Caravan advice: get the buzz on electric towcars, shower tray fixes and more
Caravanning is great fun but there are times when we all need a little assistance and that's where our DIY expert Lee Davey comes in. Lee has been a caravanner for years and loves finding solutions. He's toured all over the world and is our go-to man for answers!
Your caravan questions
Electric towcars – what's the buzz?
Q We are being pushed to buy an electric car, but I haven't seen any that can tow a caravan. What do you think?
A The answer to this question could be a magazine feature and could easily run to two pages. However, I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible for the Q&A pages. There are two main electric vehicle types – hybrid and fully electric. Hybrids use a combination of conventional engine and electric motors and can be very capable tow cars.
I towed a Bailey caravan with a Mitsubishi PHEV and it made relatively light work of Millbrook’s demanding Alpine Circuit. On paper, the extra weight and instant torque from a fully electric vehicle suggests they are perfect vehicles to tow with but few manufacturers (Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, Tesla) grant towing capacities large enough for a caravan. ‘Range anxiety’ is a well-used term and towing a caravan will limit the range further.
Electric tow cars will undoubtedly become the norm, especially as we near 2040, but the cost of such a vehicle and the amount it can tow will ultimately decide which electric car is suitable for you.
Fixing a cracked shower tray in a caravan
Q How easy would it be to replace a cracked shower tray and, if possible, replace it with a wet room in an Avondale Argente?
A A cracked shower tray can seem like a nightmare with replacement the obvious route to explore, although finding a new Avondale tray would be difficult and it would be easier to find a used item from a caravan breaker. You didn’t mention which Avondale Argente you own, but fitting a wet room can be costly, especially if it leads to water ingress in the floor or walls.
Plus, if the toilet shares the same space, a shower curtain malfunction can lead to a wet loo! I would recommend a Speedcoat shower tray repair, which can be carried out by an associated caravan dealer or mobile repair specialist. Further details can be found at speedcoateuro.com
Issues with blocked toilet in a caravan
Q We are pretty new to the caravan world so just wondering about the push-button toilet. Just before lockdown, we set up our caravan (which is sited on a seasonal pitch) for the summer. The toilet had been topped up with the pink liquid but due to the closure we weren’t allowed to return and were only allowed to check on our van eight weeks later. When trying the flush button, it does make the noise, which I presume is the pump, but no water comes from the outlet. Could the pink fluid have solidified?
A Fear not, it’s a relatively easy fix! From memory, a 2005 Compass Rallye is fitted with a Thetford C200 toilet. To start, gently prise away the panel on top of the loo that houses the flush button. Be careful, as there may also be a bead of sealant securing things. Once free, look inside the tank and you should see the pump assembly clipped to the left-hand side. Unclip and pull from the tank, being careful not to pull/snag any wires or tubing.
It’s quite common for flush tanks to accumulate ‘black bits’ and these can block pumps and/or tubes, so inspect all parts to see if you can spot the blockage. As the pump still spins freely, it should be a cheap and easy fix, as long as you can locate and clear the blockage. Once things are working as they should, assemble in reverse order.
Water filter know-how
Q I’ve read about filters being fitted to water tanks in caravans to improve water quality. Have you any advice on this and can you recommend any products?
A In-line water filters are often fitted by people who would like to remove a ‘taste’ from their water supply, plastic or otherwise. Whale produce the WF1230 (see, right) which is a carbon filter and can be mounted vertically or horizontally. Fittings are usually supplied as part of a kit and the unit is compatible with the Whale Quick Connect system.
Got a query?
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