CHELTENHAM OWNERS CLUB
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Check out the maintenance page for information that may solve your queries
Q. I want to know if anyone can help, we have recently converted Nancy our 1968 Cheltenham Sable Caravan into a mobile cake cafe. We are finalising all the works and we are trying to find some details from the original caravan spec. With all the works complete the caravan is weighing just under 1000kg, we have checked the tyres and they are able to carry a maximum weight of 1460kg so we know there is not an issue. What we are trying to find out is the maximum weight the original chassis can carry? We have had it restored to an as new condition, we just want to find out if we need to add additional strength to it for our own peace of mind. Anyone with information or who can guide us in the right direction would be a great help. Rachel
A. Uprating Cheltenham Chassis - Thank you for checking before taking your modified van on the road, there are a number of issues to consider.
Frame - Most Cheltenham caravans of whatever sizes used the same steel sections for their chassis, so a chassis from a smaller van in perfect condition should be capable of taking the loadings of a larger model.
However these chassis are now around 50 years old and a perfect repaint does not replace metal lost by corrosion!
I have seen several Cheltenhams where the drawbar has cracked or broken in line with the front of the body where the metal has been wasted by dripping front the front of the van, likewise and corroded members (typically front and rear cross members) must be fully replaced not just cosmetically repaired.
If the ash frame has been significantly weakened either by non structural repairs or alterations then the front lower for and aft chassis rails can crack.
So yes you should be ok if the chassis is genuinely as new (as with my daughters Fawn that has been garaged all its life).
The standard space frame Cheltenham chassis is not suitable for towing behind a commercial vehicle, the makers offered an alternative leaf sprung girder chassis for this application. Few of these survive as they were not suitable for towing above 30mph (the speed limit for commercial vehicles at the time).
Springs - Every model of Cheltenham had differently rated springs according to its design load, most had different springs left or right to take into account weight distribution.
As a starting point I suggest you find some Springbok springs (not easy as many have been fitted to Fernden Pukus that should have had this rating from new).
An engineer would be able to calculate accurate spring rates from your wheel loading.
Wheels - I presume that you have 5 stud wheels (this can vary depending what was in the stores at the time).
These were available in 3 widths, only the widest (fitted to Springboks) are suitable for the loadings you are proposing. There were reports in contemporary caravan club magazines of wheels failing on new Cheltenham Pukus when not fitted with the wider wheels. Most Pukus have been upgraded over the years but Sables might not have been
Ideally I would fit 15" wheels to give some margin of safety.
Shock absorbers - As with springs these were matched to each model of van. Modern replacements adjustable for van weight are available from Alasdair Robb via the Coc.
Hitch Dampers - As above, adjustable replacements are available from John Marsland via the Coc.
Weight Distribution - The loaded caravan must have a positive nose weight of around 75kg I am sure your rearrangement will have taken this into account. When the weight distribution was altered on the last Pukus longer drawbars were required.
Tyres - The USA weight loading you quote for your tyres is at very high pressure, I would not be happy running any Cheltenham wheel above 45 psi, wheel failures are surprisingly common especially where rust pitting has been painted over!
Hope this helps. Jack Salter
Q. I've been a member for about 10 years now and currently own a 1969 Springbok.
Has anyone had experience in removing the B&B tow coupling and replacing it with the Alko type that has the stabiliser built in to it?
I would like to know if it's possible and if so how to go about it. Robin Wood Please email: email@example.com
“ … After a marathon rebuild of the rotted out front and sides of our PUKU 2, I was dismayed to find yet more in the rear. Looking at the area to be repaired, I would need to approach it by removing the rear GRP panel. I can see how the roof and sides are held but not at the bottom on the chassis. I was hoping to remove the rear panel without disturbing the interior this time. – Can anyone help on a description/photos of removing the panel. – Chuck Berry, Blandford Nth Dorset: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01747 811625 If anyone is interested in the rebuild, contact me – there are loads of photos.
Q. I have a 1971 Robuck and it's in need of new window seals for the back and the front of the van. The ones with the white rubber insert. I'm in Manchester if anyone knows of anywhere local? Or maybe someone has advice for fitting these myself? I followed up the post for RAC Autowindscreens Plant Glazing but got nowhere and they said they couldn't do it. Many thanks Joey. email@example.com
Q. Does anyone know where I can source a replacement back window for my 1970 Cheltenham Sable? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Springbok wheel nut. Can any one tell me where I can
get one from? 1969 model. Thanks. Mark Wood Power
A. Cheltenham wheel nuts were apparently used on Volvo 240's
Q. We are very recent owners of a 1970 fawn, and two questions have occurred straight away. How many rubber bump suspension rings are there on the hitch? I found one broken across the shock absorber where it had landed and have replaced it, but I wondered if there should be two. Secondly what is behind the four corner handles. Judging by the evidence of previous repair attempts this is a 'flaky' area? Does repair mean dismantling the interior? PA Birch email@example.com
Q. Is it possible to obtain a replacement light lens for the front sidelight, fitted to a Cheltenham Sable Caravan as I have broken one of mine. Any help in locating a replacement Old or New would be greatly received. contact Andy Pickerin (member) firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. One of the front corner steadies on my 74 Springbok 2 has always been bent, but worked fine. However matters weren't improved when I managed to loosen the jockey wheel too much and the front of the van lurched down onto it thus bending it further (dont ask!) Now it wont wind down to the ground. Happy days!! Are replacements available? Or do I have to try to repair it? Thanks and best wishes to all. Howard Ellis 01609 780445 email@example.com
Q. I have a Cheltenham Fawn that is partially renovated. The chassis and all associated parts are rotten, and are not the original. Does anybody know where I can get a new chassis made, and how to find the original specifications? Thank you, Luke New. firstname.lastname@example.org . tel: 07967088314.
A. I suggest that you buy a second-hand chassis, have any necessary parts replaced (usually only the front & rear cross members) and then have the whole chassis shot blasted & galvanised for a better than new finish. (Jack Salter)
Q. Our jockey wheel doesn't work anymore and I wanted to know if you would advise buying a new one, or if we can find a 2nd hand one that still works. What would you advise? email@example.com
Q. Does anyone have experience of the Mista Shifta battery power mover which fixes to the towing head, their bumph suggests that the B&B rotating head is not compatible. Thank you Duncan Baldwin
Q Our Fawn needs a complete exterior restoration, can you please help in what is the best way to prepare the outside before painting cleaning down the roof etc and what sort of paint, colour, brush or spray, how to go round the windows and any other tips, the other problem is that we have no inside storage to do the work so it will all have to be done in the front garden so must be able to do a bit at a time weather permitting Thanks Simon Gill
A. I renovated a 1962 Sable a couple of years ago. When it came to the paint I used Lechler Synthetic Brushing Enamel along with their universal thinners. I sprayed it on as I have a decent sized garage but it will brush with care. Preparation is the key. Surfaces must be well flatted and you do need a decent orbital sander and lots, lots of 120 to 240 grit paper + wet and dry. Scrimping on prep' is a no no. I've used Tekaloid in the past and the Lechler beats it easily being a tougher finish. Drawbacks of painting outside are many. You need dry warm weather which attracts flies and other bugs not mention the dreaded dust (coach painters go to incredible lengths to stop it). The finish you put on by brush or spray is the finish you get, it will not polish. However the results can be rewarding coz you can do a panel at a time and it is a high gloss finish. Try a small panel first and thin the paint to suit your equipment (spray or brush). Phil Clough
Please can anyone help with photos of the interiors as we need to complete
extensive restoration work before we can use it. My husband is a boat fitter
and would welcome pictures particularly of the rear end galley as this seems
to have been modified by previous owners and as work needs doing would like
to get back to something of the original design. the other area of doubt
over authenticity is the washbasin in the toilet compartment any help there please. e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks in advance for any help with info.
Q: We have a '69 Fawn currently undergoing some D-I-Y restoration work. but both Cheltenham badges (front & rear) are missing. Can anyone suggest a source for replacements? Thanks. Graham Spencer (West Midlands) email: email@example.com
need a new locking barrel in the door lock & instructions on how to fit
it. I have tried a local very experienced locksmith but he cant help. Surely
such things are available from somewhere. Not sure if the models are different
but mine is for a Fawn
Please contact Ray Hopkins. firstname.lastname@example.org
I am not aware of a source of new
lock barrels, however new complete lock assemblies are available for most
caravans, given the
and deterioration that
that most caravan door locks have
over the last 30 years I
recommend that you replace the complete lock assembly whilst they are still
Sources of supply for the front and rear locks fitted to post 1972 caravans (rectangular type) are listed in the maintenance section of the COC website under suppliers of spares (caravan general)
Pre 1967 front door locks (chrome handle) are listed in the spares list under hardware.
Pre 1972 rear door locks (not fitted to your Fawn) are a standard domestic front door lock, which should be readily available locally.
The 1967 to 1972 front door lock (teardrop shape) are no longer available new, as far as I am aware, but you may be able to purchase a second-hand example from a fellow member or from one of the caravan breakers listed on the COC website.
If you are looking to replace a lock due to not having a key to fit, try taking you lock to your local caravan dealer, there are only about 40 differs on caravan keys and good dealers carry a master set.
Q: Can anyone
advise us how to get the white beading into the window rubber surround. We
have been loaned the tool but are not sure how to use it. We have been told it
is quite easy when you get the nack, but what is the nack?
If you know please let us know as soon as pos. Many thanks. Terry & Tracey email@example.com or phone 01202 510256
The secrets are fresh rubber and lubrication.
If your tool is the same as mine the front part opens the slot in the window surround and the back of the tool presses the insert in place.
These rubber mouldings harden with age, whilst the white insert seen to deteriorate before the surround, it is not usually possible to renew just the insert.
The supplier of these mouldings (Baines) has just had a new batch made using a softer compound rubber, at the request of a COC member.
Sometimes new old stock rubber is available from other sources; this is very difficult or impossible to fit and soon cracks in service.
If you have fitted new oak veneer ply around your windows this can cause a problem as the generally available ply is 4mm rather than the 3mm used originally, this closes the gap in the rubber making it too small to accept the insert.
The solutions to this are to either reduce the thickness of the plywood around the window aperture or to use the best of the old ply from elsewhere in the caravan around the windows, and fit new ply to the sides of the van.
Plant glazers can supply and fit these window rubbers.
C.O.H. BAINES LTD,
9 PARK ROAD,
TUNBRIDGE WELLS, KENT, TN4 9JP
Mail order rubber mouldings supplier, order by length required (metres)
Fixed Window rubber seals
White Insert for Fixed Window rubber seals
Opening Window rubber seals
Chrome Insert for Fixed Window rubber seals
Black Insert for Fixed Window rubber seals
Tool for Fixed Window rubber seals
RAC Autowindscreens Plant Glazing
National mobile service fitting replacement windows to JCBs/ Tractors etc
Supply and fit new rubber seals to fixed corner windows.
Carry correct seal on their fitters vans.
Seal ref no. RR7037
There are other local plant glazers.
Q: Is there a car equivalent to the 9" Lockheed brake shoes fitted to Springboks?
Reply: These brake shoes were also fitted to 1950's Standard Vanguards.
Q: What sort of paint should I use for re-spraying my Cheltenham?
Reply: Coach enamel - this is used for re-spraying commercial vehicles and as such is more flexible (and less expensive) than the paint used for re-spraying cars.
Q: My Cheltenham "clonks" when pulling away from stops, what is the cause/cure.
Reply: The most likely and least expensive cause is that the hitch damper rubber washer has split and fallen off.
These are available from either John Bradley or Halfords the national car spares retailer. . Halfords sell rubbers suitable for 1962 to 1972 Cheltenhams as 32mm car exhaust suspension rubbers Part number HEX400.
The other possibility is a worn hitch damper, this is tested buy pushing your hitch in and out and comparing with a known good one (at a Cheltenham Rally?) This is more likely to be a problem on the heavier vans (i.e. Springboks) than the lighter models.
I am not aware of a source of new dampers, does anyone else know of one?
Q: I would like to use my gas lamps but this works out rather expensive as I have to replace mantels after each trip, is there a way of avoiding this?
Reply: There should be a light spring holding the mantels in place, these are often missing. I have towed my caravan 3,000 miles this year without needing to replace the mantels. I obtained my springs from a caravan breakers, you might be lucky to find a caravan dealer that still has them in stock, Don Brown advises me you can make them from fuse wire.
Q: What is the original shade of white used on Cheltenhams?
Reply: My 1967 Springbok ( and most Cheltenhams) is Ermine White, later examples such as my 1973 Oribi are Dover White.
Q: Neither of the 12 volt fluorescent lights in my Sable work when running off the car battery, all the other electrics work ok. When I tested with a bulb there was power at the lights, I took one light out and connected to a battery and it worked! Can anyone help?
Reply: Most Cheltenhams were originally wired for positive earth, cars now are negative earth. Early fluorescent lights are polarity sensitive. Swop the live and earth wires around in the light fitting and your lights should work.
Q: Can you please advise on awning sizes for a Waterbuck many thanks
Reply: click here for a list of awning sizes for Cheltenham caravans provided by Jack Salter
Q: My query is about a Cheltenham caravan I have got that is about 15 ft. long is a 2 berth with wardrobe on one side in the middle and a dresser and drink cabinet on the opposite side, there is a kitchen at the end and this is separated from the rest of the caravan area by 2 opposing doors to the outside, a small room is at one end of the kitchen (maybe a shower room). There are 2 long bench seats either side at the front separated by a small chest of drawers. The description of a Puku sort of fits having read your web site descriptions but not quite. The serial no. on the chassis is 647704, unladen weight 12cwts, 3 qtrs, 0 lbs, if this helps. An estimated value for this caravan would also be interesting as it is in original condition.
Reply: Re this specific query this appear to be an early Puku 2 (referred to within the club as the “2 rear door model”). There appear to be an extra digit within the chassis number. From my explanation of Cheltenham chassis numbers (see below) this appears to be a 1964 model Puku 2 made around September/October 1963
The value of Cheltenham caravans is largely dependent upon condition; some models are more sought after than others, and the distance that potential buyers have to travel will also affect value. Within the Owners Club caravans fitted with modern upgrades, tend to fetch higher prices, going some way to reflect the cost of this updating. Without seeing the caravan it is impossible to value but I would put values for this model in the following range.
Spares only £50
For restoration £250
Chassis Numbers Explained
Q:I have noticed that my near side tyres on our Waterbuck always wear quickly on the outer edge. I have checked the bearings and have had new shocks. Has anyone got any suggestions?
Reply: There must be something drastically wrong or be doing a lot of miles to get any wear on the tyres of a Waterbuck!
The Possible causes are:
1. Worn suspension bush
There should be no noticeable play in these, best checked by removing the wheel, disconnecting the shock absorber and trying to detect any plan at the end of the suspension arm.
Replacement in covered in Maintenance on this web site.
2. Incorrectly adjusted wheel bearing
When correctly adjusted there should be no noticeable play or stiffness in wheel bearings, adjust in accordance with Readers Digest repair Manual, or ask again and I will describe process.
3. Broken or settled spring
A broken spring will be obvious from visual inspection. Springs can be checked for settling by measuring fitted length and comparing with other side.
4. Bent suspension arm
These are very sturdy, however it is possible that this could have got damaged sometime in the last 40 years. This can be checked by your local tyre fitters with their optical alignment gauges (speak to them first before taking the caravan in) various COC members have second-hand spares if necessary.
5. Bent Chassis
This is even more unlikely than a bent suspension arm, best checked by a visual inspection, with a set square and comparison with the other side of the caravan.
I am interested in purchasing a
Cheltenham in addition to my modern Bailey.
I am particularly interested in a 4 berth of about 15ft. I have seen an Oribi in the flesh but none of the others. I am particularly keen to see the internal layouts of the Puku 4 and the Roebuck - even a line drawing would be useful!
(I am unable to provide these drawings at present so would appreciate some help thanks Jacqui)
Reply:The two 'vans you mention are two of the rarest Cheltenhams around. There are very few Roebucks in the club and John Bradley suggests that they are not really available. The Puku 4 is more available but again difficult to find. I own a Nyala which is more common than these two, and I used to own a Waterbuck. There are a couple of Waterbucks on the website for sale. They are 4 berths but are small (13'). There is a Nyala for sale with a Rover 3.5 as well. A layout of the Springbok and the Nyala are available by clicking the links.
Q: I am thinking of buying a 1969 ? Waterbuck. It has " 10 cwt." written on a small plate on the drawbar, is this the MGW ?. The info. on your site states the Waterbuck as being 12.5 cwt [ 635 kg.] ex-works weight. My car is a 1.3 Proton with a kerbweight of 965 kg. Could I safely tow the Waterbuck with this ? I am new to caravanning, but have fallen completely for the Cheltenham caravans ! Any advice/ info. would be greatly appreciated.
Reply: I believe that your car will safely tow a Waterbuck. Waterbucks were designed for high speed continental touring (at the time of manufacture the UK speed limit for caravans was 30 mph). Where COC members have taken Cheltenhams to weighbridges the ex works weights published on this website have been found to be accurate. Ex works weights do not include any extras such as gas bottles, fridges, ovens, heaters or a spare wheel. Current best practice seems top be that the laden weight of a caravan should not exceed 85% of the kerb weight of the tow car. So in your case Waterbuck 635kg extras say 50kg Personal belongings say 125 kg = 805kg Proton 965kg x .85 = 820kg
Additional baggage can always be carried in the car, so long as you do not exceed the car manufactures gross train weight.
I hope you purchase and enjoy your Waterbuck.
Q:We have a 1963 Cheltenham Fawn which is minus the original gas lamps which I believe should be Morca No 1? Is there anyone out there that can help.
Reply:It was around 1963 that Cheltenhams were first fitted with Morco No1 gas lamps rather than the earlier type. Second-hand lamps are available either from fellow members or caravan breakers, these can be stripped and re chromed if necessary, it is the glass shades that are in short supply. Many COC members use Morco No 2 glass shades, which whilst slightly larger, will fit these lamps, and are still available new from caravan dealers. Only the No1 or Bijou size mantels fit No 1 light fittings.
Q: HELP please !!, I have just damaged the side of my Puku 2 ,a deep scratch about 12 inches long just below the stainless trim line ,it stands out like a sore thumb and spoils what was a totaly un- marked side, has any one got any cover up ideas ,thanks
Reply:Sorry to hear about your scratch.
A dodge used by caravan dealers is to place additional dummy vents over dings, for example, in your case, the vent for a modern Electrolux fridge could be screwed in place.
I replaced the complete offside side panel on my Springbok, as there were numerous small dents where the previous owners had parked their bicycles against the side. This is not as big a job as you would imagine, so long as you have at least one extra pair of hands, and use a panel from a similar scrap Cheltenham. This is an ideal opportunity to inspect and treat timber framing, upgrade insulation and replace sealant.
Reply: Many thanks, I have considered using a vent to conceal the scratch ,but didn't fancy fitting a modern type grille, has any one got a Cheltenham style vent, like the ones fitted to the sides of my Puku, or better still, above the toilet opening window, is anyone breaking a Cheltenham?
Q: Does anyone know if there is a record of Cheltenham's produced? I own a 1982 Sable and am wondering how near the end of production it was built.
Reply: My understanding is that Cheltenhams were made by Fernden Caravans until 1980, however they were listed as available new in caravan magazines until 1982. Can you have a look at your chassis number and see which year it is listed as being made? The first 2 figures of Cheltenham chassis numbers, after 1963, give the year of manufacture. The rest of the chassis number consists of the model number and the how many of that model had been produced so far that year. For example the chassis no if my Springbok is chassis no 67928
Meaning 1967 model year 9 = Springbok 28 = 28th example produced that year
Q:Can you help? Does anyone know what badge is mounted on the front top bracket of the Cheltenham Sable above the round Cheltenham Badge?
Reply:This bracket often fitted to Cheltenhams is the pennant mount. Members used to fit the COC badge (no longer available new) to this mount. COC badges are occasionally available from autojumbles or from former Cheltenham owners you chat to on caravan sites!
An alternative could be to fit either a Caravan Club or Camping and Caravan Club badge as these are more readily available. New flagpoles and pennants are available from the COC.
The current pennant bracket available from the COC fits behind the round Cheltenham badge, and does not incorporate this additional badge mount.
Q:I have been looking for a spare wheel for my 1963 Puku 4,does any one know the size, or which vehicle they came off. We also are needing a new handbrake lever as the original one has snapped, about two inches below the button. Could anyone tell me the type to look for.
Reply: Wheels - Numerous different wheels were fitted to Cheltenhams over the years, my best guess is that your Puku is fitted with 13" 4 stud wheels on a 4 ½" pcd, 2 7/8" centre hole, 3 ¾" inset with 3 buttons for hub cap retention, this can be confirmed by measurement.
These were fitted to the some Cheltenhams from about 1964 to 1968.
All of the various wheels used on Cheltenhams were also used on other trailers/caravans of the same age.
See Maintenance on this website.
Q: I have just become a member to the
Cheltenham owners club (I have a sable 1964) and wondered if you could help
me with a couple of points.
1. Which is the best anti theft device to use on this model. A wheel clamp will not fit over my chrome hub caps!
2. Is it possible to get hold of the white plastic trim (approx 2" wide) that goes round the side windows?
Reply: Security Devices
1. There is a lightweight hitch lock made by W4 to fit B&B hitches, this can also be used to lock caravan to car. I use one of these when travelling and leaving car and caravan unattended i.e. motorway service stations. Your local caravan dealer should be able to order, cost around £7.
2. There is a Bulldog heavy duty hitch lock available to fit B& B hitches, I use one of these when the caravan is parked at home, again should be available to order from your local dealer, cost around £60. Note the standard version for Alco hitches will not fit.
3. Some members remove their hub caps when parked to enable the use of a wheel clamp.
4. I use winter wheels (stands that bolt on in place of the wheels) when my caravan is in storage. I made these to fit my 1960s 5 stud Cheltenham by welding square tubing to Bedford CF wheels. If you lock your wheels away it is highly unlikely that any potential villain will be have some wheels to fit.
This plastic trim is available from John Bradley.
However are you sure about year of caravan, all Cheltenhams until at least 1967 had aluminium window trim painted to match body, only later models used the plastic trim (which seems to need replacing every 10 years)?
Q: I have a 1971 Cheltenham Nyala, and I've just found time to make a shelf to hold coffee etc, can anyone give me any advice on which stain/varnish I should use to make the shelf match the rest of the woodwork? (It is the dark wood type.)
Reply 1: The finish on my particular van (which is pre 1970) was originally sprayed clear celulose . This subsequently darkened with age , as most timbers do and has ended up quite stripey with very dark and almost white on the same boards in places .When I partially relined it , some 15 years ago I used oak faced ply of as near to the light bits as I could find .These have over time darkened slightly .The finish I used ( which is much more durable than the original ) is : two coats polyurethane gloss and a final coat of satin . Gloss on its own looks rather treacly , in my opinion . I cannot see any value in removing the cellulose with Nitromors , which can itself darken the wood , unless there is considerable build up of finish . Just rubbing down with wet or dry 360 should do . If in doubt experiment where it will not show or on a spare piece of ply. Good luck ,
Reply 2: The wood colour on Cheltenhams varies from year to year, van to van and even between different panels on the same van. The colour a given stain comes out depend upon the timber substrate and even humidity on day. Vivian used Ronseal medium oak varnish on new oak panels on his Waterbuck of similar age to yours to great effect. I used Colron medium oak woodstain on my 67 Springbok and the finish was too brown.