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Bad design or lack of thought in caravans.

May 24, 2014
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Im sure we all have our pet niggles/hates with caravans, whether its bad design. lack of thought or sometimes completely stupid. I am not talking of the myriad of things that can and do go wrong, but things that even when working, you look at them and think "WHY?"

For me, one of the glaring problems is the fridge lights. AT night, these are incredibly bright and very often right in your eyeline. We always have to hang a towel over the fridge lights because that real piercing blue is awfull in the dark. Would it be too much to ask to have a nighttime setting, or even a lights on/off switch?


Another one for me is creaking furniture. On our Sterling, we had two pieces that but tight up to each other, well, at least they do over part of their length because of course they arent straaight and level. Tightening the floor screws did nothing, and this is on a GRP composite floor. The solution in the end was two, 1 inch squares of a silicone window tape that acts similar to the meniscus in the knee, It cost nothing, would it be too much to ask for some thought as to issues like this at build.

And the third and last one I will throw in we have covered before. Our mini Heki has a locking system to stop it blowing open. The large Heki, the size of a small sail, doesnt. Who thought that one up?
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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If you close your eyes and go to sleep, you probably cannot see the light. :ROFLMAO: It does not bother us however get some black nail polish and cover the light with it.
As for creaking furniture are you sure that it is not your old bones? :ROFLMAO: I am surprised that your Heki can blow open with a gust of wind if on one of the latches? Ours locks in at three different positions, but then we close it in gale force winds. Solution is to buy an air con something you will never regret! :D
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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There are some far more fundamental issues IMO, unworkable payloads and "in use" noseweights, must be up there with the front runners.

But if they talk their own NCC out of including a battery in the MIRO, is there ever any hope the end customer's needs would be a consideration?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Im sure we all have our pet niggles/hates with caravans, whether its bad design. lack of thought or sometimes completely stupid. I am not talking of the myriad of things that can and do go wrong, but things that even when working, you look at them and think "WHY?"

For me, one of the glaring problems is the fridge lights. AT night, these are incredibly bright and very often right in your eyeline. We always have to hang a towel over the fridge lights because that real piercing blue is awfull in the dark. Would it be too much to ask to have a nighttime setting, or even a lights on/off switch?


Another one for me is creaking furniture. On our Sterling, we had two pieces that but tight up to each other, well, at least they do over part of their length because of course they arent straaight and level. Tightening the floor screws did nothing, and this is on a GRP composite floor. The solution in the end was two, 1 inch squares of a silicone window tape that acts similar to the meniscus in the knee, It cost nothing, would it be too much to ask for some thought as to issues like this at build.

And the third and last one I will throw in we have covered before. Our mini Heki has a locking system to stop it blowing open. The large Heki, the size of a small sail, doesnt. Who thought that one up?
This item has been mentioned before on the forum.
https://moho-bits.wixsite.com/manchester

Alternatively I cut two lengths of 13 amp cable and just pushed them into the track after opening the rooflight. Worked perfectly.

https://forums.practicalcaravan.com/threads/does-you-rooflight-blow-open.62503/#post-517082

08ED9A38-CC90-4547-817A-A1630E64F491.jpeg
 
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Jul 19, 2021
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Toilet cassette hatches that leak
Creaking furniture
Electric hob that is next to useless as you can't put a normal sized saucepan on it with the wirework for the gas hobs
Whale iVan system
Roof lights that rattle in the wind
Toilet flush pumps that give up after 2 years

1st world problems eh :)
 
Jun 20, 2005
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This item has been mentioned before on the forum.
https://moho-bits.wixsite.com/manchester

Alternatively I cut two lengths of 13 amp cable and just pushed them into the track after opening the rooflight. Worked perfectly.

https://forums.practicalcaravan.com/threads/does-you-rooflight-blow-open.62503/#post-517082

View attachment 2110
I remember that tip from you before Clive. Bottle it up and sell for £9.99 a set! Don’t forget the patent! Years ago I made my own waste outlet pipe for connection to the grey waste. Dealers now sell them for three times the material value!
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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The only thing that really irritates me about caravans is the roof lights. Every single one opens in a different way and this has been the case in every make caravan we have had . Drives me nuts.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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I accepted years ago caravans were poorly made. The first year was always the worst, mostly cheap materials and very sub standard workman ship. We have kept the Wyoming for 12 years. 99% of the broken bits have been diy fixes including , kitchen furniture , bed slats , various timber bits fridge plumbing, cooker , water and room heaters. In fact it is probably in better condition than when new! And yes all the gas stuff is double checked by my son before use.He is qualified in LPG etc. I still have my AWS chap do the annual service. He’s very good and well worth the money.
The reality is manufacturers should supply a decent diy tool and repair kit , day one.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Dirty roof lights.

If sufficient ingenuity was applied by designers. I feel that the opening light could be on hinge butts such that when the stays are detached, and the light opened vertical, it could be slid to one side to detach from the butts. Then brought back diagonally through the opening for periodic cleaning.

It will not happen.

John
 
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May 24, 2014
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Black nail polish Buckman, really, at your age? :LOL:

Aye, my bones do creak nowadays, but this was a case of bad workmanship, touching at the bottom, 4mm gap at the top. Stevie Wonder could have told the minkie that built it that something wasnt right.

Some interesting stuff on that link OC, although Im hoping the new van wont have that issue, however, it has been bookmarked.

Totally agree on the rooflights, they are a pain to clean when you are vertically challenged.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Window blinds that don't match the door blind, that doesnt match the roof blind, and rows of vertical holes in the pleated window blinds as well.
 
Sep 7, 2020
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Where to start.....

We have a hanging rail in the bathroom that is supported by two u shape fixings. The first bump you go over it jumps out.

Not only that it's too near a wall cupboard to take a clothes hanger the normal way. Even if you did hang something on it, it's directly over the toilet so the clothes would be in the way. It's now in the garage going rusty.

Along with the plate rack that's too small and lose fitting to begin be of any use. Ditto the mug holder.

The shower door doesn't have a drip strip at the bottom....yet....so water just runs down the door and into the main living area. It's on my list to fix before next outing.

One I've mentioned before is a 13A socket so close to the floor you can't plug anything into it. Turned through 90degs to fix it.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Where do you start with a title like that. In some cases it's questionable if any design effort was properly used in some aspects of caravans.

Or just about when a caravan does seem to work properly, the company decides to change it. They actually employ someone to muck about with it in the name of marketing and call it a "new" design.

A good design should not need to be changed, and all too often we see change for the sake of change, rather then to meet a real need.

The biggest common reason for changing a design, is to be able to make a product cheaper, yet it's strange how often the new design is sold at a higher price, and often with less reliability, or more prone to failing needing a repair, which in many cases is another income stream for the manufacturer.

Another aspect of new many designs, is it drives older designs into perceived obsolescence, and for some poor souls that drives them to purchase the latest model which makes them even poorer souls.

The caravan industry should be spending their development budgets on making sure what they do build is correctly built first time every time, improving durability and reliability.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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I have to say and you ought to know me by now my thinking is of the opposite-every time we use our caravan it never ceases to amaze me how much they pack in to these little marvels that can be bounced around the country side. I know all vans are different and some things don't apply but we have a dog-things we love-outside shower, outside bbq point, all windows have blinds but if open insect screens so you don't need to have flies inside-unlike home, a domestic grill and oven-our s has cast iron trivet that any pan fits on-with option of gas or electric hob-better than home,microwave as good as homes-in fact made us buy a new homeone as ours was clearly no where near as good having well passed its sell by date, a fridge freezer that is big enough for our food for the week, a fixed bed with underbed storage, great pull out little side tables for your morning coffee-tv points iwth 12 and 240v and aerial outlets and usb in 2 places -perfect for tv in the lounge and tv in bed, a domestic chrome towel rail to dry stuff on or warm your towels, underfloor heating-non of that at home, masses of storage with soft close cupboards, extractor fan, masses of pretty lights everywhere and reading lights too, a decent stereo with bluetooth, choice of pumped aquaroll water or mains connection plus large on board tank-80l continuous water when we go away and enough heated very hot water for 2 in quick succession, and a heating and hot water switched system as good as home and very flexibly uses gas or electricity. Come on guys every van has its irritation but I personally do think our van was designed by a caravanner for caravanners-for us my only grumbles are the multiple types of opening of the roof lights-but you soon get used to that, a very small opening for the front locker-can live with that and perhaps not the best placed outside electric socket-but that's probably because we prefer the awning not over the front side window and locker-we preferred our Baileys fully outside one with its magnetic flap-but it really isn't an issue once we'd made up an extension lead. Oh and we can go off piste as we have solar which seems very efficient, plus self levelling which makes the caravan inside feel as solid and stable as we've ever had-amazing. Every time we go away in our caravan we appreciate what we've got-a minor miracle in packaging in my mind. Sorry to be cup half full but if house designers used them houses would be much better.
Think what you've got and maybe if your caravan is not what you want expect-have a look out there to see if there is one that matches your needs, or adapt it accordingly as some on here have done and by the sounds of it very effectively. I know money may be an issue here of course in which case compromise is always necessary. But we feel we compromise v little in our caravan. We didn't buy the mid mount bathroom version for eg as we felt the shower was small.Oh and our shower door opens inward-so drips into the shower tray. And there's a drying rack in there too if we run out of heated towel rail space. Sorry I'll shut up being positive-but you can tell we really love/appreciate our caravan-we're here in sunny (!!!) Norfolk at a delightful CL-Lighthouse farm comfy having already got out for a walk on the beach before rain sets in!
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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I have to say and you ought to know me by now my thinking is of the opposite-every time we use our caravan it never ceases to amaze me how much they pack in to these little marvels that can be bounced around the country side. I know all vans are different and some things don't apply but we have a dog-things we love-outside shower, outside bbq point, all windows have blinds but if open insect screens so you don't need to have flies inside-unlike home, a domestic grill and oven-our s has cast iron trivet that any pan fits on-with option of gas or electric hob-better than home,microwave as good as homes-in fact made us buy a new homeone as ours was clearly no where near as good having well passed its sell by date, a fridge freezer that is big enough for our food for the week, a fixed bed with underbed storage, great pull out little side tables for your morning coffee-tv points iwth 12 and 240v and aerial outlets and usb in 2 places -perfect for tv in the lounge and tv in bed, a domestic chrome towel rail to dry stuff on or warm your towels, underfloor heating-non of that at home, masses of storage with soft close cupboards, extractor fan, masses of pretty lights everywhere and reading lights too, a decent stereo with bluetooth, choice of pumped aquaroll water or mains connection plus large on board tank-80l continuous water when we go away and enough heated very hot water for 2 in quick succession, and a heating and hot water switched system as good as home and very flexibly uses gas or electricity. Come on guys every van has its irritation but I personally do think our van was designed by a caravanner for caravanners-for us my only grumbles are the multiple types of opening of the roof lights-but you soon get used to that, a very small opening for the front locker-can live with that and perhaps not the best placed outside electric socket-but that's probably because we prefer the awning not over the front side window and locker-we preferred our Baileys fully outside one with its magnetic flap-but it really isn't an issue once we'd made up an extension lead. Oh and we can go off piste as we have solar which seems very efficient, plus self levelling which makes the caravan inside feel as solid and stable as we've ever had-amazing. Every time we go away in our caravan we appreciate what we've got-a minor miracle in packaging in my mind. Sorry to be cup half full but if house designers used them houses would be much better.
Think what you've got and maybe if your caravan is not what you want expect-have a look out there to see if there is one that matches your needs, or adapt it accordingly as some on here have done and by the sounds of it very effectively. I know money may be an issue here of course in which case compromise is always necessary. But we feel we compromise v little in our caravan. We didn't buy the mid mount bathroom version for eg as we felt the shower was small.Oh and our shower door opens inward-so drips into the shower tray. And there's a drying rack in there too if we run out of heated towel rail space. Sorry I'll shut up being positive-but you can tell we really love/appreciate our caravan-we're here in sunny (!!!) Norfolk at a delightful CL-Lighthouse farm comfy having already got out for a walk on the beach before rain sets in!
I'm absolutely sure there are many(?) caravanners who do find the caravan they have does what they want. But when the decide to change I'll bet many of the details they have got used to have been changed. The question is why, when they were working well. Why change them, and the answer will be their marketing dept. has said we need to, to keep the design fresh or to meet some new fad.

One of the consequences of this is how if a part needs to be replaced, as we have seen many times on this forum, owners face an uphill struggle to find the parts or the ones in the right colour.

I do acknowledge that changes are for the better, changing to LED internal lighting, more light less power and longer life, provided they protect the wire connections from corrosion.

Hey Ho, one day they might see the light of how important it is to make products that are durable, and break the pencils of the designers so a product can mature, before its needlessly tossed to one side to make way for the new design fads.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Fashion same with many consumer items. Look at cars midlife updated facelifts etc
 
May 7, 2012
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We do not worry about the fridge light, this does help to see if you wake in the night and does not disturb our sleep. If but did we can draw a partition across.
I do agree the loading allowance can be far too low and some nose weights are far too high. Bailey seem to be making a move towards improving the former though so others may follow hopefully .
The main criticism of ours though is the gaps around the transverse bed, the one at the end is too narrow but that seems to be inevitable given the width of the caravan body. We do have odd sized wardrobes either side of the bed. Unfortunately the one at the back is so narrow the cupboard at the bottom is almost inaccessible. Possibly the only way to correct that would be a longer caravan though.
We have had a holder for four toothbrushes on a five berth model though.
 
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May 24, 2014
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The new caravan that we have ordered, we love everything about except for one little item that I think is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. The curtains arent curtains, its a square of amterial that hangs down where the curtains should be, and attached to it is some what can only be described as second hand fishing net. It looks ridiculous and is spoiling the looks of the caravan.
Somebody has clearly sat down and thought what can I do with these curtains that no other manufacturer has done. Well, there is a reason nobody else has done it, it looks STUPID.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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The new caravan that we have ordered, we love everything about except for one little item that I think is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. The curtains arent curtains, its a square of amterial that hangs down where the curtains should be, and attached to it is some what can only be described as second hand fishing net. It looks ridiculous and is spoiling the looks of the caravan.
Somebody has clearly sat down and thought what can I do with these curtains that no other manufacturer has done. Well, there is a reason nobody else has done it, it looks STUPID.
Seen them and agree with you. Another aspect that I would like to see manufacturers providing options.

Our van came with nice carpets. But not practical over time. So we bought a remnant of very suitable stuff, had it cut using the original as the template. The carpet place use a local taxi driver who has the sowing machine for the job, and he bound all the edges. It moved about a bit but I fixed that with quality Velcro. Originals now in the loft. A great improvement. Cost around £200 all in.

Perhaps you could do similar with your van and get it as you want it.

John
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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Totally agree jclougie can't understand why they don't offer a couple of cupboard colours etc but numbers and economies of scale maybe.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Totally agree jclougie can't understand why they don't offer a couple of cupboard colours etc but numbers and economies of scale maybe.
That’s what they say. It may be true in some aspects, but I think it’s lack of customer focus and, perhaps
laziness or complacency.

There are many things which could be included as a dealer fitted option.

John
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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I have to say and you ought to know me by now my thinking is of the opposite-every time we use our caravan it never ceases to amaze me how much they pack in to these little marvels that can be bounced around the country side. I know all vans are different and some things don't apply but we have a dog-things we love-outside shower, outside bbq point, all windows have blinds but if open insect screens so you don't need to have flies inside-unlike home, a domestic grill and oven-our s has cast iron trivet that any pan fits on-with option of gas or electric hob-better than home,microwave as good as homes-in fact made us buy a new homeone as ours was clearly no where near as good having well passed its sell by date, a fridge freezer that is big enough for our food for the week, a fixed bed with underbed storage, great pull out little side tables for your morning coffee-tv points iwth 12 and 240v and aerial outlets and usb in 2 places -perfect for tv in the lounge and tv in bed, a domestic chrome towel rail to dry stuff on or warm your towels, underfloor heating-non of that at home, masses of storage with soft close cupboards, extractor fan, masses of pretty lights everywhere and reading lights too, a decent stereo with bluetooth, choice of pumped aquaroll water or mains connection plus large on board tank-80l continuous water when we go away and enough heated very hot water for 2 in quick succession, and a heating and hot water switched system as good as home and very flexibly uses gas or electricity. Come on guys every van has its irritation but I personally do think our van was designed by a caravanner for caravanners-for us my only grumbles are the multiple types of opening of the roof lights-but you soon get used to that, a very small opening for the front locker-can live with that and perhaps not the best placed outside electric socket-but that's probably because we prefer the awning not over the front side window and locker-we preferred our Baileys fully outside one with its magnetic flap-but it really isn't an issue once we'd made up an extension lead. Oh and we can go off piste as we have solar which seems very efficient, plus self levelling which makes the caravan inside feel as solid and stable as we've ever had-amazing. Every time we go away in our caravan we appreciate what we've got-a minor miracle in packaging in my mind. Sorry to be cup half full but if house designers used them houses would be much better.
Think what you've got and maybe if your caravan is not what you want expect-have a look out there to see if there is one that matches your needs, or adapt it accordingly as some on here have done and by the sounds of it very effectively. I know money may be an issue here of course in which case compromise is always necessary. But we feel we compromise v little in our caravan. We didn't buy the mid mount bathroom version for eg as we felt the shower was small.Oh and our shower door opens inward-so drips into the shower tray. And there's a drying rack in there too if we run out of heated towel rail space. Sorry I'll shut up being positive-but you can tell we really love/appreciate our caravan-we're here in sunny (!!!) Norfolk at a delightful CL-Lighthouse farm comfy having already got out for a walk on the beach before rain sets in!
Have you ever though of writing a book i found it very interesting :)
 
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Aug 24, 2020
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Dirty roof lights.

If sufficient ingenuity was applied by designers. I feel that the opening light could be on hinge butts such that when the stays are detached, and the light opened vertical, it could be slid to one side to detach from the butts. Then brought back diagonally through the opening for periodic cleaning.

It will not happen.

John
+ 1 for that

My biggest frustrations lately have been:

Caravan fitted as standard with a fresh water inlet point which leaks by design and wastes a quarter of every barrel by spraying it over the outside every time the pump runs (fixed eventually by replacing with a "pistol grip" fitting).

Hot water tank drain control fitted in a location which makes it really difficult to reach, even if you don't leave the front double permanently made up

Sprung window blinds which need regular re-tensioning, combined with them being fitted in a way that the screws to remove them are inaccessible without removing huge amounts of trim. Time to actually re-tension one spring - 5 minutes: Total time for job, including removing and refitting surrounding trim - a whole morning.
 
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