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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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Not a P38 but there may be P38 owners who could profit out of this at my expense!

While using my Nissan Elgrand to tow my large caravan from near Doncaster Yorkshire to Newquay Cornwall I felt a drop in engine power coming up a hill on the A30 20 miles from Newquay. I immediately suspected the very common (to Elgrand) blocked cat problem - there are 4 cats in total, two at each side of the V6, the front cats break up and clog the entrance to the rear cats, the usual preventative measure is to decore the rear cats which I've done for plenty of customers but not on my own Elgrand!. I pulled into a layby and checked things over... oil clean, had a few codes pointing to cam sensors, pulled the cam sensors and cleaned them up, phoned the 'Elgrand guru' who still reckoned it'd only be a cam sensor (which I doubted). Connected LPG software and found bank 1 was running with 30% less fuelling than bank 2 so I suspected the problem would mostly be affecting bank 1 (since both lambda's flicked and since bank 1 therefore was pulling 30% less air than bank 2). Tried driving again but the problem remained. Stopped in another layby and called the RAC out, like the guru the RAC man also doubted it'd be blocked cats, he also advised me that only my car was covered so if I wanted recovering they'd have to call in one of their subcontractors who would shift the caravan to Newquay for me for £500! I insisted we did something about the cats so he loaned me a hammer and chissel and I knocked a hole in the downpipe on bank 1 before the rear cats... found it full of cat debris. Knocked another large hole further up the exhaust. Set off again and the car pulled much better, RAC man (who had been following) left me to it but another 2 miles down the road and the problem recurred only this time with overheating and the oil was black. Called RAC man again, another bloke came out, this bloke gave me the number to his mates garage who recovered the car and caravan to Newquay for £150+VAT and got me onto the camp site. Next day I borrowed step son-in-laws car to go into town and buy some tools and oil from Halfrauds, I disconnected bank 2's second cat and tried driving the car very noisily up a steep hill away from the campsite. Made it 100 yards and the engine seized! Reverse rolled all the way back to the camp site.

Hired a Zafira which I can drop off in Doncaster so this will get us home but not the caravan (no towbar) and not the Elgrand. Plan now is that I'll have to hire a car trailer to come back for the Elgrand with my Merc ML and then come back again in the ML for the caravan. I can store both the caravan and car here for £20 per week and may try to arrange things so we get a few days 'holiday' each trip, but that's 2 x 700 mile round trips and potential time out from work I haven't arranged things around.

I wonder if any capable vehicle (i.e. P38) owners would like to make a few bob by shifting my Elgrand from Newquay to South Elmsall W.Yorks? Timescale - Well, plan A is that I come back for the Elgrand first leaving the caravan here the longest so I can get 2 extra 'holidays' out of it rather than just the 1 if I pick the caravan up first. This may change if I arrange for someone else to shift the Elgrand (could maybe get both at the same time). I can leave both here until November but don't want to leave either here that long and would suit me better if I get the Elgrand back first so I can drop another engine in it if only I wasn't so busy at work. I'm fairly tied up at work until September and it may take me that long to source another engine anyway.

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Joined: Mar 22 2016
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I’d say no problem, but 700 miles on petrol, it would be cheaper using relay.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Apart from the fact that having just moved house I've still got loads of stuff to do, for me it would be a run from home to Newquay, Newquay to South Elmsall and then back home again which, according to Google Maps, is a 762 mile round trip. So I'd be looking at 4 tanks of LPG, so approaching £200 and another £100 for a weekend hire of a trailer. As Chris says, getting close to relay price. If you get stuck, I could do it but it wouldn't be for at least another couple of weeks. Might even need an overnight somewhere too. 760 miles on Continental motorways with no traffic and hold ups is easily done in a day, 760 miles in the UK is a different matter entirely.

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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Didn't get chance to get online yesterday, came home in the hire car and had all the packing to do before setting off.

Thanks for replies and for even contemplating this, especially to Gilbert for 'If I get stuck'.

Been suggested that I join Green Flag, go back to Newquay in another car (maybe the ML), tell them my Elgrand just broke and I'd like the Elgrand and caravan shifting to South Elmsall please! Thoughts on this or the same with AA? Bit naughty though....

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Could the ML tow the Elgrand on a trailer?

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Good point, depends which model it is as they are rated at anything from 2.2 tonnes up to 3.5 tonnes. If it is one rated at 2.2 no chance, as an empty trailer capable to taking the weight of an Elgrand weighs a tonne unladen and I suspect an Elgrand will weigh a bit more than 1.2 tonnes..

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Another thought. Do you know anyone with personal AA cover? I get mine as part of a package with my Lloyds bank account and it covers me for any vehicle I'm in, even as a passenger. Get down there with your token AA member and tell them it's just died. While, like you, I feel pretty confident at being able to sort most things at the side of the road, there's only so many spares you can carry and if you need something you don't have with you and can't buy it locally, you're stuffed. On the two occasions I've used the AA in the P38, the first time the belt tensioner bearing collapsed at a filling station in Harlow and they took me, the car and the empty car transporter trailer I was towing back home. The second time when my water pump bearing exploded about 5 miles from the land Rover factory, they arranged a hire car for us to continue our journey and the car arrived home at about 11pm that same night on the back of a transporter.

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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I once hired the biggest trailer Swillington Trailer Hire had and pulled a BMW750 back from Paignton Devon using a Volvo V70... I'd expect the ML with same trailer and Elgrand on top (Elgrand about 2000kg) to be a far better match than that even though the ML is a ML320 7 seater and likely to have towing capacity at the lower end of those mentioned. Pretty sure the trailer hire boss would let me take it for this purpose and I'd manage it OK. Was a bit of an adventure collecting the BMW750 from Paignton, I blindly followed satnav which took me down single track roads with double hairpins and even a little river ford in the early hours... Had to get out the car, socks and shoes off, wade into the water to check depth and grip, then at the other side of the ford a long wet steep hill with the V70 front wheels scrabbling for grip all the way up... and this was before I'd got the 750 on the trailer. For the return trip I made sure I came back on major roads and still stopped at Exeter services to shift the 750 on the trailer for better weight balance.

I get RAC through my bank but as said above RAC won't cover the caravan.. and even if they did they'd know I haven't shifted the car since my last dealings with them. Haven't asked around to see who has personal AA cover yet, son might have but he's just started his new job and probably wouldn't want to nip down to Cornwall. Don't mind waiting a couple of weeks before collecting the car and/or caravan, if there's a scheme like AA or Green Flag that becomes valid within a couple of weeks (of signing up) and covers the caravan I might as well just make myself a member? Might leave the caravan in Newquay longer than the car even if cover would get it back but would still want that sort of cover in case similar happens again.

If I use a recovery service then whatever else I decide I need to get back down in another car with another driver, or if recovery man knows I have 2 cars there he'll know I couldn't have driven both cars down, son and stepson aren't insured to drive the ML or Elgrand and don't really look old enough to be. So I should go back down with one of them in one of their cars.. but then if I get down there and a recovery firm refuse to shift anything I won't even be able to pull the caravan back. Wonder what questions might be asked and if RAC / Greenflag / AA share info?

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Joined: Mar 22 2016
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Worse ways if you have to go down, get them to relay the elgrand, and hook the caravan upto the ML. I sent cars on there way without me, just say you e just broken down and your still on your hols.

See link in pm, might be of use ?

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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Had a look at the link in your PM, yeh I might register with the scrap vehicle auction site and bid on the Elgrand you linked to.

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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I did register with the auction site in the PM but it eventually sold for too much really. Would have been well worth it as a repairable Elgrand or maybe even just for parts if I were to dismantle it and sell parts but I don't have the time... I might just buy an engine to fit in mine and let someone else profit from dismantling while I'm doing LPG stuff.

Became a member of AA with all the bells and whistles today. Clarified that they'll pick up a vehicle and deliver to where I say in the event I'm on holiday with the caravan and don't want to come home with the vehicle lol... £14 a month and can cancel with a months notice ;-) Plan is to nip to Cornwall on Wednesday and have a bit of a break in the caravan for a few days, will probably leave the caravan there when I come home and nip down again before the end of summer... but the Elgrand will be home soon lol.

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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Been back down Cornwall and the Elgrand got loaded on an AA recovery truck yesterday. It can take 48 hours for an unaccompanied vehicle to get home, I'm back home but the Elgrand isn't here yet. No rush, I still don't have an engine to put in it.

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Joined: Jan 16 2017
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Still more fun than sitting round waiting to be relayed over a long distance with it! It took me all day to get back home from j19 of the M6, not an experience I wish to repeat.

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Yeh was more fun than that Bri.
It arrived 11pm last night.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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I bet the driver had fun getting a transporter down your driveway......

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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Very easy access now, it's only when it gets overgrown that access gets bad but I generally cut it back every year using a petrol brush cutter. This year just after I'd cut it back a council hedge-trimmer tractor came past cutting hedges along Mill Lane, I flagged him down and asked if he'd come down the drive and cut the spruce way back if I paid him, he cut the trees, spruce and everything really way back. Every year I have around half a dozen large American RV's, half a dozen vehicle transporters and a few limos come down and this year it's been particularly easy for them. Just done a Hummer limo that had more ground clearance than most limo's but 'normal' limos don't have a problem either.

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Joined: Jan 16 2017
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I'm still puzzled by the caravan not being covered under your RAC policy - Everything in their blurb says it should be provided it was attached to the vehicle when the vehicle broke down.
From their T&C's on their website - https://www.rac.co.uk/pdfs/breakdown/310314-drive-uk-breakdown-terms-and-conditions.pdf

"Caravans or Trailers
If your caravan or trailer breaks down within the UK more than 1/4 mile from your home, we will send help to try and repair the caravan or trailer at the roadside. This could be a permanent or temporary repair. We will not provide any other cover under this policy if your caravan or trailer breaks down.
However if a vehicle breaks down and there is a caravan or trailer attached to it we will recover the caravan or trailer as well."

Is it just down to the cover you have because its through the bank and somehow different, or are they missing out the vital bit of it being provided, but not paid for under the cover?

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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That's interesting Bri, I'll look into this thanks but I suspect you're right again on it being due to being covered through the bank.

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I've got AA cover through my bank account and they took me, the car and the car transporter trailer I was towing at the time home. Admittedly it was only from Harlow to Peterborough and not a relay job but they still got everything back.

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I keep getting calls from claims companies who'd have me claim the fees I've paid Barclays for this 'enhanced' or whatever account. I've never used their travel insurance or mobile phone insurance but I have used the RAC a few times. I haven't taken any claims firms up on it because I went into the agreement with eyes open, I;m not a 'claims culture' type person anyway, and I did wonder if Barclays might close my account (which I use a lot for business) if I claimed which would be quite a hassle... But if I find there was small print which said the RAC cover was limited I might take them up on it. The first RAC guy was OK, we didn't fall out or anything but I got the full impression he didn't really believe the problems with the car and would in any case rather fob me off so he could get onto another job. He also told me we were on the top of Bodmin Moor so it was all downhill to Newquay when actually there were still the steepest hills to go up. If we'd gone with my suggestion in the first place or if it really was all downhill from there to Newquay my engine probably wouldn't be shafted now... but I know there are different ways of looking at it.