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Elddis build change


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Derek Uzzell - 2012-08-21 9:03 AM


There seems to be an unshakeable belief among certain forum members that 'foreign' motorhome manufacturers (particularly German ones) not only construct motorhomes using state-of-the art methodology, but also that every motorhome they build is perfect.


Regarding water ingress, I refer you to the 2nd paragraph of JudgeMental's 27 April 2012 posting (and 'thomas''s later comment) on the following thread



You beat me to it Derek! :D

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nowtelse2do - 2012-08-21 8:41 PM


Can't think of anything better, British or foreign than the Autosleeper Monocoque shell. That was progress for the industry.




The main snag with building motorhomes using GRP monocoque-shell construction is that it's expensive, precluding the production of 'entry level' models.


There are manufacturers other than Auto-Sleepers that continue to use this build methodology, but none of their motorhomes are cheap.


(France) http://www.3ccartier.com/


(Germany) http://www.lastrada-mobile.de/?app=configurator&mod=categorie&category=1&itemid=10&menuid=3&languageid=2


(Italy) http://www.wingamm.com/

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A big slab sided box sat on a relatively flexible chassis is always going to present serious design challenges where roof and sides join One method uses very thick joints bonded with flexible adhesives that permit movement . It uses a lot of expensive adhesive but is the commonest and water ingress seems less frequent than a decadeor more ago.


Designing in flexibility is a well proven meathod, the Viking longships were striking examples.


The new Elldis sytem seems to strongly bond components to each other with little room for movement and I have concerns about stress concentration at sharp changes in section. Perhaps the latest base vehicles are more rigid and presumably protypes have been subjected to durability testing. Time will tell.


I believe most so called monocoque bodies are actually a number of mouldings bonded together with the same material they are made from which does make a very strong and water tight joint . They can still leak anywhere there is a hole such as a window where a different material such as a metal window frame has a different rate of thermal expansion stressing any sealant.

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The current (September 2012) Caravan Club Magazine has more information (page 78) on the new Elddis construction process. To quote:


"In essence, this method of manufacture is disarmingly simple. The sandwich walls, floors and roofs stay much as they were, with softwood perimeter framing, but instead of screwing and bolting them together, a groove is machined out in both halves of the joint, be it floor to wall or wall-to-roof, and the two parts are joined by gluing in a plywood tongue with a high-tech, two-part waterproof binding agent.


Elddis says the advantages include negligible increases in costs and production time, a huge increase in joint strength with evenly-distributed stresses, the elimination of water ingress and easy repairability. It should mean an end to black streaks down the bodywork too!


The new system has been in development for three years in conjunction with Henkel, an industry leader in 'bonding and sealing solutions', whose client list includes Aston Martin, McLaren and BMW. Not only has it allowed the number of metal fastenings to be reduced by over 90%, but the bonding process has been applied to fixing the floor to the chassis. Such is the increase in strength that many intermediate timbers have also become redundant allowing further reductions in weight.


There is no change in external appearance, but all 2013 model year motorhomes and caravans use the new construction, and there is an increase in the bodyshell integrity warranty to 10 years."


As George says, it may be impossible to produce a glass-fibre bodyshell for a motorhome in a single moulding. Besides the initial cost of monocoque construction (I note that A-S currently quotes £58K for an Executive) the technique lacks versatility where motorhomes are concerned. Dimensional bodywork changes are much more difficult to accommodate than with sandwich-panel construction and a significant alteration to the base-vehicle specification may require new moulds to be made. Unlike sandwich-panel construction where insulation and the interior 'wall' can be an integral part of the body panel, a GRP body will need those things added after the outer shell has been produced. It's notable perhaps that Esterel, a French manufacturer of luxury motorhomes historically using a monocoque GRP bodyshell, has now adopted a similar approach to that of Le Voyageur, employing an aluminium-alloy frame carrying body panels glued together with Sikaflex.

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Hi all - a bit off topic but I had an 08 registered Elddis Autoquest 120 - traveled all over Europe Summer and Winter (including Greece) and had no problems with the habitation at all - just a bit of rust on the wheels and discoloration of the aluminum door frame due to salt. Earlier this year I exchanged for the 2012 Euro 5 model and it is an absolute delight to drive with increased comfort levels and new habitation door system. Unfortunately Ive been unable to go abroad up to now this year because I'm receiving the dreaded hospital treatment but hope to go over once clear later this year. I have just received a brochure from Elddis giving me my 'Motor home habitational unit - Service plan schedule' for a 10 year period and an invite to the factory to see the SoLiD construction concept.


Of note is my 2012 model has 99% of what they offer for 2013 models and I see that they are no longer offering an Autoquest 120 (Rear Lounge) - guess mine will become a rare model!

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Retread24800 - 2012-08-24 10:37 AM


At the end of the day Eldiss have failed to remove the second source of body rot from their build ie the wood, The French may use the same adhesives but theirs is a sandwich with a far superior filling , just ally and closed cell foam :-)


Le Voyageur, and now Esterel, use a construction method involving an aluminium-alloy ("Duralinox") skeleton to which GRP-skinned body-panels are attached. It's a very expensive way to build a motorhome, so the vast majority of French coachbuilt motorcaravan manufacturers employ the usual screwed-and-glued wood-framed sandwich-panel construction with common-or-garden insulation. Essentially, the construction and materials of most French motorhomes are no different to that of similarly-priced UK-built ones. Only a few manufacturers (eg. Hymer) don't use wood in their body panels and use specialized insulation.


There's nothing horrific about wood-framed body-panels provided that the wood stays dry, and that's what Elddis's SoLiD construction is supposed to ensure.

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