Quality of modern Caravans...

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Jan 31, 2018
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Sorry, maybe am in the wrong job. Caravan sales might be more successful for me! Makes me sad when people knock UK vans and am being prejudged! And yes that may be part of the issue here. We would still have had our 2008Avondale had we not needed more family space.or so we thought.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Jezzer, I hope not to sit next to you in a pub, and ask "Whats your caravan like" only joking we all love our caravans, I have a great Coachman, but don't like the new ones too light and flimsy.
Each to their own likes.
At least with a broken water system my electric toilet flush still works from its independent tank 🤐
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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With the complexity of our thing that's the least of my worries-I'd simply pop a jug or two of water down there-from the tap if the two pumps both decided to pack up! I am trying not to think of it and we've an extended 5 year warranty on those complex items!!!
 
Jan 31, 2018
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What gave you that impression!? :love: But-am under no illusion-am a cup half full person and so far so good-nothing but a moved rubber seal to report, but in my experience the first year is always where issues may arrise-hence we are trying in spite of lockdown to get it used as much as possible. You then hopefully get some years of good solid use before things start going wrong-just like cars really-first year teething troubles-good period, then the longer term things that start to go wrong. We often got faults in our 2008 avondale-nothing major and nothing we couldn't fix on site-no hols spoiled! Fortunately!
 
May 7, 2012
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I accept that one off surveys can be misleading but PC have been doing this for several years and basically Adria and Coachman always do well and Eldiss always do badly having been bottom except for two years where caravans no longer available dropped below them. The consistancy of the results does tend to show that the positions are merited.
What also became apparent was that when makes were broken down into model ranges the cheaper ones did better. Sprite beat Swift comfortably and Buccaneer came out well below Eldiss. Despite the legal standard of quality being the same for both, possibly people buying cheaper models have lower expectations, or simply the more expensive ones have more to go wrong, or even a bit of both.
I do understand and agree that propel with an axe to grind are a bit more likely to complain but nobody has as far as I can remember got below 75% satisfaction, so while they may drag down the overall scores, it is probably not as much as you might expect.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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I accept that one off surveys can be misleading but PC have been doing this for several years and basically Adria and Coachman always do well and Eldiss always do badly having been bottom except for two years where caravans no longer available dropped below them. The consistancy of the results does tend to show that the positions are merited.
What also became apparent was that when makes were broken down into model ranges the cheaper ones did better. Sprite beat Swift comfortably and Buccaneer came out well below Eldiss. Despite the legal standard of quality being the same for both, possibly people buying cheaper models have lower expectations, or simply the more expensive ones have more to go wrong, or even a bit of both.
I do understand and agree that propel with an axe to grind are a bit more likely to complain but nobody has as far as I can remember got below 75% satisfaction, so while they may drag down the overall scores, it is probably not as much as you might expect.
What is the legal standard fir quality on caravans. I’m not aware of one. The old chestnut of people’s expectations being proportional to the outlay has never been proven fir cars or caravans. What is certain is that prestige cars do under perform in the JD Power surveys as far as reliability and satisfaction are concerned. But the cost of after market warranties says it all.

Perhaps Eldiss group are now seeing the benefits of the Hymer and Trigano inputs such that they are more pleased with their caravans.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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There are some caravanners who feel they have received a good product and service, which is great, but no more than they are entitled to, but there are also at least 1 in 5 caravanners who are only to blame for buying a caravan, who end up having to make warranty claims.

That level of product failure does not deserve applause and the companies who continue to produce such a high proportion of imperfect product need to feel the pain and disruption their products cause and to begin to understand it is not acceptable.

Moraly if not legally they should be striving to make caravan ownership a pleasant experience and rather than acting as if customers are a nuisance, they should be responding to customer issues, firstly by helping to put right the mistakes they allowed to go through the factory gates, and secondly proactively looking at customer issues and designing product that won't suffer the same problems again.

One company I worked for that made consumer gas products closely monitored both its production and field product failure rates. If a product started to approach 1:1000 failure rates we investigated the causes and had design meetings to look again to see how it might be reduced.

Putting the manufacture of caravans into perspective, Caravans have been manufactured for about a century. There have been evolutionary changes to the layouts and levels of equipment and furnishing, but it took close to 80 years for the industry to recognise the well documented problems of wood rotting when exposed to damp. How many people have lost a caravan due to the caravan prematurely falling apart? Why did it take so long for the manufacturers to react to this all too common failing?

Wood is actually an excellent material for that type of construction, and provided it was prevented from getting wet, it can last extraordinarily well, The irony is that damp ingress was the problem, not the wood itself, and there are several examples of where caravan's have survived becasue they had been constructed well enough to prevent water ingress. It has always been a matter of manufacturing consistency or lack of it. If consistent assembly procedures had been properly maintained in these critical areas, I am certain many premature caravan deaths would have been avoided.

Not a lot has changed. Production still uses a lot of manual assembly, and it still relies on the care and attention to detail of the operative's. It only needs one operative to skimp on their task, and a multi thousand pound product is likely to prematurely fail and cause its owner a lot more grief than it should.

This is very much in the hands of the manufacturers. But it needs consumers to voice their dissatisfaction with the status quo, and to lay down the challenge to improve or lose sales.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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If you buy a caravan and faults then become apparent and the dealer resolves them quickly to every ones satisfaction, then there is not an issue, but when the dealer makes a half hearted attempts at repairs resulting in you playing ping pong with the dealer that gives the caravan brand a bad name!
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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If you buy a caravan and faults then become apparent and the dealer resolves them quickly to every ones satisfaction, then there is not an issue, but when the dealer makes a half hearted attempts at repairs resulting in you playing ping pong with the dealer that gives the caravan brand a bad name!
I agree about good service when a fault arises should be the norm, but there are too many faults that simply should not happen, and many of them are due to manufacturers quite simply skimping on proper manufacturing control.
 

Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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There are some caravanners who feel they have received a good product and service, which is great, but no more than they are entitled to, but there are also at least 1 in 5 caravanners who are only to blame for buying a caravan, who end up having to make warranty claims.
Are there any published figures which support your assertion that at least 1 in 5 caravan buyers have to make warranty claims Prof?
If that's a true figure it's surprising that dealerships who have to carry out this work, often at reduced rates, haven't put pressure on the manufacturers to improve matters, because a 20% failure rate is shocking.
The trouble with the caravan manufacturing industry as far as customers are concerned is that there is no organisation that truly represents our interests.
If something goes wrong with your new caravan, hard luck, you're on your own, having to claim under warranty from the supplying dealer, with the manufacturer with whom you have no effective point of contact as the final arbiter of the validity of your claim.
Wood as a construction material for automotive purposes is not a suitable material.
It might be ok for owners of Morgan cars who keep the car garaged and only used at weekends, but people who owned Mock Tudor Moggie 1000s back in the day will know that the wooden frames were prone to rot.
There are thriving businesses which supply replacement wooden frames for classic car enthusiasts who own Morris 1000 Travellers.
It's a pity that there are no niche manufacturers of replacement caravan structural components.
Newer composite materials are being introduced into caravan manufacture, with better bonding products being developed, but until manufacturers directly feel the pain of their failures I'm afraid that we will continue to see forum posts complaining about shoddy workmanship for some time to come.
I fully understand why Jezzer B is supporting his choice, his caravan is fault free which is great.
Nobody wants to see their choice almost universally mocked or put down, and internet forums can never be representative of overall experience so it's good to have someone prepared to balance criticisms.
 
May 7, 2012
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The standard required by law was merchantable quality, this was changed by the CPA to basically fault free . This has been discussed here many times, so I will not repeat it, but applies equally to the cheapest and most expensive models.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Must go and have a peek at my De Haviland Mosquito. Although unfortunately most didn’t have the chance to rot 😁
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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Are there any published figures which support your assertion that at least 1 in 5 caravan buyers have to make warranty claims Prof?
If only 20% of caravan buyers have to make a warranty claim, that's a very low rate - such statistics include all the minor faults which can be lived with until the next scheduled service as well as the major faults which prevent the caravan being used, and everything in between.
 

Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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Must go and have a peek at my De Haviland Mosquito. Although unfortunat most didn’t have the chance to rit 😁
Ah, the 'wooden wonder'.
It was very effective when used for the purposes of it's design, but nobody cooked, washed and slept in it and although there were many stresses on the airframe the design took them into account.
One of the last ones flying broke apart when performing aerobatic manoeuvres on 21st July 1996 near Barton airfield, Manchester.
There were several recorded instances of DeHavilland Mosquitos breaking up in flight during the war years, especially in hotter climates.
I definitely wouldn't recommend balsa wood for use in caravan construction no matter how carefully wartime home workers in and around Hatfield carried out assembly work 😳
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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I used the figure generated by the satisfaction surveys, which show that year on year on average 20% of respondents have issues with their new caravans.

As with any material its best performance can only be assured when it is treated correctly. Morgan cars is a good example, of where when wood is perfectly practical material for their cars. Similarly look at how many wooden framed homes have survived from tudor times and before. It is horses for courses, and that where Woody's like the Minor Countrymen, and other similar vehicles, and the wood used in caravan walls, is let down becasue in the case of the cars it's widely exposed to the weather and bright sunshine, and for caravans when the construction allows water in, that when wood is compromised.

Caravan owners are under represented, and we know that the manufacturers do hide behind their dealerships.
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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Ah, the 'wooden wonder'.
It was very effective when used for the purposes of it's design, but nobody cooked, washed and slept in it and although there were many stresses on the airframe the design took them into account.
One of the last ones flying broke apart when performing aerobatic manoeuvres on 21st July 1996 near Barton airfield, Manchester.
There were several recorded instances of DeHavilland Mosquitos breaking up in flight during the war years, especially in hotter climates.
I definitely wouldn't recommend balsa wood for use in caravan construction no matter how carefully wartime home workers in and around Hatfield carried out assembly work 😳
AFAIK the glue used to bond the layers of wood were unsuitable in hot, humid climates and the Mosquito was not a success in the Far East.

Many caravans had/have a balsa layer as the middle layer of 3-ply used for the inner part of the bonded sandwich wall and the 3-ply used for furniture and bed boxes.
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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Concorde also used balsa in its floor-in the right place as the prof says its great and even in the Morris Traveller it lasts fantastically well if cared for properly-yes they do rot but check out the age !
In terms of the Mossy glues weren't as techinically advanced obviously and I don't know about its success or otherwise in hotter or more moist climes but on the European theatre it was a fantastically successful aircraft-very tough under fire, very light and very, very fast-hence its use as a pathfinder. Amazing aircraft. There was a large amount of wood in the Hurricane-round the pilot and rear stringers . Never seen any complaints of that falling apart and plenty still flying. The Wellington bomber was another example-geodetics structure=light and very tough courtesy of the absolute genius of Sir Barnes Wallace. The beauty of a wooden structure too in war times was that it meant an alternative material could be used-easing the shortage of aluminium and spreading the load on the work force-lots of wood working skills around in those days.
In summary-wood is an amazing resource-right type right place it is a fantastic competitor for modern materials.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Concorde also used balsa in its floor-in the right place as the prof says its great and even in the Morris Traveller it lasts fantastically well if cared for properly-yes they do rot but check out the age !
In terms of the Mossy glues weren't as techinically advanced obviously and I don't know about its success or otherwise in hotter or more moist climes but on the European theatre it was a fantastically successful aircraft-very tough under fire, very light and very, very fast-hence its use as a pathfinder. Amazing aircraft. There was a large amount of wood in the Hurricane-round the pilot and rear stringers . Never seen any complaints of that falling apart and plenty still flying. The Wellington bomber was another example-geodetics structure=light and very tough courtesy of the absolute genius of Sir Barnes Wallace. The beauty of a wooden structure too in war times was that it meant an alternative material could be used-easing the shortage of aluminium and spreading the load on the work force-lots of wood working skills around in those days.
In summary-wood is an amazing resource-right type right place it is a fantastic competitor for modern materials.
There was a programme on the Mosquito recently and a guy in the US has restored one to flying condition. I once read that had the RAF been supplied with only Mosquitoes its overall effectiveness would have been better than the combination of aircraft and with much reduced aircrew losses. Someone had modelled the operational scenarios. Of course it would not have done the bouncing bomb but that in the overall picture did not influence the models predicted outcomes.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The standard required by law was merchantable quality, this was changed by the CPA to basically fault free . This has been discussed here many times, so I will not repeat it, but applies equally to the cheapest and most expensive models.
The Consumer Protection Association (CPA) does not have the authority to change the law! Only the Government can change the wording or effect of an Act of Parliament like the CRA.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Are there any published figures which support your assertion that at least 1 in 5 caravan buyers have to make warranty claims Prof?
If that's a true figure it's surprising that dealerships who have to carry out this work, often at reduced rates, haven't put pressure on the manufacturers to improve matters, because a 20% failure rate is shocking.
The trouble with the caravan manufacturing industry as far as customers are concerned is that there is no organisation that truly represents our interests.
If something goes wrong with your new caravan, hard luck, you're on your own, having to claim under warranty from the supplying dealer, with the manufacturer with whom you have no effective point of contact as the final arbiter of the validity of your claim.

Either you are incorrect or badly worded your statement as there is an organisation that represents our interests and it is called parliament who have passed an Act called Consumer Rights Act 2015. You need to use the tools they have given you to your advantage. If you do not use the tools, then only you are too blame. If you have a caravan on HP you have the finance company in your corner to fight your battles.
However I do understand the point you were trying to convey. :D
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I used the figure generated by the satisfaction surveys, which show that year on year on average 20% of respondents have issues with their new caravans.
What percentage of people who own caravans responded to the survey? probably less than 10% as the norm is probably less than 5%. Satisfaction surveys are a misleading representation of whatever industry they are supposed to be evaluating!
 
Nov 6, 2005
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What percentage of people who own caravans responded to the survey? probably less than 10% as the norm is probably less than 5%. Satisfaction surveys are a misleading representation of whatever industry they are supposed to be evaluating!
Surveys only ever sample, they never ask everyone - unless there's evidence that the sample was distorted then it's valid to assume it's representative.
 

Parksy

Moderator
Nov 12, 2009
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Either you are incorrect or badly worded your statement as there is an organisation that represents our interests and it is called parliament who have passed an Act called Consumer Rights Act 2015. You need to use the tools they have given you to your advantage. If you do not use the tools, then only you are too blame. If you have a caravan on HP you have the finance company in your corner to fight your battles.
However I do understand the point you were trying to convey. :D
I'm well aware of the CRA and and it's application thanks.
Legal assistance is also available to members of the two main clubs.
My point is that there is no organisation in place which is set up solely to hold caravan manufacturers as a whole to account for their failings.
No organisation tests caravans in real world conditions to report truthfully on quality issues over time.
 
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