Trumatic Fire Front keeps falling off!

After you have removed your Trumatic fire front (to replace ignition battery for example) you may find that it keeps “falling off” – I have had this problem with the last few caravans I have had…

I tried various fixes – then I read about this idea. I was away in France at the time with limited workshop, tools and parts – however all I needed was in my vans “maintenance box”.

I took a couple of Steel Angle Brackets and sawed them into 4 short pieces of flat steel with 2 holes on each piece. I then drilled holes in the back of the fire front lip end used short bolts to fit the steel brackets. At home I would have used pop-rivets.

Then I refitted the front “correctly” and used woodscrews to fit the front “properly” in place. It doesn’t look like a “stylish” fix – but it has stopped the front continually falling off between sites – and risking breaking the cables to the controls!

Sorted!

Dometic Fridge (RM8550) will not work on gas!

My Dometic Fridge would NOT work on Gas! – I could hear the ignition sparking and I could hear the flame light (depending on ambient noise!), but the “Flame Gauge” would not operate. If this does NOT operate, the automatic Flame Protection will turn off the gas!

Operating Normally.

From searching the internet, this would appear to be a Common Problem and people have spent lots of money replacing parts to try to fix this fault… Replacing – Indicator Gauge, Flame Sensor, Gas Jet, Selector Switch etc…

It seems that a common cause of this problem is just a dirty micro-switch mounted on the Selector Switch. To get to this switch, you need to REMOVE the fridge. I don’t believe the micro-switch is available separately from Dometic. Instead you have to buy a complete replacement selector switch and replace the existing one. (Expensive!)

In my case, I found that if I switched between Gas and Battery a few times before lighting the gas this fixed it.

Alternatively, I found that once the gas was lit, if I “wobbled” the knob slightly in the Gas position, the needle would rise/fall depending on how good the contact was. It would appear that you don’t need to achieve the needle in the green – just ensure it operates a bit… This works for me!

If one day this work-around fails to get my Fridge running on Gas, I will remove the Fridge and fit a “bypass” switch to the original wiring of the micro-switch Switch. As I have not pulled by fridge out yet (at least not yet for this fault) I can’t tell you how to bypass the microswitch – but you will have to find this yourself.

Bypassing the micro-switch will NOT cause ANY safety issues as this switch is used to enable the Flame Detection Device. Its purpose would seem to be to prevent running the Flame Detection when you are NOT running on gas – so if you fit a By-pass switch – don’t forget to turn it off when you are NOT running on gas – or you will (eventually???) run your battery down…

Dometic RM 8550 Fridge Selection Switch broken!

These “rotary” knobs on the Dometic RM series of Fridges appear to be a bit of a weak spot (based on the adverts for replacement knobs on Ebay).

The “symptom” is that the knob keeps going round and round…

The easy fix is to buy a new one – they cost around £16-18 each – plus delivery. This will last until the next time it breaks.

OR you could try doing what i did. I replaced by “Thermostat knob” when I bought my caravan (it was 10 years old at the time).

Now, 2 years later, the “Selection” knob (Off, Mains, 12v, Fridge) started going “around and around” – So I was planning on buying a replacement. Then I got to thinking:

Firstly, I “Super Glued” the broken end of the shaft back into place (there is a keyway inside – don’t get glue in the keyway!)

Next, I wrapped wire around it. I used MIG welding wire – but you could use copper… I wound several turns of wire around a Screwdriver Shaft to make a tight coil, slightly smaller than the knob shaft. This was so that it fitted snugly when I stretched it over the Knob Shaft.

Next, I coated the wire and the shaft end with Epoxy Resin. I used JB Weld Fast. I let it set fully and then I used a “mouse sander” to polish the end where I had some wire sticking out and to remove any high spots – you could just use a file… The aim was to ensure that the shaft would still fit through the hole on the front of the fridge…

The Shaft needs to be slim enough to fit through the hole in the fridge panel. If yours is now too thick, you could drill (or file) this hole bigger – the Knob will cover the hole anyway.

That’s it – Job done – and not only are you £16 better off – but (hopefully) it will never break again!

Bailey Senator – Water supply – no pressure!

At the start of my recent holiday – on the day we arrived in France (after all the checking I had done before we left!) we lost our water supply.

The water flowed fine for a second or so – and then just went to a trickle on both Hot and Cold supplies. After much checking of pumps, pump filter, pipes, connectors etc… I finally found the problem:

There is a Tee-Valve change-over on the inlet of the pump to select between “External water tank” and “Internal Water tank”- on the “pump” side of the Tee-connector there is a “Filter Mesh” INSIDE of the fitting – this was blocked! – To clear this, you just have to remove the Tee-Connector (push fittings) and run the fitting under a “campsite” tap to reverse flush the dirt from the filter. However, you would be advised to drain ALL of your water system down first, including the hot tank and on-board tank as otherwise you will have water “finding it’s own level”.

Once I flushed the valve and refitted it – No more problems!

Automatic On-board Water Tank fill System (& Tracker) Part 4 (see Sept 2019 for start of this article)

OK, 12 months have passed since I started this article. COVID-19 came along early 2020 and spoilt most the the Seasons camping, so I didn’t get a proper chance to try out the Autofill system. I’ve have just returned from 4 weeks in France – and now at Boris’s command, I have 2 weeks at home to do “whatever I want” – provided I don’t leave home!

VERDICT: The Automatic Water filler system is “Fantastic” – Why didn’t Bailey do this originally? It would not have added much cost to the van, but is a great improvement. No more running out of water, no more flushing airlocks out after running out, no more priming between sites, no more messing about with the lousy Whale Water Inlet with the “dodgy” O rings sealing system!

Basically, having fitted the Crystal 2 water inlet to provide water directly to the on-board tank, the rest was pretty simple (and reasonably cheap). If you want a simple version, just fit a manual switch to the off board pump and off you go. (you also need to arrange a 12v feed to the pump). You can actually find the feed and earth you need on the connectors to the float valves in the tank. This is what I used for my Automatic Filler. As I was not certain that the float valves could handle the current for a pump (I assume Bailey use a relay ???), I used a relay to operate my pump to avoid overloading the existing float contacts. The way I wired the external system draws power from the original bailey supply to the floats. This has the benefit that you can control external & internal pumps from the original Bailey Pump Switch. Position 1 is normal “internal only” pump. Centre is all pumps off, Position 2 is Internal pump as usual and external pump as controlled by the floats and interface box. You could simplify by not having buzzers, not having high/low level options and not having a “local” switch for the external pump. I used a “standard” external “drop in the barrel” pump. It doesn’t need to be super fast as it only keeps the tank filled – the internal pump provides the normal water supply to the taps.

Where I fitted buzzers – these are simple 12v buzzers available for a couple of pounds each on ebay. I used a “warbler” buzzer (2 tone) for the low level alarm (via a switch – I will document this in a separate article). Mine was too loud – I tried reducing the voltage with a resistor – but the best option was “lots of Blu-Tak” over the sounder holes!

Here are photos I took at the time…

You need to buy a new water inlet & connection for an external pump – this is the one I fitted. You will also need buy a standard external filler pump.
Measure this inside wall from the water tank and the floor, to find a suitable location, and then drill a hole through to the outside (as a marker). Then, working from the Outside, put masking tape roughly where you intend to cut…
Place the fitting over the tape with the hole just to the left of the section of “fitting” that sinks into the caravan wall… (see hole through tape – top left) Mark both sides of the fitting…
Use a “Square” to ensure the final fitting looks neat!
.. And again using spirit level (my square has one built in)
Drill the corners to ensure a neat cut-out and using a “Multi tool” (or a pad saw?) cut through the caravan wall (its about 3 cms deep)
Resulting hole…
I used “Mastic Tape” – you could use Mastic from a gun – you could use “Silicon Sealant” – but I went for “traditional” Mastic – but I used tape for convenience… and I already had some!
If you use Mastic Tape – you will need to trim the excess off…
Screw the fitting in and clean off any excess mastic.. White spirit will clean mastic. If you used Silicon – try Meths on a Kitchen towel.
Inside View – NOTE If you have NOT removed your water tank (only reason really to do this is to replace the Tracker Battery) then MAKE SURE you fit the power cable for the pump BEFORE you fit the fitting – otherwise you will find it difficult to access the connector screws!
I bought a small ABS box fitted with screwdown lugs. Inside this I fitted the Relay. I also fitted a sounder internally, (so that I know when the outside pump is running for when it runs out of water). I later moved this outside of the box, because I couldn’t hear it.
I bought one of these boxes from Ebay – Search for “Waterproof ABS Plastic Electronics Project Box Enclosure Hobby Case” or similar. The size I chose was “100 x 70 x 50mm. This size was dictated by the 12v relay I used – and the connector strips.
Relay inside box with slimline sounder – I later fitted an external sounder across the pump connections.
I used a step cutter to cut a hole in the top corner of the water tank.
I used a large cable gland to make a sealed connection into the tank. It needs to be a suitable size to fit the flexible piping to the Water Inlet.
I fitted suitable length cables to the box, before I tried to connect to the existing connections, switches etc. It was easier to make them plenty long enough and have slack, rather than try to cut to size.
Two cables fitted to the original cable connections on the caravan wiring harness. This originally connected to the upper and lower floats in the tank. The float connections will now be taken to the interface box. The connections to the original bailey fitting was made using Crimps to push onto the existing bailey harness.
Note in the photo, the original wiring harness has two BLUE wires on the bottom, a GREY wire top left (in photo) and WHITE wire top right. The new cables: The LEFT cable: Blue=3, Brown=16. The RIGHT cable: Blue=1, Brown-16.
The two control switches I fitted. The top one is On/Off. The lower one is to select “Full Fill” or “Minimum Fill”. I arranged the switch such that pressing the top in for High Fill, and pressing the bottom for “Low” fill. This means mounting the switch “upside down” as switch “open” causes “low” fill only.
Circuit Diagram of Automatic Water Filler System – as installed.

So, I used a Crystal 2 water inlet with filter, and off-board pump (and fittings to fit Crystal 2 connector).

A standard “Automotive” 12v Relay.

A cheap “electronic” buzzer.

A couple of switches – I used the same switches that Bailey used – either buy them from Prima Leisure (official Bailey spares supplier) or get them much cheaper on Ebay!

Automatic On-board Water Tank fill System (& Tracker) Part 3

If you don’t want to remove your tank / access your Tracker Device, then skip to Part – 4

  1. Remove all the cushions from the on-board tank area of the van (front offside).
  2. Unscrew the brown plastic U section strip the runs the length of the locker.
  3. Unscrew the wooden batten the goes across the tank at the front. There are screws in either side, but maybe a little difficult to reach.
  4. Using a “Multi tool” cutter (or a junior hacksaw) cut through the long batten that runs the length of the locker (underneath the plastic U section removed earlier). Cut the bar in the middle of the batten underneath so that both pieces can be secured when you put it back together.
Cut the bar…

5. Persuade these three bars out (there is a vertical on in the far corner attached, that you can’t see!). You will find there are pins holding the batten where you cut it – Persuade these to release! You will find a vertical bar “stapled” to the horizontal piece… it may be reluctant to come out and play… but persuade it if it knows what’s good for it!

Battens removed (upside down)

6. Disconnect the Drain pipe hose from underneath the van (outside drain tube – held in place with a Jubilee clip. Remove this from the tank – otherwise you can’t pull the tank up inside the van!

7. Remove all three screws from the tank – and lift the tank out. Behind/under the tank at the front you will see an MDF panel with your Tracker & Alarm system mounted on it. The tank screws to this piece of MDF. In my case, it had pulled the MDF away from it’s mountings – and split the MDF where the tank screwed into it.

Secret Tracker Device – Battery on the right.
My battery was bulging – I’ve seen worse. The volts were measured at 2.3V having been “on charge” (Van connected to hook-up) for around 8 weeks!

8. Unplug the tracker / alarm unit where it connects to the Caravan harness. Pull the spade connectors off the battery and remove the four nuts holding it to the MDF. You can order a replacement battery from Ebay. 12v 7AH – Type: NP7-12

This cost me £13.50 on Ebay – Delivered

If you don’t want to cut your van up to replace the battery, I read somewhere that you can have a “man” visit you to replace the Tracker Battery – It cost around £180 – but that may have been written a few years ago. But, for this HE will cut your Van up for you!

Goto Part 4… (September 2020)

Automatic On-board Water Tank fill System (& Tracker) Part 2

Ok, so you want an easier way to fill your onboard water tank?

Eez Simples:

Just cut a hole in the side of the caravan, install a Trumu Filter Water inlet panel with external pump connection as I did (or similar interface). Or install an onboard pump, with a water inlet of you choice.

I located mine as close to the tank as I could, so as to not infringe too much on the remaining locker space. I didn’t need to remove my tank, however, I wanted to because:

a) It was “loose” the screws holding it down (3 of them) had come adrift, I needed a little remedy. The hold down screw at the front of the tank was screwed into some sort of board. This board had completely come loose from the caravan and was floating. This board also contained some “electrical” equipment – What *could* it be ???

b) I wanted to locate the “hidden / Secret” Tracker / Intruder Alarm device to change the battery. My van is 10 years old and so I knew the battery would be shot! I don’t pay for the tracker service, but I do receive a discount from my Insurance because I have a installed alarm system, so I wanted to make sure it worked even if the van battery was removed. Also, I didn’t want a *shot* battery constantly draining my van battery.

This is what I did:

See part 3…

Automatic On-board Water Tank fill System (& Tracker) Part 1

This article is written around my 2009 Bailey Senator Arizona – but this could probably be done on many other caravans that already have an on-board tank (or you are fitting a tank).

On holiday in France recently, we had problems (yet again), with the O rings of the Whale water inlet (connection to the external barrel), such that I couldn’t even fill the onboard tank properly (which is a pain in itself – messing with manual change-over valves!).

It occurred to me then that if I *could* fill the onboard tank (even by pouring water in the top), I wouldn’t have to bleed the air every time the offboard tank ran out of water! (I have already fitted an Audible alarm to the low level warning light for the onboard tank -which you can’t see on the Bailey, unless you make a point of looking!).

I couldn’t find my spare O rings at the time, but I fixed the external filler using “gas grade” PTFE tape (thicker than the cheap water stuff), that I always keep in the van as part of my “first aid kit” (good to refit worn screws for example). I wrapped it around the damaged / missing O rings.

Anyway – I decided I wanted an “auto-fill” to my on-board tank – similar to a modification I made to my Lunar around 20 years ago.

I looked on the market – there is NOTHING, nothing on Ebay, Nothing on “The Web”, nothing on YouTube, nothing in the Forums on how to do this… No gadgets, no advice, no discussion – maybe I’m the only one that wants this ????

So here is how I did it on my Bailey Senator:

Oh – and BTW if you came here looking for “Tracker” – I will also tell you how to replace the battery in your On-board (hidden) Tracker device. (Bailey Senator Arizona only – Other Bailey’s may be similar!)

Continued in Part 2…

Truma Caravan Heater Problems

Carver Truma Operation Video

Are you having problems with your Truma Caravan Heater not heating up ?

See this link for a start: https://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/chatter/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=8&TopicID=305177&ThreadPage=1 

I was having problems with my heater. NO, I don’t fix caravan heaters – but to help you here is how I fixed mine. If you are lacking heat, by searching the Web, I found that there are several problems that seem to afflict these heaters 1) Relays not working: My model has settings at 500W, 1KW and 2KW. If the relays are faulty, this can reduce the power of the heater. In my case, I tested the power input to the caravan to confirm that all my relays were working correctly, with the caravan taking the correct amount of current for each heat setting. You can check this yourself if you are “handy”. Buy a cheap “clamp-on” current meter from Ebay (that can measure AC current) and place it around the LIVE wire only on the supply to the Caravan. (I modified an extension lead so that I could hook around the LIVE wire only to make current measurements safely. The currents should be: 0.5A, 4A and 8A respectively.

As my currents were all correct, this suggested that my problems lay with the Thermostats on the heating element. To fix this, firstly you need to buy a “repair kit” from Ebay (or supplier of your choice). In addition to BOTH thermostats (you can’t test them, besides by the time you have managed to get to them you will WANT to replace both so you don’t have to do it all again!). Where was I? Oh yes, in addition to BOTH thermostats, you MUST replace the Gasket Seal on the Gas Flue.

PLEASE NOTE: As you need to disconnect the Gas Supply and the Gas Flue – you will need to find a handy Gas Engineer or “phone a friend”….

There is a good Video on YouTube here:

Very good Guide to replacing Truma Thermostats, but I would have liked more detail….

If you want to see the original link with comments – It is published on YouTube by “Attic Treasures”. That takes you through the job, but I would have been happier with more detail, so after you have watched the video, you can follow my article below on how I did it…

These are the little Bu****’s ! – Located BEHIND the Gas Heater!

To Be Continued…..