Finally! First trip away in the new van

Nov 4, 2015
After getting stuck in the mud for weeks I finally managed to get the van out and got away to my shakedown trip.
Just me this time so I could learn everything about the new van, a 2016 Swift Expression 626, before we go away as a family on the 4th April so here goes.

Because I wanted to be sure of a good site and only have to worry about the van I booked into Brighton CC club. I’ve not been here before but from what I can see it is up to the usual standard I remember from the last time I had a caravan back in 2005. I’m a little older now so don’t seem to clash so much with the wardens but still find them a little odd.

Day One.

Turn up on site, check in and back the van on to my pitch, something I didn’t see anyone else do over the next few days. Very odd but it seems the caravan mover has removed one of my old joys, watching someone manoeuvre their van and make a right mess of it.

Level the van, cutting my finger at the knuckle in the process with suprisingly lots of blood for such a small cut, get the steadies down and hook up to the mains. Get the water plumbed in and the Wastemaster attached on the side. Still lots of blood so I pop down to the office and ask for a plaster because I am bleeding over everything. Can’t have one though because of health and safety. Oh well.

Then spend the next few hours working out the Truma Combi boiler and moving most of the seats to find the buttons I’d not switched on to make it all work. It’s a cold day and it takes a very long time for the heating to make a difference and to get any hot water, but eventually it all seems to be working well.

Day Two.

I move the van to a fully serviced pitch, not sure why really as only me here but it does give me a chance set up again and this time it doesn’t take long at all.

I noticed the day before the battery doesn’t seem to be charging but thought this might be something to with it being new but today it has dropped down to 11v on the panel and I start to worry.

After a conversation with one of the support guys I the dealer we go through all the checks and eventually we agree that the charger is dead. The suggested bringing the van in but it being a three-hour round trip it was decided I should just take the charger to them. They confirmed it was dead and I fitted a new one in the late afternoon and all working fine.

The next step was to try out our new Kampa Rally Air Pro 260 awning. Now I’ve fitted awnings in the past and know what a pain they can be but I’ve read the reviews and know these things go up easily so give it a go anyway.

What I hadn’t remembered is just how hard it is to thread an awning into the rail of the van if you are alone but eventually I did manage to get it in place and after borrowing my neighbours mallet (my rubber one wasn’t getting me anywhere on the hardstanding) I eventually got everything inflated and pegged down.

I settle down for the evening with the heating set to 18 degrees and eventually about 11pm it clicked off after reaching temperature. This is when the horrible burning smell started and the panic kicked in! Sofa all stripped and no fire but a definite burning smell from the heating vents.
Nothing I can do tonight so I switch off the boiler and go to bed. It’s about 1 degree outside so I setting in for a cold one but the duvet is lovely and warm so not too much of an issue.

Day Three.

It is freezing when I get up so I put the heating on low and it all seems to be working. Become braver after an hour so increase from E1 to E2 and start getting some heat in the van and get some hot water going again. This is when I decide to Google the issue and it seems very common and in fact as far as Truma are concerned is nothing to worry about, so I won’t worry about it either.

SWMBO works in Brighton so in the evening I pick her up and we go for a lovely meal before heading back to a toasty van. When we get back she hands me her coat which I hang on the hook in the bedroom, the hook falls off and it and the coat hit the floor. Think we need to keep some No More Nails in the van so when things drop off we can get them back up.

So there you have it, Saturday we pack up and put the van back into storage without drama.
Not too many issues with the van and I can now look forward to our first trip in April and our two-week trip to Spain at the end of July.

Oct 12, 2013
Ricky ,
Glad you got the van out and have managed to get away , felt so sorry for you the other week when I first read your first post , but hopefully the field will dry out with the better weather coming for easier storage. Enjoy your trips away and Spain .

Craig .
Nov 16, 2015
Ricky , What a big issue of such a small first outing, :p . As I said berfore, you will look back and smile. You and family will have fun from now on. , today 15 c, in Snow near Interlaken Switzerland. , No Caravan though.
Nov 12, 2013
Thanks for posting, Ricky, and well done for completing your first trip. Let's hope the family enjoy it next month!
May 7, 2012
Had our first trip of the year last week to the CC site at York Beechwood Grange. As far as the caravan was concerned absolutely nothing went wrong, I did make one major mistake when packing though and put in a single duvet instead of the double which means the other half got it and I had to make do with an old sleeping bag we keep in it. Have made sure the right duvet is in place for the next trip.
Think the battery is on the way out as it did struggle with the motor mover.


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