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Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

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kyte

Posts : 11
Join date : 2015-06-13

Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by kyte on Thu 18 Jun 2015, 11:53 am

 I'm buying a dandy...still in negotiations, but determined to nab a dart, discovery or designer with awning. i have never towed anything, but just had a towbar fitted and I have lots of basic questions about both towing the Dandy, and refurbishing it a bit. I'd really appreciate it if you could answer any of my question, please Smile

1) How do I stop it being stolen while travelling with it? And once we're camped? Which security devices work with the Dandys?

2) Do I need a stabiliser? Does it help with towing? What does it actually do? What ones work with the Dandy hitches?

3) What can I use as a roof liner? I'd like to still be able to use the bars

4) Are there any patterns/ideas for privacy curtains? I want the permanent bed to be a 'bedroom' for the children where they can play etc

5) Does the cupboard at the end of the discovery single bed fold down? Does this mean the bed could become full length?

6) Any recommendations for recovering the seat/bed cushions? Patterns? If I'm a novice, is it better to get someone to do it for me? And any recommendations for that, please?

7) What size gas bottle do I need and where does it go?

8 ) REALLY basic question...Do I need some kind of tablets etc for the clean water bottle? How do I make sure it's clean and stays clean between trips? I once got poisoned from bad water in a chalet and never want to go through that again!

9) Can I get the instructions for putting up/down the Dandy anywhere? I don't want to have to depend on youtube when out in the sticks Wink

10) What should I have in my repair kit?

11) Anything else it would be helpful to know?


Sanjo

Posts : 23
Join date : 2015-06-18

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by Sanjo on Thu 18 Jun 2015, 1:31 pm

Hello Kyte, I'm new here too although a Dandy owner for the last 11 years or so, having bought a Dandy Designer in 2003/4
Can't answer all your questions, sorry
STOLEN - we have a hitchlock.  We also have to remove our towball as it is too low to the ground when travelling so that helps. Bit of a faff though.
You need the key for the hitchlock so it isn't easy for the towbar to be disconnected from the car

ROOFLINER - You can buy these from Riva Dandy but they are very expensive. How good at sewing are you?  If you decide to make one or even get somebody else to make it, you should make sure it is flameproof material rather than just plain cotton.

PRIVACY CURTAINS - these should be easy to make even if you are a novice. Measure from the edge of the tent to the centre, then measure from the top of the tent down to just past the bed edge.  Allow extra for seams, including a top hem for the curtain wire.  The official roofliner has a "tape" hook in the centre to allow you to thread the wire through to stop it drooping. Last time we camped I didn't bother with the liner so just hooked the curtain wire over the metal support bar. Didn't look as pretty but was functional. Do the same for the other side of the tent

FOLD DOWN CUPBOARD - Discovery is the same as the Designer but has the long seat. ~Ours doesn't so I can't help there I'm afraid.

COVERING FURNITURE - I think the old Dandys had squared off edges unlike the annoying roll top on ours.  They should be fairly easy to cover if you have basic skills. The choice of the material is fairly important a) because you need something easy to work with, b) because it has to be fireproof, c) do you want it functional or tailor made? You could take the old ones off and use as a pattern.

CAMPING GAS - Generally it's the Butane (blue bottle) CAMPING GAZ marked 2.75KG on the bottle (I've just checked one of ours and that's what it says anyway.  They store in the front locker.  I would change the gas hose even if it looks good (unless you are told it was just done that is)

CLEAN WATER - If you are buying a Dandy that has a water hose attached (via a  12v pump) it is likely to have been in place a while and can be fiddly to change.  Best thing to clean with is baby sterilising tablet for the initial clean up. Personally we just take a clean water container and de-cant from that.
You are likely to be filling up regularly so shouldn't need to keep putting tablets in. Over winter storage of the bottle though - make sure you sterilise before next summer's use just to be sure.

ERECTING THE DANDY -If you go on the Riva Dandy website (or there may even be some on here) you can download instructions, but also good to look at the Riva dandy youtube video to help. It's very good
PS. I've just had a look at the site and there are instructions apparently under the first section. Under WELCOME DANDY CAMPERS - last section

REPAIR KIT. - Tenacious tape comes highly recommended for PVC repairs. Guy ropes or bungy straps as tied downs, sterilising tablets, to be honest the list is endless.  Get your dandy first and see what comes with it.

Hope that all helps anyway.
I'm sure the regular members will pile in and give you better advice
Sandra
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Helen
Dandy Owner

Posts : 6826
Join date : 2011-06-12

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by Helen on Thu 18 Jun 2015, 2:26 pm

I don't think there's much more anyone could add Sandra, cracking first post Very Happy

The discovery sofa will turn into full length, the 'arm' triangle shaped cushions fill the space where the cupboard is.

A rivet gun and selection of rivets are always handy, oh and cable ties too.
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Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3175
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by Tow Itch on Thu 18 Jun 2015, 4:22 pm

I'd go with most of this.
Anti theft: While en route there are lockable towing hitches [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Indespension and others sell these too. When not attached to the car there is a cheap over hitch cover that is on sale each year at Aldi or Lidl. I think it's Aldi, they tend to be left over for months and the promotion has probably already happened this year. Perfectly capable but if you are very paranoid then you could replace the cheap discolk on it with a higher quality Abus Disclock.

 Bugger new laptop and can't host image Look on Google for Aldi hitch lock then select images. Yes your local caravanning or trailer centre will sell the same but it will be three or more times the price and no better. How far do you go? I've had chains that were worth 1/2 the cost of the motorcycle they were cut from. Then again I did live in Bradford at that time.

Roofliner...... Er it's soft furnishings. See Helen.
Privacy curtains. The cheap option is shower curtains from Aldi. Are you spoting a theme here? Also water resistant and doubles as privacy curtains for the loo or even shower curtains.

Gas? What cylinders come with the Dandy? The big questions are how late in the year do want to camp. I've camped all through winter as have many others. If you want to winter camp you need Propane not Butane (Red not Blue) Camping Gaz 907 is majorly butane (the small non refillable cylinders are mixed gasses) [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]  If by chance your Discovery has a Riviera under floor heater then we might be wanting a largish cylinder.  A 3.9Kg propane cylinder will fit into the gas locker but if winter camping is your goal a 6Kg cylinder or larger might be better for you. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Please do go read the technical appraisals on cylinder storage. We have links somewhere. Butane and propane bottles are different masses (weights [I'm being pedantic]) for the same size bottle dependent on whether they are propane or butane. We have done the energy calculations and from what I can remember the difference in calorific value for the same sized cylinders is 2/10ths of bugger all. Calor has an exchange programme where the smallest cylinders are exchangeable for anything else except the 6Kg propane/7Kg butane size. Try to beg, borrow or steal a cylinder to start off with. Buying a cylinder without an exchange is extortionate. Calor can be more expensive than Flo Gas or some others but can be easier to exchange it all depends on what deal you can do. If you will tend to go on an electric hook up then it may well not matter Mike was pretty frequent camper and his 6Kg propane lasted for over 6 years.
Probably should have bought a 3.0Kg bottle.

Clean water as stated above. Try initially just using a collapsible 1 or 2 gallon bottle or a 20 litre rigid bottle and see how you get on before firing up all of the pump system. I've never used my pump. No, no not even for beer (thanks for that comment from the cheap seats.) N.B. DO NOT BUY CHEAP ROLL UP OR COLLAPSEABLE WATER CONTAINERS FROM POUNDLAND OR SIMILAR. The taste of chemicals never leaves them.

Erecting the Dandy. Watch this repeatedly



Have a practice (or two) before you go.
Consult divorce lawyer before attempting the awning. It's not that bad but it's not far from. We will cover this after you master the Dandy.

Somehow missed out the bit about the stabiliser. Don't even think about one. Dandys are extremely easy to tow. They were devised to be towable by small light cars. Minis, Imps 2CVs and even Reliants. I wont say at what speeds I've towed at but I've never felt a twinge. They are just about long enough to reverse. Once you get into reversing you will realise that longer trailers are actually easier to reverse but a Discovery is light enough to manhandle onto site and similar. Unless everything suddenly becomes apparent to you I'd advise against reversing into your drive when you first get the Discovery home. The sudden change in angle of the trailer can come as a surprise at first.
The last models of Destiny and Dimension can get a bit "interesting" when towing but the use of a stabiliser on them is a whole different question.


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peridot
Dandy Admin

Posts : 545
Join date : 2012-09-01
Location : Newport

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by peridot on Thu 18 Jun 2015, 5:36 pm

Hi and welcome kyte Smile

For a hitch lock that you can use with the Dandy attached to the car, I'd recommend the Milenco -
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

I have the heavier duty version of this and it works well with the Dandy whether it's hitched or unhitched.

It's not a good idea to keep it on when towing in case you wanted to detach the trailer quickly in an emergency but it's quick to pop on and off in a car park.

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Helen
Dandy Owner

Posts : 6826
Join date : 2011-06-12

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by Helen on Thu 18 Jun 2015, 5:52 pm

Sew two single white sheets (available cheap at asda from the smart price range) thread over the bars and tuck down the end boards ...... if it's too wide gather rather than start cutting but remember to use some spray to make them fire resitant ...... available on ebay. Very Happy

navver

Posts : 995
Join date : 2013-01-03

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by navver on Thu 18 Jun 2015, 10:42 pm

You really don't need roof liners. We paid £135 for one for our designer and have never used it. Try it without and see how you get on. The roof is insulated and takes on a nice orangy glow from the light.

It also gets in the way of using the roof bars to suspend things. It reduces the head height. My wife says it's somewhere for the to spiders to hide.

The discovery kitchen cupboard just lifts off. It is a wooden box. It can also be put at the other end of the bench making it useful for putting the telly on.

I think the discovery has more storage room when on site. The bench is full length and the extra kitchen cupboard. You can use a free standing table if you want. The bench/settee is quite low so good for kids.

The designer only has the 2 small seats for storage but has a nice table. It does get in the way a bit when getting in and out of bed. The designer has an extra window over the fixed bed.

Practice erecting and folding at home several times before going away if you can. Then you won't need the instructions any more. Have a go then watch the video again. You will then see things you missed which will help.

kyte

Posts : 11
Join date : 2015-06-13

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by kyte on Sat 20 Jun 2015, 6:53 pm

Thank you so much everyone Smile

I was thinking about the roof liner because I was worried about condensation? Or is that not a problem?


Oh and I won [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] on ebay. I go to collect it next weekend. What do you think & is there anything to look out for?


Last edited by kyte on Sun 21 Jun 2015, 12:45 pm; edited 2 times in total
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peridot
Dandy Admin

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Location : Newport

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by peridot on Sat 20 Jun 2015, 11:02 pm

The insulated roof prevents any condensation so the roof liner is really only decorative. We only use ours when we have visitors and want the Dandy looking posh Cool

That Discovery looks good to me. The carpet has been changed at some point, probably just to freshen it up but have a good poke at the floor from underneath (especially in the corners) to make sure there's been no water damage.

Check tyre condition and age for safety before you tow it home. It's hard to tell from the photos but the unit looks a bit low to the ground. Check for good clearance between the top of the tyres and the wheel arches. It's not a big job to replace the suspension units if necessary, but you would want this reflected in the price.


kyte

Posts : 11
Join date : 2015-06-13

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by kyte on Sun 21 Jun 2015, 6:13 am

Thank you...what sort of height and clearance should I be looking for? What level would show there's a problem? And how much does it cost to get the suspension units replaced, please?

ETA:
The seller is going to measure the height from the ground to the bottom of the trailer and from the wheel to the wheel arch. He's mentioned that it's lower because of the underfloor heater.

Sanjo

Posts : 23
Join date : 2015-06-18

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by Sanjo on Sun 21 Jun 2015, 10:08 am

Crying or Very sad Aw, I couldn't see it as the seller has taken it off but I'm sure she'll be lovely and you'll have great fun in her. We didn't put the liner up for last months trip and we had no condensation (actually we had NONE anywhere, the sandy ground just wicked everything away) on the roof but for me it made the tent unfinished.
Personal choice.
It is a faff to put up and for this year we are just going away in short bursts so I agreed with the other half that it wasn't worth the effort.
Next trip is beginning of July when we take her back to Wigan for a service.
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peridot
Dandy Admin

Posts : 545
Join date : 2012-09-01
Location : Newport

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by peridot on Sun 21 Jun 2015, 10:09 am

I can't immediately recall the clearance figures, other members with similar units can probably advise. Post the figures when you get them from the seller. It may well be just the angle the photos have been taken from that makes it look a little low.

It's not related to the underfloor heater in any way but the older Dandys that had the heater do sit lower, as this was the 'standard' height at the time.

This can cause the camper to tow 'nose up' on modern cars, which will be worse if the suspension is sagging.

Some folk have modified the chassis to raise the camper, or used a drop plate on the car's tow-bar. When I had my Designer, I found that renewing the suspension units was sufficient to get the unit towing almost level.

Cost of the suspension units if needed should be around £230. Fitting is a fairly straightforward DIY job or a couple of hours labour if you have to pay someone.

Helen's thread here is a useful reference [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


navver

Posts : 995
Join date : 2013-01-03

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by navver on Sun 21 Jun 2015, 3:56 pm

Yes you can get condensation inside earlier in the season especially when it's misty outside. I've found the best way to prevent it, is to have some heat inside. Just a little heat stops it completely.

I don't think the roof liner will make much difference, to me it's just cosmetic. In a single skin canvas tent it would as it adds a layer of insulation. But in a dandy, it's adding a little insulation to a lot of insulation.

Condensation forms when the air temperature drops below the dew point temperature. Dew point is the point at which the air is holding as much water as it can.

kyte

Posts : 11
Join date : 2015-06-13

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by kyte on Sun 21 Jun 2015, 6:25 pm

Great news..so no need to fork out for one or sew sheets together. I might do a roof liner to make it look pretty at some point, but not yet.

I measured my towbar. The top of the towbar ball is 34cm off the ground, so it's quite low. Is that an ok height for the 1991 Discovery?

I'm going to visit Towsure and Indespension tomorrow. My dad keeps saying I'll need a stabiliser because the wind catches the trailer. Is this right? I know an earlier poster said it's not necessary, but I was in the car when the wind caught a caravan my dad was towing (with a stabiliser) and we almost flipped over...so I'm a bit worried about that kind of thing? Does anyone here use one?

My shopping list for tomorrow is:

- hitchlock
- breakaway cable

Is there anything else I'll need?

Also, how much extra is it likely it will cost my car insurance to insure the Discovery?


ETA:

Also,it has an electric water pump...probably a REALLY silly question, but can I use it without electricity? If not, how do I install a manual/foot pump? We mostly camp in places without EHU

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peridot
Dandy Admin

Posts : 545
Join date : 2012-09-01
Location : Newport

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by peridot on Sun 21 Jun 2015, 9:09 pm

That's a very low towball height so will actually suit the Discovery well.

I use a stabiliser, but it's on the very heavy and not very well designed (from a towing point of view) highsided Destiny. You absolutely do not need one on a Discovery, it will be of no benefit whatsoever. Towing one of these is nothing like towing a caravan.

I'm sure when you get your hands on the camper you'll find some bits and pieces you need, but no need to get anything in advance.

You should inform your insurance company that you have a towbar fitted and will be towing (although mine have always been disinterested and I've never heard of anyone having to pay more). If you want to insure the camper you'll need a separate policy. There are a number of specialist providers of caravan and camper insurance. Personally I don't feel their policies are worthwhile and don't bother, but other members may be able to offer recommendations.

The electric water pump works off a 12 volt battery. Check what the Dandy has in terms of battery / charger when you get it and we can advise you on the best way of getting up and running.


navver

Posts : 995
Join date : 2013-01-03

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by navver on Sun 21 Jun 2015, 10:06 pm

I second that on the stabiliser front. It would be a complete waste of money. The designer, delta and dart are all so small they simply cannot snake. The sides are so low, your car will blow over before the dandy does. The hardest thing about towing them is remembering it's there. Reversing is a bit more tricky than a caravan as they are so short but as you can see over the top that more than compensates. However, they are very easy to unhitch and just push. Our drive is quite steep and my wife and I push it up with ease. I can't do it on my own though.

My designer insurance is about £80 a year with caravanwise. You can probably get it cheaper but they are easy to deal with. They won't insure contents as they say it is too vulnerable. They do insure caravan contents though. They are good in that they only insist on a hitch lock or wheel clamp while not attached to the car. Some insurers insist on both.

Make sure you tell your car insurer you have a towbar as it is a mod to the car.
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Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3175
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by Tow Itch on Sun 21 Jun 2015, 11:50 pm

Definitely a waste of money buying a stabilizer.
If you want a nice long read as to why stability is not an issue read the two articles at the end of this link. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Basically though the Dandy caries it's mass close to the ground and the percentage of the trailers total length that is the hitch to wheel length is much higher than with a longer trail. These two factors add to stability.

You can see various heights and spaces noted for Dandies. The easiest thing to do to check is that you can get at least the flat of your hand between the tyre and the wheelarch. Look for any witness marks on the tyre or the underside of the wheelarch. If there are any marks has the wheelarch been deformed through someone standing on it, if not then the suspension is at fault.


For the water pump I'd just use a water container for the moment we'll talk you through the power options once you get comfortable with the Discovery.

kyte

Posts : 11
Join date : 2015-06-13

Re: Complete newbie - lots of basic questions, can you help?

Post by kyte on Fri 26 Jun 2015, 9:21 pm

Thank you so much!

The seller has measured and from ground to the bottom of the trailer it's 10 inches and there's 1 inch between the wheel and the wheel arch. Does that sound ok?

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