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AutoTrail Rally Report, Hamilton, 5-7 June 2015

by Lyn Buxton (Newsletter editor)

General Report of the weekend

By Sandy Dougherty


40 vans made an impressive line up in the car park of the Hamilton Classic Car Museum. It was an excellent weekend with friendships being renewed and more beginning.

The venue proved to be highly successful. There was enough flat hard parking for all of us and plenty left for museum and café (Jukebox Diner) goers. The meeting room we had upstairs was comfortable and warm with tea and coffee available.

On Friday night we warmed up with card bingo which was good for a laugh. You sure have to keep your wits about you if you wanted to win a lovely Roses chocolate!

Saturday morning we met for a ‘Tech’ Session to talk about motorhome issues we have encountered and fixes that have been discovered. This was really useful with lots of clever ideas shared. (See separate report)

Saturday afternoon was free with lots of options clearly outlined for us by Leo and Patricia. Most members took up the option of a guided tour through the Classic Car Museum.  Leo had arranged for local classic car stalwart, Stan Richardson, to be our guide – an excellent guide he was too. A most interesting and informative tour of classic cars beautifully restored and old petrol pumps, signs and memorabilia.

We met up again in the Jukebox Diner for happy hour followed by dinner. A number of us dressed up in 60’s/70s outfits and prizes were given for the best dressed of these; also several prizes for furthest travelled, lucky vans etc. The meal was lovely and the service at the Diner fast and friendly right throughout the weekend.

After another session on Sunday morning Leo closed the weekend get-together just before midday. Discussion about the next rally and keeping the group informal were the main issues of this session. (See separate report)


AutoTrail Rally, Hamilton, Technical Session notes

By Sandy Dougherty and David Buxton


(Disclaimer - the reporters have tried their best to correctly report this session, however they do not guarantee complete accuracy)


Transmission light coming on - could be a brake switching problem - red light - check transmission (David Buxton) -  could be chaffing in the wiring somewhere, eg  by the wipers; suggestion that it could be a computer update issue (Kevin)


Smell coming up through the shower - put in HepVo Valve with right angle bend (Les); put in a plug (David).   Both also have fitted “s” traps under sink and hand basin.


Filter in toilet fan - make own filter - granules bought from supermarket (Les)


Gas locker - put marine hatch on outside door to allow access (Les)

Gas bottle fitting with internal thread is now illegal (Glenn) - this could be an insurance issue. Advice from another member (John Smith) - mesh covered hose piece can be purchased and fitted for $29ish.  Roger Handisides reminded all that we should turn off gas when driving.


Interior lights - roof hatch with fan is a useful power source in ceiling- put LED strip light ($39.99 at Burnsco) near hatch (Les).  Glenn - replaced some mood lighting with another strip LED around the front roof area; this provided more and brighter light.


Website - Chris Gaelic plans to update our website so that users can add pictures and put links on. Can now subscribe to subjects so you get an email letting you know when there has been a reply. Chris will also put a registration form and members’ list on our website. - website received accolades and reminder to check it out for information about sites all over the country. Can also be used to invite a few friends or club members for a weekend away.


One member who was seeking a replacement window found that no spare windows are held by AMH.  We were reminded that parts are made by many different manufacturers, sometime parts can be ordered directly from the manufacturer - parts can arrive in days. Derek Canvin said that Cranham Motors UK- are happy to help out owners over here - owner has kiwi family connection. For those people who bought their vans in UK their seller may have good access. The Autotrail UK Owners Forum could be a good place to find links.


Engine compartment not watertight (Alistair and Stella) - 2 drains at bottom of the rubber window seal often blocked –a  fine piece of wire down drains to keep them clear.  These small drains from windshield also routed poorly – can be kinked. Watch these and keep them clear and watch where they drain to. 2015 models have been changed.

Smith and Smith have done $45 fix with sealant (Alistair) - Broken windscreen (Roger) make sure that the old double sided tape doesn't go back on. When drive belts at front of engine 'shriek' when you start means that the belts are getting wet.


Clunk when right hand turning - coming from up under the floor - asked if anyone else has noticed this (Glenn)


Habitation door - held shut by 2 small springs. Found firm in Auckland who manufacture these. Slightly heavier gauge with more coils as original springs have too little flex. Derek has had a number of these made. $25 a pair. Much cheaper than the alternative of replacing whole door lock mechanism.


Wheel chocks and getting stuck. Duvalay - moved to Cambridge - have a website -  They have good quality chocks - made in Germany - $50 pair with bag (discount) guaranteed to hold 20 tonne.

On wet ground suggest that drivers park front wheels on 2 lengths of wood. Sometimes antiskid mats just roll up. Should put chocs behind wheels so you get a run off when leaving. There could be an issue with these then catching on the mud flaps.


Batteries – possibly the panel above the side door is not programmed for 2 batteries. Losing voltage quickly (David B) to 11.8v  this low is meant to be flat but still have lots of power – was advised by battery supplier that batteries could need a 'boil up'  ie  they are not getting a big enough charge from solar panel, alternator or when on mains chargers. Would need to go to a battery specialist to get this done. (Battery Town)


Fridges - fridge not working on mains power, Thetford  (Jo) - works on gas and battery - who would you recommend to work on this?    David B waiting for replacement motherboard for their fridge – keeps going off when on gas.

Fridge stopped working on gas (Chris) - strapped wires up so they didn't vibrate when driving. Spade connections were loose. This worked! 

Denis – the lowest climate rating fridges usually installed in our vans (S/L) – should have highest rating for NZ - (tropical rating: S/T) All fridges sold in NZ have tropical rating.  Rating can be found on fridge panel inside fridge.

Leo - fridge not getting cold enough and smell of gas - Hamilton firm of Overland fixed problem - cleaned out chimney $200 – a metal vent could be fitted to get the gas flowing better.

Glenn – fridge exhaust not going out properly.  Possibly law about to be changed so that they are vented directly out of van. 

Condensation switch on fridge panel needs to be run for a couple of hours on Dometic - hold button on right until left hand light turns on - this feature to be used if the condensation freezes round the seal and you can't get your door open. You need to run this regularly? On Thetford condensation switch either on or off.


Step not going in - this could be due to a cutout switch (polyfuse) in back of Sarjeant main panel.


Fly screen door out of shape - expensive to replace (Les)


Alistair - thanks to Les for all his help and sharing ideas - wind catches door-  bent and damaged - short fix - 2 little contacts in bottom of door not quite meeting - piece of plastic to cover contacts - newer models don't have these exposed.


Les – modified wiring to rear camera – now can turn on when driving forwards.


Radios - Glenn Newman- looked on Internet and for only $US149 bought a new unit includes all bells and whistles including a small camera for forward recording - with SD card.

Aerial in left hand mirror - poor reception (David) - get new radio - Glenn!  Could get freezer box in dash out to get at aerial wire and put aerial on windscreen.


Dot Canvin - imported cheap drop down screen $200


How do you update GPS - different models require different fixes - Garmin are good, load up NZMCA sites and RVexplorer – (Chris)


Bluetooth speakers -  can download iHeart radio, a free app for phone or tablet and play radio over speakers or possibly could play through the van media centre if Bluetooth is available.


Roger - radio has 4 speakers – 2 above head when sitting on couches – this can be annoying so installed switches to turn off one or other speakers - wiring available through cupboard.


Who has imported vans? 8 or more vans imported from UK by those in the room.


Bull bar - Leo has bull/nudge bar - had trouble finding supplier in NZ - RV Taranaki sell for $1300 fitted or on special $1000! – still some units left in stock.


Rear bumper - Trevor - friend has designed a bumper bar for rear bumper David Lusk New Plymouth 0274 478789 - Les has designed one himself - pair of angle irons - has also put trainer wheels on a previous van.


RUC - km must be renewed each July – take your current ticket in and get a refund which can be used to purchase more km at new rate. Suggestion was made that police will not be chasing those who do not have their RUC up to date.


Cleaner - 'A glaze'  Whangarei - can buy a solution or get it done there (Roger and Marion)


Fieldays - some people (12-15) keen to go - Wed - Saturday - POP 1787 opposite Gate 3.


Chris talked about using website  keeping track of friends via a trip planner which you can email to friends - he showed a sample. Will start in the forum a list of places to go and could be voted on.


Sunday Morning Session Report

By David Buxton


We met in the conference room at 10am for a cuppa and some housekeeping discussions. A brief report as follows:

Next rally. Several venue suggestions were made - Waipu, Mt Maunganui, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Levin and Blenheim (perhaps run a South Island rally close to the NZMCA Easter Rally in 2016). Those making these suggestions will investigate further to identify suitable venues. It was suggested to aim for a long weekend so those travelling a long distance but had to be home for the start of the working week had more time to travel. Another suggestion was to extend arrival and registrations into the Saturday morning and extend the programme into Sunday (or Monday if a holiday) afternoon.  There was general consensus to hold our next rally during Labour Weekend (23-26 October) in or near Levin. Derek and Dot Canvin along with the assistance of Murray and Elaine Lawson have volunteered to organise a rally providing they can find a suitable venue.

Establishing a more formal organisation. After much discussion about formalising our group into a Club, the possible need for public liability insurance, whether or not to incorporate, the beauracracy and paper work that goes with all this, there was general consensus to remain an informal club. Trevor Coleman will check out the issue (if there is one) of public liability.

Surplus funds from this rally. With not having a formal club we can't open a club bank account to deposit these funds. It was agreed to leave these funds ($205) for safekeeping with David and Lyn Buxton to carry forward to the next rally.

Logo design. One of our newer members, Leicester Fifield who lives in Geraldine (couldn't attend this rally) offered to design a logo for us and make some bumper stickers. This offer was gratefully received by members and a vote taken on the 4 designs Leicester put forward. One design had overwhelming support (and it hasn't cost $27 million!) Thank you Leicester.

Another new member, Peter Robieson from Tauranga offered to help with club administration and has agreed to actively monitor our website and along with Chris Gaelic who designed the website for us, keep things in order and up to date. One addition to be made is to allow on-line member registration and the membership database to be kept on the website. Members can then change their details when they need updating (eg new address).


Several members asked about Linda McKenzie and how her recovery was proceeding.  It was agreed a card should be sent to her wishing her a speedy and successful recovery and to thank her for establishing our Club.


Changes to website


Several improvements have been made to our website by Chris Gaelic.

¨  prospective members can now register online


¨ existing members can use the website to change any of their registration details eg change of email or new mobile phone number. To do this, log into the website and click 'Register Online' menu button on the left and you will see your details - these can be changed.  (many of you who haven't up until last Monday (21 June) logged into our website forum will have received an email giving you a password to log in.)


¨ photos can now be uploaded in the Member Forum, making it easier to show what is being described ("a picture is worth a thousand words")


¨  "Club Newsletters" has been changed to "Club News" that makes this section more appropriate for showing multiple entries - rally newsletters, up-coming rallies, general interest items etc.


¨ Other changes allow the webmaster for the site to use the rest ration database to email  newsletters, news items etc to members.


¨ If you haven't already used the forum, please do—you can ask a question about a problem you may have with your motorhome or you may be able to answer a question a member has asked.  There’s lots of information already on the Member Forum.


Next Rally 


Labour Weekend -  23-26 October 2015

Horowhenua  AP&I Showgrounds, Levin




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