Getting All Charged Up – Part 2…

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Planning the Install

Remember the Six P’s… “Proper Planning Prevents Piddling Poor Performance”… or something along those lines! Before we start hacking away at the multitude of cables (and my email inbox fills up with help requests) we need to pull out the relevant electrical schematics from the handbook. Our caravan is a ‘dealer special’ based on a 2011 Swift Europa 550 fitted with a Sargent PSU. Continue reading

Getting All Charged Up – Part 1…

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If you are a regular reader you may remember a couple of posts I wrote about leisure battery charging in caravans and motorhomes (Smart Alternators: how they affect Caravans and Motorhomes…. and NEC Show Roundup – it’s all technical…) and I linked to a few videos that Charles Sterling from Sterling Power has produced covering charging topics and Euro6 engines. At the recent NEC show Sterling Power were featuring a new product that would soon be available that would solve all the issues for caravan owners that were experiancing towing with vehicles that had “smart alternators” which were are standard on Euro5 and Euro6 engines and the issues around regenerative braking on Euro6 engines. Charles promised to send me one of the first pre-production “Wildside” Battery to Battery chargers specifically designed for caravans. Continue reading

They Say Things Come in Three’s….

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… well I hope they don’t!!

Number One. We were supposed to go to York a few days ago for a five-day break. However that got scuppered at the last-minute by one of our Siamese cats. Polo who is 14 years old suddenly decided he was not very well and it looked like it could have been touch and go and would have warranted that sad last trip to the vet. Something we absolutely could not ask our long-term cat sitter (and house minder) to make. However as it was the sunniest week we have had so far (just our luck) he decided rally round and he’s now fine.. or as fine as a 14-year-old Siamese can be.

Number Two. Last night while clearing up after our evening meal, I was finishing the washing up and Sue took out the kitchen rubbish to the bin. I watched her pass the kitchen window en-route to the bins which are the far side of the vehicles and out of view. After about five minutes or so She hadn’t returned and I guessed She might have been giving our next door neighbours cat a bit of a polish as it does drop in to our garden from time to time to say hello. I sat down in the lounge and thought Sue was being a particularly long time and went out to check. Continue reading

Fit2Go Tyre Pressure Checker…

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Back in December last year I did a write up and little video with Andy Harris from RoadPro about the Fit2Go tyre pressure monitoring system. In the video he promised to send me one of the new Fit2Go Tyre Pressure Checker units as soon as they were released. Well Andy kept his word and yesterday I received a little package from Road Pro. Continue reading

Fitting A Bike Rack to the VW Amarok – Finale…

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It’s time to wrap up the bike rack install. I had to wait a few days for the final rack to arrive. Although I had ordered a twin pack of the Thule FreeRide 532 from Holdcrofts via Amazon and they had shipped out a twin pack, it would seem that their courier had ‘lost’ one and to Holdcrofts credit as soon as I emailed them they dispatched another… which the courier took four days to deliver.

IMG_1098 Continue reading

Fitting A Bike Rack to the VW Amarok – Part 2…

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OK, so now to fit the actual bike carriers onto the rack I had previously installed a couple of days ago.

We had opted for the Thule FreeRide 532 over the ProRide version. What put me off the ProRide were a couple of videos on YouTube showing just how easy it was to remove a bike supposedly locked on to the rack. The FreeRide 532 has two arms supporting the bike and offered an option for additional security…. which I’m not going to go into for obvious reasons!

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Fitting A Bike Rack to the VW Amarok – Part 1…

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It’s been a few months since we bought our VW Amarok and I hadn’t originally intended it to take this long to install a bike rack or carrier. What slowed us down was sorting out the bits needed for mounting a bike carrier above the bed of the Amarok. In the USA, pickups are plentiful and there are various companies that make carrier systems and mounts for pickups. My initial thoughts it would be fairly easy and started perusing the Thule website. Unfortunately they did not sell the correct mounting hardware for where I wanted to mount the rack.. on the side rails for the Roll-N-Lock cover.

Searching the internet found plenty of results for the type of mounting I wanted… all in America and the most promising system was produced by Yakimar. Continue reading

NEC Show Roundup – it’s all technical…

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This is really a follow-up to my previous post – Smart Alternators: how they affect Caravans and Motorhomes….

While at the NEC show one of my big tasks was to get a number of technical questions answered by the industry players. One of my first stops was to Westfalia and to meet up with Rick Sykes and his colleague on the Westfalia stand. Rick is the national training manager for Westfalia and I was able to get answers to a number of questions that you have asked me and I’d not been able to answer fully. Continue reading

Smart Alternators: how they affect Caravans and Motorhomes….

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I have been receiving a lot of emails over the last two or three months from people reporting issues around charging their leisure batteries after changing tow vehicles and a similar number from people who are having problems with performance of the installation of the electrical harness on their new vehicle tow bar.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time answering emails and thought I’d try to sum up what is happening. A lot of this is also going to apply to Motor Homes, especially if they have a new Euro 6 engine. Continue reading