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Combining caravan technology


Mandarin
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I read the various forums and it seems that modern Alutech Baileys have frequent reports of rotting floors and leaky bolted joints but the walls/roof cannot get damp.  On the other hand the  Elddis SOLID system seems  to suffer from cracking abs panels and damp walls/roof but the floors are sound and minimal fastenings to create leaks.

 

Before shooting me I know this is a sweeping generalisation but wouldn't it be great if we could have caravans built using the best technology available, unrestricted by patent protection. 

 

 

 

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The issue is poor assembly & quality control during manufacture not design. One reason German built caravans are generally better is that they have better build quality not innovative design. 
 

Look at the Fendt factory video on YouTube. Conventional design assembled properly. 

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Swift still seem to be the only manufacturer to realise the idealistic ‘rot free van’ by launching (and have stuck with) a composite floor on their premium vans (along with the sidewalls and roof too of course).  We still see problems of course, as said above due to quality control, presumably. 

Cheers, Martin

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My budget priced Caravelair has a composite floor. Just serviced at year 2. No damp anywhere.  Not much wood used. Mostly plastic & foam. 

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1 hour ago, Camperdom said:

My budget priced Caravelair has a composite floor. Just serviced at year 2. No damp anywhere.  Not much wood used. Mostly plastic & foam. 

Yet, with the enviro stance on things you have to say wood is a far more sustainable and enviro-friendly option for build - despite none of us wanting the dreaded damp/rot! 

Cheers, Martin

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33 minutes ago, Martin said:

Yet, with the enviro stance on things you have to say wood is a far more sustainable and enviro-friendly option for build - despite none of us wanting the dreaded damp/rot! 

Well yes & of course one caravan that lasts 30 yrs will have a smaller carbon footprint than 2 caravans that only last 15 yrs. The permutations are endless but I didn’t buy my caravan for any environmental reasons but because it should last 20yrs & see me out.

 

If it is still ok after I am dead then I hope somebody will make good use of it.  If by then there are no towing vehicles it will make a good chicken shed. :D

Edited by Camperdom
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I would think that a caravan with a wood frame and floor that rots causing it to be scrapped is probably less environmentally friendly than the composite one that lasts far longer when you take into consideration the fact that when it is scrapped a lot more items are also lost. Not sure to what extent the rest is recycled but it is probably not a great deal.

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Can't speak for the others by Bailey do have a policy and if you do a factory visit you can see it in action.  Others may do better I don't know.

 

https://www.baileyofbristol.co.uk/why-bailey/sustainable-manufacturing/

 

https://www.swiftgroup.co.uk/about/responsible-manufacturing/

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Wildwood said:

I do think these things are mostly a marketing ploy.

Oh yes !  The advertising people have as small a concept of truth and reality as the media.  Witness Swift a few years back who were claiming 'Woodless Construction' when the wall board and floors were ply of various types.  They actually published, when pushed, that they did not consider Ply a 'wood'.  You couldn't make it up.  Glad to see they have changed for the better now, but still.

 

Personally I still prefer Bailey's All-tech inspite of its problems.  The roof strap saga has now been fixed we hope, and in any case did not cause a long or expensive repair.  So far it is the only system that satisfies my engineering questions and the reports of the actual body seams leaking are as near Zero as makes no difference.   The original rotting floors caused by ingress through grab handles only affected the original models and then through the wall to floor joints has also been sorted as far as I can tell.  At least with a total absence of ABS any fear of cracking panels is gone.  

 

If only the designers would actually show some of us what they propose, when we could look at it and say.  'That will not work.'  as in the Mk 2 Unicorn 'round shower'.  Swifts 'Wind deflector' etc.

 

We shall see, but we have knowledge of people with the mark 1 Unicorns, which are still going strong and sound and look as good as new.  Wobble boxes they certainly are not.  Ditto friends with a Swift elegance type.

 

 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Alan Stanley said:

but we have knowledge of people with the mark 1 Unicorns, which are still going strong and sound and look as good as new.  

My 2011 mk1 Unicorn Valencia has gone to my daughter - it has the damp front side lockers and a bit of damp round the outer edges of the floor as per most Alutechs of its vintage.
 

Apart from a single delaminated window, a mattress that has aged into a granite slab, new tracker/alarm battery and the usual C250 reed switch and control board over its ten years, it is still factory original and in good visual and working order. Original microwave, fridge, cooker, upholstery and blinds etc too.

 

It is now a summer static and in a dry barn over winter so will last quite a few more years.  

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On 23/11/2021 at 08:59, Martin said:

Swift still seem to be the only manufacturer to realise the idealistic ‘rot free van’ by launching (and have stuck with) a composite floor on their premium vans (along with the sidewalls and roof too of course).  We still see problems of course, as said above due to quality control, presumably. 

I had a 4 berth Swift Elegance from new, for the first 3 years it trouble free, from then on, it got bad. At 3 years old both tyres which looked good failed on the same day. One at slow speed as we were leaving a campsite, the Warden was brilliant and changed the wheel for and phoned a local tyre depot who confirmed they had a suitable tyre in stock (the walls of the tyre had delaminated). The tyre was replaced and the wheel refitted, the other wheel and tyre looked OK. An hour or so the other tyre failed on the Motorway when I was doing about 55 mph, it took me some time to realise that the tyre had failed, the wheel was ruined and the wheel arch spat was broken. Shortly afterwards the fridge PCB failed just out of warranty. At the 4th service the rear body panel was cracked which meant a complete panel needing to be replaced, the battery box was cracked, needing replacement, when I opened a front window there were stress cracks around one corner of the front panel. The front panel was also a replacement job. I had always had the van serviced so the front and rear panel together with the battery box and failed roof fan were all to be replaced under warranty. At this point I had lost confidence in the van, so I traded it in and bought a new van.

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The tyres and the PCB failure are bought in items so no blame can be attributed to the caravan manufacturer,  however the bodywork front and rear panel problems (ABS at a rough guess) are a whole different matter of course.

 

Your experience does however demonstrate the need to have any caravan serviced in accordance with the makers warranty conditions. 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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