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Subject Topic: Buying an old caravan Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by emmaneilosian19/4/2013 at 5:29pm
Outfit:  Elddis Shamal XL     Location:  Leamington Spa
Joined: 11/4/2010
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Hello everyone, we are currently a tent-based camping family and while we love the camping experience we hate the packing and unpacking that inevitably goes with it and so are keen to try caravanning.

As we really don't know if it's for us, and don't have much to spend, we would like to buy an old van at first to try out. Now, I am talking about something that's 20 years old so we are not terribly worried about cosmetics or the odd issue so long as it's basically sound.

What I am really unsure about is damp issues. Obviously any sort of damp is not great but we really only want something for a year or so and I was wondering what sort of level of dampness I should be prepared to accept on this basis! What I mean is, if a caravan has had the odd damp problem previously but is now essentially dry is it possible to seal it and carry on or will this always be a problem? Do spongey areas remain spongey or do they continue to deteriorate? I am not in a position to rip up floors or walls but am prepared to do the odd bit of DIY if necessary.

Any advice would be appreciated as we are total newbies when it comes to vans!

Thanks! X

Message posted by oxter19/4/2013 at 6:04pm
Outfit:  Carlight 152 +Lunar Stellar +CRV 1.6     Location:  NE Scotland
Joined: 02/10/2003
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First step is to get or borrow a damp meter. I got mine cheap at B & Q.
Check potential purchases thoroughly. Damp can be a huge problem.
Previous damp if repaired promptly need not be a problem other than cosmetic.
I would avoid DIY repairs if possible as they usually turn out to be greater than expected. Some emulsion and a roller can cover previous small damp damage.
It is relatively simple to re-seal a leaking van if coming through above window rails or awning rails. You just remove the rail, clean thoroughly, apply mastic tape (made to size) and available at caravan shops, apply to the rail and replace. Plenty advice on this under repairs on this website. But beware the damage caused if long term leak.
If you know someone who knows caravans (particularly old ones) get them on board when you look.
Be very fussy and ask to spend a lot of time looking inside lockers and cupboards for evidence. Good luck - if you keep hunting you'll get a good one.



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playing at tinkies

Message posted by millermicm19/4/2013 at 6:10pm
Outfit:  None Entered     Location:  west country
Joined: 29/3/2009
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Unless repaired a damp caravan will always be a damp caravan even if it has been in storage and temporarily dried. If it has not been repaired it will give a false and unpleasant experience caravanning. It will also be difficult to sell on at the end of your trial.

There are old dry caravans. Buy one of those.

Spongy floors will always be spongy until repaired.

Message posted by Skimmerflyer220/4/2013 at 5:51pm
Outfit:  Kia 999.9 ccs      Location:  West Wales
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As you have been advised "there are damp'uns and there are damp'uns. The other elephant in the room that can become apparent can be avoided by buying only an "oldie" with the appropriate instruction manuals. The manufacturers rapidly lose interest once they have sold their product, however, thanks to UKcampsite a query here is  enormously helpful.

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If if it aren't totally broken its probably best left alone.

Message posted by frederico23/4/2013 at 11:09am
Outfit:  Bailey Pageant Monarch two berth     Location:  Blyth Northumberland
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You will be lucky to buy an old caravan without any damp at all. I had a cheap caravan years ago with soft patches in a wall. I knew nothing about caravans then. We had some good holidays in it and sold it for a similar price I paid for it.
Check list.
Can your car pull it? Check the caravan gross weight against your car handbook.
Does it look ok on the outside? Are the walls flat? Look along them from the back or front for any bulges. open front locker, battery locker and toilet compartment door. If door falls off walk away. Pull out the toilet cassette and check it's clean. How old are the tyres? 7 year maximum change recommended even with good tread.
Does it smell ok when you walk into the caravan? Watch out for fresh air spray covering damp smells.
Is the floor bouncy? You have to expect some bounce in old caravans as long as it is not too excessive it can easily be fixed.
Tap the walls and feel for soft spots, particularly low down in seat lockers, around windows and doors. Odd little bits of soft will still give you a couple of years or more if the caravan is cheap.
Does it have any service reports?
Does everything work? Road lights. interior lights. fridge, water pump to taps. Water heater if fitted. Gas hob, gas fire? Blinds, fly screens, toilet flap and flush. Do the pull outs to make up beds work?
Check for broken lats under seat cushions.
Is there an awning? Open it up to check the quality.
Are there any extras? Step, gas bottle, water pump, water containers. leisure battery etc.

If you can put up with some faults and get one cheap, some of the above points mentioned could bring the price down.
Hope this helps,
Best of luck,
Fred.

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Message posted by Jax36523/4/2013 at 11:26am
Outfit:  A Boring VW Caddy maxi ATM     Location:  south cheshire
Joined: 07/9/2007
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The freedom caravans are made from GRP, so if the only thing you're worried about is damp, you could always buy one of these! They don't suffer from damp, although the inner roof lining sometimes needs sticking back on. They are small though, and v. easy to tow being lightweight! You would need an awning for a family I think, but they come in two and four berths.

Just have a look on Ebay, Gumtree and Preloved - oh and maybe in the free ads on here!

Just looked - here's one! But only a three berth...

freedom caravan

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hoping to get a conversion done before the Spring!

Message posted by andy4x423/4/2013 at 11:35am
Outfit:   Sterling Eccles 636 Ssanyong Korando     Location:  Scottish Borders
Joined: 03/4/2013
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One thing I would add to the already sound advise is you will get a better deal in a privet sale and not a dealer. Keep an eye on all the clasified ads and web sites ect.

Message posted by peterws23/4/2013 at 1:42pm
Outfit:  Daystar `91 + Berlingo     Location:  Morecambe
Joined: 25/10/2011
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You can usually smell a damp caravan as soon as you go in it, whatever year it is. If you go for an oldie as me and `er did, and it smells cozy and looked after, chances are it will be. But somewhere there will be a bit o` damp. Mine was in the frames at the front which I tended to. No damp was able to permeate inside the van. I reckon it could be good for another 5yrs at least . . .Good luck!   and have fun . .

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Peripheral people don`t have as much excitement but they sure live longer


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