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Caravan Services

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Posted

Hi

I think it's time for a reasoned debate about Caravan Servicing.

First can I pose the question "Does the hub and bearings need removed and greased on every annual service"?

The Bailey service handbook states that it is a 3000 mile/12 month service (Thats what it gets stamped for).

The only reason to remove and grease the wheel bearings at these intervals in my opinion is to check the brake linings.

An experienced fitter would surely recognise bearing problems without removing the wheels by wheel play and noise when the wheel is rotated.

Does anybody have experience of brake shoes wearing out at this kind of interval?

O.K. I'll admit to towing around 4000 miles a year and there is no reliable indicator on the caravan to show mileage.

What mileage is acceptable for Commercial Vehicles between services where brake pads/shoes get checked. I suspect around 12000 miles.

This would suggest to me that the wheel bearings removal/brake shoes check should be done 4 yearly.

Personal experience sevicing my last caravan (had it for 18 years) suggest this is more than enough. The brake shoes were never renewed.

I also think there is more danger in contaminating the bearings with brake dust doing the job too often.

I've just had mine serviced and it cost me (just for this bit)

?17.98 for AlKo one shot nuts

?4.70 for grease (O.K. I know a little is used elsewhere)

?3.53 for brake cleaner

?41.12 for labour (guessing one hours labour)

That's a total of ?67.33.

Is it neccesary?

Lunar

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63 answers to this question

Posted

I had to have a wheel bearing replaced on a 10 month old caravan last year!

I don't know the technicalities of whether the checks can be done without removal, or if failure can be detected just by spinning or rocking the wheel, but I suspect that an annual check is not unreasonable. Even if the caravan does 300 miles a year I think an annual check is warranted.

My cars service interval is 10,000 miles or annually. So that to would need servicing every 12 months even if it had only covered 300 miles..........

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Posted

Hi Luner, To answer your question, in my opinion no the hubs don't need to come of annual unless a extremley high milage is acheived during the year, I always take off the drums and examine the brake shoes, adjusters ect, the first time i service a van, simply because i don't know how long it's been between examinations, you can check the depth of shoe from the back of the drum through a sight hole.

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Posted

Just had our Bailey TA Serviced.

Alko one shot nuts.......................... 2.99 each = 11.96

Brake Cleaner................................ 3.00

Grease/Oils.................................... 2.50

all plus VAT, I would say you've been over charged on the nuts

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Posted

Hi OlderButNotWiser

Didn't even make the service? I don't know what to say about that apart from the fact that it sounds as if you detected the problem yourself.

Hi Metz

As you will have guessed from my post I agree with you completely.

Hi Caravan Lady

I got charged 2 x ?7.65 plus ?2.68 V.A.T. = ?17.98

Regards

Lunar

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Posted

the simple answer is yes, brakes do need stripping and checking. all modern caravans are now running on sealed for life bearings, long gone are 2 sets of taper roller bearings and oil seals. without stripping the hub you cannot see if the bearing seal is leaking, which they do. you cannot inspect the hub correctly for overheating and cracking from the inside, which they do. you cannot see if the brake linings are damaged, which they do. you cannot see if the working inside the hub are still in the correct place and havent become dislodge, which they do. and you cannot correctly clean the brake linings without removing the hubs. i hope this answers your question.

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Posted

Hi OlderButNotWiser

Didn't even make the service? I don't know what to say about that apart from the fact that it sounds as if you detected the problem yourself.

Lunar

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Posted

Hi Mr Sheen

Thank you for your detailed reply.

I am not arguing that they never need checked, purely the interval!

Why do caravan hubs and brakes need more attention than commercial vehicles and cars?

Is it bad design?

Hi OlderButNotWiser

Thanks for that extra detail.

Regards

Lunar

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Posted

the simple answer is yes, brakes do need stripping and checking. all modern caravans are now running on sealed for life bearings, long gone are 2 sets of taper roller bearings and oil seals. without stripping the hub you cannot see if the bearing seal is leaking, which they do. you cannot inspect the hub correctly for overheating and cracking from the inside, which they do. you cannot see if the brake linings are damaged, which they do. you cannot see if the working inside the hub are still in the correct place and havent become dislodge, which they do. and you cannot correctly clean the brake linings without removing the hubs. i hope this answers your question.

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Posted

I don't thinks it's possible to compare a caravans running gear service intervals with those on your car, simply you notice things in a car as they develop between services, that's not something easy to do with a caravan while sat in your car towing it.

End result of this is you only notice when it's to late so what cost an annual service then?

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Posted

Hi again Mr Sheen

Just an afterthought from your earlier reply

I assumed most of the service grease charged for was for the hubs, obviously wrongly because they're now sealed units. So now begs two other question

"Is ?4.70 reasonable for the grease used on, I assume the hitch overrun, corner steadies and jockey wheel"? At retail prices I'd think less than half of that.

"Is it reasonable to charge me ?1.65 for cable ties on the wheel trims and/or does this relieve me of the responsibility to check the wheel nuts after 50 to 100 miles"?

Regards

Lunar

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Posted

by nature of design they do get a bit more hammer because you only have the one axle so the loading is more concentrated in one area. they are being towed and not very well in some cases, hitting kerbs and potholes etc. they are also stood for long periods of time with the weight still on them. they suffer a lot from overheating when people are travelling with the handbrake not released correctly. a lot of people so-called servicing them do not know what they are doing because i have motor mechanics ringing me up to ask how to set them up correctly, which obvioulsy i have not told them. to be quite honest, the whole design and use of brake drums on a modern caravan is out of date. a brake drum on a car is only used primarily as a parking brake or a secondary brake and this is why minis went away from drums all round, they are just not that good. but as yet no-one has come up with a better idea for a caravan. well thats just my opinion.

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Posted

i dont charge for grease, cable ties or brake cleaner. i wouldnt feel comfortable doing it.

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Posted

i would love to see an MOT for caravans, because in the main, unless you have a warranty i would say 85% dont bother servicing caravans. it would make the whole experience a lot safer for everyone, plus it would get a lot of the old death traps off the road.

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Posted

Hi Gary

Thanks for your input but what about light commercial vehicles. They must have similar loads to caravans (after all we use the same tyres) but don't require 3000 mile hub and brake servicing, or do they?

As a retired person on fixed income and slowly dwindling cash pile money is just as important to me as it was when I had a huge mortgage, two children and an invariably empty bank account ( I hope to carry on caravanning untill I'm 100).

So in answer to your question "If I'm paying I expect to have my caravan serviced properly but I'm not in the habit of paying for unneccesary work, especially at ?41.12 per hour".

I believe that if services are too expensive they deter the younger family man (with large mortgages etc) from having them carried out leading to an unsafe caravanning environment. It's difficult enough persuading people to change their tyres at 5 years.

I'll bet that less than 33% of caravans on the road get properly serviced if at all.

Regards

Lunar

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Posted

I must admit that when I bought my first caravan I didn't have a clue. I sort of checked it over myself and did go as far as replacing all the tyres (it was a twin axle) but I had them over inflated. I didn't know what a stabiliser was, I didn't know about nose weight and I hadn't a clue about caravan servicing.

Learned loads on this forum though!! :thumbsup::thumbsup:

And I'm still learning........

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Posted

Hi Mr Sheen

We must be writing some replies at the same time.

I'm sorry but I can't accept the single axle business. If a car, van, lorry or caravan is designed to carry a specific load then the whole suspension system should be designed for it regardless of potholes etc. I suspect that the dynamics on a four wheeled steered vehicle are much greater than a single axle caravan.

I'll agree with you about kerbs. I've met one caravanner who had a blow out cornering, but the way many large van men bump up and down kerbs I can't see a lot of difference.

I'll agree with you totally that in this day and age caravan brakes and suspension are well behind the times.

Perhaps you'll agree that the N.C.C. should put some major effort into pressurising caravan chassis manufacturers to improve.

I'll apologise for my last post and agree with you that only 15% of caravans on the road are serviced.

And I sincerely believe that it'll only improve with either legislation or lowering the cost to make it more affordable.

Regards

Lunar

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Posted

Maybe they will start to offer a 2 tier service.

1. Basic roadworthiness service.

2. Full service which includes everything.

Crazy idea, but if it makes some 'vans safer on the road......................................

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Posted

:goodpostingsign:

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Posted

I bet if you took your caravan to a service workshop and said you only wanted the running gear servicing, but not to touch interior electrics, gas, water or do a damp check then they'd be quite happy to do that for you - especially at the times of year when they are more quiet.

It depends how much you value your own safety, and that of other people who have to share the road with you.

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Posted

i do offer a brake and chassis service, which makes the caravan safe in regards to towing a trailer. it meets the minimum required legal standard in the eyes of the police, because the police only see a caravan as a braked trailer. im sure other dealers offer the same service.

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Posted

i would love to see an MOT for caravans, because in the main, unless you have a warranty i would say 85% dont bother servicing caravans. it would make the whole experience a lot safer for everyone, plus it would get a lot of the old death traps off the road.

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Posted

Mine gets a Harringtons Gold Service every year, They do everything from servicing the running gear to tying up loose cables or hoses.

I have no problem paying as i am happy that my unit is as safe as i can possibly make it, if anything is wrong i do not dabble, i will get it to Harringtons ASAP.

Steve

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Posted

i agree. if you have a service by an approved workshop approvedlogo.jpg

then this would pass for an mot.

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Posted

I think, ultimately, that it's up to the individual whether they pay to have a service done or not. However, if they then take that van out on the public road and there's an accident as a result of something that would have been picked up at a service - a brakes problem, say, or a wheel bearing or an old tyre - they should have the book thrown at them.

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Posted

:wine:

That works for me - personal accountability and no extra legislation required ........ which is why Tony B Liar won't do it - no jobs for his army of civil servants !

:wine::wine::wine:

:England:

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