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Tourershine

Pilote.. 1 year later

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Last year moved from an Elddis Crusader to a 2015 Pilote Galaxy A-class.  Caravans and Motorhomes for those that don't know me, are my industry and I run a business working on the caravan and motorhome exteriors.  So my knowledge of Motorhomes, and Caravans is pretty in-depth.  Buying a Pilote was a personal choice, mainly down to the quality of the exterior finishes.  The interiors of most European Motorhome's seemed to be pretty consistently high quality. 

 

Since purchasing the Motorhome, i've carried out most of the work myself, but again that's a personal choice because I like to tinker, and more than able to do most jobs.  Plus when it's your own pride and joy, you do tend to go over the top when you modify or add things.  The Fiat part of the Motorhome, has not been without it's teething problems, and it's actually going into Fiat tomorrow for 2 recalls.  1, something to do with a faulty ignition, which people may know about, and 2, a strange issue with the clock binnacle, called 'dash bleed' where the warning lights are effected when the cruise control is activated.  Fiat are also programming a new master key because I lost mine the day before we went around Europe recently.  That's an expensive lesson I will try not to repeat.  £350 for the key and it programmed.  I've since purchased a set of keyring Trackers for all my vehicle keys! 

 

Any other issues with the Motorhome?... Yes.  A poorly designed double floor that I have no idea how it got passed by the Pilote technical/design department.

 

Basically as with many Motorhomes these days, they have a double floor, which gives you extra storage space under the floor, plus gives a nice home for all the water tanks, and as it's heated, it stops any freezing issues in the winter.  A great idea I thought, but in my model there's one of the daftest designs I've seen. They use internal hatches to access the underfloor compartments and these hatches are placed in several areas inside the motorhome.  The hatches are sat on top of wooden frames that are screwed into the floor from the underside.  Now, these frames are screwed into the floor with standard wood screws, but because the marine ply floor is not overly thick, the screws can only be screwed into the floor so far, to stop them coming through the floor and pointing out the other side. (can you see where this is going yet?)  Anyway... Pilote in their wisdom have placed the hatches smack in the middle of the floors where you stand and walk, one being right in front of the kitchen unit, where you stand for the longest.  Yep, the screws slowly pulled through the ply, and the hatches eventually collapsed!! Leaving a huge hole right in the middle of my Motorhome floor when I was on holiday.

 

Thankfully I had tools with me, and managed to temporally fix the issue by moving the screws into new holes.  This issue started as an annoying creak on the floor.  I pointed this creak out to my dealer, who then said they'd fixed it by spraying silicon spray around the hatch, because in their opinion the creak was just because the wood was moving slightly, and this was normal. (Hence why I now do everything myself)

 

I've since, modified this whole design, and thankfully it now works creak and bounce free.  On the same subject, the tie down bars in the garage, which are meant to be used to strap tight anything from a box, to a motorbike if needed, were also screwed into the ply with wood screws, and the 1st time I used a small ratchet strap to secure my push bike, it just lifted the tie down bar out the floor!  These have also now been modified to work properly.

 

Stupid problems, with fairly simple fixes, that should of been thought about when designing these parts of the Motorhome, so I'm not sure what went wrong in the factory there.

 

Anyway, other than these minor teething issues, which I do expect, the Motorhome has been pretty much the best decision my wife and I have ever spent our money on.  We've now done 9000 miles, and most of them were around Europe, visiting France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland (now our destination of choice), Germany, and many parts of the UK.  We love the Motorhome.  It feels like home to us now, and it always puts a huge smile on our faces when we pick it up from the storage site. (apart from tonight because I know it's going to have the warranty work done, and it fills me with horror watching my motorhome vanish behind those big garage doors) 

 

This is my pride and joy sat on the sea front in Salema Portugal.. 

  

IMG_4829.JPG

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:goodpostingsign:

Thank you for your excellent post Paul. What you say about the quality of the little things goes a long way to reflect my own opinion of the motorhome / caravan industry generally, in that money is spent making the product look good, while greater priority should be given to the basic design features that make the product robust.

Given that you have listed so many countries you have visited, I wonder if you had considered purchasing a LHD model, as I see that on your MH the "driver's" door is next to the front seat passenger :unsure: and there is not one by the driver.

Gordon.

 

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To be honest, it was never a consideration Gordon.  I'm not convinced the future residule value wouldn't be effected by owning a LHD motorhome.  Specially when you consider what they cost to buy brand new anyway.  You know how the dealers love to use any excuse to suck through their teeth like an old school plumber!  On the flip side, should I eventually sell privately, I might limit my UK buying market.  (not that I want to get rid in the near future anyway) but it's just the way my thought processes work.

 

Also, not having a drivers door, means I have a huge shelf to lean on whilst driving, and my wife who sits in the passenger seat has to always get the coffee and sweets from the services.. 

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18 hours ago, Tourershine said:

Also, not having a drivers door, means I have a huge shelf to lean on whilst driving, and my wife who sits in the passenger seat has to always get the coffee and sweets from the services.. 

I like your thinking ;) although I'm sure your good lady may hold an alternative opinion.

The most important thing is that you have your motorhome of choice as ultimately that's who it is for, not anyone who may eventually buy it from you!

Enjoy your travels...

Gordon.

 

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I had a toss up between a new Pilote or Sunlight at the NEC on a new motorhome order . The Pilote was very well finished with all glossy  two tone front cupboards and lots of hidden Led lighting . The Sunlight is a very basic Dethleff built just to do a job with no frills both on Fiat cab chassis's but also made it lighter . I looked at things like locks and hinges and the German had a slightly better feel and look  in quality . 

 

The final swing to the German Sunlight over the French was while in the Pilote a group of three wives were looking and while sharing the space and dancing between areas all of us one was saying that she had last year's model and was pointing out the lockers and cupboards but was also remarking that this and that had broken and it had been in for repairs . It seemed they used the motorhome a lot touring here and Europe but it was a bit of a eye opener so I ordered a new Sunlight for next October .

 

 

Dave

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Thanks for the review we are thinking of a Pilote for our next change, we thought that they might have a better grasp of materials use then Benimar who put screws straight into the sides of the plywood wardrobe floor and then mounted the spare wheel on it, of course the plywood d-laminated where the screws went in and the floor collapsed, I have repaired it by putting some support blocks in to hold the floor up, but they should have considered this while designing and building.

Maybe we will have to take a long look again.

 

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We have a lot of experience of all Motorhomes, old and new because it's my business, and in my opinion they all have their own small issues.  If you are quite handy, none of the things that have gone wrong with mine were hard to fix.  I still stand by my choice of manufacture, and I spent years asking my customers opinions on their own motorhomes before I settled with Pilote.  Should we change our current one anytime soon, it would take something very special to move me away from Pilote as a manufacture.  

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Interesting post about the sub floor, I would suggest if possible making sure the screws were brass if possible,I have seen how New screws just disintegrate when a little wet.

When we just got our new bus it was weighed up between the pilote and the autosleeper, went for the autosleeper in the end.

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On ‎2016‎-‎10‎-‎26 at 10:30, Gordon said:

:goodpostingsign:

Thank you for your excellent post Paul. What you say about the quality of the little things goes a long way to reflect my own opinion of the motorhome / caravan industry generally, in that money is spent making the product look good, while greater priority should be given to the basic design features that make the product robust.

Given that you have listed so many countries you have visited, I wonder if you had considered purchasing a LHD model, as I see that on your MH the "driver's" door is next to the front seat passenger :unsure: and there is not one by the driver.

Gordon.

 

 I fully agree, it is an excellent post. 

 

Gordon, I also think that the comment you made regarding basic design features is very valid also. I'll explain my take on that. As our Knaus had reached the ripe old age of 14, we decided to replace it. Looking round some of the bigger dealers here, we could not find a single motorhome that fitted our basic criteria. It had to be 1) under 6 metres long.  2) have a fixed bed, and 3) have a garage. If the Knaus had been lengthened, all of these design features could have been fulfilled. Of all of the ones we looked at, there were none that fitted exactly. Each and every one was over the 6 metre mark. It does therefore seem to me that manufacturers are giving more priority to looks than practicality. I wonder if this is because of what some people term the "Land Rover Syndrome."???

 

Eventually, we did find one that almost fitted our needs. So after a lot of adventures, the Knaus will soon be with new owners, whilst we have new ones to look forward to with one from the top selling manufacturer here,  Adria.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Scania said:

Eventually, we did find one that almost fitted our needs. So after a lot of adventures, the Knaus will soon be with new owners, whilst we have new ones to look forward to with one from the top selling manufacturer here,  Adria.

I think one can go a lot worse that choose an Adria and their approach appeared to be correct when I spoke to Slavica Sterk last year at the NEC.

I hope you enjoy your new acquisition.

Gordon

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Thanks for that Gordon. I wouldnt mind talking to someone from Adria either. I've discovered a couple of misses on their part with the design. Even so, they do seem to have put a lot of thought into things.

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On 10/08/2017 at 17:54, Scania said:

 

Eventually, we did find one that almost fitted our needs. So after a lot of adventures, the Knaus will soon be with new owners, whilst we have new ones to look forward to with one from the top selling manufacturer here,  Adria.

 

 

 

We worked on a 2017 Adria Sonic a couple of weeks ago.  This was the full Silver A-class, and it's not often we get to work on an Adria motorhome, simply because they are just not that common in my line of work, but I was very impressed with the quality of finish both inside and out.  If I ever thought about changing my much loved Pilote, i'd certainly look at Adria as a first option.

 

 

Just adding to my original post '1 year later'  it's now '2 years later....'  How time fly's when you have a Motorhome!

 

Anyway, my trusty Pilote has now clicked over to 13000 miles, and she's driven my family this year to ile de re in France for easter, then back over for our summer trip to again, France, Brienz in Switzerland, back over to Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland, and down to lake Como in Italy.  

No further issues this year.  A couple of the obligatory modifications for those of us that love to tinker, including a custom built bike storage set up in my garage, that securely holds 5 bikes, and still leaves room for the rest of our kit.  I gave her a full service this year, which I will always do myself, so I know exactly what's actually being done, and the quality of the parts I use, rather than just handing it to a garage or dealer to do.  

I do have a slight issue with my diamond cut wheels, where they lacquer is chipping very slightly (a common problem on most diamond cut wheels)  it's only a couple of tiny areas, and only noticeable to my fussy eye.  After lengthy emails back and forth of Fiat UK, they agreed to fully refurbish the wheels under warranty, but they wanted my Motorhome delivering to Birmingham and leaving with them for 2 weeks.  So I decided to just get them done myself by my bodyshop, rather than all that hassle.  Plus I know my shop will do them to my fussy standards. 

Other than that, the Pilote is running like a dream, and she's needed no extra money spending on her (other than the number plate, but that was more a luxury purchase) 

 

 

Here she is another year later, and still looking just as good as new, sat under Mount Jungfrau in Switzerland at Camping Jungfrau, one of the best locations in Europe in my opinion.

Before anyone comments on how close the pitches are to each other, that's my in-laws Burstner next to me, and we positioned them like that on purpose.

 

Jungfrau.jpg

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2 hours ago, Tourershine said:

 

We worked on a 2017 Adria Sonic a couple of weeks ago.  This was the full Silver A-class, and it's not often we get to work on an Adria motorhome, simply because they are just not that common in my line of work, but I was very impressed with the quality of finish both inside and out.  If I ever thought about changing my much loved Pilote, i'd certainly look at Adria as a first option.

 

 

 

That's good to hear as I have just ordered an Adria Sonic and it will be delivered in a couple of weeks time (it is in stock but the Spanish workers are on holiday for the whole of August so no one to PDI it).

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On ‎2017‎-‎08‎-‎19 at 10:13, Valkrider said:

That's good to hear as I have just ordered an Adria Sonic and it will be delivered in a couple of weeks time (it is in stock but the Spanish workers are on holiday for the whole of August so no one to PDI it).

 

There is one bad point about Adrias. The instruction book is not all that good. I'm being diplomatic saying that.

 

The first trip in it is now completed, so if anyone is interested, I'll take the lead from this thread and start  new one.

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7 hours ago, Scania said:

 

There is one bad point about Adrias. The instruction book is not all that good. I'm being diplomatic saying that.

 

The first trip in it is now completed, so if anyone is interested, I'll take the lead from this thread and start  new one.

Yes please. I don't get mine for a couple of weeks. We did have an Adria caravan and that manual was pretty good.

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Hi Paul - yours was the first post that came up when I Googled "motorhome hatch collapse" and coincidentally we also have a Pilote, an Explorateur 731. I'd echo your thoughts - an excellent motorhome but with some oddly shoddy design flaws. The hatch in the bedroom, between toilet and shower has all but collapsed as the screws slowly rip out. The fresh water tank, and pump, are under here and space is really tight so I can't just knock up some support struts to reinforce the inadequate wood glue and 4 x self tappers. Could you possibly elaborate how you fixed yours?

Cheers

Ross

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On 23/05/2019 at 23:39, Ross CB said:

we also have a Pilote,

The hatch in the bedroom, between toilet and shower has all but collapsed as the screws slowly rip out.

Hi Ross,

I'm a little late to the table with this thread and I'm not familiar with the hatch you describe but would something like the bracket below be useful in supporting the hatch? This should work providing the corners of the hatch are not too rounded, and there is sufficient strength in the surrounding framework to fix to.

Metal corner bracket.jpg

I used four of these brackets to add additional support to the spare wheel recess lid in several of our Avondale caravans. The image below shows the stowage area without the additional brackets, consequently the lid weight is being supported only by the soft plastic of the spare wheel recess. The brackets when fitted were screwed horizontally into the floor timber surrounding the hatch, with the bottom of the bracket aligned with the underside of the hatch lid. 

Spare Wheel carrier - Avondale Spare Wheel Stowage.jpg

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