Crack in panel!

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Jul 18, 2017
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Four caravans is significant number in a sample involving one dealers stock. Were they all Eldiss group products similar to the Buccaneer?
He refers to tow other caravans which may or may not be Elddis and specifically mentions one identical to our caravan.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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There is doubt from the data I have read over the years ABS panels are made to crack .......
I'm sorry Dusty but that statement is not at all fair. I am certain the original intention of the designers was NOT to make them crack, Nor was the construction process intentionally designed to make them fail. and making such a suggestion is defamatory.

I'm not trying to absolve the manufactures from the problem They almost certainly entered into a process they believed was satisfactory, and their initial testing must have shown it worked, Its more likely that something changed between prototypes and production that has led to some of the panels failing in this way.

What is not satisfactory is the manufacturers response to the problem, which despite having some production that obviously has been quite satisfactory, they seem to have buried their heads in the sand and not addressed the failures that occur in the field, leaving owners in a rather sad place.

Perhaps the manufacturers did not do enough testing and research into the suitability of ABS in this particular application. That is not indicative of ABS being inherently wrong.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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I thought we were all entitled to views , based on evidence and our comments on here are taken in the spirit offered. However Prof I do take exception to your self righteous accusation my comments are defamatory. Why do you have to be so rude?
 
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Sam Vimes

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Please lets not spoil the good name of this forum by descending into personal comments about members characters. Its not needed.

We all have different personalities and we may often express our views in different ways which may sometimes be taken the wrong way. Just let it go.

Any more personal comments like this and this thread will be locked.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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Perhaps the manufacturers did not do enough testing and research into the suitability of ABS in this particular application. That is not indicative of ABS being inherently wrong.
It however could be inherently wrong in this application?

Considering various factors inherent in this application, including but not limited to: -
Structural flexing of caravans both through towing and cyclic thermal exposure,
UV exposure,
Lack of control of consistent production build processes,
Its crack propagation characteristic,
The methods of fixing employed.
Where reliance is placed on it having to retain the product's watertight integrity.

IMO, its use in caravans should never have been for items requiring integrity, either structural or for water tightness.

It being however well suited for "finisher" type roles, where an underlying structure does all the integrity tasks.
Just as it is extensively used in the automotive vehicle industry, the cosmetic bits clipped on an underlying watertight working structure.
 
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Nov 16, 2015
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The ABS rear panel of my Coachman cracked in the rear left hand corner, apparently several others cracked as well. The unoffical answer I recieved from Coachman in Hull was the awning rail was not pilot hole drilled before the screws were fitted. Maybe something like this has happened in the final assembly.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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The ABS rear panel of my Coachman cracked in the rear left hand corner, apparently several others cracked as well. The unoffical answer I recieved from Coachman in Hull was the awning rail was not pilot hole drilled before the screws were fitted. Maybe something like this has happened in the final assembly.
The Bailey front and rear panel cracks arising in the Series 5 models was due to the same problem. Failure to install properly by not having adequate pilot holes. I had my front replaced in year 2 and rear in year 3. After that the caravan was without any panel fault until I sold it in 2014 at nine years old, and a good number of miles under its belt.
But I’ve never seen any reason why my Swift Sprite had a cracked rear panel in year 5. But in the case of both caravans Swift and Bailey quickly authorised the main dealerships to fit replacement panels. I had no complaints at how Swift and Bailey dealt with the issue. My Swift panel was replaced in 2018. How they would respond in todays climate I don’t know.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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It however could be inherently wrong in this application?

Considering various factors inherent in this application, including but not limited to: -
Structural flexing of caravans both through towing and cyclic thermal exposure,
UV exposure,
Lack of control of consistent production build processes,
Its crack propagation characteristic,
The methods of fixing employed.
Where reliance is placed on it having to retain the product's watertight integrity.

IMO, its use in caravans should never have been for items requiring integrity, either structural or for water tightness.

It being however well suited for "finisher" type roles, where an underlying structure does all the integrity tasks.
Just as it is extensively used in the automotive vehicle industry, the cosmetic bits clipped on an underlying watertight working structure.
Based on links I have provided in earlier posts from people who engineer ABS products, it certainly points to the fact that ABS panels are not suitable for caravans as they do not weather well and cannot handle stress. https://plasticextrusiontech.net/resources/what-is-abs-material/ There arfe other articles about ABS panels if you Google
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Jul 18, 2017
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The way I read your link to that American company, ABS is an ideal material to make panels from.
That is correct if the panels are not subjected to extremes in weather and stress like they would endure on a caravan. There is the possibility that a manufacturer of caravan ABS panels is taking shortcuts when producing the panels in order to increase their profit margin.
ABS plastic is advantageous in a wide variety of industries; however, certain physical limitations restrict the materials use in certain products and applications. These shortcomings include:
  • Weatherability (damaged by sunlight)
  • Solvent Resistance
  • Hazardous When Burned
  • Limited Uses in Association with Food Industry
  • Higher Price Than Polystyrene or Polyethylene
 
Jun 20, 2005
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This is probably one of the most important threads we have seen in years. Mr Buckman has kindly kept us all closely briefed at all stages unlike many others who have sucked our brains and disappeared giving us no final answers.
It remains a material fact the extensive anecdotal evidence available demonstrates ABS use in caravan panels has had more than its fair share of issues. Like Clive I had two panels replaced under warranty on our previous caravan. Whilst at the Dealer Bailey delivered 12 new panels.
I can only hope all the evidence currently available helps Buckman succeed in his quest.

Finally Sam I am old enough and big enough to take it on the chin. I am sure there are no bad feelings between me and the Prof👍👍. However I do not believe threatening to lock such an important thread is a good move for the Forum.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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ABS has been around long enough for its properties to be well known and understood.

I don't know if any of the caravan manufacture produces their own panels or if they use another supplier, but I would be amazed if who ever is producing the panels was not aware of the characteristics of the materials they use.

Especially if an independent supplier is producing the panels, I am certain they would not have accepted the order if they knew the material for the panels were fundamentally inappropriate, because of their potential exposure to product failure claims.

You have listed some of the properties of pure ABS, and I am sure any panel manufacture would be aware of them. There are processes that can mitigate the apparent weaknesses of ABS, especially it's vulnerability to exposure to Ultra Violet in sunshine, and environmental solvents.

Google how to protect abs and you will see there are a multitude of well known solutions to working with ABS, and the same is true for most materials.

Trying to use the argument that ABS is the wrong material for caravan mouldings is going to be difficult to sustain.
 
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Jun 20, 2005
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Trying to use the argument that ABS is the wrong material for caravan mouldings is going to be difficult to sustain.

I guess the proof will be in the pudding. Let’s all hope Buckman is successful.

There is a Litany of caravan forums where ABS panels have failed on “numerous” occasions. In fact on one well known forum there is a “cracked ABS panel” group. Here’s just one example.

https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-together/discussions/information-technical-tips-advice/caravans/elddis-avante-462-stress-crack-to-rear-panel/

I suspect there is enough real time evidence available to the Judiciary and Buckman that,shall we say, ABS has not enjoyed a good history in the Caravan world. One must ask why both Swift and Bailey abandoned ABS panels many years ago in favour of aluminium or GRP.
It should also be noted ABS has many formulae for its composition depending on the application. I don’t expect any one outside the Industry knows the formula used by Elddis.

It is noteworthy , and I repeat this from an earlier post, PCv own Andrew Jenkinson , technical boffin on used caravans consistently advises checking the ABS panels for cracks.
The infamous John Wickersham RIP, also wrote about the failings of ABS panels as long ago as 2005.This suggests to me the failures may well be more common place than we know. BUT only the manufacturers will know and will they tell us🤔🤔
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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I have a clear recollection that there have been multiple reports of panel cracks involving al sorts of different materials, so again it's not unique to ABS. But there are also examples where these materials have not cracked, so similar points could be applied to all of them.

Let me stress that I am playing devils advocate in this because whilst it may seem a closed case in favour of the caravanner, the reality is somewhat less clear, and with significant costs at risk if the manufacturer is held liable, they will most likely bring almost any defence they can.

It's enough for the defence to tip the balance of probabilities enough to unseat the plaintiff's case.

I am on record as having serious doubts about the caravan manufacturers abilities to consistently produce products, and I still hold that view, I am also certain they could (and should) do a lot more to improve their long term reliability, but equally I do not believe they deliberately set out to make a poor product. They may be guilty of failing to fully develop products before release, and of failing to value customer complaints as a rich resource for helping to focus development effort.
 
May 7, 2012
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I have a clear recollection that there have been multiple reports of panel cracks involving al sorts of different materials, so again it's not unique to ABS. But there are also examples where these materials have not cracked, so similar points could be applied to all of them.

Let me stress that I am playing devils advocate in this because whilst it may seem a closed case in favour of the caravanner, the reality is somewhat less clear, and with significant costs at risk if the manufacturer is held liable, they will most likely bring almost any defence they can.

It's enough for the defence to tip the balance of probabilities enough to unseat the plaintiff's case.

I am on record as having serious doubts about the caravan manufacturers abilities to consistently produce products, and I still hold that view, I am also certain they could (and should) do a lot more to improve their long term reliability, but equally I do not believe they deliberately set out to make a poor product. They may be guilty of failing to fully develop products before release, and of failing to value customer complaints as a rich resource for helping to focus development effort.
Prof, I know you are playing devils advocate, but I think the defence any maker could put up is as they know almost hopeless and the last thing they want is a successful case being reported nationally and the publicity producing more claims. When the defence have to use a solicitor costing several hundred pounds an hour and no real chance of recovering this in a small claims action almost certainly the worst result for the claimant is a negotiated compromise.
The claimant would not have to show more than a significant number of these panels failed and that should not be difficult with a bit of online research. A design defect does not have to affect all or even most models but simply a significant number and the claimant would have the right to demand from the maker the number of claims they have had for this problem.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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We will have to wait to see, but I do think there are possibly more defences which might derail the claim.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I have a clear recollection that there have been multiple reports of panel cracks involving al sorts of different materials, so again it's not unique to ABS. But there are also examples where these materials have not cracked, so similar points could be applied to all of them.

Let me stress that I am playing devils advocate in this because whilst it may seem a closed case in favour of the caravanner, the reality is somewhat less clear, and with significant costs at risk if the manufacturer is held liable, they will most likely bring almost any defence they can.

It's enough for the defence to tip the balance of probabilities enough to unseat the plaintiff's case.

I am on record as having serious doubts about the caravan manufacturers abilities to consistently produce products, and I still hold that view, I am also certain they could (and should) do a lot more to improve their long term reliability, but equally I do not believe they deliberately set out to make a poor product. They may be guilty of failing to fully develop products before release, and of failing to value customer complaints as a rich resource for helping to focus development effort.
Not sure why the manufacturer has been mentioned as we do not have a contract with the manufacturer therefore unlikely we would see them in court or go up against their solicitors? The only way as a consumer to get a manufacturer into court is to call them as a witness. However you do make some valid points.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Not sure why the manufacturer has been mentioned as we do not have a contract with the manufacturer therefore unlikely we would see them in court or go up against their solicitors? The only way as a consumer to get a manufacturer into court is to call them as a witness. However you do make some valid points.
At the end of the day it’s the manufacturer that designs, develops and manufactures the caravan. The dealer can do little if anything to influence that process other than feed back problem reports and warranty claims, in the hope that the manufacturer will take heed and seek to improve the products. But I think we all realise that it’s the Dealer that is the responsible party as far as CRA 2015 is concerned.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Not sure why the manufacturer has been mentioned as we do not have a contract with the manufacturer therefore unlikely we would see them in court or go up against their solicitors? The only way as a consumer to get a manufacturer into court is to call them as a witness. However you do make some valid points.
If Litigation becomes a reality, the parties involved must be the Dealer , Finance Company & Your Insurer. However throughout all the discussion mention has often been made about the Manufacturers own Warranty . If one of your pleads is an Inherent Latent Defect at point of sale it may be wise to name the Manufacturer as well. Obviously The Dealer under CRA is your first line of attack and takes precedence but also naming the Manufacturer with whom you have a Warranty agreement from point of sale will only help your case.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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We escalated our BH complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service and the reply was expect to wait 4 - 6 months for a reply! No wonder BH are dismissing claims as they know there is a huge delay and people may not be prepared to wait! I have bad news for them! 😡
 
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Jun 20, 2005
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We escalated our BH complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service and the reply was expect to wait 4 - 6 months for a reply! No wonder BH are dismissing claims as they know there is a huge delay and people may not be prepared to wait! I have bad news for them! 😡
No doubt Covid gets the blame for the delays!
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I could do the small claims route as could cost very little however the maximum is £5k and I am restricted to a repair and not a replacement panel.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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I could do the small claims route as could cost very little however the maximum is £5k and I am restricted to a repair and not a replacement panel.
And quite correctly you are following the Complaints Procedures laid out in your Insurance Policy and Finance Agreement.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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We escalated our BH complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service and the reply was expect to wait 4 - 6 months for a reply! No wonder BH are dismissing claims as they know there is a huge delay and people may not be prepared to wait! I have bad news for them! 😡
What BH?
 

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