We purchased our 2006 Autocruise Stardream in January 2015, and set off for a few days to try it out. We weren’t new to motorcaravanning, having had a campervan for a few years; we’d also owned a caravan in the past. That experience was about to prove very useful.
The weather was cold, and we noticed some condensation behind the seat cushions – in fact, to our dismay, we found that the area was very wet. The cause was, of course, the warm, damp air that was trapped in the foam-filled seat cushions and making contact with the cold walls of the motorhome.
How long would it be before this condensation created the ideal conditions for mould to grow on our sofa cushions? And how could we prevent this from happening, I wondered?
That's where our pre-motorhome experience came in handy. I remembered that in our old caravan – which had had a fixed bed – the manufacturers had actually included a ‘second skin’ panel, right behind the area where our pillows would be, presumably to prevent condensation forming when our warm bedding touched the cold wall.
So an idea came to me.
I measured the motorhome sofa backrest area, the full width, plus the height from the seat base to the top of the cushions, so I could make a sketch of the dimensions.
Then I went to my local DIY store. I purchased some 6mm-thick MDF, some 25mm square batten and some wood glue.
Back home, I got out my Workmate and saw and then cut the MDF into panels, to match the length of the cushion for each of the sofas. However I decided to keep the height about 75mm lower than the combined height of the seat and backrest cushion. After all, I didn't want the MDF panel to show, when I'd finished my condensation-prevention mission.
Along each panel I cut several circular 25mm holes at intervals. This was to allow as much air to circulate around the panel as possible. I cut the batten into strips slightly shorter than the height of the panel, and stuck these on the back of the panel, using wood glue, at intervals along the length of the panel. I made sure that I positioned the wooden battens in such a way that I created a gap at the bottom. This meant that I was allowing air to circulate between each section and ensuring that no one section was cut off.
The finished panels simply slip in behind the cushion and backrest on the seat framework, with the battens creating a gap between the motorhome wall and the panel. The holes in the new MDF panels allow air to circulate between the panels and the cushion. And, because the panels are shorter than the cushions in front of them, they can’t be seen during the day when the seats are in place.
We have been away on holiday in the Autocruise several times since, in all weather conditions and temperatures, and this simple DIY solution seems to have cured our nine-year-old motorhome's condensation problem.
If you're facing the same thing, we hope that this easy motorhome DIY fix will work for you. There's plenty more Practical Motorhome advice on keeping your motorhome running smoothly here.