KNAUS KONTAKT - Knausowners2016+December.pdf · KNAUS KONTAKT December 2015 A Newsletter for the...
KNAUS KONTAKT December 2015 A Newsletter for the Knaus Owners Club in the UK CHAIRMAN’S CHATTER Merry Christmas to all, What a good year for the Knaus Owners Club: four successful Motorhome show meets; meeting more members; even the weather behaved its self (mostly)! I would especially like to thank Andrea & Kevin, Jacquie & Bill, Jim and lastly Tony for the Lowdham’s meet. The marshals did a superb job in parking us in our places then informing us where the essentials are. Hopefully I can do just as good a job for the Lincoln show as Marshal, others have also volunteered, thanks for that. Peterborough was especially different for me as I ended up as your Chairman, then thanking Chris & Mike Bourne for all their work and for the lovely scones that Chris produced. We seem to spend a small fortune at the various stalls, I think we have everything now, but one never knows. Our travels have taken us from Spain for last winter to France in the spring, then we've just returned from the Escorted tour of South & North Island of New Zealand. Bill and Jacquie were absolutely right, it’s a great place, as these photos give some indication (see their article on page 7-8)! Now we are off to Spain again till Easter to keep out of the local winter here. Where ever you are this Christmas, have a good one, with a great New Year & good health to follow, looking forward to seeing Cont’d over
KNAUS KONTAKT - Knausowners2016+December.pdf · KNAUS KONTAKT December 2015 A Newsletter for the Knaus Owners Club in the UK ... Again there was live music provided by “Gitan Swing
Text of KNAUS KONTAKT - Knausowners2016+December.pdf · KNAUS KONTAKT December 2015 A Newsletter for the...
K N A U S K O N T A K T
A Newsletter for the Knaus Owners Club in the UK
C H A I R M A N ’ S C H A T T E R Merry Christmas to all, What a good year for the Knaus Owners Club: four successful Motorhome show meets; meeting more members; even the weather behaved its self (mostly)! I would especially like to thank Andrea & Kevin, Jacquie & Bill, Jim and lastly Tony for the Lowdham’s meet. The marshals did a superb job in parking us in our places then informing us where the essentials are. Hopefully I can do just as good a job for the Lincoln show as Marshal, others have also volunteered, thanks for that.
Peterborough was especially different for me as I ended up as your Chairman, then thanking Chris & Mike Bourne for all their work and for the lovely scones that Chris produced. We seem to spend a small fortune at the various stalls, I think we have everything now, but one never knows. Our travels have taken us from Spain for last winter to France in the spring, then we've just returned from the Escorted tour of South & North Island of
New Zealand. Bill and Jacquie were absolutely right, it’s a great place, as these photos give some indication (see their article on page 7-8)! Now we are off to Spain again till Easter to keep out of the local winter here. Where ever you are this Christmas, have a good one, with a great New Year & good health to follow, looking forward to seeing
you for the meeting at Peterborough for our AGM in April.
Clive & Margo
NEW PRODUCTION HALL FOR KNAUS TABBERT
Thanks to a booming European market, German motorhome manufacturer Knaus Tabbert has decided to build a new production hall with a multi-line facility at its Hungarian plant in Nagyoroszi.
The start of the work was commemorated on 11 December with a ground-breaking ceremony. Over the next two and a half years Knaus will invest a total of about €13.5 million in the construction of a new assembly hall that will provide a floor space of more than 10,000 square metres. Managing Director Werner Vaterl explained, "Due to capacity and space constraints we are today reaching our production limits at our three plants, and we can therefore fully satisfy the increased demand only with longer
delivery times. With this investment we will create the necessary framework conditions for the future that will allow us to better respond in the short term to demand fluctuations on the individual European markets." The newly available space will be used for a multi-line with a corresponding production supply area. In the future this will allow the manufacturer to produce caravans, motorhomes, and camper vans on one line – just as required. The extended capacities will make it possible to reduce the production time per vehicle from about 45 minutes today to less than 23 minutes, which means an increase of line output by more than 100%. The company plans to increase the production output of the plant in Hungary to 5,000 units per year. Werner added, "This investment is a necessary measure that lastingly ensures a well-prepared position of our company in the future. In this respect these construction measures in Hungary certainly will have a medium to long term effect also on our two other plants in Jandelsbrunn and Mottgers.” In 2015 Knaus Tabbert, which employs around 250 people at the plant, produced approximately 2,250 motorhomes and 2,430 caravans at the plant in Nagyoroszi.
With thanks to www.outandaboutlive.co.uk
The November Fest organized by Lowdhams of Gunthorpe was once again a huge success,
the effort put in by all connected to Lowdhams was exemplary from the minute you arrived to
leaving and nothing was too much trouble for them.
Upon arrival, there were 75 units to park up,
everyone was accommodated as best we could
and parked with their friends or groups, I
managed to have all Knaus members parked in
a line along the fence at the entrance. Everyone
received a goody bag which contained presi’s
from the manufacturers, tickets for the evening
BBQ and tea and coffee vouchers for the whole
The main event this year was on Friday evening,
the theme this year was “Wild West”, and it was held at the Lowdham Village hall. We had a
double-decker bus to ferry us to and from the hall all evening, they even arranged a disabled
mini bus for the wheelchair users.
The hall was just amazing! As they had only had
from 4-00pm that day to decorate and furnish the
hall it was an incredible sight as you entered,
please see the photos - you will capture the
During the festivities we were served a
scrumptious BBQ, there was a was a Hoe Down
Band/ Country and Western Group who
entertained us with singing and music as well as
filling the dance floor with line dancers. There was also instruction for beginners - great fun!
There was also a “Charity Bar” where all drinks
were £1 each, all the alcohol was supplied by
Dethleffs and Sunlight Motorhomes who also
provided all the Cowboy Hats for everyone. I
think it’s fair to say that quite a few took full
advantage at £1 a drink!!
The recipient of the proceeds was as always
“Macmillan Cancer Care” which is Lowdhams
Saturday evening was held in the showroom,
where a large area had been cleared, then filled with tables and chairs and decorated
accordingly. Again there was live music provided by “Gitan Swing Band”, a jazz based Quartet.
All evening the wine was flowing, once more provided by courtesy of the management,
together with canapés and hot sandwiches. It was another great evening with again all the
staff working tirelessly for our benefit. Cont’d over
LOWDHAMS NOVEMBERFEST 2015
Throughout the weekend staff were on hand in the showroom, shop etc to meet all needs and free tea, coffee and homemade cakes were in plentiful supply at “Millie's” coffee bar. To sum up, last year’s, their first, was a great success and enjoyed by all, but to follow it with this year’s incredible event was amazing! Congratulations go to all at Lowdhams and very many thanks go to you on behalf of the “Knaus Owners Club”.
LOWDHAMS NOVEMBERFEST 2015
DON'T DO WHAT I DID - OR “THE TALE OF REVERSE POLARITY”
Last year while camping near Abergavenny in my Knaus camper van I could small a rather nasty aroma a bit like rotten eggs. After moving pitch and lots of checks, it turned out to be coming from my leisure battery.
What had happened was that I had failed to check the fluid level at the beginning of the season: I thought it was a sealed unit! The level was very low, so low in fact, that the Calira charger was charging the battery at full rate but failing to reach a sufficiently high voltage in order to switch to “trickle charge”. Hence it kept charging at full charge and effectively boiled what little fluid there was in the battery and in the process ruined my battery. Although at the time I did not know this.
In the hope of retrieving the situation I removed the battery and topped it up with distilled water (just over a litre!) and refitted it in the back of the van. I say refitted it... “Well there was an almighty flash as I saw stars and blew the 30A fuse..... I had connected it the wrong way round..... Well it was dark in the back of the garage on the van and I could not see the top of the terminals..... well that's my excuse anyway and I'm sure I won't be the first or last to commit such a crime!
What follows is my checks and how I remedied the problem. Let me say at this point that I am a mechanical engineer, and not an electrical one!
On my return home, I took the battery to a local dealer who checked it out and confirmed that the battery was totally u/s. So I returned home with a new 85 AH battery and £75 lighter. I installed it (the right way round) and connected the van to the mains (240V). Trusting all was well!...... However, I noticed that the “battery link” light on the control panel was not illuminated. This should be ON to show that both the Leisure and Engine battery are linked together and both are receiving a charge when hooked up to mains (240V).
After several checks with a digital volt meter it was clear that the Calira charger which has two outputs (one to the Leisure battery and one to the Engine battery) was not working on the Leisure battery side. At this stage I was not sure if the Calira charger was at fault or if it was the relay on the “Control Board”. As the control Board may have been damaged and was not sending the correct signal to the Calira charger?
I phoned Lowdham's who said that I probably blew “a second” 2A fuse located near the engine battery. After several checks and emails, including Lowdhams who had to ask Knaus the
location of this 2A fuse, I was eventually informed that there was no such fuse! Apparently my schematic electrical diagram in my owners manual was incorrect!
When I explained all the checks I had done Lowdhams suggested that the Calira charger was “probably” faulty and if I checked inside I would find the fuse blown and see signs of damage.... I removed the Calira charger and examined the inside which looked perfect, no sign of overheating and the internal fuse was still ok!
I then called in a “Mobile Electrician” to check things out and advise me. After several checks similar to mine, he thought the Calira charger was at fault, but when I asked why it still was working ok on the Engine output side he was unable to answer!
You may have guessed by this time I did not want to take my van to a dealership and be charged the earth, (£700+ verbal quote) as I felt they would just change components until the problem was solved, thus ending up with a large bill.
So I wrote to MMM and asked for their advice, A week later I received an email from Clive Mott their electrical “guru”. I must admit he was straight to the point concerning yours truly, by calling me a “plonker”! After I recovered from this insult (he was probably right in this case) I read his lengthy email and he also came to the conclusion that I had damaged the charger.
I continued examining the system and eventually found one of the tracks on the adjacent control board burnt out. At this point I thought it best to contact Calira who design and build both units. Unfortunately there is no agent in the UK, so I enlisted the help of a German friend of mine who lives in Germany. Through him, we contacted Calira in Germany. Their technical department also confirmed that I had certainly damaged the charger and that there was no point in returning it for repair. However, they did suggest that I return the control board so that they could test it out and repair if necessary.
My next task was to remove all the electrical connections to both the Calira charger and control board. I can tell you this was the most worrying part of the whole operation, as there are about 30+ connections to remove, so I photographed the wiring layout as well as labelling everything up before I disconnected the wires. I then packaged up the control board and sent it to Calira.
Not having sent items abroad before I was concerned about delivery, import duty on the return, VAT, customs clearance, payment, etc etc.
Well I need not have worried.......I used Royal Mail ParcelForce, there was no import duty. There was no UK VAT (that was added locally to the bill) and no customs problem. However payment was a bit of a problem with Calira as they did not accept UK Credit or Debit cards. Fortunately my German colleague paid for the bill and I reimbursed him using good old “PayPal”!
About three weeks later I was in receipt of a new Calira charger and a repaired control board. Still not convinced that the charger was faulty, I re-fitted the old suspect charger and the repaired control board and guess what, “it still did not work”. I then fitted the new charger and hey presto it all worked!
DON'T DO WHAT I DID - OR “THE TALE OF REVERSE POLARITY”
DON'T DO WHAT I DID - OR “THE TALE OF REVERSE POLARITY”
The eventual cost came to..
Control Board repair and checks. £70
Calira Charger. £200
Postage and Packing £35
A couple of bottles of plonk for my friend £15
Total Cost £320
I'm not sure what the cost would have been if I had gone to a Motorhome repair agent, but I suspect that the cost would have been getting on for £1000 as both units needed attention.
I hope you find the above of interest. Should you be as foolish as me and have a similar problem, don't hesitate to go to the manufacturer in Germany, they were VERY helpful.
Ron Kench. Knaus Van Ti
Can anyone come up with better caption than these?
No, no Mike, it’s only a Motorhome! Bailey will fix it next year - possibly.
Is this the Knaus Owners answer to "Fiddler on the Roof"?
No prize I’m afraid, just the chance of recognition amongst your peers in the next issue. All
Thanks to Tony Poole for the picture and both captions here.
As many of you are aware, Jacquie and I spent January and February 2015 in the Southern Hemisphere, six weeks of which we spent in a motorhome in New Zealand.
In this article I shall not be dwelling on the places we visited but rather try to describe our experience regarding booking, collection, using and returning the motorhome.
For booking, we used the Camping and Caravanning Club’s Worldwide travel service. Our trip was individually customized, and included all flights, stopovers (3 nights Bangkok, 4 nights Perth, 3 nights Dubai), hotel in Christchurch and some excursions, plus of course, the motorhome. During the booking stage nothing was too much trouble and Jacquie Akehurst from the CC&C was very patient and thorough. Approximate cost £10000.
We booked and paid for our campsites as we travelled.
Leaving Manchester on the 6th January all went well and we spent 3 days enjoying the sights
of Bangkok before continuing to Christchurch via Sydney. We had (compulsory) to spend a night in the Commodore hotel near the airport (free shuttle) before picking up the motorhome next morning (again free shuttle). We had ordered an Apollo Euro Tourer, less than 12 months old. This camper is based on a Mercedes Sprinter, 2.5L diesel coming in at over 7m by 2m. I was there bright and early that morning as I was forewarned that it could take 2/3 hours if there are a number of pickups/returns to be made. My pick up took a little over 45mins. Despite pre-ordering the full works in terms of insurance etc. the hire companies always seem to have one other “extra” to offer. For us it was insurance for punctures, running out of fuel, or losing/locking keys in. Normally I would say no but it worked out at about 50p a day so I agreed. As you will hear later it was a wise decision.
Before leaving England we joined the Top Ten camping club, as they seemed to have many sites in good places around New Zealand. The cost was about £25 and as you receive 10% discount with your membership per stay we more than recouped that cost. There are rules similar to England for pitching, but as you can see from above the 6 meter rule is not one!
We had pre-booked sites for the first 5 nights as we thought it may be busy with it being school holidays. However, it was relatively quiet and, unless there was a special reason to do so, we made no further advance bookings, just turned up and always got a pitch.
We spent the first 2 nights in Christchurch to see the city and to get accustomed to the motorhome. Unfortunately we did have a problem with the water pump not operating correctly. We managed for the 2 days and we called in at the depot as we left for the west coast and they fitted a new pump as we waited.
I was a little apprehensive about driving such a long vehicle on the NZ roads both in terms of road width and traffic. I need not have fretted. The roads are in excellent condition and, even in remote places are wide enough for any vehicle. The amount of traffic in rural areas was minimal, with only the major cities being very busy. The roads through the hills do wind about but the NZ Highways authorities signpost virtually every corner with a recommended speed and I found these to be spot on.
MOTORHOMING IN NEW ZEALAND
The sites we visited were generally of a high standard with more than adequate facilities. Some toilet blocks were “interesting”. Some sites had super pitches with water and waste facilities on your pitch. There are swimming pools at some sites and even thermal baths.
Average nightly fee would be about £20.
In New Zealand and Australia campsites provide a kitchen and barbecues. The kitchens do have pots and pans, hobs, microwaves, ovens and washing up facilities. We made a lot of use of these whilst touring. The barbecues are free to use and are either gas or electric.
Getting fuel was generally not a problem, although on one occasion we were unable to use a road I had planned and had a long detour. I was getting a little concerned when the empty light came on in the middle of nowhere. However, we came across a petrol station within the next
20 km. Had we not done so, I had taken out the aforementioned insurance. I did need to use that policy a little later on in the tour when somehow or other, at 9.30 p.m. one night on a campsite on N. Island we managed to lock the keys inside the van. After a number of phone calls we managed to get a Mercedes engineer out through this policy. He had no magic solution and in the end, using a sophisticated air wedge, managed to force a gap in the sliding door sufficient to get a wire through and click open the lock.
The ferry from South Island to North Island we had pre-booked through the CCC and this went without a hitch.
When we returned the motorhome in Auckland I explained the initial problems I had with the water pump and was credited with one day’s hire charge.
We had a fabulous time in New Zealand and I would recommend this method of seeing the Islands. You only have to unpack once and, if the weather changes you can change your direction.
MOTORHOMING IN NEW ZEALAND
KNAUS OWNERS AGM
In 2016 we will hold our AGM at the National Motorhome Show in Peterborough between 15th - 17th April.
You can book for the Peterborough show at
www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/Shows - don’t forget to
claim your club discount when booking to camp
with the club! Bill Lowes can remind you of your
membership number if necessary as this will be
required when booking.
The Club website
Is where Kevin Hamblin would be happy if you could e-mail your experiences to him for others to share. There is also a Discussion Forum where you can post questions or put up subjects for discussion. Why not log on and see? Thank you.