My big old Citroen C5 estate is poorly and in the garage and I'm looking to change it for something like a Ford Galaxy or VW Sharan, has anyone had and experiences of these MPV's? As well as a tow car I also need it as a mini-van for my decorating business, plus a big comfy lounge for the wife and kids!
Hello, I'd thought I'd share with you the only photo I have of me caravanning when I was a child. It must of been around 1978 when we spent most years going across on the ferry to France for our annual family holiday.
If I remember right, my mother locked the keys in the boot of our MK1 Cavalier at the Folkstone Racecourse campsite and we missed the ferry. We had to take a train to meet a neighbour who had a spare key for the car and then catch the following ferry! We then spent time searching for friends who went in another caravan on the earlier ferry and eventually found them coming down the road, only for the caravan keys to be locked in the caravan and dangling a girl through the skylight to regain access!
Yes, I have no idea how that was possible but apparently it happened!
I completely agree and was angered by his comments, the fact that caravanning brings so much positive to many so people and enabling those who cannot afford the hefty hotel bills around the UK. I was bought up caravanning in the 1970's when it was a cheap holiday for my parents to take us kids on, and now I do the same with my kids. We just bought an old caravan and I'm tackling damp issues but were going to make good use of it and have amazing times on a budget.
Ray Smear's life will never be the same again and it's our job to remind people of this 'celebrities' attitude to those perhaps less fortunate than himself.
Very true Dickers but I really have no idea how I could replace the mastic without pulling the walls apart, not something I want to do! I guess that there has been minimal damage which I'm drying out and now the area is protected until I can work out my best options considering the cost and age of the caravan.
One idea is to lift the side apart somehow but I fear this could cause more issues than resolving them, end of the day I think I'm going for the most straightforward!
Thanks, the creeping cure fluid would be great but I can't see it running upwards! The rain seems to run down the sidewall and then hugging the panel it goes back up into the gaps within the seem. Surprisingly I put some white insulation tape along the seam and it sticks well and doesn't look too bad, so i'm considering a stripe to go over the seam that matches the existing decals. First I think I'll try a bead of sikaflex but waiting for the weather to improve is frustrating!
I've noticed some water ingress coming in from what I think is a bodywork panel joint. The joint seam is towards the bottom of the caravan and looks like it was sealed with mastic in production although it looks like it's perishing. There is no way to take this apart unless it was done professionally in some caravan centre so I wondering how I could protect and reseal this joint? At the moment I'm going to buy some electrical tape and stick that along the seam all the way down both sides of the van, that should stop any further water getting in but I'm looking for something longer lasting, perhaps a bead of Sikaflex?
Yes sad tale and I've been reading this all too often. I guess at least the newer Bailey caravans have been designed without wood framing etc so hopefully other manufacturers will follow suit, although it will take quite a few years for them to filter down to those on a budget!
The caravan is now a sweat lodge most evenings now as I'm determined to get on top of all of these issues, and hopefully come out smiling in a year or so when I've stripped it out and rebuilt certain sections. It's kind of a war of patience now!
Thanks again, I've been spending time removing all the cushions and now have discovered another damp area reading 50% at the rear. Not a huge area, an area where the mastic was not replaced as the caravan was parked back against the house. So new mastic ordered and hopefully we'll get a nice weekend soon!
People really should be warmed when spending good money on caravans, even if they are only a couple of years old as I've read some nightmare stories. After years of doing van conversions I've never worried about damp, this has been a real eye opener. It's a shame that mastic replacement wasn't advertised as a requirement for every 5 years or something as my heart go's out to those young families who have, and are, falling into the same trap and perhaps not having the skills to repair. I guess like myself you go into holiday mode when looking and get too enthusiastic! Anyway, 2 heaters and and a dehumidifier on the go, it will be ready by April! :-) Cheers.
Yes I have a mains dehumidifier which seems to do the job well, especially when the weather is bad! The caravan cushions etc are still in the van although I have stood them up and most of them are out of the way in the toilet compartment. I think yes it would be a good idea to bring them indoors although space is a premium with the children and I don't think the loft would be a good idea, but I'll try and give it a go.
I think you must learn some amazing things at the RAF, my late father was stationed at Tangmere I think back in the late 50's early 60's and he was always full of good ideas and a very practical person.
The floor in the caravan is carpeted and in reasonable condition, I'm sticking the meter through this and that's what's giving the readings. I'm just wondering if this 16-25% is due to the severe rain that we had here hoping this will improve in better conditions.
As I continue to dry out areas in our caravan I've noticed the floor reading around 17% to 25%. Is it top be expected that the readings will be higher during a very heavy period of rain and wind?
I'm constantly running a 700 watt oil heater in the van now although this is leaned close the walls I'm trying to dry, plus this morning I emptied a pint of water from running the dehumidifier all day yesterday. Even when it's not raining in the Welsh valleys, it's still wet!
Thanks for allowing me to share my new caravaner concerns. :-) Cheers, Graham.
I had the upper rail of a couple of months ago when I replaced the mastic although yet to tackle the lower rail. But this rail stops before the front fibre glass section so hopefully should not effect the problem although I will be replacing the mastic with the next few weeks. There's some big rain coming so we shall see if the new seal does it's job, looking at the old one it's likely that the water was going under it and into the gas locker.
Great idea about injecting hardener Trooper, thanks for that! Just received locker seal and putting it on today, and after taping the edges up after a day of rain only a few drops got in, so I'm hopefully that the new seal should all but remedy the water.
I seemed to pulled more and more to ripping all the wood out but I'm determined to get at least one spring and summer season without doing that!
I'm also wondering if it's possible for the lower skirt rail track to cause issues on the floor if leaking? I seem to be getting a section where the damp patch is rising although it is dry just below the window it is under!
I'm still trying to stop the rot in my caravan without removing any wood, so far it seems the soft damaged areas are below the level of the front seating frames. A lot of the wood has gone very powdery on top and some sections are still wet as I continue to dry them out slowly with a oil filled radiator. Also the front floor sections still within the seating frame structure are doing the same.
My question is after I hopefully stop the ingress of water could I use waterproof wood hardened to solidify these areas and re-laminate with fablon?
I've recently found another big leak which seems to be coming in from the front gas locker and pooling in one corner (as the caravan is on a slight slope). Here the water is going through into the floor and it looks like it's been causing damage for some time although luckily I don't think it's too much of a nightmare and maybe possible to repair with the hardener? I've ordered a new seal to go around the locker door and I've cleaned up the loose rusty hinges and used mastic underneath them when replacing.
Although I'm very tempted to rip out the old wood inside, mainly on the walls I just can't find the heart to do it yet as I've only had the caravan for a few months. Yes I'm still gutted and angry with the bloke I bought it from, and embarressed of buying it without properly checking it. Still, Im looking to remove the rotten wood perhaps next autumn before the winter kicks in again and to be completely sure that the re-sealing work that I have been doing will hold.
Thanks, Graham. p.s Best wishes on a new year of caravanning!
Thanks for the offer for advice for over in France, although I must say I've spent quite a lot of time driving there over the last 25 years. I don't know what it is about driving in France but I find it very easy and relaxing, a lot less stressful than the UK! I've been building homemade camper vans over the years and have taken them but now as the family is growing, so must the space. I'm also planning to convert another small van in the next couple of years, as a day van and use that to pull our caravan. At the moment I have a Citroen C5, being that I'm a Citroen nut and have owned many from Xantias, BX's & XM's!
I think we're not going too far next year, just Brittany, as were going to the International Celtic Festival in Lorient. Plus with a 1 year old baby by then I don't want them stuck looking out a car window for hours on end. But we are planning to go for 4 weeks every year hopefully in the school holidays, but start of with 2 weeks and grow fronm there.
My only wish would that the price of the ferry would come down, and also perhaps a ferry would leave from South Wales lol! Cheers.
Thanks for that, I'm going to do the same this weekend, drill a few small tiny holes. :-)
Not trying to drag the conversation along but over the last couple of days the dehumidifier has not collected any water. So I checked the damp meter readings this morning and low and behold I would say half of the areas that read %50 are now reading lower than %20! wow. Just the areas that are still covered by the laminate that are around %50 or have even lowered themselves, great news! Hopefully dry rot will not travel, I don't believe it generally does although some areas will just stay soft or brittle.
So there is hope and anyone in the same position that I was, wait you can still battle on! (If it's not really taking over)
I'm hoping now that I've done enough to hold back the rain, only time will tell until I can do more next spring. In the mean time I'm going to continue to use the dehumidifier perhaps once a week as well as keeping a little heat in the van to take the edge off the freeze etc. I've costed running the small oil heater at around 50p a day and the dehumidifier pretty much the same as a domestic fridge.
Keep on keeping on! :-)
Here's to long dry trips around France in our Elddis!
Been working on the caravan the last couple of days and learning as I go! Got those screws which are shorter than the ones coming off our van. They're in a very good condition and have decided to re-use them and as they are longer than the ones I bought. I've also added a few new extra screws around the corners. It certainly is a messy job and takes quite a while, I've managed to do the 2 front sections of the awning rails and the front upper strip. Not the most tidy of jobs as I used mastic on a roll and over done it on some areas which are now on show. Although I could trim these off and it would look fine I'm thinking more the merrier!
I now need to buy some fresh plastic infill strips to cover the screws although I'm considering a bead of white sealant instead as some of the screws are slightly proud and it mat be an issue sticking the strips in those sections! So last chance tomorrow and I'm intending of changing the front window mastic strip and also the leisure battery box. I've also bought some sikaflex 512 caravan sealer and I'm considering giving this a try and perhaps going over some of the seems with it.
Anyway, going to continue to dry out the van as much as possible over the winter and generally keep an eye on things, paranoid testing of damp every few days! Thanks again for all the help and guidance.
Yes I really wished I bought a damp meter before hand, although without this knowledge and being smitten with the sight of this caravan I became glazed to the finer details while checking it over. I think as there was no sign of any issues and the fact the guy was assuring it was dry I just believed him!
Anyway, some interesting news. a few days ago I covered the front section of the caravan in post-it notes, on each note I wrote the damp reading and date. I've then ran a dehumidifier over the last 4 days, about 8 hours a day and have just checked the readings. I would say nearly all the readings between 15% and 30% were down between 1% to 4%, although the 50% readings were still the same.
I've not uncovered any areas yet and have just bought a small oil filled electric radiator to put inside. The areas that are 50% are predictable to where water must have leaked in and from where the damage is spreading, so my aim is to focus there. Tomorrow I'm going to uncover the laminated areas below the seating level and see also if this helps, here's hoping!
Plus looks like there's a dry week ahead and I've a couple of days I'm going to reseal some outer rails, based around the problem areas! Dang I'm feeling positive at the moment. Also, I've noticed soft lower areas of what seems to be damaged internal boards that are reading less than 15%, maybe an old issue dried out?
Keep on keeping on, especially as ferry crossings have just been booked! :-)
Although I understand the need to tackle the issue, time I do not have. Well not until work drops off perhaps in January/February (although not wishing it!). The only other option I've read about is to open up access to the areas of damp and try using a dehumidifier and extract some of the moisture.
I doubt I could tackle to whole job in one weekend, although I suppose I could remove the damp wood and try to work on the caravan later. Those new purely plastic caravans without and wood to rot sound ideal at the moment!
We chose this particular caravan as it just fits on our driveway and there is no way I could keep it under cover anywhere I'm afraid! I am ok at DIY and have built my own basic campervans in the past, so I guess I'll be reconstructing the inside front of our caravan, something I was hoping not to do and have a break from building things in vans etc. Finding the time is not easy too and the weather is not going to get any better, also I see the mastic is not recommended to use when it's less that 10 degrees. I've also just bought some Silkafex to go along the seams where I have already replaced the mastic so I'll pop that on if it's dry next weekend.
My 'plan' is to dry it out as much as possible until spring and use a dehumidifier too. Continue to reseal when the weather is right and use the caravan until next autumn. Next autumn, I'll remove from the inside all damp and damaged timber, replace and make look good etc. Hopefully this will be enough.
And also I'm hoping the damp wont spread, if it does such a thing after being sealed. It is a cracking van and perfect layout and size for us and I'm looking forward to our adventures!
Thanks for the advice, anything is good ammunition for thought :-) Cheers, Graham.