Caravan and Awning Problems

July 25, 2020

At last!

Lockdown is lifted (well, almost), and we can head off back to a campsite.

Unfortunately, the campsite we wanted to visit didn’t have any facilities open. So, rather than take the new tents we’ve been wanting to try, we took our caravan.

The caravan is completely self-contained. We had washing up, toilet, and even a shower. So what could go wrong?

Heading to Wales

We headed off to Wales to Glanllyn campsite which is on the shores of Llyn Tegid (Lake Bala).

Glanllyn caravan park on the shore of Lake Bala in Wales
Lots of space at the Glanllyn Caravan Park at Bala in Wales.
Caravan and awning pitched at the campsite.
Caravan and Awning Pitched

This is a campsite we’ve visited before. It has a beach and a sheltered bay. An ideal place to test our new paddleboard 🙂

Sitting on a paddleboard on a still even on Lake Bala (Llyn Tegid).
The bay at Glanllyn caravan park can be really sheltered (if the wind is in the right direction).

The weather was fantastic, though a swarm of midges came in the evening.

Enjoying a glass of wine inside our caravan awning
Cheers midges! As the midges came, we were glad of the bug mesh on the awning.

Indoor Plumbing

The next day we planned to spend on the water. Paddling to the far shore and having a picnic.

We planned to spend most of the day on the water.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan.

While washing up the breakfast items I discovered the caravan’s carpet was wet. Investigating, I found the cupboard under the sink was full of water, and so were the drawers.

The waste water pipe had become disconnected from the sink. The sink was draining directly into the drawers and cupboards below it!!

Drawers from under the sink removed

Looking closer I could see why.

The waste pipe is about the same level as the top of the drawer, and angled so that anything in the drawer can easily push the pipe of its fixing.

The waste pipe under the caravan's sink
The waste pipe under the caravan’s sink. Not much clearance from the top of the drawer.

It is just a push fit but there’s no friction to hold it in place. So, duct tape to the rescue!

This temporary fix is holding and stopped the water leaking.

A lot of items in the drawers and cupboards had to be thrown out. Judging by how some things had rusted, this pipe must have been leaking a bit of water for some time.

We get the caravan serviced every year. I had hoped this sort of thing would have been checked, as they’ve picked up on a number of other items in the service.

Awning Failure

Before we could get out on the water, I discovered our Outwell Tide Awning had a puncture.

Outwell Tide Awning with a puncture
The end tube had deflated.

In all the years we’ve been testing air framed tents, we’ve never had a puncture.

A few pushes of the pump, and it re-inflated. However, when I came back to the caravan later, it was down again.

Fortunately, I had closed the isolation valves inside the awning, and so the remainder of the air tubes were still inflated.

Isolation valves inside the awning
Fortunately, I had closed the isolation valves so it wasn’t a complete collapse of the awning.

I’m going to have to remove the failed tube and locate the puncture. It may not be in the tube itself, but might be that the valve needs tightening.

At last, on the water

Finally, we did manage to get on the water!

Inflatable canoe and paddleboard on a small river at Lake Bala.
Paddling one of the small rivers that feed into the lake.

Followed by great weather in the evening. 🙂

Sitting outside the caravan awning in the sunshine.
See, you do get nice weather in Wales!

Unfortunately for me, the day’s issues weren’t over as the water stopped.

The pump was no longer pumping water, despite the AquaRoll being full.

This, of course, happened just as a swarm of midges arrived, and so I got bitten a lot while trying to fix it.

Eventually, the pump started working again.

Pump Issues

But when I went to fill the kettle in the morning, the water had stopped again.

Our caravan uses the submersible Whale pump, and these can fail after a while.

There are lots of possible causes, from the electrical contacts not making contact, to sticky impellers, to failed motors.

Inspecting the Whale pump electrical contacts with the caravan.
At first I thought it was a problem with the electrical connection to the whale pump.
The Whale High Flow submersible water pump.
Or a faulty submersible pump.

There are also other possible causes, such as microswitches on taps failing, or the pressure switch in the caravan.

In the end, I noticed that one of the on-ring washers was looking suspect. If there isn’t a good seal between the pump unit and the caravan, the pressure switch in the van won’t work and the pump won’t be turned on.

Searching the local town of Bala, I found the hardware stores closed but managed to get some o-rings from Travis Perkins. These weren’t an exact fit, but managed to seal it and get the pump working again.

O-ring failure on Whale Pump connector
It turned out to be a problem with the o-rings not making a good seal.

I now have some new correct size o-rings and some silicone grease to make a good seal. This should be an easy fix 🙂

Again, this was one of the things I would have expected the caravan service to pick up.

A good break

Despite these issues, it was still a great break at a great campsite with lots of fun on the water. Nice to be able to finally get away again.

Our dog on the front of the canoe.
Our dog discovered the joys of jumping from the canoe!

Be in the know!

Join thousands of other parents and receive our regular newsletter containing a round up of the latest articles, days out, campsites, and reviews for helping you get your family outside and active.

Powered by ConvertKit

Gav Grayston
Show full profile

Gav Grayston Contributor

Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Get Out With The Kids
Compare items
  • Total (0)