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Motorhome Medics Miracles PDF Printable Version E-mail



Barry and Margaret WilliamCopy_of_IMG_2346.JPGson

January 2010

The address of the excellent Motorhome Medics (photo on right) is:

Swanbrook Bus Park, Golden Valley, Cheltenham, Gloucester GL51 0TE.

They are noCopy_of_MH21_Finland_Latvia_Riga.jpg more than 2 miles away from junction 11 on the M5. Leaving the M5 and going towards Cheltenham, take the first left at the first roundabout you meet and Motorhome Medics are about 1 mile on the right. The landline number is 01452 856856 and there are 2 mobile numbers for when they are out of the office: 07791 130888 (Darren) and 07976 414551 (Martin). Photo on left in Riga, Latvia.

Motorhome Medics' website is www.motorhomemedics.co.uk and you can email them at:

You should also visit Motorhome Medics Online RV Spares Shop. At the time of writing, there are 432 items for sale in their shop, under 23 headings, varying from essential replacements to useful gizmos and luxury accessories. Operating on EBay rules, you can also use your skill to pick up a bargain.

If you need to rest the night before your appointment in Cheltenham, or if the Medics keepFlair_(12).JPG you in overnight, the Caravan Club has a great site at the Cheltenham Racecourse (right), about 3 miles away (telephone: 01242 523102). The staff are friendly and competent, and the site is open to non-members. Sadly, it is closed in winter (November through March).

Much nearer Motorhome Medics, on the left just after the roundabout on your way in from the M5, there is an open-all-year campground with a heated toilet and shower block, combined with a motel. It is called 'Briarfields': phone  01242 235324 to book and pay in advance. It is very well equipped, efficiently run and very convenient for Motorhome Medics. It is also on a frequent bus route to both Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Hertz car rental is available just a short walk from Motorhome Medics (though it's listed as the Gloucester branch). Phone 01452 854477 or book through the Hertz website: www.hertz.co.uk.

Our Four Winds Motorhome

We bought a 27 ft FouMotorhome_in_Sahara_small.jpgr Winds US motorhome (in Morocco on the left) new in October 1994. It was in continuous use for 13 years, except for 3 breaks of one year each when it was stored in farmers' barns in Lancashire and Dorset while we made round-the-world journeys. It was house, home, hotel, restaurant, office and transport, covering over 90,000 miles (around 144,000 km) in every European country except Iceland, but including Morocco and Asian Turkey. It took us from Layoune in the disputed territory of the Western Sahara (as far south as that road safely goes and within 400 miles of the Tropic of Cancer) to Norway's Nordkapp (at 71 deg N, the world's most northerly point reachable by an ordinary road vehicle). It travelled from the Scottish Isle of Skye to Tarsus at the far eastern end of Turkey's Mediterranean coast. Exhaust_Pipe_Repairs[1].jpg

Roadside repairs in Greece on right. The engine and chassis had been regularly serviced by TB Turbo in Lancaster, Frenchies in March (Cambridgeshire), Gold in Alton (Hampshire) and a number of others in Germany, Greece, Turkey, France and Morocco. However, no-one had ever taken a serious, overall interest in the vehicle as a motorhome. No-one, that is, until we met Darren and Martin at Motorhome Medics in Cheltenham.

First Visit to Motorhome Medics, November 2005

The motorhome Banks_of_the_Tisza[1].jpgwas ready for Darren, and he for it. They were a good match. We had had years of make-do-and-mend on the road, putting up with or getting used to things that didn't quite work. The brakes and steering had never been very good; often they had been quite challenging - like the occasion when we drove back from Greece, over the Alps, with no rear brakes! A seized parking brake cable had rubbed the pads off the rear drum brake shoes, and the shoes in turn had worn a groove in the drum. In northern Hungary on the left.

This problem, and several others, were caused initially by Midland Motorhomes Barry_at_Work_in_Romania_1.jpgof Coventry who sold us the motorhome. Midland Motorhomes were good at selling and it really was the right vehicle for us (after much research on our part), but Midland were absolutely useless at servicing and repair. The seized brake cable was due to their negligence, and their attempt at repairing the worn-out rear brakes left them worse than ever. Among other things, they fractured a rear-axle oil seal and put parts back the wrong way round, reducing the efficiency of the brakes alarmingly. Wheel problems in Romania on the right.

This dangerous Albania_2007_(37).JPGnonsense was diagnosed and corrected by Gold in Alton, but Midland Motorhomes refused point blank to accept any responsibility, to make an apology or offer any recompense. Our advice is simple: keep away from Midland Motorhomes of Coventry! Don't even think about it! Rough roads in Albania on the left.

Motorhome Medics are the polar opposite. They Alb1_(58).JPGserviced the vehicle thoroughly, raising it to the point where it passed the MOT and, amazingly, they went on to make a complete inspection and report on the whole motorhome. This resulted in 30 or more items being repaired or replaced - by pre-loved items where available. In the mountains of Albania on the right.

We were truly Alb1_(26).JPGstaggered (rare for us, these days) at what they achieved within the time and within the price. In addition to the usual engine and chassis service (oil change, new filters, greasing, etc) and MOT, they fitted new disks and pads at the front, new lower suspension swivels, laser alignment of the steering, new front wheel trims, valve extenders on the rear double wheels, inflatable air bags in the front springs, fixed a defective water temperature gauge, changed the brake fluid, fitted new wiper blades, 7 new tyres and 2 new engine batteries (they were the 11-year-old originals). By the Adriatic in Albania on the left.

But their real achievement was inside the motorhome itself, where they Four_Winds_Interior_6.jpgcompleted about 30 jobs ranging from a full electrical and gas service (including changing the gas regulator), resealing the roof, fitting new hot water pipes and replacing all the following: the awning spring and ratchet, roof-top fridge vent cover, 2 x 12-volt leisure batteries, outside light, dump valves for the black and grey water, LPG regulator, toilet seat and lid, water heater blow-off valve, high humidity switch on the fridge, sewer hose traps, bumper end caps and 20 ft of sewer hose. Inside the Four Winds on the right.

The motorhome immediately felt and looked good enough for its long journey to Greece. Thanks, Darren and Martin and to Dave (of Essex) who recommended you.

Second Visit to Motorhome Medics, May 2006

(Written in Esztergom, on the River Danube in Hungary, en route to Romania)

Whilst we wereGR_Fini_07_(19).JPG wintering (2005/6) at Camping Thines at the southern end of the Greek Peloponnese, our 11-year-old American Norcold fridge/freezer split a pipe and spewed out a noxious and highly inflammable mix of ammonia and sodium chromate. Turning it off, we immediately emailed Motorhome Medics for advice. A Greek winter on the left and below.

There followed a long exchange of emails with GR_Fini_07_(21).JPGDarren (who often replied from home at the weekend) as we worked our way through the various options. Repair and replacement in Greece was not on; Darren was prepared to fly out with a new fridge/freezer; a new cooling unit could be obtained from the USA and fitted but this would be almost as expensive as a new fridge; there appeared to be a Norcold recall on this model due to this exact fault, but Darren's phone calls to the States produced a 'No' to the possibility of it applying to ours (not least because it was a 240-volt model); 3-way European Dometic models were available (the Norcold was just 2-way) at a lower cost than an imported Norcold replacement but they were slightly smaller . . . and so it went on.

This exchange enabledEaster_Grill_Greece.JPG us to decide eventually to return to the UK and fit the largest Dometic model (RM601L), since we couldn't continue our travels after Greece, during the summer, without a fridge/freezer. Darren arranged to have one in stock for our return and we also fixed for another MOT (to see us well into 2007) and a 5,000-mile service. A Greek Easter on the left.

Returning to the UK, we left the motorhome at Motorhome Medics for a week. We hired a car from the nearby (short walking distance) Hertz agent and visited friends and relatives while the work was completed.

A window had to be removed in order to take the Norcold out and get the In_Kyparissia_Greece.jpgDometic in. Serious woodwork was needed to fill the gaps left all the way round the smaller (but largest model) Dometic. In addition, Motorhome Medics carried out a full chassis service, successful MOT preparation and a number of minor repairs. Greek winter sunshine on the right.

They rectified Flair_(20).JPGa power steering fluid leak, removed and checked the serpentine power belt, and provided and checked the fit of a spare serpentine power belt (a previous one, needed in Budapest, had been too small to fit). They also replaced a broken locker latch, replaced the entry door lock and slider (well worn), fitted an additional external security lock, repaired the entry door step (it had been loose and at an angle), resealed the overcab window, fitted new bulbs in the interior lights (many of the existing ones, bought in Balkan and Greek shops, had been overheating and distorting the lenses), fitted a step rug (excellent) and generally got the motorhome ready for its present journey to north-eastern Romania and Scandinavia. At Motorhome Medics on the left.

We also arranged that Darren would buy a new awning fabric and a Pylos_Repair_Gang_Greece.jpgPolar-aire roof vent/fan (to replace the rarely-used air conditioner) from the US, to be fitted at our next visit, planned for the autumn. Greek repairs on the right.

We repeat the comment we made after the first visit: The motorhome immediately felt and looked good enough for its long journey, this time to Romania and Scandinavia. Thanks, Darren and Martin and to Dave (of Essex) who recommended you.

Third Visit to Motorhome Medics, November 2006

This was a brief visiMH1_In_Moldavia_-_Romania_2.jpgt for a full service and MOT following a 10,000-mile journey through Eastern Europe (Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Baltic Republics) and Scandinavia (Finland, Sweden, Norway as far as NordKapp, Denmark). They also replaced the awning fabric and fitted the Polar-Aire roof vent/extractor fan and, as ever, we had a warm welcome, cups of tea and competent workmanship at a fair price. In Romania's Carpathian Mountains on the left.

Fourth Visit to Motorhome Medics, May 2007

Returning to the UK after a 6,000-mile journey to and from Greece via Alb1_(99).JPGCroatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia), we began to consider a replacement for our well-travelled and long-suffering Four Winds motorhome. We learned that the Motorhome Medics were planning to import used motorhomes from the USA, after they had been personally inspected and chosen on the spot by Darren. Albanian roads on the right.

Fifth Visit to Motorhome Medics, October 2007

After a muchFlair_(25).JPG longer than expected stay in the UK, occasioned by the illness of Margaret's 93-year-old mother, we returned to Motorhome Medics to have a close look at a 26-ft Fleetwood Flair they had brought in from the USA. It was in excellent condition, with a low mileage and a recent refurbishment. Knowing that we would get the full co-operation of Darren and Martin in the exchange, we quickly reached an understanding and work began. Martin, Barry, Margaret and Darren on the left.

See images of the Fleetwood Flair, click: Fleetwood Flair Photos

For detailed information, click: Fleetwood Flair Info

The two motorhomes, Four Winds and Flair, were parked door-to-door aFlair_(28).JPGnd all our possessions were rapidly transferred (right). Some of the Four Winds fittings and fixtures followed us: bike rack, roof-top solar panels, catalytic gas heater, folding shower door, wall-fitting table/bottle holder, map reading light, cab curtain, cooker cover. Other accessories were added at our request, such as a large roof vent/fan in the bathroom and an 800W inverter. The overcab TV cupboard was remodelled to carry our laptops and printer, and a fixed double bed replaced the 2 singles.

Miracles completed, after a fill of LPG and of petrol we were on our way again!

Sixth Visit to Motorhome Medics, October 2008

We returned to CheltenhamT28_To_BSea_(13).JPG after an 8,200-mile (13,120 km) motorhome tour of Greece, Turkey (see left) and Bulgaria. The motorhome had run well, requiring only a simple oil change and greasing in eastern Turkey.

Returning to the UK, Darren and Martin were again waiting with enthusiasm to complete a full inspection and service, preparation for a successful MOT, a number of small repairs (brake pads, change of brake fluid, 3 new tyres, leaking dump valve, etc), the supply of spares (bulbs, engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, filters, sparking plugs, wheel nut covers, etc) and the fitting of some accessories (spot lights, macerator, Trik-L-Start, step mat, etc).

They also resealed the roof, steam cleaned the engine and cleaned the whole motorhome. What excellent service! Soon we were backon the road, more than ready for another European journey.

Motorhome Medics, July 2009

We returned to Cheltenham after a 5,000-mile loop through FraAwning_(10).JPGnce, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. On our way back we spent a few days in central France, recovering our awning from where it had been left, torn and broken, after a storm at the home of friends in November 2008 (see right).

Motorhome Medics put the awning back together again, reusing the roller and several of the struts, with new fabric. They also repaired a pipe running into the hot water tank, broken on the broken roads of Romania. A service, MOT and lots of encouraging words put us into shape for a long summer in Scandinavia.

Motorhome Medics, November 2009

We arrived back at Motorhome Medics after a 6,000-mile tour through Holland, Germany, Sweden, Finland,Sprinter_Small.jpg the Baltic Republics, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany and Belgium. From Budapest, we had arranged for the Medics to source and buy a short wheelbase Mercedes Benz Sprinter van on our behalf (see left). It was there, waiting for us in the Medics yard on our return, complete with a number of accessories and a full service.

The full story of this new way of travelling is given elsewhere on this website. Suffice to say that the Flair motorhome was put into winter storage while we set off for Italy and Tunisia, looking at a completely different way of travelling (or Sprinting).