Recommended Annual Habitation Service Check

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  1. Don Madge

    Don Madge Funster

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    Recommended Annual Habitation Service Check

    INTRODUCTION

    There is much confusion over the annual habitation service or check for motorhomes, with widely varying prices and standards of work. However a 'standard checklist' is used by many dealers when carrying out this work, but it seems that many owners are not aware of this, or of what checks should be included. We suggest that owners should ask for the 'SMMT Annual Habitation Service Check' to be carried out. Competent owners may wish to use the published checklist when carrying out their own maintenance.

    The following guidelines for the checking and servicing of a motorhome's habitation area are taken from the guidance booklet published by the Motorhome Section of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the Motorhome Division of The National Caravan Council (NCC). They are © SMMT & NCC and reproduced here with their kind permission. We would like to thank them for providing this information and also thank The Motorhome Information Service for their assistance.

    The checks do not cover any part of the base vehicle, although there may be minor overlapping (such as tyre pressures, cab seats, internal lights, battery and windows) in a van conversion. The base vehicle must be serviced in accordance with the chassis manufacturer's instructions.

    Reference should also be made to:

    1. Any owner's manual or equivalent supplied with the vehicle by the motorhome manufacturer.

    2 Appliance manufacturers' leaflets.

    3. Driver s handbook or equivalent supplied by the chassis manufacturer.

    A vehicle is accepted for service at the dealer's discretion.
    Any defects, repairs, adjustments, cleaning or lubrication required will be noted on the check list.
    The customer's approval will be obtained before any work is done.

    Not all of the equipment mentioned in this manual is fitted as standard to every motorhome

    Any work carried out following the check, and the sufficiency of the work in the check itself, is subject to the contract between the customer and the dealer. The National Caravan Council (NCC) & SMMT and their member companies are not part of this contract, and accept no liability in contract, tort or otherwise, other than death or personal injury due to negligence on their part.


    SECTION 1
    BODY MOUNTING

    1.1 BODY TO CHASSIS
    Examine all fixings retaining the body to the chassis - this may be direct or through a sub-frame.
    Where practical, all fittings should be checked to ensure they are all present and correctly secured.

    1.2 BODY TO CAB
    Examine joint between body and cab for signs of movement and soundness of sealing media.

    1 .3 BODY RETENTION (Dismountables)
    Check serviceability and tightness of body retaining gear.
    Check serviceability of body support struts and mountings.
    (Note - whether it will be necessary to demount the body to check the
    body supports must be agreed between dealer and customer).

    SECTION 2
    WINDOWS

    2.1 WINDOWS
    Check window glazing rubber or sealing for cracks and general condition.
    Check for satisfactory opening and closing.
    Check fixing of top hinge rail on top hung windows.
    Check for good weather seal when window is closed and latched.
    Check catches and stays for satisfactory operation.

    SECTION 3
    DOORS

    3.1 EXTERNAL DOORS
    Not including base vehicle doors.

    3.1.1 SECURITY
    Check that hinges and catches are satisfactory and that, when latched, doors are held securely shut.
    Check that keys or internal latches lock the doors correctly.
    Check that any device fitted to hold a door in the open position is satisfactory.

    3.1.2 SEALING
    Check all door seals for cracking and general condition. Check correct closing to give a weather-tight seal.

    3.1.3 CHILDPROOF LOCK
    Where a door is fitted with a childproof lock, check that an appropriate warning notice is fixed adjacent to the door.
    Appropriate warning notices are available from motorhome manufacturers.

    3.2 INTERNAL DOORS

    3.2.1 SECURITY
    Check that hinges and catches are satisfactory and that, when latched, the door is held securely shut.

    3.2.2 SAFETY
    Check that any device fitted to hold a door in the closed position can be operated from both sides to open the door in an emergency.

    SECTION 4
    ATTACHMENTS TO CHASSIS OR UNDERBODY

    4.1 CORNER STEADIES
    Check that attachments to chassis are secure. Ensure steadies work freely and satisfactorily.
    Lubricate screw to ensure correct operation.

    4.2 FOLDING/RETRACTABLE STEPS
    Check that step pivots are satisfactory and not worn. Check that, when closed, the retaining mechanism holds the step securely. If fitted, check warning device is working.

    4.3 UNDERFLOOR WATER TANK MOUNTINGS
    Check mounting frames are secure to body. Any fastenings that require releasing to remove the tank should be free of rust and operate freely. (Removal, flushing, cleaning and replacing of tanks will be carried out at the prior request of the customer or will be done subsequently with other work).

    4.4 SPARE WHEEL
    Remove spare wheel. Check for damage. Check tyre pressure.
    Check mounting frame for security to body and for secure retention of
    spare wheel.

    4.5 WHEELBOXES
    Check for damage, corrosion, water seepage, signs of tyre rubbing.

    SECTION 5
    ATTACHMENT TO BODY EXTERIOR

    5 1 ROOF LIGHTS
    Check security, general condition, and that sealing has not deteriorated.

    5.2 ROOF RACKS AND LADDERS
    Check security to body and general condition.
    Check roof for damage adjacent to rack.

    5.3 MOULDINGS, TRIMS
    Check security. Check sealing has not deteriorated (see section 6).

    5.4 FLUE TERMINALS, AIR VENTS
    Check security. Check sealing has not deteriorated.
    Check that these are not blocked.

    SECTION 6
    INTERNAL

    6.1 BODY SEEPAGE CHECK
    Examine for moisture/water staining of areas under windows, at side of roof and at corners which could indicate water seepage problems.
    A moisture meter should be used where appropriate.

    6.2 FURNITURE
    Check furniture is securely fixed.
    Check door hinges, catches and stays for satisfactory operation.

    6.3 DINETTE SEAT/BEDS
    Check seat bases for security of fixings and for damage.
    Make up beds according to manufacturer's instructions and check for
    rigidity and safety.

    6.4 UPPER BUNKS
    Check there is a secure means of access to upper bunks and that, where applicable, protection against falling out and entrapment is provided.

    6.5 CURTAINS/BLINDS/NETS
    Check track is secure and curtains draw freely without snagging.
    Check blinds and/or nets for correct operation.
    Check flyscreens in roof lights and air vents.

    6.6 CAB SEATS
    Where cab seats form part of the living area and/or bed layout they should be checked for security of attachment, smooth and easy operation of seat slides, swivels and seat back operation.

    6.7 FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
    Check condition and expiry date. If an extinguisher is not fitted, inform the customer of the advisability of such equipment.

    6.8 FIRE BLANKET
    Check position (should be near cooker).
    If one is not present, inform the customer of the advisability of such equipment.

    6.9 ADVICE TO OCCUPIERS WARNING NOTICE
    Check presence and condition and advise accordingly
    The wording and the layout of the notice should be set out as follows:

    ADVICE TO USERS

    VENTILATION
    NO NOT OBSTRUCT THE VENTILATORS WHICH ARE FITTED; YOUR SAFETY DEPENDS ON THEM

    IN CASE OF FIRE
    1. GET EVERYONE OUT
    2. TURN OFF OUTSIDE GAS VALVE OR OIL VALVE (IF FITTED)
    3. DISCONNECT THE MAINS ELECTRICITY SUPPLY
    4. RAISE THE ALARM AND CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE
    5. TACKLE THE FIRE IF SAFE TO DO SO

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS

    CHILDREN: DO NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE

    MEANS OF ESCAPE: MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THE LOCATION AND OPERATION OF THE EMERGENCY EXITS, KEEP ALL ESCAPE ROUTES CLEAR

    COMBUSTIBLE MATERIALS: KEEP THEM CLEAR OF ALL HEATING AND COOKING APPLIANCES

    FIRE FIGHTING: PROVIDE, AT LEAST, A 1 KG POWDER FIRE EXTINGUISHER, THAT COMPLIES WITH BS 5423 BY THE MAIN EXIT DOOR, AND A FIRE BLANKET NEXT TO THE COOKER. MAKE YOURSELF FAMILIAR WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS ON YOUR FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND THE FIRE PRECAUTION ARRANGEMENTS ON THE CARAVAN PARK.

    6.10 PORTABLE OR OPEN FLAME HEATING EQUIPMENT
    Check for its presence. The customer must be advised against its use.

    SECTION 7

    ELEVATING ROOFS

    7.1 LIFTING MECHANISM
    Gas struts or spring struts should be checked for corrosion (particularly on the piston rods of gas struts), smooth operation when operating roof up and down and to ensure that they support the roof when fully up. Check attachment points of struts to body and roof.

    7.2 CANVAS SIDE WALLS
    Check for satisfactory attachment to body and roof.
    Check for splits or holes, particularly at fold lines.
    Check that the canvas stows satisfactorily when roof is lowered.
    (A waterproofing check will be done at the prior request of the
    customer).

    7.3 SOLID SIDE WALL
    Check sides and end panels fold up and down correctly, that they seal against each other where appropriate and that retaining mechanisms are satisfactory.
    Check all hinges for security and freedom from strain.

    7.4 LOCKING OF ROOF
    It is important to ensure that when the roof is in the travelling position, it is safely and positively locked down. Any locking retaining mechanism should be carefully examined.

    SECTION 8
    GAS SYSTEMS

    8.1 CYLINDERS AND REGULATORS
    Establish that the cylinders and regulators are compatible. Butane (blue) cylinders should have a regulator stamped with the pressure 11" WG (28 m bar) and propane (red) cylinders should be stamped 14" WG (37 m bar). Check that the regulator is controlling the gas to the correct pressure for the type of cylinder fitted.
    Check cylinder compartment vents and gas drop hole in the floor are free from obstruction.
    Check seals on internal doors.

    8.2 HOSE AND PIPING
    Check any flexible hose is of an approved type. Check its condition and for any evidence of cracking.
    Check piping for condition, damage and correct support.
    Carry out an overall leak test.

    8.3 APPLIANCES
    In general, the checking of gas appliances can be divided into the following:

    1. Cleaning 4. Flues
    2. Operation of controls 5. Flame failure device
    3. Correct flame structure 6. Security

    8.3.1 CLEANING
    Where appropriate, remove cover(s) to gain access to heat exchanger.
    Clean away any fluff or foreign matter. Reassemble and test.
    Clean flame viewing window.

    8.3.2 CONTROLS
    Check that all knobs etc. work smoothly and are secure on their spindles.
    If gas taps require greasing to ease stiffness, use only approved LPG grease.
    Check that appliances can be brought into service using the normal controls.

    8.3.3 CORRECT FLAME STRUCTURE
    Check that all pilot flames burn quietly and clearly.

    Refrigerator: With the refrigerator gas control turned to maximum, the colour of the flame should be predominantly blue.
    Instantaneous Water Heating: The main burner flame should be of even height and blue in colour. A flame burning yellow will allow sooting to occur.

    Ovens: The oven flame should burn quietly and be of even height, mainly blue/green in colour. If the gas is propane, the flame will normally develop yellow tips as the burner heats up. If the gas is butane, a small amount of yellow tipping will be seen immediately after lighting, increasing as the burner heats up.

    Grill Burners: It is normal for the flames on this type of burner to develop yellow tips as it heats up, particularly on butane.

    General: A flame lifting away from the burners is an indication of too high a pressure, although it may happen with grill burners whilst the frets are heating up.
    A yellow flame will cause sooting and is an indication of too low a pressure.
    Providing the regulator and piping have been checked and found satisfactory the above faults should not appear.

    8.3.4 FLUES
    Flues should be examined for security of fixing and for correct attachment to appliances and flue terminals. They should be free from damage and corrosion.
    Check for leakage of flue gases into the vehicle.

    8.3.5 FLAME FAILURE DEVICE (FFD)
    Where fitted, the FFD should be checked to ensure satisfactory operation. After the appliance has been successfully checked, allow time for the thermocouple to cool.
    Attempt to relight the appliance by turning it on without pushing in the gas control knob. (Do not override the FFD). If appliance does not light, FFD is satisfactory.

    8.3.6 SECURITY
    Check appliance is securely fixed to the vehicle/furniture and will be free from rattles. Where applicable, check that water pipes are satisfactorily attached with no sign of leakage

    8.3.7 PROTECTION OF ADJACENT SURFACES
    Check that surfaces adjacent to open flame cooking appliances have adequate protection.

    8.3.8 INSPECTIONS
    It is recommended that inspections are carried out by a qualified fitter
    trained to, for example, CORGI (Confederation of Registered Gas Installers) or Calor standards.

    SECTION 9
    WATER SYSTEM
    Before operating the water system, a visual check of the following items may show up an obvious leak source.

    9.1 FRESH WATER TANK CONTAINER
    Check condition, fill tank and check for leaks.
    Check the external filter and filter pipe to tank.
    Check for satisfactory venting.
    Check condition and presence of filter cap.

    9.2 WASTE WATER TANK
    Check drain tap is clear and working.
    Check condition and presence of drain hose. (The water tank will be drained, flushed, cleaned and charged with a measure of toilet fluid/disinfectant at the prior request of the customer.

    9.3 FILTER PUMP
    When applicable, remove filter and replace.
    Check the in-line pump for security and condition. Remove the
    submersible pump from tank, check condition.
    Check pump inlet and outlet are clear and not obstructed.
    Check delivery hose and electric cable are secure and satisfactory

    Operate pump. Check all piping for leaks.
    Operate taps and shower. If a hot water system is fitted, it can be checked for leaks etc. using cold water.
    (Note - Aerated water from tap could be due to a leak on the suction side of the pump).

    With water running through the drain pipes, check for leaks and satisfactory draining of water from sinks etc.

    9.6 . COUPLINGS AND FLUIDS.
    Check that the appropriate markings are used - blue for fresh water, grey for waste water. Ensure a sealing off cover is supplied for each coupling. Check that filler positions are designated "petrol", "diesel", or "water" as appropriate.

    9.7 TOILET WASTE TANK
    Check that any fixed tank intended to receive discharge from a toilet is fitted with either a level or full indicator.

    SECTION 10
    ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS

    10.1 EXTRA LOW VOLTAGE 12 VOLTS (excluding vehicle)

    10.1.1 BATTERY/IES
    Check battery/ies for condition.
    Check connections, wires, fuses and relays appertaining to the habitation electrics.

    10.1.2 WIRING
    Examine all visible wiring.
    Check all connections and joints are sound and satisfactory

    10.1.3 FUSES/FUSE HOLDERS
    Ensure that fuses and fuse holders used to protect the habitation electrics are satisfactory and that fuse ratings are compatible with the circuit appliances being protected.

    10.1.4 APPLIANCES
    Inspect all appliances for damage, signs of overheating and secure fixing
    Function test all appliances.

    10.2 MAINS 230 VOLT SYSTEM
    It is recommended that the inspection and certification of the 230 volt system be carried out by a qualified electrician who is an approved contractor of the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) or in membership of the Electrical Contractors Association.


    SECTION 11
    VENTILATION

    11.1 HIGH LEVEL
    Check all high level ventilators, including roof lights, are free from obstruction and allow a free flow of air.

    11.2 LOW LEVEL
    Check all low level ventilators are free from obstruction and allow a free flow of air.
    If the ventilator is manually adjustable then ensure mechanism is free and operating correctly
     
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