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AutoSleeper Nuevo - first 6 weeks

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Post by Aethelric on Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:55 pm

We have been using the Nuevo lots over that last 6 weeks. For reasons I won't go into we have been using it (mainly wild camping) during the week and going home at weekends.  We have added 2800 miles to the clock.
Its a really nice van, very comfortable, very versatile.  We sleep downstairs.  We have the nearside seat usually made up as a settee with the bedding stored underneath.  The offside is set forward facing and we rotate the driver seat for meals.  We decided on the ES, partly because of the extra storage space in the luton area (its currently carrying a guitar, mandolin, guitalele, ukulele, cuatro,small amp, mic stands, and two chairs) and partly so we can legally carry passengers with setbelts.
The van is quite well insulated and stays warm especially if the skylight screens are used.
One of the bed runners did not locate properly when we got the van - I could not see how it could ever have worked, but I fixed that with a little joinery.
I think I have a leak in the water system - no water coming out (that I can see) but it keeps getting air in.
The heater won't work if its windy - I believe an extended flue fixes this. Why isn't it a standard item?
I replaced all of the spotlight bulbs with LED spots.  They are just as bright and all four take less power than one halogen.
The overhead fluorescents are not very good.  I've come across this before, when the inverter will not start properly and the light is very dim.  If they are switched on when the habitation battery is fully charged, or on charge, they are fine.  I have LED strips on order to replace them.
The habitation electrical system looks like it was designed by a tall student - an arts student maybe.  Its far too complicated and its really irritating.  The control panel is in a silly position, my partner can't reach it.  She can't reach the overhead light switches either. Just switching the electrics on - without using a single appliance drains over 0.5 Amp from the battery - not much, but you must have it on if you want to be able to switch the lights on.  Over a 24 hour period that's over 12 AH and the biggest single drain on the battery.
I have had to fit in extra sockets for charging phones and computers.  This is straight (via a fuse) off the leisure battery.  The dashboard 12V goes off when the ignition is off and the habitation 12V goes off when moving! I can't get the cab light to switch on at night when the ignition is off. No idea why. 
The Zig unit in my old caravan was much simpler and better - not much more than a charger and a few switches.   
I was thinking of fitting solar panels, but I think that running the engine for half an hour (when I'm not travelling) will provide more power than a solar panel will all (cloudy) day .  That seems a bit cheaper and more reliable to me.
The van came with a single 6Kg calor gas cylinder.  I've added a 13Kg one which leaves room in the gas locker for levelling ramps, hook up cable, hose, and loo fluid (Tesco bio washing fluid).
As regards mechanics, the water ingress into the engine is a disgrace.  I have some special glue ordered to seal that silly two piece gutter.  Reverse gear is far too high for a 3.5 ton van.  I managed 32 mpg from Bristol to Cornwall (real 32 mpg - the display told me 34mpg) but that was keeping speed down to around 55 - tedious.  29 mpg is more the norm and 24 around town - not too bad, and better than my old Mazda bongo.  That damned 20 minute radio cut off is really annoying.

Overall I really like the van - in the fullness of time I may get around to "fixing" the electrics, but the spitting taps come first. Oh and I'm going to get it under sealed.
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Post by Peter Brown on Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:04 pm

An interesting report - thanks.

Yes the flue extension will stop the fire blowing out.

Is your control panel Sargent or MES? The MES system was designed to allow the engine to be run without switching off the habitation electrics.

Peter

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Post by -mojo- on Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:04 pm

Interesting to hear experiences of new vans.

One observation about current drain - if it's a Sargent control system, it may just be that the system's current sensing needs calibrating. If so, the procedure should be in your owner's manual, or it can be downloaded from Sargent's website.
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Post by Guest on Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:17 pm

Glad to hear you're enjoying it. We've had an Inca for about 10 weeks, for reasons meaning it's going back to the dealer next week for repairs we haven't had much use at all yet.
What we've had we've enjoyed - like you, overall we do like the van - layout, comfort, driving. We were warned about the width but have had no problems so far. Everything seems to work as it should, maybe when we do manage an extended use we'll identify some, hopefully minor, problems.
But have to agree with the 20 minute radio cutout - does anybody have a fix for that? Our van has what is called a Radio Isolator Switch which means we can turn it back on without going to the cab, BUT it comes on at a pre-set LOW volume, so we end up having to go to the cab anyway to turn it up!
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Post by Peter Brown on Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:30 pm

If you put the 'radio' switch on before turning the radio on, the radio will stay on until you turn it off. Do remember though to switch the 'radio' switch off when not using the radio as the radio stays on standby, is connected to the Leisure Battery and will flatten that battery in a few days.

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Post by Paulmold on Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:36 pm

I can cope with using the rear over-ride switch when parked up but I find that it switches off after 20 minutes when driving and then when you switch it back on, it comes at low volume and we have to turn it to level 32 or so to hear it, how high a number does it go to? I found when going through the menu, a choice of '20 minutes or 0 minutes' I chose 0 minutes hoping that would sort it but it didn't.

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Post by Guest on Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:37 pm

Peter Brown wrote:If you put the 'radio' switch on before turning the radio on, the radio will stay on until you turn it off.  Do remember though to switch the 'radio' switch off when not using the radio as the radio stays on standby, is connected to the Leisure Battery and will flatten that battery in a few days.

Peter
Thanks Peter. I'm pretty sure we tried all possible combinations of radio and 'radio switch' but maybe not. I'll give it a go.

Cheers!
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Post by Guest on Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:40 pm

Paulmold wrote:I can cope with using the rear over-ride switch when parked up but I find that it switches off after 20 minutes when driving and then when you switch it back on, it comes at low volume and we have to turn it to level 32 or so to hear it, how high a number does it go to? I found when going through the menu, a choice of '20 minutes or 0 minutes' I chose 0 minutes hoping that would sort it but it didn't.
Yes, same here. Your hearing must be better than mine, I have to got to 36 or more.
Or maybe your  OH is quieter than mine!
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Post by Paulmold on Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:42 pm

I was guessing at 32, I just know it was somewhere around that figure. My OH says I have 'selective hearing'.

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Post by oldfred on Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:31 pm

Had our Nuevo for almost 3 months. It's been great for day trips (today Arnside and Fell Foot) and a longer European trip. Over 4000 miles added in a van that had only done 12000 since 2009.

Taking your points in turn, we noticed a bed runner problem before buying and Marquis fixed it before delivery (plus some other small faults). Not had the heater blow out but perhaps mine is an extended flue.

Our water also gets a very small amount of air in but having just drained the van I think  (and hope) the 'leak' might be between the under floor tank and drain tap.
  
Not changed to LEDs yet except for one of the reading lights. I did have a solar panel fitted before delivery (as well as a reversing camera). Just swapped the radio for one bought for the previous van that only had a radio cassette. The blaupunkt peugeot player wouldn't eject the CD after playing a few tracks.

Also had a problem with  a high 'indicated' current drain when nothing was on but reset the panel by disconnecting the leisure battery. Like you I much preferred a unit with proper switches. Height not a problem for me or my wife as we are both tall. Agree there aren't enough 12v sockets. The habitation area could do with a 'cigar lighter'.   

Not noticed any water ingress into the engine compartment but the this might be due to the black tape and sealant on the windscreen gutter. I never look at or compute the MPG in case it deters me from using the van. My wife calls me Captain Slow so I hope I drive economically. I don't have to fill up as often as with the 1.9 td.

I'd like to know from you or other members if under sealing is worthwhile.

Like you we really enjoy the Nuevo and hope we can use it for many years to come.
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Post by Aethelric on Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:35 pm

Peter Brown wrote:An interesting report - thanks.

Yes the flue extension will stop the fire blowing out.

Is your control panel Sargent or MES?  The MES system was designed to allow the engine to be run without switching off the habitation electrics.

Peter
Hi Peter
Its the MES. The electrics switch off as soon as I start the engine but they can be switched on again at the panel. But they will switch off again as soon as I start to move.
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Post by Aethelric on Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:37 pm

-mojo- wrote:Interesting to hear experiences of new vans.

One observation about current drain - if it's a Sargent control system, it may just be that the system's current sensing needs calibrating. If so, the procedure should be in your owner's manual, or it can be downloaded from Sargent's website.
Its the MES, but I measured the current with a meter in line with the battery.
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Post by Aethelric on Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:38 pm

Peter Brown wrote:If you put the 'radio' switch on before turning the radio on, the radio will stay on until you turn it off.  Do remember though to switch the 'radio' switch off when not using the radio as the radio stays on standby, is connected to the Leisure Battery and will flatten that battery in a few days.

Peter
Hmm, I don't think I have an isolator switch:shrugg:
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Post by Aethelric on Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:42 pm

oldfred wrote:Had our Nuevo for almost 3 months. It's been great for day trips (today Arnside and Fell Foot) and a longer European trip. Over 4000 miles added in a van that had only done 12000 since 2009.

Taking your points in turn, we noticed a bed runner problem before buying and Marquis fixed it before delivery (plus some other small faults). Not had the heater blow out but perhaps mine is an extended flue.

Our water also gets a very small amount of air in but having just drained the van I think  (and hope) the 'leak' might be between the under floor tank and drain tap.
  
Not changed to LEDs yet except for one of the reading lights. I did have a solar panel fitted before delivery (as well as a reversing camera). Just swapped the radio for one bought for the previous van that only had a radio cassette. The blaupunkt peugeot player wouldn't eject the CD after playing a few tracks.

Also had a problem with  a high 'indicated' current drain when nothing was on but reset the panel by disconnecting the leisure battery. Like you I much preferred a unit with proper switches. Height not a problem for me or my wife as we are both tall. Agree there aren't enough 12v sockets. The habitation area could do with a 'cigar lighter'.   

Not noticed any water ingress into the engine compartment but the this might be due to the black tape and sealant on the windscreen gutter. I never look at or compute the MPG in case it deters me from using the van. My wife calls me Captain Slow so I hope I drive economically. I don't have to fill up as often as with the 1.9 td.

I'd like to know from you or other members if under sealing is worthwhile.

Like you we really enjoy the Nuevo and hope we can use it for many years to come.
I'm getting mine under sealed as  I intend to keep it for quite a while.  Its my only transport and I live in Scotland and its gonna see some salted roads.
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Post by murph on Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:49 pm

Hi All,
    Most of the questions asked seem to have been answered by various people, but to add my 3 penworth, I have an  extra round type 12v socket on the panel above the fridge (run off the back of the 2 pin plug fitted by AS) as well as a 240 volt socket on the side of the drivers seat, and another round type 12 volt socket run directly off the leisure battery via a fuse, so that it can be used while the engine is running. In the cab one of the 2 sockets has been converted to permenantly on rather than through the ign switch. All lights are now LED (except the luton, rarely used,) with a few extra lights added where needed.


Brian
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Post by raymondo on Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:48 pm

My Nuevo could certainly use a couple more electrical sockets - and  extra 1x12v and 1x220v would be good as would one of the two 12v sockets in the cab being perminently live, but my major gripe is the blown air heating - how difficult would it have been for them to mount the outlet at the drivers end of the offside seat? having it a couple of inches away from the gas fire makes it almost useless!
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Post by murph on Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:10 am

Hi Raymondo,
  Ours has, fitted by AS, an outlet at the front end of the drivers side bench it has a wirewound flexible pipe to enable the seat to be moved forward and back.
The cab is of course the coldest part of the van due to the large area of single glazing so we use a fan heater at this end when on hookup hence the extra 230 socket.


Brian


Last edited by murph on Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:12 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Addition)
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Post by Aethelric on Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:32 pm

We have now added 10,000 miles onto the clock and over 100 days and nights in all winter conditions in the van. It has been snug and warm and very comfortable.  We have had one overnight hook up in that time - all others were wild camping. We considered silver screens for the front windscreen, but find the curtains are fine.  We bought some throws to keep the seats clean and these can double as extra bed cover at night if needed.  We have never been cold.

It's just about usable as an only vehicle, but its soooo wide. I have damaged (not destroyed) both wing mirrors, and it can be very difficult to park. Supermarkets are OK, but pub car parks and slots by the side of the road can be really difficult.  I would love electrically folding mirrors, but I may try short stem ones.

I fitted the flue extension as recommended by Peter and no more problems with the heater.

I got a warning light about the engine management system which turned out to be the EGR valve - cost me £500 to fix.  Then the engine immobiliser left me stuck in a car park.  I had to call the AA to take me to the garage as I reckoned it was something they had done when they fixed the EGR (the day before!)  They said it was unrelated, but did not charge me to fix it.

I've had it undersealed - £900

I've changed the electrics to avoid using the very inefficient MES control unit and upgraded the leisure battery from a 70AH Power max to a 110AH Banner.  There's a description [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].  I have installed a DVM to monitor the battery - as calculated it stays topped up through normal driving. 

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
We bought a collapsible watering can to be able to top with water from any tap we may come across.  It easily folds up into the under floor locker.

We bought a roll of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. and lined all the cupboards etc with it.  It has an amazing effect on the noise levels in the van.

I have found that dragging my crocs (plastic shoes) over the carpets lifts all of the dog hair incredibly well, better than the best vacuum cleaner. (I use the same technique in the house now) Then I go over with a little 12V vacuum cleaner I got at a car boot sale for £2. 

We still hate that damned 20 minute radio cut off.  So we mainly listen to the radio through a bluetooth speaker connected wirelessly to a tablet connected to 3G via a mifi router. But we'll buy a little radio - probably a DAB one.

We can watch TV on the computer - but we hardly ever do. I have quite a number of programs recorded at home on the PVR and downloaded to the PC so we can watch them, but it's rare we want to. 

Now what will the summer hold?
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Post by postman on Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:15 pm

Hi Aethelric, 
Have you tried the 'fix' in technical chat forum titled 'radio 20 minute switch off and that switch'? 
It's on page 2, last entry 24 Feb 2014. It worked for me , Couldn't believe it! Good luck.
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Post by Aethelric on Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:58 pm

Yep tried that - and just tried again

FM AS and preset button 2 do nothing on mine (2007).

The other REALLY irritating thing is the damned seatbelt screecher.  It's like someone bellowing in your ear to put your seatbelt on when you are moving the van from one spot to another in a field or car park. Most cars I've experienced have a single "bong" then a continual dashboard light - civilized.

Without a lecture on always wearing a seatbelt, does anyone know how to stop this?  I'm not keen on stuffing something into the seatbelt anchor or sitting on a plugged in seat belt.  I want the light on but the racket off.
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