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Monthly Archives: October 2015

  • Can you afford not to invest in a GPS tracker for your caravan?  

     

    caravan security

    Not only is the number of caravan owners in the UK rising every year, the percentage of vehicles which fall into the luxury category is also increasing.

    You don’t need us to tell you that a caravan can be a very pricy purchase indeed.

    However, it is estimated that about 4,000 caravans are stolen every year, of which only about 10% are recovered and as winter comes ever closer, now is the prime time for thieves.

    The problem is heightened by the rise of professional thieves who use this time to break into caravans put away for winter and take them out of the country.

    On top of investing in the security measures we advise here, one of the most efficient ways to stop thieves is to invest in a GPS tracker.

    This tiny, little black box will sit undisturbed in your caravan until any movement is detected.

    The minute your caravan is moved from a certain point or geographic range (a virtual geo fence) it will send an alert to you or the police (or both!)

    At prices starting from £95, can you afford not to invest in a tracker that’ll help prevent the loss of a incredibly expensive vehicle as well as the heartache and annoyance of losing a prized possession and the objects in it?

    Find out more about the GPS trackers and security products we stock here

    For more tips on how to deter thieves and avoid caravan theft read our comprehensive guide – here.

  • Top tips for fun winter trips in your caravan or motorhome  

     

    Just because it’s getting darker in the mornings and evenings and the drizzle is getting just that bit closer to the bone, does not mean it’s time to give up on your favourite hobby.

    In fact, with the right preparation taking time out in your caravan or motorhome can be just as fun and rewarding in winter as it is in summer, if not more!

    Make sure you follow our tips to ensure you keep safe and warm though!

     

    • Check your tires

    If you are planning on travelling in icy conditions, make sure your tires are fit for the road. Most caravans have summer tires as standard, and if you are just making a short journey in relatively good conditions these should suffice.

    However, if you are likely to be travelling to an area where temperatures drop below 7 Celsius, it’s a good idea to invest in all-season or winter tires. These will have an optimised tread and grip to help your vehicle stick to the road. If in doubt, consult your caravan or motorhome guidebook to establish the effectiveness of the tires your currently have.

    Also, make sure to read up on local laws if you are leaving the UK as some countries insist on tires that meet certain specifications, especially in European countries.

    Of course, always err on the side of caution – if it doesn’t feel safe to be on the roads, leave it until another day.

     

    motorhome winter caravan
    •   Pack plenty of layers

    Piling on base layers and several thin layers which can be added to or removed as needed, has been proven to keep you far warmer than just one thick layer.

    It also means you can move around comfortably than if you are wearing say, one chunky jumper. A windproof fleece is always handy, and can double up as a pillowcase in the evening for maximum snugness.

     

    • Invest in gadgets

    While nothing quite beats the comfort of a hot water bottle, there are now countless other warming gadgets on the market that can help you make it through a chilly day or night, including portable gel hand-warmers, heated socks and, of course, the electric blanket.

    Also invest in a decent quality thermas flask, handy for keeping warm when you’re out and about.

    Please be careful about running a gas fire at night though, too many fire and carbon monoxide poisoning incidents have come from this.

     

    • Keep your eye on the water systems

    Even if you physically inside your caravan, a cold night can lead to burst pipes causing great damage at a great cost.

    Keep your eye on the tanks, pipes and cisterns and think about lagging them if you are concerned. At the end of your trip ensure to fully empty the water system and keep taps and other openings open.

     

    • Eat rightwinter caravan motorhome

    Earlier on in the year we shared some of our favourite winter warmer recipes that can be made easily on a gas stove. Keep warm with sausage cassoulet, stewed spiced apples, one pot pilaf and more – all at the click of a button!

     

    • Keep an eye on your awning

    A porch awning in winter is a great way to add an extra layer of insulation to your door and the windows on that side. It also gives you an area to store wet clothes and shoes without creating a damp atmosphere inside your caravan or motorhome (as well as obviously creating more living space!).

    However, it’s important to keep an eye on it in rainy, windy and snowy conditions. At worst it can get blown away completely, leaving your belongings open to the same fate, and at best get damaged.

    If it looks like your trip is set to coincide with some bad weather, it might be worth investing in a specialised awning complete with steep roof to help shift snow.

     

    Check out our online store for great motorhome and caravan buys!

     

  • How to service your own generator

    Use our comprehensive and illustrated guide to service your own generator and keep it running well for longer:

    Stale fuel is the No. 1 cause of generator starting problems. Manufacturers advise adding fuel stabiliser to the fuel to minimise fuel breakdown, varnish and gum buildup. But it's no guarantee against problems.

    We would recommend emptying the fuel tank and the carburettor once you're past a season or are going to store your generator for some time. If your carburettor has a drain, wait for the engine to cool before draining. If not, empty the tank and then run the generator until it's out of fuel. Always use fresh, stabilised fuel in your generator.

    service generator caravan motorhome boat

     

    Oil Change

    1. Loosen the cover screw and remove the left side maintenance cover.

    2. Remove the oil filler cap.

    3. Drain dirty oil into a container thoroughly.

    4. Refill with the recommended oil, and check the oil level. 5. Reinstall the left side maintenance cover and tighten the cover screw securely.

     

    generator caravan motorhome servicegenerator caravan motorhome service

     

    Air Filter

    A dirty air filter will restrict air flow to the carburettor. To prevent carburettor malfunction, service the air filter regularly. Service more frequently when operating the generator in extremely dusty areas.

    1. Loosen the cover screw and remove the left side maintenance cover.

    2. Press the latch tab on the top of the air cleaner body, and remove the air cleaner cover.

    3. Wash the element in a high flash point solvent and dry it thoroughly.

    4. Soak the element in clean engine oil and squeeze out the excess oil.

    5. Reinstall the air cleaner element and the cover.

    6. Reinstall the left side maintenance cover and tighten the cover screw securely

    generator caravan motorhome

     

    Spark Plug To ensure proper engine operation, the spark plug must be properly gapped and free of deposits.

    1. Remove the spark plug maintenance cover.

    2. Remove the spark plug cap.

    3. Clean any dirt from around the spark plug base.

    4. Use the wrench to remove the spark plug.

    5. Visually inspect the spark plug. Discard it if the insulator is cracked or chipped. Clean the spark plug with a wire brush if it is to be reused.

    6. Measure the plug gap with a feeler gauge. The gap should be 0.6-0.7mm(0.024-0.028in). Correct as necessary by carefully bending the side electrode.

    7. Install the spark plug carefully, by hand, to avoid cross-threading.

    8. After a new spark plug has been seated by hand, it should be tightened 1/2 turn with a wrench to compress its washer. If a used plug is being reinstalled, it should only require 1/8 to 1/4 turn after being seated.

    9. Reinstall the spark plug cap on the spark plug securely.

    10. Close the left maintenance cover

     

    Cleaning the Carburettor (Advanced)

    The carburettor sits on two studs behind the air cleaner assembly. To access it, first undo the large screw that secures the air filter cover. Remove the filter and the casing. Disconnect attached rubber hoses and slide the carburettor off the studs.

    After draining the float bowl of any remaining fuel (and replacing the screw), undo the large bolt in the middle to take the float cover off. Carefully remove the parts from the carb and clean any deposits.

    If the holes are clogged you can strip a piece of wire and use one of the strands to pass through the holes to clear it out. Do not use anything bigger the jets are made of brass and can easily be made larger, which could cause running problems later.

    Also spray with carburettor cleaner and make sure you get a good stream coming out of the emulsion tube and main jet. Reverse process to assemble.

    generator motorhome caravan
  • What not to miss at the 2015 Motorhome and Caravan Show

    caravan

    It’s one of the biggest days of the caravan year, and we certainly won’t be missing out. Here’s a list of the attractions at the Caravan Fair we think you should be heading to Birmingham to catch.

     

    The chance to befriend a host of big names

    This year there won’t just be cool caravans and motorhomes to check out, the event will also be attended by World Superbike champion, Carl Fogarty and TV presenters Matt Baker and Julia Bradbury. I wonder how many of the staff will be trying to get selfies!

     

    Help build the world’s largest LEGO ® brick caravan

    It’s not every day you get to witness a world record, but the Motorhome & Caravan Show team is aiming for exactly that when they attempt to build the largest ever touring caravan made entirely from LEGO bricks. It’s got to be worth a look!

     

     

    Become a motorhome maneuvering pro!     

    If maneuvering a motorhome doesn’t come easy to you, don’t worry! There are free 20 minute sessions going on throughout the show where you can practice in a safe environment with qualified instructors. Don’t forget though - you’ll need your driving license.               

     

    Learn about international caravanning

    Get inspired and plan an adventure somewhere exotic. We’re looking forward to seeing what the Camping and Caravanning Club's Tour Escorts have to offer this year, with expert advice on caravanning in destinations such as Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, Argentina, Iceland, Italy, first time touring in France and winter sun rallies.

     

     

    Leave the kids at the crèche and come say hi to us!

    Want to enjoy the day but not everyone you’re with is as enthused as you are? Then leave your little ones at the onsite crèche and head to the Sail and Trail stand and join us for a cup of coffee and some great outdoor equiptment deals!

     

    For more information click here :)

  • Top tips for your first winter on a narrowboat

    winter narrowboat

    Narrowboat living all seemed so lovely during summer, the long evenings, watching ducklings become ducks and general social canal life.

    But soon the sun will be replaced with long dreary mornings and ice cold wind, so just what do you need to survive your first winter on a narrowboat?

     

    Inside is warmer than you think!

    First things first, a relatively modern narrowboat is actually pretty cosy inside. Most will have central heating as standard and if you have a fire as well, you can keep warm for free with kindling gathered from the towpath.

    It probably goes without saying that other top tips for keeping warm include dressing in layers and moving  around for extra heat.

     

    But outside is colder ….

    Hyperthermia is a real risk for anyone spending too long outside in the cold damp weather. Make sure you don’t spend too long outside in one go, and you have proper winter clothing and a good supply of hot drinks.

     

    Prepare for hold ups

    If you plan to keep on cruising during the winter it is important to realise you may need to be flexible with your plans. If the canal freezes over you can cause serious damage to your boat if you try to force your way through it. Make an itinerary that takes into account you may be hauled up for a couple of days while you wait for the ice to subside.

    If you are held up by ice, under no circumstances walk on it – nor let your dog or cat. It could be much thinner than you think and drowning is a real risk.

     

    Prevent burst pipes

    Not only are burst water pipes expensive, a pain to fix, and a creator of huge amounts of mess, they also leave you without central heating - something no one wants in the dead of winter.

    To try and prevent this, make sure you have about 30% anti-freeze in your water and heating system.

     

    Be safe

    A dark, slippery towpath is not your friend. If you are heading out alone always carry a torch and a charged phone and tell somebody where you are going. A safety whistle is also good idea in case you slip into the canal.

     

     

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