produced . Like anything you get what you pay for ?

 

http://inos.co.uk/inos-70/

 

http://www.vanmastercaravans.co.uk

 

 

 

Dave

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Griff said:

Always wondered about Vanmaster.

 

Yes I am sure that with the likes of cabinetry etc. the quality difference would be apparent but not sure about the usual let down for most of us, the dreaded damp.

My second VanMaster was built towards the end of the Tommy Green, Mr VM, era. We collected it from the factory, stayed locally for 3 days and took it back with about 20 faults from bits missing to squint door handles, it was all fixed and delivered to my door 4 days later.

 

In the second year of ownership, VM under new management, part of the shower broke and the attitude was nothing to do with us and wouldn’t even tell where the showers came from but when I found out they were also out of business.

 

Shortly after damp appeared in the rear toilet wall, eventually traced to there being no sealant on the rear high level brake light.

 

This was repaired by the new company at my expense and included a new rear inner panel which did not match the rest of the van but because it was the whole panel it looked deliberate.

 

I have heard that Phil is only producing one van a year now so how long that will continue I don’t know.

 

 

Ian

Edited by IanV8

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I guess it depends on if you’re spending a lot of actual time in the van you might want some of the extras, but if it’s basically somewhere to sleep whilst you pursue your hobby it might not be worth spending extra on the van for the extras.

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1 hour ago, Paul90125 said:

If money weren’t an issue, is a more expensive caravan a “better” caravan? Here’s an example. I’m looking to buy a 2 berth, and there are lots with very similar layouts. I’ve been looking at Elddis recently. They’ve got the Xplore 422 (£15000), the Avanti 462 (£19000) and the Affinity 462 (£21000). I’ve only seen an Xplore so far. I’m guessing the more expensive ones will be more plush and may have a greater range of features (they’re both slightly longer) - but are they better in terms of solidity, durability, reliability - and any other ilities? Thanks.

 

You must really be kidding. Our 2018 Affinity 462 literally fell apart after the first week of use with the stargazer surround falling off, and the microwave cupboard starting to fall off the wall. After being repaired, and a further 3 weeks of use the microwave cupboard started to go again, numerous cupboard doors came loose and finally the roof collapsed at the front.  Then lets not forget brake problems and the seating compressing badly in that time, and the nails sticking out.

 

Check out a new 462 and try pushing the ceiling up in front of the stargazer skylight. You'll soon see what I mean!

 

Edited by thebriars

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39 minutes ago, CommanderDave said:

More money means better quality because you can buy bespoke caravans like the Vanmaster and the Inos that are hand built by small team and not mass produced . Like anything you get what you pay for ?

 

http://inos.co.uk/inos-70/

 

http://www.vanmastercaravans.co.uk

 

Dave

 

You’ve got to be having a laugh, we are talking about caravans, and IanV8’s experience blows the theory straight out of the water.

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24 minutes ago, Paul90125 said:

I’m guessing the more expensive ones will be more plush and may have a greater range of features - but are they better in terms of solidity, durability, reliability

Generally no.

 

The time you may see an improvement in build quality (as opposed to being better equipped) is when you turn to the smaller manufacturer who build fewer caravans. Unfortunately most of the names previously associated with better quality have either ceased production, or been swallowed up by the larger companies. Traditionally caravans of various construction methods were build on a substantial (and heavy) steel chassis but these days manufacturers prefer a light weight chassis with additional rigidity being provided by the caravan body.

 

Until recently most caravans were built by screwing a timber frame together, sealing it with mastic, and covering it in pre-painted aluminium sheet. Insulating material was placed between the timber framework and an inner wall formed from a vinyl coated boarding. Various production methods are used by companies today for the bodywork. The frame may be a lightweight metal construction bolted or welded together, or it may still be timber that is glued/bonded or screwed together, also various plastics may be employed in place of timber for both lightness and improved durability.

 

The outer shell may comprise pre-painted aluminium sheet, either bonded to form a rigid side panel, or laid loose over the roof. Fibreglass sheet may not only be used for the outer skin of side walls but like Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) sheet also moulded to form complete skins for front or rear walls, and decorative covers for the chassis A-frame, wheel arches etc..

 

Materials used to seal the various body panels have been much improved over the years too, and where a mastic compound was once used by many manufacturers, these days we see various alternatives employed, from neoprene rubber inserts, to silicone and various high tech compounds that both adhere and seal, and unlike traditional sealants, tend not to dry out and eventually require replacement.

 

As you can see, things have improved significantly regarding the materials used but probably owing to low production numbers relative to other manufactured goods, while some processes are automated, caravans are still mostly assembled by human hands, and built down to a design weight and production cost. If more substantial materials were to be used, while retaining the same level of equipment, both the weight and the cost would inevitably rise, and possibly place the caravan outside of both the towing limits of many cars and the financial constraints of the customer.

 

Gordon. 

 

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I will just add one comment. Perceived quality is not the same as actual quality.

ExTenter.

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IH, a very respected Motorhome builder had a go with an upmarket futuristic monopod Caravan in about 2011 onwards at  a £41995 starter price. 

Faded away very quickly.

https://UKCS/articles/view.asp?id=501

 

Autosleeper, another respected Motorhome builder, had a go 

http://www.auto-sleepers.com/as-caravans-getting-plenty-of-attention/

Not too steep on price, fairly traditional styling, but faded away again.

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Its possible that the less you pay it could be better, less to go wrong, so argubly better quality.

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4 minutes ago, t5van said:

Its possible that the less you pay it could be better, less to go wrong, so arguably better quality.

Certainly less to go wrong but I doubt the build quality will differ significantly from any other offering from the same production line.

Gordon.

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If cars are anything to go by the reverse could be true!

Although it does depend on your definition of "quality". An engineer defines quality as "fitness for purpose". Using this definition,  size, toys, gizmos, badge and styling count for very little but reliability counts for a lot.

The various surveys that take place looking at the reliability of cars tend to show that the budget to mid priced high production volume models tend to be more reliable than the higher priced low volume cars.

Of course, if you want the high spec toy laden items your choice is limited.

 

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An expensive caravan with a defect is no better than a cheap caravan with a defect. Expensive caravans are made from the same chassis, body, wheels, tyres, heating fridges toilets etc etc, as the  cheaper ones, of the same brand. The additional equipment does not justify the extra selling price.

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I have had some terrible quality issues when it come to caravans. 

‘My first 4 caravans had damp and parts not working or falling off

My 5th caravan was damp from new and the manufacturer had it for longer than I did In the end I sued the manufacturer and got all my money back plus a large compensation payment. 

I then bought my first German caravan a Geist, the quality was great apart from the bed runners. I had this caravan for 7 to 8 years.

I then bought a Hymer the build quality when though the roof the only problem I remember is the bottom oven door hinge gave up. I had this caravan just under 12 years. Though a HYMER can leak, a friend of mine had this problem, they don’t get damp in the walls because of the construction methods used

I have just bought another Hymer and the quality on this one seems outstanding but I can not comment on  durability because I’ve only owned it a few weeks

 

all you you can do is a full inspection before taking delivery of your caravan and hope for the best. The caravan industry does have massive problems when it comes to quality and I don’t know the answer. 

Pay your deposit on your credit card to get the insurance 

even use some finance to get a warranty from them as well. 

 

James 

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Wouldn't it be nice to think the agency workers on zero hours contracts and minimum wage would give the more upmarket models extra careful squirts of sealant and a  few extra screws!

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1 hour ago, Dobloseven said:

Wouldn't it be nice to think the agency workers on zero hours contracts and minimum wage would give the more upmarket models extra careful squirts of sealant and a  few extra screws!

Possibly there is a bit of industrial sabotage going on that results in the damp issues if the workers are not appreciated.

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We brought a Elddis Rambler new and is now to years old ,all overhead lockers full of condensation no matter how careful you are packing or warming the van up when arriving on site or at home, it’s now has a stress  fracture in the side wall under the awning light  ,the warning light for the loo being full or half don’t work now after our latest trip away, the water heater trips out when it feels like it maybe twice a day , the 13 pin plug for the towing ie lights etc  has been replaced twice due to them falling apart and after 30 years of British caravan ‘s I am thinking about buying something from aboard especially after meeting a couple this week who’s ten months old liner van as already had problems with the floor ‘ mains electrics and fridge plus leaking skylight and are now in the process of rejecting their caravan only other thing that might appeal is building my own motor home on a long wheel base van 

That should be luner, also forgot to mention the bed slats falling apart and dumping us both on the floor in our van and leaking front gas locker that lets everything into it weather wise sure there’s something else I have missed out 

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I’ve always thought the major difference between the base model and the all singing model isn’t anything to do with quality. The manufacturer puts a few extra pounds worth of gadgets and extra trim but the main component is added by the marketing department is extra profit!

 

The base model gets people interested and in the dealership.  The upmarket versions provide little benefit to the customer but a bit more money in the dealers bank account. 

 

 

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19 hours ago, bill2 said:

We brought a Elddis Rambler new and is now to years old ,all overhead lockers full of condensation no matter how careful you are packing or warming the van up when arriving on site or at home, it’s now has a stress  fracture in the side wall under the awning light  ,the warning light for the loo being full or half don’t work now after our latest trip away, the water heater trips out when it feels like it maybe twice a day , the 13 pin plug for the towing ie lights etc  has been replaced twice due to them falling apart and after 30 years of British caravan ‘s I am thinking about buying something from aboard especially after meeting a couple this week who’s ten months old liner van as already had problems with the floor ‘ mains electrics and fridge plus leaking skylight and are now in the process of rejecting their caravan only other thing that might appeal is building my own motor home on a long wheel base van 

That should be luner, also forgot to mention the bed slats falling apart and dumping us both on the floor in our van and leaking front gas locker that lets everything into it weather wise sure there’s something else I have missed out 

A minor comment on the toilet full warning light not working.

Just wanted to make sure that you realise it is powered by 2 AA batteries tucked away in the cassette compartment, rather than the caravans electrical supply,  they should be able to be seen if you look up after the cassette is removed. 

Have you replaced these batteries, if not, that is likely your problem. 

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Think only the Thetford toilets with manual flush have the batteries for the full cassette light. 

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In 2000 we bought a 2. 5 yrs old abbey vogue,we never had a fault with it,(seems to be that era).i gave it to our son 12 year later and it still going strong. we have a 2016 cruiser that has had a few faults but relativly all good.£35k, gave that to our son ,and still no faults, bought a 2017 buccaneer commadore again £35k small amount of faultsgave that to our daughter ,last year we bought a kontiki 669 and upon collection had loads of faults £100k. we rejected it. so what do you do? bought a new 2019 cruiser £40k has had its faults already.albeit minor.and we have a 2013 669£55k kontiki  and love it.although it had a minor fault.we love it. so i think what ever you choose be it carefully

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