If It Can Go Wrong It Will Go Wrong (and if it does’t I’ll make it).

We bought our first caravan in 1983 and after 31 years have just suffered our first caravan tyre puncture. A thorn, not a nail or a screw through the tread, but a thorn stuck in the side of the tyre, right in the middle where the fitter sucks in a long breath and says “can’t be repaired mate, not with a puncture just there, have to have a new one. Michelin? not a chance mate, I can possibly get one for you termorrer”

After being told for the eighth time (including by a Michelin owned dealer) that Michelins (the caravan factory fitted tyres) could not be bought off the shelf I settled for a Kumho, which are a good tyre (I’ve used them on my cars for the last 120,000 miles with no problems). They have the same tread pattern as the Michelin so I hope it will not affect the handling.

When you refit the wheel of a caravan, you torque the bolts to 130Nm and after you have travelled 30/50 miles they have to be re-torqued. We were travelling north to Cumbria to have both car and caravan serviced and around 50 miles after starting we stopped to carry out that task and discovered that the Kumho was running warm - not hot but significantly warmer than the other three tyres. On arrival at Bardsea I spoke to the engineer who was servicing the van and asked him to replace the Kumho with the spare, mounted in a totally inaccessible mounting under the caravan. When we returned to collect the van we discovered that the spare is NOT a Michelin its a crappy old bit of rubbish that presumably enabled manufacturer, Bailey Caravans, to make the van a few quid cheaper (or, more likely, their profit a few quid more).

Back in Essex we returned to the Kumho tyre supplier to ask their opinion as to why the Kumho ran hot on the way north as the “rubbish” had run sweet as a nut all the way back. They felt that the problem may possibly have been a slight bind on that brake drum (sorted during the service?) and that was why crappy tyre ran without problem, but that if we run the van up and down the motorway (to get it to operating temperature) they would be pleased to inspect as it was fully guaranteed - perhaps later or perhaps never.

We leave for Spain on 12th October and plan to return to UK at some point in April 2015 but the car is three years old on 31st March 2015 so, as we want to remain legal, we went to get an MOT today, six months early.


The headlights were apparently lighting up the sky, one of the rear number plate lights was not working, the caravan 13 pin coupling was not not working properly (according to their gizmo, which was later found to be operating incorrectly) and the rear springs were shot. Oh well never mind they will have everything sorted and an MOT issued tomorrow.

It’s tomorrow now and the car has been back to the garage and the new springs fitted. They were worse than the old ones so the old ones were put back and a supplier search started - every one quoted the springs that had already been tried and found wanting as being correct. Eventually using the “doing a job yourself” maxim I rang SsangYong and got some genuine parts ordered (at around a quarter of the cost of the pattern parts) that should be available Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

I decided that the Kumho tyre would go back into service and the crappy tyre would revert to the spare. I will monitor it carefully, if it still gets hot then I will panic first and then replace the crappy tyre with another Michelin and use the Kumho as the spare.

Oh sugar! - while putting the Kumho back on the caravan I managed to strip the thread from one of the bolt holes on the brake drum - how the heck did I manage that? That must be the cock-up of the year, all the bolts were started by hand and wound in several turns before using a wrench. I still can’t believe it. A mobile caravan engineer is visiting tomorrow to get details of the drum and reckons he can get and fit a replacement in two working days.

Its tomorrow again and the caravan engineer has been and gone having ordered the part and will return tomorrow to fit it. Interestingly he has said that he does not believe that I could have stripped the thread using my wrench, he reckons it was stripped by injudicious use of an air spanner.

How can anything else possibly go wrong? Well, just add a good dose of stupidity to the mix and it’s easy peasy, and it was utter stupidity that caused the next problem.

Stupidly disconnecting the Mede8er (our all singing and dancing media centre) from the computer without “un-mounting” the hard drive first, I managed to corrupt a file in it’s electronic brain and am now faced with, at best re-installing the operating system and at worst re-installing the 400 plus movies, 20 odd TV series (totalling hundreds of hours of television programmes) and an unbelievable number of music CD’s unfortunately as a computer engineer I don’t even make a good abacus operator.

I must remember to engage brain before operating fingers.

The bills are flooding in at an incredible rate but hopefully nothing will force a postponement of our start date because we can’t afford to stay here spending at the rate we are for much longer.

Last updated Sunday 21st June 2015                                                                                © S W Ghost 2015