Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 52 total)
  • Caravan build quality
  • RustyNissanPrairie
    Full Member

    MrsRNP and I went middle aged caravan shopping today!
    We’re looking for something small and effectively the next step up from a tent. Looked at Eriba (my choice), Tab and Go Pod.

    First world problem but OMG the build quality of caravans is shockingly bad!

    The most disappointing was Eriba (Hymer), light fitting hanging off, folding shelf hinge broken, crap un-ergonomic handles, annoying door catch, splodges of glue on the external sides strips. This is on £35k brand new vans with a proudly made in Germany badge on the outside!

    Go Pod was even worse, I didn’t take a photo but the factory had screwed a cable holder through the door with screws too long that had gone through and cracked/broke the outer skin. The interior fit out was equally shoddy. This was £20k

    Tab (Kanus) seemed the best but even so had a screw sticking out of the wheel arch trim and ill fitting external plastics.

    I went into this thinking the Eriba especially would be good as they have a cult following and hold their value well second hand but I don’t get it🤷‍♂️

    No wonder Clarkson hates them – it’s probably the lack of QC that annoys him.

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    Did they give you a dag with it?

    fazzini
    Full Member

    Built from twigs and Gaffa tape, and yet cost £000s to fix, service etc.

    Mrs F and I went to see a new to us caravan a few years back. It was genuinely the best caravan we’d seen, were ready to do the deal, right up until I noticed the ‘filled in hole’ that was hidden inside the bathroom cabinet. I checked outside and there was the repair ‘plug’. Checked inside again and the hole was there, in the distinct shape of a bullet hole. We didn’t buy it. Next one we saw, we opened the bathroom door. It fell off the hinges.

    northernremedy
    Full Member

    Swift Basecamp wasn’t too bad when we looked.

    doomanic
    Full Member

    Were any of them Periwinkle Blue?

    molgrips
    Free Member

    yet cost £000s to fix, service etc.

    Caravan servicing is a bit of a scam tbh.

    I’ve found the materials to be pretty flimsy – because I’m buying old vans – and the construction rough and ready but I haven’t come across obvious blunders, I’ve never had a door fall off its hinges for example. But I don’t pay £35k for new ones.

    I’m guessing it must somehow be an expensive market to operate in because these companies aren’t exactly rolling in megabucks. You can get really nicely made motorhomes, but expect to pay £100k on top of the £20k chassis.

    Did they give you a dag with it?

    That film came out 24 years ago, you know.

    RustyNissanPrairie
    Full Member

    We aren’t looking at new ones – the place we went to had a used Tab but they were an Eriba main dealer with a row of new ones going green mouldy.

    I get they are lightweight modern materials so are towable but it was the lack of QC from the factory that was the surprising thing. The dealer was crap as well – “we do a snagging list when you’ve bought it”

    Why not do it before they go on the showroom floor? I now think the premium German brand Eriba are cobbled together overpriced shite!

    rockchic
    Free Member

    I had my 2016 Bailey serviced by a NCC approved mobile guy a couple of weeks ago.

    Speaking to him about quality,Baileys generally ok because of Alu tech construction. Coachmans good ,and Burstners very good . Worst of the bunch,Elddis.

    I was thinking of moving to a motorhome but at 70 to 80k the finish was poor. Exterior mastic looked like it had put on with a trowel and interior fittings flimsy .

    Years ago i had a Hymer caravan which i lived in full time. Far superior to anything about nowadays but with a weight penalty.

    After having a problem with the dealer i bought the Bailey off i asked the mobile guy if he knew of any good dealers in the area.

    Bluntly,no . Mirrors my experience as well.

    molgrips
    Free Member

    Yeah I think flimsy materials are one thing, but shoddy construction and QC another.

    I get they are lightweight modern materials so are towable

    I think modern vans are significantly heavier due in part to the use of better materials e.g. alu-tech; older ones are lighter but even flimsier. When we go to see new vans at dealers they don’t wobble when you walk around in side – my old one does!

    reluctantwrinkly
    Free Member

    Yes, unfortunately that’s the poor state of affairs when buying a caravan, you either get a good’un or a bad’un, it’s a toss of a coin even when you’ve gone over it with a snagging list. I always inspect the van before delivery and put post-it notes on things that need attention before parting with any money. I feel really peeved that the customer is in effect the inspection dept but that’s never going to change as far as I can see. Dealers seem to be blind to even glaring build faults, heaven knows why. The real problem is what you can’t see-damp, which may not show for some time. It’s something you have to suck up if you want to caravan or Motorhome-a hassle but there it is, the rewards mainly outweigh the hassle. Despite the makers claims of space age build techniques, none of them seem foolproof. Reading this back I realise how bad it sounds!

    Tom-B
    Free Member

    If you think caravans are bad, then definitely avoid motorhomes. Ours is 3 years old and falling apart!

    molgrips
    Free Member

    It’s something you have to suck up if you want to caravan

    Hmm.. there’s two things here. In a van made with wood, damp is like cancer as it inevitably kills it – the wood rots. With a wood-free shell e.g. Bailey the damp gets in and gets your stuff wet (or the furniture) but it’s not fatal, and you just have to fix the leak. Early ones were prone to leaks, my auntie had one where water poured in, but it was fixed and it lived.

    reluctantwrinkly
    Free Member

    Ours is a Bailey Alutech which  is mainly composite construction but for some bizarre reason they use wood for the floor which can rot in the corners if not checked regularly, again due to poor design water can run off the body and track into vulnerable areas. I can’t help thinking how car design has moved on, water and mud traps have largely been eliminated and coatings keep rust at bay, how many modern cars do you see rotting out these days, when I started driving in the 70’s even a new car was a rust bucket after a few years.

    mildred
    Full Member

    Except Bailey are truly ****.

    We had a brand new Bailey Pursuit 550/4 for a while.

    Up until then we’d had Euro made motorhomes (CI etc), so was expecting a step ip in quality from a UK brand. How wrong were we?

    It leaked like a sieve, the fittings were balsa wood, yet flimsier, door handles were wonky… it was just shite. Never again.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    I have an old hymer, it’s ace. Can’t buy a new caravan now though, by comparison they’re all basically crap it seems.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    My sister just bought a second hand Eldis. The first day they had it parked on the drive, water poured in through a badly designed and made front window. Back to be fixed by dealer. Comes back covered in silicone applied by a blind chimp.
    A week later, leaks again.
    This time my dad borrowed a damp meter and they’ve discovered two other leaks.
    This on a £12k fairly new van.

    When mrs_oab and I went camper shopping we visited a local dealer with about 50 vans. I was really surprised at how poorly built most of the coach-built vans were. Really poor design, not great fit, wear showing, and £30-80k price tags second hand.

    One of the reasons we jumped at our Bilbo’s – it is so solid compared to others we looked at.
    https://www.bilbos.com/

    tthew
    Full Member

    “we do a snagging list when you’ve bought it”

    Why not do it before they go on the showroom floor?

    I’ve thought this about cars I’ve looked at too. Reasons I’ve come to are,

    Many customers won’t notice or care, so no need to spend that money.

    If it doesn’t sell and you end up punting it back into trade, you’re paying for it to look nice on someone else’s forecourt.

    mert
    Free Member

    Mines pretty well made, once the first owner got all the snags fixed… He gave me a list of everything that had been done.
    I’ve had it 9 or 10 years and nothing has gone wrong, except where i’ve made a mistake!

    And if you go *really* old they are both really heavy, really flimsy AND really badly made.
    My in laws old one (built in the 1960s) had a steel chassis and frame, so really heavy, and was made out of finished and painted ply. It was about 1300 kilos for a 3.5m long 3.5 berth.
    Even driving too fast could push the outer shell around and open up leaks.
    A stone chip would allow water to soak into the shell. You had to be careful where you pushed it or it would crack.

    They bought it second hand in the mid 70s, and when they’d finished with it, a neighbour bought it to modify the chassis to use as a farm trailer. About 60% of what they stripped off was repairs…

    By comparison mine (alutech) is lighter, bigger, more rigid, better insulated and doesn’t leak…

    Mugboo
    Full Member

    Sounds like there is a gaping gap in the market for a decent new company. Bird Caravans…

    I’ve never owned a caravan or motorhome but all the people I speak to have multiple problems with both.

    We have a camper based on a Sprinter and that will dissolve in a puddle of rust instead 😬🤣

    spyke85
    Free Member

    We’ve a Swift BaseCamp 2 – had it for 4 years now and not had any problems with it.

    The caravan industry however is antiquated and the build quality can indeed be shocking. Luckily we’ve not had any issues, but saw some shockers when we were looking at new vans.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    Sounds like there is a gaping gap in the market for a decent new company. Bird Caravans…

    Ha. The caravan industry faces an existential crisis as cars move to electric (energy density / towing range etc.) so I am not sure I would want to jump in at this point.

    fossy
    Full Member

    Gosh, towing caravan/motorhome industry sounds even more rip off than static’s, and that’s saying something.

    We’ve decided to get rid of ours as we’re ‘up’ on the site license – 10 years. Move on or buy new. Just cleared everything out, said OK, we’re going. Site then turned round and offered another year. We’re not paying £30k for a van we can use for 10 years, and another £5k per year for ground rent and insurance.

    Motorhomes are not cheap, and if they have issues at that cost, blimey.

    a11y
    Full Member

    We looked at the usual UK brands when caravan shopping 10 years ago. Shockingly bad in most cases – superficially looked OK but on closer inspection you’d find more structural integrity in a jaffa cake.

    Ended up buying a 2007 Hobby. Had a lovely hammered finish in silver/grey on the outside rather than the usual smooth white finish. Built like a tank. Internal fixings solid, everything just worked, but it wasn’t perfect. Known issue with water leaking in the high-mounted front marker lights. Dealer fixed ours after it leaked within 3 months of buying it used. Dry thereafter but it was leaking again 6 years later when we were selling.

    Disappointing to hear about Eriba quality as I assumed they’d be well built given the following they have.

    molgrips
    Free Member

    Ha. The caravan industry faces an existential crisis as cars move to electric (energy density / towing range etc.) so I am not sure I would want to jump in at this point.

    There’s a massive opportunity.  Make a decent caravan that’s light, aero, or folding, or a combination of all those.  And has optional batteries in it that you can plug into the car.

    I’d be pretty interested in a folding caravan if the ones available weren’t all crappy and 40 years old.

    ashhh
    Full Member

    I was once told that some campsites don’t allow hobby’s because they are the travellers choice. But to me, that probably means they are decent as you’d probably choose a decent van to live in.

    …they don’t even quality control houses anymore. Its the buyers problem 🙁

    As said above, i think as we move to electric vehicles, non essential diesels (motorhomes) will be managed out too…so I’m not sure I’d drop a small mortgage on a motorhome either at the minute.

    a11y
    Full Member

    I was once told that some campsites don’t allow hobby’s because they are the travellers choice. But to me, that probably means they are decent as you’d probably choose a decent van to live in.

    Indeed – we took that view that if they’re good enough to live in 24/7 then they’re probably decent. Mrs a11y and me used to play “spot the Hobby towed behind a Transit van” when we had ours. Majority are indeed fitting that stereotype! We don’t give a shit about others’ opinion though so towed ours with this…

    Caravan

    RustyNissanPrairie
    Full Member

    Disappointing to hear about Eriba quality as I assumed they’d be well built given the following they have.

    For reference I’m an engineer/designer/fabricator with a Solidworks licence! I’ve dabbled with knock down fittings and know my way round the Hafele catalogue so I’m probably a harsher critic than normal.
    It was also our first time looking at caravans.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    There’s a massive opportunity. Make a decent caravan that’s light, aero, or folding, or a combination of all those. And has optional batteries in it that you can plug into the car.

    This is something I have given some thought to. As it happens a good friend is CEO of one of the biggest car charging point companies so have available expertise in it too. The idea of a caravan thats effectively self propelling (Via batteries capable of charging the car to overcome the losses it creates) is an appealing one. I think caravans will become more like the over-landers you see in Aus etc. where less is onboard and more outside to reduce its size, however the weight will always be a problem. EVs are made from egg boxes and rubber bands already to keep the weight down so I am guessing their towing capacity (aside from range) will be minimal to start off before you worry about range issues too.

    a11y
    Full Member

    For reference I’m an engineer/designer/fabricator with a Solidworks licence! I’ve dabbled with knock down fittings and know my way round the Hafele catalogue so I’m probably a harsher critic than normal.

    I’m definitely not an engineer but I’m still a bloody harsh critic – I can stand lazy design! I just felt with the UK caravans we looked at the amount of superficial gloss and tat was ridiculous. Polishing a turd basically.

    We moved to a BIG tent for the moment after selling the caravan. Probably more structural integrity in that than some caravans.

    Ideally I’d like a solid, basic small caravan. Don’t need the fancy shite. Toilet/shower, fridge, cooking facilities, beds and storage. Less clutter, less weight, but properly built. Caravan worked well for us as a young family and I’d like another, but seriously put off by what I’ve seen so far.

    (storage at the house was our issue – nearest storage facility was £££ and had terrible access times, which killed it for us)

    the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    Ha. The caravan industry faces an existential crisis as cars move to electric (energy density / towing range etc.) so I am not sure I would want to jump in at this point.

    This will certainly become ‘a thing’ – we tow a horsebox and unless you’ve got £40k+ to spend modern small engined hybrid SUV’s/cars aren’t capable of towing big lumps behind them. We’ll be keeping our diesel Kuga until it dies.

    wildc4rd
    Free Member

    Absolutely agree that the current quality is nowhere near even 5 year old stuff. We have a Baily Pegasus GT70 from 2018, and were looking to PX it against a new one, looking at all the new ones we decided we are better off keeping ours, lol.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Ideally I’d like a solid, basic small caravan. Don’t need the fancy shite. Toilet/shower, fridge, cooking facilities, beds and storage. Less clutter, less weight, but properly built. Caravan worked well for us as a young family and I’d like another, but seriously put off by what I’ve seen so far.

    Swift Basecamp or Knauf Sport&Fun.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    Swift Basecamp or Knauf Sport&Fun.

    He said properly built.

    molgrips
    Free Member

    EVs are made from egg boxes and rubber bands already to keep the weight down

    Eh?

    so I am guessing their towing capacity (aside from range) will be minimal to start off before you worry about range issues too.

    Many aren’t rated, or rated for low numbers – I suspect this is because there isn’t sufficient cooling for the battery or motor to handle the extra current on a continuous basis, but this in turn is probably because there isn’t much of a market for it at the moment.  So few people tow that they just need to get the cars out to the majority first.

    However there are some that can tow a fair bit. I’m looking at Ioniq 5s or Polestar 2s with a 1500kg limit or an EQC with a 1800kg limit.  The VAG group cars can do 1200kg which is enough for a smaller van – and if this becomes popular, van manufacturers can easily knock them out at that weight point.  The reason vans got heavier is because cars got heavier and people started towing with SUVs a lot more.

    RustyNissanPrairie
    Full Member

    people started towing with SUVs a lot more.

    Hence why we are looking at caravans.
    £0.5k Porsche Cayenne (as per my thread on here), £15k caravan.
    Man maths!

    reluctantwrinkly
    Free Member

    For balance, our Bailey Unicorn is holding up well compared to our previous Swift which started to self-destruct very quickly, something failed or fell off every trip towards the end. Our friends had 2 Elddis vans which both suffered from the aforementioned widow leaks.

    molgrips
    Free Member

    something failed or fell off every trip towards the end.

    That happens to my Bailey too – however it is 24 years old 🙂

    Actually, to be fair the last few trips have been fine never mind

    alpin
    Free Member

    I think the best way to go if you have the skills is self build… Be that a van conversion, motorhome or caravan.

    Before building our current van we went to a big expo in Munich. Found one van that could have suited our needs, but was too spartan inside. It was also 60k.

    wzzzz
    Free Member

    I suspect the reason they are cheaply built with a veneer of tat is because there is no money in a premium build.

    In 2021 there was just 17693 new caravans sold.

    Compare it to 32126 Vauxhall Corsa alone sold in 2022, you can see the market is relatively tiny vs development and construction costs. I bet it costs more to assemble a caravan than a Corsa.

    There is going to be a ceiling as to what people will pay for a leisure caravan, I suspect that few are going to pay double for a construction that is twice as good but invisible.

    What they do is compromise between build and shiny tat, and that is what you get.

    molgrips
    Free Member

    Compare it to 32126 Vauxhall Corsa alone sold in 2022

    Hmm, I doubt it costs more to assemble a caravan – but then again, maybe it does because it won’t be automated. But GM sell Corsas all over the world, and have machines that can assemble lots of models.  Weirdly, UK caravans seem to be UK specific, which probably doesn’t help.

    I think the best way to go if you have the skills is self build

    You could probably build a really nice caravan but it would weigh probably double what an off the shelf one does.  They might have poor QC but a lot of work and design has gone into making them light.  Which is why they appear flimsy.

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