Changing from motorhome to caravan. Advice needed please.

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Mar 14, 2005
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Hi There,

Yes we have double checked my husbands licence which was only recently renewed and he definitely has retained his BE entitlement. He just didn’t apply to retain his C1 as his medical condition would not have covered that entitlement.

No longer having his C1 entitlement is one of the many reasons we are now looking to change to a robust caravan and powerful tow car as this will be more suitable to our current situation and we will definitely be adding options such as a motor mover and an electric levelling system in order to reduce as much of the setting up tasks as possible. I know these options are rather costly but fortunately our funds allow for this, so whatever we can legally add to make towing and setting up a caravan as easy and as safely as possible then please forward us any tips or suggestions of what gadgets and gizmos you use or have had fitted to help do this.

Thank you all again for your helpful and informative advice, tips and suggestions and we look forward to keeping you all updated on how things progress in our journey to find the perfect new set up for ourselves.

Happy Wednesday!

Sue x
Thank you for the clarification about the licence, and I appologise for the wrong steer in my previous comment about cat BE. This is good news because it basically means you can tow virtually any caravan providing its within the capability of the tow car.

I fully endorse PTA's suggestion of doing a towing course, They cover a wealth of techniques and tips which are difficult to describe on a forum.

It sounds as though you will be looking at caravans on the heavy side, and I am sure you would find a caravan mover very useful. It takes the strain out of manoeuvring a caravan into tight or difficult locations, its also very good for safety in protecting your physical well being.

I am sure that you may already have some of the items you may need from your motorhome.

A pair of good extension rear view mirrors will almost certainly be essential when towing. You may need to get step for the doorway.

You will be familiar with the need to level your motorhome, and the same is true for caravans, Whilst there are some automatic levelling and stabilising systems that can be fitted to caravans, you do have to start paying greater attention to how much all these things weigh, becasue they eat into the limited payload capacity of the caravan.

Again a concern about weight may affect the water system you opt for, A few caravans do have inboard fresh water tanks like a motorhome, but most caravans don't, instead they tend to use a portable water containers for both fresh and grey water. There are systems that allow you to connect via a pressure reducing valve to a tap, or by using a float valve in the water barrel.

Some super sites do have facilities to drains at the pitch for grey water.

Many motorhomes use a roll out awning. Unfortunately these are not so common for caravans, partly because the wall construction may not take their weight, and also, the weight eats into teh caravans payload, and when closed up it's high up on the side of the caravan which will affect the caravans stability when being towed. You need to look carefully at the available types of awning, and how difficult /easy they will be to set up and take down.

Do check with your insurers about what security measures they require to be used.

One of the major advantages of having a car and caravan over a motor home, is the ability to use the car to travel around the locality without having to pack up the motorhome and awning each time. Parking in towns and villages will often be easier and more convenient. Fuel efficiency will be better, and general driving when not towing will be more comfortable. Usually cars have lower road fund tax and servicing costs.

I hope these musings will be helpful
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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I also carry a fold up mobility scooter plus Petgear Crate in my car and it suitable for my mobility requirements ..
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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I'm always concerned about sounding too positive re uk caravans etc but you are quite right;
infact I broke my foot when we got our Buc and we'd booked Eye Kettleby for a break, so we took the father in laws electric scooter so I could walk with swmbo the driver (whose first ever tow was therefore a Navara truck and a Bucanneer) We got all our provisions (we don't eat out) a spare gas canister, the awning and of course the scooter in the back of the pickup-we do have a canopy. Great tow car lovely caravan! Just desperate to get away in it again!
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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I'm always concerned about sounding too positive re uk caravans etc but you are quite right;
infact I broke my foot when we got our Buc and we'd booked Eye Kettleby for a break, so we took the father in laws electric scooter so I could walk with swmbo the driver (whose first ever tow was therefore a Navara truck and a Bucanneer) We got all our provisions (we don't eat out) a spare gas canister, the awning and of course the scooter in the back of the pickup-we do have a canopy. Great tow car lovely caravan! Just desperate to get away in it again!
I think everyone else is to
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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Meaning I actually do think they are great and the uk van knocking that seems so prevalent makes me quite sad. I've read of people recommending a German caravan and saying 'we did have quite a few issues when we bought it but build is better than uk'. Quite clearly rose tinted glasses come to mind in that instance. We've been very pleased with all of ours-all UK built caravans.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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No make of caravan is 100% fault free, some may be better than others, but there is no directly comparable set of figures that will conclusively show if any make is better than another. The percentage of failure rate per manufacturer is not a published figure. However the PC survey suggests that across the UK industry there is a a fault free figure of about 80%. Put another way that is on average a 20% fault rate, which by any manufacturing standard is far from acceptable.

This of course a blunt figure, and it does not differentiate between major or minor issues,but they are big enough to make the owner complain about, and of course, it does not include those faults that don't get reported.

Fundamentally every caravan has the potential to be fault free as proven by the few that actually fault free, but the manufacturing processes used does not focus on quality but on quantity.

It is only in recent years that manufacturers have woken up to the poor record of caravans suffering from damp and finally done something to help.

There are opinions that suggest some make's are better, but if they are based on evidence in forums then you have to also look at the number of caravans each manufacturer sells,

Whilst this comment is principally based on the UK industry, reports from around the world does suggest caravan manufacturers can have similar problems almost anywhere.

The industry needs (to use a modern phrase) a disruptive event, and perhaps there is a sign. I have been made aware of a manufacturer in China who is looking to use automotive style mass production techniques. Large output capacity leads to looking for export markets, and might be viewing the LHD European market amongst others.
 
May 19, 2020
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I didn't like to say but ours is a Bucanneer-totally in love with it-build quality seems superb with dovetailed drawers and lots of hi tech features; if you find mobility tricky the extra width is great and the ep self levelling a marvel-rock solid when set up on site, on board water tank etc etc. We have had our since Oct 19 and so far so delighted in every way! The underfloor heating is just the icing on the cake!!!!
Sounds beautiful Jezzer and I’m going to sit down tonight with my husband and google your van for a good browse.

The EP self levelling system is something we really fancy having fitted when the time comes so your recommendation has certainly confirmed this must be something we look into.

Thank you so much everyone - your help and advice is invaluable.

Sue x
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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We have the Cruiser-fixed bed rear bathroom; lovely, but the Buccaneer has a variety of layouts one of which may suit you better-we ummed and ahed about the Commodore but the shower is over the wheel arch restricting foot movement in there-and we never use site facilities-we like to be self contained. We particularly enjoyed looking-considering the new 8foot wide Coachmans which turned out to be a good deal more expensive when the motormover offer the Buc had was taken in to account-laser xcel, the new Bailey Alicanto s and the Swift Elegance Grande which seem to be poor value compared to the rest. BUT we loved looking-we liked the Alaria range from Lunar too but at the mo they aren't really producing caravans and the Buc just seemed to strike the right balance-the Coachman has ep levelling now but not underfloor heating which is so lovely. Enjoy your quest ! Keep us posted. PS the Navara tows the near 2000kg Buc with ease and now its run in we seem to be getting 30mpg which is outstanding; measured too, not using the trip computer!
 
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Jun 17, 2011
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Hi Skeggysue. You know you want twin beds. If you have a twin berth caravan make sure the beds are long enough. Wide enough? Are the base cushions ok for sleeping on. Then look at which caravans you like, how does it feel when you sit in it? Then go to dealers as near to you as possible and look. Take as long as you like. Make sure you plan for what you want. Example we spend lost of time out all year so a light caravan is important to us on those winter days. When you have decided what you like then look for a car. Has to take your scooter, so will a side opening tailgate do? I suggest a people carrier or four wheel drive. Have a look at the website honestjohn.co.uk to get a clear review. Enjoy your caravan. PS We have a Kia Sorento MK3 and a Coachman VIP565, twin fixed beds. On the tow car an automatic takes a lot of effort out of towing.
 
May 7, 2012
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If you are fitting a mover do make sure the actuation is suitable for you. The cheaper lever operated ones can be hard work so you do need to make sure you are up to it. An alternative is ones where you wind it on with a handle in the same way as you work the legs and this is far easier but if on a slope you must be sure it is on tight before releasing the handbrake.
Auto ones are probably the way to go if your budget allows as they can be set using the hand held control.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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I totally agree Ray-sorry am being v remiss on this one-that's what being at work does to you!!! I had new hips around 4 years ago and as a present SWMBO treated me to powertouch auto engage motormovers-so much easier-even now-I am 'fully functional' now or as good as I've ever been, she'd say (!) but having an autoengage mover(S) and EP legs means the only floor work I have to do is if we want the awning up. If you have any issues with hips/legs VERY worthwhile imo! Needs a good battery if you use both-the Buc is the first van we've had that comes with a battery (and step , and waste hog) and it is super topclass-Yuasa Grade A says he on the new grading system for leisure batteries-must have cost a fair bit !
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Totally agree Beachball. Single beds no loo tank to fill as it flushes from the system, tank on board ep levelling. Just get a 4w d motormover and set up will be about as easy as it can get. total Luxury too!
 
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May 7, 2012
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The new ones do have the advantage of the E & P leveling system which should be useful if there are mobility issues.
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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I
The new ones do have the advantage of the E & P leveling system which should be useful if there are mobility issues.
I just wish they had them on the old caravans it would be alot easier at the leveling system the bonus is the motor mover never had one until 2019 .
 

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