Tyre Pressures?

  • I get more requests for tyre pressures than almost anything else. Whilst I can have a pretty good guess most of the time, guessing is not the answer. Tyre pressures are critical to the safe performance of any vehicle. For this reason I always advise ringing Swift and getting the answer directly. Swift hold data going back to 1965.
  • Beware that tyre pressure information has not been quoted in Swift handbooks for many years. The information is given instead in the service booklet. (This is the one the dealer stamps when a caravan or motorhome is serviced.)


No Handbook?

  • Links to handbooks for Swift Group caravans and motorhomes made since 2000 can be found in the Support section of this website.

  • This website hosts handbooks from the various OEM's that have supplied Swift with equipment going back many years. Handbooks for water heaters, gas fires, cookers, fridghes, chassis etc. can be found here.

  • If you have a Swift van then why not join our Club and come rallying? We have many members of long standing  who will be happy to help you with any queries you may have.

  • There are also a couple of Haynes publications that may help. The first is The Caravan Handbook. It provides invaluable advice on all aspects of caravanning for both prospective and existing caravan owners. The second is called The Caravan Manual. Written in typical Haynes style it covers many  aspects of caravan servicing, maintenance and operation.  Both books are written by John Wickersham who has been a keen caravanner for 40 years and writes technical articles for the caravan press.


Car /Caravan Matching

  • The maximum laden weight (MTPLM) of the caravan should not exceed 85% of kerbweight of the car (100% for experienced caravanners).

  • The noseweight of the caravan should be 5-7% of the caravan's laden weight up to a maximum of around 100kg. Check with a block of wood and bathroom scales. Do not exceed the rating of the towbar or tow vehicle.

  • The caravan should tow level to slightly nose down, never nose up as this could giv erise to instability.

  • Consider spring assisters for cars with soft rear suspensions. Many caravan accessory shops stock them.

  • The unladen (MIRO) and maximum weights (MTPLM) of a caravan are normally stamped on a plate to be found on the nearside of the van - usually low down by the door or on the 'A' frame.

  • A good way to check out any given outfit is to use the Towsafe database. It costs £15.95 to register and this will allow you to check a maximum of 5 matches. If you don't want to pay this amount then you might like to know that the Towsafe service is also available through many caravan dealers. The Caravan Club also has an online matching serveice that is free to its members.


Buying Secondhand

  • Shop around and compare prices before you buy. The internet is a wonderful source of information for this. Please note that the Swift Owners Club does not carry information on used caravan prices.

  • Look for a full service history and set of documents e.g. a handbook.

  • Examine the inside vof the ery carefully for any signs of water ingress e.g. stains and soft patches - be meticulous around windows and structural joints e.g. roof/walls. Do not buy any van with a serious damp problem. It could cost more than the van is worth to fix it.

  • Look along the body for signs of any ripples as these could also indicate damp or even accident damage.

  • Check to see that all systems and appliances work properly. Don't forget to open and close the windows - if the rubber seals are perished the window may stick.

  • A spongy floor probably indicates delamination. It's fixable but at a price.

  •  Look for a club sticker in the window - it could well be a sign that the van has been owned by someone who cares about their caravanning.

  • 1992 and later vans carry a 17 digit registration code etched into the windows. It is known as the CRIS number (Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme). You can check out the ownership and age of the caravan by ringing CRIS direct on 0203 282 1000.

  • Pre 1992 caravans are often hard to date exactly. If you have any doubt, get the chassis number and ask the manufacturer if you can. Remember that caravan model years start in September of the previous year.

  • Take extra care with private sales - you may have lilttle comeback if something is amiss. If buying through eBay the caravan must be as described.


Obtaining spares

  • Start at the most obvious place - a caravan dealer for your marque of van. If you have a Swift van you can check out the whereabouts of your nearest dealer by logging onto Swift's website at www.swiftgroup.co.uk

  • Fitted equipment such as fires, fridges, toilets etc. is normally common to many makes of caravan so most caravan dealers will be able to supply spares.

  • For hard to get windows try Miriad Ltd tel.01283 586060 or the Exhaust Ejector Co. Ltd tel. 01274 679524.

  • 85% of th UK's caravans are built on AL-KO chassis. Spares are readily available from many caravan dealers. AL-KO took over B&B in 1982 so if you have a B&B chassis it may be worth giving AL-KO a ring on 01926 818500. The remainder are on BPW chassis. They have an office in Leicester - tel. 0116 281 6100

  • Other useful numbers for non - Alko chassis spares are Peak Trailers (01789 778041), BK Hill Trailers (0161 368 5682), Princethorpe Caravan Supplies (01926 633494).

  • The vast range and low turnover of items such as basins and shower trays often means that older types have to be specially made. This can be time consuming and expensive.

  • Caravan surplus equipment stockists can be good sources of otherwise hard to get items. Try Caravan Supplies & Surplus Goods (01482 323678) or Magnum Motorhomes (01472 353520)

  • For a complete list of specialist parts dealers and breakers see our special web page here


DIY

  • There are many jobs you can tackle yourself if you are DIY minded and maybe have a little guidance. Haynes publish an excellent book called The Caravan Manual Handbook' (see 'No Handbook' above), which details the procedures for many maintenance and improvement tasks. It is readily available from Caravan accessory shops, Halfords, and larger bookshops

  • Unless you have the relevant qualifications you should not service, modify or install gas or electrical equipment in your caravan.