2013 Swift Corniche 20/6 - GRP panel Cracking

Mar 5, 2016
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I noticed back in October 2015 that the front GRP panel of my caravan started cracking in the bottom left and right corners where the locker box lid sits. I contacted Swift who advised me to contact my nearest authorised Swift Warranty dealer to which I did. Photographs were taken of the cracks which both measured about 1 -1 1/2 cms long and a warranty claim made. Swift technical dept looked at the photos and stated that this was not caused by a manufactures fault but due to some large impact (possibly something inside the locker box hitting the corners), therefore they would not honor the warranty claim. The dealer and I were amazed as they stated that this was not caused by an impact but due to stress. The dealer kindly put in another claim and again this was rejected. I decided to contact Swift directly and emailed the pictures off to them again. After several weeks I received a response from Swift who stated " your case was reviewed and assessed by our GRP specialist who confirmed that the crack is not the result of a manufacturing defect, the crack is in an area where there is no pressure on the panel and this type of crack is synonymous with an impact".

I was not happy with the response so I decided to contact them again and explain to at no point had my caravan received an impact which to me must be some impact for the cracks to form in both corners and that after reading numerous reports appeared that GRP was prone to cracking in corners and junctions. I explained that I had 2 gas bottles in the locker (light weight canisters) obviously these were secured and very minimal items in there as I didn't want to overload the caravan none of which would cause the cracks as they were light weight. Again another week went by at which point Swift came back to me stating " Having discussed you case with the GRP manufacturing manager I have been unable to confirm what is likely to have caused the cracks you have detailed but for the gelcoat to break away from the laminate suggests large force, the cracking is also conclusive to stressing outside of the norm" To me I would like to know what stressing outside the norm is. Did I hit it with a sledge hammer, eh no. Did I throw my gas bottle as it, eh no, so please explain what the stressing outside the norm is!!!!!!, to me this is just a fob off and Swift are not interested. Since this response was received I have now noticed another area cracking on the front panel, the battle will continue. The funny thing is a colleague of mine has a Swift caravan of the similar age and this happened to him, but this time Swift claimed it was the way he was towing the van.

I have been caravanning now for 16 years and during that time I have owned Avondale and Bailey caravans which never caused my any problems and like a lot of caravanners I take pride in my van and have always looked after it inside and out. I always have it serviced at an authorised dealer to protect the warranty but now feel that this is pointless as the warranty means nothing . It would appear Swift have my money in there bank and are no longer interested in providing a customer service "it's a thank you and good bye", which seems to be like a lot of these big companies now a days. I am very disappointed and would never buy another Swift Caravan, I will be advising family, friends and colleagues not too either.

I would love to hear from anyone who has had the same issues as I have with Swift or be able offer me any advice as I am not taking this lying down.
 
Feb 3, 2008
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Are you sure your panel is GRP (Glass Re-enforced Plastic, commonly called fibreglass) as this type of panel does not normally suffer from stress cracks due to its construction? The several threads on this forum relating to stress cracks are from panels made of ABS plastic (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), hence the possibility of why your manufacturer responded the way they did.
GRP panels have a rough texture pattern on their rear side which is the fibreglass matting that starts the shape from the mould. ABS panels are smooth on the rear side and are shaped by vacuum onto formers.
 
Sep 19, 2007
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Have you had a look on the Swift Talk web site forum to see if any one else has experienced this problem? If you can`t see any comments you could ask the question on the forum and see what answers you receive.
Just a thought, have you had a look at the rear side of the area of the cracking to see if the glass fibre strands are present to reinforce this particular area?
If it ever gets to the stage where you have to get the repair carried out at your expense it may well be a good idea to obtain a quote from a specialist fibre glass repair company rather than a caravan workshop.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Chris , is it just the gel coating that is cracked and delaminating, as Swift suggest, or can you confirm you have a crack , through, the GRP.
I had a dealer, on a PX deal, try and claim I had a cracked panel at the front, when I pointed out it was just the Gel coating, he backed down.
 
Mar 5, 2016
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Hi

Thank you for coming back to me. Talking to the dealer they believe that it is the Gel coat the is cracking and delaminating, it is annoying especially as it is cracking in 3 places.
 

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