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Haynes is well known as one of the leading publishers of car repair manuals in the UK. It also publishes a wide range of related books, including two motorhome-related titles, which I was recently sent for review.
The Motorcaravan Manual, by John Wickersham
The Motorcaravan Manual (Amazon⇒) is aimed at helping you to choose, use and maintain your motorcaravan. It is not a conversion guide but does contain a lot of information aimed at helping motorhome owners understand how their motorhomes are constructed and how they work.
Does It Deliver?
Unless you are actually planning to build a motorhome, The Motorcaravan Manual contains just about all the information you will ever need about motorhomes. Motorhome design and construction is explained, as are basic repair techniques. Motorhome gas, electrical and water systems are explained, as is furniture and upholstery. The importance of regular habitation servicing is discussed and an example service checklist is provided. The book concludes with a section on DIY motorhome conversion, using several different examples to illustrate the challenges and rewards of this approach.
The Motorcaravan Manual is a very comprehensive book and author John Wickersham is clearly a enthusiastic and hands-on expert – something which shows up throughout the book.
Build Your Own Motorcaravan, by John Wickersham
Build Your Own Motorcaravan (Amazon⇒) is billed as “A practical manual for van conversions, coachbuilts and major renovation projects”. In my opinion, it lives up to this billing because it teaches you how to go about planning and executing such a project yourself.
Does It Deliver?
What Build Your Own Motorcaravan does do is explain quite thoroughly all of the aspects of motorhome conversion and construction. It explains the many different options available in different areas – such as body types and heating – and provides most of the information a DIY converter would need to formulate his or her own design and construction plan. The author also explains legal and safety issues relating to weight and axle loadings, and provides advice on how to manage these common problems.
What this book does not do is provide an idiot-proof instruction manual, which some people seem to expect. Of course, such an expectation is unreasonable – every motorhome is different and it would be impossible to provide a generic manual for DIY converters. This book provides much of the background information you will need to plan your own conversion – the remainder of the information you need is likely to come from knowledge of your own experience and requirements.
Overall, I liked this book. Author John Wickersham is an experienced DIY converter and this is clear throughout the book. Not only does he know about the motorhome marketplace and the products that are available, he also has personal experience of choosing, assembling and using them.
I was impressed with both of these books. The expertise of the author is clear throughout, as is his enthusiasm. As with any book that refers to specific vehicles and products, there are occasional examples where out of date products are mentioned, but this has little effect on the accuracy and relevance of the information provided, which remains good.
There is some duplication between these two books and I would probably suggest purchasing one or the other, rather than both. Anyone planning a self-build conversion should choose Build Your Own Motorcaravan, while other motorhome owners or prospective buyers will get most benefit from The Motorcaravan Manual, which would be useful for anyone looking to buy their first motorhome, as well as existing motorhome owners.
The Motorcaravan Manual (184 pages)
Build Your Own Motorcaravan (176 pages)