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Additional installations for Grand California - best company in ROI?

Eber123

Eber123

VIP Member
Messages
1,110
Location
Kilcock, Kildare, Ireland
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Hello,

After our summer travels we sat down and talked about the things that went well and which one could be improved. To give you some ideas what we had in mind here are some items:

Bicycle carrier
For our folding e-bikes we would love to get a bike carrier installed. Each bike has a weight of 22 kg (without the battery). For me I would like to ensure that the doors at the rear can still be opened even if the bikes are mounted. From my research there are only 3x products that might fit the bill:

Paulchen Bike Carrier for VW Crafter

Fiamma Carry-Bike Crafter Van conversion

EuroCarry Bike Rack for VW Crafter from 2016 ->

As far as I can see all three bike carriers mount the bikes high enough not to obstruct the rear lights. Because of this we don't need the light bar, hence no tow bar. But if it turns out that it is too high to lift the bikes onto the rack all of them can be configured to lower the bikes which in turn will obstruct the rear lights of the camper, hence we night the light bar. But then we have to have the tow bar installed for the electricity. That not only means the extra cost, but also more weight -
32.png
. Also it was highly recommended to get the bike racks professionally installed in a garage. So far I only found somebody for the Fiamma carrier.

Spare wheel holder
I still would feel better carrying a full spare wheel with us, but as outlined above, I start to question this, because of the extra weight.... Still, if you have a price for the installation please let me know.

Maxview Roam aerial and LTE router
I installed a "cheap" solution getting internet connection into the camper. During our travels it turned out that it is not working that well. I would like to get the proper Maxxview Roam kit installed. It is not that complicated (except to drill a whole into the roof). but the router needs 12 V which needs to be installed. There must be somebody in Ireland who is capable of installing this professionally and reliably in a Grand California. If you know somebody please let me know.

LED Lazer lights
In various VW Grand California Froums I saw so many installations of those lights in Grand Californias that I believe there should be no bigger problems to get those lights installed. I admit there is no need for them, but I think they look brilliant (https://www.lazerlamps.com/eu/vw-crafter-grille-integration-kit.html). For this I also try to find somebody in Ireland who is capable of installing this professionally and reliably.

Improve battery capacity in GC
Well, 46 Ah available electricity is not enough during fall, winter and spring. This is a big issue which I don't believe there is a company in Ireland who can help. I have contacted Volkswagen Commercial in Hannover about this and will contact Volkswagen Ireland about this also. I don't expect a solution, but one never knows.

Heating and warm water
This is a warranty issue. As you may know if the Truma heater or warm water boiler is switched on it will switch off by itself at any given time (that could be half an hour, a day or a week). As soon as the connection cable from the Truma Control Unit to the VW Camper Control Unit is disconnected the issue is gone for good. But now the Truma heater can only be controlled from the Truma Control Unit under the back seat, which is not acceptable. I would like to find a solution before the colder season starts (and yes, we will be out and about in October, November or even December). Maybe we can discuss this next time. This I will sort out with my VW dealer.

Extra cupboard under bed
There is really not enough storage in the kitchen area. In Caliboard Forum I found this thread: https://www.caliboard.de/topic/24805-einbau-eines-zusatzküchenschranks-im-gc-600-unter-dem-bett/ (if you scroll down you see some pictures). I am in process to order the parts I need and will install it myself (I hope it will work out well :) ).

The reason why I posted all the information is for my Irish fellow (Grand) California users which might know a company in ROI which have (some) experience with the VW California and can help me. I went to one company in Northern Ireland just to get a 12 V connector installed at the seating area and they were so confused and helpless that I stopped them before any damage was done.

If I don't have any work - I will create a bit of work for myself. :)

Kind regards,
Eberhard
 
Eber123

Eber123

VIP Member
Messages
1,110
Location
Kilcock, Kildare, Ireland
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Hello,

I just wanted to follow up my post to see if somebody knows a good company which can install a Maxview Roam professionally and reliability into the Grand California 600.

I was wondering has somebody got the Maxview Roam (or similiar) install on their camper (here in Ireland)? If yes, maybe you could let me know who did it and what is your experience with it?

Thank you for your help.

Eberhard
 
kurienp

kurienp

Top Poster
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2,664
Location
Newbury, Berkshire, UK
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Hello,

I just wanted to follow up my post to see if somebody knows a good company which can install a Maxview Roam professionally and reliability into the Grand California 600.

I was wondering has somebody got the Maxview Roam (or similiar) install on their camper (here in Ireland)? If yes, maybe you could let me know who did it and what is your experience with it?

Thank you for your help.

Eberhard
Eber? have you considered a Starlink instead? https://www.starlink.com/
 
A

andy_c

Messages
48
Location
Esher
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Hi Eberhard,

Are you able to explain the reasons why you’re choosing the Maxview Roam as opposed to say the Motorhome Wifi brand? I have a window of opportunity to install the aerial myself as my local VW dealer has had to remove the storage cabinets and roof liner while they fix a leak in the roof mounted break light and replace the water damaged cupboards that are made to order so it’s back with me in this state for a few more weeks!

Don’t know if it will help but I could provide the installation steps I take…

Many thanks!

Andy
 
Eber123

Eber123

VIP Member
Messages
1,110
Location
Kilcock, Kildare, Ireland
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Dear Andy,

After the decision was made to get an outside aerial installed I decided for the MaxView Roam (not X) for the following reasons:

1.) I was reading and watching good reviews of the product
2.) Easy configuration from LTE to WiFi (from campsite)
3.) Global version available
4.) Responsive and good support
5.) Price not much more than similar products

I hope that I found an installer in Northern Ireland. They will also install the LED Lazer lights. I will post here about my experience.

Kind regards,
Eberhard
 
A

andy_c

Messages
48
Location
Esher
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Thanks Eberhard, appreciated. The rationale for not getting the X is price or we’re there other factors playing in?

Many thanks!

Kr

Andy
 
Eber123

Eber123

VIP Member
Messages
1,110
Location
Kilcock, Kildare, Ireland
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Hello Andy,

Yes, cost is also a factor. Comparing the 2x products:

  • Roam = 4G Cat4
  • RoamX = 4G Cat 6
In theorie double the speed or the RoamX, which I believe won't have a huge impact in normal life.

  • Roam = 1 SIM card slot
  • RoamX = 2x SIM card slots
We don't need 2x SIM card slots. We need the global version because we hope to get to America and Canada. For this we take out the Irish SIM card and put in a american or canadian.

  • Roam = 2x RJ45 ports
  • RoamX = 4x RJ45 ports
We don't even need the 2x RJ45 ports

  • Roam = Up to 50x devices
  • RoamX = Up to 100 devices
That is marketing speak anyway. Who needs more than 50x devices in a camper?

It seems that the App is the same, the aerial (which is more important) is already 5G ready, both need 12 V power.

I almost believe that the aerial is the most important part of the setup. If the aerial is installed the router can be easily changed. 5G is not an option (and I don't believe it won't be ((at least for us)) in the foreseeable future).

I contacted MaxView about the Roam and I've been told that the version on the website just will work in Europe (SIM cards), but not in USA and Canada. But I can contact them and they will send me an upgrade / changed version. This setup suppose to cover all our Internet needs for the foreseeable future.

The problem is the installation. Not only that the hole has to be drilled in the roof and the cable installed under the lining, but a 12 V connector has to be installed. I am really unhappy that Volkswagen has no 12 V connector in the seating area.
I took the the board under the 2x back seats off to check if under the lining are the cables for the TV installation, because people keep saying that the cables are installed even if the additional option is not installed. So far I can't confirm this. For me it looks like there are no cables installed for the optional TV nor cables installed under the driver seats for the optional internet router.

I hope we can meet installer in Dungannon next Thursday to have a look and check if he can do the installation. If he is confident to do a professional, reliable installation than I will order the parts and we arrange a date for the installation. If he said that he can't do it, back to the drawing board to find a competent installer to get the work done.

Kind regards,
Eberhard
 
Eber123

Eber123

VIP Member
Messages
1,110
Location
Kilcock, Kildare, Ireland
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Just thinking about the upgrade / changes on a Grand California, which seems to me is a lot of hassle.

I believe it might be easier for Knaus, Weinsberg, Westfalia, Hymer etc. owners. Upgrades like additional solar panels, battery changes, LTE router, different tyres etc. will be done by the local dealer from where the camper was bought from. Not only that the manufacturer expects them to do this, but I am sure they love to do it because it creates revenue.

In comparison the Volkswagen dealer is working in a very strict working environment, which Volkswagen won't allow any changes. Also they have no business plan to encourage their dealers to install upgrades or change configurations.

That leaves the Grand California user in the lurch to finalize and finetune the configuration of the camper he / she needs.

Regards,
Eberhard
 
A

andy_c

Messages
48
Location
Esher
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Thanks for explaining that Eberhard. I note on their website a 5g version is mentioned for early 2023. I will ring them on Monday.

Unless I’m mistaken I personally believe the installation can be done by ourselves. Let me show you why… the attached photos show the rear of the van roof with the middle storage cupboard removed. The centre of the van in front of the brake light is perfect for the aerial installation and the cable will drop down and run along the inside of the chassis cable run with other cables all the way to the far right where we can either drop it down the lining to the router installed on the rear of the cupboard under the bed and powered by the cigarette lighter socket or routed into one of the cupboards with the power coming from the same place.

Does that make sense?

I plan to do it over the next couple of weeks so can let you know but from inspection today it looked pretty trivial (famous last words) :)

HTH

Andy

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A

andy_c

Messages
48
Location
Esher
Vehicle
Grand California 600
I should add that “or routed into one of the cupboards with the power coming from the same place” - I meant the high storage cupboards off to the right in the second photo so the aerial cable length is reduced and the router is high and more easily accessible as well as being further into the van.
 
Eber123

Eber123

VIP Member
Messages
1,110
Location
Kilcock, Kildare, Ireland
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Well, when I speak to the installer I try to discourage to install the aerial close to the upper brake light / reverse camera. At the moment we don't have any issues with leaks in this area, but never knows what the future brings. If it is too close I don't want to give VW any excuses to deny a warranty case.

I was hoping to get the aerial in the middle of the camper, or close to the cupboard next to the wet room. The 12 V power from the technic cupboard straight up.

I don't know - the converter should no better. I don't know why everything is so blooming complicated with the Grand California (well - it could be me too ;) ).

I am nervous because we had sooooo many problems with the vehicle from week one. The main controller board was exchanged 4x times (not to mentioned the other issues) before it started to work. Volkswagen tried to blame the Pandora Alarm - so it had to be de-installed. I was lucky that the gus who installed the alarm where realy good working with me and VW on this one.

I would like ot have the changes, but because of my experience I must be convinced that the installation will be done 100 %.

Regards,
Eberhard
 
A

andy_c

Messages
48
Location
Esher
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Hi Eberhard,

Can’t argue with that. However, having explored I think for me this is the least hassle installation point, but I’ll revisit when I do the install and update here regardless.

Kr

Andy
 
andyinluton

andyinluton

Super Poster
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5,863
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T6.1 Ocean 204 4 motion
Hello,

As far as I can see all three bike carriers mount the bikes high enough not to obstruct the rear lights. Because of this we don't need the light bar, hence no tow bar. But if it turns out that it is too high to lift the bikes onto the rack all of them can be configured to lower the bikes which in turn will obstruct the rear lights of the camper, hence we night the light bar. But then we have to have the tow bar installed for the electricity. That not only means the extra cost, but also more weight

There is nothing to say you can’t have the towbar electrics installed but not have a towbar. Saves all the weight and let’s you use a light bar.
 
Eber123

Eber123

VIP Member
Messages
1,110
Location
Kilcock, Kildare, Ireland
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Hello,

Just a short update about my quest to get the LTE aerial and the LED Lazerlamps installed.

I contacted a VW dealer in Northern Ireland to see if they would look after this. They got back to me very quickly saying this is not what they can provide, but they recommended a company also in Northern Ireland.

I contacted this recommended company and we made an appointment to look at the GC. Last week we drove up and spoke to the guys. They were very friendly, but as it seems they were not quite sure how to install it (the VW dealer said they already worked on GC ?!), but they will look into it.

We drove 380 km (round trip) that day and now more than a week later I still have not gotten an email or a phone call to confirm they can or they can't do it. :(

There seems to be a "Motorhome Repairer" in Loughrea. I see if I can arrange to visit him next week.

The search goes on ....

Regards,
Eberhard
 
A

andy_c

Messages
48
Location
Esher
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Hi Eberhard,

Just to update you on my 5G/4G WIFI install:

1) Rang Maxview - they advised holding off on the the roam as they’re updating their aerial to a 4x4 mimo to future proof for the new routers. As an FYI I’ve ascertained that they’re rebadging the teltonika RUTX11 and they’re now evaluating the Teltonika RUTX50 for 4x4 MIMO and 5G connectivity.

2) Motorhome WIFI are repackaging the panorama-antennas 2x2 MIMO aerial: http://www.panorama-antennas.com/site/Great-White-2x2-MiMo-4G-5G-9-Functions-In-1

3) The guys at panaroma-antennas were very helpful (and their specs the best I could find along with the ip69 rating and rubber skirt / seal) and I’ve selected their 4x4 MIMO 5G with 2x2 wifi aerial for future proofing: https://www.panorama-antennas.com/site/High-Performance-4x4-MiMo-Antennas and specifically lgmdm4-6-60-24-58

4) I will ultimately be using the Teltonika RUTX50 with this aerial but whilst waiting for it I’m using my netgear nighthawk M6 5G mobile router - see the strong 5G signal piccy below post install!

5) I had 50cm cables made up for the aerial to limit cable lengths and so installed the aerial offset from center, and not near the brake light unit (you’ll be pleased to hear). I positioned it so it was trivial to route the cables into the 2nd overhead cabinet on the right facing the rear. An extension bolt can be purchased for the aerial so that it is long enough to pass through the van roof insulation (25mm core hole saw was very easy and I didn’t break a sweat that I’d screw it up as you can just poke your head, arms and drill out of the rear skylight).

6) I’ve routed power up from the rear cigarette lighter and also my ecoflow generator which you’ll recall is right by it.

It really was rather trivial, although as per my previous post the rear facing cabinet is currently removed - but they’re also easy to remove. Pictures below - you could have the installer use these to help perhaps.

My experience, like yours, is that there aren’t installers who have experience of the grand cali so won’t easily offer to go near it. However given everything, im glad im learning about how everything is installed myself and I’d recommend this as long as the TLA ‘DIY’ isn’t too scary (as a software are engineer im really not allowed near hardware so if I can do it :)

HTH

Andy

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A

andy_c

Messages
48
Location
Esher
Vehicle
Grand California 600
PS if you or other folk want any other piccys while the cabinets are out please let me know and I can grab them (I won’t update on my cabinet saga atm suffice to say I had to put a call into VW Commercial Customer Services…).
 
Eber123

Eber123

VIP Member
Messages
1,110
Location
Kilcock, Kildare, Ireland
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Hello,

@andy_c for the information. Highly appreciated.

I will have a closer look at your pictures and information tomorrow afternoon if I could repeat the installation in my GC.

Also I will have another research of the hardware. I thought that the MaxView Roam would be a very good offer. But I will have a look at the products you mentioned.

I discussed the installations with my wife and we played with the idea to go either to the UK or even Germany to get the parts installed. But the cost for the ferry from Ireland to France is not cheap.

To find nobody who is willing to install upgrades / changes is frustrating. I believe there is a dealer near Limerick which has a Weinsberg CaraCompact Pepper on stock. I am almost tempted to have a look. But it is not cheap and I surely won't get more than EUR 65k for my GC 600.

Regards,
Eberhard
 
A

andy_c

Messages
48
Location
Esher
Vehicle
Grand California 600
Out of interest @andy_c do you know how difficult it is/was to remove the centre rear cupboard? Very neat install by the way, I like that a lot.
I don’t think it’s difficult, but I have the hindsight of seeing it out. Apologies as I can’t advise as my VW dealer took them out as they were rotten and mouldy from water leaking in through the upper break light seal.

By way of update today I completed the 5G / Wi-Fi install with the Teltonika kit (seem to be selling like hot cakes!) ahead of our trip to the Alps over new year and I’m super chuffed with the kit so far - robust router with a shed load of capability. Piccy attached!

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