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Caravan Clinic

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Michael Hindon writes:

 

Which awning

I am in the market for a caravan awning and have been looking at Eezi-Awn and Fiamma and other similar extractable types of awnings, but I cannot seem to find what I want. In most cases the awning, apart from being permanently fixed to the caravan, is not waterproof where it is fixed to the caravan.

The awning I’m looking for should be of the type that slides into the existing tent extrusion with a zip bag containing the awning and stabiliser arms, if any. Mr Google, who usually knows everything, is also not of much help in this instance. Can anybody please point me in the right direction?

Fiamma does have such an awning. It’s called the Caravan store and you can install it yourself, as all the arms are contained within the awning, so no ropes are needed. In addition, you can even buy sides and a front for the awning, thereby closing it off from the elements. And there are many more accessories available for the Fiamma Caravanstore. Check it all out at www.fiamma.co.za/caravan%20awnings.html.

Alternatively, you might be interested in the Howling Moon tent extrusion awning that’s available from any Jurgens Ci dealership. This comes in a bag that is threaded into the aluminum extrusion, and has a simple aluminium extrusion from which legs fold out to form the basic tent framework.

Wood rot repair
Thank you for a superb publication, with so many informative articles that are of immense value. I would be grateful for some information on my particular problem. I own a Sprite Splash caravan (2000 model) and have discovered water damage above the two window frames on the refrigerator side. I have found that this could cost up to R17 000 to repair because of how labour-intensive the project could be.

Is there is anybody you know of who can advise me on how to tackle this myself? The dealer who would do the professional repair is very reputable, but the cost is just too high. Without seeing the problem it’s difficult to judge the cost of the repair quoted by the dealer. From experience he will have a good idea of the extent of the leak and where it’s coming from. He will also know the extent of the repair and the number of man-hours required to do the job. However, if you are a DIY’er and have the tenacity to see the repairs through to the end, then the job will be fairly easy – and you’ll learn as you go along.

Your caravan has vacuum-bonded side panels. These comprise an outer layer of aluminium glued to an inner core consisting of polystyrene panels inside a wooden framework, and then a wooden panel covered with Renolit for the inside wall. Renolit is a plastic type of wallpaper applied at the factory which, we believe, is no longer available. Hopefully the inner wall is still intact and unaffected by the dampness. Remove the windows and the inner window frame moulding and fittings. This should expose the rotten framework. Use something reasonably sharp, such as a screwdriver or chisel, to dig out the rotten wood. Be careful not to damage the inner and outer walls, as the aluminium in particular is soft and will show signs of any inner gouging. Get all the rotten wood out, replace each full length of framework with new timber and glue everything back with a good sealant that has strong bonding properties.

Don’t use silicone, as this will actually attack and corrode the aluminum. It is crucial to find and seal any points where water is getting into the caravan. You will probably have to take off the aluminium rope moulding to expose where the side walls meet the roof and then reseal every point at which the aluminium outer wall has been punctured for a screw or pop rivet. Put sealer into the hole and reassemble, wiping away excess sealant. The picture of a typical caravan sidewall construction shows you what to expect in terms of window framework. Have fun!

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