Designers!!!

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by dave newell lvs, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    Along with pretty much anyone who has ever wielded a spanner in anger at a motor vehicle I frequently find myself cursing the designers, they seem to take some strange delight in making important parts as difficult as possible to get at. Well today I found what must be the ultimate design cock up.

    Got a 2008 Dethleffs Advantage in for double service and replace the mains elements in the C series heater. Services were no great shakes (although it does have an EGR valve issue that is yet to be sorted) but sorting the heater has turned out to be a sheer bloody nightmare!

    Getting the heater out is often the tricky bit but this one was exceptionally tough, 2.5 hours of blood, sweat, tears and a lot of cursing and sweraing, I even made up some new swear words just for this pile of Germanic nonsense. The heater lives in a cupboard below the wardrobe but it has to be completely removed to replace the mains elements as they are buried deep inside the beast although its not a difficult job once the unit is on the bench.

    So to remove the heater the wardrobe floor has to come out, it has a removable section but that only serves to show you where the heater is, its certainly not a big enough hole to get the heater through. So the wardrobe floor is screwed in place, but not from inside the wardrobe, nor is it screwed down to suporting rails. Ohhhh nooo0, that would be far too sensible. No the wardrobe floor is screwed in place through the sidewalls of the wardrobe, the forward side is not a problem, remove the cushions from the long sofa and pop out three plastic caps and there they are, unscrew them and one side of the floor is now loose but what about the other side? Well the fridge is on the other side and yes the stupid designers fitted the floor by the same means, screws through the sidewall so the fridge has to come out!

    Extracting a fridge is not that difficult, disconnect the 12v and 230v connections and the gas, remove four screws from inside and with a bit of shoving, pushing and swearing out it comes. Great so now I can unscrew the other side of the floor and remove it................................no I can't! The moron who penned this fine piece of Teutonic cabinetry made the wall between fridge and wardrobe a double skin affair so the heads of the screws which hold the floor in place are obscured by the second skin of 9mm thick plywood AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

    Some careful measuring allowed me to mark positions of the screws from inside the fridge housing (this of course assumes they would be at the same distances from the front of the cabinet as the other side), surprise surbloodyprise a pilot drill hit the screw heads in all three locations, opened the holes up to 10mm to clear the screw heads and at last I can get the screws out of the wardrobe floor and remove it! YEEFECKINHAA!

    So now you'd think it would be easy to just disconnect the heater and remove it, well you'd be just as wrong as I was. The cupboard at the bottom of the wardrobe where Truma's finest lives is actually smaller than the heater it houses, the recirculating air motor actually passes through a missing section of wall and lives partly in the drawer space under the fridge. The flue connection fixings were either installed by a very well trained mouse with a super human level of grip or were simply connected to the heater before the walls were attached to the vehicle. The C series sits on a tripod of three legs which all get screwed to the floor, the front two are a doddle to get at but the rear one is under the mains connection box of the heater and completely obscured by the flue and heater outlet ducts which run in such convoluted routes its a wonder the warmth doesn't get lost trying to find its way out, honestly its like the maze out of Harry Potter!

    Finally after 45 minutes of making up new swear words I had it all disconnected and ready to lift out.............................except I didn't, the mains connection cable wasn't long enough to allow the heater to be lifted out to disconnect it, not do-able in situ as the electrickery connection box of the heater is tight up against the wardrobe wall so it has to be at least part way removed to disconnect but the morons who assembled this Germanic jigsaw saw fit to cable tie the mains lead to all the pipes that are fastened to the floor every 2.5mm with pipe clips!

    After 2 hours and 15 minutes I managed to get it to a position where I could disconnect the mains feed so time to lift it out finally............................err no not yet. The water system manifolds on both sides of the heater cupboard get in the way of lifting it out but the heater itself obscures some of the screws that hold said manifolds in place GGGGRRRRR!!! I'm really losing patience now.

    So ten minutes fighting with the six screws on each water manifold and I finally got the barsteward out and onto the bench. Tomorrow morning I will replace the elements and clean the heater out and sometime tomorrow (after the days booked jobs are dealt with) I will do all this in reverse to put it all back together but rest assured there will be a supporting ledge fitted for the wardrobe floor to be screwed down into just so that whoever gets to work on this mother in future can save an hour or so and won't need to make up new swear words.

    I'd rather change a timing chain on a Jaguar XJ12 than repeat this job!
    So how's your day been?

    D, :)
     
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  2. mpdcymru

    mpdcymru Funster

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    I hope my bike rack will be easier once I get it down to you!
     
  3. olley

    olley Funster

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    Fine fitted a light and modified a shelf, no problems, all done in 60 mins. :D
     
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  4. Mikeco

    Mikeco Funster

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    I replaced a heater element on a 2008 Dethleff, only took me 10 minutes.
     
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  5. PaulyP

    PaulyP Funster

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    Sounds like you had a lot of fun.

    Sometimes you need a challenge to make you appreciate the easy jobs.
     
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  6. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    Mine's been good thanks, rained a bit this afternoon and just learned that I dont want a Dethleffs Advantage for our next van.

    Martin
     
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  7. TheTwoOfUs

    TheTwoOfUs Funster

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    I've always maintained that the designers of vehicles should be made to strip their creations down and rebuild them before they go into production.
     
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  8. mjltigger

    mjltigger Funster

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    But to a price and to achieve that price they build it around itself so their own fitters and engineers get an easy life .. no thought for the poor sod who will end up fixing something later on. No doubt their own workshop manual quotes an outrageous price for the job based on how much furniture has to be removed. .
     
  9. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    I do hope that writing all this down has been as therapeutic for you as it has been informative (I don't think funny is appropriate) to read :)

    You wait till I bring my Hymer over one day, you will soon forget this experience :LOL::LOL::LOL::LOL:
     
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  10. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    It doesn't matter how easy it is, I don't fit bike racks, sorry :)

    D.
     
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  11. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    You can just feck right off :)

    D. P.S only kidding ;-)
     
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  12. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    Yes David, very therapeutic, along with a Bishop's Finger, a HobGoblin and a King Goblin I'm feeling better with every mouthful :)

    And don't worry, Hymer's are simple enough :)

    D.
     
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  13. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    We all sympathise and demand that every designed should be made to strip his design before it goes into production.

    Caravans/motorhomes are just the worst case because ( he says for those who have not watched how they make them ) they fit all the big bits on the floor then fasten the walls on then fasten the roof on. A lot of what is inside will not fit through the doors.
     
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  14. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    Just had a proper chuckle, as we no longer do the outdoor shows we've decided to sell our old exhibition unit so I chucked it on EBay. Gave a thorough and honest description. It used to be trailer mounted but the running gear was shagged out so I chopped it off and put castors on it so it could be loaded onto my car trailer, because of this I described it as "demountable" which I thought was fair and clear. Its a ten foot by six foot by seven foot high box with a lift up flap along one long side and cupboards and seats inside. Just had a message this evening asking "Hello, been looking at your cabin listing and wondered how demountable it is and if it would "come apart" and fit into a van?"

    I don't think he really understood the term "demountable"

    D.
     
  15. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    When the first generation Trigano Tribute PVCs hit the market the fridge could not be serviced in situ but it was deeper than the gangway between the kitchen and washroom so couldn't actually be removed for servicing either. Dethleffs once made a compact coachbuilt with French bed and a raised dinette floor opposite the kitchen. The kitchen floor space was narrower than the length of the fridge door so it couldn't even open to 90 degrees and it was impossible to remove the salad drawer at the bottom. The same Dethleffs van had the wardrobe in the rear of the shower/toilet room and the mains incoming socket and RCD in that very same wardrobe in the shower room, naked body, lots of water and a few sparks, sounds like an interesting case for Quincy M.E.

    D.
     
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  16. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    A triumph of education over experience. People who are loaded with degrees and latest CAD and totally clueless in the real world. I suspect.
     
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  17. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    Here's a photo of the carnage just before it finally came out. 20160628_164439.jpg
     
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  18. Petest

    Petest Funster

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    Now that had me in stitches.

    Keep us informed of the progress getting it back - how's your memory as you get older?
     
  19. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    As long as I can remember the routing of the maze of outlet ducts I'll get by, other than that I can usually remember where I live and how to get home from the pub :)

    D.
     
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  20. Petest

    Petest Funster

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    Get the priorities right
     

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