The cooking appliances in the Accordo 120 that remain un-used
In addition to the 3 gas burners and single electric hot plate the Elddis Accordo range of motorhomes are equipped with a combination oven and grill, and also a built in microwave. Before buying our Elddis Accordo 120 my wife and I owned a Conway Countryman folding camper for four years, and the kitchen (if you can call it that) in the Conway had a dual gas ring only. As such, we find the kitchen in the Accordo 120 is very luxurious and, in all honesty, too much for our needs.
When we saw the cooking facilities in the Accordo 120, and ordered one, we had thoughts of cooking up wonderful meals and dinners and using the oven to its full potential. Similarly, we had plans with the microwave too. A year and a half on, and the combination oven and grill remains totally untouched and unused. A year and a half on, and the microwave has been used as an extra storage space for packet foods on a few occasions. The combination oven and grill, and the microwave has been wasted on us, and they will continue to be so in the future.
When we used the Countryman folding camper we devised a range of different meals we could prepare using the limited cooking facilities we had. Despite having just two rings we developed an extensive range of tasty meals over the years, which we both enjoyed. It seems that we enjoyed our “Countryman Menu” so much that we have continued to use it in the Accordo as well. Consequently, the combination oven and grill, and the microwave are redundant.
For us, the cooker and the microwave take up valuable space that would be more suited to be more cupboard space. Our Accordo 120 is a Brownhill’s special and it is what it is, i.e. we had no say over anything, but had we been given the choice to have or not have the microwave and oven, we would have chosen not to. It wasn’t until after ordering the Accordo we started thinking about the meals we were going to do with the oven and microwave, or not as it has transpired.
I have been told on more than once occasion that we are not using our Accordo to its full potential and that we should use the combination oven, grill and microwave but I don’t see the point. We are both more than happy with what we eat and how we eat, so I don’t see the point in changing it.
After reading reports of delamination occurring in the kitchen area of other Elddis motor homes (and not just the Accordo range) because of the heating/cooling and condensation caused when using the oven and the microwave I am actually glad we never have used these appliances. From what I can tell they are more trouble than they are worth. The Elddis motor home owners suffering the delamination have had to spend a lot of their own money to get the problems sorted out as it is not covered by the Elddis warranty.
Some of the members in the club we are a member of have suggested removing the combination oven and the microwave and replacing with standard cupboards. This is a good suggestion and I did look in to this but when I got a quote for the job to be done I soon knocked that idea on the head. Even though we could sell the combination oven and grill, and the microwave by way of a credit against the work, the cost was several hundred pounds and I am not prepared to part with any more money to do so. The additional space would be nice, but we can cope as it is, so that is how we are going to leave it. Besides, removing the oven and the microwave would substantially de-value our Accordo so it would be worth a lot less when it is time to upgrade. If we changed the oven and microwave to additional cupboards we would effectively be spending money to make our Accordo worth less, which is pure stupidity.
As it stands we are carrying around two redundant appliances that are not only taking up space but also adding unnecessary weight. Oh well……..
Whilst trying to sort out an issue with the cabin curtains (I guess that should be lack of them) in the Elddis Accordo a local dealer recently made a very good point.
When we collected our Accordo from Brownhills (a dealer I cannot and would not recommend) we were given some privacy curtains for the cabin but no curtain rail, so we could not hang them. After several months of messing around trying to get a curtain rail from Brownhills (we collected the motor home from Brownhills 30 July 2016 and as of 27 December 2016 the issue had still not been resolved) the time came to give it up as a bad job, foot the bill ourselves and get some help and advice from a local Elddis dealer.
Even though Brownhill’s sent a curtain rail for another dealer to install in the cabin, it was totally the wrong part (again – yep, Brownhills had previously sent us an incorrect rail) and didn’t fit even though the local dealer did a great job at trying to get it to fit.
During discussions with the local dealer he happened to mention that he had never seen a motorhome with cabin curtains that didn’t have tie backs to retain the curtains when not in use. Curtain tie backs are essential yet we were so wrapped up in getting the curtain rail fitted we didn’t even think about tie backs, and guess what else Brownhills had not provided in our BRAND NEW motorhome. Yep – you guessed it. Curtain tie backs.
When Brownhills received our motorhome from Elddis the curtain rail was missing and so were the tie backs, and rather than Brownhills vehicle preparation team actually doing their job and checking to see everything was included in the vehicle they simply let it go and got us to collect it.
I don’t know if Elddis were meant to fit the curtain rail and tie backs at the factory or whether it is Brownhills vehicle preparation team’s job to sort it out, but whoever should have sorted it – they didn’t. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with Brownhills but they don’t give two s***s about a motor home once they have their grubby hands on your money. As long as they have the money and you have motorhome (whether it is complete or not) they don’t care and that is the transaction over.
Buying a motorhome from Brownhills has been the most stressful thing me and the wife did over 2016 and it has been a nightmare since we ordered the Accordo back in April 2016. The curtain rail is just one of the issues – there are loads more all included in this blog post.
If you think I am being a little over the top about Brownhills you may want to read about my other aftersales experiences with the “UK’s largest motor home dealer” and where (as we were told by the salesman) “We pride ourselves on our customer and aftersales service”
One bad/poor experience is forgivable, two bad/poor experiences is just bad luck……… any more than that is simply unacceptable and is a clear indication Brownhills is not a company I want to do business with in the future, and as such a company I would never recommend.
“Problems with the habitation door” – After three weeks the habitation door decided to play silly beggars and refused to shut on a dark and rainy night. If you want to see how we were treated by Brownhills with this feel free to take a look. I think you may be surprised by Brownhills response. Here's the blog post.
“Brownhills and the missing curtain rail” - When we picked up our Accordo 120 it was missing the curtain rail. The curtains and curtain hooks were there, but no rail. If you want to see just how long Brownhills took to deal with this, and the fun and games I had in getting it sorted you may want to read this. It would be laughable if it weren’t true. Here's the blog post.
“Brownhills and the damaged cushion” – When we picked up our brand spanking new and unused Accordo 120 it had a damaged cushion. If you want to see the hoops I had to jump through, how long Brownhills took to sort it, and the way the whole matter was incompetently dealt with you may want to read this. This episode beggars belief. Here's the blog post.
“Brownhills charging eighty four quid for a repair quote” – There isn’t an error in the title, and it definitely shouldn’t be Brownhills charging £84 for a repair. I have never had to pay for a repair quote in my life and there was no way I was going to this time. Being told to pay for a quote wasn’t the worst part, and I could live with that, the worst part was the way we were treated by the service desk. It was absolutely disgusting, and you may wish to read about it here. Here's the blog post.
For reasons I am sure you can work out for yourself I have been putting off putting this on my blog until the issue was resolved. Well, it finally is (and sorting it out was like pulling teeth) and I can now freely post this and share my experience of Brownhill’s customer service…………….
When we picked up our Elddis Accordo 120 we were given a hand over session and demonstration where we were meant to be shown where everything was, and how everything worked. Since we were given the last slot of the day there wasn’t enough time to go through everything as thoroughly and the bloke doing the demonstration rushed it to make sure he could leave off work on time. I don’t blame the bloke for this, after all he should only have to do his working hours, but I do blame Brownhills for allotting a late slot where there is insufficient time left during opening hours to do a proper handover.
During the handover the bloke showed us the cabin curtains, and said that everything we needed to hang them was in the bag, but “there wasn’t enough time to show us how to hang the curtains”. Curtains are curtains right, so hanging them shouldn’t cause any issues so we left it as was and agreed to have a go at hanging them once we got home. I have to say that I wasn’t overly fussed about the cabin curtains and was more than happy with blinds but my wife was adamant she wanted curtains in the cabin.
The day after picking up the Accordo we thought we would get the curtains hung in preparation for our first trip. When we went to hang the curtains the first thing we noticed that there was no curtain rail in the cabin. The curtain rail clips were there, the curtains were there and the curtain hooks were there, but there was no curtain rail. Great.
We were told by the bloke to call Brownhills if we had any problems, so we called Brownhills, explained there wasn’t a curtain rail and asked for one to be posted out. The person we spoke to on the phone told us to check all the cupboards, the wardrobe, under the seats etc. because there MUST be a curtain rail in the van. Hmmmmm………… funnily enough, we thought we would have a look around the van for the curtain rail before calling, and we had been through the entire van cleaning out all the sawdust and muck that hadn’t been cleaned up before we picked up the van (which I was not overly impressed about).
Even though we had checked the van I humoured the bloke on the phone and told him I would go and double check and call him back if I couldn’t find the curtain rail, which is what I did. The bloke on the end of the phone said that he would put in a warranty claim for the curtain rail and requested photos of the curtain rail clips and photos of the place where the curtain rail should go in the cabin so he could order the rail.
I was stunned by the response. Brownhills sold me the van so surely they should know what part I need? And given the van is a Brownhills dealer special do they not know what they are selling? The curtain rail was damaged so it isn’t a warranty claim – it just wasn’t there. I started to doubt Brownhills competence at this point, but I did what was asked of me and took a few photos – although I have no idea why.
After four weeks of calls and emails I decided I would try and source the curtain rail myself. I was getting nowhere with Brownhills, they seemed totally incompetent at dealing with my issue (or were they just not bothered?) and my wife wanted to hang the curtains (for privacy) for an up and coming trip. After contacting Elddis direct I was told to go back to the dealer because only the dealer could source the part – great. I had no option other than waiting for Brownhills after sales department to get the part for me, and I wasn’t holding out much hope for a quick resolution.
As time went on I was getting more and more annoyed and frustrated. There was nothing I could do, I even offered contacting another Elddis dealer to source the part and then re-invoicing Brownhills but I was told “It doesn’t work like that” so there was nothing I could do other than emailing and calling Brownhills. Before we bought the motorhome we had read that Brownhills customer services weren’t that good, but I really didn’t think it would be this bad. I was coming up with solutions (I refer to sourcing the part and letting them pay for it) and Brownhills poo pooed them, but they weren’t solving the issue for me.
Nine weeks past and we were booked to go to the Lake District and wanted the curtains hung for that trip, but as I am sure you have already guessed we still didn’t have the curtain rail. Nine weeks to source a curtain rail is an absolute joke and Brownhills should be ashamed, but as I have since discovered Brownhills is a dealership who don’t care about after sales service and once they have your money and have given you your motorhome that’s it. Once you have your motorhome every problem and every issue is yours and they couldn’t give two s***s. This “It’s your problem” wouldn’t bother me quite as much if I hadn’t offered to source the part myself and for them to then decline and tell me not to. What more can I do?
Basically I have been at the mercy of Brownhills, which is not good. After several more emails and calls I finally got given a delivery date (that is the curtain rail delivered to Brownhills and not to me), which was the end of the second week in October. A fixed date at last, although I was sceptical that it was going to arrive. When the due date arrived I emailed Brownhills, and guess what – no response. Since the bloke I was dealing with didn’t get back to me I had no choice but to call (which during my office hours and in an open plan room is a bit of a faff) and was told he was not in the office. Hmmmmm…………
I did finally get a positive response from Brownhills and was asked if I wanted the curtain rail couriered over, whether I wanted to go and collect it (and go on a 220 mile road trip – putting miles on my car and also burning £s worth of fuel, I don’t think so) or whether I wanted to put it on hold until the cushion was ready for delivery. I thought I’d opt for the latter – after all I had waited 11 weeks for the curtain rail so another two weeks wouldn’t be too much of a hassle.
After a lot of messing around the curtain rail (or what appeared to be the curtain rail) was delivered with the cushion 3 months after we collected the Accordo. Not very impressive is it!?! When I finally opened the box containing the curtain rail (which DPD damaged (and I mean DAMAGED) in transit) I found it comprised of a single length of metal that was bent in a place I didn’t think it should be bent. Yep – the monkeys at DPD had damaged the curtain rail too. Great………..
On closer inspection I noticed the curtain rail was incomplete and there should have been two separate sections, however Brownhills only sent one. What on earth were they playing at?!? Not only did it take 3 months for delivery but it was not right either. You’d think that when Brownhills received the curtain rail from Elddis they would actually check the part or even try it in the Accordo 120 in their show room, to make sure it was right. You’d think this would happen, but it obviously didn’t. Brownhills are either totally incompetent and don’t know what they are doing/selling or they can’t be bothered once they get their grubby hands on your money and get their fat commission cheque from the motor home manufacturer. The big question is – which one is it? Is Brownhills full of untrained staff who need kicking in to shape or do Brownhills not give two s***s about their customers? I’ll let you decide.
With the damaged and incomplete curtain rail I contacted Brownhills (again) to sort the problem. Brownhills immediately blamed Elddis and the Elddis lead times, which I thought was unprofessional. At the end of the day I wasn’t bothered who was at fault or who was to blame – I just wanted the problem sorted out so my wife could hang the cabin curtains (and stop chewing my ear off) and so we didn’t have to deal with the condensation problems using the interior blind.
As of today the issue is still ongoing and I have had enough. The time has come to go and see our local Elddis dealer, foot the bill ourselves and rectify it. Brownhills have defeated me – yet another case of the large corporation defeating the small man and it makes my blood boil.
If you have been following my blog you will already know about the fun and games I had with the missing curtain rail, and how it took an absolute age to get the issue resolved. Well, at the same time there was another issue going on, that took just as long and was dealt with just as incompetently.
When we got the Accordo 120 back home and had a chance to have a proper look over it we discovered there was a big mark, which looked like a burn mark, on one of the seats. If we had bought a used motor home we wouldn’t have done anything about it, but since we had a brand spanking new and totally unused motor home the interior should have been mint, i.e. perfect and there should have been no blemishes at all. After spending so much money we were very disappointed that the interior wasn’t perfect so we called Brownhills to get a new cushion.
Had the handover the previous day not been so rushed (Brownhills decided to give us a very late time slot which meant the bloke doing the handover started to rush towards the end and even miss important things out so he could leave off on time) we would have noticed the mark on site – it was in a prominent place you couldn’t miss. Anyway, we didn’t get the chance to look over the van on site, and it was missed until the following day.
After calling Brownhills I was asked to email over photographs of the mark, which I assume was to prove I wasn’t lying (so much for “the customer is always right”!) which I duly did. I was then asked to identify the precise cushion (which I did in my first email with the photos) and measure it. I have to say that if Brownhills don’t know the size and dimensions of their own Dealer special motor homes there is something a bit wrong there! Okay, they may not have known the measurements right away but given there is an Accordo 120 sat in their showroom on display (I saw it a few weeks later when we stayed there the night during our week at the Lake District) they could have gone in to the show vehicle and measured the cushions – but no. I had to do all the work and get out in the van with the tape measure, note down the measurements and email them over to Brownhills.
After I sent the measurements I was then asked to go and look at the sticker on the back of the cushion and note down all the different numbers on it. Why didn’t they ask for this when they sent the measurements? Surely the should know what colour and type the fabric is – It is their dealer special (i.e. unique to them) after all! It was obvious Brownhills were making the process as awkward as possible for me – I can only assume so I would just throw my hands up in the air and say “ah….. that’s okay. I’ll just live with the damaged cushion in my brand new motorhome I spent more than twice my gross annual salary on” Little do they know that I know my consumer rights and I was not going to be fobbed off.
Once again, I sent the boke I was dealing with all the numbers, asked if there was anything else I needed to do and then left them to sort the problem out.
Long story short, the new cushion had to go through a warranty claim procedure, which “does take time”. I was also told that since the cushion has to be provided direct from Elddis it will be part of one of their new batches and this can also take 4 – 6 weeks. This bloke was giving me every excuse under the sun as to why it was taking so long, and then went and started to blame Elddis for the hold up and that their hands were tied. Over a period of several weeks there were phone calls and email exchanges but nothing was getting sorted out.
Whilst the issue was ongoing I noticed Elddis started following me on Twitter and started re-tweeting some of my tweet about the adventures (or rather fun and games) we were having in our Accordo 120. After nine weeks and in desperation I sent Elddis a tweet asking what their lead time on a replacement cushion was, and I actually got a response asking for more information, i.e. the chassis number etc. so the marketing department could follow the issue up and see what was happening, when Brownhills ordered the cushion and when it was likely to be delivered. Unfortunately, the response came a day before we were due to disappear for our week in the Lake District, followed by a week in Melverly. I didn’t think it was worth bothering responding since I would have had to disappear off during email exchanges.
Whilst on holiday I decided to wait until we got back to see if the bloke I was dealing with at Brownhills had actually got the cushion (and the curtain rail) for us and was going to send it over before going back to Elddis and starting to chase through Twitter. Even though Brownhills had made me do the work and been awkward about the issue, dragged their feet and then passed the blame over to Elddis about their manufacturing process I still felt that it was only fair to give Brownhills this one last chance. I really don’t know what is wrong with me at times, I mean I should have been fuming and should have gone direct to Elddis and got the ball rolling with them on my return from holiday, but I was giving Brownhills the chance to redeem themselves. This didn’t mean I was happy though, in fact I was so far from happy it was beyond belief and the longer the issue took, the more dealings I had with Brownhills the more and more they were going down in my estimations and the more and more reluctance I was building up about using them for anything, and I mean anything in the future. I was going to get Brownhills to service and MOT the van, I was going to get them to keep it running sweet, do the habitation checks and also deal with any problems we had. When the time comes I would have traded in the Accordo 120 with Brownhills against another new motor home too, but after this (together with all the other customer service issues I had with them) once this episode was dealt with I would never set foot in Brownhills again, and I would never recommend them either.
I did finally get the cushion 3 months after reporting the problem however taking delivery was a real mission. Despite asking Brownhills on more than one occasion to send the cushion to my office (there was guaranteed to be someone there to sign for it) the parts department thought they would send it to my home – where there is no one to sign for it during the week. I explained this to Brownhills yet they still thought they would deliver the cushion to my home. Great.
DPD, the couriers Brownhills used, obliterated the box in transit, left the package with some bloke ten doors down the road (who is a total stranger) and “forgot” to put a card through my door. Had I not used the online checker I would never have known the cushion was delivered, however I still had to go “door knocking” down the street and locate the (damaged) package. Fortunately, the cushion was okay (which was the main thing) and I finally had it. The delivery experience has shown me I will NEVER use DPD couriers for any items I have to send off.
The whole cushion episode was a faff from start to end, and it annoyed me and upset my wife so much we have vowed never to buy anything from Brownhills again. I appreciate it could have happened with any dealer, however dealing with Brownhills has been painful and I have absolutely no trust in them whatsoever. The way some of the staff have treated my wife and I has been disgusting, appalling, condescending and rude. That said there was one person who was very helpful – it’s a shame he is the only one.
Once Brownhills get your money and close the deal that’s it, and they move on to the next “victim”. After sales service and care is non-existent and the way you get treated by the salesman post sale is awful. The salesman dealing with us was all nice and jolly (and our friend) during the deal but once we took delivery he was horrible and showed his true colours. Any issues I had I asked for him and he instantly put me through to someone else. Hmmmmmm……………….
This experience has been a lesson learned and that is DON’T USE BROWNHILLS MOTOR HOMES.
Since I picked up my Elddis Accordo 120 from Brownhills I have had a few ongoing issues that I wanted to resolve and I didn’t think it was fair to make several rant posts without giving Brownhills the chance to sort everything out in the first instance. Because of this I have put off sharing this post, however the time has come and I think it is now time to share what I really think of Brownhills after sales and customer service.
“What do I think of Brownhills after sales and customer service?” In a nutshell it is terrible and a company the size of Brownhills should be ashamed of how they treat customers after they have taken their money and provided a motor home. The motor home manufacturers who supply Brownhills with motor homes to sell need to be careful because customers may start associating the after sales service Brownhills provides with the actual brand of motorhome they buy, which is not a fair reflection on the motorhome manufacturer.
Sure, Brownhills have their “club Brownhills” with all these so called perks, offers an deals for people (like me and the wife) who have spent thousands and thousands of pounds with them, but this club Brownhills is, in the big scheme of things, rubbish. Club Brownhills is nothing but a sweetener for people who have bought from Brownhills once to buy their next motorhome from Brownhills. It’s all for show and nothing else.
When it comes to the things that really matter in after sales and customer service, like actually dealing with problems and issues arising with the motor homes they sell Brownhills haven’t got a clue about customer service whatsoever, and I am living proof of that. Below are my experiences of dealings with Brownhills customer service and after sales service that may be of interest. I’ll let you make up your own mind though.
Brownhills customer service – Experience 1
When we picked up our motor home one of the cushions was damaged and had what looked like a burn mark on it. Since it was a brand new motor home costing several thousand pounds, the furnishings should be perfect so we asked for a new one, which I nor anyone I have told thought was unreasonable. Getting the replacement cushion not only took months but it was an absolute faff (I had to send photos, I had to measure the cushion and send measurements, I had to provide batch and serial numbers – It’s a little concerning when Brownhills don’t know the size and colour of the cushions of their dealer special van.
Brownhills customer service – Experience 2
When we picked up our motor home the cabin curtain rail was missing. This may not seem like a big deal, and it shouldn’t have been but getting one from Brownhills took several weeks, and once again was an absolute faff (I had to send several photos – Again, a little worrying when Brownhills don’t know the size and length of the curtain rails they put in their own dealer special van!)
During the episode (after four weeks) we wanted the cabin curtains for a long weekend away so I offered to go to a local Elddis dealer and get them to source the curtain rail (I contacted Elddis myself and they said I had to go through the dealer) and I would send Brownhills the invoice. Brownhills told me “That was not how things are done” and that they “would get it in” I offered to do my bit but Brownhills refused and then took ages to deliver
Brownhills customer service – Experience 3
After three weeks of owning the Elddis Accordo the habitation door decided that it wasn’t going to close, and to make things worse it was dark and chucking it down with rain. No matter how many times I tried shutting the door, it simply wouldn’t close shut. We managed, with the help of a small screw driver, to prise the latch down from the inside and at least get the door closed and sealed for the night.
The following day we opened the habitation door and, once again it refused to shut. This time we couldn’t prise the latch down from the inside, so we thought we would call Brownhills for some advice. My wife called Brownhills and asked to speak to someone and she was told there was no one in the service team to talk her. My wife casually mentioned she thought the workshop was open 7 days a week, in which case the person on the end of the phone said it was but the service engineers were not able to talk to anyone and to call back Monday.
My wife explained the situation and the person the phone said to take it in. Brownhills is a 120 mile trip and, as my wife pointed out to the person on the phone, you can’t drive the van with the habitation door open. My wife had to plead with the person on the end of the phone for help, and my wife was told an email would be sent to the workshop for someone to call back, but there was no guarantee they would.
In desperation my wife called a local motor home supplier (not an Elddis dealer) and one we had never been to for some advice, and the bloke she spoke to talked her through everything on the phone (which took some fifteen minutes or so) and the problem was sorted out – Now that’s what you call service (and it’s not ever after sales service or customer service) and Brownhills could learn a lot from this dealer. I am going to say that this dealer was Becks Motor Homes in Rollesby, and it is a real shame they are not Elddis dealers or an authorised Elddis service centre because I would use this company like a shot!!
When we went to stay at Brownhills on route to the Lake District we went to see if a service engineer would come and have a quick look at the door, and after explaining the situation we were told that it would cost £84!!
Brownhills customer service – Experience 4
On the way to Brownhills (we booked to stop there for a night on route to the Lake District) I damaged the van, and the wife was worried that I had done something serious and wanted to know if it was safe to carry on our journey to the Lake District or whether we needed to take it in for immediate repair. On explaining the situation to the women on the service desk I was told that to have someone have a look at the damage would cost £84, although this would be refunded if Brownhills did the repair. That’s right Brownhills wanted £84 for someone to have a quick look at some damage and let me know if the van was safe to drive or not.
The following day a Brownhills service engineer did take a look at the damage (he spent less than three minutes and concluded it was cosmetic only) but it took my wife (who was worried sick whether the van was even safe to drive home to get it repaired let alone another three hundred miles to the Lake District, and four hundred miles home again) to go and beg the woman on the service desk for some help. Hmmmmm……. To say that I was not impressed is an understatement and if this is what Brownhills make their customers do before helping out there is something not right.
Use Brownhills at your peril!
As you can see I have had my fill of dealing with Brownhills aftersales service and customer service team and I am going to do my best to never deal with them again. In the beginning, i.e. when the salesman is trying to sell you a vehicle, they can’t do enough for you and the claim the “after sales service is second to none”, blah blah blah. YAWN…………………….. Once the salesman has bagged a sale and the handover is done that’s it. As far as Brownhills are concerned you are off their books as a “dead duck”. Sure, you get offered the Club Brownhills stuff (so you keep Brownhills on your radar for your next motor home purchase) but other than that you are of no use. By this time the Brownhills sales team are busy courting other potential customers and trying to get their grubby little hands on their money. The whole thing stinks and quite frankly, it is disgusting and not how I want to do business.
I am a loyal customer and if Brownhills had treated me right they would have had a customer for life, or at least as long as I own a motorhome, and considering I am only 34 years old there is (potentially) many years left in me. Had Brownhills treated me right I would take my motor home there for servicing, repairs and any work needed doing, and when I was there getting the work done I would most likely have gone to the accessory shop too. Since Brownhills are done with me (they have our money) I am done with them and I consider any ongoing business relationship null and void.
If you are considering using Brownhills to buy a motor home please tread carefully. If you get a motor home with no problems you’ll be okay, but if you experience some issues getting them sorted is going to be massive headache for you, and it’ll take a long time. If you live on Brownhills’ door step it won’t be too bad but if you live a few hundred miles away or even more) the smallest of issues becomes a big issue and Brownhills customer service team and after sales service team won’t give two hoots about you.
Since we bought our motor home I have received a few emails from Brownhills with a link to their customer satisfaction questionnaire, which I have not (and will not) be completing. Rather than filling in some ill thought out tick box form I think the best way for Brownhills’ customer service team to see how they did with our motor home is to take a look at my blog posts, so please feel free to post this (and all my other Brownhill’s related posts) on any website, forum, Facebook page, Twitter page or any other social media page you consider fit.
Our two week adventure in the Elddis Accordo 120 (one week in the Lake District and the other on the Welsh borders) has been our first proper outing in the Accordo 120. We did get a chance to spend the August bank holiday in it however we didn’t go far, and three days really isn’t long enough to test everything out, is it. The August bank holiday trip was a bit of a learning curve, however the two week adventure was a massive learning curve and it has showed me many things.
Being total newbies to the world of motor homing made the trip daunting but great fun. There were loads of highs, plenty of lows, a lot of laughs, many arguments and disagreements, there were tears of joy and tears of anger. It was a roller coaster of emotions, however we got through it and we are more eager now to get out in it again.
I did learn/realize a lot of the two weeks, as below………………..
1. We definitely made the right decision with the Accordo 120
When we were looking around different motor homes we decided we wanted a rear lounge layout and took a punt on ordering the Accordo 120 without even seeing one. Sure, we saw other Elddis Accordo motor homes so we kind of knew what to expect, but we never got to see the Accordo 120 until we went to pick it up. After two weeks away I, make that we, are one hundred percent sure we made the right choice. Making the bed every night and packing it away gets tiresome (I won’t lie about that) the lack of a garage makes storage more awkward, but the rear lounge is worth the compromises. It is simply awesome.
2. Two weeks is easily doable in the Accordo 120
We have never been on a two week holiday on any vacation, let alone a camping one. The longest holiday we have done was a 10 night holiday to Turkey where we stayed in a hotel. Going away for 14 nights in one go was daunting, and we didn’t know if we had bitten off more than we could chew. Now it’s over, I can confirm two weeks at one time is doable and we could easily do many more, which is a god job because my wife’s new job contractually states she has to take two consecutive weeks off per year.
3. To always remove the wheel clamp
I admit I was an idiot, jumped the gun and forgot to remove the Milenco wheel clamp before moving the Accordo 120 forward to load up the bikes. Needless to say I did a fair amount of damage, but got off quite lightly by the looks of it. I have yet to have a quote for the repair but I am guessing it won’t be cheap. That’ll teach me!
4. Brownhills charge £84 to quote for a repair job
You did read this right. Brownhills want £84 just to quote for a repair job. I have never had to pay for any quote before (i.e. building work, plumbing work, electrical work, solicitor’s services or anything else) so I’ll be damned if I am going to pay £84 to Brownhills to quote for some repair work – they can whistle for that, and if they don’t want my business that’s fine with me and I will go elsewhere.
5. Brownhills after sales service is the worst ever
My wife wanted some advice re the damaged wheel arch and wanted to know if the Accordo 120 was safe to drive or whether it needed to be left with them for repair. Basically, she wanted re-assurance. The woman on the service desk at Brownhills was rude, obnoxious and very unhelpful. My wife basically had to beg for someone to come and spend 5 minutes to give her peace of mind, which given we spent several thousand pounds just two months before is absolutely disgusting. We are not impressed or happy with the after sales service at all.
6. I need to make friends with my local Elddis dealer
The way Brownhills have treated us over several issues and problems have shown that I need to take a trip to a local Elddis motor home dealer and see if they are prepared to service, MOT, do the habitation checks and help us keep the Accordo 120 running sweet.
7. I’ll never stay at Brownhills site again
After a night stop off at Brownhills site, on route to the Lake District, I have reached the conclusion I am never going to stay there again. Even though we can stay there for free I prefer to pay for an alternative campsite instead. There are many things I dislike about the Brownhills site, and to go through them all is a post in itself. Take a look at my “campsite reviews” if you want to read my full review of the Brownhills site.
8. Track pants only in the Elddis Accordo 120
As much as I like the furnishings in the Elddis Accordo 120 it does have one massive flaw in that it shows every single mark. If you leave something on the cushions it leaves a mark, the bed slats mark the cushions and just sitting on the seats mark them. Jeans and jeggings (for the wife of course) are a big no no. Combat trousers are a big no no. Any trousers with buttons, zips or poppers are a big no no. If I want to keep the marks down to a minimum I have to wear track pants – which is not great. If we bought a standard Elddis Accordo 120 we wouldn’t have this problem – we bought the Brownhills dealer special Accordo 120 with their own unique fabric.
9. Getting replacement cushions is going to a nightmare
Since we bought the Brownhills dealer special Accordo 120 with the Brownhills unique colour scheme getting cushions repaired or replaced is going to be impossible without going back to Brownhills. Hmmmm…… the phrase “Stuck between a rock and a hard place” springs to mind. If you are thinking of buying a dealer special motor home this is something you really do need to consider.
10. The A1 is a road that never sleeps
Spending a night at the Brownhills campsite by the side of the A1 was the worst thing we could have done before a long drive up to the Lake District the following day. Traffic noise never usually bothers me, and I can sleep through anything. Not this time though, with traffic thundering up the A1 non-stop a sleepless night was the result.
11. Always carry a sink plug
Although Brownhills has washing up facilities they don’t provide washing up bowls and neither do they leave plugs in the sink. In the toilet block there are basins but no plugs. How ridiculous is that! With no plug I couldn’t shave, so I was not happy. At the first opportunity I bought a selection of sink plugs that now stay in the Elddis Accordo 120.
12. A small tool kit is essential
During the two weeks away I needed to adjust the TV bracket (the TV was on the huh), tighten up the toilet cassette locker door (it was catching) and screw a bit of the pull out bed back on (it fell off) amongst other things. The problem is I couldn’t do any of these things because I didn’t have any tools whatsoever, not even a screw driver. I need to have a real think about the essential things I need to put in a small tool kit to live in the Accordo 120.
13. Plan the route at home and don’t trust the satnav
Up in the Lake District I blindly followed the Tom Tom satnav and ended up doing a 12 mile stretch down a single track road that was up hill, down dale and pretty scary to drive down. The drive down the road was stressful and something I don’t want to go through again. In the future I am going to get the route from the AA Routefinder website where I can use via points and the like to stay on the big roads. I am going to Google Earth the smaller roads and see just what they are like and amend the route as necessary. I will then print off all routes and follow them. I will continue to use the satnav but only for emergency use, i.e. diversions and the like.
14. The Lake District is a nightmare to drive through
The roads in the Lake District are narrow, twisty, undulating and has stone walls either side. There is also a lot of vegetation lining the roads that scratch the hell out of the van if you get too close. Driving in the Lake District is not enjoyable at all, and rather than admiring the views and the scenery I was more concerned keeping away from the sides of the road and also avoiding other drivers.
15. There are loads of idiot drivers in the Lake District
It seems that all oncoming traffic in the Lake District continued down the middle of the road, following the white line and forced me as far over to the verge as possible. I was getting old duffers in tiny cars (think Citroen C1 and Fiesta size) refusing to get over even though I was in a larger and wider vehicle. These idiots clearly didn’t want to get over, but in the end I learned to hold my ground and just keep going. I got a few (no – many) hand gestures and a few people mouthed off, although they stopped as we crept passed each other (funny that – I wish they had grown a pair and continued), but I just did what everyone else tries to do. That is the ONLY way to drive in the Lake District.
16. The Lake District isn’t the fishing Mecca I thought it was
Even though there is the word “Lake” in its name, and there are lakes and rivers all over the place the Lake District isn’t that great for fishing. Many people go to the Lake District to fish for pike, and little else. Given I live in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, where there are miles and miles of rivers and streams holding some huge pike, I don’t need to go to the Lake District to catch pike. In fact, I don’t like catching pike – period. Other than pike there is little else of interest. Whilst out on Gondola I found out that there are arctic char in Lake Coniston, and catching one to ‘tick of the list’ would be good, but then I remember watching Robson Green on an Extreme Fishing program try and catch one, and in the UK it appears I have more chance finding rocking horse poo than catching an arctic char with a rod and line.
17. Fishing Lake Coniston is virtually impossible
Lake Coniston is a large expanse of water that is several meters deep, and when you combine this with the rocky bottom (i.e. snags that would take rigs and gear) it is easy to see it is not a great place for fishing. It’s probably different if you have access to a boat, but we didn’t, and the only option was to fish from the shore.
18. Bungee cords are not a good idea for the bike rack
I am not a fan of bungee cords, however my wife is and thought it was a good idea to add additional bungees around the bike cover to stop it flapping around in the wind during the drive to the Lake District. When removing the additional bungees, which were extremely tight, one slipped out of her hand and struck the back of the van resulting in a nice little dent. Great….. Need to go and buy some small ratchet straps.
19. We need a demonstration re the water filler cap
When we picked up the Accordo 120 the bloke doing the hand over didn’t show us how to get the water filler cap off the van (he ran out of time because Brownhills booked us in too late in the day for a full and complete demonstration). The water cap is a real pain to get off and we can’t work it out as all of a sudden it “pops out”, after a lot of faffing around. I don’t know if it is user error (i.e. I am doing it wrong), it is just tight and will bed in with use and time or it is faulty and needs looking at. Because we weren’t shown/told what to do I am at a total loss!
20. A 5m water hose is not long enough
Despite buying all the different water accessories following our weekend away during the August Bank Holiday it seems we still haven’t got everything we need. Even when we have a fully serviced pitch, like we did in the Lake District, a 5m hosepipe still isn’t long enough – looks like we are going to have to get a longer one!
21. Never fill a bucket too full
I bought a fold up bucket to empty the waste water on sites where there is no designated motor home service point. The bucket is made from tough material that is strong and sturdy, however the handle is a weak point as I found out when I completely filled the bucket with waste water! I managed to fix the handle (although it is only a temporary measure) and will need to buy another collapsible bucket to replace it.
22. Washing up in the Elddis Accordo 120 is a faff
Pier Cottage campsite did not have washing up facilities, therefore we had no option but to wash up in the Elddis Accordo 120. The bottom line is the van is too small to wash up in and doesn’t have the work top space. Clean stuff has to be left with dirty stuff, or put on seats, the floor or wherever else we can find room. It is not possible to put stuff away as we go because getting around the wife is impossible. We would have no cause to complain if we cooked elaborate meals using loads of crockery, pots and pans but we only use two saucepans!
23. We need to find a tiny washing up bowl
We have hunted high and low for a washing up bowl that will fit in the Accordo 120’s sink but there is nothing around. I have tried online stores, camping shops, supermarkets, homeware shops…… you name it, I have tried it. A washing up bowl is essential for those sites where there are no washing up facilities, like Pier Cottage in the Lake District.
24. To plan meals better on future camping trips
The two weeks away in the Accordo 120 have shown there is a seriously lack of space for food. Whilst we do pan our meals we (that should be I) also throw a load of extras in the trolley “because I fancy it on holiday”. Storing the food has been a nightmare and since we bought me than we could possible eat we have had to put tins, cans, packets etc. wherever we could find some room, which turned to be some pretty obscure places. Buying too much has to stop and we have to make sure we buy just what we can eat and no more.
25. Buying loads of vegetables and fruit is pointless
Whenever we go away my wife has this idea that we need to make sure we eat healthy and buys loads of salad, to bulk up meals, and fruit for snacks. This is all well and good but there are certain meals where a side salad doesn’t work, and we tend to eat these when we go on holiday. Spaghetti Bolognese, curry, sweet and sour pork with noodles, chicken in kung po sauce and rice and a “left overs” dinner does not work well with a side salad, does it. As for the fruit, we take biscuits, cakes, sweets and other treats and don’t eat snacks. Most of the fresh stuff ends up in the bin, which is not only money thrown away but also wasteful
26. The slow cooker is no good for motor home use
When we had the folding camper we used the slow cooker every day, and over the years we have developed some delicious one pot dinners. We were hoping to carry this on to the Elddis Accordo 120, but can’t. Using the slow cooker in the Accordo 120 is not an option because it would stink out the entire van (we use the slow cooker for a lot of hot and spicy meals) but I think the steam could have an adverse effect on the wood. If the Kampa awning actually fit the van as it should we could have used the slow cooker in the tunnel, but as it doesn’t we can’t. It’s a shame, but the slow cooker is now redundant.
27. To try all curry sauces before taking them on camping trips
During our two weeks away we had a curry night each week. At home we make curries from scratch but in the motor home it is far easier to use a jar sauce, and the ones we chose were a Balti and a Bhuna. Both sauces were pungent, however the smell of the Bhuna sauce lingered until well in to the following day, even though the extra fan was going at full pelt whilst we were cooking it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of curry but I don’t want the motor home smelling like the inside of a curry house! Before taking any more curry sauces to eat in the motor home we are going to try it at home first to see how strong the smell is and also how long it lingers afterwards.
28. Melted cheese & mixed herbs is an amazing combination
Whilst staying at Church Farm we took a cycle ride over to the Royal Hill pub for a light bite. The light bites were a bit thin on the ground and with a very limited menu we ordered a portion of plain chips for the wife and a portion of cheesy chips for me. When my chips arrived they weren’t only cheesy but also sprinkled with mixed herbs, and the combination was absolutely delicious. I am definitely going to start adding mixed herbs to melted cheese at home, as I can see loads of meal combinations.
29. A 16 inch TV is plenty big enough for the Accordo 120
TV is not that important to us therefore we opted for a small 16 inch Cello TV, which was ultra-light weight. I know the TV bracket can hold more weight but I have my doubts over where the bracket is fixed, and don’t know quite how much it can take. When I bought the Cello TV I was a little worried it would be too small, but it is the ideal size. Once the TV is pushed out forward it is plenty big enough, and any bigger would be an overkill for us.
30. Campers can be disgusting creatures
I can only describe some of the campers staying at Pier Cottage campsite when we were there as dirty, filthy animals. I don’t know who the perpetrators were but the left turds and tissue in the toilet bowl and didn’t flush, shaving gel/foam and stubble in the basin and shower gel/shampoo and other cosmetics in the shower. Why do people do this? Do they do this kind of thing at home? Why do they feel compelled to do it on campsites? It is totally rank. I was brought up to leave things the way I want them to be found, which is what I do. It’s a shame there were dirty scrubbers on the campsite who don’t share my values.
31. It always rains in the Lake District
We arrived in the Lake District in the rain and we left the Lake District in the rain. During our week in the Lake District it rained each and every day. Okay, there were some breaks in the weather but they were short lived and some days it rained all day. Even when there were breaks in the weather I looked to the horizon and there was rain on the hills that was headed our way. I never realized how much the weather affected me, it never did in the past, but then in the past I have never had to deal with 7 days of wet weather together with trudging through a grim campsite dodging the water filled pot holes and puddles. Pier Cottage campsite was a miserable place in the rain and by the end of the week I had a gut full and could wait to leave.
32. To keep an eye on the weather forecast
I have never been one to watch the weather forecast, and in recent times the unnecessary weather warnings the Met Office issues have been ridiculous. If there is the slightest shower there is a weather warning for torrential rain and flooding. If there is the lightest bit of sun there is a weather warning for extreme heat and sunburn. If the temperatures reach zero degrees there is a weather warning for ice, snow and blizzards. Weather warnings are issued willy-nilly and I take no notice. In the Lake District there was a weather warning for gale force winds, which I totally caught by accident on the news, by which time it was too late to sort the stuff in the awning and get it down. For once, the weather warning was accurate, the winds picked up and the night was spent in the awning making sure nothing bad happened.
33. The Freeview weather service is absolute crap
Once I realized I needed to keep an eye on the weather the obvious place to look was the BBC red button service, especially since we didn’t have internet access and we couldn’t get a signal on the DAB radio. The bottom line on the red button service is that is crap and totally unreliable. It was inaccurate, it didn’t give the wind speed and it rarely updated. Given the technology of today there are no excuses for this, and the weather is a total waste of a channel
34. Pay as you go electricity is cheap
On the sites that have charged electricity on a “pay as you use” basis it has always cost less than those sites charging £2 - £3 per night but then we are light users and only use power as we need it. In the Lake District the electricity cost £5.20 for a 7 night stay, which I didn’t think was too bad as we were paying the lady for our stay. On the drive to the Melverly I got thinking about it and then realised that given we used electricity to run the water pump (obviously only when the taps were on), to boil the kettle, to watch a bit of TV (no more than an hour a day) and to have lights on it shouldn’t have cost much anyway. We didn’t have the water heater on all week, we didn’t use the oven, we didn’t use the electric hot plate, we didn’t use the microwave……… We barely used anything.
35. Always check your change and ask for a receipt in Coniston
Whilst out and about in Coniston I was overcharged a pound in the Co-op. This may not seem like much but the total bill should have been £2 and not £3 paid. I didn’t realise the error until I walked out of the shop, with no receipt, and then when I went back in to sort the problem out the bloke said (with a smug grin on his face) he needed to see the receipt, i.e. the one he never gave me! It was a lost cause so I walked out feeling totally ripped off. After that experience I asked for a receipt for every purchase and checked my change stood at the counter. Once bitten and all that!
36. The internal blind doesn’t stop condensation
We bought the internal blind for privacy and to keep the sun from shining through the screen and fading everything. We bought the blind at a motor home show where the stall holder was banging on about the fact it also stopped condensation and misting. The bloke mad a huge issue over the no condensation thing so you can imagine my surprise when we used it in the Lake District and there was condensation all over the front screen. I really don’t know why the bloke made this claim because we would have bought it anyway. The condensation thing wasn’t a problem for us and we just wanted the privacy.
37 .We need to hang the cabin curtains
The condensation issues associated with the internal blind has shown we need to get the cabin curtains sorted out. We have the curtains, we have the curtain hooks – it’s just the damn curtain rail that was missing when we collected the Accordo 120. Getting the curtain rail from Brownhills was a real faff (I really don’t know why it was) and it still wasn’t sorted out by the time we left for our adventure (some 9 weeks after collecting the van – hmmmm…. That’s what you call customer service!) It’s a shame because if we had the rail we would have used the curtains not least because it is easier to draw curtains than faffing around with the internal blind every night!
38. Watching the Lake District get smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror is satisfying
I didn’t warm to the Lake District at all, and now it is off the bucket list, I doubt I will ever return. Some people say the changeable weather and the wet weather is part of its charm – well, they may find it charming but I definitely don’t. Some people say the small, tight roads are also part of its charm – and these people are welcome to those too. Driving south down the motorway watching the Lake District get smaller and smaller in the rear view was the best thing that happened during the first week of our adventure.
39. Motor homing is much more fun in the dry
Given the soaking we got at the Lake District by the end of the week I was almost ready to say sod it and return home. Motor homing, just like camping in a tent/caravan/folding camper or anything else, is not fun at all. I am so glad we carried on to Melverly because the dry week we had there turned everything around, and motor homing in the dry is easier, fun and very addictive.
40. The Kampa Travel Pod Air awning does not fit the Elddis Accordo
After three attempts, and using different methods, I can categorically say that the Kampa Travel Pod Air awning does not work with the Elddis Accordo. The awning fits to the rail, the sides peg down nice and tight but the door catches on the fixing kit and will not close, and there is no way around this. If the Elddis Accordo had a sliding door we wouldn’t have any problems, but the Accordo has a standard opening door and it doesn’t work as it should. We have to use our Kampa Travel Pod Air awning as a (damn expensive) standalone storage tent only.
41. The Kampa Travel Pod Air awning is a sturdy bit of kit
During our stay in the Lake District the Kampa Travel Pod Air awning was up in very windy conditions (speeds typically 18mph – 28mph) and was even up in gale force winds of 45mph, and it held firm. In addition to the wind, it rained every day and the awning took a soaking too. The awning didn’t leak and kept our stuff nice and dry. Whilst I am p***d the Kampa won’t fit to the motorhome the way it should, I am more than happy with its build quality and durability.
42. Roll out sunblind awnings are tougher than we were led to believe
During the demonstration when we collected the Elddis Accordo 120 we were told the roll out awning is only suitable for calm and still days where there is no wind. In the Lake District there were caravans and motorhomes using roll out awnings in windy conditions. Likewise, there were caravans using roll out awnings in windy conditions at Church Farm. I think the roll out sun blind awnings are tougher than the bloke at Brownhills told us and that we are being over cautious. This is something I am going to investigate.
43. We need to embrace the roll out sunblind awning
I have notice most coach built motorhomes, and quite a few caravans as well, use the roll out sun blind awning. We have one fitted to the side of the Accordo 120, it was part of Brownhills dealer special vans, however we have yet to use it. This needs to change and we are going to have to embrace the roll out blind – especially if we are going to try and dispense with the awning altogether.
44. Fold up bikes are the way forward
My wife use a folding Brompton bike which fits between the passenger seat and the dash board when the awning is out, and between the driver’s seat and dash board when the awning is in its bag and in the van. When we go touring we are going to try and dispense with the awning, which means we could have two Brompton bikes in the cabin, safe and secure. I currently have a standard bike, which is big, bulky and a pain to store if the awning is not up. A Brompton bike may be the way forward for next year.
45. The heating in the Accordo 120 is damn efficient
The unseasonably high temperatures were kind to us over our adventure (even though the rain was not!) however toward the end of the second week the temperatures dropped over night and it got a little chilly, which meant we had to get the heater going. All I can say is wow – the van heated up super quick, and we weren’t even on the highest setting. With a trip in November booked I was a little concerned we were going to get really cold, but now I have experienced the ferocity of the heater I am not bothered about November at all.
46. The Accordo 120 is a bit rough around the edges
As much as I love the Elddis Accordo 120 it is a little rough around the edges and the build quality is questionable in certain areas. For example, the magnetic catch on the pull out bed section fell off and on inspection it is easy to see why because the screws barely tie the wood together (they are too short!) There are other little quality control issues, none of which are major but they are annoying and create more things for us to sort out.
47. The roads in Shropshire are nicer to cycle around than Norfolk
Many people think that Norfolk is flat, but after cycling around some of the Shropshire countryside I can confirm that Norfolk is positively hilly. It’s strange looking at the Shropshire hills in the distance but cycling on the flat. From my experience cycling around Shropshire I can say it is flat and virtually traffic free. The road surfaces are also nice (i.e. smoother) than those in Norfolk too. Cycling in Shropshire is good fun, and I will definitely be back for me.
48. Fishing a river is more difficult than fishing commercial fisheries
Holiday is the only time I get to go fishing nowadays and up until this two week stint I had only ever fished commercial fisheries, where you are almost guaranteed to catch something. I say almost, because it is never certain in fishing and there will always be a day without a bite, but on the whole you never fail to catch at a commercial fishery. I got the opportunity to fish the River Vyrnwy, and I have to say that it was a challenge. After spending the best part of sixteen hours on the river bank (over a period of three days) I managed to catch a single chub. Hmmmmmmmmmmm………….
49. Drinking straws are essential to hair rig luncheon meat
In the past I have used luncheon meat to try and catch barbel and chub, and that is the bait I used in the River Vyrnwy. In the past I have had trouble keeping the meat on the hair rig however I discovered a trick to deal with this. A tiny piece of drinking straw pushed through the meat stops the hair acting as a cheese wire and slicing through the meat causing it to fall off.
The two week adventure in the Elddis Accordo 120 was a huge learning experience, and I feel the next few trips out in it will be the same. The learning curve is very steep at the moment, however I am sure it will flatten as we do more and more outings in it.
Ever since we bought our Elddis Accordo I have been wondering whether we made the right decision to buy a low line motor home or whether we should have gone for the traditional shape with the bed over the cabin. Whilst the low line motor homes look more modern (they are a newer design), aren’t as susceptible to wind (we did test drive a higher motor home with a bed above the cabin) and aren’t as big and intimidating they are not as versatile.
I thought a fixed bed above the cabin would be pretty cool, I mean having to make the beds every night and pack them away every morning is a bit of a faff, but in the big scheme of things I guess it’s not too bad. If we had a fixed bed above the cabin we could also use it as additional storage area for all our kit – we have scaled right back but we still take a helluva lot of kit with us. Despite my initial thoughts our recent trip in the Accordo has confirmed that we definitely made the right decision buying a low line motor home as opposed to one with a bed over the cabin.
Our most recent motor home adventure took us to Dunwich on the Suffolk Coast, which by the way is a stunning location and I am horrified it has taken me so many years to go to the location given it is only a couple of hours drive from where we live. I digress…..
The journey to Cliff House Park campsite took us down several narrow tree lined roads with large branches overhanging the road. Some of the branches were pretty low and we had the occasional scrape along the roof (and I cringed every time it happened) but, all things considered it seems we got away pretty lightly. At the site I got talking to a bloke with a Suntour 120 motor home, which had a fixed bed above the cabin, and the topic of journey to the campsite arose. The bloke, who coincidentally lives pretty close to me, travelled the same route and was not impressed with the overhanging trees which he said had left some pretty nasty scrapes along the roof of his motor home, and there’s nothing he could do about it. Talking to the bloke I was kind of happy we didn’t suffer as badly.
I know you can’t see the roof of the motor home from the ground, and I know you can’t see any scrapes, dinks or dents unless you get up there and start looking for them, but that’s not the point. Every time something dents the roof (like acorns falling on it) or leaves scratches along the roof I know about it. I have been told that I am too precious over the Elddis Accordo but it cost us a lot of money, we want to keep it looking nice and we don’t want it damaged, regardless of whether you can see the damage or not.
As well as our trip to Dunwich we have experienced low over hanging trees on other motor home trips, such as our trip to the Lake District, where we went done some tiny roads and not only scraped the roof but also the side of the motor home, which really p***d me off. I appreciate this is all part and parcel of owning a motor home and we have to embrace it, but still…………
The bloke with the Suntour 120 was kind enough to let me have a “snout” around his motor home so I could see how it differed to the Accordo. In all honesty, the only thing I was interested in was the fixed bed above the cabin. Whilst I test drove a motor home with a bed above the cabin we didn’t look at the bed any further because I liked the look of the low line Accordo.
I never fully appreciated just how tight and claustrophobic a fixed bed above the cabin actually was, and after looking at it for a few seconds I knew there was no way I could sleep in it although the bloke said you soon get used to it. That may have been the case for him, but there is no way I would get used to that. I don’t like small and enclosed spaces and I am a restless sleeper who shuffles and moves around a lot. I would be stifled trying to sleep in that bed – it definitely isn’t for me. If I had a motor home with a fixed bed above the cabin I would use the sleeping compartment for storing gear and not for sleeping in, so I would still have to make the beds (and pack them away) every day just like I do now. The bed in the Accordo 120 is perfect for me – it is comfortable, it is spacious and I have the room around me to toss and turn as much as I need to.
The additional storage space the fixed bed would give would be very useful, I can’t deny that. But thinking about it, we would fill the extra space with even more toot that we don’t actually need, and probably wouldn’t use on our adventures and take that stuff “just because we can”. Perhaps it isn’t such a bad thing space is a little tight……..
Chatting with the bloke and having a look around his Suntour 120 has put my mind at ease and has now stopped me wondering “would a motor home with a fixed bed above the cabin be more useful?” as I now know the answer. I know for a fact I would be stressing about the potential damage driving down roads with low overhanging trees could do, I know for a fact I would still be making the beds every night and packing them away every morning, and I know we would be carrying around more gear because we wold have storage space to fill up
A few weeks back (and before I got the cheapest and most effective reversing aid ever – take a look at this blog post for details) I was seriously considering getting some reversing sensors fitted to the Accordo 120. I have had reversing sensors on the cars I have owned for a few years now, and I have become pretty reliant on them to stop me backing in to something and doing some damage. A new bumper (and that’s providing I only hit the bumper of my car, and no other body work or hit another vehicle) is way more expensive than a set of color coded reversing sensors professionally fitted, so it makes financial sense to me to get some.
I don’t know how much a new bumper will cost for the Accordo, however I reckon the bike rack will strike the stationary object first, and probably dent the habitation unit before the bumper even gets close to being damaged, so I am guessing the cost would be eye wateringly high.
I was already to go and book someone to come over and fit some reversing sensors to the Accordo 120 (gotta love those mobile fitters) and then some “sensible” work colleague suggested I should check with Elddis first to see if fitting reversing sensors would affect the warranty. This was a good suggestion, and I am so glad my work colleague mentioned it because I didn’t give it a second thought.
Long story short, I sent Elddis a quick email (I prefer to get things in writing) asking if I got professionally fitted reversing sensors my warranty would be affected. In the email I stressed that I would not be doing the fitting myself, since I don’t have the skills, know how or the tools, not to mention any idea where to start with such a task.
It’s take a few weeks and Elddis have finally responded. I have to say that I am not overly impressed with the speed they got back to me, however the email started with “Firstly, please accept our apologies for the delay in response. Please be advised this is not the service we usually provide” Hmmm…………….. Like I said, I was not impressed but thought it was good for customer relations to apologise without me having to send a chaser email.
It appears that if I get some reversing sensors fitted the modified area (i.e. the bumper) will no longer be covered by the warranty. So, if I develop a leak around the bumper and get water ingress it will not be covered by the warranty. I have read there is a chance that once a habitation suffers water ingress it is likely to spread and affect other parts of the habitation unit. I can guarantee that if I get reversing sensors I will suffer water ingress and the blame will be put on fitting the sensors, and I would have to suffer the total cost of the repair bill. Phew – I am so glad I checked that out. Looks like I am going to have to rely on the current reversing aid and wait until the motor home is out of warranty before even thinking about getting reversing sensors.
The email from Elddis confirmed that any modifications will affect the warranty in the area where the modification is. This means that if I got a refillable gas system installed (something I really want to do in the future) the warranty would also be affected, and I don’t know if I am prepared to take the risk. I know for a fact that the wife won’t want to risk the warranty and will flatly refuse to do any modifications to the Accordo 120 over the next few years, and since the motor home is half hers (she is also the registered owner) I do have to respect her wishes. So, the re-fillable gas system is something else that I am going to have to wait for.
The above was a big blow for me, however it has put to bed any ideas I had about fitting reversing sensors or a re-fillable gas system. Whilst it is disappointing I am glad I double checked because if I had the parking sensors fitted and the re-fillable gas system and something happened in the warranty period I would have been stuffed.
The email from Elddis wasn’t all bad news though as it has been confirmed that we can get the Accordo 120 serviced, repaired, MOT’d and checked at any Elddis dealers or approved service centre without affecting the warranty. Given the fun and games we are experiencing with the motor home, and have been since getting it home, this is excellent news as it gives us scope to strike up a relationship with a local dealer who, I hope, will look after our motor home (and us) for many years to come.
We will soon have a huge decision in what to do and where to go to get the Accordo 120 serviced, repaired, MOT’s, checked over and looked after.
"A little too high for no step - What are you playing at Elddis?"
When we bought the Elddis Accordo 120 one of the things we noticed is that it didn’t have an electric step, or any other type of step either, and what’s more is there was no step optional extra. When I queried this with the salesman I was told that Elddis doesn’t consider a step necessary for the Accordo range, hence there is no factory fitted step available. I have to admit I was a bit surprised by this, but the salesman obviously knew what he was talking about so I didn’t probe any further.
When we were looking around the Elddis Accordo 135 and 105 (we ended up buying the 120 but this has the same dimensions as the Accordo 105 and Accordo 135) I did notice the step was at an awkward height, where it seemed a little too low to have a step but a little too high for nothing. The lack of a step was by no means a deal breaker and there were a lot more important and pressing features to consider.
When we took delivery of our Accordo 120 and was given the handover I became aware of the step issue once more. I casually asked the question from the bloke doing the hand over and the response was “it doesn’t need a step because it isn’t high enough”. I thought the reply was a bit terse and it didn’t have to be said the way it did, but I let it ride.
Once we got the Accordo 120 home and started loading it up and sorting it out the lack of step became more and more noticeable, and I started questioning Elddis’ decision not to include a step on the Accordo range, and question even more the decision not to have a step as an optional extra. My wife and I have no mobility issues, however I know many people do and anyone with mobility problems would really struggle getting in and getting out of the Accordo 120. Okay, I know you can always buy a step from a camping accessory shop for a few quid but when you’re spending several thousand on a brand new motor home you’d kind of think the manufacturers would have their own solution, but this isn’t the case.
The more times I went in and out of the motor home and had to deal with the step that was slightly too high the more and more niggling the problem became. When we went on our first proper trip out in the Accordo 120 and spent the bank holiday weekend at Walnut Lakes (a cracking little campsite in Boston, Lincolnshire – take a look at this review for full details) I reached the conclusion a step was essential. Having to keep stepping off on to a shale covered hard standing (we have a strict shoes off policy in the motor home) before being able to put my shoes on was playing havoc with my feet and starting to really p**s me off.
Space in the motor home is limited so my initial thought was to buy a foldable step. After a bit of searching on Amazon, Ebay and all the other usual suspects the only foldable step I could find was a bright green plastic model. When I saw the foldable step my first thought was “Why is it luminous green?” followed by “It looks like a child’s step” followed by “It looks cheap and nasty”.
"The low 25cm step is the perfect height for what we needed"
During a visit it Go Outdoors (to buy all my water accessories) I spotted the in yer face green step so I thought I would take a closer look. On inspection I discovered the step was indeed poorly made and looked like it would last five minutes. I am not particularly large (although I am heavy footed) and my wife is a real lightweight at around 8 stone, but I had doubts the step would even take my weight. In the flesh the green step was brighter and more garish than it looked online, and it looked worse and tackier than it did online too. Within a few seconds I knew this foldable step wasn’t for me.
I had a look around the aluminium steps but none of them were foldable, which was a real shame. I asked an assistant about a foldable aluminium step and was told there is no such thing and the only foldable step is the green plastic one, and was quickly warned against it. Hmmmm………… My plan of buying a foldable step had hit a bit of a stumbling block.
Most of the steps n Go Outdoors were huge and way too high and wouldn’t fit under the motor home at night. The other issue with the large steps were transporting them around. At the end of the row I found a one aluminium step that was 25cm high, and whilst it looked super low compared to the other steps I instantly knew it would work. The floor height is just a little bit too high so a low step, such as this 25cm step, would work. The 25cm step was small (so would be better to transport between sites), fit under the van at night and was also lightweight. The step is covered in an anti-slip top and it was just over a tenner as well! Excellent.
Finding a solution to the step issue wasn’t difficult and it didn’t cost much either. The thing is, and this is what really gets me rattled, is that it is an issue that Elddis should have considered and had something in place from the off. When you’re parting with several thousand pounds on a brand new vehicle you kind of expect there to be a solution to the fundamental things, and getting in to and out of the motor home is a pretty fundamental thing in my book. It’s a shame that Elddis don’t share the same opinion.