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Servicing Your Own Caravan


ribs99
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Having recently bought a caravan with no service history I'm keen to get it serviced to ensure everything is good and ready for plenty of use next year.

 

I've decided that I want to tackle the servicing myself so I've been looking at ordering a copy of "The Caravan Manual: A Guide to Servicing, Maintenance and Improvements"

 

A couple of questions, has anyone got this book? And is it any good? Also, where is a good place to get the normal caravan spares like shoes etc from?

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I have a copy of that book and it is ok but i would still get the van serviced by a professional due to safety issues with gas particularly. I have also had several 'professionals' that didn't seem to know how to adjust my brakes correctly so 'you pays yer money' etc. ..

The Caravan medic Swindon service agent was particularly good and thorough and was the only service agent to spot some specific issues and was one of the few people that appears to have adjusted the brakes to perfection. :)

Maybe you should consider a traveling 'medic' type service agent as they are cheaper, more convenient and in my experience more helpful as long as you feed them lots of freshly brewed tea. It's not a lot of money for the piece of mind and there are a fair few specialist tools and parts you need to buy to perform a proper service yourself.

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandhi

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Having been a caravan owner for 50 years, I've always done my own servicing of both caravan and our four cars. The caravan is much simpler than the cars, however if you are not 'competent' you should for your own safety always get the gas seen to by a qualified person. I have the copy of John Wickersham's Caravan Manual in various versions and also a Porter Manual "The Caravan Owners Service Guide."

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https://jondogoescaravanning.com

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Most things on a caravan service are easy to do, it is the

important things like Gas that needs a professional or

very competent person to do Safely.

Brake systems are another that may require a professional

the one shot nuts need a very large torque wrench to retighten

the cost of which is usually unwarranted for the occassional

brake service.

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Thanks for the replies.

 

I would consider myself a competent person and I already own most of the tools required, sure I'll probably have to buy a few specialist tools but that's fine.

 

I'm not doing this to save money I'm doing it because I want to. I'll no doubt make a few mistakes and learn as I go but I certainly wouldn't tackle anything I wasn't confident about doing.

 

What about spare parts, shoes, one shot nuts etc. Where do you buy these from, it's not the sort of thing you can pop down your local car spares shop for?

Edited by ribs99
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Brake systems are another that may require a professional

the one shot nuts need a very large torque wrench to retighten

the cost of which is usually unwarranted for the occassional

brake service.

 

Cheapo design . . how long is it that drum brakes on a car needed the hub dismantling to get at the brake mechanism . .

 

Caravans used to have detachable drums

Roughing it . . but in comfort . .

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Most of the service tasks are visual inspections and tests and can be done yourself. GAS and ELEC get it done professionally its not worth the risk.

 

Ones you can do your self are easy though and should be carried out before and after Winter storage anyway.

 

Test for de lamination and damp ingress, use damp meter if you can.

Check and lubricate all hinges and locks,

Check the windows and seals for water or damage,

Check skylights for cracks,

Check blinds

Check your taps and water pipes,

check your toilet and seals on casstete

check the smoke detector and CO2 detector, make sure fire blankets and extinguishers are ok

check your tyres for cracks remember to check both sides of tyre. check your spare wheel.

Check the handbrake and brake cable

Lubricate running gear and jockey wheels.

 

 

there is a ton more that needs to be done for a proper service but the above should cover you in and out of storage. if you want to be safe.

 

One final edit that should be done EVERY HITCH-UP is check your breakaway cable. for £5 they cost to replace its worth replacing if the red covering is split regardless of the cable being fine

Edited by BGB

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2015 BMW 330d Touring Xdrive pulling A 2014 Bailey Unicorn S2 Cadiz

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Thanks for all the replies, shopping list so far:

 

Caravan Step-by-step Owner's Manual (Porter Manuals) - Book

The Caravan Manual: A Guide to Servicing, Maintenance and Improvements - Book
Halfords Professional Torque Wrench 60-300Nm - Tool

 

My current Torque wrench only goes up to 200Nm and the one shot nuts need to be tightened to 290Nm. Found plenty of spares on http://www. caravanparts. co. uk.

 

So once I have the books I'll get reading.

 

 

GAS and ELEC get it done professionally its not worth the risk.

 

Someone said exactly the same thing when I moved in to my house 15 years ago. I took no notice of them either and have since rewired most of the house and replaced and relocated the combi boiler. I also built my office at the bottom of the garden myself so I think that qualifies me as competent.

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For the first service get the caravan checked over by a professional and then service it yourself afterwards. Safety is paramount!

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For the first service get the caravan checked over by a professional and then service it yourself afterwards. Safety is paramount!

I totally agree with you, because I have no service history I have no idea when or if it's been serviced.

 

I'm trying to get recommendations for a mobile servicer in the South East/Kent area but not getting very far. I don't want to pick a company from a list even if they are approved by some governing body.

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Any mobile technician off the Approved Workshops list should be okay and there are a number in your area.

 

There's the problem, I don't want someone that "should" be ok I want someone who comes recommend as by the time I've found out they are useless it will be too late.

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Just noticed you have a Ranger 550/6 like us. give me a shout if you need any tiups on it as we have had ours over a year now and i have made a few improvements.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2015 BMW 330d Touring Xdrive pulling A 2014 Bailey Unicorn S2 Cadiz

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There's the problem, I don't want someone that "should" be ok I want someone who comes recommend as by the time I've found out they are useless it will be too late.

What part of the south east, anywhere near Hastings?

May have a name for you

Dave

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What part of the south east, anywhere near Hastings?

May have a name for you

Dave

 

Unfortunately not, Medway is about 1hr 30mins drive from Hastings.

 

Just noticed you have a Ranger 550/6 like us. give me a shout if you need any tiups on it as we have had ours over a year now and i have made a few improvements.

 

Thanks! We've only used it once, luckily it came with all the manuals so I was able to work out how to get everything working. What sort of improvements have you made?

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I have serviced all my own cars and caravans all my life with the exception when we purchased our first new car.

 

The "main dealer" servicing was nothing short of appalling and was only done to comply with the warranty.

 

I now have a very comprehensive 3 page list of service checks for my caravan compiled after looking through the "official" list of checks then adding quite a few more, some after reading tips on this forum.

I also have a detailed damp check list ( with drawings) and a separate paintwork check list again with drawings.

 

Does any dealer offer a service check like this !

 

I say if you feel competent enough to do it carry on.

2017 Mercedes Benz 220 CLS  AMG design Shooting Brake. 

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Thanks! We've only used it once, luckily it came with all the manuals so I was able to work out how to get everything working. What sort of improvements have you made?

Added more sockets, LED lighting, Radio and speakers, more insulating, External TV points wardrobe mirror. small things that make it pleasant for us.

 

I now have a very comprehensive 3 page list of service checks for my caravan compiled after looking through the "official" list of checks then adding quite a few more, some after reading tips on this forum.

 

 

Fancy sharing for the good of the community? i have a 2 page checklist and woudl be interested to see whats different.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2015 BMW 330d Touring Xdrive pulling A 2014 Bailey Unicorn S2 Cadiz

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Added more sockets, LED lighting, Radio and speakers, more insulating, External TV points wardrobe mirror. small things that make it pleasant for us.

 

LED Lighting and more sockets are on my list already :) Rather than fitting a car radio and speakers I opted for a Samsung dock type unit which we can stream to via Bluetooth from an iPOD or phone. It works really well and we also plug the TV into it for better sound.

 

Unfortunately our van is in storage about 15 minutes drive away which makes working on it a bit more difficult.

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Thanks for all the replies, shopping list so far:

 

Caravan Step-by-step Owner's Manual (Porter Manuals) - Book

The Caravan Manual: A Guide to Servicing, Maintenance and Improvements - Book

Halfords Professional Torque Wrench 60-300Nm - Tool

 

My current Torque wrench only goes up to 200Nm and the one shot nuts need to be tightened to 290Nm. Found plenty of spares on http://www. caravanparts. co. uk.

 

So once I have the books I'll get reading.

 

 

Someone said exactly the same thing when I moved in to my house 15 years ago. I took no notice of them either and have since rewired most of the house and replaced and relocated the combi boiler. I also built my office at the bottom of the garden myself so I think that qualifies me as competent.

 

 

Great till it goes wrong and your house insurance company ask for the certificates for the new installations .

 

 

 

Dave

Edited by CommanderDave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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Great till it goes wrong and your house insurance company ask for the certificates for the new installations .

 

 

 

Dave

 

Totally irrelevant to this thread so please keep your opinions to yourself. I'm competent not stupid.

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Totally irrelevant to this thread so please keep your opinions to yourself. I'm competent not stupid.

It is the same with a caravan any insurance company will ask who installed the new gas and electric in the event of a accident .

 

 

You can get banged up causing injury by playing with DIY gas installations .

 

 

Dave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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It is the same with a caravan any insurance company will ask who installed the new gas and electric in the event of a accident .

 

 

You can get banged up causing injury by playing with DIY gas installations .

 

 

Dave

 

We are all grown ups on here and take responsibility for our actions. When I installed my combi boiler I had it commissioned by a Gas Safe / Corgi plumber to ensure it was safe to use.

 

Like I said, I'm competent not stupid. Now can we get back on topic as this is getting boring.

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We are all grown ups on here and take responsibility for our actions. When I installed my combi boiler I had it commissioned by a Gas Safe / Corgi plumber to ensure it was safe to use.

 

Like I said, I'm competent not stupid. Now can we get back on topic as this is getting boring.

 

Which is illegal . A Gas safe engineer must install the appliance it is illegal to sign off and commission unless it is a complete installation . .

 

 

Dave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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