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Newly converted.

Nov 11, 2018
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Hi folks, my wife and I had a chance for early retirement 4 years ago, as Linda is slowly loosing her sight we jumped at the opportunity.
We have in our early years had a few VWs and even turned a Renault Master minibus into a camper. We have been lucky enough to do a few extended tours of France and Iberia, some in the good old days of borders and currencies!
So our first thought was to get a motorhome, which we did, a Swift Sundance with a rear lounge, loved it, even did a section of the NT 500 on Scotland's West Coast, super. Except that with Linda unable to ride a bike or walk on uneven tracks, narrow pavements etc it soon became a pain to pack up the van every time to take a day out.
So last February we bought a small caravan from our local dealer, a very nice Luna Ariva, finding towing not as bad as I'd imagined we were over the moon with the freedom of having our Seat Altea available for trips and shopping.
I had failed to notice, and the dealer did not tell us at the time of purchase but many of the shower fitting were on a 3 month order from the factory, not impressed. There was also poor quality silicone sealing work around the toilet, seems there had been some sort of issue and it had to be removed and refitted, barely two years old, did not expect that.
The 'van soon proved to be a bit too small for my 6'1'' frame, and my 'bulk'. Can't get it wrong again.
While staying at CMHC site at Battle we visited Marquis and saw a new Antares 455, not too big and very spacious with the fixed bed, ideal, not the most prestigious of brands but it really suits our needs. We picked it up in July, loved it.
First major outing to Devon, brakes squealed like a banshee, motor (expensive) mover was cutting out, checked the battery fitted, class 'C' not rated for the mover the dealer had installed, starting to loose faith in dealers at this stage.
Phoned them about brake squeal, to be told it is not unusual, really in this day and age?
They had it back and deglazed the brake shoes, put in a class 'A' battery. Got home, the mover did not get the van on the drive.
I am a mechanic by trade, in the distant past, so I went through all the mover connections, oh and the positive battery terminal had the threads stripped from day one, but for £1 I had replaced that before the Devon trip, suffice to say I found he bad connection and re-crimped it.
Looking at various forums it seems I am not the only one who finds dealerships lacking once they have your money.

The van is booked in for it's first service in July, but I am sorely tempted to do it my self, brakes and hitch seem to be the only real items to concentrate on, having worked on drum brakes for more years than I care to think about, torque wrench and one shot nuts aside, is it that difficult?
As an owner, you would know if everything works, or there is damp, and would the dealer fix anything anyway?

Thanks in advance.
Steve C.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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You could try a mobile caravan engineer who will service it carry out damp checks and test the gas system. Is your caravan still covered by the makers warranty by having a full service history from NCC Approved workshop. In which case if you are covered by the warranty you need to check its terms and conditions to make sure you stay within them.
 
Feb 13, 2020
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Hi, it appears we share a few similarities here. We also had a motorhome with the same rear lounge and loved it. And inevitably found packing up to get provisions etc. was a pain. So we took to caravanning.

A couple of years back, the mrs took poorly, and it really did look like we wouldn't be able to continue, so i flogged it as have it stood doing nothing losing value. That how bad it was.
Luckily, after a good recovery, we were able to buy another 'van not long ago.
As for servicing; for what it costs, i would pay for it doing (as opposed to DIY). As its all the gas/leccy/charging - everything thats gone over thoroughly. Least of all underneath. The insurance is also usually interlinked with regular 'stamped' services.
As for who does it; i always use a local affiliated mobile mechanic. They are invariably cheaper, and show a bit more empathy. To a dealer you are a necessary evil. They are not bothered about you, just your money. As you are alluding to already. Mobile guys are often ex-employees of dealers or manufacturers, so know what they are doing. And if affiliated to one of the big clubs, your service stamp is validated. There is obviously nothing wrong with 'tinkering' and doing your own bits and pieces in between. Thats what lifes about half the time! Good luck.
 
Feb 13, 2020
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Edit.]: otherclive has it precisely when he states NCC Approved workshop . For the life in me i couldn't think of the correct terminology.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Some mobile engineers have NCC Approved Workshop registration. Have one who works from my storage site he does home visits or takes a van into a large workshop. There are also some MCEA technicians who are based on the site and who also sometimes have vans or motorhomes doing work in the workshop.
 

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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Do a search on brakes squealing on caravans. It has been a known fault on some Bailey caravans and the discs shoes and pads all need replacing ( forgive me, I am not technical and these may be the wrong words, but basically, the whole shebang) It is being done under warranty. You are being fobbed off with “its not unusual”. So suggest you go and throw your underwear at the dealer ( see what I did there :)) and demand a better response.
mel
 
Nov 11, 2009
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The dealer did the normal thing to try and stop brake squeal. With it being a French caravan I assume the brakes will probably be Alko if the chassis is. If the van had been in store for a while prior to sale the dealership might have had the handbrake on. So just cleaning the shoes and dusting out the drums may not have been sufficient. A brake service to ensure all pivots and cables run freely might be required.
However I’ve had caravans that squealed irritatingly at town speeds. One thing to try is harder braking at higher speeds which can help bedding in. But watch the rear. Don’t want a shunt. 😱
 
Jan 31, 2018
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There was a faulty batch released by Alko-should be replaced under warranty-affects any brand of the time who received Alko brakes/chassis!
 
Nov 11, 2018
8
5
515
You could try a mobile caravan engineer who will service it carry out damp checks and test the gas system. Is your caravan still covered by the makers warranty by having a full service history from NCC Approved workshop. In which case if you are covered by the warranty you need to check its terms and conditions to make sure you stay within them.
Yes, 9 months old, so may stick with them for first service.
 
Nov 11, 2018
8
5
515
Hi, it appears we share a few similarities here. We also had a motorhome with the same rear lounge and loved it. And inevitably found packing up to get provisions etc. was a pain. So we took to caravanning.

A couple of years back, the mrs took poorly, and it really did look like we wouldn't be able to continue, so i flogged it as have it stood doing nothing losing value. That how bad it was.
Luckily, after a good recovery, we were able to buy another 'van not long ago.
As for servicing; for what it costs, i would pay for it doing (as opposed to DIY). As its all the gas/leccy/charging - everything thats gone over thoroughly. Least of all underneath. The insurance is also usually interlinked with regular 'stamped' services.
As for who does it; i always use a local affiliated mobile mechanic. They are invariably cheaper, and show a bit more empathy. To a dealer you are a necessary evil. They are not bothered about you, just your money. As you are alluding to already. Mobile guys are often ex-employees of dealers or manufacturers, so know what they are doing. And if affiliated to one of the big clubs, your service stamp is validated. There is obviously nothing wrong with 'tinkering' and doing your own bits and pieces in between. Thats what lifes about half the time! Good luck.
These vans do not come with a service book or even a handbook, just a few individual item books, cooker etc, so nothing to stamp, as I said, not impressed.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
May 7, 2012
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If you do the service yourself you would probably lose the guarantee. I would check the wording as I have not seen that one, but if you are not happy with the dealer it should allow servicing by any NCC approved workshop.
I am afraid dealers seem to be either rubbish or excellent, with not a lot in between.
 
Feb 13, 2020
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These
These vans do not come with a service book or even a handbook, just a few individual item books, cooker etc, so nothing to stamp, as I said, not impressed.
Really? Surely there should be at least a handbook with a new 'van? With possibly a service section within it. I have never bought a brand new 'van, but mine is only 4 years old, and comes with both a service book, and handbook. As has all of the other 4 'vans i've previously owned. Unless you have already chased this, i would be onto the dealers for clarification, as it does not sound right at all.
 
Nov 11, 2018
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515
Like I said, not impressed and yes have asked for service book, was told there isn't one?
I am sure they will say that as long as it on their records the warranty is fine, thus keeping you tied to them.

Any other Caravalair owners out there? If so did you get a full literature pack with the van?
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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Just down load the individual manuals from the manufacturers off the websites; whale pump truma or alde heating, thetford loo, etc. you don'treally need a manufacturer manual, and as for service record-when you have it done you'll or you should get a checklist from the servicing dealer as to what has been done-just keep that in a wallet with the above if you print them! Going the way of cars-no service book for our Mini-it is all on the car computer-I keep receipts!
 
Nov 11, 2009
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My Swift had a service book which was properly stamped but before they would authorise warranty work Swift required evidence of the annual services as it is normal for dealerships to upload each service to Swifts database. Since I was the second owner I had to contact dealerships in Cannock and Wales who kindly provided me copies of the services carried out by them. Fortunately they didn’t quote GPDR but one did redact the previous owners details.
So you really do need to be up with the hunt as far as the makers requirements are concerned.
 
Last edited:
May 7, 2012
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according to the dealer who took in our last two trade ins many caravans are returned without them and even the service records often are missing. You do need to make sure the service records at least, are with any second hand caravan and follow any instructions to transfer the guarantee.
 
Nov 11, 2009
6,951
282
25,935
according to the dealer who took in our last two trade ins many caravans are returned without them and even the service records often are missing. You do need to make sure the service records at least, are with any second hand caravan and follow any instructions to transfer the guarantee.
If it’s a Swift group van the service records may have been uploaded to Swifts database be the servicing center. So the history could be intact even if service invoices weren’t provided. Worth checking. Don’t know what other makes do.
 
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