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Pembssurfer

17 year old van 1st sevice

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Hi everyone, long time lurker first time poster. So I am inheriting (they are still alive don’t worry)  my parents caravan. It is a sterling Europa 520 2002 model. Now they bought it when it was 2 years old in 2004 and since then it has been used and stored on a site for that 15 year period. It gets put out for approx 7/8 months then stored on-site for the rest. It actually only ever got towed half a Mile twice a year on way to and from storage. 

 

It it appears to be damp free and in relatively good nick. It gets stored with a tailored breathable cover for the winter months. 

 

So so far I have replaced both steel rims and tyres as they had cracks in sidewalks you could put your finger in and the rims were a tad rusty. Tyres I had to go up from 175-185 width. As that was the only option, overall diameter has obviously increased but clearance still looks ok.

 

The handbrake seems to hold and loosen as expected. I have booked in a mobile service with an approved workshop to do habitation and chassis service next month where I hope they will give the chassis and axle a good going over. My car has just been fitted with a detachable tow bar and is around 80% weight match so not expecting problems there. 

 

Anything else I should be looking out for bearing in mind how little road use it has had?

 

Also toying with the idea of fitting a ALKO hitch stabiliser but will see how it goes first before chucking anymore more money at an old van. Ideally if I get 3 years out of it il consider it a success.

 

thanks in advance

 

Adam

Edited by Pembssurfer
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Make sure that the service includes a damp test.

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Yup il make sure that it’s included in the habitation test. However if we find any damp I’m guessing our options are very limited in terms of a repair at 17 years old?

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Also make sure the brakes get an overhaul, at that age, and very minimal use that’s an absolute essential! 

 

Sorry if you are aware of the following, but if not you need to pay heed to it!

 

Where did you get the tyres from??  

 

Standard “car” type tyres rarely have sufficient load rating to be used on a caravan.  The reason being a car has 4 wheels to take the weight whereas a caravan has to make do with two, so they need to be much stronger.

 

Sorry to bang on about it BUT You really do need to be sure they are suitable for a caravan , if not there is a risk they may fail at some point when being towed (a possible cause of the many caravan “incidents” you hear about where caravans fall over!) 

 

 The increase from 175 to 185 is the tread width it will have a very minimal effect on the rolling radius, certainly nothing to worry about. 

 

Andy

Edited by Mr Plodd

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51 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

Also make sure the brakes get an overhaul, at that age, and very minimal use that’s an absolute essential! 

 

Sorry if you are aware of the following, but if not you need to pay heed to it!

 

Where did you get the tyres from??  

 

Standard “car” type tyres rarely have sufficient load rating to be used on a caravan.  The reason being a car has 4 wheels to take the weight whereas a caravan has to make do with two, so they need to be much stronger.

 

Sorry to bang on about it BUT You really do need to be sure they are suitable for a caravan , if not there is a risk they may fail at some point when being towed (a possible cause of the many caravan “incidents” you hear about where caravans fall over!) 

 

 The increase from 175 to 185 is the tread width it will have a very minimal effect on the rolling radius, certainly nothing to worry about. 

 

Andy

Hi yea brakes / Axle is what I’m most concerned about, hopefully those mobile engineers carry spare linings. The tyres are Kargomax caravan/ trailer tyres with a load rating of 102 so pretty overkill for a 1400kg van. It actually worked out as cheap and better for convenience to order brand new rims with the tyres fitted than mess about with tyre shops. It has definitely increased the ride height of the caravan though. It’s these wheels:  Good price I thought!

 

https://www.tridenttowing.co.uk/trailer-parts-c3/wheels-tyres-c526/trailer-wheels-c527/14-inch-trailer-wheels-c542/185r14c-wheel-5-stud-112mm-pcd-8-ply-tyre-p10804

Edited by Pembssurfer

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17 minutes ago, Pembssurfer said:

 hopefully those mobile engineers carry spare linings.

 

Unless the linings have become detached by the van being left standing with the handbrake on, the linings should be ok.   It's the functioning of the brake shoes and cables caused by the lack of lubrication that needs addressing.   Also the hub bearings and the coupling head/hitch require looking at.

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Chassis and brakes are certainly the first priority. Safety of your family is paramount. The Truma water heater and room heater may be gas only, or perhaps gas and electric. The Thetford fridge will be gas/230VAC/12vDC. These 3 appliances could do with a service after so long and this work is not included in a normal annual service. Some AWS engineers are qualified to do this and you can easily check on the NCC web site to ensure your is (or you could simply ask him), and it may be prudent to have this work done. Dirt, debris, leaves, spiders and rust may have taken their toll. The gas was regulated via a bottle regulator in that era, and a low pressure hose from the bottle regulator to the copper tubing on the caravan. This hose should be renewed and perhaps a new bottle regulator. If there is no smoke and CO alarm in the caravan these are pretty cheap to buy and would bring the safety level up to date.  We had a Europa around that time and it was a great caravan.

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Thank you. Yea the heating both water and air are gas and electric with blown air, the water heater had a new element year before last and also the outside water pump/fixing point was replaced due to cracking. I will get the engineer to double down on the chassis side/ running gear first then see what’s what habitation wise. Smoke and CO2 alarms I can grab from work easily enough. Fridge did have a problem a few years ago with spiders web in flu so il get this checked too. I’m praying it’s reasonably dry but my parents are adamant it’s the only caravan they have had in 40 years of Caravanning that hasn’t ever had a damp problem. Perhaps with it never really hitting the open road has done it done favours. 

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