Ask the expert
Every week we get loads of questions via email, phone and in person at the workshop. We have dedicated this page to some of these questions and will vary the questions and answers provided from time to time.

Remember that we provide no nonsense, jargon free advice to the leisure vehicle owner and user, so if what you read on this page does not answer your question feel free to drop us a line or call us. We will endeavour to answer your question and may even feature it on this page.

Question Answer
   
Water flow problems
I am having problems with the water flow in my Avondale. The pump seems to be working OK but the water spurts then stops at the taps. I’ve tried opening the valve to empty all water from the pipes but this hasn't made any difference! I'm assuming it's an air block but can't seem to shift it. Any advice you can give me would be appreciated, thanks, Tom

Hi Tom,
the first thing I would recommend is a visual check for kinks  or anything pressing against pipes that could cause a restriction.

Next, with your Aquaroll full, inset your pump into it and then take it out and give it a good shake. Insert it back into the Aquaroll and turn your pump on at the main switch inside your van. It should then start to fill your hot water tank. After the pump has filled the hot water tank, turn on all the taps inside your caravan - this should force any air that is in the system out and your taps should start running freely.

   
Do I really need a leisure battery?
I am fairly new to caravanning having just bought my first van, so excuse what may be a silly question. When I was looking around my local dealer in Glossop the salesman kept pushing the fact that I needed a vehicle with a leisure battery. However as I only intend to use sites with mains hook up, why would I need a Leisure battery?
In theory you could survive without a leisure battery, but we would advise against it. For example, many caravan lights and ancillary equipment is designed to run off 12v. Also, while most sites do provide mains hook up, there are still some very good sites out there that don’t offer this luxury, or even charge additional fees for access to mains. Having a leisure battery would give you the freedom to pitch up at non mains sites while still enjoying the comfort of your 12v appliances.
   
My blown Air Ducting loses heat
I have a blown air heating system in my motor home that utilises an air duct to the front of the vehicle via plastic trunking. As this runs under the vehicle I have noticed that it loses a lot of heat to the outside.
Is there any aftermarket insulated trunking on the market that can be fitted easily?
Many thanks,
Sam
Hi Sam,
You haven’t mentioned the make and model of your motor home, but Truma do produce a waterproof, insulated air duct that might fit the bill. We have this in stock or alternatively you can contact Truma directly ( email
technical@trumauk.com or phone them on 01283 586050 )

Window Shades
Hi, I have an Elddis Typhoon GT 1994 and I am trying to repair my window shades as the adjusters have broken. Can you help as I don't know where to find spares

Try us! We stock 1000’s of new and used parts and have the blinds you are looking for! Alternatively try your nearest caravan breakers. Most have a mail order service, so providing you can tell them exactly what you need and they have it in stock, they will post it to you. A good source of parts for Elddis is the Elddis Owners Club. They might be able to help or point you in the right direction.
   
No flush!
Help! While doing some work on my ‘92 Lunar Jupiter I accidently shorted the leisure battery. Now the electric flush on the toilet has stopped working.
Without examining the unit it is difficult to advise on the cause of the problem, however it sounds like you may have blown the fuse.  This is normally located in the box which houses the cassette. Try a new fuse first and see if that works. Failing that, we would be happy to take a look at it for you.
   

Algae in Toilet Flush
I have dark coloured contaminant in the flush tank of my toilet. It looks like algae. What might have caused it and how do I get rid of it?

 Thanks

M

Hi M’
The algae is caused by water that has been standing for a while – most likely because the toilet has not been used recently.
The best way to get rid of black algae is to use Milton Fluid (the same stuff used to sterilise babies bottles) which is pretty inexpensive.  Put the Milton diluted with water in the flush tank and leave for 24 hours. Flush through the Milton and rinse again with water and hey presto a cheap and easy solution!
   

Caravan Damp Cures
I have read and heard some real horror stories about the damage damp can cause to a caravan and am concerned about it affecting my old Elddis. Can you recommend anything that can help prevent this?

Damp is caused by water ingress from outside - usually via poorly fitting door and or window seals, or the awning rail, light fixings, etc. and is the caravan’s worst enemy. If it is left untreated it can cause all sorts of problems. Prevention is better than cure and we would recommend that you ask for a damp test when your van is serviced (all reputable service and repair shops should do this as a matter of course anyway)
If your van is going to be laid up for a long period, then  remove all soft furnishings and give the van a good airing every 2 weeks or so (a dry and breezy day is best for this).
You could use a condensation trap in the form of crystals, which will be much cheaper than a dehumidifier. Another money saving tip is to keep all those silica gel sachets you get when you buy new shoes or bags. Place them in cupboards and drawers and they all help keep the humidity levels down. Remember though to make sure that any chemicals stored in your van to reduce moisture should be kept well out of the way of children and animals!
   

Safe Towing?

I have a FORD FOCUS C-MAX 1.8 ZETEC I was wanting to know if you could tell me what I could legally tow weight wise please  

Pamela

Hi Pamela

There is no straightforward answer on what is the legal maximum limit in the UK. When you passed you driving  test even affects the maximum permitted towing limit for example (Have a look at http://www.caravanningnow.co.uk/caravanning/faqweight.htm for more details on this aspect)

That said, for stable and safe towing we would always recommend that you choose the smallest and lightest possible caravan suitable for your intended use. The less the laden weight of the caravan is in relation to the weight of your  towing vehicle, the safer and more stable the outfit will be. Many caravanners use a method of calculation known as the “85% rule” to match their ideal caravan and towing vehicle

The 85% rule allows you to calculate the ‘maximum technically permitted laden mass’ (MLTPM) that your vehicle can tow safely. MTPLM in a nutshell is the caravan's weight plus all your caravanning gear and if you apply this rule you should be within the legal limit for towing weight

Establishing the MLTPM for your towing vehicle is straightforward, providing you know both the kerb-weight  (kw) of your vehicle and its maximum towing weight (mtw) for a braked trailer (you should be able to find these specifications in your vehicles handbook).

According to what Car, the Kerb Weight for the Focus C-Max is 1340 kg and the max towing weight is 1200 kg so we would therefore use the lower figure which is the max towing weight. So, in your case, using these figures, we divide the maximum towing weight by 100 and then multiply by 85, ie:.

1200

x

85

=

Recommended MLTPM of 1020kg

100

You now have your 85% rule. If you choose a caravan with an MLTPLM of about the same you should be able to tow safely within the capabilities of your vehicle.

Advice from the Caravan Club states that you should aim for a towed load that is no more than 85% of the car's kerb weight for stability and safety and NEVER to tow above 100% of the car's kerbside weight.

I’m not sure if this totally answers your question, but hopefully it gives you a good rule of thumb as a starting point. Good luck in your search for the right van and if we can be of any assistance in maintaining it please do not hesitate to contact us!

NB: If you are still unsure if your towing vehicle is up to the job then Tow-Car-Calculations have developed several online programs which can calculate and compare the towing performances of your car hooked-up to your caravan.Take a look at them on the  What Tow Car website