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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As some of you know,my dear wife has been bending my ear(and other parts of my anatomy:eek:) about buying a caravan.......

We have been offered a Pageant De Ville(made by Bailey???) for £300.It hasn't been used for a while,and looks a little sad,but a wash and tidy up should see it back to better health.........but.....and it's a big BUT......there are signs that it has suffered from damp.The offside panel is a little 'sqidgy',as is part of the front and one side of the floor.My question is,how exactly is a caravan constructed,and is replacing parts of the frame work and inner panelling a viable option?

I'm reasonable with a bit of carpentry,as is my Dad,but I have read that they are glued together,and it can be difficult to strip and replace body parts.Has anyone had any experience of doing this?

Obviously,I don't expect much for £300,but to me that is a large chunk of money,and although if it goes completely Pete Tong some of this can be recouped with the scrap value of the aluminium,I would rather not build up my wifes hopes of owning a shed on wheels and having to dissapoint her when it completely collapses.I've seen the same make and model advertised for £3000+,so if a few hours work and a couple of hundred quid on materials will sort it,we'll have decent 'van......

Also,are spare parts readily available for caravans of this type?.A grab handle on the front is broken,and a couple of side lights are broken,is this going to add to the problems?.I don't want to walk away from it if at all possible,but I am a realist and also a pessimist!.

Am I going to start repairing it,only to find that I end up with a pile of wet fire wood,which is bug#er all good to me as we don't have an open fire to burn it on!

Any thoughts are recieved gratefully!:)
 

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It's difficult to say without seeing just how bad it is. If it's only a few small patches, then just seal up the leaks and leave it as it is.

If it's worse than that, then you'll have to rip the wall board out (probably disassemble much of the furniture first) then cut a new piece (or pieces) of ply to size and glue them in. The walls are made from a polystyrene and plywood sandwich, and you will probably find that some of the wooden framework around the edges has rotted too. If so, then you'll need to cut these sections out and glue in new. Once done, glue the new skin on (with someting strong that won't eat the polystyrene) and reassemble the furniture. Re-seal all external seams and window rubbers using Carafix IDL-99. If you find that you can't screw the rails back on (because the wood underneath has rotted) you can always bodge it use a bonding sealer like Sikaflex :p

A rotten floor is a bigger worry. If it's in a corner that's not normally walked on, then I'd be concerned. If it's in the middle where the floor is regularly walked on and it's just a bit springy/saggy then it's probably just delamination. An epoxy kit will cost you about 30 quid and take you a couple of hours to do.

If it's a reasonably modern 'van then it's worth a lot more than the 300 quid for scrap. Look at the prices that the water heaters and cassette toilets are making on eBay :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Horatio.:)

The offside is pretty bad and needs some serious re-working.I think the thing to do is part with some cash,get it back here and start investigating just how bad it is.If it's beyond economic repair,then strip it for anything usefull,and torch the rest.

Just another thing,is there anywhere that will tell me how heavy this 'van is?.I understand that towing weights are a little bit of weak point of Renaults,or have I got the wrong end of the stick?
 

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If you're lucky, there will be a plate either on the body or the chassis, usually close to the door. It generally gives you the MGW or MTPLM and a 'payload' figure. The big figure is normally the weight of the caravan fully laden, with the smaller figure being the weight of the payload (no kidding!) Subtract the small one from the large one, and that's the actual weight of the 'van unladen. Though you're really supposed to go by the MGW/MTPLM figure when calculating a towcar match.

The Baileys tend to be relatively light, which is good news.

Whattowcar.com lists the limit for the Lag 1 1.8 16v as 1400Kg, though that sounds a bit high to me. You really need to find out the weight of the caravan and plug the details into the website for yourself.

What TowCar.com - All about Towcars and Towing Caravans
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Excellent,thanks again.:)

I've just roughly entered in some figures,and it looks a little touch and go.I entered a 1.8 16 valve Lag Hatch(no estate 1.8 is listed) with 200kg added to the wheight,with the heaviest older Pageant on the list,and it came back with 'plausible and legal,but running at 97%!'

0-62mph acceleration is estimated at 29.5 seconds!.Woohoo.......sorry for the delay,but Lags towing his 'van again!:eek:

Thanks Horatio,you da 'van man!(Sorry:eek:)
 

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No worries mate :d

Yep, this is the point where you'll wish you still had the diesel. If you find yourself going away in it a lot, then it might even make sense to swap cars.

97% is a very high figure for someone who's new to towing. I'd ideally recommend putting a coupling head stabiliser on that, but seeing as it'll cost nearly as much as your caravan, I'd go for either trying to find one on eBay (though they're like rocking horse muck) or settle for a blade type stabiliser, which is just as effective but a bit more hassle to use. If you're buying it and towing it home without a stabiliser, then take it slow - and I mean 40-45mph SLOW - until you can get yourself a stabiliser fitted.

Just how big is this critter anyway, and what year? I think our 18 foot 1996 Bailey Discovery weighs in at a little under 1200Kg fully laden. Like you say, stick as much weight in the car as possible (without overloading it, of course.) A roof box, or one of those new roof bags might be a good investment.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Part of deal is that they deliver it to us,so I haven't got to worry about towing just yet.........thankfully!.We haven't got a bar on the Lag yet anyway.:d.

There are still some negotiations going on with the price,but I leave that kind of thing to Mrs.Lag.One way or another,it'll be here tomorrow,so I'll get my measuring stick out and check how long it really is.Do you include the towing part or just the body?.

I'll post up photos when(or should that be if...:rolleyes:) it makes it here.:d
 

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The normally quoted length is generally the length of the main body. If you include the drawbar to get the total length of the caravan from nose to tail, then that's the 'shipping length.' Shipping length only really comes into it when you're booking ferries. The number of bodily appendages that it costs you to get the caravan on the boat is linked to this figure :p

You've got it down to 300 quid delivered already,and you're negotiating on the price? Remind me never to sell you anything :crazy:

I should also mention that while you might be getting the 'van cheap, you can expect to part with at least as much again for accessories if it doesn't already come with them. If you think caravanning's going to be a cheap way to holiday, then think again :( You could easily take the family to Spain for a fortnight a year and save money on the annual cost of running a caravan. The plus side is that you can take lots of short holidays, including weekends. What's more, if you keep it on the front of the house, you can use it as a shed :p

Once you've tried it, you probably will be hooked. Skint, but hooked.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think most of the kit is included,and we already a lot of 'outdoor kit' from the camping set.Mrs.Lags got the price down to £200,so I can't really see we can lose either way,but I would prefer to start to take it apart,find is fubar'd,and sell it in pieces for a profit and invest the money in something worth while.....like restoring a baby Ferrari...:rolleyes:

The caravan idea does make sense to me,especially as we can use it when people come over and stay with us,but I don't think this is the ideal caravan for us.My Laguna is a nice enough car,but it's done 127k and as far as I know is still on it's original clutch.Pushing it too hard with a caravan that is on the limit weight wise sounds like a bad idea to me,but Mrs.Lag won't have it.I know the next thing she'll say.......'we need a bigger car,and I've always wanted a 4x4'......No,No and No!:)

I'll post some pics when the shed turns up......:)
 

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Down to 200 quid? Including accessories? You're one stuffy git, I can tell you that much :d

I had a quick poke around eBay last night, and there's a Thetford C2 cassette toilet on there at 75 quid with 5 days still to run. One person's asking 210 quid 'buy it now' for one (also used, but allegedly in good condition) though I think the seller's being a tad optimistic at that price.

eBay.co.uk: THETFORD CASSETTE TOILET (item 260134149869 end time 10-Jul-07 12:09:22 BST)

If you decide to just strip it, then you should easily turn a profit. Though I wonder how easy it is to get rid of the empty shell once you've gutted it, as many of the scrap dealers will only be interested in it for the bits that you'll already have swiped.
 

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Hi lag welcome to the club:d they do say that you must be getting on in years to own one so well done you old git:d i might bump into you on our travels and the big boy jumps to mind:d.Right jokes aside i a few years back worked on a Van that my friend owned and the complete back end off the van had been letting in water for years so you could imagine what it was like in between the aluminum sheet and the hard board inside,you could stick your fingers through the board like butter:( what i did first was firstly remove the carpet optional,then i removed the furniture around the bad area and the two back parts of the roof,in between the outside skin and the inner hardboard there is a wooden frame and in between the wooden frame you will find polystyrene,as Horatio has already said the inner skin normally is stuck to the wooden frame but the frame is normally screwed together.What i did was i stripped it right back and started to replace the framework with new timber and replaced with new polystyrene and used the thinnest hardboard from B&Q stuck it on with product called Grip fill that builders use using some screws in areas but do watch they are not to long as the 3 skins so to speak are only about 1inch thick,i then started to replace all the furniture bit by bit and replaced the carpet and Bod is your uncle job done,what i will say is try to use materials the same thickness as it helps to bring things back to the same place when finished and note having to modify bits as you go along.

Do check that it is water tight when you have it stripped out before you start work because i can tell you that it will all be in vain next spring when its all f*cked again,its hard going but it was good fun to say the least so good luck.

Oh never ever let the wife go and look at newer models as i can tell you she will indeed nip your head until she gets one cheers all the best Donald.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Donald,your advice is very welcome.I fancy that I'll be contacting you in the near future!:)

Well,here she is......(I only had chance to clean parts of it,but considering the nasty shade of green it arrived in,what I have done has come up really well).:)







Thats the good news,the bad news is the damp problem appears to be a bit worse than we thought.It looks to have started around the skylight,run across the roof and down the offside around the door.I'm going into this with my eyes wide open,but it does look like a hell of a lot of work.For £200,I can't have expected anymore,and it comes with a load of equipment and a massive awning,but I have this nagging little voice in the back of my head(and it's not my missus for a change!:d) that is saying that it's going to end in tears.

But hey ho,I'll give a go,although as all the work will have to be done outside,it doesn't look like it's going to be done this summer!.It's absolutely p1ssing it down at the moment,and we're supposed to be going camping for the weekend on Friday!:rolleyes:.I'm not a religious man,but I'm praying for some sunshine!.
 

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Thanks Donald,your advice is very welcome.I fancy that I'll be contacting you in the near future!:)

Well,here she is......(I only had chance to clean parts of it,but considering the nasty shade of green it arrived in,what I have done has come up really well).:)







Thats the good news,the bad news is the damp problem appears to be a bit worse than we thought.It looks to have started around the skylight,run across the roof and down the offside around the door.I'm going into this with my eyes wide open,but it does look like a hell of a lot of work.For £200,I can't have expected anymore,and it comes with a load of equipment and a massive awning,but I have this nagging little voice in the back of my head(and it's not my missus for a change!:d) that is saying that it's going to end in tears.

But hey ho,I'll give a go,although as all the work will have to be done outside,it doesn't look like it's going to be done this summer!.It's absolutely p1ssing it down at the moment,and we're supposed to be going camping for the weekend on Friday!:rolleyes:.I'm not a religious man,but I'm praying for some sunshine!.
Hi Lag she is a van worth saving in my eyes but its up to you weather you just want to spend a little monet or alot of money on proper caravan materials or as i done and used hard board,batten timber,grip fill and a tube or 2 of real caravan sealer,it will be hard work but if your half the man i think you are:d you will make a good job of it,go for it, it great for the kids and weekends away and your in the best part of Britain for caravaning good luck.if you do not get her sealed before the winter sets in you can buy breathable covers for them second hand from ebay so she remains dry
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Donald.We'll have to move it before winter as the towbar sticks out past our garage,and I know that one day either me or my nextdoor neighbour are going to reverse into it!.There is a place local to me that stores caravans under cover,so that will be an option.

I'm going to give the repairs my best shot,and hopefully my Dad will be on hand to help out.He used to be a carpenter,so he should come in usefull!:)
 

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Thanks Donald.We'll have to move it before winter as the towbar sticks out past our garage,and I know that one day either me or my nextdoor neighbour are going to reverse into it!.There is a place local to me that stores caravans under cover,so that will be an option.

I'm going to give the repairs my best shot,and hopefully my Dad will be on hand to help out.He used to be a carpenter,so he should come in usefull!:)
Good luck yes iam sure it will all work out it may not be the same as it once was but hay its a bed and a holiday and a little home to take with you the kids will love it all the best Donald.
 

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The big question is: Does it still have enough remaining structural integrity to tow? If the floor's still sound (if it hasn't turned black then it probaly is) and most of the wall area is similar, then you should be fine.

Now what I'm about to tell you is bad advice. It's not the way to look after a caravan long-term, but here's how I'd be inclined to play it in your shoes with a 200 quid 'van that really owes you nothing:

I'd properly re-seal the windows and roof lights using IDL-99, but not worry about any rotten timber for now. An electric staple gun is handy for re-fitting the window rubbers, and be sure to leave the windows on the 'night' setting for at least 48 hours while the mastic hardens a bit, otherwise you might not get a good watertight seal with the window shut. If there's signs of any water ingress along any of the exterior seams, then just run some mastic along the joins for now. It'll look horrible, but it'll buy you some time.

Then if you don't find too many other things wrong with it in the first few times you use it and it turns out you like using it and want to keep it, contemplate starting to repair things properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Mmm.....interesting point.:)

I'll have a closer look when I get some time and make a decision.I've got to get a towbar for the Galuna anyway,so I'll do that and see what the shed tows like.I'm not 100% happy with the fact that the unit as a whole is near it's maximum limit,although I do have plenty of experience towing stuff......

If I did decide to repair it properly,whats a ball park figure for what it would be worth if it was done to a reasonable standard and was clean and tidy?
 

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I would agree get the roof and skylights sealed first and have it vented and hopfully a good dry spell to help dry it out and see how it goes from there as Horatio has said lets hope it is still sound to the chassis,there are many many vans ive seen far worse on the roads so i feel it will be ok i have just sold my other Eccles Topaz 26 years old and it was perfict immaculate condition i wish you had seen it but its not that iam saying yours is crap because its not its a mighty fine looking van and i hope you have great days ahead you will either hate it or love it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I know mines a heap of crap,you don't have to be polite!:rofl::rofl::rofl:

I was shocked by the prices that even fairly old 'vans make,and to be honest we found it difficult enough to find £200 for this one!.

What would really get me going would be a big camper van,but the cost of even an old one of those is incredible!.One day.........
 

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I know mines a heap of crap,you don't have to be polite!:rofl::rofl::rofl:

I was shocked by the prices that even fairly old 'vans make,and to be honest we found it difficult enough to find £200 for this one!.

What would really get me going would be a big camper van,but the cost of even an old one of those is incredible!.One day.........
:( Honest Lag iam not mate i think its a fine looking van go for it,i was going to go that route when i bought the new van last year rather than spend all the money on the espace and the van i was going to go for a camper for 4 + but the money for one was out of this world
 
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