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We took our Hobby Premium Van to Bristol Caravans on Monday 7 August for a habitation check. The check was very thorough but at £195, was more expensive than previous ones.
It was found that our gas regulator, fitted as original equipment by Hobby, did not have a safety check valve which meant that the system could not be properly checked for leakage. A new regulator was therefore fitted for an additional £146. It is highly doubtful that the proper procedures were carried out at the previous habitation checks undertaken at Davan Caravans and Essanjay. Have any other Premium Van owners (Steve & Maureen, Peter & Christine) had to change their regulator?
A problem with the fridge was then discovered. The burner would not stay lit after the start button on the fridge itself was released. This came as no surprise as we had had a long-term problem with keeping the fridge going on gas. I thought it had been fixed after Dave Lawson cleaned the jet for me up at Ambleside in June. A new jet was fitted (I had to buy yet another as I couldn’t find the one I had bought in the Lake District) but the problem persisted. I was told that I needed a new burner assembly. Bristol Caravans could not do any more that day and I arranged to return the following day, Tuesday.
We returned to Bristol Caravans the next day, Smart car in tow, and left the van with them. I later received a phone call to say that a new thermocouple was needed as the one on the van had been crushed at some point in its life. The crushed part was located on top of the fridge so could only have happened either at manufacture or when the fridge had been removed. The fridge was removed by E S Hartley when the air-conditioning unit was installed before I took delivery, and again by Essanjay, in Poole, when a problem caused by the air-conditioner installation was fixed.
Bristol Caravans discovered that the Dometic fridge fitted in the Premium Van (RML 8330) is “not a model imported into the UK”, and therefore spares had to come from Germany. The thermocouple is apparently much longer than those used on other fridges. The parts were due to arrive on Friday 11 August and Bristol Caravans hoped to get the repair done (another couple of hours to put everything back together and test it) so that we could collect it before they closed. At lunch time I received a call to say that the parts had arrived, but the thermocouple was the wrong one. It would take another 4-5 days to obtain the correct part from Germany. This particular saga is not only annoying but promises to be mighty expensive to boot, with an estimated cost north of £500.
Our planned visit to Malvern is now in jeopardy. We are booked in from Thursday 17 August, but it is looking increasingly unlikely that we shall have the van back by then. We had to empty it to take it for the habitation check, so need to get it back home to prepare and load up. And Bristol Caravans is an hour and a half away from us, although only 39 miles in distance.
Trying to look on the bright side – Rick
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