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TOPIC: Best Used caravan for a Newbie

Best Used caravan for a Newbie 3 weeks 1 day ago #475681

  • akd1961
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Hi

We want to buy a used caravan next year will probably be August time we will have about 10K to spend, know nothing about caravans as such.

We went to the NEC couple weeks ago and have worked out layout we want, couple of things came up some of the caravans seemed to have the hook up points on the same side as the door, won't this be right in the middle of the awning?

Also we overheard a conversation was about a Bailey about the pipes underneath and they were saying it doesn't stay warm, what should we be looking for?

In your opinion and know they will al be different whats you fav, brand and why?

Many thanks

Angie
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Best Used caravan for a Newbie 3 weeks 1 day ago #475689

  • ProfJohnL
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akd1961 wrote:
...
Also we overheard a conversation was about a Bailey about the pipes underneath and they were saying it doesn't stay warm, what should we be looking for?...

Hello Angie,

The mains inlet question has been answers by others.

The heating question, I suspect relates to the use of a blown air heating system, which uses a room sealed gas convector style heater, with a fan mounted behind to draw off hot air and to blow it along heating ducts which are about 65mm (2.5") diameter. Most of the recent gas heaters also have an additional mains element, so you can use either gas or electric or even both together should it be needed.

The heaters tend to be fitted in front of the wheels, and it means the air duct needs to pass the door or other internal obstructions to get hot air to the rear of the caravan.

In some cases the only practical way is to route the duct under the floor to pass the door which exposes it to the outside air, and the concern here is the duct will lose heat reducing the heat from the rear of the caravan. The heater manufacturer does offer a sleeved overcoat pipe to protect the ducts under the caravan, but it up to the caravan manufacturer to choose to buy and fit it.

Another issue that affects the amount of heat that gets to the extremities of the ducting is the length and the number of bends and outlets fitted. An all case the more or longer the less air flow that will reach the end of the ducting.

Despite these issues it is possible to improve things, Fitting an overcoat to teh exposed pipe under the floor will reduce heat loss. Whether it's the heater manufacturers own pipe or some other method of insulating doesn't matter either will improve things a bit.

Other things that might help, checking the route the pipe takes and if possible rerouting to eliminate unnecessary bends, and if possible to reduce length. But the rest is down to tuning the outlets, perhaps partially closing those closest to the heater a little to maximise the air flow to more distant out lets.

In a couple of caravans where there was poor air flow to the rear of the van, I have installed additional pipes on the other side of the caravan and created a complete loop of ducting that feed all the outlets from both sides of the fan. Unfortunately this is not practical in all caravans but it made a big difference throughout the whole caravan where it was possible.

Basically blown hot air systems are great in smaller caravans, and less good in longer ones becasue of the length of ducting required.

Some caravan manufacturers now fit liquid based heating systems.The smaller water pipes can be routed more easily and because the water carries much more heat energy it looses less heat when its taken outside and under the caravan, but its still advisable to lag the pipes.

Hot air systems respond more quickly when heat is needed, and becasue they blow the air it mixes and produces a more even heat distribution from top to bottom. Wet systems take longer to respond, and becasue they only use convection, in the short term the caravan can get warm at head height much sooner than at floor level. Longer term after a couple of hours or so there is little to choose between them at providing a comfortable caravan.

Both work quite well and its really a matter of personal preference, and of course which system is fitted by the caravan manufacturer
Unless I use quotes, All advice and opinions given are my own and are given in good faith. Never act on anything you read on a forum unless you can validate and verify its source and content.
Last Edit: 3 weeks 1 day ago by ProfJohnL. Reason: typos
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Best Used caravan for a Newbie 3 weeks 1 day ago #475690

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ProfJohnL wrote:
akd1961 wrote:
...
Also we overheard a conversation was about a Bailey about the pipes underneath and they were saying it doesn't stay warm, what should we be looking for?...

Hello Angie,

The mains inlet question has been answers by others.

The heating question, I suspect relates to the use of a blown air heating system, which uses a room sealed gas convector style heater, with a fan mounted behind to draw off hot air and to blow it along heating ducts which are about 65mm (2.5") diameter. Most of the recent gas heaters also have an additional mains element, so you can use either gas or electric or even both together should it be needed.

The heaters tend to be fitted in front of the wheels, and it means the air duct needs to pass the door or other internal obstructions to get hot air to the rear of the caravan.

In some cases the only practical way is to route the duct under the floor to pass the door which exposes it to the outside air, and the concern here is the duct will lose heat reducing the heat from the rear of the caravan. The heater manufacturer does offer a sleeved overcoat pipe to protect the ducts under the caravan, but it up to the caravan manufacturer to choose to buy and fit it.

Another issue that affects the amount of heat that gets to the extremities of the ducting is the length and the number of bends and outlets fitted. An all case the more or longer the less air flow that will reach the end of the ducting.

Despite these issues it is possible to improve things, Fitting an overcoat to teh exposed pipe under the floor will reduce heat loss. Whether it's the heater manufacturers own pipe or some other method of insulating doesn't matter either will improve things a bit.

Other things that might help, checking the route the pipe takes and if possible rerouting to eliminate unnecessary bends, and if possible to reduce length. But the rest is down to tuning the outlets, perhaps partially closing those closest to the heater a little to maximise the air flow to more distant out lets.

In a couple of caravans where there was poor air flow to the rear of the van, I have installed additional pipes on the other side of the caravan and created a complete loop of ducting that feed all the outlets from both sides of the fan. Unfortunately this is not practical in all caravans but it made a big difference throughout the whole caravan where it was possible.

Basically blown hot air systems are great in smaller caravans, and less good in longer ones becasue of the length of ducting required.

Some caravan manufacturers now fit liquid based heating systems.The smaller water pipes can be routed more easily and because the water carries much more heat energy it looses less heat when its taken outside and under the caravan, but its still advisable to lag the pipes.

Hot air systems respond more quickly when heat is needed, and becasue they blow the air it mixes and produces a more even heat distribution from top to bottom. Wet systems take longer to respond, and becasue they only use convection, in the short term the caravan can get warm at head height much sooner than at floor level. Longer term after a couple of hours or so there is little to choose between them at providing a comfortable caravan.

Both work quite well and its really a matter of personal preference, and of course which system is fitted by the caravan manufacturer

This same question has come up in another thread. I have answered it with links to a post that shows how easy it is to install some extra insulation.
We had a 7m Bailey Series 5 and on that I added some insulation to the underfloor external pipe run. We used the van in winter but if I’m really honest it didn’t really make any noticeable difference to the warmth in the van but I guess I probably used more power from the EHU. But on that length van the blown warm air system worked very well at both ends of the van in keeping the lounge and bedroom/toilet-shower rooms comfortable. But there again we don’t have a lot of heat on at home. Although the central heating will go on tonight in the early hours for when my wife arrives back from Borneo where nighttime temperatures have been around 26 deg C. So our gas bill will head skywards hereon.
Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDi SE CR 170ps DSG 4x4 carrying two Springers, Sprite Musketeer TD 2013.
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Best Used caravan for a Newbie 3 weeks 1 day ago #475698

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Hi Angie
Buying a used caravan encompasses a great many factors, so it's best not to become too hung up on the blown air heating aspect at this early stage.
Try to produce a spreadsheet or matrix chart with your essential 'must have's', the fixtures and fittings that are desirable but not deal breakers and the things that you really don't want or need, and you cut tick the boxes for each caravan that you consider buying before taking the plunge.
You might want a front sunroof from the front windows to the roofline for example, but are you prepared to do without front overhead lockers to have the sunroof?
External gas barbecue point? Under bed storage with access from the outside?
Your budget should allow you plenty of choice, remember that the overall condition of a touring caravan is more important than it's age, there's little point in buying a newer caravan with no service history and a shabby well worn interior when you could purchase a pristine example with full service history if you go back a year or two.
Have a look at the Owner Satisfaction Surveys to find out what owners of various models think, but don't forget that a proud buyer of a brand new caravan is unlikely to knock his own choice too much in public.
Above all, check dealers forecourts, speak with sales staff to let them know what you're looking for and to find out what deals they are prepared to offer, would they offer you a free awning, a starter pack with waste water container and aquaroll or a price discount?
If you don't ask, you won't get so push for any concessions that you can.
As for the heating, I lagged my warm air conduit under the caravan door with foil insulation from Screwfix, but I really can't remember the last time that we used the old blown air heating because the gas / electric Truma heater does the job for us.
Have a good look round, happy hunting and if you want to know anything just ask. :)
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Last Edit: 3 weeks 1 day ago by Parksy.
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Best Used caravan for a Newbie 3 weeks 1 day ago #475700

  • EH52ARH
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Parksy advice is great, one thing I would add is, when we bought our first caravan a second hand Sterling Eccles Jewel, we had a "Starter"pack with it, aqua roll , waste carrier, etc, and a brand new Dorema full awning, used the awning once. Not for our type of caravanning, we would go away from a Friday come back on a Sunday. Had we bargained with the dealer we could maybe got £500 to £700 off of the price of the caravan and later bought the same awning for maybe £300 a year later.
Just another hint for you.
Hutch.
Hutch,
Woosie King 2019 , Sir Were-Rabbit look at The Woosie Thread.
Sante Fe 2014,
Coachman 560 VIP. 2013.
Rural Milton Keynes
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Best Used caravan for a Newbie 3 weeks 1 day ago #475707

  • emmerson
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Welcome to our world, AKD.
My advice for what its worth, if this is your first venture into caravanning, is to buy a cheapy to begin with, say a couple of grand. Then if you don't like the life, you won't lose much when you sell on.
However, if you decide to spend your budget, remember that it will cost another £2 or 3,000 to kit it out.
So, I suggest that you try to buy privately, say from an elderly couple who are giving up. That way you would possibly get a well-looked after, maybe one owner van complete with all the kit. While you wouldn't get a dealer warranty, you might save a couple of thousand pounds on dealer price.
Whatever you decide, it's fun looking! Good luck.

It's better in a Royale!
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Best Used caravan for a Newbie 3 weeks 1 day ago #475709

  • otherclive
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emmerson wrote:
Welcome to our world, AKD.
My advice for what its worth, if this is your first venture into caravanning, is to buy a cheapy to begin with, say a couple of grand. Then if you don't like the life, you won't lose much when you sell on.
However, if you decide to spend your budget, remember that it will cost another £2 or 3,000 to kit it out.
So, I suggest that you try to buy privately, say from an elderly couple who are giving up. That way you would possibly get a well-looked after, maybe one owner van complete with all the kit. While you wouldn't get a dealer warranty, you might save a couple of thousand pounds on dealer price.
Whatever you decide, it's fun looking! Good luck.

The classifieds in the two Club magazines often contain sales from people giving up. Also the club websites not only cover van sales but lots of kit too.
Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDi SE CR 170ps DSG 4x4 carrying two Springers, Sprite Musketeer TD 2013.
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Best Used caravan for a Newbie 3 weeks 13 hours ago #475719

  • Raywood
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I did reply on the duplicate post earlier. Looking at the makes the best British make is probably Coachman but they tend to be a bit heavier than the others so you need to be sure your car is up to it. Of the foreign built caravans Adria are by far the most common and have a good reputation and are built to something near a UK spec, again though they can be heavy.
Ray
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Best Used caravan for a Newbie 3 weeks 13 hours ago #475721

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Many thanks very useful and helpful info
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