Buying a 3k caravan

Jan 23, 2019
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Hi all,
Just about to embark on caravanning after many years of old campervans. Expanding family means towing is now the only economically viable option.
I'm looking for a compact 4 berth with bunks and love the look of the Lunar Chateau, saw a nice one at the weekend but it was more money than I want to ideally spend.
Since then I've seen one advertised at the right money, according to the seller it's clean and dry and from the photos it looks good. HOWEVER a conversation with the seller reveals the fact it has a small crack under the front window, apparently not currently letting water in. I know the obvious advise is run a mile, cracked caravans are very bad news. Does that advice still stand at the bottom end of the market? Can I assume that any 3k van could have issues and maybe a visible crack that could be satisfactorially DIY mended might not be the worst? Or am I fooling myself?
Price wise the difference between the one we liked (which still may have issues and comes with no guarantee) and potentially cracked one is 500 quid. The one with the crack comes with an awning unlike t'other one.
Sage advice gratefully received,

L
 
Oct 17, 2010
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Have you had a close look at the crack, if it is small it can be stopped by drilling in front of the crack and then filled, I've done it. But first of all you need to arm yourself with a damp meter from Amazon or the like and go over the van and check for damp. Round the windows, corners top to bottom, along the roof line where the wall joins, everywhere you can think of.
Or you could ask a mobile engineer to inspect it before you bye. He/she would give you a report on the running gear as well, with some sound advise on repairing the crack.
I'm sure someone will come along to give you an idea of price,
 
Aug 14, 2014
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As Dave mentioned, you can get an engineer to inspect the caravan before buying - may end up saving you money in the long run. There are plenty of mobile engineers on the Approved Workshop list:
https://www.approvedworkshops.co.uk/preownedprepurchase

The cheap damp meters are really useful. Whilst I am not sure how accurate they are, even my £10 picked up damp on my previous caravan and it did indeed prove to be a fault that needed a lot of work under warranty.
 
Aug 9, 2010
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Shipjack, have you thought about going Retro? Buy a restored Retro caravan instead of a modern damp-box, have a van you can be proud of, join the Retro Caravan Club Uk, and have a lot of fun as well.
Or you could even buy a cheapie old van needing work, and restore it with help from the club, and do it to your own spec.
You wouldn't be on your own. There are thousands of us out here, and we've all done it!
 
Jan 23, 2019
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Thanks all,
Yes I've got a damp meter so will definitely spend some time checking everywhere. I'm guessing winter conditions mean the readings would be a bit higher anyway. but it'll pick up any obvious areas.
Emerson, I'm with you in spirit having run a 1980s motorhome until a couple of months ago. Sadly I have nt got the time to do any major work and I need reasonably modern facilities having a 4 and 6 year old.

Cheers

L
 
Sep 24, 2008
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Ours cost £3500 for a year 2000. It had faulty shower hose, cracked front window a decal adrift.They put new frontv window ,new shower hose and head,done decal. Plus two awnings ,mover ,hitchlock ,wheel lock, waste and fresh tanks,nose weight gauge, host of other items left by last owner
 
May 7, 2012
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I would look at the caravan. They were decent caravans, although the manufacturer has since gone out of business, and they were imported only in small numbers so spares could be a problem if you need them. Most of the working items will be standard so not a problem, but panels and the like will not be available.
If as you say you have a damp meter you can check for damp particularly around the crack and if there is damp leave it alone. The crack can be repaired as Dave says if you feel confident but if not it is likely to widen and eventually leak so it would then be out.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Shipjack,

A £3k caravan will of course be second hand, and of considerable age, so you should expect signs of wear and tear and a strong possibility of some slightly more serious problems. A crack in a panel is not automatically a diaster, but it certainly should be properly investigated, and probably repaired.

Whatever the problem is, it can be repaired, but the questions should be asked, is it problem is masking another underlying issue and whether it is cost effective to investigate and repair. And that is the rub, it is useful if you are experienced in such work, because without experience, understanding and planning the course of action is severely hampered.

Best of luck.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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benshepherd said:
As Dave mentioned, you can get an engineer to inspect the caravan before buying - may end up saving you money in the long run. There are plenty of mobile engineers on the Approved Workshop list:
https://www.approvedworkshops.co.uk/preownedprepurchase

The cheap damp meters are really useful. Whilst I am not sure how accurate they are, even my £10 picked up damp on my previous caravan and it did indeed prove to be a fault that needed a lot of work under warranty.

I NOQTICE
 
Jan 23, 2019
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Ah, glad I was nt put off by the phone conversation. Saw the van today and the crack is in the bottom corner, looks like it's been due to a ding rather than a stress crack. It's been bodged but it only affects the front locker, so no worries about it causing water ingress. All damp readings were 15 or under so happy enough with that for winter conditions.
Did a deal, going to pick her up tomorrow!
How exciting :)

L
 
Sep 29, 2016
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Shipjack said:
Ah, glad I was nt put off by the phone conversation. Saw the van today and the crack is in the bottom corner, looks like it's been due to a ding rather than a stress crack. It's been bodged but it only affects the front locker, so no worries about it causing water ingress. All damp readings were 15 or under so happy enough with that for winter conditions.
Did a deal, going to pick her up tomorrow!
How exciting :)L

Great, wishing you many happy times with your new vacation mobile B) .

Enjoy.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Shipjack, well it is a lower cost caravan., If it dry as you say then go ahead, seal cracks with tape etcc. Depends on how long you tend to keep it for. Enjoy the caravan then maybe decide to up Grade ( newer) to your next one . See you on a pitch somewhere.
 
May 7, 2012
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Looks a decent bargain so good luck with it and if you need help then just ask.
If you have problems with hitching, siting etc. there are some decent videos on you tube if you check that out.
 
Oct 17, 2010
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Shipjack said:
Ah, glad I was nt put off by the phone conversation. Saw the van today and the crack is in the bottom corner, looks like it's been due to a ding rather than a stress crack. It's been bodged but it only affects the front locker, so no worries about it causing water ingress. All damp readings were 15 or under so happy enough with that for winter conditions.
Did a deal, going to pick her up tomorrow!
How exciting :)

L
Seems like a good van. As soon as you get the van home clean the crack up, then stop it from spreading by drilling the end of it, if not already done, then cover it with some gaffer tap that should protect it until you have some descent weather..
 

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