OK, so if you read about the bike rack install I guess you might have seen the video of me getting onto the tailgate of the VW Amarok…. akin to a whale wearing a tutu and trying to get on points. I needed something better… well my knees were telling me I better do something about it at least. In the USA, the land of the pickup or Australia the home of the Ute there were plenty of options. The downside was the Amarok has not been released in the USA and shipping charges from Australia are insane. I had to find something closer to home. Doing the usual google searches always ended up with products on sale in different continents so I ended up searching for images that contained the word ‘tailgate’, ‘step’ and ‘Amarok’ and after clicking on various pictures discovered Pegasus 4 x 4 in Bristol. (Note to all the companies out there… spending time correctly tagging and key wording all the photos on your websites pays off!) Continue reading
There has been a bit of a delay since Part 1 and Part 2 due to Sue having a fall and breaking her arm in three places. This required over three hours of surgery to install enough metalwork and screws to keep a blacksmith happy followed up by a lot of trips back and forth to the hospital. However, on with the install of the Sterling Power Wildside unit. I think that this will be the first ever install of a unit in a caravan. Continue reading
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
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
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.
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!
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
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
One of the little things that has been on my “must do something about that” list for a while is to address the problem we have with not enough places to plug things in and charge them. When we are in the caravan in the evening the front looks like a tech gadget table top sale… Macbook Pro, WiFi router/MiFi device, two iPhones, camera battery chargers, Fitbit charger and all these needed plugging in. The 4 way surge protected power strip I put there just wasn’t cutting it any more.