Virgin motorhomer

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Busterbulldog, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Busterbulldog

    Busterbulldog Read Only Funster

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    Hi all, we are Stuart and Donna. We have fancied a motorhome for many years now and have finally taken the plunge. We didn't have a large budget and wanted to avoid finance so opted for an old used motorhome. After studying the ads for weeks we decided to take the plunge on a 1995 Ci Riviera 1000 on a Fiat Ducatto base. The reason we bought this was it looked relatively modern for the age. It doesn't appear to have had a vast amount of use...only 50,000miles in 17years. First impressions when we saw it were "crikey, this guy doesn't know what polish is". Previous owner had had this vehicle for four years and done 6000miles in that time. The van itself is not knocked about at all and is very straight. The interior is in very good condition...practically immaculate. Went on a test drive, steering was extremely heavy especially off dead centre. Steering wheel is very big. Done a deal for £8300 and insured there and then for £359 with Caravanguard. Van came with a full 1years MOT Cert complete with a few advisories.
    Driving home!!!!
    After a few miles I found myself thinking....sometimes I'm too impulsive....what have I done this time???
    There was a smell of fumes. The heater temperature would not stabilise...quite erratic to say the least. It was extremely noisy. Steering was very heavy. Handling was awful. Best cruising speed was 40mph. From 40-46 the van wobbled like hell from the rear which went to a sort of back end wave and then ended at about 46 to be replaced by a huge noise. Drove the 110miles....took ages. Donna in car in front was rather annoyed at the 40mph 99% of the journey home and thought I was taking the piss. Arrived home 11.15p.m. Very tired.
    Broad light of day!!!
    Faded paintwork. Dull plastics. Generally needing a damn good clean outside due to being parked up and left way too long between polishes if ever polished. This was Wednesday...its now Sunday. Washed, T-cutted, polished all the cab paintwork, doors etc. This has come up like new and I am very pleased with the results. Started cleaning main caravan bit...jet washed all roof as it was hanging, it came up very well. There is a roof rack, ladders and bike rack all fitted and matching though a bit green faded and dirty. I have gone round the corner trim and edges of windows and door trimming off the unsightly black mastic type substance that seems to have oozed out over the years and grown green mould. T cut and polished giving back the clean lines it would have once had .
    Donna meanwhile has been busy on the interior. All is in very good condition cosmetically although the electrics and gas have yet to be checked out. The previous owner had had new curtains and cushion covers made which are of good quality though not to my taste so will be changing that in the future. The wooden interior is quite a pleasant shade and it also benefits from newly fitted carpets. The cab is also in very good condition...seats unmarked and clean. Loads of space for storage. Fitted we have 2ring hob, sink, Electrolux fridge gas/electric,gas fire,nice 2 tone shower room with basin and wc.
    Mechanical....lifted bonnet,can see a hole in the exhaust just below manifold accounts for fumes and noise ,going to buy complete system.Tyre check,pressures varied between 31 and 46 psi... recommended 72.5,am hoping this accounts for the heavy steering and wayward handling.One tyre (mitchelin) has started to crack on the sidewall ,checked date code,they are 2001 so have decided a new full set needed.Havnt started van since getting home,once finished cleaning going to change oil and filter,change air filter,brake fluid,coolant,fuel filter.Going to remove and clean all plumbing pipes/renew as necessary,intercooler radiator looks blocked so going to remove /clean renew if needed.
    To be honest i know sod all about motorhomes so this is going to be a learning curve.:)
    My first question,the van has a plastic trim/skirting all around the bottom,whats best to clean/recolor/renovate this?
    intro overDonna and Stuart
     
  2. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Hi Donna and Stuart and welcome....

    Tyre pressures......where did you get the 72.5psi from ?
    that sounds like the absolute maximum rating for the max weight and tyres.

    i would say around 65psi rear and 60psi front as a starting point...this was the running pressures on my last van, a 3850kg Swift Kontiki at just over 7mtrs length.

    31psi/46psi would certainly explain the heavy steering and probably the rear end shimmy.

    cant see why the mot tester failed to notice a hole in the front pipe...or is it small enough not to be noisy ?

    a certain amount of tyre wall cracking is usually acceptable for test if it isn't to severe but at 11 years old you are wise to renew them all..

    the mastic on the joints hasn't oozed out, for reasons unknown that's how the converters leave it.

    plastic skirt may well have faded/stained with age and it may not come clean and shiny...only hard work will tell.
     
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  3. Busterbulldog

    Busterbulldog Read Only Funster

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    Hi John,thanks for the reply,the tyre pressures i got off a data panel in the door shut.As for the exhaust,u can get a finger in the hole,how the mot tester passed it i dont know.The plastic skirt is really in great condition ,but theres a few drip marks here and there,like bleach stains,I will try a few trade chemicals/pvc cleaners and see what results i can achieve.Donna thinks im overly fussy but i like things to look right. The mastic substance looks very nasty and totally grabs my eyes.I trimmed it back with a stanley blade and cleaned the residue with solvent panel cleaner then t cut and waxed,this has taken years of it and has much improved the look already.
    Another question,it has an electric step,this worked when we viewed it but doesnt on my driveway. My drive slopes is this the reason why? I took the gas fire cover off earlier,the flue joint on the fire comprises of a short copex off the fire pushed into a larger copex exiting throo the roof,the joint between both copexes isnt a snug fit,is this correct?Im going to remove the fire strip it,clean and service and refit.
     
  4. MHVirgins

    MHVirgins

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    Hi and welcome to you both!

    Sounds like you've both been very busy with the new mh, you are in good hands with the advice given by pappajohn:thumb:

    They are a very knowledgeable bunch on here.........we're kind of still virgins as well though:Laughing:

    Bill & Margaret
     
  5. Busterbulldog

    Busterbulldog Read Only Funster

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    Hi Bill and Margaret,thanks for the welcome
     
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  6. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    I thought the pressures may be off the data plate...they are the max loaded weight pressures and may be to hard for comfort.
    try my suggested pressures and work up or down until you get an acceptable ride comfort with reasonable handling...bear in mind when being overtaken by anything bigger than a large car it will swing about at the rear, you soon get used to it :Sad:

    Yes, they do look better with the sealant trimmed back and i cant see a reason not to.

    couldnt say about the flue pipes as i never looked at mine.
    it obviously been this way for a long time and the previous owner is still around.:Wink:


    electric steps can be a nightmare..
    did it extend AND retract when you first looked or was it already extended and just retracted as it should ?
    could have been extended manually before you got there but retracted electrically...faulty motor/wiring/switchs/fuse or just lack of lubrication....it doesn't take much to make them jam.
    the slope will not make a difference to operation.
     
  7. Busterbulldog

    Busterbulldog Read Only Funster

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    With regards to the tyre pressures I will take your advice on board,tho i doubt i will drive it again for a while.
    With regard to the flue the prev owner never used it,he used an electric fan heater on hooked up supply,same goes for water heater he said he never used that either,i dont know how it works atm and havnt looked.My trade is in plumbing and heating but i have no knowledge or training on these type of appliances.
    The electric step was out when i got there and retracted electrically,closer inspection needed methinks...phew s much to do ...and one very impatient misses
     
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  8. Gran & Rog

    Gran & Rog Funster

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    Hello, welcome to Fun
     
  9. icantremember

    icantremember Funster

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    Crikey....that was some introduction, both to motorhoming and to the Funster forum :BigGrin:

    Anyway, a big welcome Donna and Stuart from us to the world of motorhoming and after all your hard work preparing the van you just need to get out and start enjoying it.:thumb:

    I would suggest, particularly as you may have a problem with your heater flue, to fit a carbon monoxide (CO) detector along with a smoke alarm. You may of course already have these and if so ensure they are working correctly.

    As far as tyre pressures are concerned the safest way is firstly to fully load the van as you would when travelling and have it weighed at local weighbridge....get total weight (including any passengers & dogs etc) and that of each axle. Then email the details to your new tyre manufacturer customer support and they will give you the correct pressures together with any options.

    I hope this may help.

    Brian
     
  10. the stig

    the stig Funster

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    Hi Donna & Stuart and welcome aboard.

    If it's any concellation they reckon we don't get our ideal motorhome right first time. It takes at least 3!!!
    After many years of camping and then caravanning we are now on our 2nd motorhome and i've got itchy feet for a 3rd already!! (pmsl, don't tell the hubby)
    Just one other factor for you, when you do the weighbridge don't forget to fill your water tanks too. Some folks travel with nearly full tanks, others not so much. Obviously you will need to determine your own preference. If you going to stay in Camp sites then their will always be water available, but if you decide to wild camp then you will need to fill up before you leave home.

    Happy Camping... :BigGrin:
     
  11. Busterbulldog

    Busterbulldog Read Only Funster

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    Hi Gran and Rog,thanks for the welcome :)
    Brian,advice taken on board re gas fire, I will remove strip and check working,I will then do a combustion analyser test. Does anyone know if the 2 copexes joined by pushing one into th other is normal? Is the gap in sizes designed to act as a relief opening to dilute the produts of combustion.? I will fit a co detector and a new smoke alarm.
    I have a friend nearby with weighbridge so will take this advice.
    Hi Stig thanks for the welcome
     
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  12. Taran_Las

    Taran_Las Funster

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  13. Busterbulldog

    Busterbulldog Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Taran,yes we need to do some shows,will try n get there,i like West Wales,great driving roads
     
  14. wizzer59

    wizzer59 Funster

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    Hi and welcome guys:thumb: I think thats probly the longest first post I've ever seen, sounds like you have some work to do, mind you once you have her all spick and span it will be a great feeling, I love mucking about on our old van, will be a good idea to have a hab check and maybe get a good mechanic to give her the once over cos that MOT sounds a bit hookie to me:Smile:
     
  15. StitchUp

    StitchUp Read Only Funster

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  16. Taran_Las

    Taran_Las Funster

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  17. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    welcome from us also

    Boy that was a big burst of a post for the first one....... so many points to consider..

    I will just reinforce Jim's view on the tyres.. I run a Winnebago American RV - see the red link below to get an idea of what it looks like ..let it load as it is an old file... I am 5.5 tons all up and my tire pressures are 65 fronts and 60 on the rear's. I agree that the life of tyres is limited and I changed min last year when they were 6 years old and still had bags of tread.. only having done 14k miles from new... but the cracks started in the walls.. so changed them.. not a cheap exercise, but safety counts.

    We have had motorhomes / caravans and day vans for over 25 years.. takes a few to get to know what you really need and suits you.

    A visit to one of the shows may be a good education as it allows you to see what others have and have done to there motor homes.

    Anyway, welcome to the forum


    Bob, Sue and Ezzie the St Bernard.
     
  18. Johns_Cross_Motorhomes

    Johns_Cross_Motorhomes Trader - Motorhome & Accessory Sales

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    Welcome to Fun, sounds like you have been busy, you have used up all your free posts so you will need to Subscribe << click here, to carry on posting, well worth the tenner:thumb:

    Peter
     
  19. Busterbulldog

    Busterbulldog Read Only Funster

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    Hi Wizzer tanks for the reply,yes theres quite a few jobs to do but the basics appear to be there to make a reasonable motorhome,shes looking very shiny atm ...just the roof and one side left to wax.
    Whats the score with a hab check? Whats included and what is an approximate cost? Itsmy intention to strip and overhaul all the gas and plumbing,and perform an electrical test, this way i will at least get to see how it all works.
    Slobadobob,i agree i wudnt feel safe driving knowingly on such an ancient tyre
     
  20. Touchwood

    Touchwood Funster

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    Hi Stuart & Donna, and welcome from a relative newcomer. You won't regret the subscription, lots of knowledgeable people on here and a treasure trove of good advice.

    I'm seriously impressed by the way you are tackling the job of bringing your new acquisition up to your standards. If I were a certain 1995 Ci Riviera 1000, I'd currently be thanking my lucky stars for having found such a good new home.
     
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