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Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

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Penguin

Posts : 9
Join date : 2013-10-11

Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Penguin on Fri 11 Oct 2013, 11:09 pm

Hi everyone

I have just joined the forum as I have been looking at various options for being able to take cheap(er) holidays over the next few years and having ruled out tents and campervans, I started looking at folding campers.  The Dandy appeals over and above the others, due to being able to pack away when wet and not worry about it Smile 

I want some advice really about what I should look for.  It will just be me and my son usually (he's 2), but I would like to be able to accommodate a friend (and their child(ren)) or my parents occasionally.  From what I've seen so far most seem to be 4+ berth anyway?

I feel the cold, so want to be as warm as possible - what options should I look out for to help with that? Are there any options that would come within my budget?!

Also, do you always have to be on a campsite - I presume you can't just pitch up in a layby? Thinking here of toilet options too, although having gone camping at 6 months pregnant and used a travel john, I am not that bothered Embarassed Sorry, too much information eh?  Just don't want you to think I am at all too delicate! Rolling Eyes 

Last question - are they all easy enough for me to put up on my own do you think?  I'm imagining the worst weather and wondering how long it actually takes.  Watched a youtube video and it took about 6 mins to put up, but there were two of them?

Budget is around £1500 (could go higher) and I am in Hampshire - in case you hear of any being sold in this area.  Most I have seen are quite a long way away from me.

Thanks for reading and looking forward to being part of the forum.
Cheers
P

navver

Posts : 995
Join date : 2013-01-03

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by navver on Sat 12 Oct 2013, 12:23 am

Hi Penguin and a very big welcome to the forum. I take it you are female with a 2 year old son so want it to be easy to erect and push around on site and in storage. Probably the smaller the better and gas strut beds will be a big help with single handed erection. I manage it on my own but I'm 6ft 4in tall. It does help to be tall; I'm not sure how tall or strong you are, but you may find it difficult. A 6 may be easier for someone shorter because you can step inside easier to raise the walls, but you will need gas struts on the walls and beds.

So you are looking for a 4, 4/5 or 5 in older ones or dart, delta or designer or discovery in newer ones. For 5 people a discovery or 5 is probably best in the smaller ones. The number is the number of people it will sleep.

The beds are doubles but they are only 3ft 10in wide and 3ft 8in wide in the rear entry dandies. In the 6 or destiny they are 4ft wide and there are 3 of them, sleeping 6.

If you want to accommodate parents or friend and children a 6 or destiny would be best but not so easy to erect if single handed. Sleeping them in an awning may be best but awnings are tricky to put up on your own. Possibly might be best to sleep some of them in a small tent. Perhaps you could have an awning for when you have guests, then they can help put it up.

To be warm you may want one which is winterised. This means the side walls are insulated PVC, the same as the roof. But all dandies are warm. 90s dandies, pale blue/white often have an underfloor heater. These are excellent to keep you warm but may be a problem with a 2 year old. Alternatively an electric fan heater, or convector will be fine if you are on electric hook up.

Personally I would always prefer to be on a campsite. I wouldn't feel safe in a layby and I don't think you are allowed to anyway in this country. Wilder parts of Scotland may be different.
For a toilet, we use the site facilities during the day but use a porta potti at night. We bring ours inside the dandy, there is room by the side of the door in our designer. This could go in the awning if you put one up; you can screen it with a shower curtain.

£1500 is a good budget, you should get a really good pale blue late 90s dandy for that, but probably not a high sided destiny. GrahamC has a very nice looking one for £1600 on this site here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in Cardiff so not too far away.

You may need to travel to get the right one. I went from Bristol to Wigan for ours, 180 miles each way.
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Caz1960

Posts : 1716
Join date : 2011-09-04
Age : 58
Location : Cardigan west wales

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Caz1960 on Sat 12 Oct 2013, 1:46 am

      

Hi ya welcome I agree with navver..... as from experience I can put up a six on my own ( now she has gas struts to the side walls ) I am 5'8" will admit it is because I have put her up and down so often now it's doable also the awning its a knack that I have learnt but that would be in fair weather allot quicker and easier with two people and I also have a five and that is easier but it does have to be said the more you erect them the easier it is.....
forgot to say that the main problem is moving a fully loaded folded trailer I can not move the 6 trailer by myself I can the 5

navver

Posts : 995
Join date : 2013-01-03

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by navver on Sat 12 Oct 2013, 8:11 pm

This thread give a lot of info on the differnet models.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Aslo this video

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Penguin

Posts : 9
Join date : 2013-10-11

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Penguin on Sat 12 Oct 2013, 9:43 pm

navver - thank you so much for all that information! I had completely forgotten about having to move the whole thing about myself, had only thought about setting it up! Embarassed I am only 5ft 2in (and yes female) and not the strongest so the smaller ones sound like my best bet. Just hope I can move them too!
Great idea about getting an awning for if and when others come with me.  I have been eyeing up Graham's Dandy, but felt it was too far away, however, if you are saying I will probably need to travel I would rather buy from someone on a forum like this as I feel sure that I am less likely to be ripped off! Will see how long it will take me to get there and back and give him a shout. Smile   I'll have a look at those links too. Thanks.

Caz - thank you too. Definitely will have to go for a 5 then.  

Trying not to get too excited, but  

Thanks again.  I'm sure I'll be back with more questions, but I shall try and search the threads first.
Penguin

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Guest

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Guest on Sat 12 Oct 2013, 9:46 pm

I see you been looking at my Discovery lol , Hampshire is not that far from South Wales around 120 miles if you need any more info on mine let me no send me a P.M if you are interested, i no its mine but she is a very nice one and needs nothing doing what so ever,

Penguin

Posts : 9
Join date : 2013-10-11

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Penguin on Sat 12 Oct 2013, 10:14 pm

Hi Graham
Have just posted on your thread! Smile

Penguin

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Guest

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Guest on Sat 12 Oct 2013, 10:23 pm

P M sent
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Helen
Dandy Owner

Posts : 6826
Join date : 2011-06-12

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Helen on Wed 16 Oct 2013, 8:44 am

Hi Penguin and welcome to the dandy campers ........ you'll find the right dandy for you   
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Phoenix
Dandy Expert

Posts : 1435
Join date : 2011-09-07
Location : South Norfolk.

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Phoenix on Thu 17 Oct 2013, 8:02 pm

Hi and  Penguin

Hope your search for your Dandy is going well. bounce 

The saying on here is the right Dandy will find you. Laughing

Penguin

Posts : 9
Join date : 2013-10-11

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Penguin on Tue 22 Oct 2013, 8:29 pm

Thanks Helen and Phoenix.

Well numpty here thought that all cars had a tow bar on already Embarassed  So I have to get that sorted. Been looking online, but just wondered where the best place to go is to get one fitted? Any local garage? etc I have a Ford Focus.

Thanks
P

Guest
Guest

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Guest on Tue 22 Oct 2013, 8:50 pm

Your local garage will be a lot cheaper than Fords , You will have to see what towbar you want a fixed one or a recoverable swan neck one , Fixed are cheaper,Lots of second hand ones on Ebay . Then there is if you want single or twin electrics. single just runs the rear lights etc, Or twin which you can charge the leisure battery and run a fridge when the car is running , Its not hard work to fit one on a Ford focus. You can get dedicated wiring kits that's a simple plug and play, What year is the Focus ?

navver

Posts : 995
Join date : 2013-01-03

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by navver on Tue 22 Oct 2013, 9:59 pm

There are specialist tow bar fitters. I go to D E Notton in Kingswood, Bristol. It's all they do so get a good price.
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Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3176
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Tow Itch on Wed 23 Oct 2013, 1:10 am

The newer the Focus is the more you may have to contend with advanced features. If it's a little older we have less features that require a vehicle specific kit. Reputable towbar fitters may well have vehicle specific kit. It is entirely possible the a main agent car dealership would not fit the towbar themselves but use a recognised specialist.
I would get an undertaking from any fitter that the vehicles electrics will be appraised first. It has come to subsequent problems and the tow bar fitters have stated that there are problems with the vehicle electrics, the supplying garage states that it is the towbar fitment and the customer is left as piggy in the middle. This may well be a rare problem but best to cover it first.

Q) Why have towbar electrics become more complicated we have had  7 pin (12N and 12S) or 13 pin wiring for years?  
A) It's not the trailer or caravan it's the car wiring and sensors.
First there was "Can Bus Wiring" then the "Electronic Stability Programme" ESP then the "Trailer Stability Programme" TSP.  

This thread covers most of the issues [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

It's a bit long. If's its all too much try this for a summary look at the video here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] then read the page that I stole scanned out of Car Mechanics. Or read the guide from eBay (shock horror a good guide from eBay) this guide explains more than Car Mechanics (Car Mechanics assumes some knowledge) and has an index of related guides on tow bars and tow bar electrics: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

So are your options and needs clear now?

Sir Henry

Posts : 71
Join date : 2013-04-23

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Sir Henry on Wed 23 Oct 2013, 10:22 am

Another minor point to take attention to could be the height of the ball/swan neck from the ground. On some earlier Dandies - particularly those fitted with 10" wheels - that the 'A' frame can be lifted too much causing the back of the trailer to be too low. This is so bad on mine that a previous owner has wiped the feet off the rear bed supports. For future use I've added a lowering plate to the tow ball fitting so that the ball is now 3" lower than standard. As it's just bolted on it can be removed if found necessary later.
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Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3176
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Tow Itch on Wed 23 Oct 2013, 1:27 pm

Sir Henry wrote:Another minor point to take attention to could be the height of the ball/swan neck from the ground. On some earlier Dandies - particularly those fitted with 10" wheels - that the 'A' frame can be lifted too much causing the back of the trailer to be too low. This is so bad on mine that a previous owner has wiped the feet off the rear bed supports. For future use I've added a lowering plate to the tow ball fitting so that the ball is now 3" lower than standard. As it's just bolted on it can be removed if found necessary later.
Towbar height did change on vehicles, I'm not exactly sure of the date. The later Riva Dandys have a slightly higher hitch when level to compensate.

Lowering plates can only legally be fitted to pre 1st August 1998 cars. From that date towbars have to be type approved [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Witter do a type approved lowering plate but the cost of it plus the cost of the Witter towbar is ££££££. It has to be a Witter towbar for the whole assembly to keep type approval. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Certain 4X4 vehicles and vans do not need type approved tow bars so can run lowering plates on post 01/08/1998 vehicles.


Last edited by Tow Itch on Wed 23 Oct 2013, 9:43 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Removed H's from Witter apparently they don't do inane chatter!)

Penguin

Posts : 9
Join date : 2013-10-11

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Penguin on Fri 25 Oct 2013, 11:28 pm

Hi all,

Oh gawd - there's a lot more to this than I thought and I have no clue about these things Sad 

Anyway, thank you for all the info. So now I'm not sure if I should choose a Dandy before I get the tow bar (fixed or swan neck), which of course I would need to get the Dandy home! Rolling Eyes 

It's a 2004 Focus.

Thanks so much people Smile

P


navver

Posts : 995
Join date : 2013-01-03

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by navver on Sat 26 Oct 2013, 3:14 pm

To be honest I think many people go to a tow bar fitter and have a towbar and electrics fitted with no problems especially with a simple car like a 2004 Focus. I certainly had no problems with my 2005 Mondeo.

It's a good point about the height of the tow ball and it's worth asking if there is an option to have it lower but if not accept the standard height. Looks like modern dandies are 40cm high and early ones 34cm high. Over 2 inches difference.
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Retro

Posts : 41
Join date : 2013-09-05

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Retro on Sun 27 Oct 2013, 8:45 pm

We tow an old orange Dandy with two modern cars, a saloon car and an SUV, and the back end doesn't drag on the floor. Towing with the Land Rover is no problem either.

I don't think the OP will have anything to worry about with a Focus.

BTW We have a Dandy 4 (the smallest one) without gas struts and my wife has put it up on her own in the past despite not having the build of an East German shot putter.

Sir Henry

Posts : 71
Join date : 2013-04-23

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Sir Henry on Sun 27 Oct 2013, 10:21 pm

Even though I'm disabled (age and osteo-arthrosis) I have no significant difficulties in erecting my late 70's/early 80's Dandy 5 on my own. It also doesn't have any gas struts. The only problem is the tail dragging a little when towed by my Rover 216 Cabrio, but that is fitted with a Swan-Neck towbar which is higher than most. The Estima tow ball is 1" higher, but the 3" lowering plate overcomes this nicely. Fortunately the Estima is a '95 so there's no problem with type approval.

Penguin

Posts : 9
Join date : 2013-10-11

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Penguin on Sun 27 Oct 2013, 10:37 pm

navver, Retro and Sir Henry - thanks for all your comments/advice. I will now do some research to find a local fitter and get my tow bar sorted.

Retro - good to hear that your wife can handle the Dandy 4 alone, whole point for me is so that I can take off with my son at weekends and really don't want a tent only option!! Smile

Thanks again all
Penguin x
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Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3176
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Tow Itch on Mon 28 Oct 2013, 1:28 am

Penguin

Sorry if the post looked a bit complex, as navver said a 2004 Ford Focus shouldn't be problematic. I was not aware of the age when posting and wanted to cover all bases. The idea is to inform though and not befuddle so if you have any particular questions do ask. I will rephrase or approach from a diifferent angle as many times as you want if you have a particular problem with an issue.

I'm a massive fan of Dandys but while I find it encouraging what Retro says about his wife, it is all about what you can do. I'm 6ft somewhat over 15 stone and I'd have to confess that I find the Dandy a bit of a heavy old lump at times. Most probably because I've had stomach surgery a few times I feel the lift of the front and rear walls can be a bit much at times. Look at the film of how to erect a Dandy just incase the person who you are thinking of buying from has no idea. This does happen! Then see how erecting suits you. Caz Numbers says she can erect her 6 on her own so do try to have a look at the larger ones. On any sort of slope the 6 would be too much for 1 person to move but campsites are not the most frosty of places so would you be that perplexed at needing to mug someone to help you move a Dandy?

The one thing I can be unreservedly positive about is when you say that you feel the cold. Any Dandy is warmer than a canvas tent or camper. I spent Christmas 2011 in my winterised Designer and most probably was warmer than I would have been at home. I used a 2Kw convector heater that was on a lowish thermostat setting and was perfectly comfortable in jeans T shirt and socks and I feel the cold desperately.
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Retro

Posts : 41
Join date : 2013-09-05

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Retro on Mon 28 Oct 2013, 1:56 pm

To be fair, I ought to add that although the (roughly) 8st Mrs T has put up and taken down the Dandy on her own, she is pretty fit and would rather do it with an assistant, if available. So would I.

I would imagine that the gas strut assisted versions are easier to handle if working solo.

I would also echo Tow Itch's concerns about a person on their own manoeuvring a Dandy on a slope or soft ground. It will need some weight behind it.

Guest
Guest

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Guest on Mon 28 Oct 2013, 2:14 pm

I have gas struts on my Discovery and its so simple to put up on your own the struts take the weight of lifting the beds up, i also have then on the Destiny as yet to try them out .

Penguin

Posts : 9
Join date : 2013-10-11

Re: Dandy-less newbie on the lookout for one

Post by Penguin on Mon 28 Oct 2013, 8:58 pm

Tow Itch - no problem, I am grateful for all the advice and help. I never do anything without researching it first, just a feel a little embarrassed that there was so much more to this than I imagined! However, it is all good and nothing has put me off yet! Smile 

I am not worried about asking for a bit of help, and my biggest concern is shifting the Dandy around as oppose to putting it up, but I am sure this is nothing I can't work out, even if I have to start doing a bit of weight lifting.....affraid  I will definitely go to a friends this week and see how if I can move his folding camper (not sure what make his is). I did watch the video about putting a Dandy up before I even posted on here thinking "I could do that", but did completely forget about shifting it about.

Graham - I am watching your progress on selling your Discovery Smile

P

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