Caravans and stupidity

I’ve been enjoying my new caravan quite a lot, and even spent some time today sitting in and working. With the enormous front window open and fantastic velour to sit upon, it was all rather pleasant. I have also managed to get my ‘collection caper’ video online, and here it is.

With family visits not very far away, I thought it was time I tried to get to the bottom of the XM’s horrible suspension clonk today. Having managed to drive many hundreds of miles since it first started doing it, I’d reasoned that it was unlikely that anything would fall off. It probably already would have done. But, I really wanted to know what it was!

I got a message from Pete Sparrow at ‘very early’ this morning, which said ‘it’s today or never mate.’ So, I quickly had a bite to eat and jumped in the XM to head to Hereford and some Sparrow diagnostics. Pete somehow found time in his usual, frenetic schedule to have a quick test drive, and deduced that it could be a brake caliper issue. When we got back, I jacked up the XM and removed the road wheel and sure enough, Pete quickly spotted that the brake pad anti-rattle spring was missing. Oops. I now remembered that I was struggling to fit it and put it to one side to fit later. It wasn’t meant to be two months later… Still, the noise was just the pads rattling around, so at least I knew it wasn’t serious.

Oops. There should be a spring here!

Oops. There should be a spring here!

While I was there, I took Pete’s advice and swapped some tyres about. When I refitted my Continental Winter Contact TS850 tyres last Autumn, I only realised afterwards that I’d successfully rotated the offside tyres front and rear, but put the same front tyre on the nearside that had been in place the previous winter. Now, after two winters of my hooning, the inside of the tread had very definitely been worn away. Slightly low tyre pressures certainly didn’t help, and I also wonder whether the wishbone bushes are past their best. Fact remains though that two winters of use has been pretty much enough for that tyre. The softer compound does cause these tyres to wear out more readily. I don’t currently have a set of summer tyres to switch back to. Something I’ll need to address, as sunny motorway miles are particularly unkind to winter tyres.

On returning home, after getting some important work done on Classic Jaguar magazine (felt appropriate to do some of this in the caravan), I set about sorting the XM’s brakes. It didn’t take too long to whip the wheel off and refit the anti-rattle spring. I also fitted new wiper blades – aero ones. Not a fan of the aesthetics, but hopefully they’ll take the stress out of driving in the rain. Quite important in Wales. Of course, not everything went to plan and I did almost managed to crash the XM into the Nippa. And I caught it on video!

3 thoughts on “Caravans and stupidity

    • I think not chocking a raised car just goes down as plain stupid! Can’t easily chock the rear wheels though, as the wheelbase changes as the car rises…

  1. Ooh, Nice caravan, especially for that money. Looks like it tows OK too. Do have a look at the tyres, they tend to perish long before the tread is worn and possibly see if the wheel bearings could use some fresh grease and the brakes are OK – it should be relatively easy for an expert Citroen mechanic like you, LOL…
    That problem in the bathroom is fairly easy to fix neatly, just use waterproof building adhesive and glue some suitable sized battens to the aluminium skin then use white melamine coated hardboard to make a new ceiling and edge it with timber strips, like the other bits of the ‘van are trimmed.
    The thing to remember is when the ‘van was built the ceiling panels would have gone in first, then the sides, then cupboards and any partitions, so just ripping the bathroom out will A) make it look much worse, like a scrapper Top Gear would love to destroy, and B) lose the other useful aspect of a caravan (over a tent) – ie you can have your own loo, which is a gods-send if just stopping in the middle of nowhere.
    You are not the only one to have a car roll away, my friend and I were working under his FD Victor, got out to have a fag and watched it roll gently off the trolley jack and axle stands, all on its own, without either of us touching it! Could have been messy…

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