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Considering first ever Coachman caravan


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Hi All,

 

We currently own a 2015 Swift Challenger 530SE which we really like, despite all of the warranty issues and repairs carried out, the latest one being the bulkhead moving apart from the side wall and front locker.  Our caravan is now sat on the drive as not safe to tow as we wait for Swift to arrange collection back to our Dealership, we are then considering selling it back to them.

 

As a result of this recent fault we have lost confidence in Swift and have looked at a new 2021 Coachman VIP 520 at a local dealer in Kent and really liked the look and feel of the caravan so I was just wondering if there are any issues we should look out for?  Our  Swift tows beautifully and wondered if Coachman tow well, obviously with the correct nose weight, loaded sensibly and correct tyre pressures on car and caravan.

 

Any feedback, advice welcomed.

 

Thanks. 

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I am on my third Coachman.

The present is a new VIP 575 and all seems very good to date. We have been away twice and everything is working well. the layout suits us perfectly (First time with this layout). 

The caravan has the AAA AL-KO brakes fitted, this contributes to a very stable tow with 90kgs nose weight.

I tow with a Volvo XC60 AWD.

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We have had our Coachman VIP 575 for five years and are very happy with the construction of it but the fridge, water pump, Alde heating and cooker have all had problems over the years.

As far as towing is concerned it has been fine with no problems at all.

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Hi,

We are on our second Coachman, a 2017 Pastiche 460, which we have had since new. Previously we had a 2011 Pastiche 460/2, which replaced a Swift Challenger 480. Towing wise, behind our Skoda Suberb Estate, the Coachmans have been entirely stable, even in some challenging cross winds.  My immediate impression on changing to the Coachman was that it was better 'put together' than the Swift. We did have some issues with the 2011 Pastiche, including leaks around the windows, but they were all sorted efficiently under warranty. So far, the latest Pastiche has been trouble free, except for recently needing a new BCA power unit. We normally tow around 5k miles a year, both in the UK and France - but not this or last year!

Cheers

Paul R T

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I'm new to Coacman myself and so far so good.

 

Overall build quality seems very good. No issues with the rain and water ingress over the last few days and it has certainly been well tested. A few small snagging issues but nothing major so far.

 

Regarding towing it seems to have impeccable manners and I had my nose weight at 98.

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In the Practical Caravan customer surveys Coachman normally come out either top or second with Adria filling the other space. They ae not perfect, but overall are probably the best made UK caravan.

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I would never buy another caravan which has ABS construction and the coachman website seems to say both front and rear panels are ABS.

 

Imo this material is not fit for purpose for caravan bodywork.

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Just got our first Coachman (2021 VIP 545) and we are happy with it after first trip last week.

Much better built than the previous Lunar Clubman, but it is 200kg heavier than the Lunar was with same internal body length but 5” longer on shipping length. You will probably find a similar weight difference to your Swift.

Noseweight is more manageable. I struggled to get the Lunar down to 100kg, but the Coachman I had to put a few extra things towards the front to bring the moseweight up to 75-80 kgs.

Towed really well on first trip, but as we had Tyron bands fitted I will be getting the wheels balanced before the next outing. 

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6 hours ago, P101 said:

I would never buy another caravan which has ABS construction and the coachman website seems to say both front and rear panels are ABS.

 

Imo this material is not fit for purpose for caravan bodywork.

Yes I noticed that too, our Swift has GRP for the front panel and ABS on the rear.  The rear panel has been repaired twice for very minor cracks and we now have the 2 caps fitted on the rear top corners!  The front panel has lost its shine and its very dull on the top near the panoramic window, if we keep the Swift then it will need a professional wax by someone like Touershine.

 

Whilst ABS panels are used by Coachman have they got their construction technique more sussed than others as I don't hear problems with ABS panels cracking on Coachman Caravans, unlike Elddis and Swift.

 

As it stands we can't put a deposit down on the Coachman as our current Swift cannot be towed or used until its transported 100 miles back to our dealer for repair.  We've cancelled 2 trips so far and it looks like our week at the end of May will be going the same way, even considered a tent just to get away 😊.  There is only one new VIP 520 left at a much more local dealer in Kent but obviously we can't go ahead, may be its fate and we might be better waiting to order a 2022 MY? 

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1 minute ago, thensum said:

Yes I noticed that too, our Swift has GRP for the front panel and ABS on the rear.  The rear panel has been repaired twice for very minor cracks and we now have the 2 caps fitted on the rear top corners!  The front panel has lost its shine and its very dull on the top near the panoramic window, if we keep the Swift then it will need a professional wax by someone like Touershine.

 

Whilst ABS panels are used by Coachman have they got their construction technique more sussed than others as I don't hear problems with ABS panels cracking on Coachman Caravans, unlike Elddis and Swift.

 

As it stands we can't put a deposit down on the Coachman as our current Swift cannot be towed or used until its transported 100 miles back to our dealer for repair.  We've cancelled 2 trips so far and it looks like our week at the end of May will be going the same way, even considered a tent just to get away 😊.  There is only one new VIP 520 left at a much more local dealer in Kent but obviously we can't go ahead, may be its fate and we might be better waiting to order a 2022 MY? 

I think there have been plenty of ABS cracking problems with Coachman so I don't think they've solved the problem any more than the other manufacturers.

 

ABS is sadly prone to cracking and is pretty much un-repairable. GRP on the other hand is very fixable.

 

In fact, caravan construction is generally moving away from ABS as a suitable material.

 

I'd join some Coachman Facebook groups to see what is really going on.

 

Our plans are also in disarray since as you know, our van has the same Bulkhead problem. Last update was I was going to fix it myself and then the dealer / Swift came back and said they would collect it!!!

 

Same waiting game and similar catalogue of lost trips. C'est la vie.

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We had a 2011 Pastiche ,we'll never buy Coachman again, new wheels at 1 year, 3 replacement shower doors, shower needed replacing,damp at 2nd service dealer repaired under warranty, and at trade in damp was found at same place,we may have been unlucky, but repairs and parts took ages to organise under warranty,was the worst of our nine caravans. We were especially disappointed as we bought on Coachman reputation, currently have Swift with the usual kitchen sink pipe that falls apart, other than that not been a problem so far, 2 years in, although not had chance to use it much.

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9 hours ago, hp100425ev said:

Tyron bands fitted I will be getting the wheels balanced before the next outing. 

I would be interested to hear about the difference when you have the wheels balanced. I was thinking the same.

Where are you getting them balanced - dealer or tyre specialist?

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9 hours ago, P101 said:

I think there have been plenty of ABS cracking problems with Coachman so I don't think they've solved the problem any more than the other manufacturers.

 

ABS is sadly prone to cracking and is pretty much un-repairable. GRP on the other hand is very fixable.

 

In fact, caravan construction is generally moving away from ABS as a suitable material.

 

I'd join some Coachman Facebook groups to see what is really going on.

 

Our plans are also in disarray since as you know, our van has the same Bulkhead problem. Last update was I was going to fix it myself and then the dealer / Swift came back and said they would collect it!!!

 

Same waiting game and similar catalogue of lost trips. C'est la vie.

Thanks for the info and yes have looked at various FB groups of Coachman owners there are a few cases of back panels cracking, which doesn't sound good.  Might need a rethink on what caravan we purchase next.

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11 hours ago, thensum said:

I don't hear problems with ABS panels cracking on Coachman Caravans

Unfortunately they do, I have had one crack. Still got another Coachman though.

At the time it was 7 years old and Coachman said at the time the warranty was 6 years. If this is still the case I cannot say.

ABS is not good in tension

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On 11/05/2021 at 06:33, thensum said:

Thanks for the info and yes have looked at various FB groups of Coachman owners there are a few cases of back panels cracking, which doesn't sound good.  Might need a rethink on what caravan we purchase next.

 

I'm sure that if you look at enough Forums and Facebook Groups, you will find that similar comments are being made about every manufacturer. There is no such thing as a perfect caravan - and you need to remember that the few comments you have seen are from a very small number of owners in comparison with the number of vans sold.

 

How many owners actually take the trouble to go onto Forums and Facebook and say that the van is great with no problem - have a look around Caravan Talk - more problems than praise - and that's the same for any subject you care to choose as you tend to only hear from those with a problem as they have a story to tell.

.

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You really can't win-you simply need to buy the caravan that floats your boat, from a good dealer just in case!

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13 hours ago, DerbyClubman said:

 

I'm sure that if you look at enough Forums and Facebook Groups, you will find that similar comments are being made about every manufacturer. There is no such thing as a perfect caravan - and you need to remember that the few comments you have seen are from a very small number of owners in comparison with the number of vans sold.

 

How many owners actually take the trouble to go onto Forums and Facebook and say that the van is great with no problem - have a look around Caravan Talk - more problems than praise - and that's the same for any subject you care to choose as you tend to only hear from those with a problem as they have a story to tell.

.

Yes I completely agree, it's just the use of ABS panels front and back on the Coachman that's making me procrastinate as we've got GRP on the front of our current Swift and ABS on rear and paying £4K more than a new Swift just wondering do we hold out and see if Coachman move to GRP panels?  Do we know what the new owners KABE group may have up their sleeve for 2022 and beyond.  We could now sell our Swift this week as had an offer, but something is making me hold off.  

 

I have asked Coachman for a copy of their warranty cover as I now it's 10 years for water ingress but heard it might be 5 years for ABS panels.  Our Swift warranty claims on the cracked rear panel have been approved every time but also helped by a good dealer. Swift do seem to respond quickly as well, but heard mixed reviews on Coachman's customer service.

 

If we purchase the Coachman looking at using a new more local dealer, either Lee Davey or Sussex Caravans.....decisions decisions really undecided.

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Hi,

We have a 2012 520/4 Amara. I am now repairing the ABS front cracks -- for the third time ! These cracks run from screw holes used for the mounting of the window bar. It seems they ( as does a number of other caravan makers ) just drive screws through the plastic without clearance holes. I am aware that Coachman now bond most of their external items onto the body. 

3 minutes ago, david 1220 said:

Hi,

We have a 2012 520/4 Amara. I am now repairing the ABS front cracks -- for the third time ! These cracks run from screw holes used for the mounting of the window bar. It seems they ( as does a number of other caravan makers ) just drive screws through the plastic without clearance holes. I am aware that Coachman now bond most of their external items onto the body. 

Here is the repairs( 3 of the 12 i have done )

caravan 2.jpg

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1 hour ago, thensum said:

I have asked Coachman for a copy of their warranty cover as I now it's 10 years for water ingress but heard it might be 5 years for ABS panels.  

 

On page 5 of the Handbook below it says    ''This applies to water ingress through any permanently sealed joints'' and doesn't seem to mention cracked panels - so does it only cover the actual joints between panels ?   

 

https://www.coachman.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Coachman-2021-Owners-Handbook-WEB.pdf

 

My 2020 Service Warranty and Technical Data Manual has exactly the same wording and no further details about the warranty and so the actual panels may only be covered by the 3 year manufacturer's warranty ??  The latest Warranty booklet I could find was for 2019 below - that's the same wording as my 2020 book and also the same as the 2021 Handbook and so doesn't move us any further forward.

 

https://www.coachman.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/18579-a5-warranty-manual-2019-web-min.pdf

.

 

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9 hours ago, david 1220 said:

Hi,

We have a 2012 520/4 Amara. I am now repairing the ABS front cracks -- for the third time ! These cracks run from screw holes used for the mounting of the window bar. It seems they ( as does a number of other caravan makers ) just drive screws through the plastic without clearance holes. I am aware that Coachman now bond most of their external items onto the body. 

Here is the repairs( 3 of the 12 i have done )

caravan 2.jpg

Mine had the same issue, but the holes appeared to be pre drilled for the window hanger rail. I did notice when I repaired mine that a couple of the other holes were starting to propagate cracks 

 

 

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11 hours ago, david 1220 said:

Hi,

We have a 2012 520/4 Amara. I am now repairing the ABS front cracks -- for the third time ! These cracks run from screw holes used for the mounting of the window bar. It seems they ( as does a number of other caravan makers ) just drive screws through the plastic without clearance holes. I am aware that Coachman now bond most of their external items onto the body. 

Here is the repairs( 3 of the 12 i have done ) Theirs 12 screws in ours ---- & 12 cracks !

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11 hours ago, DerbyClubman said:

 

On page 5 of the Handbook below it says    ''This applies to water ingress through any permanently sealed joints'' and doesn't seem to mention cracked panels - so does it only cover the actual joints between panels ?   

 

https://www.coachman.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Coachman-2021-Owners-Handbook-WEB.pdf

 

My 2020 Service Warranty and Technical Data Manual has exactly the same wording and no further details about the warranty and so the actual panels may only be covered by the 3 year manufacturer's warranty ??  The latest Warranty booklet I could find was for 2019 below - that's the same wording as my 2020 book and also the same as the 2021 Handbook and so doesn't move us any further forward.

 

https://www.coachman.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/18579-a5-warranty-manual-2019-web-min.pdf

.

 

Thank you for this very useful information and links to the warranty.  I am also trying to seek clarity from a local Coachman Dealer on the warranty period for the ABS front and rear panels and waiting for a reply from Coachman's Aftercare team, who said they'd respond in 48 hours, so let's see if there is further clarity soon.

 

The move away from using screws on the panels and bonding windows etc, must reduce the potential impact of cracks but shifting to GRP panel would be wise step to take wouldn't it?

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