Heating the habitation area in transit and, roof lights (1 Viewer)

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pizzajohn

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Hi,

We have an Auto-Trail Frontier Comanche and, travelling back to Devon from Brownhills our passengers, in the back, found the temperature uncomfortably cold.

Being new to motor-homing I wondered if others heated the rear of their motor-homes and, how they achieved it?

Also, one of the roof lights is extremely ill fitting and you can jiggle the 'glass' when the light is locked. So loose is it, that wind noise is, supposedly, unbearable. Brownhills say that this is normal, they suggest that it is desirable to not have an effective seal, for ventilation, as the light is above the cooking area. What do you guys think?
 
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pizzajohn

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Tried the 'pulled screen' but the vacuum created travelling sucks the life out of the folds.
 

Jaws

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The Autotrail roof lights are, in my opinion bloody awful.
You have to REALLY crank the handle ( to the point I hate opening them as I know I will then have to close em and they scare the pants off me.. I am CONVINCED I will break one !! )
I found that if I reset the point of closing by opening fully ( and I mean fully ) and then re-closing it is sometimes better.. but yes, they are pretty grim

Roger, there is no silver screen on the Autotrail, just a silly concertina thing that you HAVE to have open otherwise, as the OP found, they end up in a right mess !

Heating in the back..
Always a bone of contention for Woman too.
Perhaps fitting a diesel powered Webasto or Eberspacher is the answer ? No idea if they are ok to use whilst on the move though

We always set the cab heater flat out and directed through the two upper central vents in the dash about 30 minutes before we are due to stop, just to try and get some warm air in the hab area ( though it is not all that successful to be honest )

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Jul 29, 2013
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We have a Tracker but never used the heating whilst travelling but I did enquire as to how you use it and was told leave the gas turned on and put your heating on as normal they are fitted with the Secumotion system supposed to turn off automatically if involved in an accident.As for loose roof light I would take it back and ask no tell them to sort it out I believe all Autotrails have roof extractors for kitchen ventilation not loose glass.:cheers:
 
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Jan 8, 2014
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The webasto heater is ok to use on the move and keeps your water hot, we took ours out for a spin today for a 30 min drive and the van was toastie.
 
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pizzajohn

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It's not the vent above the cooker as that's where the factory fitted A/C is mounted. The rooflight in question is forward of that and it's not operated by a crank handle but, a U shaped lever which is held locked by a sprung button. The lever has pins which engage in tracks each side of the light.

I have queried Brownhills diagnosis with their Customer Services department and, I'm awaiting their response.
 
Jan 8, 2014
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It's not the vent above the cooker as that's where the factory fitted A/C is mounted. The rooflight in question is forward of that and it's not operated by a crank handle but, a U shaped lever which is held locked by a sprung button. The lever has pins which engage in tracks each side of the light.

I have queried Brownhills diagnosis with their Customer Services department and, I'm awaiting their response.
Sounds like a midi Heidi roof light they are usually a very good fit, I think Brownhills are just bullshitting. Tell them to replace it and when you need ventilation you will open it.
 

GWAYGWAY

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my odessee has a rear heater that is water heated from the engine it is behind the passenger seat under the table and it does produce a bit of heat to the rear. We keep a curtain closed behind the seats to keep cab and habitation separate.

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Jaws

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Sounds like a midi Heidi roof light they are usually a very good fit, I think Brownhills are just bullshitting. Tell them to replace it and when you need ventilation you will open it.
We had a new main skylight assembly fitted by the supplying dealer as I noticed the problem when we first saw the van
We was early to collect it and actually saw them fit the new mechanism.. Still the same !
I dunno what make the things are but they aint Heki and aint exactly a great bit of kit :(
 

jonandshell

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This problem keeps cropping up with Brit vans.
I reckon it must be an NCC requirement to have bored, cold rear passengers who can't see what they are doing through lack of light, no power for their gadgets, no heating and draughty rooflights!

Many vans (mostly those built on the continent, away from the mediaeval constraints of the NCC) have en-route heating, better-sealed vents and a fully operational electrical system whilst the van is in motion. The result is happier passengers!

To overcome your problems, you need to fit an en-route heating system. This can either involve making your present heater fit for en-route use by way of a Secumotion high pressure hose and regulator plus the correct flue for in-motion use or fitting an auxillary bus type heater somewhere under your back seats.
The bus heater will need plumbing in to your engine cooling system for its hot water supply.
The alternative is to fit a diesel heater such as a Webasto Airtop or Eberspacher Airtronic.
 

jonandshell

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We had a new main skylight assembly fitted by the supplying dealer as I noticed the problem when we first saw the van
We was early to collect it and actually saw them fit the new mechanism.. Still the same !
I dunno what make the things are but they aint Heki and aint exactly a great bit of kit :(

Probably a Remis one like ours John.
They haven't got the best gearbox setup in the world.

There is a fix though! You need to split the gearbox and look at the operating cables. You will find they look a bit like pipe cleaners. You have to remove a load of the bristles on the cables where they engage with the drive gears. Lubricate the gearbox with grease, reassemble and you will now have a smoothly operating rooflight which closes positively!
 
Jan 22, 2013
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I fitted one of these to keep the wife happy, it means I don't have to cook my feet with the heater on full blast, I fitted it behind me but directed towards the passengers,
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I used plastic plumbing pipe with push on connectors with suitable sleeve insulation, we haven't yet tried it in sub zero temps but that will be rectified shortly on our trip to Scotland,
 

Jaws

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Ivor, it says 3kW panel heater ? But looking at it, it appears to be just a blower and possibly a radiator ??
Is that correct ?
 

Jaws

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This is identical to ours

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Ahhh.. thanks for that.. The forst advert stating 3kW is extremely misleading ( to the point it is quite possibly illegal ! )
So it runs from the vehicle cooling system ... All is explained :) (y)

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Jan 22, 2013
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Ivor, it says 3kW panel heater ? But looking at it, it appears to be just a blower and possibly a radiator ??
Is that correct ?
Yes it's just an supplementary add on heater to your existing cab heater ,
It makes a big difference to the cab warmth, without toasting my feet plus the wife is happier so that's a bonus, as my MH is a A class I might put a thermal curtain from the rear of the front drop down bed when traveling to trap the warm air up front,
 
Jul 3, 2008
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The description of your roof light sounds similar to the one fitted above the bed in my Rapido. The fit is tight with no rattle or movement when closed, I would certainly return to Brownhills and have it looked at
 
Sep 10, 2013
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I fitted one of these to keep the wife happy, it means I don't have to cook my feet with the heater on full blast, I fitted it behind me but directed towards the passengers,
Broken Link Removed

I used plastic plumbing pipe with push on connectors with suitable sleeve insulation, we haven't yet tried it in sub zero temps but that will be rectified shortly on our trip to Scotland,

My god this thing is French! Eau entre and Eau sortie indeed, will it work in UK? We have British weather!

Just ask Al Murrays alter ego the Pub Landlord.
 

GWAYGWAY

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Ivor, it says 3kW panel heater ? But looking at it, it appears to be just a blower and possibly a radiator ??
Is that correct ?
That is the same as mine ,it works OK it is a fan blowing through a radiator that has a fan speed rheostat and there is a variable tap for the water flow. 3KW seems a bit high for the bthu s that it actually puts out. The kw reference reminds me of my houshold GAS bill where they use a load of conversions to rob me for the gas I use.

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Minxy

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The roof vent is faulty/not fitted correctly, Brownhill will always tell you its normal but believe me it is NOT ... get them to sort it properly or replace it! In the interim and afterwards you could make an insulated pad to wedge underneath the rooflight, I used some old silver screen type material which I edged with bias binding (or use gaffer tape for the more 'rustic' look!), this can also be used at night to keep the light out.

As for the cold, fitting the above will drastically reduce the draught to the passengers but unless you install some form or extra heating they're never going to be toasty, hot water bottles would help to stop them getting cold in the first place, or a nice fleece blanket, the thicker ones are best. Alternatively you can get some low powered electric fleece blankets which they could have on them ... you could easily run these from an inverter.
 

Vlad The Impaler

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Just get a new cowl which means you can use the gas fire on the move and crank the heating up to toasty!
I looked at the secure motion regulator thingy but as someone who uses their mobile on a petrol station forecourt and is still here,decided that in the event of a serious crash that may rupture a hose and may catch fire,My chances of winning the lottery are better and when I do I'll buy a van with a built in sprinkler system!


Vlad the warmer
 

TerryL

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Don't know if anyone else's vans are fitted with it but our '07 Bolero, Ducato base, has a fan heater under the drivers seat that blows back into the habitation area and gets the whole van toasty warm when in use. I used to wonder what the switch with the fan symbol in the small cluster on the right did, until I pressed it! It looks to be factory fitted, not an add-on.
 

Snowbird

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Am sorry but I do not understand any of this. All motorhome heaters should be possible to be used whilst in transit. I was told this by a Truma trained fitter. If the habitation area is cold, switch the heating on. Whats the problem.
 

Minxy

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Am sorry but I do not understand any of this. All motorhome heaters should be possible to be used whilst in transit. I was told this by a Truma trained fitter. If the habitation area is cold, switch the heating on. Whats the problem.
Perhaps some Truma heaters are able to be used in transit safely but I certainly would NOT apply the statement of one Truma fitter to all heaters in all motorhomes as there's no way he/she could possibly know! Unless specifically stated by the MH's manufacturer then I would not be happy to use the habitation heating in transit. I'd love to have some rear heating, or even better cab heating, in our camper but haven't come across anything that can be easily installed and/or doesn't cost a packet ... hence my electric fleece blanket and inverter!

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