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California Gotcha's - New Beach Owners, Things to Be Aware Of!

shudycamps

shudycamps

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T5 SE 140 4Motion
Awaiting delivery of our Beach, so I am reading a lot on the forums and I keep stumbling across stories of where *new* owners have come across common issues, problems or fallen victim to common gotcha's with their Cali's and when I stumble across them I am making a mental note.

For example just read about an awning that's been ripped when closing it, seems common sense to be careful but it appears not to be common issue.

We met *flying banana* at a VW meet and he gave us some good tips regarding owning a Cali, like carrying a battery meter and amps of certain appliances.

What have you fallen victim to or learn't from that would be useful to new Cali owners, whether it's electric hook up, ramps, pop tops, screen covers, fridges, storage, batteries, seats, bike racks, fuses, central locking, parking heaters etc etc.

Would be nice to have a concise list of things to be aware of in one thread for new owners, without too much of debate around each thing.

Not sure if a list already exists?

Daz....
Treat everything with respect! Handle with care! For example, when lowering the blinds (we have a 2015 T5 Cali) use both hands and lower evenly. Just little things like this if used carelessly can create a problem. So far so good and welcome aboard!
 
zinglefiffy

zinglefiffy

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Lancashire
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T6 Beach 150
If you park with the tailgate too close to the wall to open fully, don't be tempted to open it a bit and hold it down at an angle while ducking under and grabbing what you need from the boot. In these ridiculous circumstances which only a complete plonker in a rush would attempt, the part of the tailgate which curves around to meet the side of the van just above the rear light cluster becomes a pointy spear-like weapon perfectly placed to stab you in the head when you move backwards to get out from under the tailgate you are holding.

If you insist on this level of stupidity, get at least one thing right and marry a GP who carries a mini-A&E in her handbag and can rescue your scalp.

It's easier if you just move the sodding van.
 
MattBW

MattBW

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Your Cali will come with just a 1m hook up cable. Buy a 30m cable before your first trip.
Remember that cables should have a coiled and uncoiled rating, always check your power usage is below that rating. If it doesnt have a coiled rating don't use it coiled. I personally unroll it every time. Coiled up they can get hot and create a problem.

1570620650485.png
 
s2bear

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london
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T6 Beach 4Motion
Remember that cables should have a coiled and uncoiled rating, always check your power usage is below that rating. If it doesnt have a coiled rating don't use it coiled. I personally unroll it every time. Coiled up they can get hot and create a problem.

View attachment 51314
Thank goodness for those two bits of insulation tape


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
CALI FATE

CALI FATE

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826
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Cheltenham
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T6 Beach 150
Remember that cables should have a coiled and uncoiled rating, always check your power usage is below that rating. If it doesnt have a coiled rating don't use it coiled. I personally unroll it every time. Coiled up they can get hot and create a problem.

View attachment 51314
We keep our cable coiled up inside the top bed - better than a hot water bottle
 
clarinetbcn

clarinetbcn

T5.1 Beach 140
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Barcelona, Spain
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T5 Beach
I fold it quite carefully but I had micro holes around the clamp, I did reinforce those with tear aide too.
After doing this to one side of mine, in spite of being obsessively careful, I sat down in a fit of rage to reread the owners manual (mine's in German, give me a break!). So it turns out, after rolling up the fabric, we are supposed to stuff it behind and UNDER the black woven webbing that is behind the clamp. No Westfalia employee where I bought the van, or VW employee where I have the van serviced and had the roof rot repair done, told me this when we went through how to properly put the roof down. News to me, but I hope I spare someone else the pain. I habitually reread the manual as evening entertainment before going to sleep (I'm currently single, could these be related...), and even I had never found this before. But, it's there. Even so, this is VW's 21st century solution to a roof clamp on a 70,000 euro vehicle. Unbelievable.
 
Last edited:
KGCali

KGCali

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Essex
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T5 SE 180 4Motion
Check the top of the wind out awning is clear of debris before winding in, especially if parked under trees, otherwise leaves, twigs and seeds can get trapped in the awning and cause damage.
Also check the roof drainage channels are clear before lowering, pine needles are great at blocking the drain holes!
Put a card on the speedo to remind you Turn off the gas, Unplug electric lead and Move waste bucket BEFORE moving off :)
 
Borris

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Why have VW always insisted on fabric seats in a vehicle that's going to be lived in on muddy campsites by families with kids and dogs? Buy and fit waterproof covers for the seats or at least get the fabric treated with Lifeshine, Scotchguard or similar otherwise you will regret it.

The Ocean is even worse, with that horrid light coloured fabric that stains when all you've done is look at it. If you buy a Caravelle you can have full Nappa leather that wipes clean with a wet wipe. So why not both versions of the California? I know you can option Alcantara at vast expense on the Ocean but even the leather elements of that option have now been quietly changed to a cheap plastic faux leather.

Yes, leather can be hot and sticky in summer but at least you can cover it with material or a blanket for those rare occasions. IMO, for most of the year leather would be a far more practical interior.
 
Bellcrew

Bellcrew

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918
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Lymington
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T6 Ocean 150
Why have VW always insisted on fabric seats in a vehicle that's going to be lived in on muddy campsites by families with kids and dogs? Buy and fit waterproof covers for the seats or at least get the fabric treated with Lifeshine, Scotchguard or similar otherwise you will regret it.

The Ocean is even worse, with that horrid light coloured fabric that stains when all you've done is look at it. If you buy a Caravelle you can have full Nappa leather that wipes clean with a wet wipe. So why not both versions of the California? I know you can option Alcantara at vast expense on the Ocean but even the leather elements of that option have now been quietly changed to a cheap plastic faux leather.

Yes, leather can be hot and sticky in summer but at least you can cover it with material or a blanket for those rare occasions. IMO, for most of the year leather would be a far more practical interior.
Everything will be vegan soon, leather is sooo exploitative.
 
Borris

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Everything will be vegan soon, leather is sooo exploitative.
That's all very well but what do vegans think will happen to all the animals that they are trying not to exploit?

Never mind, I expect all the farmers will still keep them on as pets! :thumb
 
Moakesy

Moakesy

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T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Close the rear window blind whilst it's still easy to get to (normally when you first get to your site), especially if you have a tow-bar mounted bike rack.

Lost count of the number of times we remember just before bed time and it's cold / wet outside.
 
WelshGas

WelshGas

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Leather, cold in winter and positively dangerous on a hot sunny day. Nos: 3 son would agree having suffered mild but painful burns on the back of his legs one year. If I had leather seats I would get cloth seat covers.
Leather seats not very common in Australia.
 
MattBW

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After doing this to one side of mine, in spite of being obsessively careful, I sat down in a fit of rage to reread the owners manual (mine's in German, give me a break!). So it turns out, after rolling up the fabric, we are supposed to stuff it behind and UNDER the black woven webbing that is behind the clamp. No Westfalia employee where I bought the van, or VW employee where I have the van serviced and had the roof rot repair done, told me this when we went through how to properly put the roof down. News to me, but I hope I spare someone else the pain. I habitually reread the manual as evening entertainment before going to sleep (I'm currently single, could these be related...), and even I had never found this before. But, it's there. Even so, this is VW's 21st century solution to a roof clamp on a 70,000 euro vehicle. Unbelievable.
I always find when I get my van back from VW, they havent even done this either. With the isotop fitted its definitely a tighter fit although I get no roof squeaks anymore ;)

I once got my van back from Listers and they had left the clip hanging down inside the van but managed to get the hatch closed. Took me quite a while to get it back open again.
 
clarinetbcn

clarinetbcn

T5.1 Beach 140
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I always find when I get my van back from VW, they havent even done this either. With the isotop fitted its definitely a tighter fit although I get no roof squeaks anymore ;)

I once got my van back from Listers and they had left the clip hanging down inside the van but managed to get the hatch closed. Took me quite a while to get it back open again.
Matt, can you elaborate a little more about how hard it is to roll the roof fabric back and stuff it UNDER the black webbing behind the clamp to avoid micro punctures, with the Isotop fitted? Isotop is my preferred solution after reading endlessly about topper vs. interior insulation, but I'm uneasy about this aspect.
 
Borris

Borris

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Matt, can you elaborate a little more about how hard it is to roll the roof fabric back and stuff it UNDER the black webbing behind the clamp to avoid micro punctures, with the Isotop fitted? Isotop is my preferred solution after reading endlessly about topper vs. interior insulation, but I'm uneasy about this aspect.
I've had two Calis to date with Isotops fitted, the second being a Beach. They really aren't difficult to stow away.

As the roof comes down grab the inner and outer liner together on each side at the front and pull it in towards the centre of the vehicle. This is easier if you have a bungee fitted as that will ensure the two layers fold in neatly towards the centre. Next assist the roof down to the almost closed position. Then loosely roll up the Isotop and roof canvas together and tuck it behind the seat belt webbing part of the over lock roof catch. At this point you should be able to see the black metal claws that are responsible for punching the neat holes in the canvas of a careless owners Cali. Lightly closed the roof catch and feel for these claws. It's easy to both see and feel these claws to ensure that no material is trapped in the catch before finally clicking the catch closed.

If the roof catch is too tight it can be adjusted to ease the closing but remember it should be tight in order to form a water tight seal around the roof.
 
MattBW

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Matt, can you elaborate a little more about how hard it is to roll the roof fabric back and stuff it UNDER the black webbing behind the clamp to avoid micro punctures, with the Isotop fitted? Isotop is my preferred solution after reading endlessly about topper vs. interior insulation, but I'm uneasy about this aspect.
It's not massively difficult just probably takes an extra minute over the normal procedure, I lower it half way and regather then lower fully. The biggest challenge is that I can't see the inside of the outer canvas hence bellows bungee for solo or my good lady watching from the outside.

My canvas already had a few micro puntures from when it was a demo, I fixed them with Tear Aide but haven't had any issues since I fitted the Isotop in August (or whenever it was).

Shame you aren't close you could just come and have a look. My isotop video is almost done but I need to refilm a few bits so I could try and film the lowering process if it helps. Its quite hard to film in there though and do the closure at the same time :D
 
clarinetbcn

clarinetbcn

T5.1 Beach 140
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Barcelona, Spain
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T5 Beach
It's not massively difficult just probably takes an extra minute over the normal procedure, I lower it half way and regather then lower fully. The biggest challenge is that I can't see the inside of the outer canvas hence bellows bungee for solo or my good lady watching from the outside.

My canvas already had a few micro puntures from when it was a demo, I fixed them with Tear Aide but haven't had any issues since I fitted the Isotop in August (or whenever it was).

Shame you aren't close you could just come and have a look. My isotop video is almost done but I need to refilm a few bits so I could try and film the lowering process if it helps. Its quite hard to film in there though and do the closure at the same time :D
Thanks, I’ll be looking forward to the vídeo!
 
gvick

gvick

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Essex
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T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Turn your lights off from auto when camping - otherwise you will risk illuminating campsite at night .
 

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