Frequently Asked Questions: -
A1: There have been problems with earlier Boxers where the gearbox and/or battery can be damaged with rainwater ingress. There is a manufacturer’s modification to cure this and also a simple DIY option. See Ideas Sheet No.5.
A2: There are two main uses for batteries in a motorhome:
- Firstly there is the engine battery, which should be self evident under the bonnet. The engine battery is designed to take the heavy starting current required to start the engine, as well as the usual vehicle electrics lighting, indicators, radio etc.
- Secondly there is a battery for the 'domestic' side of
the motorhome, this has been called by two type names over the
- Leisure battery: This is specifically designed to give a lower amperage output for a longer time. Normally you should not attempt to start the engine, in an emergency, with this battery - however there is now on the market 'carbon' plate' batteries, which are advertised as being able to accept engine starting currents.
- Auxiliary battery: In the past an 'engine battery' has been used in some conversions where a leisure battery (which used to be larger than physical size than an engine battery) could not be fitted, and also used before leisure batteries became widely available. This can be used to jump start an engine in an emergency.
- Engine running: Both the 'domestic' and engine batteries are charged when the engine is running - through a split relay, controlled by the ignition. The split relay is there to isolate the 'domestic' battery when the engine is starting.
- Mains electric: Only the leisure, or auxiliary (domestic) batteries
are normally charged when the motorhome is connected to the
mains using the 'on-board' charger. You can fit a small electronic unit (sometimes known
as a 'battery mate' or 'battery master') - which will allow the 'engine' battery
to be trickle charged when the 'domestic' battery is topped
up. This can be useful when on site for sometime without
moving and using such equipment as the radio.
N.B. On some newer models there is now a switch so that the 'on-board' charger output can be switched between the engine & leisure batteries
- Solar panel: Some motorhomes have a solar panel fitted which enables the 'domestic' battery to be charged when not on mains. It can also trickle charge the 'engine' battery, if the 'battery mate' is fitted (see above).
- Battery chargers: When using separate a battery charger ensure you follow the advice of the battery manufacturer/charger.
- Maintenance: Always check that your battery levels are correct and the batteries are kept charged - especially over winter.
A3: The bodywork can be re-furbished using a very weak cutting paste designed for fibreglass. One such product is Farecla who offers a range of polishes to maintain the condition of the fibreglass. This is available through local motorhome showrooms or through the Auto Sleepers Service centre – see Service Centre on Technical Page.
A4: Farecla make a compound – see FAQ on GRP bodywork.
A5: Please see Ideas Sheet No. 46 on the Technical Page
A6: I regret that I cannot give guides to values for either buying or selling, there are too many variables. I would suggest that you buy a few specialist motorhome magazines from your local main newsagent and study what is on offer.
A7: A temporary solution can be achieved by flushing the system with Milton Sterilising Fluid. Thetford is testing a more permanent solution and at the end of 2003 will evaluate the results of the trial and a new fluid should be available in the New Year (2004).
Update May 2005: Thetford are now recommending using 2 or 3 times the strength of their concentrate to remove the algae. (See also Ideas Sheet No. 111)
A8: The tyre pressures for vehicles can be found on the label fitted to the door frame or by referring to the base vehicle manufacturers handbook. The Auto~Sleeper conversion or the manufacturer of the tyre does not affect the tyre pressure, it relates to the load and speed rating only.
Auto-Sleepers cannot make any recommendations about tyre specification or pressures because this information is the responsibility of the base vehicle manufacturer.
Update as a reply to the Questions & Answers at the 2007 National Rally - Open Forum:
A15a: Post meeting note (dated 22nd May 2007) :
- Tyre valves: I have contacted all four base vehicle suppliers who basically have said whatever type of valves are fitted as standard when supplied by them is what should be fitted.
- Tyre pressures: For tyre pressures then use the figure quoted by the base vehicle manufacture for the maximum fully laden weight. If using the vehicle below this weight have the vehicle weighed and then seek advice from the tyre manufacturer and request they confirm it in writing. If the vehicle loading is changed and hence overall weight changes then different tyre pressures will be required. Due to the different types, sizes, vehicle specification and the way base vehicle manufactures make change to these details without our knowledge, Auto sleepers is unable to provide direct information.
A15b: Further post meeting note (dated 1st June 2007) :
- Tyre pressures: X2/44 Chassis - Talisman/Executive/Nuevo/Nuevo ES (and other 3400kg rated Boxers) On the 'B' post of these models is a label advising tyre pressures of 79.5psi all round which, being within 0.5psi of the maximum recommended tyre pressure, results in a particularly harsh ride. If your vehicle is fitted with Michelin 215/70 R15 XC Camping tyres, and your maximum front axle weight is 1750 kgs, with a maximum rear axle weight of 1850 or 1900 kgs, (as shown on the metal plate under the bonnet) then the tyre manufacturer's recommended pressures are 55 PSI front and 60 PSI rear. However for long distance continental non-stop travelling the 'B' post figure is still recommended.
- X2/50 chassis: The X2/50 based vehicles do not run at the same high pressures so the harsh ride conditions should not apply. In view of this fact the figures on the Peugeot door shut pillar should be used.
Copy of the article in the September Newsletter:
For ease of reference I repeat the more recent advice from Auto-Sleepers:-
- Tyre valves:
- Ford have issued the following statement to clarify the situation
regarding tyre valves: “All derivatives of the new transit
use tyre valves with steel inserts and Ford recommends
fitting the steel insert valve whenever a tyre is replaced
during service life (for all Transits in service).” N.B.
These steel valves are covered with rubber.
- Notwithstanding Ford’s comments above - I have noticed that tyre valves on Ford alloy wheels are rubber! Auto-Sleepers have raised this observation for clarification with Ford on our behalf. I await their response. (Also see ‘general’ advice below for tyre pressures.)
- N.B. There are, to my knowledge, three types of tyre valves: - rubber ~60psi max; metal with rubber outer ~100psi max and steel clamped on rim ~200psi max.
- Ford have issued the following statement to clarify the situation regarding tyre valves: “All derivatives of the new transit use tyre valves with steel inserts and Ford recommends fitting the steel insert valve whenever a tyre is replaced during service life (for all Transits in service).” N.B. These steel valves are covered with rubber.
- Tyre pressures:
- General: “For tyre pressures use the figure quoted by the base vehicle manufacturer for the maximum fully laden weight. If using the vehicle below this weight have the vehicle weighed and then seek advice from the tyre manufacturer and request they confirm it in writing. If the vehicle loading is changed and hence overall weight changes then different tyre pressures will be required”.
- Peugeot X2/44 - Talisman/Executive/Nuevo/Nuevo ES (and other 3400kg rated Boxers): "On the 'B' post of these models is a label advising tyre pressures of 79.5psi all round which, being within 0.5psi of the maximum recommended tyre pressure, results in a particularly harsh ride. If your vehicle is fitted with Michelin 215/70 R15 XC Camping tyres, and your maximum front axle weight is 1750 kgs, with a maximum rear axle weight of 1850 or 1900 kgs, (as shown on the metal plate under the bonnet) then the tyre manufacturer's recommended pressures are 55 PSI front and 60 PSI rear. However for long distance continental non-stop travelling the 'B' post figure is still recommended”.
- New Peugeot X2/50: The X2/50 based vehicles do not run at the same high pressures so the harsh ride conditions should not apply. In view of this fact the figures on the Peugeot door shut pillar should be used”.
- Tyre warning: Extract from the instructions on my ‘power washer’:- “Vehicle tyres/tyre valves may be damaged and burst by the high-pressure jet. A first sign is discoloration of the tyre. Damaged vehicle tyres/tyre valves are hazardous. Always perform cleaning with a minimum distance of 30cm.”
A9: A 'green field' site refers to a rally site on a field or hard standing (i.e. school playground), that has the minimum of a drinking water supply and toilet emptying facilities. It may have limited toilet facilities, e.g. toilets may only be available during specific times (e.g. pub/cafe or sports facility), or no toilets at all.
A10: ACCEO is the Association of Camping and Caravanning Exempted Organisations. A Camping or Caravanning Organisation is a club, such as the ASOC, which holds an Exemption Certificate allowing us to organise rallies for up to five days (120 hours) duration, without the need to seek planning permission.
Individual members of ASOC can also become members of ACCEO for an annual subscription of £3.00, allowing members to benefit from a range of discounts such as ferry fares, insurance, accessories and some private site fees.
Our specially appointed member,
represents ASOC and attends the ACCEO Annual General Meeting.
Further information can be found by visiting www.acceo.org.uk or www.oakwood-village.co.uk or by contacting via e-mail ACCEO@oakwood-village.co.uk
A11: commercial vehicle is required to have an MOT if it is over 3.5 tonnes GVW - after one year. This is not, however, applicable to motorhomes. If in doubt contact DVLA direct.
A12: Guidance is available in the New Marshal page.
A13: High Pressure Direct Injection. An electrically generated fuel supply pump known as 'common rail' achieving a pressure of 1350 bars. This is due to a turbo compressor and cooling system which controls the intake of air.
A14: Although there are no markings on the headlights themselves the position for the adaptor is readily identifiable by referring to the adaptor manufacturer's instructions. For instance 'Eurolites' show the position for the 'round adaptor' on the dipped headlight lamp, by referring to the position of the lamp itself.
A15: It is important that the radio isolation switch, fitted to the Nuevo/Talisman & Executive vans, is always left in the "off" position when the radio is not being used, otherwise a very small drain may result from the vehicle battery to the detriment of starting the engine.
NB: Earlier Boxer vans, without the radio isolation switch, can suffer from the radio switching off after 20 minutes. Ideas Sheet No 63 (see Technical) offers an way of obviating this problem.
A16: Fuel economy depends on many factors including light/heavy right-footed, urban/long distance, etc. However some guidance can be obtained from the fuel information gathered from members on "fuel information" page at Technical.
A17: Details of 'Rita's Little Man' can be found on the Regalia page.
A18: All Ideas Sheets are only available to members and can be sent as e-mail attachments (PDF), or by post. Requests to the e-address or postal address on the back page of the Newsletter.
We can only comment on our own experience of taking our dog to France prior to 2011. There are different requirements depending on where you are travelling from to bring your pet into the UK. Full details on all aspects of the scheme can be found on the DEFRA website at www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/pet-owners/
In order to take your dog abroad the first step is to visit a vet in the UK to ensure that it has an approved microchip for identification injected, usually, into the back of its neck.
The next step is for the vet to administer the rabies injection. About four weeks after the injection the dog will need to have a blood test to ensure that the rabies vaccine has taken. Once you have gone through this procedure you will be given a passport for your animal, duly stamped by the vet, and you can then travel once 6 months has expired. Some countries require the rabies vaccination to be administered every two years, whereas some stipulate an annual jab. We always went for the annual vaccination, usually a fortnight after the normal booster jabs, so that we didn’t forget! It is important to remember that if you go even one day over the required period you have to go through the whole testing procedure again and are not able to travel until after a further 6 month period has expired.
Once you start travelling with your animal it is all quite easy. You must, of course, use an approved carrier and route (sea, air or train). We always used the Shuttle as our dog stayed with us in the motorhome, and we didn’t have to leave her alone. We didn’t think she would react very well to being left in the van on the car deck of a ferry with all the associated noises.
On the outward journey to France on the Shuttle the ticket has a reminder to visit the Pet Reception Area on the return trip. There is nothing else to worry about on the way out of the country.
Returning is a little more complicated. Your dog must been seen by a vet who will administer the necessary treatments. The vet also has to give the dog a general medical check to ensure that it is fit to travel. The passport will then be stamped to confirm the examination and treatment have taken place. You can then return to the UK after 24 hours have elapsed, and must return before 120 hours have elapsed, otherwise you have to go through the whole procedure again.
At the Pet Reception Area (we can only say what happens at the Shuttle) they will check the dog’s microchip and then check the passport to ensure the necessary treatments have been recorded. You are then free to drive to the check in for your vehicle and eventually travel home.
FAQ Courtesy of:- Andy & Angie Cavell
Additional guidance for other than the Tunnel:
Further advice from Others who have travelled by ferry report that there is not usually a Pet Reception Area, instead, the Check In booths will pass you a Chip Tester to record the dog’s number in your ‘van. The number is then checked against the Passport by the operator.
Do note that if you dog’s chip cannot be located (and they can move around the dog’s body) you will not be allowed through. It’s wise to have your home vet check the microchip on a regular basis, or you can buy your own Chip Tester. Having only two stamps instead of three is also a fatal error so always check the vet has done all three.
Finding a European vet (preferably speaking some English) is made easier with internet searching. Alternatively your campsite near Calais or chosen ferry port can usually advise on local vets. If you don’t want to spend the necessary 24 hours waiting at the departure port you will have to calculate where you will be 24 hours before you travel – but don’t cut it too fine as fishermen blockades and Tunnel fires can play havoc with your plans!
Alternatively, Pets Away as shown on the Defra site below will find you a suitable vet but charge around £30 for this service.
Additional information courtesy of: - Rob Corcoran
A20: Peugeot dealers provide a 'tear-shaped' piece of self adhesive obscure (special) plastic that sticks onto the headlamp:-
- Reference No. VAL 284 £10 +VAT. (Beware ordinary black tape may, irreparably, damage the plastic lens)
Updated January 2012:-
Headlamp protectors are now available which have a marking area for the deflecting 'tape'. Peugeot part number VAL315 cost £49.35 inc VAT at time of updating.
A21: Several chassis cab radios will switch off, after a short period, to prevent the radio draining down the battery. This pre-determined shut-off is designed for when the chassis is used in its primary role as a 'commercial' van.
However for careful Motorhome owners there may be an option:-
- Peugeot Boxer X244 (2002-2006): There are two solutions:- Use the switch installed by Auto Sleepers or modify the wiring as in Ideas Sheet No. 63.
- Peugeot Boxer X250 (2006- to date): Will switch off after 20 minutes: The radio is integrally wired into the Engine Management System and as such the problem cannot be overcome by either modifying the wiring or even by changing the radio.
- Mercedes: Will switch off after 1 hour: It has been confirmed that this is a permanent feature, unfortunately. No changes can be made to either the wiring or the software, and a replacement radio cannot be accommodated.
A22: Headlamp ‘protectors’ are available from mail order firm ‘Fourdrive’ for £49.95 (inc. VAT) plus £5.50 p&p. The normal price is £69.85 Contact is firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Devere on 01406 540099. Describe your requirement as – “for the Peugeot Boxer 2006 onwards”. The protectors also show where to fit the ‘continental deflectors’; and are, of course, a lot cheaper than replacement headlamps.
A23: It is not possible for the
Club to provide either valuation as there are too many variables and should we inadvertently get it wrong then we could be held accountable. Approximate valuation can be obtained by researching comparable motorhomes being sold through such magazines as MMM, Practical Motorhome and Which Motorhome. Making allowances, accordingly, for warranty, after sales service, private sales, mileage, accessories etc.
Update: Some independent valuations are now available - members only
Any members' enquiries please contact me at the addresses on the back page of the Newsletter.