Benjamin DaviesSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Editor's Blog’ written by Benjamin Davies
Our Gentleman Jack Bancroft is an irredeemable motorcaravaning enthusiast. His family have been camping, caravanning and motorcaravanning since 1928. Jack and his wife Flora are now on their tenth motorhome, a 2003 Auto-Sleeper Pollensa on a Ford Transit base. They have toured extensively at home and abroad, including a period of full-timing. Here, Jack answers your motorcaravanning queries:
Q: We are relatively new to motorcaravanning, having spent £70,000 last September on a new motorhome, and we have a couple of issues.
First is the issuing of keys for our motorhome. We had a Thatcham alarm fitted as an extra and when we picked the motorhome up we received one standard key for the cab doors and one fob-type key which you press to remotely unlock/lock the ’van and to arm/disarm the alarm.
We need two of these fobs, as you would receive with a new car, because the ‘put-directly-in- the-lock’ spare key is useless as it always sets off the alarm and there is no way of deactivating it. When I raised the issue with the dealer he wanted nothing to do with the matter, and said we shouldn’t have two keys.
We therefore took the motorhome to Iveco and paid £200 for a second key. We really feel that we shouldn’t have had to do this. I sent the invoice to the dealer who again said we had the correct number of keys.
After looking at the instruction book that came with the alarm, it would seem we should have been given a second fob that remotely deactivates the alarm, to attach to the original spare key. In other words, you deactivate the alarm remotely then put the key in the door. However, we never received this second fob. Is it standard practice to only issue one usable key?
As this is our first motorhome we just don’t know what to believe or what we should have received.
The other problem concerns the Truma Combi 6E boiler. We are very disappointed with this heating and hot-water system. We have to use a fan heater to get the motorhome warm, as the heating system takes too long. It also only provides us with one minute 45 seconds-worth of hot water before it goes freezing cold. We then have to wait 45 minutes for the water to heat up again. Are our expectations too high or should we be chasing this up with the dealer or manufacturer?
A: Concerning your first point, I’m pretty sure all UK motorhome manufacturers always specify two transmitter/responder keys. Some European manufacturers don’t. I’m not familiar with the current standard allocation of Iveco keys, though, but I’d be surprised if issuing only one usable key is normal practice. Contact your local Iveco dealer’s service department for a definitive answer, or write to the Iveco technical department. Remember that your motorhome will have been built on a chassis-cab or chassis-cowl version, not on a panel van and the key allocation may be different.
Regarding the alarm, if it is factory-fitted, Iveco will know how many fobs should have been issued. I suspect it is an after-fit alarm by either the dealer or the converter. If this is the case, then fob allocation depends on the make of alarm and whether the interface with the remote central locking is included. The latter enables the base vehicle’s electronic key to also operate the after-fit alarm. If the alarm was specified with the central locking system and was fitted by Iveco, then I would have expected it to work automatically with the number one key, and for a fob to be provided to use with the ‘put-directly-in-the lock’ spare key.
As for your concerns regarding the lack of hot water: I would advise you set the hot water thermostat to hot permanently because when the hot water mixes with cold water it will go further. The re-heating time can be improved by using both electric and gas operation.
If I may be impertinent, there is an accepted way of showering in a motorhome (because of water-capacity limitations) and perhaps you are not familiar with it. Wash yourself down first and then turn off the shower. Lather up, then rinse off. It is advisable not to leave the shower running while lathering. To this end we find a shower head with a trigger is best because you can leave the mixer tap set to the desired temperature and flow.
Another thing that might be worth checking is whether the correct rose is fitted to your motorhome’s shower head. In our own motorhome it is of the type usually fitted to ordinary electric showers. When I bought a replacement head it came with an unsuitable rose featuring much larger holes, which were really better suited for a power shower.
I’m surprised to hear you have experienced problems with the space-heating capabilities of your Truma Combi boiler, though: they usually get ’van interiors toasty warm. I suspect that there’s a fault with yours. Are all the blown-air outlets unobstructed and is the thermostat working properly? As yours is a new ’van, I would suggest returning it to the supplying dealer and asking them to check the system for you.