Re: But brexit got in the way and we bought an ex-stock Hymer (big mistake).

Neill King \(MH-List\)
 

Thank heavens my Hymer hasn’t been like that!  Most of my problems related to the Fiat part.

 

We talk to quite a few owners here and I can say buying motorhomes does seem to be a bit of a lottery – they are mostly made up of numerous bought-in parts cobbled together by the motorhome ‘manufacturer’ and the reliability of those can vary from year to year.  I too have had Dometic Fridge problems but quite different to Alan’s.

 

There should be a warning akin to the financial sector - ‘past reputation is no guide to the future’ !

 

Best regards

Neill
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On-line motorhome parts & accessory shop with added information

 

 

 

From: motorhome-list@groups.io [mailto:motorhome-list@groups.io] On Behalf Of Alan Morris
Sent: 25 September 2019 21:27
To: motorhome-list@groups.io
Subject: Re: [motorhome-list] But brexit got in the way and we bought an ex-stock Hymer (big mistake).

 

On Wed, 25 Sep 2019 at 10:18, Brent <brentiow.c@...> wrote:

> Hymer

My parents bought my first tent when I was about 10 years old.  I bought my first caravan in 1967 - a new Sprite Alpine for £315.  Many tents and caravans later in 1998, we started to plan for when I would retire in 2003.

As Land Rover enthusiasts we attended a few international LR rallies in 1998, to celebrate LR's 50th Anniversary.  At a week long rally In Germany, we saw many modified LRs converted for various levels of camping comfort.  We decided that we would get a motorhome and started looking.

At one UK MH show, I used my Philips pocket memo recorder to make notes about various MHs, new and s/hand that we saw and liked.  Back home my wife transcribed to paper.  We were both surprised that they were all Hymer.

We looked at many MHs at many places, but none ticked every box, so we decided to build on a commercial vehicle.  No UK company was prepared to quote for building a basic body for us.  Then in my LR I drove to a show at Bad Kissingen, Germany, where I saw many makers of a suitable vehicle and they were built on Land Rovers ideal!

<https://www.abenteuer-allrad.de/en/>

 

At the end of 2002, we ordered a LR Defender 130 dual cab hi-cap pickup.  Bought from a dealer in The Netherlands as we wanted a LHD, that was not possible in the UK.  I did some of the conversion and a company in Germany built the body, to our specification.

 

 

Unfortunately, in 2011 I developed a major eye problem, resulting in almost five years of inactivity.  As can be seen in the photo, the habitation door is high off the ground.  To lock up at night, I would lock the over-lock on the outside of the door and climb up into the cabin as the step was manual.  In the morning I would jump down to the ground.  (Unfortunately, I had rejected an electrically operated one, incase a flat battery resulted in the step remaining down!)

 

In those five years, we had both aged more than expected due to lack of any exercise.  So a few modifications, such an electric step, would be required.

 

In early 2016 we were deciding whether to keep the 14 year old motor, which was EU3, and spend much on updating or buy a new MH.  Brexit forced a quick decision and we bought an ex-stock Hymer EX-SIS T 578 Auto.  After taking delivery and back home, we started to discover disadvantages.

 

 Only one key fob and not the normal two was supplied.  An extra one would cost about £350, including programming it.

 

When I weighed it, the payload was very small.  The very thick instruction book advised travelling with an empty fresh water tank.  In the LR we always filled to full at every opportunity.  Like the LR MH, the Hymer has water level indicators in the fresh and grey tanks.  Sadly the Hymer's are useless.  We were able to know very accurately the changing levels in the LR.  I have had to buy a water flow meter for use in filling the Hymer.

 

During the first night, I discovered that the Thetford toilet would not flush.  In the morning I discovered that the water pump switch above the habitation door switched off the pump, as expected; but there was no bypass switch to keep the Thetford working, as we had on the previous MH.

 

In the morning the cabin was cold as we woke-up.  Previously, we could reach the simple rotary control switch while still in bed.  In the Hymer with the beds at the back one had to go to the front and over the habitation door to operate a complex digital control system.

 

We learnt that the insulation of the Hymer was very poor, when compared to the previous MH.  With it arriving back to a cold MH late evening in winter, the heater would only need to run for 5 to 10 minutes before the cabin became too hot.  The Hymer takes a very long time and needs to be kept running.

 

The Hymer fridge uses LPG at an alarming rate and together with the poor insulation, we need to refill both 11kg Gaslow cylinders after a couple of winter weekends.  In the LR, it could last for 18 months before needing a refill of it's 2 x 11kg Gaslows.

 

To have a shower in the LR MH,one could go into the wet room, undress and place ones clothes in a dry place.  Then pull the shower curtain around and have a shower.  Then reach through a gap and grab a towel off a hook and dry oneself etc. before leaving the wet room.

 

In the Hymer one has to undress in the middle of the cabin having relocated a rigid wall and placed it across the middle of the wet room.  Enter the shower area and close the wet room door.  After showering, one has to step out of the wet room, then relocate the wall to be able to remove ones towel from it's hook in the wet room.  Discussing this recently on a CMC site with another Hymer retired couple, they told me that they never use their shower, always using the campsite's.

 

In 2016 how many MH users don't use a mobile phone, tablet or laptop?  Hymer makes no provision for charging these devices.  There is only one 12 volt socket, fitted on the side of the kitchen worktop.  No USB socket.  So adaptors and a collection of cables have to dangle in the doorway while being charged.  The domestic battery compartment, accessed from outside, is below a passenger seat behind the table.  I would expect multiple 12 volt sockets and multiple USB sockets be to available for devices on the table.

 

As well as the driver's and navigator's swivel seats, there are two seat belted seats facing forward behind the table.  There is only leg room for one at this corner bench seat.  To make room for the fourth seat belted person's legs, one has to crawl under the table that is not removable.  Then remove the side facing 5th seat base and backrest.  Then remove the under seat cupboard top and also it's front panel, or sit with the left leg inside the cupboard with the right leg outside.  Using this cupboard to store anything is not practical as it's access is extremely difficult.

 

Clearly Hymer have used separate designers (teams or individuals) for the many parts of the MH, without any coming together before proceeding to manufacture.  No experience of use has been used in the design - but it looks great in a showroom!

 

The Hymer has a factory fitted (not Lowdhams installed) TV dish system.  After using it for a while, I checked the battery voltages in the display panel above the habitation door.  The pair of habitation batteries (I had Lowdhams install a second battery in the provided position) were almost fully charged, but the starter battery was low.  Why did the Hymer factory connect the TV system to the starter battery?

 

Fortunately, I had Lowdhams install a solar panel with a controller that diverted power to the starter battery when the habitation battery was full.  I would add that Lowdhams failed to locate this controller, as indicated in the manufacturer's documentation, close to the battery.  It was located in a roof locker close the the solar panel.  Thus the battery never gets a full charge due to voltage drop on the long cable between controller and battery.

 

While mentioning Lowdhams failures, they did not complete the Gaslow installation correctly.  They fitted the wrong SOG product, drilling a hole in the cassette emptying cap rather than over the pressure vent's bayonet non-drill correct place.  When I advised them, I was told that it was correct.  It took months before they accepted their mistake and corrected it.  Even then they failed to give us the required blanking cap, until we complained again.

 

Twice on habitation annual checks Lowdhams have messed about with the Hymer/Fiat built-in GPS/radio/rear camera system.  The first time the system crashed.  It's a Windows CE embedded system and as a PC expert, I was able to download from the maker's website the files required to get it working again.  The second time, it would appear that Lowdhams disconnected the starter battery (the cab floor cover had not been re-fitted correctly).  I had to reset all the options as there had been a factory cold reset.  Lowdhams denied this, but the evidence suggests that I was was correct.

 

The final problem is that being LR owners we are used to the advantages of a 4x4.  The Fiat is font wheel drive and not very good on less than perfect sites.  We have almost traction on a few campsites and on one we required the owner's tractor to pull us out.  We have therefore lost faith in driving on any ground that is not perfect!  Otherwise the Fiat is an excellent base cab and handles very well.

 

Alan.

 

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