YOUR LEISURE IS OUR PLEASURE
Burston Cross, Bow, Devon, EX17 6LA
5 Star Retailer 10 Years in Row
6 days a week Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
Saturday 9am - 3pm, Sunday CLOSED
The Caravan Doctor is always happy to help
( no appointment needed )
Starting with the type of problem i.e. Thetford, Electrolux and work on until you arrive at a possible solution. If a solution to your problem is found and you have insufficient qualifications to carry out the work safely, please employ the services of someone who has.
If you are in need of technical spare parts please get in contact with us on 01363 82943
The eight of the most asked questions
My Battery Has Gone Flat?
How The System Works
There are two electrical systems in most modern caravans
240v Mains Electric.
This supplies power through a hook up lead to the refrigerator, three pin mains sockets,240v lighting (if fitted) a transformer (if fitted)Emerson heater (if fitted) and 240v space heater (if fitted)
12v Battery System
This supplies power from an on board battery to the water pump, 12v strip lights, toilet pump(if fitted) the gas side of the water heater and any blown air heating fan.
Why Won't My Pump Work?
The first thing to check is the pump itself.
A simple test can be carried out by putting 12v to the pump to check the operation, if the pump does not run, replace the pump or pump assembly. If the pump does run then there is a problem with the system in the caravan
Which System do I have?
There are two different types of system in most modern caravans
A) The Pressure Switch System.
This system has a pressure switch in the line of the water pipe. It can sense the drop in pressure in the pipe that occurs when a tap is opened.
There are three main types of pressure switch.
A Whale pressure switch, situated in the pipeline normally close to the water inlet under a bunk or in a cupboard. It is white and has a screw top for adjustment.This is the most common type.
An integrated Whale pressure switch built into the housing of a Whale watermaster system.
A pressure switch built into an onboard self priming water pump such as a Sureflow.
B) Microswitch System.
This system has individual microswitches in each tap that operate the pump as each tap is opened.
Which System Do I Have?
The easiest way to check is to look underneath the taps, a microswitch system will have wires going up to to the taps where a pressure switch system won't have.
Why Are There Two Systems?
The 240v mains system runs all house hold appliances such as T.V's hairdryer's etc.It also runs high wattage appliances such as fridges and kettles.
The 12v system runs all low wattage items such as water pumps, striplights etc. A battery is used for the 12v system. If a power cut occurred you will still have lights and water.This is why it is important to check the operation of the battery.
How Is My Battery Charged?
If you have a transformer on board and are plugged into the mains hook up the 240v from the mains goes through the transformer, is converted down to 12v's, which is wired to the battery and keeps it charged up.
Do I Still Need A Battery?
The answer is YES, the battery "levels" the voltage at 12v, the transformer on its own can give up to 17v, some of the electric's in the caravan are volt sensitive and could be damaged. Also, if there was a power cut you would have no lights.
How To Check Your Battery.
This is important for the above reasons and is simple to do. If you use the mains all the time and you have a transformer you may not know if the battery is working independently.
Disconnect the mains lead, the strip lights and water pump should continue to work.
If they don't first check the main battery fuse which is situated somewhere near the battery, if that is ok the battery needs to be checked.
If you have lost your 12v system it could mean your transformer has stopped working and the battery has gone flat due
A) Pressure Switch,
Pressure switch adjustment, (see adjusting the pressure switch)
12v problem, interruption of 12v to the pressure switch or pump housing.
Pressure switch failure.
Isolation switch failure.
Individual taps not operating water pump, microswitch in tap not working.
12v supply problem.
How the Floor Is Constructed
On all modern caravans the floor is made like a sandwich. The top section is a thin ply wood, the middle section which is around 3-4 cms thick, is made out of a polyfoam material. Then there is a bottom layer of ply.
Why Do I Get Delimitation?
When delamination occurs it is normally in a place in the van which gets used allot such as by the sink or by the door.
The polyfoam section in the middle gets compressed, a void is created which allows the top layer of ply to move when stood on.
The same symptoms can be caused by a different problem.
The floor is suspended, sometimes a section of the floor can become unglued and can start to delaminate
Is It Level?
The fridge needs to be level because the piping at the rear of the unit is at a specific angle to allow for chemical evaporation within the refrigeration process.
If the fridge is unlevelled it will affect the efficiency of the cooling process.
When the fridge is situated in the side of the van the front to back level is the most important.
If the fridge is situated at the rear of the van the side to side level is most important.
Time To Settle.
If the van has been moved the chemicals in the fridge would have been disturbed. If an air bubble has formed in these chemicals it will stop them from moving freely when heated.
If the fridge is left to stand for a minimum of half an hour it will allow these air bubbles to escape and the refrigeration process to proceed.
The refrigeration process removes the warm air from the fridge compartment. The air needs to escape, if it doesn't then no more warmth can be removed.
Most caravans have large vents on the outside of the van these allow for free air flow around the Cooling system If these are obstructed in any way i.e. An open caravan door, it will affect the cooling.
With an awning and high temperatures in the summer the air going into the vents can be as warm as the air coming out, also affecting the cooling of the fridge.
Still Won't Work.
If all the above factors have been addressed and it still isn't working correctly then the fridge will have to be removed and a service carried out. This should only be done by a competent person
Which Problem Do I Have?
A test that can be carried out to determine which problem you have. Someone walks up and down the caravan with a spongy floor, another person looks underneath the van and notes what the floor is doing. If you get a small amount of movement in the floor and it is the sane all the way along it would point to delamination. The void takes up the movement of the ply.
If you notice one section of the floor moving allot more than the others, the sections will become apparent if this is the case,then it would point to the floor becoming loose.
How Is It Fixed?
It is important to diagnose the problem correctly because they are corrected in different ways.
If you have delamination, holes are drilled in a grid formation into the ply and a two part resin is injected into the void.This hardens and stops the top layer of ply moving.
When the whole floor is moving a framework of supporting struts have to be constructed to stop the section moving.
The first indication that you have a leak in your van may be a damp patch appearing in a wall.
Why Have They Broken?
If the van is stored for the winter season the blinds shouldnt be left in the down position.
The reason for this is that the spring has a "memory", if the blind is left in the down position for too long the spring will slowly forget where it should be, therefore over the years it will become less affective.
Another reason is that the spring can become unattached to its fixing, if this is the case the blind will normal not work at all.
How Do I Fix It?
To correct both problems the same process can be used.
Take the blind off the wall, then take the blind out of its housing. at one end there will be a wheel with four spokes on it that sits on a rod with a flat end.
Pull the plastic end that sits into the aluminium tube out and make sure the spring is full wound onto it, push it back into the tube.
Wind the blind back onto the tube( so it is in the up position) locate the round end into its hole, hold onto the spring end.
There are two ways of winding the spring,
Locate the "wheel" back into the housing and use a flat screwdriver in the end of it to turn the wheel against the ratchet.
Pull the rod out slightly hold onto the wheel and turn the rod with your fingers until you can't hold it any more, about 10 turns or so then locate it in its position.
There are two different ways to do this.
The best way is to remove the rail or roof light and re-bed it with a non-setting bedding mastic. This is ok providing you are confident
Where Is It Coming In?
This is a hard question to answer, water can travel through the van and appear in a different area to the leak.
The main problems occur through the caravans rails, such as the awning rail, the roof light and the window seals.
How Do I Stop It?
that the wood behind the rail hasn't rotted. If it has the rail may not be able to be screwed back to the van, causing obvious problems.
The second, cheaper and easier way is to seal over the rail in much the same way as you would seal around a bath with a silicone sealant. To do all the rails normally takes 1-2 hours.
I Have Black Bits In My Water System?
If you have black bits coming through your taps it is because the Carver Filter has broken down and let its carbon into the water system. You will need to replace the filter and flush the system. If you have a pressure switch this will have to be cleaned out for it to work correctly. To do this follow these steps.
Remove the pressure switch from the caravan.
Undo the 2 screws from the inlet and remove the inlet tube.
Push the non return valve out and remove the o ring to allow the non return valve to be removed and cleaned.
Run some water through the pressure switch to remove the carbon from the diagram.
put the pressure switch back together.
Before you refit the switch remove the clear plastic top from the old filter and refit into the filter housing put the inlet tube in a bowl and run the pump to remove the carbon from the filter housing. Refit the pressure switch and test. The carbon may keep coming through the taps for a while, but will stop after a few barrel full's of water.
What Do I Do About Damage?
Damage to the woodwork that has been caused by a leak is irreversible. Whether the woodwork is worth replacing totally depends on the age of the van and the amount of damage involved.
Replacing panels and timber is a costly job due to the amount of man hours involved and in older vans isn't generally cost effective.
Panels can be replaced by removing the rotten ones and gluing new panels in their place, big, flat panels are easier to replace than front window sections.
Although we have a device which can indicate the extent of the damage which we use when carrying out a damp check, the amount of damage is hard to assess until the whole area has been exposed, at which point the work will have to be completed, which is why it is sometimes hard to give a quote
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