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New Motorhomers with problems!


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Having been caravanners for many years we've taken the plunge and bought a Roller Team 2002 plate in August last year. Already we are having grief! The oil pump packed in on our first journeyafter drinking a tank full of diesel! The skylight has leaked constantly! We have returned it several times to the company which we bought it from and fair to say, they have replaced or carried out repairs. Whilst getting it ready for our Easter weekend trip we noticed two damp marks on either side of the overhead bed - the dealer said that they will completely re-seal all the windows, and there was yet more smell of oil from the engine. There is mildew spotting on the inner material (how do I get this off?). All this in what we thought was 'our dream', is turning into a costly nightmare. We have put all our savings into buying this motorhome. Our warranty doesn't have much longer to run. Is there anything we can do? :-(
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Join the club I have had problems with all my motorhomes, it seems to be the norm. Quality control has been passed to the consumer. I am afraid you just have to keep plugging away at the dealer to get the faults rectfied.If they are good dealers then you wont have a problem.
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I'm a bit confused by the reference to "oil".  I think you may be referring to diesel fuel?  However, to deal with the engine bits first, the best advice is to take the van to a service centre for whatever make the base vehicle is (presumably Fiat).  Take it to a Fiat (or whatever) approved service centre - not to a freelance; tell them about the previous problem, the repair, and the present smell and ask them to check the engine and fuel system for leaks and to put it on the computer and check the engine readouts for general signs of any trouble.  This may not be the cheapest option, but it should give the best chance of picking up any remaining, or latent, problems.  If they do come back with lots wrong, ideally get a written report of some kind, go back to the dealer who sold you the van and ask what they intend doing about it.  Do this before your warranty expires.  If they get difficult over further repairs, go to your local Trading Standards department and ask them if, in view of the problems you have, you can still reject the van as unfit for purpose, or what alternative remedy they can suggest.

Regarding water ingress, re-sealing the windows is reasonable, provided it is the windows that are the problem.  I assume your van is a Luton body version, so it would be worth also carrying out a very careful check of the seam seals between the roof and the side walls in the vicinity of the leak.  At 5 years old, I would suggest you get a full damp check carried out, possibly in conjunction with a full habitation service.  If you are uneasy about the dealer who supplied, get this carried out elsewhere, just to be sure the damp check is thorough and is not fudged in defence of possible warranty liability.  Again, do this before the warranty expires.

Regarding mildew, I assume you will be familiar with the normal proprietary products?  The black spotting is almost impossible to remove once present.  You'll need to look at the labels on the various products to check what they should not be used on, and then proceed accordingly, checking first on a bit that doesn't show just in case.

Anything affected by mildew should, if possible, be removed from the van and thoroughly dried.  Better, if possible, washed and dried.  Any internal lining affected could be washed down with a very dilute bleach solution, but check the 'van manual for cleaning instructions before you do this.  Many say use only plain water, so, if that is what they say, at least do that.

It sounds a bit as though the van may have sat unused over winter.  Ideally it should be taken out about once per month to ensure the tyres are exercised, the engine oil warmed and circulated and everything moved around and thoroughly ventilated.  Drive for about 15-20 miles.  Then, when parked, some permanent ventilation should be arranged, and either some dry heat maintained, possibly from an electric greenhouse heater, or a dehumidifier installed, to prevent the inevitable build up of humidity that will occur if the van is left fully closed.  It is this that causes the mildew.

Hope this helps.

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I used to work for a commercial vehicle main dealer, in Croydon, circa 1967.

The mechanics got paid 25% of what the garage collected for servicing. By Wednesday, you could be a few quid ahead of the game.


Then the foreman would hand you a pre-delivery check....worth about £3 to your wages, which effectively meant you lost your bonus for that week.


The general solution was to change the engine oil, check the wheel nuts, and sign it off. Bonus retained. If there were any problems, the customer would bring it back.


Anybody remember those days? You know, before foreign cars became popular? Does this practice still exist?



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Sorry to hear of your problems, I'm a bit concerned though.


Sealing the windows etc will not make up for any hidden damange that has been done to the structure of the motorhome timbers etc. It is imperative that you have a proper and thorough check made of all the areas where damp has penetrated the van and confirmation or otherwise that it is okay, depending on the outcome you may then need to go back to the dealership and have firm words with them as to their selling of the vehicle as I seriously doubt that they were unaware of the problem when they sold it to you.


Similarly with the engine problem, make sure it is professionally checked out to make sure it's nothing major, if it is, get it sorted under the warranty pronto as it could prove to be expensive for you otherwise.


Do not sit back and think that the dealership is being 'fair' by carrying out these repairs - they should be - that's the whole pont of the warranty. You are the one being inconvenience not them, they are not doing you a favour, they are getting their repair work paid for by the warranty company so it's no skin of their noses, it's actually giving them business.


Get in touch with Trading Standard tomorrow and find out exactly where you stand and go back to the dealership immediately, do not pussyfoot around otherwise you could find that when your warranty runs out the 'fair' dealership doesn't want to know you anymore unless you agree to pay them lots of money.


Sorry if the above sounds a bit over the top, but unfortunately many other people have been in similar situations and it is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the dealership is your friend, they are not, they may be nice people so don't take this the wrong way, but at the end of the day they are a business and there to make money.


Good luck and I sincerely hope that the problems are easily solvable.

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