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TOPIC: Bailey Unicorn Valencia or Lunar Clubman SE

Bailey Unicorn Valencia or Lunar Clubman SE 9 months 1 week ago #445153

  • Fred460
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Hi All
I'm on the point of buying a new caravan and I've narrowed it down to a choice of two models - a Bailey Unicorn Valencia or a Lunar Clubman SE. Whilst they have very similar specifications my concern is the durability of their shells. The Bailey uses the Alutech system but the Lunar doesn't. When I asked the dealer which van he would purchase he said the Bailey even though the Clubman is the more expensive caravan. Because we use our caravan extensively throughout the year his argument was that because the Lunar panels are thin then they would flex more when being towed whereas the Bailey Alutech system is far more rigid and less prone to flexing. He was suggesting that flexing over time would contribute to possible damp problems occurring. So, has anybody any thoughts on this?
Last Edit: 9 months 1 week ago by Fred460. Reason: typo
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Bailey Unicorn Valencia or Lunar Clubman SE 9 months 1 week ago #445155

  • ProfJohnL
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Hello Fred,

I suspects it's six of one and half a dozen of the other!

We see reports from owners of both marques about body work problems so its difficult to be objectively fair particularly as neither manufacturer publicises their failure rates.

Whilst reading forums can be a valuable source of information, do bear in mind that it's human nature to make a lot of noise about problems and to keep quiet when thongs go right, so you cannot trust forums to give you a fully unbiased picture of a any make. Crucially don.t assume that just because one make has less reports about their products it means they're necessarily better than a make with lots of reports. As manufactured don't publish their reliability figures, or production figures you have no base line on which to make the comparison.

There are two key issues, the fist is body work failure, like stress fractures and panel joints working loose, and secondly - which can be related to the first is propensity for caravans to leak.

On the presumption that Lunar are still using the long standing construction techniques of wooden framed panels, then if there is movement and a leak occurs there's a risk the internal wooden framing may start to rot. Joint repairs are normally executed form the outside.

By comparison, since Bailey introduced their Alutech construction, I do get the impression there have been fewer reports of panel related issues, and becasue they claim to have removed all wood frames, there is no risk of rotting, But as I understand repairs to joints have to be undertaken from inside the caravan, which means it might be a more invasive job.

In all cases, if you want to keep the protection of manufacturers guarantees, you must follow their instructions regarding regular dealer inspections.
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.
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Bailey Unicorn Valencia or Lunar Clubman SE 9 months 1 week ago #445156

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Very many thanks for your thoughts - much appreciated. For your information in 2016 my wife spent 4 months touring Europe towing our 2011 Bailey Unicorn Almeria. The van behaved impeccably throughout with no mishaps on the way. I reckon that trip (all 5000 miles of it) equated to the equivalent of several years of caravanning. However, given the van is nearly seven years old we think it's time for a change. We actually love the layout of the Almeria but of course Bailey no longer produce it. The closest we've seen to the Almeria layout is in the Lunar Clubman SE - hence our interest. But looking at what you've said about Alutech system then I'm inclined to stick with it much to the chagrin of my wife who prefers the Clubman's layout. As far as I'm aware Lunar are still using a more old fashioned construction technique with all the attendant risks that go with it.
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Bailey Unicorn Valencia or Lunar Clubman SE 9 months 1 week ago #445160

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Hello again Fred

5000 Mile tip is quite extensive, but if you look over the forum you will find a number of threads about annual mileage and such high mileages are not uncommon.

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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.
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Bailey Unicorn Valencia or Lunar Clubman SE 9 months 1 week ago #445164

  • Raywood
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We have a Lunar and it did leak but there again many Bailey owners have had leaks so I am not convinced one way or the other as to which is the better buy if you are looking at avoiding leaks. The claim for repairs was dealt with well by both the dealer and Lunar and although we would have preferred to have no problem we cannot complain about the treatment we received.
The last PC survey might have helped you but they have not published the figures for the number of leaks according to make although they will have this information so we are in the dark there. The survey does show a higher satisfaction rate for Bailey and that they turn out a few more fault free caravans, but there is not a lot in it.
I appreciate that the wooden frame of a Lunar can rot if a leak is not dealt with but provided the caravan is serviced and a damp test done as required this should not be a problem as the leak should be picked up in good time. If you do get a leak any workshop should be able to deal with the Lunar because of its traditional build, but not all can tackle the Bailey which can cause problems and delay in getting it repaired. Before buying a Bailey I would check the dealer can do this work if needed.
My impression though is the Bailey is a bit more solidly built, probably because Lunar concentrate on keeping the weight down and weight may be involved in deciding what you purchase.
From a personal point of view we find the internal and external appearance and the design of the Lunar better but others may not agree.
There is no right or wrong answer to the question asked and it is possibly a question of your priorities. I hope I have been fair to both makes and we have always gone largely with our hearts as the deciding factor and not regretted it.
Ray
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Bailey Unicorn Valencia or Lunar Clubman SE 9 months 1 week ago #445168

  • otherclive
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I think that others have pretty well covered the pros and cons of the choices. I would just like to add that I have had my last two caravans serviced at the main brand dealers and both had to have replacement front/rear ends, due to cracks appearing in the front and/or rear panels. They didnt cause any consequential damage and both dealers sealed up the damaged areas until the caravan could be fitted with its new panels. The cracks and damp were picked up at the scheduled services. What was good is that there wasn't any problem in getting authority for the repairs to go ahead from the makers of the caravan. I think having the defects identified by a brand main dealer helped expedite the repairs and speed up parts delivery. Yes I pay a small amount more for a main brand dealer service but the benefits were worth it.
Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDi SE CR 170ps DSG 4x4 carrying two Springers, Sprite Musketeer TD 2013.
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Bailey Unicorn Valencia or Lunar Clubman SE 9 months 1 week ago #445169

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Hi
Many thanks for your comments. I usually deal with Chichester Caravans, Uckfield, and since they sell mainly Bailey Caravans at that branch they are well used to dealing with all the faults & foibles that these caravans present. I note your comments about damp getting into wooden frames and thereby possibly causing some rotting to take place - well with the Alutech system that can't happen. I agree with you that the interior of the Clubman feels to be a little superior to the Valencia - by not much - though the sofas in the Valencia feel more comfortable to sit in. Also in the Clubman there's no shelf to hand near the wash basin which over time could become an irritant.
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Bailey Unicorn Valencia or Lunar Clubman SE 9 months 1 week ago #445170

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I'm guessing you own a Lunar?
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Bailey Unicorn Valencia or Lunar Clubman SE 9 months 1 week ago #445171

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Hi - I wasn't suggesting our European trip should be entered into the Guinness Book of Records but the point I was trying to make that over such an extensive trip our caravan was put to the test and it sailed through with flying colours - this was on top of all the other trips we have taken in our caravan over the years. So maybe I've developed a lot of confidence in the Alutech system and I'm on my way to answering my own question but I wanted to get folks' views about the Lunar Clubman.
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Bailey Unicorn Valencia or Lunar Clubman SE 9 months 1 week ago #445172

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Sorry - posted this in the wrong place - I'm guessing you've got a Lunar Caravan
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