Caravanning, Caravans, Fleet Air Arm Muesum, Glastonbury, guy salmon, Guy Salmon Land Rover, One Hairy Caravanner, The Old Oaks, Touring, Towing, travel, Travel Trailer, Travel Trailers
Last year while in France we had problems with the Freelander. This was put down to the amount of bio-ethanol the French mix into their fuel and there are now lots of postings on various forums about this. Not only Landrover but BMW and other manufacturers have been affected as well. After returning to the UK and after the first tank full of fuel bought here, the injector rattle all but disappeared. However it was still there and over the next 4000 miles in the UK it got increasingly worse. I’d gone through the process of using injector cleaner without any improvement. I’d also checked the injector wiring harness (there is an issue with contamination on some vehicles) and a few other things so it was time to bite the bullet and book the Freelander in to our local Land Rover dealer for a full checkup. So two weeks ago it was booked into Guy Salmon Land Rover in Stockport.
The technician that was going to work on the Freelander came out for a quick spin round with me and after a mile or so, he was sure it was an injector issue, however he said plugging it in to the computer diagnostic unit and seeing what the readings were for various sensors while the engine was running would confirm this. While it was in the workshop they gave us a shiny new Freelander 2 for a few days. A couple of hours after dropping the Freelander off, I got a phone call from Service Reception. Two injectors – No. 1 and No. 3 were faulty and the fuel pump also had a low pressure output. The work needed doing, so there was little point in procrastinating about it. Two days later it was ready for us to collect. What a difference. It was like new again. The guys at Guy Salmon did an excellent job and because we were part of a loyalty program we got quite a reasonable discount off the final invoice. I know a lot of people have issues with main dealers and costs, but at the end of the day sticking with the main dealer for us is worth it. At least we knew the Freelander was in good health for the trip down to Glastonbury. Hopefully the next visit for the Freelander will be the service and MOT next year, however I’ll probably see them in December as Guy Salmon generously support the Rotary Club of Hazel Grove with the free use of a suitable 4 x 4 vehicle for towing Santa’s Sleigh for the Christmas collections.
Off to Glastonbury…
It was our 30th wedding anniversary on the 10th and as we had both enjoyed our stay at The Old Oaks a few weeks earlier and hadn’t managed to visit half the places we wanted to, we decided to go back for another visit. So on Sunday 8th we set off at around 10:00 heading south again. The trip down was fairly quiet with no delays. Birmingham was quiet and we sailed through. By 13:00 we had pulled into Michel Woods services for a coffee, ‘sammich’ and a leg stretch, as had a lot of other caravans and motorhomes, so it was quite busy. 25 minutes later we were back on our merry way and by 2:45 we were pulling into The Old Oaks. The trip down was exactly 215 miles and had taken 4 hours 40 minutes including our break. Thanks to the guys at Guy Salmon, the Freelander ran perfectly and on checking the fuel consumption (brim to brim) we averaged 31.2 MPG towing down at a steady 55 MPH. Not bad pulling a 1490 Kg MTPLM caravan.
We were checked in by the friendly staff and this time we would be pitched in The Top Oaks. As we arrived just behind another caravan who was going to be pitched next to us, we were shown in convoy to our pitch. The set up is by now a well rehearsed routine and it wasn’t long before we were plugged in and plumbed in with the Fiamma awning deployed.
Monday 9th September
The weather was warm and sunny and we decided to go into Glastonbury for a look round as it was probably going to be a bit quieter than the last time we were here during Glastonbury Festival. We found a car park just off the High Street and wandered down doing a bit of window shopping. As we passed the Church of St John The Baptist there was a chap sat outside having a go at playing a didgeridoo, which for Glastonbury somehow did not seem out of place. We stopped at Heaphy’s Cafe and sat outside for a coffee and a spot of brunch. The ham, cheese and cranberry panini and the ham, brie and cider apple chutney baguette were rather fine. While we were in Glastonbury we called in the local butchers and picked up two large pork steaks for tea and some crusty bread from “Burn’s the Bread”
While we were out, we took a run down to The Apple Tree Inn to book a table for the following evening. I’d asked via twitter for any recommendations for a nice restaurant in the area for our anniversary. Tara at The Old Oaks replied in an instant and recommended The Apple Tree Inn at West Pennard, about three miles from The Old Oaks. When we arrived it was closed, so we would have to telephone to make a reservation.
That evening “One Hairy Caravanner” spurred on by other caravanners and tenters BBQ’ing put on his apron of disguise and fired up the Cadac to the blast furnace setting (a moderate heat compared to his normal ‘surface of the sun setting’) and cooked the pork steaks accompanied with garlic & spiced potato slices… and of course a green leaf salad for Sue!
Tuesday 10th September – our 30th anniversary
The Fleet Air Arm Museum had been on the list of places to visit last time we were here (so had the West Somerset Railway and the East Somerset Railway amongst others but we never got round to it), so in the morning we fired up the Sat-Nav, put in the shortest route and set off. The route took us down the back country lanes and through some pretty villages. The museum is only about 30 minutes away and we arrived just after opening time. As the school year had now started the museum was fairly quiet. The car parking is free and the admission price was a reasonable £13.50 each and included the ‘carrier experience’ which was worth the admission price on its own!. There are four main halls with plenty of exhibits that chart the history of Navel aviation both rotary and fixed wing. One of the highlights is the ‘carrier experience’ which we thought was really well done. The other highlight for me was a walk through the first British built Concorde.
After we had finished wandering round, we went into the cafe for a quick ‘cuppa’ but resisted the temptation to have a snack as we would be heading off to The Apple Tree later. The Fleet Air Arm Museum is well worth a visit and allow at least three hours so you can get to see everything and don’t miss out on the “Carrier Experience”.
We retraced our route back to the camp site and sat out for a while talking to some of the other site campers. The Apple Tree Inn is only a short distance away and we arrived early for our 7:30 reservation. The Apple Tree Inn was formally called the Railway Inn but when the railways disappeared from West Pennard in the early 60’s it was renamed. It’s a traditional inn with stone flagged floors and smoke blackened fireplaces. It was taken over a couple of years ago by locally renowned chef Lee Evens and his wife Ally who have been extensively renovating the inn in keeping with its history. The menu was not huge, but there was a good selection of local and regional faire on offer. Sue opted for ‘Chew valley smoked salmon, sweet pickled cucumber and beetroot’ followed by ‘Harissa marinated chicken breast with lime mayonnaise’, while I went for the ‘Breaded confit lamb breast, elderberry, baby leaves’ followed by ‘Slow roast pork belly, parsnip puree, black pudding, apple sauce’. As we both like cheese afterwards we shared ‘A selection of 4 artisan cheeses, crackers, grapes and chutney’
The food was simple and expertly cooked and seasoned. Sue was delighted that the salad was dressed and not simply a collection of leaves presented on the side of her plate. For me, the slow roast pork belly rates as one of the best I have ever had. All the dishes were well presented and the service good. Including a nice bottle of wine, the whole evening came to a total of £58.40 which for a similar standard meal in Manchester we would be expecting to pay a lot more than this. So a top Caravan Chronicle five jockey wheel rating!
Wednesday 11th September
Wednesday was a relaxing day (mind you at The Old Oaks every day is a relaxing day!). The weather had started to turn a bit and the day was spent doing a few chores, catching up on some caravan magazine reading and answering a few emails. Also having a walk round the site, exploring some of the corners we missed last time. Mid afternoon arrived and as usual there were a couple of fine cakes on offer in the reception… so it just had to be done. Two slices were purchased for afternoon tea.
A few photos from our wanderings around the site….
Above: The butterfly walk
Above: Looking into the Lower Oaks
Above: Don’t worry, you don’t have to get your caravan up here, its the path leading out towards the Tor.
Thursday 12th September
Thursday’s forecast was to be for showers in the afternoon, so we opted to go back into Glastonbury for lunch and to pick up some supplies. We had lunch at The George & Pilgrims Hotel on the High Street which was good value and rather good for a pub lunch. As the pork we purchased a few days earlier from the butcher on the corner of High Street and Northload Street had been so good, we called in again to pick up some more meat and stopped off at the bakers to collect some fresh bread for ‘sammiches’ for the trip home on Friday. The rest of the afternoon was spent tidying the caravan and watching the skies darken with rain clouds…
Friday 13th September
Friday had arrived all too fast. Once again the relaxing effect of the The Old Oaks had beaten us and we had only done a few things that we wanted to do. There were still two steam railways to visit, Cheddar Gorge and a whole host of other places. There was some light drizzle as we packed up, but by 10:25 as we were leaving the sun was appearing and it was warm and humid. We followed the road back towards the M5 eventually joining it and turning north. As we approached Bristol, the rain had set in but crossing the M4 there were bright skies ahead again. We had a delay passing through Birmingham but once on the M6 the traffic flowed freely until the Sat-Nav started warning of delays ahead. Initially it was 9 minutes but as each miles passed it got longer and longer. As it passed the 38 minute delay point, the next time it offered us an alternative Sue hit the ‘accept’ button and at junction 16 we left the M6 and followed the A500 eventually picking up the A34 north through Congleton and towards Stockport. The return milage was 214 miles, exactly one mile less than the trip down. It took 4 hours 52 minutes, but this time we didn’t have a stop anywhere.
The only thing we have to do now is plan our next trip down there so we can try to finish a bit more of our list of things to see and do, but before that we are off to Blackpool for a few days to cycle the Illuminations and then down to Cheltenham for a few days for the Christmas Markets.
Epilogue…. when we arrived home we discovered our fridge freezer was humming its last hum but we managed to rescue most of the freezer contents which are now being looked after by our neighbours and friends Steve and Sue until the replacement arrives. Thanks guys. By the way, what was the date again?
Just spotted our van at TO10 in your picture, with my wagon up the side and our friend Annie’s Note in front.
We ate at the Appletree the evening after you, our final holiday evening. It was our third visit. We went there for our anniversary last September and then last April. It’s becoming an expensive but very nice habit I’m afraid, the food is excellent. I had the Cornish crab and leek lasagne, lovely. Funnily enough I happened to spot the new 2014 Good Food guide last week in a local bookshop and it gave the Appletree a glowing review.
Due to dog we’ve never been to the Fleet Air Arm Museum, although I have memories from a holiday when I was a lad, watching the Navy aerobatics team take off from Yeovilton for their display at Farnborough. If I recall correctly they were called ‘Fred’s Five’ – five superb Sea Vixens. A wonderful sight. Shortly followed by the preserved Swordfish bumbling about the area.
We did do the West Somerset Railway this time (our third trip on the line) but they wouldn’t facilitate me visiting Spud 1’s frames in the shed at Minehead. I get regular reports on the progress of the overhaul but it would’ve been good to see what’s not been sent all over the country for fettling.
We also visited Claverton House nr Bath (the USA Museum) with brilliant displays of artefacts, especially quilts for Mrs SDA. And we went to East Lambrook Manor Gardens, the epitome of a country cottage garden and now Grade 1 listed.
Still not been on the East Somerset after at least four years visiting TOO.
Sorry I don’t pick up your PM in time, but I very rarely log into forums (except Swift Talk) now.
I can feel another visit or two is required to The Old Oaks as there is so much we still want to visit. The only thing is when we get there all our good intentions seem to get left at the gate and we just end up putting our feet up for a couple of days instead. Still want to do the two railways, and the list is growing. We’ll get our annual cycling of Blackpool illuminations out of the way and the annual visit to a Christmas market – this time were ‘doing’ Cheltenham after last Christmas’ Lincoln squash! So maybe an early New Year trip beckons?
Thanks for all the comments about fuel etc.
I don’t wish this to become a general discussion about the subject, there are various automotive forums where this topic is being discussed.
Mark Cowley said:
Simon, every tried the 2stock oil as an additive. I use it in my Disco and it seems to help. Keeps the injectors clear. Our forum has pages on information . http://tinyurl.com/osoqo8z
Yes, I’ve been running with a 2 stroke oil for quite a while now and it does make a difference.
Neville James said:
I’m interested in your injector problem. Which fuel were you using here in France… was it the 95 or 98 octane rating? My tow car is diesel, but my motorcycle (1998 Honda VFR800) is fuel-injected. I generally run it on 98 but it should (and does) run equally well on the 95. I’d be very upset if I found that the injectors were being damaged.
It’s the 95 which can have up to 5% ethanol added, whereas the 98 does not.
There is also a separate pump at some stations, marked “superéthanol E85” which is only for specially adapted vehicles.
I run my ride-on mower on 95, along with various other petrol powered tools, but of course they’re just simple carburettor machines, no injectors.
Did your Landrover mechanic give any advice?
Neville James said:
I’ve done some further searching on this and found that it’s not as simple as I said!
There are TWO types of 95, one is the regular unleaded that’s been around for 20 years or more, and the other, 95 E10 which contains up to TEN percent ethanol.
There’s a list here (in French) of the Total products which may help your readers to avoid the higher content ethanol ones.
Thanks for posting that, that is very useful info. 🙂
For our next trip to France – which will be sometime in spring now, I have already decided to try and use one of the ‘premium’ diesels (BP Ultra or such like) just to be on the safe side.
Our Freelander is Diesel not petrol.
Not sure which brand as we filled up 5 or 6 times in Aires. One of the last tank fills we did was BP’s performance diesel and that did make some improvement, but not until we got back to the UK and filled up was there a marked difference. As our freelander is 06 vintage it has a BMW engine.
There was a very good article on one of the Land Rover forums and there have been a few problems mentioned on some of the BMW forums – for example; http://www.bmwland.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=80272
PS there is also some interesting reading here: http://www.worldfuels.com/wfExtract/exports/Content/13a7adba-987d-41c5-ad91-47b45a2f80a7.html
FWIW we spent a month in France this June with our Freelander 2 diesel and didn’t get any problems at all. Maybe just BMW engines that are affected ?
From what I have read, it seems to be more of an issue with the Bosch injectors… I have not read anything affecting the Freelander 2 engines on any of the LR forums. The LR handbook for our Freelander warns not to use Bio Diesel, and the handbook for BMW’s fitted with the same engine (BMW M47) which was used in the BMW 320d from 1998 to 2001 and the BMW 318d/td from 2001 to 2005 also advise not using Bio Diesel.
A number of people have suggested it might be down to the remap we had, but as this was for torque not power I don’t think it has any bearing. The engine in the BMW guise produced 161 BHP, as fitted in the Freelander it was 101 BHP (I think from memory), the remap we had only increased it to around 120 BHP.
Neville James said:
Diesel !! OK, I think this will probably produce enough response for a topic all on its own.
I am surprised that there is this belief that French diesel is causing the problem. I sound a bit defensive, but I’ve lived here for 9 years and always used supermarket fuel in my cars and never had a problem. But it’s not just me; a very high percentage of cars (and small vans) here are diesel-powered, the diesel fuel is cheaper than petrol, and the French have a habit of looking for the cheapest fuel.
I currently run a Renault Megane 1.6 eco tdi estate; not yet 12 months old. No problems so far (he says, touching wood). The previous car, also a Renault, did nearly 200,000kms without problem.
As far as I’m aware there is no bio-ethanol in diesel fuel, so it’s misleading to blame the problem on that.
France does have outlets with Biodiesel pumps, but the ones I’ve seen are labelled B30 and quite distinctly marked. Is it possible that your car was filled from one of these. B30 indicates a 30% mix of the bio-manufactured fuel (made from oil seed rape and waste cooking oil – sounds lovely!) and it’s not suitable for all engines.
I feel certain that with the number of diesel cars on the road here that this problem would have surfaced in epidemic proportions. The regulations regarding proportions of bio-additives is the same in UK as in France, and in both countries standard diesel may have up to 5% bio-additives.
I understand your point, but there are quite a lot of reports from people that have had problems with diesel in France. Anecdotally older diesels don’t seem to be affected nor some of the more recent Euro 5 engines.
It is possible that I did fill up with B30 accidentally as at the time I never knew about it, I cannot say for sure if I did or didn’t. I did check the receipts after the fact when we got back and I couldn’t find any that stated anything other than ‘Gasoil’ – I was starting to wonder if I’d filled up with petrol somewhere!
Here is an interesting one… http://www.bmwland.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=126971
I cannot categorically blame it on French diesel, but there are enough reports of others having issues that I remain suspicious.
Peter Baker said:
Very nice article.
Thanks for the ‘fuel de la francais’ warning. Scotland – here we come……
We have just returned from a week in Scotland and returning home in 38 mph winds and vis. down to 200 yards coming over Shap was ……. interesting to say the least.