Between Trips Hymer B544 Front Spring Replacement Published 1 week ago on 8th March 2018 By firstname.lastname@example.org This post was originally published on this site After clipping curbs across Europe, bottoming out and hitting the stops and even cutting the engine out on a couple of occasions, we figured it was time to sort out Zagan’s low front end. We thought it would be easy to buy Hymer B544 front spring replacements, but it turned out to be a bit trickier and took us almost a month to arrange. After a lot of reading up on Facebook motorhome forums, it soon became clear that a low front end is a common problem with motorhomes. It seems that the front suspension springs fitted in most of them are just normal van springs, designed to take the weight of a van – a couple of seats, a bit of stuff in the back and maybe the odd Ginsters pastie. For the past 16 years our front springs have had the weight of a drop down bed, two leisure batteries, two captain’s chairs, not to mention all the stuff crammed in cupboards and under the benches behind the cab. It really is no wonder they were getting tired. We first realised there was a problem when we parked up in a supermarket car park and the bumper hit the curb and cracked. Our heavy duty Milenco levelling ramps were only a centimetre or two lower than the bumper, so on soft ground they would lift up as we rolled off them and inflict more damage to the bumper – so they were left in Croatia when we bought a second-hand pair of lower lightweight ramps from a chap on a campsite. On bumpy roads the passenger side would bang as we bottomed out on the stops, making us cringe. When we were back in the UK in 2016 we took Zagan for his MOT and mentioned the problems to our garage. They discovered that the passenger side shock absorber had sprung a leak and had no oil left in it, so before the MOT they swapped them both. Sadly it didn’t solve the low front end problem, but surely it should stop us banging on the stops on bumpy roads? Unfortunately not. As we drove through Spain on our way to Morocco, the sickening bang was back, and even more so in Morocco with its bumpier roads and Zagan loaded to the max with life’s ‘essentials’. The day we were leaving Morocco we hit a huge pot hole in some roadworks and Zagan died on us. He simply wouldn’t start. Thankfully some very helpful cannabis farmers (I kid you not) and the Hymer Owners Group Facebook Forum got us back on the road, and we even made our ferry (which of course was running late). It cut out again another time on a level crossing in France, so once back in the UK it was time to do some research into how to stop it happening. The simple answer is to replace the front springs. This can be done by several companies, so I got in touch with Travelworld Motorhomes as I had seen many people recommending them. They were very quick and efficient and gave me two quotes, £829 for fitted or £499 for just the springs. After getting back up off the floor, I did a bit more digging around on the internet. I discovered that Travelworld only fit Goldschmitt – the ‘Ferrari’ of springs, which would be great on a fairly new expensive van, but on Zagan it seems a bit excessive. I spoke to Zagan’s favourite garage (fellow motorhomer Norman) and we talked about what options there were. They could replace the springs with like for like ones for me, but I had heard that you could get a heavy duty version which would be better for a motorhome, so we agreed that I would source the springs and they would fit them. More internet research introduced me to Lesjofors Springs, who also had great reviews but were a tad cheaper at around £70 each. As they have loads of different types of springs I needed to find out which were the right ones for Zagan. This is where I got stuck in a loop. Based on my VIN number, the online spring retailers told me I needed to use Lesjofors part number 4026148, however their site said this was for a FIAT DUCATO Box (244) (Year of Construction 04.2002 – 07.2006, 122 PS, Diesel), this set alarm bells ringing. Zagan was registered in 2001 and even if the chassis has been sitting around for a while there was no way he could have been a 2002 base vehicle. After quite a bit of online research I discovered that the base vehicle type is listed in the VIN number and Zagan’s said his base was a 230 (built from 1994 to 2002). So why were they telling me to buy ones for a newer base? More pleas for help from the Hymer Owners Group Facebook forum gave me part numbers of springs that were fitted to a B644 – but I wasn’t sure if they would be the same. Eventually Norman came to my rescue and was able to give me the original Fiat part number for the springs – however as the base had since had an ALKO chassis fitted and a Hymer built on top of it, he wasn’t sure if this was still the right part. I contacted a couple of motorhome dealers and one of them gave me the same Fiat part number for my springs – a breakthrough, something finally matched. This Fiat part number was for the 244 base (Lesjofors part number 4026148) which still seemed odd, but as two sources had confirmed it was the same number, I was getting a bit more confident. Next I got in touch with Lesjofors who it turned out don’t deal direct with the public, however they were able to confirm to me that they do produce a heavy duty version of the spring number I had, the Lesjofors 4026169 (or Kilen part number 12152 – they are the same company). After almost a month of going around in circles it was now or never, so I ordered the heavy duty version – even though the online retailers said it wasn’t compatible with my vehicle. I paid a bit extra by ordering them from Amazon as I know they have a great returns policy (I just walk round to my local post office and send stuff back). When they arrived, they were huge and about 12kg each. The springs and Zagan were dropped off at the garage and we waited with our breath held. Norman called us a few hours later – they fitted! A huge sigh of relief was let out, our spring saga was over. So, did they make a difference to the front end? They sure did. We’ve gone up by around 6cm. The pictures below measure from the bottom of the number plate, but in reality the front of the bumper has been lifted from 20cm off the ground to 26cm. This may not sound much but it will stop us hitting curbs and Zagan now looks a lot more level when sitting on a flat car park. Hopefully we’ll have to use our chocks less now. To get this extra height cost us £140.68 for the springs plus £190 for the fitting (which also included the fitting of a new starter battery as we had to get a jump start to get to the garage!). We have yet to venture on bumpy ground in Zagan since the new springs were fitted, but we are hoping the ride will be better too and we’ll no longer activate the emergency engine cut off! Ju x Related Topics: Up Next 8 Working Hours Left to Go, Again Don't Miss Merry Christmas! Continue Reading You may like Click to comment Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Between Trips The boots are dead. Long live the boots! Published 1 week ago on 8th March 2018 By email@example.com This post was originally published on this site **Jay takes a deep breath…* It is with a heavy heart (:-)) that I must report: my boots are dead, folks. After carrying my not-insignificant mass across the landscapes of a continent or two for the past couple of years, my trusty boots have finally given up the ghost. I didn’t want to face the truth, having again grown almost as attached to ’em as the hairy tootsies they kept warm, so I’d been turning a blind eye to the fact the right one was in a bad way. Despite the fact the sole was gradually detaching peeling itself free of its lengthy burden, and there’s been a hole-a-lettin’-in-water for the past few weeks/months, I’ve been clinging to them like life rafts as Ju’s circled, shark-like, ready to fling ’em in the bin, willynilly, as soon as my back was turned! The right boot. OK, I admit it, it’s had it. But the fact, was they were dead, very dead. “What!!!”, I hear you say, “you could have glued the sole back on, and slapped a patch across that hole, ya frivolous swine!”. Sigh. Yes, you’re right, but while I’ve acquired a reputation for being, ah, careful with money, these things keep my feet warm and dry and winter’s currently lashing itself down on the roof, so budget be damned, new boots were needed! Why the right one holed while the left one stayed intact is anyone’s guess. I can’t say I’ve been hard done by. Ju found a 2 for 1 (two pairs for the price of one pair) offer when we bought them, so I only paid £30. The laces were rubbish and wore out within a mere year, requiring the purchase of some flimsy spares from a Moroccan market, which lasted surprisingly well but eventually also wore through, before getting a tough-ass pair from our local hardware shop which have outlasted the boots (yes, I have saved the laces). The soles lasted well, despite feeling like they were really thin even when new, although the longest walk I ever did in them was about 3 or 4 hours. Vibram soles had me nervous at first, as they felt thin, but lasted really well The passing of boots has come to mark a point in time for me, and makes me reflect as I peer at the sorry-looking things sat in the bin waiting to be carried off to landfill. These old Hi-Techs have been to a few places with me (sorry, with us, I didn’t go alone), so before they pass entirely from the daylight of this world, a few pictures of where we went together. Looking out over the magnificent Anti Atlas Mountains in Morocco The poor boots having a tough time of it in the Norwegian Arctic Lofoten Islands! Escaping the Spanish heat in the Sierra Nevada this summer Paying homage to a bit of marble the minis drove over in the Italian Job, Turin Failing to be a Sami in Arctic Finland Ah, yeah, well, this could go on for a while, and I’d better spare you the holiday slideshow eh? So, new boots have been purchased (a nifty pair of Berghaus Hillwalker GTX IIs – not the cheapest but tons of great reviews), and they feel beautiful. Light and comfortable. I’ve only yomped the 6m across the Cooler so far, as I’m still officially employed (well, self-employed) for the next 3 days. After that, well, long live the boots folks, let’s see where they take me next year! Brand spankin’ new Berghaus boots, and they feel beautiful. Where will those soles tread before I get ’em to fall off? Right, I’m off to test the boots with a 3 minute walk to the travel section of the local library. Catch you later! Cheers, Jay Continue Reading Between Trips 8 Working Hours Left to Go, Again Published 1 week ago on 8th March 2018 By firstname.lastname@example.org This post was originally published on this site Charlie loves a beach, but hates having his stone chasing interrupted for a photo Last time I finished work just over two years ago I’ve one more working day to go and, in theory at least, I never need work a day again. Being 45 years old, this isn’t a usual situation I know, although it’s becoming fairly normal to me (I’ve been here before…). So. I’ve never quite known what I wanted to do with my life. I ended up doing Maths, Physics and Chemistry at A level as I was good at them, not because I wanted to be an engineer. I studied Physics at degree level, as I was fairly good at it (and I had the luck of having supportive parents), not because I wanted to become a scientist. I started a PhD in a Physics-related subjects (firing neutrons through big bits of metal), not because I wanted to be a researcher, but because I’d got a good degree (and got a scholarship). I started ‘real work’ writing technical manuals for computer parts, not because I wanted to be a technical writer, but because I’d quit my PhD and I needed a job, and again I was pretty good at technical writing. And on and on it went, shifting around and being promoted from time to time until suddenly I was 39 years old, running multi-million pound IT projects, and all I knew was that I was doing something I really didn’t want to do. I was depressed, burned out, a bit broken. But I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, and until we managed to pay off our mortgage, we had to keep the monthly payments flowing anyway so it didn’t seem to matter. An answer came to us one day after the mortgage was cleared: to travel, to see how far we could get. Which is when this blog was born, over six years ago now. Two years and a sensational time later, having spent as much of our savings as we dared, I (frankly) sobbed my way back to UK soil, before Ju took the reins and steered our lives back onto a new course. I would have turned around and headed south, looking for anything which paid enough to enable me to avoid coming back. Back home meant reality, back to commuting, the 9 to 5, office politics and lots and lots of sticky red tape. Once Ju had got us settled back in a rented house, I started to get fired up, and we jointly decided to climb a mountain, to create a new, alternate reality for ourselves. I forced myself to go back through the same doors I had walked out of two years earlier, and a further two years later we reached the peak – financial freedom. Not without problems on the way up mind you, and we’d worked a gazillion hours by the time we were done (no more than a couple with a newborn baby, perhaps). I regret the speed at which we did it, and the impact it had on Ju’s mental health, but I wonder if we’d done it any slower we’d have been able to sustain the effort to do it at all? I don’t know the answer, but the end result was we reached a tipping point where we’d enough passive income coming in and, coupled with a promise in ten year’s time of private pension income, we didn’t need to work for money again. Frugality played a large part in all of this, as you might imagine. To get financially free in this way requires you invest around 25 times your yearly expenses. So the more you spend each year, the bigger the pot becomes that you need to fill, largely by selling your time for money. Balancing the see-saw of frugality versus fun while you build this pot is an art form, and an ever-present challenge for anyone doing it. But in the end, most of us are playing this game, just with varying timescales. We made it. The North Cape in the Norwegian Arctic. Yeah baby! Having built this new lifestyle, we were determined to enjoy the fruits of it and headed out again in another motorhome, spending another 18 months on the road, from the Arctic to the Sahara. And in that time it became clear to me that I’d still not really worked out what I wanted to do. I had a couple of low points where I’d have happily quit the road and headed back to the UK to find some work again, for reasons I couldn’t quite nail, mainly a sensation we were doing the same thing as we’d already done before, or just following a tourist merry-go-round. This third time as I step out of the doors of the office tomorrow, having gone through the motions of handing in my badge, phone and laptop, and becoming a non-person in the eyes of the company, I have the bones of a plan in my head (which will include more motorhome travel – still in Europe for now as we’ve our wee Charlie dog to think of). As I’ve found time and again in the past few years, books often hold answers for me, exposing me to new ideas which help me get my head around the crazy problems it seems to create for itself. This time it’s Simon Sinek’s Find Your Why, which basically gets you to look back over your life and pinpoint the times in your life when you felt fulfilled, elated, moved by someone or something, and to seek out themes which link these times together. From these you can further distil the themes into a purpose, something which likely formed in your head as a child or teenager, and something which drives you to feel good about what you’re doing. That’s the process I’m currently working my way through, although I have to admit, it’s still not easy. It’s become more and more clear to me over the past couple of years of not needing to work for money, that I do need to work for other reasons. Nope, I don’t plan to be spending any more time commuting or being sat in a cubicle, Dilbert-like, but I do plan to do more work, interspersed with periods of non-work. Some of the work will earn us money (I enjoy earning money doing something I believe in, even if at massively reduced rates to that the corporate jobs pay), and some will be for free. I already know that I enjoyed (mostly – some serious editing was offloaded to Ju!) writing the second edition of Motorhome Morocco, and I’m thinking about fleshing out the Funding Freedom Mini Guide into a fully-fledged book. Other ideas are forming in my mind, such as making more of an effort on thematrixexperiment.com, and I’ll pick them up as soon as I’ve finished the job of self-analysis in Find Your Why. The sensation I feel at the moment is one of being on the brink of working out what the hell I want to do with this incredible gift of time, albeit I expect this to be an ongoing job. It’ll be interesting (selfishly), for me to come back and read this in a couple of years, and see what I’ve been up to… Cheers, Jay Continue Reading Between Trips Merry Christmas! Published 1 week ago on 8th March 2018 By email@example.com This post was originally published on this site We loved being abroad in Zagan at Christmas learning about how different countries and cultures celebrate, but for me, you can’t beat being at home with family and friends for that extra bit of Christmas sparkle – even is Charlie has already over-indulged!We just want to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful Christmas / Fröhliche Weihnachten / Joyeux Noël / Feliz Navidad, wherever you are.We also want to thank you for all your messages, support and encouragement over the year. Ju, Jay & Charlie x Continue Reading Trending Cordoba6 days ago Visiting Granada and Cordoba in a motorhome. 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