Damper Fault

Dec 1, 2023
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I purchased my new Sprite Alpine 4 on 28 Oct. Driving away it was noisy and on inspection it was found the damper unit was not extending and could not be fully pulled out. As we were booked into a site for 2 days, I was told it was safe to drive away and return to the dealership on 30 Oct. Its been there ever since. A warranty claim was submitted to ALKO which has been denied, advising to grease it up! Just received update from dealership, damper unit is still not extending but will work fully on more use. Contacted SWIFT and they concurred with all previous from dealership. Why can I not get a replacement damper unit? Am I being duped by dealership and SWIFT? What are my legal rights? Any help/advice appreciated. The caravan is brand new 2024 model. David
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I would follow the advice, and have it greased and use it. If it doesn’t quieten down then there is a case to have it replaced. It’s not a safety concern as caravan dampers aren’t an essential fitment unlike cars.
 
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Dec 1, 2023
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I would follow the advice, and have it greased and use it. If it doesn’t quieten down then there is a case to have it replaced. It’s not a safety concern as caravan dampers aren’t an essential fitment unlike cars.
Thanks for a quick response
 
Nov 30, 2022
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I would be inclined to ask your dealer to take the caravan out and "give it some use" as per Alko's instructions. A few cyckes of braking/acceleration will soon show if its getting better.
If its no better when you go to collect it you have some evidence that their recommendation has not solved the issue.. Be pleasant, but forcefull.
 
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Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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If that doesn‘t work, read up on your right to reject under the Consumer Rights Act and be clear with the dealership that will be your next step. Will focus their minds.
mel
 
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Reactions: Dustydog
Oct 19, 2023
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It may not be the damper at fault. The hitch has a sliding section that applies the brakes when compressed, the damper works to slow down the rate the brakes are applied and released (you don't want them coming on instantly then releasing as soon as the caravan slows down - ask me how I know). It sounds like Swift think that the hitch is sticking and will free up with grease and use. Let them grease it, give it a good run, 40 to 50 miles preferably with lots of speed changes and stopping and starting and see what happens. If it doesn't improve take it back.

What sort of noises was it making?
 
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Jun 6, 2006
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I would follow the advice, and have it greased and use it. If it doesn’t quieten down then there is a case to have it replaced. It’s not a safety concern as caravan dampers aren’t an essential fitment unlike cars.
I think it’s the hitch damper not the damper/shocker for the axle.

I could be wrong.
 
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Jun 20, 2005
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Have we gone soft! Mel and Beardy are clearly on the case. CRA2015.🤔🤔
The coupling damper , hitch , call it what you want is not performing correctly for a brand new caravan.
That is not right!
If we are now going to say the remarks posted above are correct then I feel we are just throwing in the towel to the shoddy second rate rubbish we have to endure to enjoy our hobby🤬🤬
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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I must admit that from the description I immediately thought it was the hitch damper, because that's the only damper that can be "pulled out"

The function of the damper is as Beardy describes, and as such any defect will affect the correct operation of the caravan brakes.

I m very concerned that Bladerider was told its OK to use!

Apparently the dealer verifies its not working correctly becasue Bladerider tells us they say with further manipulation it should begin to work.

This means the caravan still has a defective braking system. That should in any book be ringing alarm bells.

A brand new caravan's braking system should be perfect. this is not perfect and as Mel points out it's a prima facia case of defective goods and the fact it's part of a critical safety system, the seller is in the firing line under the CRA.

Interestingly the caravan has been returned to the seller and they have had a chance to correct the defect, and have apparently not done so, so its possible Bladerider might be legally entitled to reject the caravan for a full refund, but I suspect he probably wants the caravan with a fully working damper.
 
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Jun 16, 2020
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If it is the hitch damper then I fully concur with the Prof.

If it is the wheel damper (and I am not sure if the Alpine are now fitted with them). Then the same applies. If the damper is not extending, I would expect it to be running low on one side and not achieving full suspension travel.

In my opinion. This is all fully unacceptable. Alko and Swift’s response is more than poor. But a self respecting dealler should not have allowed suvh a van to leave their prmises.

John
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Let us give Bladerider a chance, as OC states take the van out for a couple of hours , with a member from the dealer in the towcar. and see if the fault is still there, [ which the dealer should have done] ,
And if the fault is still there , then attack the dealer with whatever.
 
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Nov 16, 2015
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The Alko suspension dampers are NOT greasable, so we are talking about the drawbar damper.
Whenever I take our caravan out, I always do a couple of " Heavy brake checks" when safe to do so, to ensure that the caravan brakes are working and listen and "feel" for any problems from the hitch damper.
 
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Jun 16, 2020
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The Alko suspension dampers are NOT greasable, so we are talking about the drawbar damper.
I agree, but the drawbar damper is not greased either. Just the drawbar itself. I am deducing that the bar is binding.

This is not acceptable. Imho

John
 
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Nov 16, 2015
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I agree, but the drawbar damper is not greased either. Just the drawbar itself. I am deducing that the bar is binding.

This is not acceptable. Imho

John
Well you live and learn, I never knew there, was a separate damper to the drawbar, I always thought it was just the spring assembly. . Just looked at a Parts diagram. Another thing to rattle around in my grey cells before bed.
Another thumbs up for PCf.
Thanks Jc. .
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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It’s not rocket science. Alkos advice is grease it then use it and see if it then quietens down. The dealer isn’t being particularly helpful and should be more proactive in helping the OP resolve the issue. But noises can come from elsewhere such as the stabiliser pads, towball as well as the hitch assembly.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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If it is the hitch damper then I fully concur with the Prof.

If it is the wheel damper (and I am not sure if the Alpine are now fitted with them). Then the same applies. If the damper is not extending, I would expect it to be running low on one side and not achieving full suspension travel.

In my opinion. This is all fully unacceptable. Alko and Swift’s response is more than poor. But a self respecting dealler should not have allowed suvh a van to leave their prmises.

John
I don’t think a non extending damper would be noticeable as when my suspension went on one side I fitted Alko dampers on the new axle. Their movement is quite restricted and if one wasn’t functioning correctly I’d expect the axle suspension bushes to take up the small degree of extra load and movement.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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This a a brand new caravan costing a lot of money with the fault reported within the first 30 days. The dealer is unable to rectify the fault. I think Mel's advice is best. Reject it for a full refund under CRA 2015 as the caravan may be unsafe to tow.
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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With this been a new caravan i would follow the advice and greased it up and if it no better have it replaced like what forum members you can reject it but that your choice give the dealer the time to sort this matter out for you
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Let us give Bladerider a chance, as OC states take the van out for a couple of hours , with a member from the dealer in the towcar. and see if the fault is still there, [ which the dealer should have done] ,
And if the fault is still there , then attack the dealer with whatever.
This is a new caravan, and it not acceptable in my view that the customer is expected to break in a part that should move as part of its function. This is part of the breaking system, arguably a critical safety requirement, and it should work correctly especially from new. If the drawbar or the damper are restricted in their movement that could affect the braking efficiency of the caravans wheels, and that is unacceptable.

The dealer has a legal duty under their responsibilities as an experties as a caravan supplier, and also under the CRA, to ensure a new caravan is road worthy, and part of that must include the free and correct operation of all parts of the caravans breaking system.

A drawbar is a mechanical system that whilst needing proper lubrication, it is not considered to be a consumable part that will need periodic replacement. That makes it different to wearing parts such as brakes or the friction pads in hitch stabilisers, both of which are designed to wear.

It is the dealers responsibility to do all the necessary work or actions to ensure the drawbar and or the damper are 100% working correctly on this caravan. That is what dealers are expected to do and indeed paid to do.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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With this been a new caravan i would follow the advice and greased it up and if it no better have it replaced like what forum members you can reject it but that your choice give the dealer the time to sort this matter out for you
It is a brand new caravan and not even a month old. The dealer has already been given more than sufficient time to resolve the issue. If there is no grease where there is supposed to be grease, surely this should have been picked up on the PDI or even the checks when the caravan was returned to the dealer.
 
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Jul 15, 2008
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.....the overun braking mechanism in the hitch won't be responsible for any noises that the towing driver can hear.
Any noise is almost certainly the hitch head damper pads there to dampen down a swaying caravan.
The dealer has identified that the overrun braking mechanism is not extending fully to it's idle position.
Greasing the mechanism is essential and should have been done by alko or the dealer before delivery.
If the caravan brakes are working correctly then I agree with the advice of the dealer and alko.
 
Jan 3, 2012
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It is a brand new caravan and not even a month old. The dealer has already been given more than sufficient time to resolve the issue. If there is no grease where there is supposed to be grease, surely this should have been picked up on the PDI or even the checks when the caravan was returned to the dealer.
it all depends if he wants to reject the caravan and ask for full refund and then wait more months for another new caravan me personally would like the dealer to get to bottom of it
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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it all depends if he wants to reject the caravan and ask for full refund and then wait more months for another new caravan me personally would like the dealer to get to bottom of it
Due to safety concerns and that fact that the dealer probably did not do a proper PDI which raises concerns about other things they may have missed. I know which option I would choose as they have our hard earned cash!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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If the caravan brakes are working correctly then I agree with the advice of the dealer and alko.
I fundamentally don't agree. The mechanism is designed and should be free to move (allowing for the dampers action) through it's full extent. If it isn't, then Might interfere with safe operation of the brakes. Either way the dealer should be doing what's necessary to bring into full correct operation. Don't forget this is a brand new caravan.
 

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