Caravan advice: more of your technical questions answered
Do you have a caravan problem and don't know what to do? Our DIY expert, Lee Davey, is here to help with more solutions...
You can read more expert caravan advice content in Caravan magazine every month
Do I need a carbon monoxide alarm in my caravan?
Q I’ve got a secondhand caravan and it doesn’t have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted – do I need one? If so, how much do they cost and can I fit it myself?
A Fitting a carbon monoxide alarm is always a good idea. They cost approximately £15 and fitting is as simple as two screws through a backplate into something relatively solid. Carbon monoxide and smoke alarm twin packs cost approximately £25 and it could be a good time to check/upgrade your smoke alarm as well.
Wheel bolt torque settings
Q Do I need to check the wheel bolt torque settings on my caravan?
A It’s good practice to regularly check the wheel bolts with a torque wrench, especially if the wheels have been removed after a service or tyre change. The torque setting can be found in the handbook or on a sticker fixed to the side of the caravan. Milenco WheelBolt Indicators are similar to the visual aids used by heavy goods vehicles and are handy for inspecting the wheel bolts in between these torque checks.
Kitchen sink replacement options
Q The kitchen sink in my caravan has got some scratches in it and is looking a bit untidy. Can something like this be replaced? Or fixed? I’ve got a 2011 Swift Challenger.
A Both! Your caravan sink can be repaired by a specialist such as caravansurgeon.co.uk or a replacement can be fitted. Specialist breakers such as KTG Caravans & Campers keep good stocks of such parts and you may find they have one on the shelf.
Electric cable dragging
Q When I’m touring, the electric cable that runs from the car to the caravan is prone to dragging and I’m worried it will break… what can I do?
A First, check to make sure the cable clips are in place. They are generally silver-coloured and can be found along the bottom of the A-frame. If everything looks OK, adding a twist or two to the cable before plugging in keeps it away from the road while allowing enough length when turning.
Mains water supply in a Monza
Q I am new to caravans. I have an old Monza I am refurbishing. One thing I am stuck on is how can I connect a mains water supply to this? It has a small connector at the rear but beyond that, I’m not sure!
A If it’s an older Monza, the water system will be ‘powered’ by a floor-mounted pump near the kitchen unit. The water container will be connected by a pipe to the small, external connector at the rear of the caravan and water is pumped to the kitchen tap by pressing your foot on the pump until water runs freely.
Whale (whalepumps.com) continues to make pumps and parts should you have a pump issue. However, it was commonplace for alternative water systems to be retrofitted and your Monza could be installed with something entirely different. If this is the case, feel free to send a few photos and we’ll see if we can identify it.
Cleaning caravan windows
Q How do I clean the inside of my caravan windows?
A As most caravan windows are plastic, be sure to use non-abrasive products such as a squirty spray and a microfibre cloth or paper towel. Creams are best avoided as these can lightly scratch the surface.
Caravan number plates
Q What is the deal with number plates? How do I get one for my caravan and how do I affix to it?
A Number plates are available from a wide range of motor factors and local garages. You’ll need to take your car’s V5 document as, by law, the number plate manufacturer needs to record each purchase. If possible, use number plate tape as drilling holes could promote water ingress.
The caravan and the rear of the number plate should be clean and dry, and warm the tape gently before application to ensure maximum adhesion. Halfords (halfords.com) stocks Harris Number Plate Tape for £5.50.
Caravan air conditioning
Q We’re thinking of getting an air-conditioning unit fitted for the 2021 season but want to make sure it’ll be a worthy purchase. Do you have any experience of using such a unit in a caravan?
A We had a Truma Aventa Compact fitted last year, shortly before we embarked on a 10-country tour of Europe. Temperatures hit 45ºC which would’ve made parts of the trip uncomfortable without it, and the fan function draws in cooler night-time air without having to use the compressor unit. It’s controlled from the Truma CP Plus panel and although we don’t have iNet fitted, it’s also compatible. Don’t forget that the weight of the unit (27kg for the Aventa Compact) will have to come out of your payload limit.
Q We have a Tabbert Vivaldi 2006 caravan and we're not sure where to put the pink liquid for the toilet – can anyone shed some light on this?
A A 2006 Tabbert Vivaldi should be fitted with a Thetford C250 which usually has a separate tank for the flush. The flush tank is accessed from a smaller, separate ‘door’ outside of the caravan, just above the toilet cassette. If there isn’t a separate door for the flush, it may be fed from the water system, so it isn’t possible to add a dash of pink.
Caravan door sticking
Q The lock on my caravan door seems to be sticking – it does eventually shut but only with a fair amount of banging about. Do you have any idea what the problem could be?
A Beyond applying WD40 (or similar) to the lock and other accessible moving parts, we’ll need to delve inside the door mechanism. Assuming it’s a Hartal lock, carefully pry the red and green screw covers from the lock body and unscrew the unit.
Inside, there’s a spindle that’s held in place with a circlip and this often benefits from any rough edges being carefully sanded and then relubricating. Occasionally, the lock can slide forwards in the door, meaning it catches on the edge. This is a good time to readjust, making sure the lock clears the catch when opened.
Got a query?
Our expert team is happy to answer your questions, whether they relate to touring or towing, DIY or disasters! Whatever it is that's been causing you bother or making you scratch your head, we are on hand to help.
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Write to: Questions & Answers, Caravan Magazine, The Maltings, West Street, Bourne, Lincolnshire, PE10 9PH.