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Post Info TOPIC: Advice needed on an A'Van repair!
Dom


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Advice needed on an A'Van repair!


Hi everyone I'm new and looking to tap into the wealth of knowledge most likely sitting out there from like minded people such as yourselves. I recently bought an A'Van Cruiser in preparation of taking on a quasi Grey Nomad lifestyle as I start to wind down my working life. Never owned a Van before and always camped in a tent or a homemade camping trailer I built myself. But the wife she doesnt like to rough it as much as I do so I started with little steps and upgraded.  

If anyone is familiar with the A'Van Camper trailer concept is is a pop up style van that has roof panels and sides that fold up to make an A frame style van when opened. Great idea but I have a problem with one of my corners. I understand it must be a high stress point based on how the van functions but this corner is starting to seperate and a gap has opened which could potentially allow water to damage the internals. As it is a high stress point I would assume there would be something in place to avoid this happening but whatever it is it has failed. Other than taking the van apart to repair it I was wondering if anyone else with A'Van camper trailer experience might know of a quick and not too unsightly and reliable fix. Yeah I guess I could screw an ugly L bracket to keep it in place but that would be just a bandaid approach and id prefer to fix it properly and keep it looking pretty. It looks as though the previous owner noticed it and covered it up with some silicone and I didn't notice it when I bought the van. Any advice would be appreciated.



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Dom Greco


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This is a major repair and requires a pro, so a caravan repair centre in your area, and it wont be cheap. Their is some comeback, to the previous owner, so long as you didn't sign something that stated that you are buying it in an "As Is" condition. I hope you didn't pay too much for it in this condition. Unless you know how to do the repair yourself, I would pass it on to caravan repairers instead. The previous owners tried to hide the problem from you, so this implies that they knew of the problem



-- Edited by Bicyclecamper on Thursday 10th of February 2022 01:12:21 PM

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Ric - The Eccentric One



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Dom wrote:

Hi everyone I'm new and looking to tap into the wealth of knowledge most likely sitting out there from like minded people such as yourselves. I recently bought an A'Van Cruiser in preparation of taking on a quasi Grey Nomad lifestyle as I start to wind down my working life. Never owned a Van before and always camped in a tent or a homemade camping trailer I built myself. But the wife she doesnt like to rough it as much as I do so I started with little steps and upgraded.  

If anyone is familiar with the A'Van Camper trailer concept is is a pop up style van that has roof panels and sides that fold up to make an A frame style van when opened. Great idea but I have a problem with one of my corners. I understand it must be a high stress point based on how the van functions but this corner is starting to seperate and a gap has opened which could potentially allow water to damage the internals. As it is a high stress point I would assume there would be something in place to avoid this happening but whatever it is it has failed. Other than taking the van apart to repair it I was wondering if anyone else with A'Van camper trailer experience might know of a quick and not too unsightly and reliable fix. Yeah I guess I could screw an ugly L bracket to keep it in place but that would be just a bandaid approach and id prefer to fix it properly and keep it looking pretty. It looks as though the previous owner noticed it and covered it up with some silicone and I didn't notice it when I bought the van. Any advice would be appreciated.


 Dom,

You need to take it to a professional repairer to get it done properly.

You might take it up with the seller for some assistance but a private seller has no legal responsibility to give any warranty.



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EJP


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To determine the extent of the problem the inner panels will have to be removed and that can be a problem in itself. Because the joint has separated, moisture woud have gotten in and there could be a fair amount of rotten woodwork behind the panels. Unless you are handy at repairs I agree with the others and take the van to a repairer.

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EJP wrote:

To determine the extent of the problem the inner panels will have to be removed and that can be a problem in itself. Because the joint has separated, moisture woud have gotten in and there could be a fair amount of rotten woodwork behind the panels. Unless you are handy at repairs I agree with the others and take the van to a repairer.


 Avan's are all sandwich panel construction, no woodwork involved.

From the photos it looks as though its already had a bodgie repair job done previously.

Is that old filler/sealant that I see?

As others have said, get it fixed by someone that knows what they're doing.



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I don't really want to say this but it could be a write off, as the cost to repair, could quite well exceed what you paid for it. This will be a legal matter I feel. I would get a written quote, with photos taken by the c.van repairer pricing as he goes for each pic, and be prepared for a fight over it.



-- Edited by Bicyclecamper on Friday 11th of February 2022 09:51:51 AM

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Ric - The Eccentric One



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Dom, I know you don't like the solution, as it isn't pretty - To cheaply rectify you need to buy/manufacture steel angles and put on corner pieces. apply Sikaflex and bolt through panel to matching angle pieces on inside.
It could be made more attractive if painted a contrasting colour (Red/black) to make it appear to be original frame.

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have an Avan Cruiseliner and have done this repair myself.  Front and Rear.

The corner has most likely been leaking and rotted the back panel and side corner section. 

The Rear Roof Roof springs need to be removed and then the rear out side panel released and eased  back.

This is to allow visual access to the inside.   Then you can asses what needs to be done.

If you have not got the skills to do this your self you need to see a Caravan Repairer. 

But I know a couple of people who have done this repair to their own vans. It is possible but can be a BIG job.

 

file7.jpeg

 

 



-- Edited by elliemike on Friday 11th of February 2022 11:27:00 AM



-- Edited by elliemike on Friday 11th of February 2022 11:28:15 AM

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Mike & Ellie

Dom


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Damn...reading all those replies was a little depressing....Yes It appears the old owner did do a bodgy job before he sold it to me and it didnt look that bad before it simply opened up the first time I used it. Although I am rather handy at fixing things I think I will take your advice and take it to an A'Van center near here and see what they advise to repair ...if it's over the top then I might just have to have a go myself and see what I can do. I will post results when I get around to doing it so it may help others. Thanks again everyone for your feedback.

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Dom Greco
KJB


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Dom wrote:

Damn...reading all those replies was a little depressing....Yes It appears the old owner did do a bodgy job before he sold it to me and it didnt look that bad before it simply opened up the first time I used it. Although I am rather handy at fixing things I think I will take your advice and take it to an A'Van center near here and see what they advise to repair ...if it's over the top then I might just have to have a go myself and see what I can do. I will post results when I get around to doing it so it may help others. Thanks again everyone for your feedback.


 It is only timber and aluminium, don't  forget ....not rocket science .  I am sure  , seeing as you are "handy at fixing things.." , that if you attack it quietly and carefully (do not go like a "bull at a gate ")  that you would be able to rectify the situation  - and probably also finish up with a better/stronger job than original . There are some good glues and screws readily available nowadays ......  Hope you get it rectified soon ....  KB



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KB



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Just a thought: (I know nothing of A'vans) - instead of much dismantling to get a view of the problems is it feasible for Dom to drill a small hole somewhere and insert one of those cameras on a bendy stalk? 



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Dom


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As EJP wrote earlier the van is all sandwich panel construction polystyrene covered in aluminum sheet....that's why I am shocked and disappointed more than anything that such a high stress point was so badly designed to allow this sort of thing to happen. One would have assumed they would have had some secret design that would have reinforced this corner to make sure this does not happen....EVER! But it seems like its a common thing....At over $45k for a new one of those, I certainly hope they fixed the problem now. I joined an A'van users group but it seems they dont allow people to ask for advice on fixing problems....I wonder why.

At least you guys are honest and I really do appreciate the feedback......even if what you did was scare Sh!t out of me...LOL

 

 



-- Edited by Dom on Thursday 17th of February 2022 12:03:02 AM

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Dom Greco


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Dom wrote:

As EJP wrote earlier the van is all sandwich panel construction polystyrene covered in aluminum sheet....that's why I am shocked and disappointed more than anything that such a high stress point was so badly designed to allow this sort of thing to happen. One would have assumed they would have had some secret design that would have reinforced this corner to make sure this does not happen....EVER! But it seems like its a common thing....At over $45k for a new one of those, I certainly hope they fixed the problem now. I joined an A'van users group but it seems they dont allow people to ask for advice on fixing problems....I wonder why.

At least you guys are honest and I really do appreciate the feedback......even if what you did was scare Sh!t out of me...LOL

 

 



-- Edited by Dom on Thursday 17th of February 2022 12:03:02 AM


 Dom

Althought the Panels walls, roof sections, doors are Poly Aluminium,Masonite Sandwich.  Those corners and all other places that have Fasteners/Screws  for connections,   like door hinges etc. There is either  wood reinforcing, in place of polystyrene,  or as on the corners like in your pictures it is  24mm ply for about 300mm along the wall and to the floor.

That ply has got wet from a leak on the corner of the roof.

It has weakened/rotted the SPRING LEG  pocket that is bored into the wood (again Plywood and Timber) of the back Bulkhead.

The spring Leg has forced the back panel backwards resulting in pulling  the fasteners out of the 24 mm ply in the wall back corner. 

You could remove the white plactic strip from the metal corner molding. The screws  will be underneath  that plastic strip.   Remove those screws and using a combination of Jacking, pulling , pushing, spanish windlass, mates, whatever get the back panel back in position. Then try replacing the screws with long ones like 100mm long (or longer)

Have the roof raised  to releave the spring leg  pressing on the back panel.  

That may close the gap and you can weather seal it. 

 

In the meantime Re joining Avan Groups .

Try the Avan Club of Australia and  your local state Avan Group (same  https://avanclubaust.org.au/wordpress/?fbclid=IwAR3UXguN8dz0GdQ2QGmQIB1bxzOOK8P6TsFzMHmAF_EE8WakvaOA0EHTI_4

They have a good web site members lots of knowledge, and helpful web pages on maintenance , Mods, Repairs etc.

Hope that helps a little. But without actually seeing what is the extent of the problem I am only going off what I can see in your pics.

The method I out lined above I have successfully  done on friends van and seen others do similar.

But it might not be enough in the long term.

No. 1 in pic.   You can see the edge of the inside rear bulhead bowed out because of the Spring Leg  Pressure.

No. 2    Remove that end cap and pull the plastic strip out of the Molding to reval the fasteners/

No. 3 Plastic Strip.

Clean off all that old adhesive sealer befor getting the corner together.  Use Sikaflex 291  Marine/Automotrive Adhesive Sealer.

Corner fault.png

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by elliemike on Thursday 17th of February 2022 12:51:27 AM



-- Edited by elliemike on Thursday 17th of February 2022 01:06:54 AM



-- Edited by elliemike on Thursday 17th of February 2022 01:10:24 AM

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Mike & Ellie



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Dom,

It might be worth your while to have a discussion with the seller as he clearly knew about this issue when he sold you the camper.

Whilst no State Tribunal has authority to rule on private sales a little bit of bluff might get a result with some assistance.

Unfortunately private sales are not covered under the ACA and the cost of taking the matter to a Magistrates court would far outweigh any benefit you would gain.

However, the seller may not know this so perhaps worth a try.

 



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Dom


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Elliemike...that all sounded like it made a lot of sense....you have given me the confidence to maybe give it a go.....especially if the Avan center wants to take my first born child to pay for the repairs. (I love her dearly but she can be annoying). I have joined the A'Van Club of Australia but havent seen anywhere on their site where I can ask for advice on a problem....and there is a warning about complaining. I'll have another look but to be honest you guys have given me some pretty sound advice anyway....although chasing down the seller for some sort of recourse probably won't work...I think I am just stuck with the problem but there is nothing that cant be fixed somehow.

 



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Dom Greco


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Dom wrote:

Elliemike...that all sounded like it made a lot of sense....you have given me the confidence to maybe give it a go.....especially if the Avan center wants to take my first born child to pay for the repairs. (I love her dearly but she can be annoying). I have joined the A'Van Club of Australia but havent seen anywhere on their site where I can ask for advice on a problem....and there is a warning about complaining. I'll have another look but to be honest you guys have given me some pretty sound advice anyway....although chasing down the seller for some sort of recourse probably won't work...I think I am just stuck with the problem but there is nothing that cant be fixed somehow.

 


 AVan are pretty paranoid about negative  reviews.....check it out.



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Monty. RV Dealer.



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Dom wrote:

Elliemike...that all sounded like it made a lot of sense....you have given me the confidence to maybe give it a go.....especially if the Avan center wants to take my first born child to pay for the repairs. (I love her dearly but she can be annoying). I have joined the A'Van Club of Australia but havent seen anywhere on their site where I can ask for advice on a problem....and there is a warning about complaining. I'll have another look but to be honest you guys have given me some pretty sound advice anyway....although chasing down the seller for some sort of recourse probably won't work...I think I am just stuck with the problem but there is nothing that cant be fixed somehow.

 


 Dom not sure what you are looking at on the Avan Club of Australia web page,  but this is just a snip of "click on"  how to do stuff written by members.  All available on   the Club Web Site.

Screenshot 2022-02-17 204653.png



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Mike & Ellie



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It sounds like someone needs to create an A'van group which is much more open to complaints, repair discussion and generally less censored and controlled. Try groups.io, they run a free forum/mailing list with 1GB of storage:

groups.io



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Dom


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I think I have worked out the problem with the A'Van website.....they have not processed my membership and given me full access to the website....All I can see is the basic front page. I have sent an email to the Web Manager to set up my account so I can log in....I guess they got the same problem as everything at the moment....Suffering from C.I.P.....Covid Induced Paralysis!

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Dom Greco
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