Wanderer Motorhome Page 22

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Driving in France?
Then this web site is a must:
http://about-france.com/travel.htm

email Brian,

Environmentally Safe Toilet Treatment for motorhomes, caravans and boats:
http://www.bioprox.co.uk

For a Holiday with a difference in a Motorhome, see this link:
http://www.landyonline.co.za/off_road/dipli/twd2.htm

Great Ormond Street Hospital
Children's Charity 
Great Ormond Street Hospital, Children's Charity, 40 Bernard Street, London.  WC1N 1LE
Tel: 020 7239 3000 
Click on the link to donate
http://www.gosh.nhs.uk/about-us/

As author and maintainer of this web site. I do not save, retain, or sell  any email addresses of those who email me. Should you not get a reply from me, please send again, I might have missed it in my spam catcher!

Additions to Motorhome pages:-
1.Fitting New Automatic Water System Pump
2.Winterising the water pump.
3.Water Tank Level Meter-modification to electronic circuit

4.Basin Mixer Taps - tip & how to repair a dripping tap.
5.Extending Fresh Water Drain Tap to Outside

To Speed up page loading, images are shown as a 'Thumbnail.' Clicking on these will show the complete image

 

To Page Links & Contents Index

Contents:  1. Buying a Motorhome<Buying a Motorhome>


Buying a Motorhome.

Buying your dream can be fun if you are prepared.

Below are some notes I prepared for an Email query I received; "what should I look out for when I buy a Motorhome?"

Congratulations on your purchase, I'm sure you will be as pleased as we are. Although there can be lots to do when you get home...............

Ok, What to look for:

You've been to the shows, read the magazines and you know the length that will go into the drive! Also decided on the type; Hightop, Coachbuilt, etc. Your preferred interior design, "U" lounger, "L" lounger, loungers along side the wall lengths, etc..

Now the serious bit checking and inspecting your dream.

Go to the show room wearing clothes which are going to get dirty. You are going to look underneath the vehicle.

Depending on the Dealer, If the thought of getting under the vehicle and mechanical checking could be daunting for you, Then It's possible you could get an AA or RAC engineering check. The cost is a fraction of the total you would be paying buying a Motorhome.

For those who prefer to do it themselves then read on.

Get your partner to check the living quarters. My wife found the toaster tray with toast crumbs still in the tray from the previous owner.

Most importantly have a smell!  Damp smells are quite apparent to women!  It seems only they are that keen. My wife made the comment once, while viewing a Motorhome: 'There's too much deodorant in this van. What are they hiding?' In one they even had candles burning!

Ladder modified to a 5 step, and tennis balls on top to protect the van walls.Check out; Does the van come with a ladder, and is it the right size for the step up to the Luton? We didn't have one.  The dealer gave me an aluminium one. When I got home I realised it was a 4-step ladder and we required a 5 step one, just that little bit higher. There was also no provision for securing a ladder in the Wanderer!  How did the previous owners manage? The dealer said he would supply a 5-step ladder if we paid postage both ways, £20 a time. In the end I modified the 4 step ladder<ladder>

You will be told a pre-delivery service will be done. When collecting the vehicle you will have something to go on.

Have a look at my web site; www.ourwanderer.org.uk/peug8.htm and have mental picture what to expect. Check the engine oil - will be black when you check, will be clean when you take possession after a pre-delivery service, radiator expansion coolant tank, and other reservoirs, etc.

If the van is about 5 years old, then I would not drive it until the CAM BELT had been changed. I know they will tell you they are not changed for 40,000 or more but a Motorhome stands about idle for such a long time the belt gets brittle before it's end of life. My dealer gave in and had the Cam belt changed during pre-delivery service.

Have a look underneath the caravan section of the van. One salesman/dealer said to me; 'He never checked underneath.'

Look for any excessive rust on the chassis. You can expect rust on the springs. but look at the Bump stop and jacking positionspring supports, these are the jacking<jacking>

While you are at the back end, have a look at the load compensating valve<valve>

View the Rubber Bump stop, which is located in the middle of the rear springs. It should be at least 2inches off the centre of the spring. If resting on the centre spring then the vehicle could be overloaded or has problems.

 Spare tyre in cradle under chassisThe spare wheel cradle under the chassis, how is it supported, is it so rusted you won't be able to get the spare wheel down. The same dealer said "That's what the AA is for! "Don't worry about the spare wheel retainer being rusty. It is easy to get off and then you can clean it up with a rotary wire brush on your electric drill and then paint with Hammerite. Make it easier for the "Emergency Service," grease the securing support screws on the bracket.

When looking underneath have a good look at the plywood base, is it flaking? Could be trouble. Scraping it and you will get small flakes on your nails. But any serious flaking, well! See the LCV adjustment photo above, for an example of a base plate in good condition.

Is the back wall connected to the base plate? When I got home I was horrified to find mine had a 1/2-inch horizontal gap from one side to the other. This meant the whole back wall was not supported at bottom!  The small print informed, 'Manufacturers faults not covered under warranty.'

 See my solution in the web site; www.ourwanderer.org.uk/wan5.htm

Brake pipesThe Dual hydraulic brake pipes, to the brake pads, do they look cracked and perished? They will look grey and dusty, but cracks<cracks>

If you can have a look at the front brake discs, very hard to view, mine were rusted and had to be replaced on my first service, before the MOT. The pads were replaced at the same time.

Check the tyres, if they are over 6 years old then they must be changed. If no date marks and they are Michelin or Pirelli, then you can expect them to be originals. Make sure the tyre sizes have a 'C' on the markings<markings>

Note tyre markings

Note tyre markings.

What is the tread like

What is the tread like

I saw a blow out of a Motorhome in front of me, on the M4 near my home recently. I thought he was going to overturn. You could see the dust and air blowing from the side of the tyre. I said to the wife; ’He was using old tyres.’ It was an "F" registered Hymer.

I almost cried when I changed mine they were the originals, Michelins, I couldn’t afford to replace them as originals! They looked mint, but over 5 years old. I was taking no chances so replaced them with 'Pattern' types.

Gas locker line with aluminium Plate
When on the outside, open the locker doors, check the lock retainers, they are so flimsy! are they broken or look suspect. How do the bases of the lockers seem, are they firm and secure? If the base rocks or is spongy, then it's an expensive repair. In my Motorhome the lockers were lined<lined>

Turn on the vehicle lights, check the lights all around, sidelights, rear lights, stoplights, the license plate lights, the headlights, open the bonnet and check the hydraulic pipe to the back of the headlamps. These are weight dip controllers, from the interior headlamp adjustment switch. Mine was broken. The dealer was quite peeved Headlamp Adjuster Hydraulic Pipe when I pointed this out to him. He said;"What do you expect for a second hand vehicle at £18000! " I also pointed out to him stone damage to the headlamp<headlamp>

If you could try and have a look at the radiator, also pipes to and from it. Do they look good, no leaks? Do the fins look firm, are they 'Droopy'?  That could mean an expensive replacement. Can you see any white drip marks running down the wall of the radiator. Mine had the white drip marks from the expansion header tank pipe inputs. That was easy to rectify.

Check the warning indicators, are they working and do the dash panel lamps illuminate.

When starting the diesel engine, how long does the glow plug heater light stay on, too long could mean the battery is not up to the job. I would expect the engine to start on the first pull, at least on the second. Some times people change the battery for a new one, but they then buy a car type, quite unsuitable for diesel engines. The diesel engine type cost more!

While you are in the engine compartment, have a look at the battery tray. Has it suffered the notorious battery overflow, which rusts up the battery tray, earth bolts and cross member. The latter is the hardest to view as it is almost covered by the front bumper, but you must try. A rusted through cross member will fail the MOT and cost a lot to replace. Again I have shown the repair required in my web pages. The earth bolt on mine was so rusted, I reckon it would have lasted about another month!

If your vehicle has been "Serviced" before delivery, have a look underneath when you Drive Shaft Gaitercheck the cross member, check the oil filter does it look NEW. At the same time check the Drive shaft Gaiters<Gaiters>

Ok, that's almost all on the outside.

INSIDE, get a report from the wife! I'm sure she will have checked the interior.

Look at all the catches on the lockers, at least 4 of mine were faulty. The dealer allowed me to purchase some from his accessory shelves!

Check the loungers for tears, check the bed lounger timber spans for breakages. Check the pipes inside the lockers, any leaks. Turn on the leisure battery at the control panel. Turn on the taps and listen to the pump. Any growling? Could be faulty. The thumping is natural.

Turn on all the switches at the control panel, do the electrical circuits work.  If it has a voltage<voltage>

 

If the dealer has given a hook-up<hook-up>

See photo of my 250 VAC Hook up cable, grey and fresh water pipes when pitch has facilities.

Do all the lights work? 12volt and 250VoltAC if fitted.

Check the washroom, lights, OK? Turn on the taps and expect the water to come from both taps. Too simple I know, but it has been known!

Check the shower tray. Is it cracked? Any cracking will allow the damp to go into the Caravan base plate and set up a rot. How do the wall linings look? Are they showing signs of peeling? Due to 'Wild Camping' regularly. If so this could mean the damp getting down into the Motorhome base, constructed of 1/8" plywood, Styrofoam and another plywood sheet! [See page 10-Shower page, on advice received on how to do a repair.]

Walk across the floor from the cab to the loungers, walk very firmly, and don’t stamp. Feel for any flexing. If you can feel flexing it could be a Delamination fault. My van had this fault underneath the sky vent.  I suspect the previous owner had left the vent open during wet weather and the damp caused delamination. You could feel it giving with a slight squeak. It cost me £200 to repair an 18-inch diameter area! [ The actual fault was a leaking Light Vent immediately above. ]

Do the same inside the washroom, check the walls for delamination, the flexing is barely perceptible.  The wall facing the interior will flex on its mounting; all Motorhomes do that even the £40,000 ones.

Check the toilet does it flush, go outside and check the toilet cassette, no need to take it out, but does the locker interior show signs of leaks. If you feel you have time, take the cassette out. Open the flap and have a look at the seal. Look at my web site for ideas. My seal had to be replaced soon after. Is the toilet suitable for you? Ours had the hand push down operation, after a week our older fingers were very aware, so I modified it to operate from 12Volts. [See my previous pages for this mod.] Our previous Motorhome had the Thetford<Thetford>

Seal took on a rib during the winter storage

Seal took on a rib during the winter storage.

Seal in Place

Seal in Place

By the way, start the engine, get the wife to turn on the fridge 12 volt switch, feel inside the freezer compartment, after about 5 mins. You should be able to detect a drop in temperature. Not something to write home about, but enough to determine if it is working. If you are lucky then you might have a fridge with an indicator to show if it is turned on. If not then you could carry out my modification, as seen in my other pages.

Check the gas, does it turn on, even, do you have gas pipes inside the locker? Yes! I viewed one without. Do you have a gas bottle? Do you have a hook-up cable? None of these were in mine. The previous owner - or dealer! - stripped everything.

Having checked the gas, grill OK, cooker rings, OK. If there’s an oven check for functions.

Turn on the gas water heater and check for function, after about 5 minutes there should be a distinct warm feel of the water, or you can go outside and feel the heater vent. Often the dealer will make this part of the hand over checks.

Make sure the water heater works on electric if fitted, and the indicator panel lights indicate normal functions.

Check the caravan door, is it held firmly on its hinges? In fact check all the lockers inside and outside are all the hinges held firmly.

Check the Luton and it's cushions. Any stains?  also the roof vent for water ingress.

Check the corners of the Luton interior, lift the mat at the corners, If the Luton is leaking then you will see stains here. [ Wish I had had this advice, would have saved me a lot of money]

Check the window latches and curtains. Do the shades and fly screens pull down, check for rips at the edges.

Check www.ourwanderer.org.uk/wan2.htm for a list of my mods. This list will give ideas on what to look for.

Look inside the lockers for stains. Any water ingress will show at the seams inside these lockers.

I forgot; Check the bodywork, look for dents and scrapes which could be expensive to repair. My Motorhome had cracks where the Luton met the van windscreen! While checking this, it turned into a hole due to the Luton had not been correctly constructed at this point. Fortunately the Bonding material is cheap to repair.

Look at the bike rack, if it's a 4-bike rack then the back panel could be flexing, this is due to so much weight being placed on it, that too could require expensive repairs.

Check the bike rack by pulling firmly, not wrenching and see how much flexing the back panel does. A small amount can be expected.

I assume you will have a demonstration of all the living quarter’s facilities. Have a look at the electric control panel, usually marked 'Zig' Try and operate the control switches, then ensure they are functioning for that particular part of the interior. For example if a switch is marked interior lights, do they actually turn them on and off. My van had been modified before the control switch and fuse! This meant the lights were permanently on even when the control panel was turned off. Also the voltage source was direct from the leisure battery and not fused. A dangerous fitting.

Does the Motorhome have a wind out shade or awning, make sure it winds out and has  no rips in the canvas.


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