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Old 23-01-2021, 10:23 AM   #1
horico
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Horico's 2016 Lunar Delta RI

Welcome to the latest diary which will be all about our 2016 Lunar Delta RI. First, we'll start with where we came from, our 2006 Bailey Ranger 500/5. We bought this in 2018 as a first caravan together - I had one years ago with an ex partner which was a Sterling Eccles 2 berth - a tiddler in comparison.

The Ranger is a very light van with a MTPLM of only 1271Kg



This meant I could tow it on my 'non' B+e licence using our Skoda Scout which we had purchased with towing in mind - the wife's previous car was a Golf R estate which wasn't type approved for a tow bar! Luckily we managed to return it early on the lease and bagged the scout at a bargain price at 6 months old as it was at a Toyota Dealer. Our Scout is the Golf GTD of the Skoda range so using the same VRS / GTD 184 bhp engine combined with the std 4wd and DSG it's a very civilised place to be, even when towing the Ranger. I made it slightly worse by adding the 19" Extreme alloys from the VRS but otherwise, it's spot on.



Here are some more pics of the Ranger after the pre sale clean.









What do you do when the van is on the drive? Have a few beers and a takeaway of course! it was like being on holiday for a few hours!





She came up well for a 14 year old van - needless to say the first couple to view agreed to buy!

Now, we had already been looking for a suitable replacement and had agreed a purchase before selling the Ranger. We didn't expect to get something so nice but the RI came up at a bargain price. We would have really really liked a Sterling Elite 650 which a friend has but budget had automatically limited us to a 560 single axle version. They too were holding value well and were at the top, if not out of our budget.

We had seen the practical caravan video of the 2016 RI which won van of the year and they were a twin axle like the 650 mentioned above and a similar midship washroom layout. The main difference with the Lunar is that the rear island bed is transverse, rather than inline. This means one door into the bedroom and more space in the bathroom. You can walk round the bed (well the wife can) and get to the other side which is also a bonus.

Here are some images from the seller.


















Now, one of the reasons for going for this particular van was the choice of upholstery. The standard coverings are a slightly washed out blue(?) and do nothing for the supposed luxury feel of the place - the purple on this one was much nicer in our opinion. Here's the std version for comparison:



In terms of spec, the RI has a MTPLM of 1710Kg which is still pretty light for a luxury twin axle. It's 7.89m long and 2.3m wide. It comes with the usual AL-KO stabiliser and wheel locks along with an alarm and tracker as standard. Also included is ALDE central heating which was a must have for our next van as we plan on keeping this for some time to come.

There's access to the under bed storage at the offside rear and a wet locker on he nearside front. One negative is that the access to the bog are on the offside too, although fortunately there's an indicator to tell you when the Thetford needs emptying. We find if you get used to doing it daily, it's never an issue.

In the wet locker is a tv and gas point and up front, plenty of space for 2 large gas bottles etc. There's 2 TV points in the lounge area and one in the bedroom. There'll be loads I've missed but these are the main bits of interest.

When we got the van, it did need a couple of things as it was used on a permanent pitch. It was moved there from a dealer approx 200m away and remained there for 2-3 years. I don't know the exact circumstances but the couple met on the site and so chose to sell one of the vans. I later discovered that the Lunar was financed close to asking price so I imagine it was to settle that.

It had been advertised previously but not sold which was surprising as it was very good value. I imagine the fact it was sited and clearly not serviced could have been the reason. With that in mind, when I went to view (which was a 3 hour drive away!) I asked the manager from the dealer that sold the van originally to come and inspect it for me. He had a good nosey round and located 20+% damp in the rear offside - caused by a gap in the awning rail. The rest of the van, bar a few minor marks and dents was in good nick. Luckily, the damp issue gave me some bargaining power.

If I remember correctly, it was for sale at £14k which was very cheap given others wire all around £17k, indeed, the prices have risen since Covid appeared. Armed with my inspection report, and assertion that book value for trade in was £13750 (the dealer said he would buy it at that if I didn't!) I bid a cheeky £13k which was accepted straight away! I wish I'd gone lower! I was quite pleased at that - a 4 year old van which was £26k new for half price.

More will follow.

Last edited by horico; 23-01-2021 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 23-01-2021, 10:48 AM   #2
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Now, moving on to getting the van home.....

As mentioned above, I didn't yet have the B+E entitlement on my licence to tow the Lunar, even though I had got the new tow vehicle covered which I've out up a thread for in the project section - a VW Transporter. Queue my mate and his Touareg:



The Toe-rag is a mighty tow car and pulled the van like it wasn't even there - they really are a good choice for a twin axle, the twin axle itself proving a far calmer tow than a single. We got the van into a temporary storage spot very kindly allowed by our storage compound as we still had our Ranger awaiting collection. Unfortunately, said collection was depending on me passing the tow test 2 days before we had booked to go away in the Lunar! Luckily, I managed to get through.

In terms of getting the new van ready, there were a few things that we wanted to do:

A new door catch:


Some dents will get sorted with a new door:


I didn't realise on first inspection but the glass cooker hood was missing - there was tell-tale glass in the corner!


New bedroom TV Mount:


For the new TV!


Quick release 5m gas hose for the obligatory Cadac


Toolkit, awning carpet (for the second hand air awning) and awning pump


Brink diagonal towbar fitted to the 'porter


Not my image, but shows how the Brink attaches - I needed one like this instead of one that attaches from the bottom as this would interfere with the rear valance.


A vertical entry towbar for comparison.


A few other odds n sods were purchased for the van but the only real major expense was the addition of a motor mover. It didn't have one on and there's no way I was going to risk having to manually move the van like I would with the Ranger - even though it too had a mover. We weren't exactly flush with cash so we got the best mover we could but on only one axle. We got a Quattro auto mover and a new, bigger, leisure battery as the old one wasn't man enough for the job. All in it was £1334. We will add a second mover to the other axle, maybe this year but it did us ok last year, if a little bit of a struggle at times.
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Old 23-01-2021, 11:02 AM   #3
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I almost forgot the other major expense - the awning! Our Ranger has a decent awning but this was a traditional poled item and definitely required two to set up, and argue about. Here it is on the Ranger:



We wanted an air awning this time so the hunt began. I quickly realise that my champagne taste wasn't compatible with my lemonade money so started hunting for a second hand bargain. I'd got my eye on the Kampa Frontier 400 which is one of, if not the, largest awnings to be available - indeed they've been discontinued for 2020 I believe. They only attach to the top rail so you require a 4m horizontal stretch to attach it to (they do a 3m version too). When up, it extends past the front and rear of the van and gets to 8m long in total.





It's a nice space once up and with the addition of some home made LED lights, perfect at night too. One thing we've had issues with though, is the electric pump. At the time, Kampa pumps were sold out everywhere but I needed a pump fast. I went with a lesser known brand from the dealer and it's been terrible, taking multiple attempts to pump the awning up to the required pressure while cutting off and blowing fuses in the 'porter. I've agreed an exchange with a Kapa unit when the dealer is open after lockdown again.
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Old 23-01-2021, 11:17 AM   #4
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Welcome to the Caravan section horico and that is some set up you have there.
Twin axles are great but we are restricted due to there being no space at the storage facility we use and the others available are either stupidly awkward to get in and out of or want the best part of £600 up front and have rules that would make an RSM say "kin hell, they are strict"

That air awning is massive and creates no end of space. We have a Vango connect, so we can add compartments at either end and if we start taking the grand kids away, then we might have to add one to it.
I use the hand pump for ours, doesn't take much effort or long to inflate and so far no major issues, the biggest one is how long it took me to realise what the poles in the awning bag are for

Yep, the tow rag is my tow car of choice if i could have whatever i wanted but you have a great set up there fella
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Old 23-01-2021, 11:26 AM   #5
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That brings us to our first trip away. we had planned a 2 week trip at 3 different sites, 2 in Norfolk and one in the Cotswolds.

We got the van(s) loaded up! One advantage with the T5.1 is that everything can go in the back (with or without the 3rd row of seats in) and there's little in the van. This makes initial set up much faster as it's just a case of positioning and getting the legs down.




At the first site, we made a tiny error in that there were no facilities on site at all - no toilets or shower block! I don't know how we missed it but at least it meant the onboard facilities would get some good testing. It's also a good job I passed the driving test as using the ranger in the same circumstances wouldn't have been as appealing.

Luckily though, the shower is quite roomy, even for a 6ft 17 stone lump like me (damn lockdown!) and we all used it for 3 days with no problem. Hot water was supplied courtesy of the ALDE system and we quickly patted ourselves on the back for being picky and specifying the need for it in the new van.

All was going well until day 2 when the LCD panel decided it didn't want to play nicely and scrambled itself. It would come back for a minute or so when reset but I gave up on it being of any use. The ALDE is controlled from a separate panel so it wasn't too much of a hardship - save for not being able to fill the onboard water tank if we needed to.



Aside from the panel, the first spot was a good start to the holiday and I got down to some relaxing. Side note: I'd never had Brew Dog before so this holiday was used to test a few different offerings...


The 'porter coped well with the van on the back although it did need a downchange on the motorway on an incline from time to time. This multi-site holiday allowed for some outfit photo opportunities too:


This was our third stop - Cotswold View, highly recommended. Our second was Sandringham - also one of our fav's


Note the nearside steel wheel - a day before leaving one of the alloys decided to crack and let go of it's ability to hold air. After a poor decision to purchase some spare alloys which looked the same but required different bolts (and also had cracks!) - I stuck the spare on to get us away. The offside locking wheel nut was on so tight that the key was bending leading to it having to be 'persuaded' when we got home and that wheel went flat due to another crack! It was lucky it happened after we got home.

All set up again:


More imbibular(?) research


If you ride a ducati, this is the default choice of beverage (aside from espresso of course)


When we were allowed to mix (the girls are ours).


Back home with the van in storage and the 'porter with a full complement of non-cracked steels


The first time away was a great success and we're really happy with the van. It's night and day better than the Ranger and the permanent read bed means my back is my friend again.
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Old 23-01-2021, 11:33 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by muzzer View Post
Welcome to the Caravan section horico and that is some set up you have there.
Twin axles are great but we are restricted due to there being no space at the storage facility we use and the others available are either stupidly awkward to get in and out of or want the best part of £600 up front and have rules that would make an RSM say "kin hell, they are strict"

That air awning is massive and creates no end of space. We have a Vango connect, so we can add compartments at either end and if we start taking the grand kids away, then we might have to add one to it.
I use the hand pump for ours, doesn't take much effort or long to inflate and so far no major issues, the biggest one is how long it took me to realise what the poles in the awning bag are for

Yep, the tow rag is my tow car of choice if i could have whatever i wanted but you have a great set up there fella
Cheers Muzzer!

That does sound strict - ours were very accomodating allowing us to store 2 vans for a month without extra charge, although I did move our van for them to help them doing some groundworks as part of an extension they're doing. I like the challenge of reversing it into the spot too, although I expect I have a little more space than you to do so.

I've now bought a hand pump for backup so that will always be there just in case. I don't know when the dealer will be open but we can't go away while it's closed anyway so no dramas there.

If I was looking at a vehicle just for towing and didn't want to benefit from the 'porter being a van too, a Touareg would be top of my list. Smashing tow cars and I can't recommend them enough!

Thanks for putting me onto the section, I've missed these types of threads of late and it feels good to be able to share our experiences.
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Old 23-01-2021, 11:45 AM   #7
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I'd love to be able to reverse ours into it's storage space but that just aint happening.
Our van is 23 ft long, the Sportage is 22 ft long, the gap between our tow hitch and the one opposite is about yay under 18ft, so a motor mover is a godsend for that.

The site is CAMC and to be honest, they are really good and very helpfull, having a great washbay even if it is just a running hose is brilliant and if i double book it, it gives me 3 hrs to clean the van which gives me enough time to get it sparkling.
The trouble is, where it is situated - not far from the M25 - you have people from as far away as North London using it, all the slots for double axle vans are booked either with those, or motorhomes, so i think 7.8 mts long is the maximum i can get in our designated slot without being too far outside the confines of the bay.
Location wise it's brilliant, i'm less than 2 miles from the A1M and if i go t'other way, i can get to the A10 pretty quickly too.

Only downside to living this close to London? The site fees

But yes it is good to share and normally, myself, Bristle Hound, Darlofan and Hair MOnster put up threads of sites we've been to so good to have another to add content
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Old 23-01-2021, 11:47 AM   #8
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Soon after getting home, I managed to find a second hand LCD screen so got it ordered and fitted.


I spoke to Sargent who make the panel and they said that they'd repair and return for £65 so I'll do that with the original and keep it in the van just in case.

The other thing we're having trouble with is the battery. It's been going flat after a very short time and due to lockdown and lack of use, it doesn't get a good charge in it. i expect it's the tracker and alarm wearing it down although we're yet to activate the tracker. I'll get that done soon I imagine.

The battery drain has lead to me researching solar panels. The control system on the van allows for a 100W panel to be wired in to the main system so the control panel can report on it. I don't know if a higher rated panel can be used if it's wired in in a standalone fashion - the only reason for this is that I don't know if 100W will be enough to keep the battery topped up in winter. I need to call the fitter and have a chat about it when i remember. I would consider fitting myself if the van was on the drive but at the storage place it's not that simple. I also don't want to make a mess of it and I'd be concerned that I wouldn't be able to do it to the standard I'd like.

Also while back after the first trip, we arranged for the van to be serviced and the damp issue tackled. Both were taken care of by the handily placed caravan workshop on the storage site. For this year, we'll need to get new tyres ads they're now 5 years old and also refresh the ALDE central heating fluid.

I've also been looking in to the Sargent iNet system which allows remote monitoring of the van - for example being able to operate the heating and monitoring the battery levels. It's a bit similar to the Swift Command system, although that looks to be a little more polished. I'd really like to discover a much more sophisticated remote monitoring / control system to put into the van as like said above, we should be keeping this for a while yet. Any recommendations are welcome.

The only other thing that needs addressing is a good clean of the outside. It's probably a bit of a squeeze to get on the drive and with only a single axle mover it may stop it being possible to motor move it through the entrance. I expect we'd need the second axle mover to give a tighter turning circle we'd require. Luckily, the storage compound is putting in a wash bay so as soon as that arrives, I'll get right on it. I'm considering getting a mobile detailer to it in the meantime though as I hate to see it covered in muck.
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Old 23-01-2021, 11:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muzzer View Post
I'd love to be able to reverse ours into it's storage space but that just aint happening.
Our van is 23 ft long, the Sportage is 22 ft long, the gap between our tow hitch and the one opposite is about yay under 18ft, so a motor mover is a godsend for that.

The site is CAMC and to be honest, they are really good and very helpfull, having a great washbay even if it is just a running hose is brilliant and if i double book it, it gives me 3 hrs to clean the van which gives me enough time to get it sparkling.
The trouble is, where it is situated - not far from the M25 - you have people from as far away as North London using it, all the slots for double axle vans are booked either with those, or motorhomes, so i think 7.8 mts long is the maximum i can get in our designated slot without being too far outside the confines of the bay.
Location wise it's brilliant, i'm less than 2 miles from the A1M and if i go t'other way, i can get to the A10 pretty quickly too.

Only downside to living this close to London? The site fees

But yes it is good to share and normally, myself, Bristle Hound, Darlofan and Hair MOnster put up threads of sites we've been to so good to have another to add content
I bet it's eye watering down there! Ours is 'only' £43 a month which isn't too bad...
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Old 23-01-2021, 12:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by horico View Post
I bet it's eye watering down there! Ours is 'only' £43 a month which isn't too bad...
It is expensive until i worked it out per month, i currently pay £58.34 a month for the storage, so when you consider i am probably what.....35 miles from the center of London, that's not bad really that i am only paying £15 a month more than you. BH pays about a fiver i think being so far north
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