More brakes…

I was very pleased with the job done on my brakes when I came back from Italy, although I have since then found some vented discs, which I intend to buy and fit.
However I did ask that the brake cables be replaced at the time, and they convinced me that the existing ones could be “made good” so I allowed myself to be swayed. Here we are almost 6 months on and the cables are giving me problems now. The first 2 inches of pull on the handbrake handle is loose, and then it suddenly goes stiff as though the brakes are on, but they are not. So I’m going to get the whole cable assembly replaced in the morning.
Let’s hope that doesn’t break the bank.

Caravan clinic has had it

I came back to the Caravan Clinic and the boss got the gas fitter to come to talk to me. His only comment really was that the regulator was already loose. Well, that’s not really the point.
He didn’t even argue when I said I’d watched him bashing the rod and bending it, or the gauge being missing or anything else. He just kind of stood there and looked.
The boss sent him away and told me that if I left the van for 4-5 hours they’d sort it all out and reimburse me for the lost filler adaptor. I hadn’t banked on such a long time so I said I’d have to come back the week after. I was still angry.

However after I left I got to thinking about it and I decided I’d had enough and didn’t want to go back there. How much more damage could they do?
If they’re so careless with peoples’ van’s then what other damage might occur? I’m sure I can replace the gauges and the adaptor and fix the regulator back to the wall. I can also fix the fire as I’ve dismantled it in the past anyway. I redid all the hoses and found one which had no rubber seal, which explained why my gas hadn’t lasted at all. So I popped a spare in and tidied the whole thing up.

Caravan Clinic? I’d have been better off taking my van to a vet and have it groomed! I’ll never go back there again and stick with my instincts next time.


So, the van was back at Caravan Clinic today to get the burner fitted but I’m unhappy with them. The gas fitter asked me to look at something and I can’t even recall what it was now, but I decided to watch him for a few minutes and he was having a good old bash at the connecting rod for the gas valve cos he couldn’t get it into place. I only stayed a short time and left him to it.

Later when I tested it, the rod was so bent it wouldn’t work, and the top casing of the fire was loose. Not only that but the control wire for the fan had not been tucked away so would have melted, and some of the metal reflector was loose and bent. Really not a very good job at all and clearly the fitter had taken not much care of my fire. Mentally I cursed him and wished that next time he pulled in a pub it would be a lady boy. That’ll teach him.

However worse was to come…
I went to fill the gas and it leaked everywhere when I tried to fill. Clouds billowed out form the gas locker  and excuse me, but I almost shit myself! You don’t mess with gas! I closed the bottles and drove off somewhere to take them all out and within an hour I was horrified.

The regulator is affixed to the rear wall of the locker and attached to a gas pipe. Both screws had been pulled out so the regulator was hanging free, and when I got the bottles out the pipe was so bent that the regulator fell forward about a foot. The stainless hose on the left bottle was all twisted and the actual valve on the top was loose! I checked the other bottle and it was fine but I thought that’s what leaked, the valve was so loose but, why would it be? I eventually surmised he’d not been able to get the bottle out, so he’d yanked it hard several times and this had twisted the steel hose so badly that the leverage loosened the actual filler valve. Obviously that’s what has detached the regulator from the rear wall too. I was livid, he clearly had had no respect at all for my van and had damaged it, and it was impossible for him not to know it was damaged. The fixing bracket and one screw for the regulator was on the floor of the cabinet.

Oh but that’s not all. When I got the second bottle out I noticed that one of the gauges that fit onto the bottles was missing. They are attached via small plastic clips and one was broken and lying on the floor of the cabinet, and the other one simply wasn’t there. These are a colourful dial about the size of a 50p piece, an 1/8th inch thick and with a plastic bracket to fit to the bottle. It’s impossible not to have seen it lying where it must have fallen or been knocked off. So, he may have knocked it off by accident, but he realised it was broken and decided to simply throw it away.

And there’s more…..there was a little brass cap on the floor of the locker too. It puzzled me for a while til I realised it was the cap from the test valve which is attached to the pipe below the regulator. No wonder the gas poured out when I tried to fill it! I cringed inside when I thought of the potential danger that could have caused.
All in all this was a disgusting job and could have had serious consequences.

I contacted the Caravan Clinic the next day  and explained at length everything that had gone wrong. He said he would need to have a look at it so…next Monday it is…

Van service

The burner has not arrived yet so I agreed to a habitation check. It was only £85 so I felt that wasn’t a bad price given that my cupboards are full and it will be difficult to carry it out.
I remember to ask the owner about the French adaptor ring for the Gaslow filler. It and the Italian adaptor live in the gas compartment where the bottles are and it’s disappeared. He instantly came back with “My lads don’t take things out of vans.” I resented him thinking that I’d meant they’d ‘taken’ it, I didn’t and explained that when you open the gas locker door sometimes they fall out, so can they have a look in the workshop and see if it’s there.

I really didn’t like his attitude and decided on instinct that I didn’t like this man. However, they did the check and said there were slight signs of damp in one corner of the van. However they had left things lying around that they’d pulled out of cupboards, and they had not tested in the overcab bunk at all. I got my book stamped but I felt like I’d wasted £84 + the extra half hour of labour they charged for some reason.
Hopefully the fire gets fixed next week anyway.

Heating part 2

Hmmm. Well I went to Caravan Clinic and they said not only was the thermo-couple corroded, but also the burner itself was corroded badly and actually falling apart. They kept it out to show me and my guess is the water got in when I had that leak and over time has ruined the burner assembly. Never mind, at least it’s fixable. I asked how much and he said £150 +VAT for the part and then 2 hours of labour.

After I’d stopped laughing! I said I’ll check back next week. I made an appointment anyway, but set off to Camper NE to see what they said. They said exactly the same thing! Bloody hell it’s only a piece of copper!

Anyway I went online and ordered not just the burner but the thermo-couple and the igniter also as a complete kit for £38 from the excellent Leisure Shop Direct. I also ordered a new fridge door catch as mine had broken.  Can’t wait to get some heating on.