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rinty

Valencia

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After much debate we are pretty much decided on buying a Bailey Unicorn Valencia.

 We’re looking at either a S1 or S2 - budget approx £10-£12k.

 

the pros and cons of both have been well discussed on this form but I wondered specifically about the damp floor issue and particularly under the front wet lockers.

 With a caravan as old as we are considering ( approx 2011-2013) are the damp issues, if they had arisen, been sorted by now. In other words if the floor was ever going to get damp, would it happen relatively soon after manufacture and this be sorted by now?

 

Thanks

 

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I had the S2 and got the dreaded damp in the shower area at 2 yrs. The dealers took the shower out sorted the leak and put it back together again in a short period of time. No further problems. I kept it for another 2 years and then partxed it for the S4. I would advise having it fully checked by a dealer or someone who knows what they're looking at. As you say any damp should have appeared by now.

 

Good Luck,

 

Tanker.

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Pay the extra and go to a series 3 if possible would be my advice.  However we all have our fiscal limits

 

series 1.  We had it 3 years

Potential for damp lockers migrating to the floor. Serious rot potential.  But there are many which had the handles fixed early on and are fine.  The water got in via unsealed handles on the body.  It was then trapped under the plastic trays and interior Lino.  Easy to spot  some dealers ( I use the term loosely). Covered it up with a tar paint.  Do not buy without an independent opinion if at all suspicious.  Alde heating is good but not the best in the bathroom. Insufficient output from the towel rail means bathroom I’d colder than rest of van by a couple of degrees   Simple fix have Alde fit and extra rad. We did and nice and toasty. 

Soft alloy body so dents easily.  Heavier than all since

 

Series 2. Kept less than two years

 GRP body. = good and lighter

Alde improved installation gives quicker warm up and bathroom is warmer

The circular shower was a disaster for us.  Difficulty to keep clean and IMHO impossible to Seal properly.  If you don’t use it and use site facilities then not such an issue.  After multiple attempts to sort it we rejected the van and came to a mutually agreeable deal.  

 

Series 3.  We’ve had it nearly 5 years

a future classic Alu-tech now sorted

Alde even better installation.  

A number of vans suffered ‘saggy axles’.  A fault from ALKO. ours replaced under warranty. But make sure and check the wheel clearance or warranty record.  Otherwise the best van in 50 years.  Warm comfortable and ergonomics are very good. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Ref. the axle problem. Does anyone know what the tyre to wheel arch clearance should be with the caravan unloaded?

Edited by JohnPat

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2 hours ago, JohnPat said:

Ref. the axle problem. Does anyone know what the tyre to wheel arch clearance should be with the caravan unloaded?

The bailey dealers have all the figures. I think it was25 mm when loaded but don’t take my memory for it.  

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Thanks for that. Doesn't leave much room for suspension travel! My clearance is about 1.5 in unladen. I haven't loaded it yet.

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1 hour ago, JohnPat said:

Thanks for that. Doesn't leave much room for suspension travel! My clearance is about 1.5 in unladen. I haven't loaded it yet.

Apparently model affected with axle issue is  Unicorn single axle S 3 from 2014 to 2016 however there has been report of later model and other make affected.  the minimum clearance when loaded is 25mm as quoted above anything below that keep away.

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The problem with damp is that it can strike at any age. If the sealant is very bad it can leak from the start, if it is better but not right it will leak eventually and if it is perfect it will crack up eventually. With any second hand caravan (probably new ones as well) you do need an up to date damp report.

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Thanks all. I will get a damp report with whatever I get. Perhaps an unfair question (to dealers) but can a damp report coming with a caravan from a dealer be totally trustworthy?

  • Haha 1

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5 hours ago, rinty said:

Thanks all. I will get a damp report with whatever I get. Perhaps an unfair question (to dealers) but can a damp report coming with a caravan from a dealer be totally trustworthy?

Simple answer No.  From personal experience I have had recently a service report that said damp near the toilet.  There wasn’t any I knew because I’d done a test myself and insisted they do another in my presence. No damp,  oh we must have measured some condensation then. 

There are dishonest / incompetent people out there. 

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On 03/01/2020 at 17:44, rinty said:

Thanks all. I will get a damp report with whatever I get. Perhaps an unfair question (to dealers) but can a damp report coming with a caravan from a dealer be totally trustworthy?

 

We bought an S1 Valencia 2 years ago from a well known dealer. The damp report said the floor was perfect and rot free, but when we went away in it a week after purchasing I nearly fell through the bathroom floor. The dealer was very rude about the issue on the phone and very reluctantly booked it on for assessment - we then watched the service manager go over the floor and he said the damp readings were so high and the rot so bad that the caravan was beyond economical repair. They swapped it for a 2 year newer S2 Valencia at no extra cost and, to keep us quiet, included a 5 year warranty. The S2 has now been back 3 times for damp repairs - the front locker floor has been cut out and replaced, a section behind the off side wheel arch has been cut out and replaced, and the floor under the bed and bathroom has had to be dried out when the under bed locker door warped and leaked. We still have 3 years of warranty to go otherwise I would be selling and buying a different make - but then are any of them any better?

 

If you buy a van ignore the damp report they give you with the PDI and check yourself or get someone else to check (a mobile caravan repair company perhaps), and keep an eye on it. The only part of a Unicorn that rots id the floor.

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Go for a U3. 

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If you can find a 'goodun' the Mk1 was much better spec. , there's been nothing to touch it, below 30K, since.  As a bonus the front side lockers are a camper's dream.

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Why do you say that Mick?

i know that the mark 1 shower is certainly better but what else is different?

 

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We had both mk1 , Mk2. And Mk3.   It depends on your priorities and styling preferences.

 

Mk1 had alloy body so can dent. It is heavier than the Mk2.  It also had a way of using an internal tank and wider front beds if used as singles.  And the useful side lockers. 

 

Mk2 GRP body with the big window.  For us the window was worth the loss of front lockers.  Those adaptable Mk 1 front seats meant for me I was always sat on a join.   The Mk2. also had a better installation of the Alde heating so it warmed up quicker and more even. 

 

Biggest ‘but ‘ on the Mk2 was the awful shower.   Not just the awkward cleaning etc but it leaked and appeared impossible to fix.  After 3 goes at fixing it we gave up and came to an amicable deal.  The mk 3 has been superb and still with us after 5 years. Until the new Alicanto arrives that is. 

 

If if we had to choose it would be a mk3    A Mk2 with a shower replaced by Pegasus fittings.  A Mk 1.  A Mk2 with the original shower in that order

 

Others will disagree.   

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On 26/01/2020 at 10:52, rinty said:

Why do you say that Mick?

i know that the mark 1 shower is certainly better but what else is different?

 

The original mk 1 model (I had the Valencia) was originally built in limited quantities as an up-market promotion of the then new  Alu-Teck construction. The spec. of just about everything was top grade & extensive. Seating was velour with expensive bolster design & Ist class foam that was both comfortable & stood up to abuse. The fitments & general build quality appeared to be superior to other models at the time  & gave the impression that it had been built to a higher standard altogether. It also had reliable electrics (very sadly missed!) & a generous-sized shower.

In the well-used 7 years I had mine it displayed no 'inbuilt' faults that appear to have become the norm in modern 'vans.  What faults it did have were few, minor  & mainly down to wear & tear. The oh-so-useful front side lockers have yet to be seen on any other current 'van (because they cost too much!).
Included  were a 16" Avtec TV (that I still use!) Al-Ko wheel lock, properly rated axle (couldn't resist that one!) & the removable int. tank that proved a god-send in cold whether. It was also a noticeably warmer 'van than any I've had before or since. I camped in it all year-round.
I didn't fully realise just how good it was until I'd had my present 'van a month & started on the long (& unfinished!) journey of frequent fault-fixing. Don't think this has biased my views in any way as I've always felt the Valencia was on the top of the pile based entirely on my ownership experience. Apart from minor front locker damp it was also dry.

Each subsequent mk. had the large front window (which originally was not up to the job) less 'goodies', & more potential leaks. The quality went gradually down hill, though the price didn't exactly reflect this! But then again,  I've been told (by various dealers) that the Mk1 spec. would cost around £30/35K+ at today's prices, which somewhat brings things more into perspective.

After 2 years, nostalgia apart, I still wish I'd kept it. Which is not to say I'd buy one today, but then I don't, sadly,  consider the general quality level of any British-made 'van worthy of my money anymore.

It's just as well every-one doesn't expect a fault-free 'van or they would never sell any.

 

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