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Give Up Caravanning? Thoughts And Questions Etc Etc


imtaylor
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Just back at the weekend from our second year in France with the caravan (Bailey Pegaus 646). Last year we went to the Loire Valley and this year to the Vendee for 10 days and then Dordogne for 10 days. Last year had absolutely no problems whatsoever with the van - car, van, electrics, roads etc. etc. all perfect. This year - completely different! . ..

 

1. We were nearly run off the road by utterly mad / crazy French drivers I'd say at least 6 times. Never experienced this before in France and I've driven all round (mostly just with the car) at least a dozen times before. Had near head-ons, nearly side swiped at least twice, nearly T-boned, etc.

 

2. Had repeated problems with the electrics this year. Car is a BMW F10 535d M sport (I'll cover the car bit lower down) so has "low" electrics ie below the rear bumper. Caught the tail end of Hurricane Bertha on our way over from Calais to Vendee - utterly torrential rain on the autoroutes, electrics arced, lights coming on when indicators should be working, ATC not working a few times, having to "jiggle" the plug until something worked - and to be fair, it did all work after some fiddling about.

 

3. Awning pole snapped overnight during heavy rain a couple of days after we arrived. Ordered a new pole from the UK which ended up chasing us round for the next 10 days. We'd hurried the awning set-up. Lesson learned!

 

4. Car was keyed down BOTH sides in a small park near St Julienne des Landes - does frisby golf, pony trekking, tree top adventure etc. All families there from young to say, 14 / 15ish? Car parked normally in one of the two car parks and came back after a couple hours away to find 7 panels scratched (keyed) to the metal both sides. NOT happy!

 

5. Had a funny smell in the caravan by the end of the 3 weeks - not entirely sure what it is but am wondering if its food stuffs, waste, fat etc in some of the water waste pipes either from the basin or sink - they both (as does the shower) seem to get blocked very quickly now? Not sure if there is some sort of treatment I can pour down the plug holes to sort this out? Something less corrosive than one shot drain cleaner from B&Q?

 

6. motor mover got stuck on one wheel getting the van off the pitch in the Vendee, so had a right old struggle getting it hitched on to the car. Miraculously, it worked when arrived in the Dordogne but then got home and it got stuck on the wheel again.

 

7. Amazingly long journey on the way back from Dordgone - 900 miles, 2 days, second day being from Camping St Claire, nr Abbeville, back to the North East, traffic stopped on M25 for 2 hours due to accident etc. Now looking at alternative "get to the continent" options - maybe North Shields to Ijumden (if possible), or Chunnel at the very minimum if we go again.

 

8. Some fella on second site who made comment about the car and caravan combo - ie you're brave towing that with THAT sort of thing. We always load the van as lightly as possible (empty weight 1503kg) and kerb weight of car 1800kg. Car has bags of torque, power etc and I accept when we are underway, we are towing circa 92% ish ratio, which I'm happy with and I'm always very careful. However, given the whole keying incident (second BMW in 3 years thats been keyed), am now considering change of car altogether, maybe an Audi Q5 / VW Toureg etc, something of that ilk, something perhaps lower key than a BMW whcih I accept are universally hated!!

 

So, all in all, a slightly eventful 3 weeks away which has made us re-think the whole caravan thing. On the one hand, we love the caravan, as do the kids. its very sociable, we like having the car with us, etc. etc. On the other hand, we spend a lot of time travelling ; I like things to just "work" and hate hassle. SO, its probably the wrong title for this thread but we are thinking about out options and just wanted to know what peoples thoughts and experience is of these sorts of things. Are there always things that go wrong? Is it a case of "Just cope"?

 

The car is an entirely different argument, I've decided i want rid (mostly due to appalling dealer network) but again, would be interested in thoughts and suggestions. I'm really after something which is big enough for the van, ie at least 1900 kg, reasonably quick, (I like driving), not a heavy thirsty car like a Disco, Range Rover, Q7, and lower key than a Porsche Cayenne or something like that?

 

Rambling thoughts and lots of questions but would be very grateful for contributions and thoughts / suggestions etc.

 

thanks.

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My thoughts.

 

Why would you want to swap an unreliable BMW with rubbish dealer support for another potentially unreliable big 4x4 with equally rubbish dealer support.

 

:)

 

The real,problem here is that it sounds as if you have fallen out of love with caravanning and that's it.

Martin. ..........

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Sounds like a nightmare and you have our sympathies,as well as surprise.

Might be worth sorting out in your own mind how many negatives were caravan related and how many car related.

It doesn't match our experiences of towing abroad.

Maybe try Portugal next time?Low crime rate but drivers who are less than perfect.

Either way,don't let it put you off caravanning. Every country has it's thicko barbarians. .....unfortunately.

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Just to be clear, we still love the caravan!! However, there have been a few issues. Are these sorts of issues normal / usual? The car is not unreliable. The BMW dealer network is dreadful and I've had more than my fair share of problems with this particular car. Incidents such as the awning pole snapping, entirely my fault. The mover and the electrics and the smell? i've no idea if I should be expecting these sorts of problems. And, we LOVE France!!

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Into every life, a little rain must fall. Just remember that skin is waterproof and the sun has to come back out again one day ;)

 

Why not try a different way of using your van, maybe the cl/cs sites, rallying or a different country to get a fresh feel?

 

The car side I can't help with, I use a Mondeo and they are built to be used and abused, a key scratch is the same on any car though :(

 

H.

Finding things funny since 1968 :blink:

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Maybe stick to holidays in this country using the caravan, and when in France hire out a cottage or something, might be a bit less stressful.

Compass Corona (Magnum) 524 (2003) -----------VW Passat Alltrack 170 BHP DSG

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Sad to here of your experience, the car issue is just pure jealously, sad isn't it!

 

As for the caravan well I feel you experience the up's and downs of something that is your home on wheels, you have to remember it is doing the same miles as you and things will come lose and break etc. .. It just sounds like you have had a bad spell of luck this time as it wasn't only one thing that went wrong.

 

If it was me I would give it one more go and if you fine it to fell the same then maybe you have fallen out of love with the whole caravanning lifestyle and need to look at alternatives.

Edited by Digger_07
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Thanks for your advice so far. paulthomas, how does your Toureg perform whilst towing v not towing (mpg etc.)?

 

Are electrics niggles normal - or do most people just plug and go without any issues?

 

Any suggestions on this smell from (I think) the washroom - is there anything i should be pouring down the sink / basin / shower tray to clear blockages / congealed fat etc. ?

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Our sink stank in France, we put some thick bleach down before bed and it went.

 

Can only presume the weather meant the pipes started to smell in the heat.

 

It came back after a week but the bleach cleared it straight away.

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Block water outlets

 

Mix a strongish solution of soda in hot water and pour down each plug hole and leave for half an hour

 

Then unbung out lets and see what comes out

 

Rinse well

 

Make sure its not your wastemaster that smells

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Thanks for your advice so far. paulthomas, how does your Toureg perform whilst towing v not towing (mpg etc.)?

 

Are electrics niggles normal - or do most people just plug and go without any issues?

 

Any suggestions on this smell from (I think) the washroom - is there anything i should be pouring down the sink / basin / shower tray to clear blockages / congealed fat etc. ?

 

Touareg tows like a dream. I get 27mpg when towing my 1650 kg (MTPLM) caravan. 38 mpg solo. 245 BHP means you don't have to worry about power in any circumstances.

If you ever go for a new one, order a factory fit towbar and electrics. It works out cheaper in the end. Touareg has just been updated( cosmetic only) and there are some good deals out there for the outgoing model. Quite possible to get £7000 + off this car which normally retails at £43,000+.

"My Touareg" forum is very helpful. Just test drive one. You will be surprised.

VW dealers variable, but car is reliable according to JD Power survey.

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When we towed we had our 4X4 keyed outside our house also had another car keyed whilst parked at work so it can happen anywhere. Not nice where ever it happens!!!

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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Any suggestions on this smell from (I think) the washroom - is there anything i should be pouring down the sink / basin / shower tray to clear blockages / congealed fat etc. ?

I found after 3 weeks in France that the wastemaster was the culprit for the smell coming back up our waste pipes, more noticeable through the shower plug hole. When I returned home I filled my wastemaster with a water and bleach mixture

and left it for a couple of days and every thing was sorted. :)

 

Bailey Pageant Series 6 Champagne 2007    Tow Car Toyota Rav4

 

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The sink in ours smell in this country. Last year I used puriclean( as per Rita's tip blocked the waste exits) and this year some waste tank cleaner, which you fill the sink with water and add the cleaner, then let it go down. Whether it cleans anything I dont know but it smells ok and keeps the waste tank sweet.

 

The problem with caravan pipes is the corrugations to allow it to be flexible, which trap bits of food.

 

Sometimes things go wrong for no reason and this is trying at the time, but next year will be better. Last year, just about to set off for France, right hand brake light off. Took it to bits and the plastic holder pops out of the fitting and contacts are slack. Jams a bit of cardboard in and off we go. This was supposed to be fixed at the dealers a week previous.

 

All OK till we are due to set of back home (at Camping St Clair as well), it started to rain alot, no right brake or sidelght. All stripped down again and the guy next door cut up his old CC card to jam in. This year the other side has done the same, very poor design but used duct tape this time.

 

DFDS from Newcastle I have done several times and I would use it again when the dog is not around, not sure what the price is but must be comparable to save the hassle and fuel. Easy driving in Holland to France too. Due to two accidents,it took us 8 hours to get from the Costwolds to the Lakes in July. Its just not pleasant driving at the minute with the amount of roadworks as well.

Edited by ian16527
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I was in the Dordogne for 2 weeks in August. Stayed for a night South East of Paris on the way down, and near Le Mans on the way back.

I drove about 1300 miles in France without any of the issues you describe.

2012 Lunar Quasar 546 towed by a 2008 Volvo XC90 D5.

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Thanks for replies and tips. Rita, will definitely give that a go. It was a serviced pitch we were on, so no waste tank with us. Must be from the corrugations in the pipes as has been suggested. Bought some non-corrosive "caravan-friendly" stuff from B&Q today which also claims to do the job, so will give that a go if the soda doesn't do the trick.

 

ian16527, looked st DFDS from newcastle to Amsterdam for next summer - £1200+ !! Rules that one out. I've done the same crossing on my motorbike a few times and it is a great crossing - 15 minutes from home and none of the 380 miles of traffic jams / M25 in UK. Hmm, I'm talking myself into reconsidering it again. ..

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Try a Touareg. Luxury,power,without the bling. Less noticeable maybe?

Test drive before you form a perspective.

 

 

Try a Touareg. Luxury,power,without the bling. Less noticeable maybe?

Test drive before you form a perspective.

we love towing with our Touareg we just got our new R line this year fantastic tow car we had our volvo v70 keyed in the Vendee some years ago to

Edited by Hells9369

Cleaning the House while the kids are at home is like clearing snow with it still snowing

VW Touareg + Bailey Verona = Happy Family :)

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Just back at the weekend from our second year in France with the caravan (Bailey Pegaus 646). Last year we went to the Loire Valley and this year to the Vendee for 10 days and then Dordogne for 10 days. Last year had absolutely no problems whatsoever with the van - car, van, electrics, roads etc. etc. all perfect. This year - completely different! . ..

 

1. We were nearly run off the road by utterly mad / crazy French drivers I'd say at least 6 times. Never experienced this before in France and I've driven all round (mostly just with the car) at least a dozen times before. Had near head-ons, nearly side swiped at least twice, nearly T-boned, etc.

 

2. Had repeated problems with the electrics this year. Car is a BMW F10 535d M sport (I'll cover the car bit lower down) so has "low" electrics ie below the rear bumper. Caught the tail end of Hurricane Bertha on our way over from Calais to Vendee - utterly torrential rain on the autoroutes, electrics arced, lights coming on when indicators should be working, ATC not working a few times, having to "jiggle" the plug until something worked - and to be fair, it did all work after some fiddling about.

 

3. Awning pole snapped overnight during heavy rain a couple of days after we arrived. Ordered a new pole from the UK which ended up chasing us round for the next 10 days. We'd hurried the awning set-up. Lesson learned!

 

4. Car was keyed down BOTH sides in a small park near St Julienne des Landes - does frisby golf, pony trekking, tree top adventure etc. All families there from young to say, 14 / 15ish? Car parked normally in one of the two car parks and came back after a couple hours away to find 7 panels scratched (keyed) to the metal both sides. NOT happy!

 

5. Had a funny smell in the caravan by the end of the 3 weeks - not entirely sure what it is but am wondering if its food stuffs, waste, fat etc in some of the water waste pipes either from the basin or sink - they both (as does the shower) seem to get blocked very quickly now? Not sure if there is some sort of treatment I can pour down the plug holes to sort this out? Something less corrosive than one shot drain cleaner from B&Q?

 

6. motor mover got stuck on one wheel getting the van off the pitch in the Vendee, so had a right old struggle getting it hitched on to the car. Miraculously, it worked when arrived in the Dordogne but then got home and it got stuck on the wheel again.

 

7. Amazingly long journey on the way back from Dordgone - 900 miles, 2 days, second day being from Camping St Claire, nr Abbeville, back to the North East, traffic stopped on M25 for 2 hours due to accident etc. Now looking at alternative "get to the continent" options - maybe North Shields to Ijumden (if possible), or Chunnel at the very minimum if we go again.

 

8. Some fella on second site who made comment about the car and caravan combo - ie you're brave towing that with THAT sort of thing. We always load the van as lightly as possible (empty weight 1503kg) and kerb weight of car 1800kg. Car has bags of torque, power etc and I accept when we are underway, we are towing circa 92% ish ratio, which I'm happy with and I'm always very careful. However, given the whole keying incident (second BMW in 3 years thats been keyed), am now considering change of car altogether, maybe an Audi Q5 / VW Toureg etc, something of that ilk, something perhaps lower key than a BMW whcih I accept are universally hated!!

 

So, all in all, a slightly eventful 3 weeks away which has made us re-think the whole caravan thing. On the one hand, we love the caravan, as do the kids. its very sociable, we like having the car with us, etc. etc. On the other hand, we spend a lot of time travelling ; I like things to just "work" and hate hassle. SO, its probably the wrong title for this thread but we are thinking about out options and just wanted to know what peoples thoughts and experience is of these sorts of things. Are there always things that go wrong? Is it a case of "Just cope"?

 

The car is an entirely different argument, I've decided i want rid (mostly due to appalling dealer network) but again, would be interested in thoughts and suggestions. I'm really after something which is big enough for the van, ie at least 1900 kg, reasonably quick, (I like driving), not a heavy thirsty car like a Disco, Range Rover, Q7, and lower key than a Porsche Cayenne or something like that?

 

Rambling thoughts and lots of questions but would be very grateful for contributions and thoughts / suggestions etc.

 

thanks.

So it did'nt go too well then ?

The light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off.

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My thoughts.

 

Why would you want to swap an unreliable BMW with rubbish dealer support for another potentially unreliable big 4x4 with equally rubbish dealer support.

 

:)

 

The real,problem here is that it sounds as if you have fallen out of love with caravanning and that's it.

What a load of twaddle, I am on my second Touareg and it is fantastic. Not one single problem. High level of refinement and tows like an utter dream, I cannot think of another 4*4 I would prefer. I originally aspired to have a RR sports with all the bits but when I compare it the Toureg wins without doubt.

 

And I came from the 5 series estate albeit the 530d, in comparison there is no comparison, I could be towing a feather, like Paul I get around 26. 7mpg three adults two kids one dog two bikes and a van loaded by the wife( sorry hells:))

 

As Paul also says there are bargains to be had and mytreg. com which I am also a member of is an excellent place for help and advice from purchase to running, we have some ver colourful characters with experience from day one of the treg.

 

Every Drive in my treg brings a smile - demented you may say but a smile nether the less. I am in Saudi right now and missing her - the wife that is :)

VW Touareg R-Line 245ps Air Suspension, Area View, Bailey Verona

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Don't give up on the caravanning, just think of the nice things you and the family experienced and enjoyed in France, You get rubbish drivers where ever you go. Things do go wrong, normally when you least expect it, and that's when it's most annoying.

 

We went back to France this year in June, after several years and the fact my husband said he wouldn't go back because the other times the weather was against us. (he does love his sunshine!) It couldn't have been better, but we had a mishap on the way down, the jockey wheel hit one of those wide humps in a village, and we broke the axle/wheel, couldn't pull on to a pitch without the help of a fellow caravanner who loaned us his. After trying to find a caravan dealer in The Dordogne, not possible, we phoned our dealer in UK and he sent us a new one to the campsite we were staying on, it was with us within the week, but oh how my husband fretted about it until it arrived, we spent 1 day looking for a shop who sold split pins!! It hasn't put us off going again, looking forward to next year.(might buy a spare jockey wheel just in case oh and a box of split pins!!)

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Just have a look at the price of a package holiday for 2 weeks over the summer holidays. It soons makes you see the upsides of caravanning abroad !!

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What a load of twaddle, I)

My point was for every happy owner of any vehicle there will likely be a corresponding number of unhappy owners.

 

It's the same as makes of caravans, washing machines, vacuum cleaners what ever.

 

VW are a good car, no doubt, and good for you that you have had a problem free one.

 

As for aspiring to a RR Sport. You probably made the better choice. :)

Martin. ..........

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My point was for every happy owner of any vehicle there will likely be a corresponding number of unhappy owners.

It's the same as makes of caravans, washing machines, vacuum cleaners what ever.

VW are a good car, no doubt, and good for you that you have had a problem free one.

As for aspiring to a RR Sport. You probably made the better choice. :)

JD Power survey. Post 2010 VW Touareg "highly reliable."

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