Bailey Senator Series 6 Water leak around the front lockers down at floor level adjacent to the Bulkhead.

I had this problem when I bought my van at 8 years old. This is a design problem so it’s very likely that others have it too..

The problem is caused by a Water Trap behind the front locker / front bulkhead. Water gets thrown up here from the car when towing in heavy rain…

Fix:

  1. Treat the affected (and as yet un-affected arear) under the floor with Cuprinol 5 Star. In fact, why not go along the WHOLE of the underside on both outer edges.. See the staining and mould there… it’s getting damp!
  2. Then after a couple of weeks to dry… Spray the area with Waxoyl… Yes that Waxy stuff to stop cars rusting underneath.. NOT Underseal!!!!
  3. Spray into all the nooks and crannies especially behind the bulk head.
  4. Better still – use “brushing” Waxoyl and apply copiously… don’t worry about it running down your arm… it feels horrible, but it will wash off with some detergent – not so easy for your clothes though!
  5. Then a couple of weeks later – put some more Waxoyl on!
  6. I also recommend buying some Universal Mudflaps (Ebay!) for around £12, cut these to fit and fix them just behind the wheels by screwing a wooden batten just behind the wheel arch with the mud flap fixed to it using steel repair strips (B&Q). – and they apply Waxoyl.

I can upload photos of this if you really want!

Caravan front Window Stay breaking away at the window frame.

I have had this problem on a several vans now…

There are two solutions:

  1. STOP using your front Window Stay – That Front Window is HEAVY – to HEAVY for the lightwight cheap pine frame that the manufacturer used.
  2. Remove the “frame trim”, repair/ replace the wood, fit Steel repair plates to re-enforce the frame, refit the trim.

I’ve used both methods, but method 1 is easier!

I have photos showing method 2 if anyone is really interested.

Caravan Wheel Arch leaking water / Cracked / Damaged following “lost tyre” (damage from broken tyre)

I have had this problem on a couple of vans now.. There repair is reasonably simple and does NOT required removing the wheel arch. The repair is “permanent” and not too expensive.

If you are interested, I will document how I did it.

Caravan Floor “Bouncy” (De-Laminating)

I have had this problem with several caravans over the years. The first time, I paid a fortune to a local dealer to fix it…

The next times / next vans I did it myself.

It is fairly easy (apart for taking up and refitting the carpet).

I took photos as the time intending to document but I never did. If you are interested drop my a line and with encouragement I might get around to documenting how I did it much cheaper than dealer.

Thetford toilet flush… not working…

If your C250 Thetford toilet stops flushing there could be several causes…

  1. The pump has failed or cracked during a freeze over winter.
  2. It has “jammed”
  3. The “fuse” has gone or the Fuse Contacts have corroded (inside the toilet compartment at the rear).
  4. The Control panel has corroded contacts
  5. The Flush button is faulty.

To remove the pump, you have to get underneath inside the compartment – follow the water pipes – remove the pipe(s) and the pump should come down…. visually check for damage, turn the impellow using a (very) thin screwdriver and try it again.

There is a “blade” fuse (and a spare) at the rear of the toilet compartment – the contacts can corrode – clean these with WD40.

Inside the caravan – the top of the toilet has a “flush” FLUSH button (its fitted”flush” you see!). To get to the switch – use a Stanley knife and carefully prise the plastic membrane off (don’t cut it!). Try not to touch the sticky side – you will want to refit it afterwards.

Behind this membrane is a circuit board. – you may need to ease it off it’s plastic retaining clips to remove it.

The edge connector where the cable fits is prone to corrosion. In fact, the whole board is!!!! Try cleaning the edge connector by scraping and WD40.

In my case my Switch had gone faulty – I tried to find a replacement – it has to be EXACTLY the correct height – I found one close – but slightly too high… now I have a “Spare board” which works if I insert a piece of plastic under the PCB to act as a “spring” !!!!

So I had to fit a new board. Before I fitted it, I gave it a couple of coats of Spray Acrylic Lacquer to protect the board from damp in future.

Refit the board and then try to refit the membrane. If the membrane will not seat properly – either buy a new one from Ebay for around £12 or do what I did – I glued it down using Silicon Sealant!

If your “Toilet Full” LED doesn’t light – you *may* have lost your float in the soil tank (it happened to me about 30 years ago) or most likely its corrosion on the REED switch sensor board or the REED is faulty. Either remove the corrosion, or Replace the board for lots of money – but cheaper on Ebay than a dealer!

Inside compartment showing fuse holder and level sensor board
Membrane removed, showing panel underneath. Use a small screwdriver to lever this out to access/release the PCB.
The Expensive Board. If you do “Lacquer” it.. make sure you mask off the edge connectors!

If your pump has failed you can either fit a replacement Thetford pump – or fit a cheaper substitute – check the fittings first! You may as well fit a cheaper one – it doesn’t work very hard, but they do crack if they freeze up.

TIP: Every winter, I flush my toilet flush through with Car Anti-Freeze… It’s not possible to get all the water out of the system without stripping it, so why not put a liquid in there that will not freeze up? It works for me!

Caravan Jacks or Corner Steadies.

Do you have any problem reaching your caravan corner jack points?

I HAD this problem, but no more…

The problem is that my jack points at the rear are low under the van. This usually means kneeling down in the wet grass / dirt and “fumbling” to get the handle on the corner jack…

Not any more… a VERY simple and VERY cheap way to fix the problem.

You need some 38mm waste pipe, Waste Pipe clips and screws.

Get cut the tubes to a “correct” length and using the brackets position them under the van directly in line with the jack screw heads. If the screw head does NOT line up with the tube – then fit a wooden spacer block under the bracket…

Use 38mm tube NOT 32mm – 32mm is too tight and leaves no margin for error. Since fitting these, I get my handle on first time, every time, no messing… all manufactures should fit them.

It also provides a talking point on campsites… Why does your Caravan have so many waste water pipes ???

Worms eye view…

Fit a Smart Meter to your Caravan

Now, WHY would you want to do this?

In the UK, I mainly use CL campsites. In France, I mainly use “Municipal” (local council) or I use “Cheap” sites – I don’t need “fancy” facilities – I have a “Fancy Caravan”!

The problem is that whilst 16A Electric may be normal on UK Caravan Club sites and “up market” Commercial Sites – its not unusual to find sites that offer less than this…

In France this year my supply varied from between 6A and 16A. If you use the simple formula: 1 A = 250W, this means that 6A would offer me 1500W (plus about 15% more on “overload” for a few minutes).

3A = 750W, 6A = 1500W, 8A = 2000W, 10A = 2500W, 16A = 4000W

Now the Fridge takes about 120W, the 2nd Fridge in the back of my car was taking around another 150W, the Hot Water system takes around 800W, the 12V system takes whatever Watts you are drawing – extractor fan, lights, radio etc… it mounts up. Then the Electric Kettle takes around 2000W….

2000W???? How can I run this along with everything else on a 6A supply?

Answer – you Can’t! – Get a “low power camping kettle” – 750W or use the gas!

So, the first thing I do when I arrive at a site is try to find out how much power is available: Ask? Look at the post? Open the box on the post (if you can?), or Draw power until it blows, ask the site to reset it and ask how much power you can have?

I don’t recommend the last option unless you can open the box and reset it yourself (you would be surprised how many French and Spanish sites this applies to!!!)

I fitted a “Smart Meter” so that I could monitor my incoming power at all times. (It varies as the hot water cycles, fridge cycles etc.)

Once you know the maximum watts available, it’s just a case of keeping en eye on the meter to ensure you don’t exceed it (for long!).

Be aware the the 1A = 250W is the “Input” power – This is usually marked on the appliance somewhere. Beware with a Microwave oven – if it says 800W on the front – that means it is likely to draw around 1300W INPUT!!!! Check the plate on the back or trust me!

I bought my “Smart Meter” from Ebay. Try searching for “Smart Meter”, “Energy Monitor”, “Owl” or “Onzo”. I paid around £10 for my meter, new, but old stock with leaking batteries – just fit standard AA cells. This was about 18 months ago, they seem to be more expensive now.

Also MAKE SURE it is complete! – Not only do you need the “Remote Display”- but you MUST have a “Sensor” that fits over your incoming Electric cable (LIVE line only – see later – it’s not THAT simple to fit!).

Assuming you have a kit, try it on your home electric meter to see that it works – clip the sensor over your LIVE wire from your Meter to your Fusebox.

Then the fun starts:

You need to separate out your LIVE cable inside your caravan between where it comes into the Van and where it goes to your “Fusebox”. However, you cannot just “expose” the live wire – this is against Regulations and is Dangerous! All 240v Cables MUST be double insulated by UK regs (BS7671).

Cut open the incoming cable to expose the inner cores. Extract and cut the LIVE wire only. Fit a junction box over the joint, split out the LIVE cable into another “double insulated” cable and loop it back. Then you can fit your “Sensor” over this loop.

Cut a length of suitable cable for the loop.
Live wire split, looped out and back. I used “Wago” connectors (Screwfix), but you could use Chocolate block terminals
Final job with showing the loop and the “Sensor” fitted over the loop.
The Onzo display unit can either run on batteries or a USB supply. I have replaced all of my Caravan 13A sockets by ones with USB supplies built in.

Caravan door lock not working.

My Bailey Senator is fitted with a Hartal “secure” door lock. This takes a special key and costs a “special” price for a replacement lock! This same lock is used on other makes of Van – it’s not exclusive to Bailey.

From looking on the internet many people have problems with this lock.

In my case it was jamming, the key didn’t turn properly and the lock didn’t open properly.

ADVICE: Do NOT use standard WD40 on this lock – the solvent could damage the plastic. Use either Silicon Oil (WD40 Silicon oil seems to be the best I’ve found so far in the Silicon Oil market) or use Grease.

However, in my case, this still didnt’ fix it.

To grease it correctly, you need to take the lock apart. If you are going to do that, you can fix the lock with Shims – assuming that you have the same problem that I did – slop in the mechanism due to being a “crap” (but expensive) lock!

I removed the lock (you have to prise out 4 plastic caps that are hiding the screws to remove it). Then you need to clean the surfaces that you are going to shim with a solvent to remove the grease and oil. (be careful not to melt the plastic).

I cut some shims from some thin sheet metal, and used Expoxy (JB QuickWeld) to fix the shims. I used a piece of wood (see photo) to hold the lock springs back whilst the Epoxy set.

I then greased up and re-fitted the lock. I did this 18 months ago – it’s still working fine.