Winter is coming!

Well, the weather certainly has taken a turn these last few days, if you have finished with your leisure vehicle now until next season make sure you properly winterise your vehicle to protect your self from costly maintenance bills next spring!

We will explain what you can do to winterise your leisure vehicle correctly.

Step one is the water system this is where bills can get really costly with the average top costing more than £100 and a combi boiler with frost damage is over £1000 hence this is where we need to be really thorough.


Turn the water pump off at the control panel. If you have an exterior submersible pump ensure that this is un-plugged.

Open the drain valve at the water heater.

For the Truma Ultrastore , Alde combi and Truma combi this is inside on the floor beside the heater. The yellow or red lever needs to be in the vertical position.

For any other water heater please refer to your owner’s manual.

If you have an internal cold water tank then there may also be a drain valve attached to this. If not, you will need to start your water pump until the internal tank is empty.

If you have an external water filter for instance the Truma Ultraflow remove the water filter and dispose of this you will want to replace at the start of the next season.

Any internal water filters will need protecting from the elements or will need removing from the water system also.

Open all taps. If you have a single lever mixer tap then open this midway between hot and cold this allows air into the system and forces water out via the drain tap if your toilet works from the water system press and hold the pump button for a few seconds to allow any trapped water to flow back to the drain valve.

If you have an underslung fresh and waste water tank open all external drain taps and leave in the open position, we have also had customers pour a small amount of antifreeze down sink wastes to protect waste pipes and this will in turn, make its way down to the waste water tank and protect that also.

Pull out the shower hose and disconnect the shower head. Leave the end of the shower hose in the shower tray. Blow air through the shower head and store in a safe place.

If your caravan is a little older and you have Whale Elegance taps then we advise that you unscrew the faucet, blow air through it and store in a safe place.

If you are leaving your submersible pump in the caravan over the winter then we recommend that you wrap it in a towel or similar material to prevent frost damage.

If you have an internal water pump then start this for a few seconds, by turning it on at the control panel, to remove water from the pump.

Leave the drain taps open.

An alternative and very effective way to drain the entire water system is using a Flo Drainage Kit. This uses a compressor or foot pump (not supplied) to force the water out of the system preventing issues with stagnant or freezing water in the outfit’s plumbing.

It can also cope with moving trapped water if some of the hoses sag. It is compatible with caravans, folding campers, motorhomes and static caravans and is very easy to use. Various adaptors are available to suit your particular installation.

We offer a flo winterisation service so we can guarantee all water is removed from your vehicle.

The Toilet –

Completely drain the water holding tank into the cassette via the black tube accessed via the toilet door and remove the cassette to empty and clean. Clean the cassette with Thetford Tank Cleaner and rinse out. Use Thetford Maintenance Spray to coat the cassette seal and blade.  Leave the cassette blade partially open during winter this will prevent the blade from sticking shut whilst in storage.


It is always good practice to thoroughly clean your caravan or motorhome prior to putting into storage for the winter.

To help preserve the exterior of your unit and ease the chore of cleaning it before your first spring outing you may wish to consider either a breathable cover or the use of a protective coating, such as Fenwicks Overwintering Fluid.

When choosing a cover, it’s important for it to be breathable, soft enough not to damage the caravan surface and tough enough for longevity. The alternative of a waxy protective coating has the advantage of low cost and if you leave it on all winter, it is relatively easy to wash off in spring because of the natural degradation of the coating. All caravan covers have a limited life, but some inferior products can last little more than one season. The main problem is ultra-violet light degradation. Consider the cover as sacrificial, it’s better the cover degrades than your GRP panels discolouring.

If you use your cover throughout the year and so expose it to summer sun, consider a lighter colour to help reduce heat build-up. Also expect its life expectancy to reduce. Generally, you get what you pay for here, from cheap imported products right up to premium, custom-made items not only are the custom made a much better fit the quality and workmanship is superior. Do ensure it’s the right size for your van with the doorway in the right location and provision for the protruding external fittings such as a roof aerial and gas flue. Another life-shortening aspect of caravan construction to covers is the sharp ends of aluminium awning rails and roof joint strips. The cover needs to be protected at such points with robust material to prevent premature wear. Before fitting a cover, it is essential that the surface of the unit is clean and dry, otherwise even with the softest of covers a surface layer of dirt and grit will damage your paintwork as the cover moves against the side of the unit.

Take particular care to ensure the windows are clean as the soft acrylic material scratches easily.

Ignore any advice to protect the windows with cling film before fitting the cover as this is not wise and may cause cracking to the windows.


Vacuum clean and wash down your caravan’s interior throughout. As well as getting everything clean, it’s a great way of checking you don’t leave anything untoward in a cupboard or seat base remember to check microwaves and freezers. Creating best possible air circulation is the key to keeping your interior damp free.

Cleaning the kitchen thoroughly should prevent any mould appearing here, although for the fridge it is also essential to leave the door ajar – there is usually a special catch provided for this purpose. Use products designed for caravan use, rather than normal domestic cleaning fluids, as these may cause damage to surfaces and seals in a caravan.

Cushions are best left standing upright away from the caravan walls after vacuuming. This helps aid air circulation and prevents mildew occurring, especially in units with solid ply bed bases (as opposed to slats).  A further measure to keep upholstery in top condition is to cover with a breathable material such as old cotton sheets to keep the dust off. Ideally if you have room, store cushions at home in the warm, which is also a deterrent against caravan theft.

Fixed beds are best left in the open position, this aids air circulation. Consider using a temporary support to remove the bed weight from gas struts.

For blinds with any kind of spring mechanism, it’s best to leave them open, otherwise the springs are gradually stretched over a period of time and subsequently fail to work efficiently. Consider making cardboard screens for each window or closing the curtains instead.

Leaving locker and wardrobe doors open optimises ventilation.

Make sure all rooflights and windows are fully closed.

Lightly coat hinges with thin oil or water dispersant such as WD-40 to protect against rust, taking care to avoid contact with door surfaces.

Purchase damp / moisture traps and place them front middle and rear of your caravan this will prevent mould buildup

Security and parking

Make sure your caravan is safely and securely parked.

  • fit any and all locks this includes hitch and wheel locks.
  • Arm any alarms or trackers you may have
  • Ensure all the corner steadies down.
  • Consider leaving the motor mover (if you have one) engaged to the wheels as a handbrake rather than the actual handbrake this will prevent the brake shoes sticking to the drum and result in costly running gear repairs.
  • Fit an A frame cover to protect your 13 pin or 7 pin plugs.
  • Turn off all master switches and system shutdown buttons this will prevent the battery from over discharging
  • Check on your caravan/motorhome every 2 – 3 weeks open rooflights and windows to circulate stagnant air this may be a good time to put the heating on for a few hours to get some heat back into your unit. When leaving the van ensure you return the unit back to its winterised state.

Following this guide and your manufacturers handbook should result in your leisure vehicle being ready to go when we get to next spring.

Of course, if you need any assistance in winterising your vehicle, we can help in any way we can.

Caravan and motorhome water filters

What types of Water filters are there ?

There are many different types of water filters fitted in caravan and motorhomes these days but the most common ones can be found in this guide.

There seems to be three types of water filter most commonly used these are :

  • External water filter
  • Strainer attached to the onboard pump
  • Inline to the kitchen tap cold feed

External water filter

Truma ultraflow

Most commonly found on Lunar and Coachman caravans the Truma Ultraflow water inlet integrates the water filter within its housing and is accessible via the blue cap within the housing itself.

To change the water filter turn the cap anti clockwise and remove the filter replace the filter with your new one before refitting the cap ensure its free from dirt so the cap creates a seal to the water filter.

This water filter should be replaced at the start of every season for the occasional caravanner and every 35 days of use for the regular caravanner.

Whale aquasmart

Most commonly used in Bailey caravans this water filter is an external filter which goes on the end of your pickup pipe which sits in the aquaroll simply unscrew the old one and screw on the new one it really couldn’t be easier. Whale recommends the filter is replaced every 3000 litres of water that passes through it or twice a season

Strainer to the onboard pump

Flojet water pump strainer

Most commonly found in swift caravans this filter can be found attached to the side of the flojet pump normally under the nearside front bunk or the offside front bunk, to change this filter you will need some kitchen roll handy as water dripping out of the pump is inevitable , you will see two blue clips one on the pump and one on the filter simply lift the blue clips and pull the filter out of the pump when refitting ensure the filter is correctly inserted into the pump before pushing the blue clip back down as this will ensure a water tight seal. There seem to be no advice on when this filter should be replaced but once a season at a minimum should be observed.

Whale AK1320 strainer

Most commonly found in Elddis and Bailey motorhomes these filters can be found attached to the side of the whale onboard water pump the removal and installation of these again will require some kitchen roll as water coming out of the pump when the filter is removed is inevitable. To remove the water filter remove the push fitting from filter inlet the remove the filter from the pump by pulling back the grey clip on the push fitting to install the new one simply push and click into place.

Advise to change at the start of every season


Most commonly used in autocruise motorhomes these are also found attached straight to the shurflo water pump and a fitted with an easy-to-use butterfly nut to unscrew and screw into place extremely easy to do and should be changed at the start of every season.



Most commonly used in Elddis caravans these filters can be found on the cold water feed to the kitchen tap possibly behind your cutlery draw, these filters are very easy to change push fit style simply pull the grey clip back and pull the push fit away from the filter do this both sides and the filter will be removed ensure you have some kitchen roll ready as water will drip out of the filter when removed. This filter should be replaced every 4500 litres or once a season.


Whatever filter you’ve got replacing them is a good maintenance item even if you do not drink the water the filters help clean your water systems clean this includes your taps and water heaters to which repair bills can be very expensive our advice is to change your water filters at least once a year regardless of whether you are drinking the water or not. We stock all water filters at all times.

Staying cool under pressure … choosing the right motorhome and caravan air con solution

Air conditioning has been a theme of June so far. With a spate of good weather, we have seen an increase in requirements for air con for caravans and motorhomes, and customers have all sorts of reasons for wanting to stay cool, from keeping pets comfortable to travelling abroad. But one thing remains constant – all of our customers go away cool and happy with their new air con. From little caravans, to extremely large motorhomes, and all in between, we have cooled them all

Our top picks for motorhome and caravan air con

Truma caravan air cons are compatible with almost all leisure vehicles whether with Truma heating or Alde heating we can join the aircon to your heating system control panel to ease the use and control of both systems from one familiar control panel. Truma also offers an unrivalled 5-year warranty on all their products when installed by a Truma installer like us.

The Truma air con comes in two types.

Roof mounted or storage box both vastly different units but with the same Truma cooling power.

Storage box type are notoriously more difficult to install due to the size of the unit and you do minimise any storage you do have.

The roof mounted aircons are a perfect solution as most of the time the old kitchen rooflight is removed and replaced with the aircon this way you don’t loose any storage and is a nice trendy addition to your leisure vehicles roof.

The roof mounted air con comes in three sizes.


With cooling power of 1700w this air con is lightweight and as the name states extremely compact which means it will fit on almost any roof even if you already have solar panels, satellite or WIFI solutions. This unit is perfect for single axle caravans up to 24ft in length, small motorhomes or van conversions.


The compact plus has a higher cooling power of 2200w but is still the same compact size which means it will fit in all the same places as the compact but will cool that bit more which makes it perfect for larger vehicles up to twin axles and larger motorhomes. This truly is a remarkable piece of kit!


The Aventa comfort really is a step up when comparing to the compact,  this unit comes with a cooling capacity of a massive 2400w meaning it is perfect for the largest of caravan or motorhomes you can throw at it but it doesn’t stop there ,  there is a built in heat pump which means this unit will also heat your leisure vehicle and when installed by us we will connect to your combi boiler meaning the combi and air con will work in conjunction to heat your vehicle or cool your vehicle as required.

The aventa comfort also comes with LED lighting on the internal diffuser so it is has a nice ambient lighting feel

If you have any queries regarding air cons for your caravan or motorhome, give us a call we will be happy to discuss and advise what we feel the best solution is for yours and your leisure vehicle’s needs. 01254 386284


How to replace Alko hitch pads

This procedure is the same for hitches with red or black handles.

The Alko hitch has two sets of hitch pads they are side to side pads and front to back pads

Those to its left and right grip the tow ball when the handle is pressed down, while those forward and to the rear do not move.

When hitching your caravan up next time be sure to check the indicator markers for both of these pads.

Checking front to back pads

When hitched up before clamping the stabiliser handle down take note of the indicator situated at the end of the black handle you should be able to see some green as shown in the picture below if you can’t see any green and its all red like the second image then the front to back pads have worn and require replacing.

Checking side to side pads

You’ve checked the front to back pads as advised above now you are ready to clamp down the stabiliser handle as you move the handle down you will start to feel some friction when you feel this friction this is when you see where your indicator arrow is if you feel friction within the green zone then your side to side pads are good however if the friction only starts when the arrow is in the red zone or you feel no friction at all your side to side pads are worn and need replacing

Now you’ve learnt how to check your hitch pads lets see how we change them.

Tools we will need for this repair:


Small flathead screwdriver

Small punch

Small hammer

14mm open-ended spanner

T30 Torx key

Fine emery cloth

Brake cleaner

Clean cloth

Replacing the pads

Ensure your hands are free from grease or oil that may contaminate the stabiliser pads before starting this project if you contaminate the hitch pads, they will be very noisy and not work effectively or efficiently

In most cases, the noise will be from the stabiliser, if dirt has contaminated the friction pads and caused them to ‘glaze’.

A temporary fix is to give the pads a quick clean in situ with fine emery paper or cloth if they are extremely noisy.

Let’s get started


To carry out this repair the caravan must not be hitched up, firstly remove the small red / black caps on either side of the hitch and use a small punch to tap out the friction pads from outside to inside.

Occasionally, a washer or shim comes out with a pad. These are necessary for correct adjustment, so make a note of which side they come from and put them back in the same place during reassembly.

Examine the pads, and if they appear at all shiny, rub them with fine emery paper or cloth until the glazed look has gone and they’re smooth. Give them a final clean with brake cleaner.

Once you’re satisfied with the pads’ condition or you’ve opted for new ones, replacement is the reverse of removal.

First, ensure your hands are free from grease or oil. Put the stem of each pad into the hole from within the hitch head.

Press firmly until they click into place – you may need to push hard with both thumbs. Replace the red/black caps.


To take out the front pad, start by pulling off the red/black dock from the front of the hitch.

Push up from the inside the button on the front and fit a 14mm spanner around it to prevent it from retracting this will help us to remove the front pad without the button fouling on the pad being removed or being re-installed.

Look at the front of the hitch, beneath where the red dock was, and you’ll see a Torx-head screw. Remove this with the T30 Torx key. The front friction pad will now come out easily. Clean or renew and fit it by reversing the previous steps ensuring the pad is correctly positioned before removing the 14mm spanner, ensure the pad is correctly fitted by pushing the button up a few times and the button should not foul on the pad at any point

The Torx-headed screw only needs to be nipped up (Al-Ko recommends a torque setting of 5Nm).

The rear pad, which is at the back of the hitch area, is also held by a Torx-head screw. To access the screw lift the black handle to create an angle for the screwdriver remove the screw and then the rear pad, which may need gentle assistance from a small flat-head screwdriver.

Clean or renew and reverse the steps ensuring the pad is correctly positioned.

Check your work

Hitch up your outfit, ensure that the stabiliser is correctly engaged, and double-check the wear indicators in case something is not refitted right.

If it all looks OK, unhitch and replace the red/black dock.

This may be the hardest part of the job – you’ll get one side attached as it pulls off the other.

The repair should take no longer than 15-30 minutes for people that are comfortable with DIY repairs and we deem it to be fairly easy.