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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 26-10-2010, 18:46 Thread Starter
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Autotrail Damp Problems

Anybody else got one of the new watertrail motorhomes?

I bought my cherokee frontier brand new last November, it came complete with a leaking solar panel cable box (plus lots of other bits that seem designed to break ,fall off or stop working as soon as the vehicle leaves the showroom).Following its latest damp proof test it appears it now has an additional water supply via the seal around the heki rooflight. There seems to be a design fault which means there is a flat spot on the roof just where the status aerial, cable box, and corner of the heki roof light are, this is probably because the roof is so flexible screwing anything down to it immediately creates a low spot.

Water gathers here like a mini lake, it cannot escape towards the back of vehicle because Autotrail have very cleverly blocked the escape route with the solar panel cable, so unless you are facing downhill the water sits there and finds all the faulty seals.

Does anybody know why Autotrail panels on the new vans are so flimsy and flexible ( like Rolf Harris's wobble board), both the roof and the back panel bounce up and down when you push them and seem extremely thin. I have not experienced this on my previous two vans from other manufacturers, so it doesn't fill you with confidence about the build quality or longevity of the vehicles. Going round the shows I have not found any other manufacturers vehicles where the back panels flex in and out ( only Autotrails), it probably explains why there are so many autotrails with cracks in the panels.

Anyway I have learnt my lesson and won't be spending a huge dollop of cash buying another Watertrail.
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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 26-10-2010, 19:06
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Sorry to learn of your woes.

Our 05 cheyenne 16.5k miles seems to breed cracks in the gelcoat over winter.

We have not had any leaking seals though.

Dave p
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 26-10-2010, 19:33
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No problems so far but I tend to park on a slope when at home. Hope you get it sorted.
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 26-10-2010, 19:50
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Just go back to your dealer, it's them you have the contract to buy with and tell them the van isn't fit for purpose and under the sale of goods act you want your money back. They have a legal obligation to correct it or refund your money.

It's sad you have to do this instead of enjoying your van, but it does mean you have right and the law on your side.

Good luck
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 26-10-2010, 20:15
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I think you will find that the back panel and indeed the roof panel are effectively cover panels and don't add anything to the structural integrity of the 'van. The fact that they 'wobble', therefore shouldn't be a cause for concern.
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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 28-10-2010, 22:07
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You are not the only one thats having problems with Autotrail cherokee. I put a posting of our problems in Sept, where the grey water is leaking out of the front and rear of the van. All Autotrail would say is that it is warranty work, what aload of bxxxxxxks
The bathroom door will not shut and there are signs of distortion in the bodywork. Good luck with getting Autotrail to sort it properly.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 29-10-2010, 06:25
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Unfortunately, I have a constant battle keeping water out of my Autotrail. Main problem is seal between Luton 'hump' and flat roof. Lakes often gather here and elsewhere on the roof so this summer, while abroad, I had to set up with a list to starboard to alleviate the problem.

On returning home I have re-sealed the joint and dry for now. At its worst I had what could only be described as a waterfall pouring down the inside wall.

Previously I have had a window removed and re-sealed. I bought Autotrail believing they were the best UK manufacturer but have been sadly disappointed.

Spoke to several other owners on my travels who have had similar problems with more modern Autotrails.

Buyer beware,


Adapt to change quickly. The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy NEW CHEESE.
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 29-10-2010, 08:43
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We have a 2010 Autotrail and have had a leak from a body seam which has now been fixed but still waiting for interior trim stained from the leak. We are away on holiday at the the moment and have now got a leak from one window.
We have stress fractures in three places which are going to be fixed at the factory.
We have had to have a new tv monitor and bathroom tap replaced and also both fresh and waste water tank heaters which were extras did not work and have also been replaced.
We have had excellent service from the dealer Chelston but feel let down by Autotrail's lack of quality control.
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 29-10-2010, 10:12
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The one-piece roof and one-piece back panel are deliberately NOT fixed down over their entire surface to allow for thermal expansion and contraction.

With 'multi-panel' roofs, with numerous seams and joints, this expansion and contraction is taken up in the joint, but on a one-piece unit (roof or back panel) if it was solidly fixed it would split.

Our Cheyenne is now 5 years old, and the only leak so far has been on the high level small window over the garage. This window crosses a horizontal seam between two ali side panels (it is the only window that does) and the sealant has dried at this junction of rubber window seal and ali seam, thereby allowing water to seep in under capiliary action. Took the window out, cleaned the old sealant off and re-sealed it - now no more leaks!!! This IS a design flaw as water will ALWAYS be forced along this seam and into the window frame whilst driving along.

Having spent a long weekend looking around the Shepton Show, we still cannot find a 'van that we would want to replace our Autotrail with. It has all that we want (large garage, fixed large bed, decent shower room, good insulation, comfortable lounging, comfortable driving - Mercedes with Sprintshift, solid furniture).

Would we have another Autotrail? - Depends what is available at the time, but on current performance we dont see why not.

Carl & Flo
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 29-10-2010, 11:31
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I have '03 Dakota and the roof of that is very flexible and water pools on it, dead amusing the first time you brake after a bit of rain VAST waterfall off the front end !! (especially if its at a pedestrian crossing or traffic lights!)

But having said that no leaks apart from around the rear window frame but window frame leaks seem to be endemic across all MH's
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