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Finch1638

Bailey buying advice please

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Hello,

 

We are new to Caravanning and are planning on buying our first caravan. At the minute we're leaning towards a new Bailey Unicorn Valencia.

 

My question is, what is Bailey's reputation like in terms of build quality, reliability and value for money compared to other brands?

 

Also are there any inherent problems with them that I should be aware of?

 

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers

 

Phil

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We were looking at Baileys when we last changed our caravan at the previous Unicorn Cartegena. Liked the finish of the interior but the fact it was already leaking rainwater onto the bed put us off. That and the hideous centre window and cartoon smiley face graphics. Graphics on the newer version are more conventional. Still seem to be having the same water ingress issues going by the reports on this forum. 

We settled on the Swift. Not flawless but three years on dry as a bone. No collapsing axle issues either. 

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They are as good as many and better than most. They do however seem to cut corners to save a few pence here and there. For example we bought the ungraded seats/cushions and the sponge inside is so poor the seat had flattened where we sit (well, in a 2 berth you do tend to sit in the same place, don't you?) within a few uses. They were replaced under warranty (we guess only the sponge) and they have failed again. Things like they don't fit a high-level brake light on the Pegasus but they do on the Unicorn; similarly the solar panel, alarm/tracker, and Al-Ko ATC.

 

Whilst at the dealers the other day we sat in a Bailey Atlantico (an 8 footer!), a Discovery, and one of the dealer's own models and in all the seats were noticeably better - in all three of them they were clearly sprung seats!

 

If you live in the North East then two of the three biggest Bailey dealers in the country are near(ish) to you. Teesside Caravans are the second biggest and Ropers at Catterick are the third biggest, Ropers being the dealer we have used for over a decade.

 

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3 hours ago, Finch1638 said:

Hello,

 

We are new to Caravanning and are planning on buying our first caravan. At the minute we're leaning towards a new Bailey Unicorn Valencia....

The payload is only 155Kg, and can't be upgraded.  https://www.baileyofbristol.co.uk/owning/weight-plate-upgrades

 

Don't forget that that any mover comes out of the payload, as does the battery and everything else you put in the caravan.  You stand a very good chance of overloading the caravan.  And the axles on Unicorn 3s and 4s have been failing.

 

When if happened to me, Bailey noted that it was outside the 3 year warranty on the axle and refused to help.  Repair is £1000+.

 

If you must buy a new bailey, I'd recommend a twin axle - these don't seem prone to failing and you can buy an extra 100kg payload.

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More than happy with my Bailey, yes it had a roof strap leak noted at the first service but this was between the alutec walls so no damage caused, problem fixed and it’s been lovely since.

 

More than happily have another.

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You will find bad reports on all makes of caravan but those who are happy don't tend to write about it. We had a Unicorn for five years and were very happy with it.

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I doubt there is any make of caravan that have never had any “issues (stand by for Barussia to post that continental vans are perfect) 

 

Don’t forget the more common the make the more likely you are going to hear about any problems. 

 

Its clearly a bit of a lottery but the vast majority of caravans give their owners many years of trouble free service.  Don’t forget that they now come with pretty lengthy warranty periods so in the event of you having an “issue” it’s not your pocket that gets emptied to put it right.

 

Andy

 

 

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I don't think that there is much choice in caravans, they are all very similar. We have a Bailey at the moment and I actually found my first abandoned screw this week, which is good going, I've had it 6 months. 

https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/helpandadvice/tent-survey/caravan-owner-satisfaction-awards/

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Thanks for the replies guys

 

I'm drawn to the Valencia because the layout suits us and the spec seems to be pretty decent with the solar panel and outside bbq point etc. I love the new Alicate range but that might stretch the budget a bit too far!

 

 

6 minutes ago, joanie said:

I don't think that there is much choice in caravans, they are all very similar. We have a Bailey at the moment and I actually found my first abandoned screw this week, which is good going, I've had it 6 months. 

https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/helpandadvice/tent-survey/caravan-owner-satisfaction-awards/

Thanks for that, interesting reading and sets my mind at ease!

 

Cheers

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A few dealers offer “specials” that are based on the Phoenix range that have nearly as much kit as the more expensive Unicorn range (solar panel, ATC, BBQ point, external 230v socket, upgraded upholstery, alarm to name but a few) yet cost about six THOUSAND pounds less.

 

Worth looking, that’s what we did, tempted by a Unicorn but then saw a dealer special Phoenix (Chipping Sodbury  Caravans, too far away from you) and realised what a good deal was on offer. £6K buys a lot  of nights on a campsite.

 

If you follow the link in Joanies post and go to the summary you will see that Bailey do very well indeed, only just behind Coachman (they do cost a lot more than Bailey)  and well ahead of the rest.

 

Andy

Edited by Mr Plodd
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I've got a 6 year old Bologna twin axle and it is a great van. Conventional seating design so no problems there. There is one problem though, I dont get out in it enough.

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Our Bailey Phoenix, platinum edition has just come back from its first service with flying colours!

The axle problems are also on other caravans with the AlKO chassis!

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We're very happy with our Bailey Cabrera, and easily cope with the limited payload... If you want to carry the kitchen sink and the rest of the kitchen, carry it in the car!  We store stuff in plastic boxes and leave them packed in the van when in storage, transfer to the car for towing, and then unload into the van when we arrive on site.  Don't carry spare gas bottle either

Edited by Guzzilazz
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3 minutes ago, Guzzilazz said:

  Don't carry spare gas bottle either

 

Again that’s fine IF you just holiday in the U.K. but some of us venture further afield for many weeks at a time (yes we are very fortunate)  It’s not possible to get exchange Calor cylinders on the Continent. (Let’s NOT start on Safefill etc eh?) 

 

Matters will get worse when the supply of Calor Lite’s gets more and more problematical (due to the much heavier weight of the “standard” cylinder) 

 

Andy

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2 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

Again that’s fine IF you just holiday in the U.K. but some of us venture further afield for many weeks at a time (yes we are very fortunate)  It’s not possible to get exchange Calor cylinders on the Continent. (Let’s NOT start on Safefill etc eh?) 

 

Matters will get worse when the supply of Calor Lite’s gets more and more problematical (due to the much heavier weight of the “standard” cylinder) 

 

Andy

One would have thought that if you travel extensively abroad or have long stays abroad then the sensible thing to do would be get the appropriate cylinder for the location that you are in, thus saving any hassle with trying to refill abroad or having to  carry sufficient  UK gas for the duration of your stay.

 

Just my opinion you understand :rolleyes:

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55 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

Again that’s fine IF you just holiday in the U.K. but some of us venture further afield for many weeks at a time (yes we are very fortunate)  It’s not possible to get exchange Calor cylinders on the Continent. (Let’s NOT start on Safefill etc eh?) 

 

 

We just have a spare regulator we can change from Propane to Butane.  We can therefore have Camping Gaz on the continent which is available absolutely everywhere and change to Propane for the UK where it is colder and the Butane sometimes freezes!

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Modern vans dont even need to change the regulator - you can get lots of differnet adapters that attach to the existing pigtails. Heres a random selection https://www.gaslowdirect.com/Gaslow-Products/Adapters

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1 hour ago, Mr Plodd said:

Matters will get worse when the supply of Calor Lite’s gets more and more problematical (due to the much heavier weight of the “standard” cylinder) 

[thread drift]

 

Wasn't Calor going to introduce a new 'lightweight' cylinder to replace the well conceived but seeming poorly engineered 'Lite'?

 

[/thread drift]

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33 minutes ago, ReggiePerrin said:

[thread drift]

 

Wasn't Calor going to introduce a new 'lightweight' cylinder to replace the well conceived but seeming poorly engineered 'Lite'?

 

[/thread drift]

 

They were but then dropped the idea. Essentially the only lightweight you can now get is a Gaslight from Flo-Gas who now own the brand, but there is a catch.

If you look at flogas.ie you will find a 5Kg costs €21 for the gas and €15 for the cylinder service charge (their name for the rental contract with Calor) which is the equivalent of about £33.50 at today's exchange rate - and you can order it on line.

The only place you can easily get them in the UK is Homebase which will knock you back the princely sum of £68!!! As the cylinder deposit appears to be £12.50 this means you are paying £55.50 for 5Kg of Propane which will only cost almost exactly one third of that in the RoI.

I call that a rip-off.

 

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Going back to the OP. We had a S3 Valencia until March this year, when we swapped it for a Pegasus Grande Messina.  

There is a known roof strap issue on S3 Unicorns But we didn’t experience it. No damp in the 3 years we kept it and no warranty issues.  

Best bits:

Great bathroom and roomy shower. 

Laundry basket ( Fantastic)

Decent storage

Light and felt spacious

comfy fixed bed

Long front sofas ( big enough for singles if you are under 6 foot) Longest in this layout cross manufacturers I believe.

Good size fridge

S3 had the sticking out lower kitchen cupboard. This gave great kitchen surface space ( S4 got rid of this)

Love the S3 front chest that integrated into the front sill. Good surface space for drinks and you were sitting forward enough to easily look out if the side window.

Outside BBQpoint, solar panels, Alde heating.

Towed smoothly

Not so great bits:

Side fixed bed meant OH climbing over me to get out of bed ( main reason we swapped it for an island bed layout)

Seat Cushions felt like they were starting to sag by the time we swapped it.

Fixtures felt a bit flimsy. 

Cord in front blind snapped.

Bit too easy to drop things behind the seat cushions onto the Alde vents and then a sod to retrieve them.

 

 

Overall we were very happy with it.  It was the side fixed bed that became a pain and our main reason to change it.  Still miss the laundry basket ( sigh)

nanamel

 

 

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14 hours ago, PR1 said:

Our Bailey Phoenix, platinum edition has just come back from its first service with flying colours!

The axle problems are also on other caravans with the AlKO chassis!

Not heard of any problems with axles other than those afflicting Bailey. Pleased to be corrected though. 

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How can it be a problem only for Bailey? It's the same axles.

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24 minutes ago, Tuningdrew said:

Not heard of any problems with axles other than those afflicting Bailey. Pleased to be corrected though. 

 

Do you think that Alko produce different axles for different caravan manufacturers?

 

Its a bit like saying Michelin produce specific tyres just for Citroen, ridiculous comment !

 

Andy

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21 hours ago, Finch1638 said:

Hello,

 

We are new to Caravanning and are planning on buying our first caravan. At the minute we're leaning towards a new Bailey Unicorn Valencia.

 

My question is, what is Bailey's reputation like in terms of build quality, reliability and value for money compared to other brands?

 

Also are there any inherent problems with them that I should be aware of?

 

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers

 

Phil

 

We are very happy with our current Bailey and will most likely buy another in the next few week.

 

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2 hours ago, AndersG said:

How can it be a problem only for Bailey? It's the same axles.

They may be the same axles, but Bailey have definitely had a problem, starting with the Unicorn 3.  They've admitted it in a communication sent to the dealers, and dealers have been replacing lots of axles - usually under warranty when the caravan is under three years old.  If it fails after three years, the owner is refused.

 

The replacement axles are mounted lower in the frame, so giving an additional 10mm or so of clearance.

 

In part, I suspect it's that they've fitted flat-topped axle boxes, so as the axle relaxes it's much more likely to wear a hole through the axle box.  Our friend has just had a £2500 repair when this happened.  I've been keeping an eye on mine, and its currently away being refurbished.

 

THere's a long thread about it here 

 

 

 

 

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