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Fault-free Caravans


RogerL
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Am I the only one who is getting very tired of all the praise being heaped on caravan manufacturers and/or dealers for fixing long lists of major faults at the second or third attempt - there seems to be an acceptance among caravanners that design faults, sloppy build, superficial PDI and fob-off excuses are normal and then shout hurrah and thank you when they're fixed.

 

I'm starting to think about changing our 8 year-old caravan, not because it needs replacing but because our circumstances are changing - the thing that bothers me most is that whatever I buy will have to go to dealers for servicing and warranty repairs, not a pleasant thought based on previous experience and the level of fault complaints on forums about new caravans.

 

I'm not going to name any manufacturers or dealers because any analysis of faults needs to take into account the number of sales but surely the total number of faults we hear of, on this one forum, is out of all proportion to the number of caravans bought across the whole country?

 

Is it the manufacturers or the dealers? It has to be the manufacturers, they put most of the faults there in the first place.

 

Here's a radical suggestion for the Chief Executives of Bailey, Coachman, Explorer, Lunar, Swift (and any I've forgotten) - adopt a policy of "zero fault tolerance" on every caravan leaving your factory gate - it probably costs as much to build a caravan badly as to build one well so there's no reason for a price rise but if necessary cut out the unnecessary fashion changes and reduce the "bling".

 

Is there going to be a clamour of contributors shouting me down and demanding caravans riddled with faults ?

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Am I the only one who is getting very tired of all the praise being heaped on caravan manufacturers and/or dealers for fixing long lists of major faults at the second or third attempt - there seems to be an acceptance among caravanners that design faults, sloppy build, superficial PDI and fob-off excuses are normal and then shout hurrah and thank you when they're fixed.

 

I'm starting to think about changing our 8 year-old caravan, not because it needs replacing but because our circumstances are changing - the thing that bothers me most is that whatever I buy will have to go to dealers for servicing and warranty repairs, not a pleasant thought based on previous experience and the level of fault complaints on forums about new caravans.

 

I'm not going to name any manufacturers or dealers because any analysis of faults needs to take into account the number of sales but surely the total number of faults we hear of, on this one forum, is out of all proportion to the number of caravans bought across the whole country?

 

Is it the manufacturers or the dealers? It has to be the manufacturers, they put most of the faults there in the first place.

 

Here's a radical suggestion for the Chief Executives of Bailey, Coachman, Explorer, Lunar, Swift (and any I've forgotten) - adopt a policy of "zero fault tolerance" on every caravan leaving your factory gate - it probably costs as much to build a caravan badly as to build one well so there's no reason for a price rise but if necessary cut out the unnecessary fashion changes and reduce the "bling".

 

Is there going to be a clamour of contributors shouting me down and demanding caravans riddled with faults ?

 

 

I fully agree with you. Seems that as a caravan comes with a warranty it's ok to have faults. Time we should be able to claim for loss of use whilst the van is in for repair.

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Hiya rogerl, I fully agree with you, but you have overlooked another important question ie: What about the unnatural length of time the manufacturers take to even send replacement parts to the dealers? If we were to say the manufacturers 'No, I will pay you for the caravan when all is to my satisfaction' we wouldn't get very far would we? They are happy to take our money but then do nothing when a fault occurs.

Teardrop

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Am I the only one who is getting very tired of all the praise being heaped on caravan manufacturers and/or dealers for fixing long lists of major faults at the second or third attempt - there seems to be an acceptance among caravanners that design faults, sloppy build, superficial PDI and fob-off excuses are normal and then shout hurrah and thank you when they're fixed.

 

I'm starting to think about changing our 8 year-old caravan, not because it needs replacing but because our circumstances are changing - the thing that bothers me most is that whatever I buy will have to go to dealers for servicing and warranty repairs, not a pleasant thought based on previous experience and the level of fault complaints on forums about new caravans.

 

I'm not going to name any manufacturers or dealers because any analysis of faults needs to take into account the number of sales but surely the total number of faults we hear of, on this one forum, is out of all proportion to the number of caravans bought across the whole country?

 

Is it the manufacturers or the dealers? It has to be the manufacturers, they put most of the faults there in the first place.

 

Here's a radical suggestion for the Chief Executives of Bailey, Coachman, Explorer, Lunar, Swift (and any I've forgotten) - adopt a policy of "zero fault tolerance" on every caravan leaving your factory gate - it probably costs as much to build a caravan badly as to build one well so there's no reason for a price rise but if necessary cut out the unnecessary fashion changes and reduce the "bling".

 

Is there going to be a clamour of contributors shouting me down and demanding caravans riddled with faults ?

 

Hi RogerL

 

I fully agree that vans seem to come with too many faults from maker and then dealer but I think the nature of Forums is

that you'll always get a disproportionate amount of problem stories as people only complain about bad things and simply

dont mention that something was actually OK (as of course it should be).

With Swift being very (pro)active on here and other manufacturers slowly getting involved I think the 'bar will be raised'

and things will improve rapidly for the benefit of all of us.

 

neil

Bailey S5 Pageant Auvergne & Vauxhall Signum CDTI

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Guest John KS

Couiza

None of our 7/8 British vans have ever let water in either. Why is it that those of us who buy foreign always try to defend it?

 

It has always been beyond my understanding that the responsibility for the state of a new caravan should be left with the dealer. Why can't the pre-delivery inspection be done by the manufacturer and any imperfections put right by them. They have the know how and the spares etc. I should be able to walk into a dealers and tow a caravan out without the dealer actually doing anything. (I might even pay for it as well!!)

 

I know car dealers have to do the same but why? The law says that the fault lies with the dealer if something is wrong because that is who you carry out the transaction with. They then off load the problem onto the manufacturer. Perhaps we might be better served by the manufacturers selling their products direct. (Now there's a thought!!! Cheaper! Perhaps not.)

 

I don't go into Comet and ask to see the TV working before I buy it. I expect it to work or it goes back the same day.

Edited by John KS
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two out of the 3 brand new (british) caravans we've had were completely fault free - no complaints, no problems.

the fault with the 3rd was taken care of swiftly (pun intended) and completely rectified, and we were kept informed with a daily telephone call from the manufacturer as to progress.

none of ours have let in water either, and we will continue to buy british.

sue

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Many years ago, in my working life, we had some potential customers from Japan visit our factory - we went through the processes and they seemed impressed until we came to the "final examination department" - we were quite chuffed to say that every product was examined at this stage, just before it left the building. The Japanes response was - "Why do you have to examine when it has been made, surely it should be checked all through the manufacturing proceedure with faults corrected before passing onto the next stage" - on that basis they wouldn't buy from us!!! Can we all remember the "Right First Time" initiatives - perhaps thats what our caravan & car producers should do and avoid any costs at the dealer and for customers.

Bessacarr Cameo 525 towed by SsangYong Rexton 2.2 auto in Brown.

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Guest John KS
Many years ago, in my working life, we had some potential customers from Japan visit our factory - we went through the processes and they seemed impressed until we came to the "final examination department" - we were quite chuffed to say that every product was examined at this stage, just before it left the building. The Japanes response was - "Why do you have to examine when it has been made, surely it should be checked all through the manufacturing proceedure with faults corrected before passing onto the next stage" - on that basis they wouldn't buy from us!!! Can we all remember the "Right First Time" initiatives - perhaps thats what our caravan & car producers should do and avoid any costs at the dealer and for customers.

 

Well said but I fear we will never learn!!!

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Guest Surfer

RogerL, I agree with you 199%, I know a first but you are absolutley correct, however Ivan's post summed it up better. Most annoyiong when you spend £10000 plus on a caravan only to spend half your life taking it back to the dealer. Our first brand new caravan in the 8 months that we had it spend nearly every week at the dealer. Nothing major, but minor niggle faults.

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I and I should think most people outside the caravan industry will all agree with you 100%, problem is it does cost more to make fault free caravans. Just like anything else.

 

I actually think Swift, Bailey and the others have made a conscious decision to manufacture as many caravans as possible as cheap as possible, they believe this is what we want.

 

My company is a 'total quality' company and a 'right first time' company. But thing still seem to go wrong. Sometimes it’s just not worth stopping the production line to fix things.

 

Design and the choice of materials on the other hand could be a lot better.

Swift Challenger 490

Sorento + Fabia to help the Sorento up hills!

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I and I should think most people outside the caravan industry will all agree with you 100%, problem is it does cost more to make fault free caravans. Just like anything else.

 

I actually think Swift, Bailey and the others have made a conscious decision to manufacture as many caravans as possible as cheap as possible, they believe this is what we want.

 

My company is a 'total quality' company and a 'right first time' company. But thing still seem to go wrong. Sometimes it’s just not worth stopping the production line to fix things.

 

Design and the choice of materials on the other hand could be a lot better.

Why does it cost more to build fault-free caravans? The faults have to be fixed under warranty which costs dealer labour and/or duplicate supply of parts - it's surely cheaper to build it right first time.

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Read the latest in my thread "A Big Thank you to Swift and North Western Caravans".

 

It sums up the whole issue of getting it wrong three times and still waiting to get it right!

 

Mike

Mike Wild. Mazda CX-7 towing Lunar Clubman Saros SB.

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i understand whats being said here, but you'll never get a fault free caravan, as there built by humans and we do make mistakes , then theres componant failure , no one can tell when that will happen . .. even Rolls Royce's have faults

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i understand whats being said here, but you'll never get a fault free caravan, as there built by humans and we do make mistakes , then theres componant failure , no one can tell when that will happen . .. even Rolls Royce's have faults

I served my apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce - I take offence at the suggestion of comparing any of their products with caravans.

 

Of course nothing can be built fault-free, but it's an excellent target to measure performance from and when fault-free becomes the target then every single failure is investigated, with the intention of improving future quality.

 

Judging by other manufactured products, the lack of automation in the caravan industry should give better build quality, not worse - humans can, and should, put errors right not wait until the customer complains and then take several attempts to get it right.

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I served my apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce - I take offence at the suggestion of comparing any of their products with caravans.

 

Of course nothing can be built fault-free, but it's an excellent target to measure performance from and when fault-free becomes the target then every single failure is investigated, with the intention of improving future quality.

 

Judging by other manufactured products, the lack of automation in the caravan industry should give better build quality, not worse - humans can, and should, put errors right not wait until the customer complains and then take several attempts to get it right.

i served part of my apprenticeship at Van Royce

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Agree wholeheartedly Roger.

 

As someone who has just discovered damp in a van which is less then 3 years old and which cost the best part of £16,000 I am very disillusioned. Assuming that the damp will be repaired under warranty I will still end up carting the van back to the dealer, putting up with not having the van for some time as inevitably there will be a delay on parts, as there always seems to be.

 

I am wondering now whether, instead of buying a British van, I should have spent my money on a European van like Dethleffs or Hymer who seem to build a better quality van. If the perceived poor quality of British vans continues I can more British manufacturers going in the same direction as Avondale with money being spent on better built European vans

 

Regards

 

NRF

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At the end of the day it boils down to the cost of manufacture. .A cheap Rolls Royce. ... I dont think so as they were made with care and precision and only top components used I guess ( is that right Roger ? )... Not that many around with joe public driving them. ....wonder why that is ? :blink:

 

Caravanning many years ago. ...as some of you may recall. ....was a bit of a luxury as they were not mass produced as they are today and didnt go wrong as much as they do today, due to the lack of luxuries inside. .

 

I understand Carlite caravans are very good. .if not bordering excellent. ... but you get what you pay for. ... Ask Roving Rangers

 

Ant :D

Edited by Atom

Atom

If it sounds too good to be true-----it probably is !!!

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Why does it cost more to build fault-free caravans? The faults have to be fixed under warranty which costs dealer labour and/or duplicate supply of parts - it's surely cheaper to build it right first time.

 

Roger,

It would take longer to PDI the caravan once built at the factory than it does to put the caravan together on a production line from chassis to finished van. ...even then you cannot guarantee failure of something

 

Ant

Atom

If it sounds too good to be true-----it probably is !!!

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I do take the point that faults always occur. It is to be expected. However if it is expected, then it can be planned for and rectified before the product goes out.

 

I do also take the point that caravans have components sourced from many other companies -thetford, reich, truma, etc etc etc which the caravan manufacturer has no control over -- wrong. If there is a consistant fault in their product then source from another place. Maybe there is not enough competition in this business or maybe we as consumers are so focused on the 'which tap is more modern' that the manufacturers hands are tied.

 

Regards

Lee

Please note that my opinions stated are those of an enthusiast not an expert and humble at that

 

2006 Hyundai Sante Fe towing a Coachman Vision 580/5

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I must confess that I have not been caravanning very long - into our fifth year - but our very first van was a new Swift Group van and that had no build problems at all! And I am certain the vast majority of people like me are happy with their purchase - it is just that these forums attract the moaners whilst the satisfied customer just gets on with enjoying their van!

Discovery 4 XS SDV6 and Airstream 532 plus 1996 MGF owned since new.

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And I am certain the vast majority of people like me are happy with their purchase - it is just that these forums attract the moaners whilst the satisfied customer just gets on with enjoying their van!

 

Yep - we've had a Bailey for 9 years - nothing's broken, no leaks/damp. I expect the next one will be as good.

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I fully agree with you. Seems that as a caravan comes with a warranty it's ok to have faults. Time we should be able to claim for loss of use whilst the van is in for repair.

 

Hi

 

They taught me at tech college, that if the manufacturer decides on a manufacturing tolerence, then tests one item in every hundred, provided a certain percentage pass even more stringent tolerences, then only 5% will be outside the design tolerence. ......and not all of those will fail in service. It then works out cheaper to fix under warrantee than test every item. No doubt a proper engineer or mathematician can explain it better.

 

A Monday morning car is one made from parts which are all outside the design tolerance.

 

A "blueprinted engine" is made up of parts carefully selected from the parts bin to give the best engine. ......biggest bore possible within design limits, longest crank throw, smallest flywheel, etc. Only thousanths of an inch difference, but cumulatively, they make a difference. Sometimes this can happen by accident, and I have owned examples of both extremes.

 

602

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