Caravanning - Carver Cascade 2 water heaters and SB1800 heaters - manuals, some technical advice, repair details, testing gas systems and gas safety warnings.

Many people don't realise that the true cost of owning even a second-hand motorhome is over 5000 per year - about 100 per week. Also, there will be details of a dispute with Alan Kerr Ltd of Paignton Devon (I won the court case!). My own experience of motorhome dealers is that most are little better than poor quality car salespeople. The standard of advice they offer is often appalling - many profess not even to know of clutch and gearbox issues with Fiat based vehicles! Repair and service charges are often sky-high and undertaken by unskilled mechanics. As with caravans, most motorhomes can also suffer from water ingress and structural decay. In all - an expensive hobby.

A number of different topics are discussed in the following pages. At present the section is limited to discussion of Carver SB1800 and Cascade 2 water heaters and AL-KO towing hitches. This section of SeeRed was originally produced simply to be helpful to other caravan owners and to highlight the business practices of some dominant companies - especially Truma. Installation manuals are provided in various formats - select the one most suitable for your needs.

Only 'competent persons' must work on gas systems.

Full details of how to pay for access to my caravan webpages are on this page. Updated March 2011.

An occasional page: added June 2008, revised Feb 2009. Concerns are being expressed about the gearboxes and clutches on the new X250 Sevel chassis - as used by FIAT and Peugeot and utilised as the basis of many motorhomes. Is it time motor vehicle dealers stopped treating the public like idiots and owned up to design problems? The issue here is primarily that the reverse gear ratio is too high. Peugeot have developed a revised set of gear wheels that can be retro-fitted. A semi-cure for some vehicles is a software upgrade to the engine. This alters the torque curve at low revs. Many dealers now dismiss the issue as a minor concern and say it was a fuss about nothing. This is quite untrue. People have had clutches burn out and gearboxes shake to pieces as a result of the vibration and juddering that can occur with the new X250 chassis.

These pages, including over 50 detailed images and diagrams of strip down and repair procedures, used to be 'free to view' on the web - then certain individuals on ebay started stealing and selling the photos. Ebay were slow to react and the people involved did not have their accounts suspended. In order to stop people profiting to excess, I have had to alter my website. The pages are no longer free but are for sale as genuine 'SeeRed' webpages and for a lot less money than the people made who stole them! If you know of my webpages and images being sold elsewhere please tell me about it. You can no longer buy these pages via ebay because of their 'digital download policy'. You buy them direct from me via this webpage - and they remain the best value of any available.

The charge remains at only 2.00.

Full details of how to pay for access to my caravan webpages are on this page. Updated March 2011.

Here is one of many endorsements: there are many more on this link:

Hi Steve!

Thank you very much for your wonderfully helpful resource. It was well worth the money - unlike the 1.49 I paid for a copy of the Carver Trumatic SB1800 User Manual (from that rogue ebay user 'xxxxxx'), and actually received just an emailed, poor quality (diazo print) pdf file of the Fitting Instructions!
In view of the horrendous features of the SB1800 that you have brought to life, perhaps it should be re-named the 'Traumatic'!
Best wishes,

P.S. Your website is priceless!

A separate webpage details the unhelpful attitude of Truma (UK) towards owners of Carver heating products. Some material from the Patent Office is reproduced. A couple of patents on the Cascade 2 expired in January 2005 and new 'lookalike' units are now available, and despite everything that Truma and their lawyers tried to do to be unhelpful.

Almost everyone you speak to in the caravan world detests the high prices and/or non-availability of spares for many older products - in effect manufacturers are forcing consumers to buy whole new systems instead of a few reasonably priced spare parts. This is wholly against the tenets of reuse and recycling yet, regrettably, a parallel situation exists in the automotive world generally.

Full details of how to pay for access to my caravan webpages are on this page. Updated March 2011.

Index for this section.


Carver SB1800 heater - an example of poor installation. The Carver (Truma) SB1800 is one of the simplest caravan heaters. However, it suffers from some safety issues, the best known being corrosion of two steel gas pipes beneath floor level. These are the large pipe (supplying gas to the control valve) and the smaller one (feeding gas from the valve to the burner). The small pipe is the most likely to fail, and in the proximity of the burner. Many photos are available of repairs.

Carver SB1800 - internal components

Carver SB1800 - repair, reassembly and possible problems.

Carver 1800 installation and operation instructions - pdf format (2 min download at 56k)

AL-KO towing hitches - repairs to a seized draw tube assembly (now working perfectly!)

Carver Cascade 2 water heater - strip down and repairs: The photos on this page show a Carver Cascade 2 caravan water heater being stripped down. The common faults with these units include frost damage (which is often easily repaired), corrosion of the aluminium cylinder (which can often be repaired or if not, replaced), failure of the central tie rod and corrosion of burner boxes. Electronic failures in the burner module may mean a service exchange or new unit (about 100) but repairs can sometimes be effected.

Patent Office document discussing Cascade 2 - the behaviour of Truma (UK)

Carver Cascade 2 installation and use manuals - copies of the original as large jpg files

Carver Cascade - instructions, pdf format (5MB,  28 mins on slow modem)

Carver Cascade - user instructions, pdf format (1MB,  7 mins on slow modem)

Carver Cascade - template to cut wall, pdf format (0.6MB - 5 mins on slow modem)

Carver Cascade 2 instructions - simplified version (no diagrams)

Repair of Carver Cascade and other water heaters

Photos of flame and pressure testing - DO NOT try this unless you are fully competent.

Corrosion of Cascade 2 cylinders and repairs.

Gas leak testing for caravans and motor homes - procedures for competent owners. Low pressure leak testing of the fixed gas pipes in caravans is a good idea as part of annual servicing, and is readily undertaken at home if you know what you are doing (and if you don't know, then don't try it!). I use a standard set of procedures regularly. Commercial testing often costs 40 to 60 and consists of little more than a cursory inspection, a pressure check and the often unnecessary replacement of good quality flexible hoses. How to test these systems is outlined in detail. Remember -

Only 'competent persons' must work on gas systems.

Full details of how to pay for access to my caravan webpages are on this page. Updated March 2011.

If you buy my Caravanning pages you get access to all of the above pages and all the images - for only 2.00!

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