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5 Must Know DIY Caravan Repairs

Have you ever been trapped in the bush, caught in virtual isolation? Stranded due to a caravanning mishap and not familiar how to fix the problem? We have put together this list of 5 of the most common and easily fixed Caravan repairs.

Before we begin, let’s take a moment to highlight that the only thing better than having spare parts and basic tools on board is knowing how to use them.
If any of these DIY fixes are too much for you, we suggest searching out someone more capable to assist.
As always, a good service regime and use of quality parts from trusted manufacturers is the best way to reduce the likely hood of being stranded in the outback as a result of component failure.

1. CARAVAN LIGHTS

Caravan-brake-lights

What You Will Need

  • Spare Fuses
  • Spare bulbs or light assembly
  • A multi-meter
  • A coil of spare wire
  • A pair of side cutters
  • A gas soldering iron
  • Solder

If your brake lights or indicators stop working in the middle of the outback with no one for hundreds of kilometers, it’s no big deal, but when your traveling in convoy it’s a major safety issue if they are not working. Either way, our recommendation is to fix them as soon as possible.

Thankfully, fixing tail lights is usually pretty straight forward.
Firstly, check then none of the connections have been shaken loose or clogged with dirt. This is where a multimeter comes in handy – it can tell you which part of the circuit the fault is in. If you are able to find the fault, a coil of spare wire, a gas soldering iron and a pair of side cutters comes in handy here.
Often, just pulling out the plug and having a look at it will allow you to remove any debris from your connection and fix the problem. Failing that, look at the other common culprits such as fuses and the bulbs. You should be carrying a few spares of each. Keep in mind, that if your fuse has blown, this could be a sign of an electrical issue somewhere else in the vehicle. Getting this checked out by a qualified automotive electrician should be on your priority list.

2. RATTLES

Caravan-jockey-wheel

What You Will Need

  • Bunjy Cords/ Tie downs

When you’re driving along a corrugated track there’s no chance of you missing it when something comes loose. The constant rattling will drive you nuts in no time, unless you fix it. This is where improvised tie-downs come in.

But first you need to find out what’s loose. A good bet is to check your jockey wheel – they’re notorious noisemakers. Some grease can quieten things down, but you may need to apply a bungie cord or even cable ties.

3. U-BOLTS

Caravan-U-bolt

What You Will Need

  • Spare Ubolt’s / Nuts To Suit
  • Socket Set
  • Welding Kit
  • Suitable Welding Rods

Another breakage that could potentially leave you stranded is the U-bolts that hold the caravan’s leaf springs to the axle. A couple of good quality spares are good to have along on long trips. If you don’t have any, you could always try welding the broken one as a temporary fix just to get you to where you can acquire one to replace it. Don’t rely on this for too long, though, because the heat of welding can leave the bolt brittle – get it replaced as soon as you can.

If you don’t have a welding kit with you, it’s possible to improvise one from a couple of batteries and some jump leads; then you just need a welding rod and you’re good to go. It’s also important to research the suitability of this welding method before you attempt it, to ensure your safety.

4. LEAKY AWNINGS

Caravan-awning

What You Will Need

  • Oily Rag
  • Duct Tape

A drip in your awning can really ruin your night. Luckily, it can be fixed easily enough yourself. If you only notice the problem when it starts raining – which is usually how it goes – fix an oily rag over the leak to keep you dry until morning. Dry canvas can be patched with duct tape on both the inside and out. Don’t forget to dry everything out and get a proper patch sewn on and sealed as soon as you get home.

5. PROTECT YOUR WATER TANKS

Caravan-water-tank

What You Will Need

  • Spare Tap
  • Spare Hose
  • Various Hose Joiners
  • Silicone
  • Stainless Steel Screws Of Various Sizes
  • A Gas Soldering Iron
  • Solder

Have a look under your van before you go. Are you doing any dirt roads? Are the pipes and tank protected? What parts are most at risk of stone damage?
A spare tap, some hose to match your van and a couple of joiners in your tool bag will usually be sufficient kit to get you back on the road after nay minor plumbing failures.

A pin hole in a tank can be fixed with a screw covered in silicone screwed into the hole.

You can buy special glues and fillers that can be mixed together and put over a larger hole to stop the leak. But you will need to drain it first.

 

This article is courtesy of Caravan World. Visit www.caravanworld.com.au/features/1612/top-tips-for-diy-van-repairs  for the full article.

MEET THE AUTHORPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

With more than 30 years’ journalistic experience, Peter’s brief predominantly centres on editorial reviews for Caravan World and CamperTrailer Australia magazines.

A relative late starter to the trials and tribulations of the RV industry, Peter has been making up for lost time caravanning and camping with his family around Victoria. Initially, Gippsland was the primary stamping ground free camping in idyllic bush settings such as Dargo and Licola, beside the Wonnangatta and Macalister rivers respectively. Other favourite haunts also became ensconced on the family camping itinerary – Jamieson in Victoria’s High Country, Whitfield in the King Valley, Princetown on the Great Ocean Road, and Bright in the Ovens Valley.

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