HCI Technical Tips

Hymer Hints, Tips and Advice compiled by Nigel Abbott.

Tips are offered by HCI members in good faith and no warranty is implied by the contributor or the HCI.

 


Technical Tips Index

(See Pages Below)

 

Aerosol Sprays

Alarms

Austrian GO box

Awkward places on the van

Carpet binding service

Cigarettes or Tobacco through France

Clear water containers

Concertina blinds

Elektroblock Problems

Door Locks Models (2007)

French motoring offences

Gas conversions

GPS theft prevention

Headlamp conversion

 
 

Hella headlamps, masking

Hella lamps

Honda Gensets

Kitchen tap access (B544)

Kitchen Tap Repair

Leisure Battery Capacities on Display DT201

Mobile phone security

Nearing 70 years of age

New Style Headlamps

Non-standard brake cable etc.

Parts while abroad

Plastic Repairs

Pull down bed gas strut replacement

Pull down bed fixing bolts

Safety recalls

 

SMEV Spares

S.O.G. filters

S.O.G. filters 2

Sterilising the water system

Swiss vignettes

Tag axle grease points

Thetford toilets

Toilet/Kitchen roll

Truma Boilers

Tyre Damage

Vets Abroad

Useful Numbers

Water pump replacement

Wind noise caused by hang down mirrors

Windscreen marks & wiper replacement



Technical Tips

Aerosol Sprays

Be careful when using aerosol sprays and /or creams in the bathroom.  Some of the contents contain solvents that will attack/melt the plastic of the bathroom.
Info from Nigel Abbott.

Alarms

VAN BITZ alarms are available from:-
STRIKEBACK Tel.:- 01823 321992/353235   Fax:- 01823 354946
www.vanbitz.com   info@vanbitz com
Midland International Motor home Centre   Tel:- 024 7633 6411
JMB Additions of SEAFORD   Tel.:- 01323 491499

Austrian GO box

This box should be obtained from a service area before or just after entering Austria even if you are transiting the country.  The information and documentation required include the vehicle registration document and description of the vehicle, how many axles, gross weight, and time in the country.  The box will then be pre-primed with the necessary payment for the duration.  If the box requires payment top-up it will give multiple bleeps.
Info from Jean & John Duff.

Awkward places on the van

A solution to trying to see into places on the van where it is difficult to place your head is to take pictures with a camera (digital) to give an understanding of how items are positioned/fixed.  An example is the tap fixing in the bath room.
Info from Jack Stockley.

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Carpet binding service

RUGS by DESIGN Tel:-01274 744414
Provide a rapid and competitive binding service and can also provide carpets.
Ring Sharon before 10am for same day service.
Info from Wendy Grace.

Bringing Cigarettes or Tobacco back to the UK from any other European country.
A new French law which came into effect on 1 January 2006, has ruled that the maximum amount of cigarettes that can be brought from any European country into France is 5 cartons or 1 Kg of tobacco.  Cigarettes or tobacco exceeding this amount must be declared to the Customs authorities when entering France.  If not a fine could be imposed as you will be considered as a commercial importer.
Info from D. Raddon.

Clear water containers

A number of members use five litre containers to hold down the skirt of their cook tent or safari room.  One member used clear containers filled with water, and when the sun shone the container acted as magnifying glass and scorched the cook tent.  USE OPAQUE CONTAINERS!
Info from Christine E.

Concertina Blinds

I have had one report that the new type of concertina blinds, with white plastic coating on the outside, can suffer with "PIN HOLING" and also can crack along the creases.  It is suggested that members check these blinds before the warranty period expires.

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Elektroblock Problems

If you have problems with your Elektroblock, send it back to SCHAUDT.  It will save time and dealership costs.  Their address can be found on the conformance certificate or Schuadt GmbH - Elektrotechnik & App - bau, AM Stadtgraben 2588677 Markdorf Germany They are close to Meersburgh by Lake Bodensee on the German - Swiss border
Info from N Abbott
Further information. I have been informed that Leisure Electronics based in Wales also repair Electrobloks. Available via www.leisureelectronicrepairs.co.uk or email electronicservice@tiscali.co.uk.
Info from forum Nigel Abbott
Another source for repairs: Allan Evans of A and N Motorhome services have indicated that they are able to repair and supply new Schaudt Elektrobloc items including Control panel meters, connectors, solar regulating connecting cables, solar regulators, windscreen wiper controllers etc. See their website at http://aandnmotorhomeservices.co.uk. most repairs turned around in 48 hours
Info from Martin Ellis

Electroblok Wiring diagrams and Instructions
The English versions of the wiring diagrams and instructions for the EBL 101 wiring and instructions, Control Panel 201 instructions, Solar regulator installation, Solar regulator instructions are available in PDF files attached:

Info Nigel Abbott.



Door Locks Models (2007)

            door lock              

It has been identified that there is a problem with the habitation door mechanism on some new models.

The left hand rod is the some diameter as the right hand rod shown in the photo.

When the outside door handle is operated the fulcrum mechanism (bottom left of photo) puts the left hand rod under compression causing the rod to bend.

This reduces the amount of travel of the bolts that secure the door.
To overcome this problem the left hand rod has been reinforced with a "u" shaped moulding fixed with plastic metal.

The inside door handle does not cause this problem as its fulcrum lever is attached to the top of the right hand rod (top right of photo).

It is understood that Hymer UK and Hymer AG are aware of this problem.



Info from Tony Cox.

                 

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French motoring offences  Please note; these tables were published a few years ago and may now be out of date!

Nature of the offence

Fine

Points

Suspension

Stopping/parking in a way that obstructs other road users

35€

  

Not paying motorway tolls

35€

  

Driving with one hand & telephone in other hand

35€

2

 

Dangerous manoeuvre without signalling

35€

3

3 years

Driving without log book

135€

  

Driving with illegible number plates

135€

  

Driving with bald/illegal tyres

135€

  

Driving with a child under 10 years in a front seat

135€

  

Transporting a child without a proper seat restraint

135€

  

Refusal to move to the right to allow other drivers to pass

135€

  

Faulty seat restraints

135€

3

 

Crossing a continuous white line

135€

1

3 years

Accelerating whilst another driver is overtaking you

135€

2

3 years

Driving, stopping or parking on centre band of road

135€

2

3 years

Stopping or parking dangerously

135€

3

3 years

Stopping or parking at night without lights

135€

3

3 years

Driving on the left on a dual carriageway

135€

3

3 years

Overtaking dangerously

135€

3

3 years

Not respecting the safe distance between vehicles

135€

3

3 years

Driving while drunk (>0.5g/l in the blood)

135€

6

3 years

Driving without a permit

1500€

  

Excessive speed

1500€

4

3 years



Speeding fines

Speed

Fine

Points

Suspension

Prison

Less than 20km above the speed limit

135€

1

  

20 - 29km/h above the legal limit

135€

2

  

30 - 39km/h above the legal limit

135€

3

3 years

 

40 - 49km/h above the legal limit

135€

4

3 years

 

More than 50km/h above the legal limit

1500€

6

3 years

 

Subsequence offences above 50km/h

3750€

6

3 years

3 months

Excessive speed causing an accident and injury

45000€ to 75000€

6

5-10 years

3-5 years

Excessive speed causing accident & death

100,000€

6

10 years

10 years



Safe distance:  On open roads and autoroutes, all vehicles that exceed 3.5 tonnes or are longer that 7 metres (including the total weight and length of vehicles towing caravans/trailers/cars) must keep at least 50m between them and the vehicle they are following.

Speed limits: For vehicles that are heavier than 3.5 tonnes and for combined weight of towing vehicles, the speed limit is 110km/h on autoroutes, 100km/h on primary roads and 80km/k on all other roads.
Info extract from a freebie magazine.

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Gas conversions

EDGE TECHNOLOGY Tel:- 01270 509296
Gas conversions for generator sets.
Info from Mike G.

GPS theft prevention

Do not leave the GPS fixing bracket stuck to the windscreen or on view as it has been known for the vehicle to be broken into with the object of stealing the GPS from the glove compartment.
The cost of the break in could be more than the value of the GPS.
Info from Nigel Abbott.

Headlamp Conversions

Hymer models with Hella headlamps No E 7415 the lamps can be adjusted for left and right hand drive.   Although access is not easy there are three screws on the back housing that when loosened allow the lamp to be pushed away from the lens and rotated past a locating stub to the other position.  On top of the lamp housing is an indicator (marked L and R) to assist with the direction to turn the lamp.  I have found that once the procedure has been completed, the bottom screw does not have to be completely tightened.  This will make the procedure easier next time.
Info from Nigel Abbott.

Hella lamps

HELLA :-Tel 01295 272233
Replacement for the external lamps can be obtained from Hella dealerships.  The number above will give the nearest dealer and the price and availability of the lamp or lens you may require.
Info from Nigel Abbott.

Hella head lamps, masking

The head lamps by Hella that are designed to be adjusted for left or right hand drive by rotating the lamp in its housing should not have black tape stuck to the lens to achieve a flat beam pattern as the heat from the halogen bulb will crack the lens.
Info from P Hambilton

New Style Head Lamps

On B Class vans, 2007 onwards, the running lights have a 21 watt bulb fitted. If you feel the head light after 1 hour running, you will see that the glass is very hot, and is a possible cause for this type of headlight to shatter. I replaced the bulb with a 12 watt bulb. This reduced the heat on the glass. The cost of a new bulb 2.  A new head light costs 1,000.
Info from Stewart Mills.

Honda Gensets

The 1000 & 2000 gensets will trip the mains supply on overload, but the engine still keeps running without an obvious indication.  The cause of the overload has to be located and removed, then, the genset has to be stopped and restarted.
Info from Mike G.

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Kitchen tap access (B544)

Remove plastic cutlery liner - no fastenings, remove wooden drawer front - 2 screws (Phillips) one each side.  To remove tap undo the hose clips, a 6mm socket is probably the best option.  Warm the plastic hose with a hair dryer,(a hot air gun for stripping paint could be used with GREAT care).  Locate and remove the 2 wires - spade terminals.  A plumber's tap spanner may assist with the removal of the nut on the underside of the tap.  Replacement of new or repaired tap is the reverse of the removal process.
Info from Paul R.

Kitchen Tap Repair

kitchen tap fix

Leisure Battery Capacities on Display DT201

battery capacity


Info from John Tibbs.



Mobile phone security

Every mobile phone has its own unique serial number that you can access by dialling  *#06#  The serial number displayed is in the form of a 15 digit code.  Make a separate note of the code, so if the phone is stolen or lost you can tell your service provider who can then immediately block your phone.  Even if the SIM card is changed the phone will not work.
Info from Martin Ellis.

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Nearing 70 and driving a van over 3500 Kg

Your driving licence, with code C1 and 107, allows you to drive a vehicle weighing up to 8250 Kg until you reach the age of 70 when the limit automatically drops down to 3500 KG.  If you wish to continue driving a vehicle over 3500 Kg then after filling certain forms and meeting the requirements of a medical with your GP the DVLA will restore the weight limit.  After this the same procedure will apply every three years.  These procedures need to be done at least three months before the birthday as the DVLA require three months for processing your new licence.
When applying for your driving licence on approaching 70 make sure that you ask to retain all the classifications that you require. If not told otherwise, the DVLA will assume that you only wish to retain the classification for a car.
Info from D Atkinson.

Non Standard Brake Cables etc

RDB Cables can make replacement hand brake cables etc to order, sometimes while you wait.  Contact Robert on 0151 355 0004.  Directions M53 junction 8, first left, left at traffic lights, Rossfield Road, third on right is RDB.
Info from T Booth.

Parts while abroad

If you require parts to be sent to you whilst abroad it is highly recommended that you use a carrier (TNT,DHL etc) as it has been noticed by one member that national postal services have differing speeds of delivery ( greater than seven days). Info from Nigel Abbott.

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Pull Down Bed Gas Strut Replacement

"WARNING THESE STRUTS HAVE VERY HIGH PRESSURE RAMS"
This procedure can be done by a competent DIYer
To replace a gas strut it is very important to make sure that there is no residual pressure on the locating pins.  To achieve this, the bed must be set and held as high as possible, using the travel strap.  I found it easier if the bed was emptied including the mattress.
The split pins were then removed and the strut checked that it was fully extended by being loose on the location pins.  I then carefully removed the drum end, pointing to the back of the van first. This to ensure that if there is any residual pressure remaining, the strut it would be travelling away from the windscreen.  The new strut was then fitted in the same position and split pins re-located to secure the strut before lowering the bed.
I was able to do the above from the inside of the van, but some may find it as easy to do the above from outside by leaning through the driver's door and the sliding window.
I would recommend that both struts are changed.  It is sod's law that you will remove the stronger strut first.
I obtained my replacement gas struts from Peter Hambilton, but I have since found that they can be obtained for approximately 32 + vat each from:
Billington Group
280 Bawtry Road
Wickersley
Rotherham
South Yorkshire
S66 1JY
Tel: +44 (0) 1709 543837 email: frank@billington-group.co.uk
Info from N Abbott.

Pull Down Bed Fixing Bolts

It is advisable to check that the four bolts that secure the bed to the van are tightened to a torque of 40 pound foot.  The four bolts that secure the bed to the lowering mechanism need to be fully tightened the backed off one flat.  If any slackness is found in the nylock nuts, they should be replaced.  This procedure should be checked annually.
Info from P Hambilton.

Plastic Repairs

The Plastic Surgeon base in Exeter is able to repair Bumpers, shower trays and eliminate scuffs and blemishes.  Telephone 01392 667722
Info from Martin Whitehouse.

Safety recalls

Members who purchase new vans from dealers other than Hymer UK or Brownhills have voiced concern that their vehicles may be "grey imports" and not notified of and safety recall that the vehicle manufacture may issue.  My investigation has indicated that any such vehicle that is subsequently serviced by a recognised Fiat or Mercedes dealership will pick up any safety recall issue.  I have also been informed that used vehicles and those that have had a number of owners are traced using the VIN via the DVLC issuing names and addresses.  There is a VOSA dedicated recall web site where such information is logged on a voluntary basis http://www.vosa.gov.uk/vosa/apps/recalls/default.asp.  Essanjay Limited (Motorhomes) who advertise in the HCI newsletter are willing to put any members mind at rest concerning Fiat recalls, please have the VIN available before calling.
Info from Nigel Abbott.

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SMEV parts

One of the main UK retail agents for SMEV cookers and oven etc are:
Autocraft Motorcaravans, Fan Road, Staveley, Chesterfield, S43 3PT
Tel: 01246 471199 email: sales@autocraftmotorcaravans.com
Info from A Harvey.

S.O.G Filters

Carbon filters fitted to cooker hoods in the home kitchen can be cut to size to be fitted as a replacement for the S.O.G filter.
Info from a non member.

Replacement SOG Filters

Although some people use cooker hood filters that can be cut to size, these filters do not always contain charcoal which absorbs the odours.  Another method is to thoroughly wash the old filter, and, when dry to immerse it in a bag of charcoal dust to re-impregnate the filter.
Info from Roger Bishop.

Sterilising the water system

There are a number of ways of sterilising your vans water system, the most popular method appears to be by using Milton. However, this taints the water and you have to fully flush the system 2 or 3 times to remove the taste. There is now a product, Citoxx Bio, which can be used to sterilize the complete water system, including in-line filters, that leaves no taste or odours and does not taint the water. Citroxx Bio was developed in the UK 10 years ago and is used in third world countries for purifying drinking water as well as other diverse applications. Stockists can be found at www.citroxx.com/citroxx.php?pid=stockists

Swiss vignettes

For vehicles over 3500kg - as at July 2005
/day CHF 3.25
/month CHF 58.50
/year CHF 650
10 single days within a year period CHF 32.50 (minimum CHF 25)
Info Swiss embassy.

Tag Axle Grease Points

Make sure that the service technician jacks the van up so that the weight is taken off the road wheels.  On some vans there are two grease nipples on each axle but on older vans there may be four grease nipples.
Info from Grahm S.

Thetford toilets

The Type C 200 Thetford toilet cassette has a float to indicate when the cassette requires emptying.  This float swings up away from the empting nozzle.  If when empting the cassette or when rinsing do not shake back and forth as this can dislodge the float.  Use a gentle anti clock wise motion.
Info from Nigel Abbott.

Type C 200 toilets have a water filter located high up under the bowl near the seat moulding.  After some time this can become choked and effect the flushing action of the toilet.  To clean this filter, first remove the cassette, and then unscrew the clamps holding the bowl to the base unit.  Then carefully turn the bowl upside down to access the filter which is held in place with two hose clips.  After cleaning the reverse procedure is used to reinstall the bowl.
Info from Bill Mulliner.

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Toilet/Kitchen roll

If you have a problem with the toilet/kitchen roll unrolling whilst travelling then squash the cardboard former into an oval.  Should work!
Info from Nigel Abbott.

Truma Boiler

If you find that the water dribbles out of the hot tap (and out of an overflow), but flows out of the cold tap ok, the problem could be a non-return valve on the boiler. It is located on the top right hand side of the boiler whilst looking at the control panel and is there to let air in when draining the water.  Remove the two plastic tubes.  Warming with a hair dryer softens the plastic.  Then unscrew the collar holding the plastic T piece onto a metal tube in the wall of the boiler. If you can see through the valve _ it's knackered.  Replace with the new valve, not forgetting the O ring.  The part number (for a C3402 is 34151-03) can be obtained From Truma Technical tel 01283 586020.  The part is supplied by Miriad tel 0123 586060.
Info from P Rowbury.

Tyre Damage

Hand car wash teams have mushroomed dramatically in the UK in the past few years.  Estimates suggest that there are between 5,000 to 10,000 two or three man teams up and down the country offering this service to motorists.  However, TyreSafe - formally the Tyre Industry Council, the UK's leading tyre safety organisation - has issued a warning of a potential safety risk involving the equipment used by these groups that could lead to potential tyre failure.

There is growing evidence that pressure washers used by hand car wash providers can cause tyre damage unknown to most motorists and that they could be putting there own lives and that of their passengers and other road users at risk.

Heavy-duty pressure washers machines are capable of dispensing water at extremely high pressure and if aimed directly at the tyre, the jet can cause sidewall damage and degradation particularly if the water is heated or if the pressurised water is applied for an extended period.

According to a recent survey by TyreSafe, it was revealed that over 80% of drivers were unaware of the impact that pressure washing can have on their tyres and the danger posed.

In fact, German safety group DEKRA has discovered that if a washer nozzle is held close to a tyre at very high pressure, serious damage can occur in just five seconds!  Even tyres that appear normal after being subjected to a pressure washer may have microscopic perforations, which can weaken the sidewall and cause a possible blow-out.

Other contributory factors to sidewall damage are the width of the water jet and the strength of any soaps or detergents used.  Strong soap can remove protective chemicals that are embed in the sidewall - usually resulting in the visual indication of brown watermarks - which can result in a significant reduction in durability.

For worry free washing TyreSafe has the following tips for motorists:

      Ideally, a light-to-medium duty pressure washer should be used (110 bar or less)
      The washer jet nozzle should be kept at least 20 cm from the tyre surface
      Always use a fan nozzle to clean tyres, rather than a circular nozzle
      Prevent prolonged exposure to a specific area of the tyre
      Avoid aiming the water jet at the join between the tyre and the wheel rim

Info from TyreSafe.

Useful Contact for Spares

Al-Ko Kober Ltd
 

01926 818500
www.al-ko.co.uk

Chassis
 

BPW
 

0116 281 6100
www.bpw.co.uk

Chassis
 

Dometic Uk Ltd
 

01582 494111
www.dometic.co.uk

Seitz, Cramer, Heki, Refrigerators
 

Thetford
 

0114 273 8157
www.thetford.eu

Refrigerators, toilets
 

Spinflo
 
 

0114 273 8157
www.thetford.eu

Hobs, ovens, gas fires
 

Truma
Truma technical help
 

01283 586050
01283 586020
www.trumauk.com

Water heaters
 
 

Miriad Products Ltd
 

01283 586060
www.miriad-pruducts.com

Most caravan spares
 

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Taking Pets Abroad

The Goverment has a useful web site See Pets Abroad

Brittany Ferries has a useful list of vets & contact details close to their ports in France and Spain. See List of vets

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Replacement fresh water pumps

There two types of pump fitted to Hymers, a single pump part number 511-4412, or a twin pump part number 512-191440. These pumps contain a non return valve which is required to prevent the hot water tank from empting.
Info Nigel Abbott.

Wind noise caused by hang down mirrors

On some models of Hymer the wind noise is caused by the gap between the mounting bracket and the swivel of the mirror. Filling this gap with silicon sealant or similar should stop the noise.
Info from Dave Carey.

Windscreen marks

It has been noted that a number of windscreens are marked on the right hand side looking from the outside of the van.  This is caused by the wiper blade holder scraping the screen. A cure to the problem is to undo the nut of the arm and rotate the arm by one spline notch anti clockwise.
Info from Dave H.

Wiper Replacement

To prevent the problem on some Hymer Windscreens being scratched when replaced with metal wiper blades. Flat plastic blades, as fitted to the new 2010 Hymer's can be obtained from www.wipers.co.uk, type Pro-fit with adaptor A part number WIF20A.
Info John Tibbs.

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Please share your own Hymer tips and advice by contacting Nigel Abbott - details in the latest HCI Newsletter.