Have you considered potential fire risks when storing your motorhome?

Published in Motorhoming Top Tips on   - 7 Comments

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  1. Andrew says:

    I also agree with John’s comment. I wondered why my engine battery would drain down in about 4 weeks of non use. I measured the current flowing with everything switched off, and it was just over 100milliAmps. This would be going to the vehicles computers and probably the built in alarm / engine immobiliser system. I guess the manufacturers don’t think that customers would buy a vehicle and then not use it for weeks on end. So it would seem that you need to either disconnect the engine battery or leave it with some type of charging. There are basically two types of battery charger: one which charges all the time (in which case run it off a timer for say 30 minutes each day) and the other is a small electronic box which has a computerised system for diagnosing the sulphation of the plates and the state of charge of the battery. You can leave this second type of charger connected all the time and it just ‘pulses’ the battery and keeps it in pristine condition. It is obviously better than the first type but does need a constant 240v availability so is probably not practical if you store your vehicle in a compound somewhere.
    Personally I need two for the camper (engine and habitation), two for the motorbikes in the garage, one for the classic car I don’t use but just keep on the drive because it is better than giving money to the bank, one for the car I do use, and one for the van I need for my gas work. Where can I buy a big box full? ….. And I wish I could find an insurer that would insure all of them for a decent cost instead of having to buy half a dozen different policies.

  2. Andrew says:

    I bought a nine year old low mileage coachbuilt with a wedge of annual qualified service records (habitation as well as base vehicle) as thick as a thick book. When I tried to use the heater it would not run. As I am a qualified gas engineer I took it to bits to discover that the air intake under the floor was blocked with leaves and spiders webs which reduced the air inlet diameter so much it wouldn’t work. From what I saw when taking it apart, it was evident that the previous owner had paid £450 a year to have nothing done to the habitation area. It had never been dismantled and cleaned in its life. So much for professional annual certified habitation services. I have since covered the air intake with a stainless steel mesh which the manufacturer should have installed in the first place, but now at least it will prevent leaves and spiders getting in.
    One fault you may find with fridges running from a nominal 12v when driving is that they only have about 10 volts by the time the supply gets to the fridge. They take about 10 Amps to run properly. As there is usually a long run of wires from the ’12v ‘ supply to the fridge, via various terminal blocks and wiring centres there are usually also a number of wiring connectors along the route. Each one presents a small electrical resistance to the current. If a connector with a bit of resistance is trying to pass 10Amps it will get hot, and this might just start a fire. I like to chase all this wiring and cut out the crimp connectors they tend to use, and replace them with soldered joints and heat-shrunk sleeving over the joint. This does away with the small voltage drop at each joint. Doing this, I have frequently found that the resulting increase in available voltage at the fridge makes it work a lot better.

    • Lucie @ Caravan Guard says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I think your story proves just how important it is to have a professional check over things – it’s better to be safe than sorry. That’s a really useful tip to keeping the fridge powered too. I’m sure others here on the blog with make a note of that one.

      Keep your stories and tips coming!


  3. Dave says:

    Re Habitation service and fire damage.
    I would hope that every responsible motorhome owner has a professional annual, certificated habitation service.
    Maybe this should be a condition set by the motorhome insurance industry as a whole.
    A, possibly avoidable, motorhome fire can kill, or injure. It also poses a risk and inconvenience to other road users and usurps emergency service resources.
    Lets hope it’s not you. (or me)

  4. Allan Price says:

    Is there a regulation about distances between motorhomes when in storage
    as my motorhome is now in storage with a distance of 2 ft between motorhomes which makes it difficult to get in and out when we need to check
    i would have thought maybe a distance of 1 to 2 meters would be the norm

  5. Mr John Davis says:

    I agree with every thing you say apart from one item, mains power. My motorhome is stored on my daughters drive and is permanently connected to a mains supply via a time switch which comes on for half an hour a day to maintain the battery charge.(This is timed to come on when there will usually be someone at home). The van charger does one, a standard battery charger does the other. If I do not do this both batteries will be flat within a fortnight. I tried a solarpanel without success. I have mentioned this to my service people who say that this situation is typical. Disconnecting the batteries is not option as I have to keep the security devices running. In the depths of winter I usually install a dehumidifier as well. I comply with all you suggestions even down to changing the tyres every five years, although they had only done 12000 miles. On the subject of tyres I checked when they had been replaced and found that they did not match the pressures of the original equipment which was 5.5 (77psi)rear and 5.0 (70psi) front. These are Avon tyres specified for a motor home with a rating of I think 65PSI on the tyre wall. I took this up with the supplier who came back with an all round tyre pressure of 55psi. There is a sticker on the vehicle which states the 5.5 and 5 bar specification and the manual states the tyres should be to this pressure, there could have been a serious problem had I followed the manual with the potential for tyre failure a possibility. Are you aware of this anomaly?.

    • Lucie @ Caravan Guard says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for getting in touch. The advice we give here is made as a precaution, of course it’s always better to do what’s best for your particular make and model. Indeed, it’s always vital to double check tyre pressures not only listed in the manual but as advised by the dealer too. Even more so given your story.

      Thanks again

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