Nigel HutsonSee other Advice articles filed in ‘General caravan advice’ written by Nigel Hutson
A little while ago, we were sent details of a DIY kit for regritting a caravan’s motor mover rollers.
Although most rollers are now grooved metal types, there are still many older versions, with gritted rollers, giving good service.
It’s also true that replacement rollers are available if the originals wear out, but you have to ensure you get the right size and, of course, the originals might be difficult to get off.
My parents’ ageing Abbey has gritted rollers, and while these still work, there are occasions when they slip a little on the tyres (they’re correctly set).
This has only happened when the tyres are wet, but a closer inspection showed that although there were no patches of missing grit, the surfaces on the rollers weren’t as ‘grippy’ as they might be – over the years, the rough surface had worn smooth.
So when the DIY kit from Regrit-It arrived on the desk at Practical Caravan, it was time to give the rollers on the Abbey a refresh.
You are supplied with pretty much all you need, so the only tools I needed to add were:
- A jack
- Axle stands
- A wire brush
- A spoon
- The mover remote control
The beauty of using this kit is that the rollers can stay on the caravan.
The first step
Remove the caravan’s wheels, ensuring the van is securely supported on axle stands.
Clean the rollers using a wire brush. The rollers will need to be rotated, using your remote control, so you can clean the whole surface.
You can be quite brutal when brushing, as it will expose any places where the original gritted area has either come off or is loose.
Thankfully, in our case neither applied, but the surface must be free of rust or dirt before being regritted.
If you do find any areas of bare metal, the company recommends cleaning with emery paper or wire wool to help ensure a good key for the treatment.
If the surface isn’t cleaned in this way, it’s likely that the first time you need to use the mover, much of the newly gritted surface will break up and drop off, so the whole exercise will have been a waste of time.
So it’s clear that preparation is key.
If there are any areas of bare metal, or where the gritted surface has worn excessively, Regrit-It suggests mixing a small quantity of the resin and hardener to fill those areas, before carrying out the regritting.
With the caravan’s motor mover rollers prepared, the next job is to mix the resin and hardener.
Ensure you do this in a well-ventilated area (outside!), otherwise you’re likely to end up as high as a kite on the fumes.
Getting the mixture right
The mixing pot that Regrit-It supplies is marked to show how much resin to put in.
However, we found that it was better to mix half the amount suggested, so that you can do one roller at a time (rather than the two that the company suggests), because the mixture starts to set fairly quickly (especially in warmer weather) if you’re slow like me!
The recommendation is to pour in resin to the mark on the pot, and then add approximately 50 drops (3ml) of hardener.
Then mix the resin and hardener well for at least 20 seconds.
Place the plastic sheet that is provided in the kit underneath the roller that you’re going to be dealing with first, and then paint the resin mixture onto the roller surface, ensuring the whole surface is covered.
It needs to be thick enough for the grit to stick to, but not so thick that it runs.
Again, use your remote control to rotate that roller.
Time to get gritting
With the roller covered with the resin mixture, you pour the grit onto it.
We found that using a dessert spoon to pour the grit on worked well, because it gave better control of the amount poured (and was probably not as wasteful as simply pouring from the bag).
Again, cover the whole surface, using the remote control to rotate the roller as needed.
The motor mover roller should then be left to dry.
If you’ve missed a patch, repeat the whole process once the original coating has dried.
The excess grit should have dropped onto the plastic sheet beneath. Recover that grit and put it back into the bag.
Repeat the process on the other side.
If you find that the brush used to paint the resin mixture onto the rollers is getting stiff, you can clean it (and the mixing pot) by using a strong, neat detergent (such as washing-up liquid) worked into the bristles, and then rinse in hot water.
The brush and pot then need to be rinsed and dried before use.
Regrit-It suggests the following hardening times:
- Two hours at 5C
- 40 minutes at 10C
- 15 minutes at 20C
Did it work?
Once you’re happy the rollers have been adequately covered, and they have dried, you’ll need to mix more resin and hardener (in the same quantities as before), then paint over the whole gritted area on each roller with the mixture.
With that done, replace the caravan wheels (not forgetting to tighten the bolts to their correct torque, and then check again after 25 miles or so).
Our son was taking the caravan on holiday the day after we did the regritting, and I was a bit concerned that using the mover so soon might undo some of our good work.
We needn’t have worried – he reported that everything worked fine, and there was no slippage as they put the caravan onto a levelling ramp.
The Regrit-It kit costs £27.99 including postage in the UK, so it’s a very cost-effective way of refurbishing gritted rollers on your caravan's motor mover.