Hilo Sport Roof Review

Discussion in 'Review A Business' started by DaveyB, 28 Sep 2019.

  1. DaveyB

    DaveyB Funds just don’t support the desires!!! Moderator VIP Member T6 Legend

    The following is based upon facts, I am deliberately not pointing fingers to prevent libel and other claims.

    In April 2018 I took my van to Van Doc Ltd (see associated thread Van Doc Ltd - - - - Vandoc Conversions Ltd) for a HiLo roof to be installed. This was at the time when they were having issues from a customer booking perspective, which they blamed on an employee who made all of the bookings. Originally, I had asked for them to quote me for both a HiLo (Sport) roof and new leisure electrics. I had previously had some leisure electrics installed by another company (Rising Sun Campers), however I was not happy with them as I found that they had not even earthed the 240V consumer unit which was part of the EHU system. As a result of not wanting to trust this install due to having my family sleeping in the van, I decided to rip it all out and get it replaced.

    Why do I mention this? It’ll all become clear in a while.

    As a result of Van Doc Ltd messing me about with dates and quotes I decided to go elsewhere (to an auto electrician) to get my desired level of leisure electrics installed. So when I delivered it to Van Doc Ltd, there was a pukka electrical set up in the van, and this I can prove due to dates on invoices.

    Three weeks after dropping my van off at Van Doc Ltd, I was picking it up. All looked good in the unit, I was happy. However, by the time I had driven it the 45 minutes home, I was going loopy due to the high pitched whistling and creaking coming from the newly installed roof. I couldn’t get it straight back to them due to work commitments, so returned about a week later. We took it for a test drive, and they ended up putting some additional foam tape around the roof, which cured the problem. However, by the time I got it home it was creaking again. Called them up and got it booked in for them to have it for a further week to look at what was occurring. Can’t honestly remember what they did, but it came back better, it certainly had another new windscreen rubber wind deflector fitted because the previous one had already peeled off. Along with other issues (such as slider board falling out due to rails not being installed perpendicularly) the van went back to them a total of 4 times.

    So, lets fast forward to February 2019. When washing the van I put the roof up (it hadn’t been raised since Oktoberfest 2018), only to find a hole at the top and bottom of the canvas in the corner on the off-side. These holes were directly over one another and showed evidence of pressure/ friction rubbing.




    On the 18th February 2019 I contacted HiLo by email, setting out that I had a number of issues with my Sport roof, and that having taken it back to the installer several times already, I was not satisfied with the rectification works that had occurred, and that the install was only 9 months old. Michael Gildert as the then Operations Manager agreed that I needed to bring the van into their manufacturing premises in Preston, and a date was agreed for the 12th August 2019.

    Two weeks prior to me taking the van up, I managed to get hold of a chap called Lee, since Michael had left the company, to discuss the final details. Despite HiLo knowing since February that I was bringing the van in and would be travelling a very long distance to do so, their loan car had not been booked out to me. I discussed this with Lee from whom I got verbal agreement that HiLo would cover my travel costs of having to use public transport.

    During that preceding two weeks we went up to Scotland and were camping in the van. Predictably the weather was foul, lots of rain! Well that is when it happened – my van turned into a bathtub like so many other HiLo owners have reported. Rain water was cascading through the van soaking everything – the poptop bed that the kids were sleeping on, and the kombi bed that the wife and I were on. It turned into a very miserable and wet time in the van.

    I arrived at HiLo’s unit in Preston very early on the morning on 12 August 2019, booked the van in with a lad called Jake. We went over all of the faults including the constant creaking, leaking, and holes in the fabric. He assured me they would sort it out and return it perfect. He described how they had had a Van Doc Ltd install back into them only a week previous so knew exactly where to start looking in terms of the water leak. He also said that just by eye, he could tell that the front of the frame was sitting too high on the original roof line. He gave me his phone number and I left for the train station.

    They had the van for ten days. As I wanted information and to know what they were doing and whether they could sort it out, I was constantly texting Jake to get Lee to call me so I could get that picture.

    Sorry this is taking a while, but the background is important. Now for where all of my pain, stress and anguish commenced.

    On the 22nd August I returned to get my van. They pulled it out of one of the units for me to inspect. I put the roof up and had a good walk around, all seemed to be alright. They told me that Van Doc Ltd had made a terrible job of installation; in that the front of the frame was too high which is why the canvas had rubbed, and that they were supposed to flat all of the paint off the frame when they bond it down so that the silicone/ Sikaflex keys properly. I thanked them and me and the kids got in (it was school summer holidays, so had had to take the kids up with me as the wife was at work). In order to leave the site I had to spin the van round which involved needing to engage reverse. This is when things started to go wrong; the reversing camera feed wouldn’t come up on the screen, and it said “park pilot not currently available”. “Odd” I thought. So I got out, opened and shut the tailgate just in case, and got back into the drivers seat. Stuck it in reverse, same outcome. So I did a hard reset on the head unit. Tried again, same outcome, the screen was showing the outline picture of the van, but no video feed. I asked the kids to get out and stand in front and behind, to test the parking sensors – they worked perfectly.

    I went back into the office and said that I needed to see Jake (Lee wasn’t there again) saying that my reversing camera wasn’t working. I went back out to the van and looked on the phone and pulled up the fuse board diagrams from the forum. I identified the fuse for the camera, located it in the centre console board, and found it to be blown. I showed Jake, and he said he’d go and get me a replacement. He returned, gave it to me, I put it in and it instantly blew. I realised the ignition was on, so turned it off, thinking that maybe the surge had blown it. Put another one in, started the van, engaged reverse, still no camera. Turned the engine off, and put the keys on the driver’s seat whilst I went round to the passenger side to get easiest access to the fuse board. Checked the fuse – blown again. By this time other workers were coming out and started pouring over my van, including unscrewing the pelmet covers. At this point I was told to take one of their cars, “disappear for an hour” and they’d get to the bottom of it.

    Due to the time of the day, circa 14:00 hours, I took the kids to get some food. An hour and a half later I get a call from Jake asking me if it was an "OEM camera and an OEM head unit", which I explained that it was. He said they couldn’t find the fault, and that they had measured voltages at the camera and it was getting power, so had to be a fault with the camera. I said that I was on my way back and that I would therefore have to go and get it fixed. I returned to the HiLo premises at around 16:00 to find that the van was back in the same unit that I had previously seen it drive out from. Jake and another person were stood in front of the open bonnet, whilst a couple of other people were stood by the open drivers door, it appeared that they were using an OBD tool (I believe that one of the people may have been from the unit nearby that do motor mechanic work). I told them to step away from my vehicle and that I would have to get it inspected by someone. I climbed in to reverse it out so that we could leave. I turned the key, the engine fired for around 1.5 seconds then died, this was strange as it had never done that before. I turned the ignition off and then back on, that is when I identified that there were no ignition lights on the dashboard (albeit the MFD was illuminated). I tried to restart, the starter motor was engaging and the engine turning over, but would not fire.

    Jake and his colleague said that it had been working fine and they had only just turned it off. They put it on charge thinking it could be a flat battery. Because of the symptoms I was seeing I did not believe this to be the case, and fortunately having Green Flag breakdown cover I instantly got on the app to summon them for assistance. In the meantime I pushed the van out of the unit with my son sat in the drivers seat working the steering wheel, so that if the recovery technician arrived after HiLo had shut up shop for the night, they'd be able to get around my vehicle. It was at this time that I noticed that drivers window was open, I tried to shut it, only to find that this electrical circuit was also dead.

    Whilst waiting for the breakdown service, the battery was put back on charge, only for the charger to turn itself off after about 5 minutes, with a member of staff saying "oh it must be full because it’s just clicked out for a full battery". Another member of staff got their own OBD tool out of their car, and started trying to read the faults that it was identifying with the vans systems. There were a few, but that is hardly surprising when there was no power to the ignition.

    Green Flag arrived at about 17:30 and started going over the van checking power distribution and fuse integrity. I explained about the blown fuse in SC18 (reverse camera), and that HiLo had had my van for a further 90 minutes without me being there so I could not declare at all what they had actually done in this time. The technician worked on the van for 60 minutes and then stated he could not find the problem and that I would need recovering, which he would then organise. During this time HiLo had closed up their premises for the night. Jake and another chap remained. As the other chap got into his Land Rover Discovery, I stopped him before he drove off. Despite having seen him speaking to other members of staff in the background whilst all of this was going on, he had not come over to speak to me, which I thought very odd since he was in a suit, I asked who he was because he looked to me as if he was in a managerial position. He told me that he was Matt Adams and was the Operations Manager. I said I thought it was rather strange that as a manager he didn’t think it appropriate to come and speak to me, he said he wasn’t a technical person and therefore thought it better to stay well out of the way. He told me they’d make sure that my van got sorted. As I had had enough by now, and just wanted everyone gone, I told Matt and Jake to leave us alone as we’d be in their yard awaiting a recovery lorry for a couple of hours yet. At 20:00 the (first) recovery truck arrived, loaded me and the kids up, and started us on our 160 mile piggy back down the country. This was when the driver told us that he was dropping us off at the Lymm interchange services, and that another company would then pick us up and carry us on our way. Second lorry arrived at 21:45, and fortunately the driver told us that he would be taking us all the way home, the only problem being that he’d have to take a 45 minute drivers break before getting us back. ‘Could this day get any worse’?

    As irony would have it, the driver ran out of time about 20 minutes from my house, so we had to pull over at the Warwick Services on the M40. Fortunately, I’d been keeping the wife updated on our location, so she pulled into the Services right behind us and took the kids (it was now gone midnight) to get them home and to bed. The van and I finally arrived home at 01:45. My van had to be left in the street with the drivers window down, with the aperture covered only by stickyback plastic to keep the weather and criminals out, because the recovery driver is only allowed to put down into the street. Fortunately the central locking worked, and I put my thermal windscreen cover on to hide the downed drivers window. I have only realised in the past week that my insurance is actually null and void if my vehicle is parked anywhere other than on my drive after 22:00 (unless I am out in it – i.e. against the kerb in the street outside my house = no insurance).

    By 15:10 on Friday 23rd I had heard nothing from HiLo so I called the office and asked to speak to Matt. Eventually he came on the line and was very different in his demeanour than the day before. I explained how I thought it was not very good that I had not received so much as a welfare phone call/ email/ sms to see whether my children and I had made it home safely. As far as I am concerned this is not admitting liability, that is caring about your customers, I got no response to this. Because of the massive difference in attitude I asked what HiLo were going to do about my vehicle, I got a very non-committal, lack of empathy response saying I have to get an “engineers report” and send it to HiLo for the Directors to consider. I asked who my escalation contact was, I was told I would have to put it to Kerri on the general email! Please note the words used above, “an engineers report”, again I have this written in an email which I have as evidence.

    Over the following days I called lots of auto-electricians, none of them were willing to work on my van. Two said that I would have to get it to them and they were packed out for over two weeks, one even said that he would not touch a T6 due to having no knowledge on the systems because they were so different to a T5. So I turned to the auto electrician who installed my leisure electrics, even though he is about 45-60 minutes from me. He said he’d come and take a look but it would be a week or so.
    Manu likes this.
  2. DaveyB

    DaveyB Funds just don’t support the desires!!! Moderator VIP Member T6 Legend

    This is the report of the Auto Electrician as submitted to The HiLo Roof Company Ltd. Also attached are the photographs submitted to them.

    It'll make more sense to view the contents of these documents before moving on.

    Attached Files:

  3. DaveyB

    DaveyB Funds just don’t support the desires!!! Moderator VIP Member T6 Legend

    So camera not working because the wiring had been damaged by a bolt, and the van wouldn’t start because of a fuse of the same rating as the reversing camera having been stuck in the wrong hole. I passed this engineers report onto HiLo.

    This was Matt Adam’s response.

    From: Matthew Adams
    Date: 24 September 2019 at 11:02:13 BST
    To: @btinternet.com

    Dear Mr B

    Thank you for your mail dated the 18th regarding the issues with your Vehicle uncovered at HiLo whilst work was being undertaken to rectify fitting issues you had from your HiLo roof installer.

    Thank you for submitting your opinion on liability, however the pictures clearly show an additional hole has been drilled in the frame and an M8 threaded bolt has been used (as you have stated). This has been done when the bed was fitted (by your installer). This hole is not on our engineering drawings which are under patent, nor do we use M8 bolts which is shown on our bill of materials. Furthermore, at no point did the work undertaken at HiLo involve drilling holes in the frame.

    The work undertaken by the HiLo team must have allowed the wire to come away from bolt shown in the picture. We did ask for an independent engineer’s report, not a £900 bill from a firm known well to yourself, who undertook untold & undated works to your van prior to it arriving with us, (after installer refused to work with the state of electrics). As the issues with your vehicle were not manufacturing issues then we have no liability for the £900 bill you are submitting.

    Removal of the internal covers (which is what the team did again to check for any obvious issues or lose connection) and check power was in fact going to your rear camera whilst you were off site must have led to the additional shorting failures. The only persons actually observed by multiple members of Hilo staff changing fuses or moving fuses was yourself and the Green Flag engineer. If the fuse SC31 had been in the wrong position on your return to the site, the instrument panel cluster would not have illuminated as it did multiple times and the vehicle would not have started multiple times and cut out. Therefore, additional costs incurred are as a result of aftermarket work previously condemned and not us.

    We have honoured the agreement and paid travel expenses, as that was what was agreed by Lee (after our hire car was double-booked). This was based on the proviso of not knowing whether the initial issues you had with your canvass was a fitter or product fault. As you are aware the fault was not with your canvass manufacture but as a gesture of goodwill we have not asked for return of payment of travel expenses. If you continue to request payment of funds HiLo are not liable for we will invoice you at our charge out rate of £46.73 per hour for the week your vehicle was in the workshop.


    Kindest Regards

    Matt Adams
    Operations Manager
    The HiLo Roof Company Ltd

    So lets just address a couple of things.

    -They have obviously spoken with Dean Withers at Van Doc Ltd – or should I say VanDoc Conversions Ltd. The statement about them refusing to do my install due to dangerous leisure electrics is a total fallacy.

    -When I left the van (and the site) after finding the problem with the camera it was located in the middle of the car park, and the engine was not running. When I returned it was back in the unit. At no time have they suggested they had to push it in there due to it not starting. It couldn’t have been the Green Flag Technician as he hadn’t even been called by this point!

    -Matt Adams claim about what the van would and wouldn’t do with the fuse in the wrong slot. I invite every single one of you to go to your van, remove the SC32 7.5A fuse and try to start your van. I guarantee that you’ll get an illuminated MFD, but no ignition lights in your dials when you turn the ignition key. Turn the key to start the engine, it’ll fire, run for a second and die, then won’t restart. The electric windows will also not work.

    -Matt now claims that I had been told to submit an “independent engineers report”. This is not what I have in an email from HiLo, which asks for an “engineers report”.

    -HiLo’s threat about charging me for non-warranty work that the installer should have done. Well let’s remember (as per other thread Van Doc Ltd - - - - Vandoc Conversions Ltd) that Van Doc Ltd who installed the roof no longer exist, therefore I have no legal recourse with them. Under contract law, the remaining warranty reverts to the manufacturer due to them operating a network of approved and accredited fitters of their product, and from whose website I selected Van Doc Ltd as the HiLo installer closest to me. So the HiLo Roof Company Ltd are liable for the work that needed to be undertaken.

    -They are clearly stating that Van Doc Ltd did not install my roof as per manufacturers instructions and even used parts that they shouldn’t. Clearly this is a bigger issue across their network of fitters because in the post made by @Gaz1971 in the other HiLo thread(Hilo Roofs), he has a picture of an M8 bolt protruding through the frame of his HiLo as well. I wonder if anyone else has the same?

    Due to the costs associated with attending Court, plus all of the time associated (which I just don’t have) I simply don’t have the energy to issue a Court Summons and hire a lawyer. My van now works, there doesn’t seem to be the creaks that I was plagued with previously, although I haven’t put it up in the rain yet, and to be honest am petrified of doing so.

    Thank you all for taking the time to read this post, I know it has been a long one, but I hope you’ve had a good look at all of the information posted that is based upon . I just hope none of you ever have to go through what I have. I honestly had nightmares about my van being a write off when I couldn’t get anyone to work on it.

    I guess I will never get to the bottom of how my wiring got damaged, nor who actually disabled my ignition circuitry - perhaps it was me all along, and i’ve made everything up. However I do know this much, I will never ever have a poptop roof installed in any future vehicle I own. I loved my van, but thanks to all of this the shine has gone. Irrelevant of what led to all of this, and completely parking the fateful visit to Preston, as an owner of a HiLo Sport - I hate it. It has been nothing but a problem from the first day I picked it up after it was installed. It is for this reason, and this reason alone why I would not recommend this particular product to anyone.
    Last edited: 28 Sep 2019
    Tourershine, Sabre, $immo and 7 others like this.
  4. andys

    andys Senior Member VIP Member T6 Legend

    Speechless. Unbelievable customer service :mad:
    DPS, DaveyB and Peatey like this.
  5. Peatey

    Peatey Head Treacle Miner VIP Member T6 Legend

    Wow don't know what to say after reading that, unbelievable :(
    DPS and DaveyB like this.
  6. Pauly

    Pauly Senior Member VCDS User Admin Moderator

    It’s pretty astounding that they can immobilise your van in their unit and then just wash their hands of it and push you back outside to get recovered

    I’m sorry sir we have completely screwed your van so if you would kindly remove it from our premises so you can get it repaired at your own cost as we have plenty more people to screw over tomorrow and your van will just be in the way !!
    DPS and DaveyB like this.
  7. True Romance

    True Romance 204 TDi DSG LWB VIP Member T6 Guru

    Feel your pain and frustrations. Can be a nightmare trying to sort warranty claims on cars, Van's, TV's, etc. Seems to me Hilo have a very popular product but not the infrastructure to ensure they are fitted to an approved level. Maybe using an approved fitting network is the wrong business model and they would have been better investing in just their own team doing the installs where they would have full quality control? I would maybe go through your post again and remove anything that might lead to legal proceedings by Hilo. Need to be careful posting on a public forum. Hopefully all the issues are now sorted and you can start enjoying the vw van life.
  8. Spookybear

    Spookybear Jan 17 Gen Six in silver over blue VIP Member T6 Pro

    I know it's of no consolation on the electrics, but I really hate when people work on them who have no clue of what or even why they are doing something & also clueless on diagnosing a fault. A fuse is there to protect the weak link being the wiring, this is the part that lets the smoke out!!

    I also hate how people can say "get a report" I'm sorry but without getting "involved" with the job there is no way to find the fault & trust me, finding the issue takes the time, the fix is always the easy bit & once found would you want said engineer to completely ignore the fix & rebuild your van to have to strip it again!!

    Maybe I'm of a different mindset in how I diagnose, but unless someone had jumped the van off & spiked a module, backwards connections etc, then the fault can ONLY be in the area they were. I know a lot of manufacturers nowadays have redundant pins, but 95% of the time with this penny pinching society if the fuse box has an in & an out terminal, erm, something must go in & come out :) Why fit a teminal & wiring if it goes nowhere (apart from Ford Transits, wrong fuse in the board caused the wipers to come on when the ignition was off, head scratcher that one lol)

    If you arent pursuing this, try to make the best of a bad job. Chin up & try to make it so you love the van again, (it's not it's fault!!)
  9. Insert Coin

    Insert Coin Senior Member VIP Member T6 Guru

    I felt a little guilty about 'liking' that horrendous post.

    It's usually me that has these kinds of truly awful customer service issues, yes I'm looking at you British Telecom, Denon, The Fuel Card Company, Vauxhall. :mad:

    I can't believe that the HiLo directors haven't been made aware, perhaps they are no longer involved in day to day or even month to month affairs?

    Even the most blinkered of people can see that you've been hugely mugged over by VanDoc and HiLo.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do next, to be honest I'd be inclined to pop that roof up in the rain and see if it actually is water tight or if there's any further canvas wear.
    DPS likes this.
  10. Gaz1971

    Gaz1971 New Member VIP Member

    Never mind there poor pop top fitting the fact they can leave a family stood in a car park and go home words fail me.It clearly shows they have no technical ability or understanding of the vans there are working on so do not deserve to be working on them.A van that drove in been taken away on a low loader where is there professional pride never mind the moral side of it.Then they have the cheek to threaten to invoice you,I’d let them then don’t answer your phone or email and when they do eventually get hold of you do what they do and blame someone else absolutely disgusting.
    Fish likes this.
  11. Wills

    Wills Senior Member VIP Member T6 Guru

    Would the motor insurance “legal cover” offer the opportunity to take the dross to task?
  12. DaveyB

    DaveyB Funds just don’t support the desires!!! Moderator VIP Member T6 Legend

    Thanks @True Romance. The post was very very carefully written so that all it says are facts which are demonstrable via reports/ pictures etc, all of which have already been seen by HiLo. I have made no actual allegation that HiLo caused the issues, merely set out in a chronological sequence the events that unfolded and the emails sent back. I have original copies of all of these things. I am equally not making any slanderous comments regarding their treatment of us.
    My intent is to share info which I think I have done, whilst offering nothing that is salacious. I’d be grateful of your specific feedback and guidance on any of the areas if you are reading it differently, because my approach is to stay on the correct side of the line so there is nothing they can challenge me on legally. They are simply matters of fact.
    DPS, Fish, Dieseldonkey and 3 others like this.
  13. Dieseldonkey

    Dieseldonkey 150 DSG Shuttle Conversion VIP Member T6 Legend

    Having been there, with issues with my roof fit out, albeit a different manufacturer, @DaveyB, you have my deepest sympathies. Hopefully you can find pleasure in the van, once things are put right and you get trouble free service from it and the roof, from here on in. Certainly sounds like you've had a rough time of it. My dealings with Van doc (Vandoc) was simply in the supply of some light bezels. But it took weeks and several phone calls to get the parts that were ordered and paid for.
    DaveyB likes this.
  14. ZipcodeUK

    ZipcodeUK Senior Member VIP Member T6 Guru

    Oh hell no!

    Dude I sympathise with you. I know you like me have very high standards and I know this can be an issue sometimes with installers quality of work but this just seems like an absolutely nightmare.

    Based on the above info and the nightmare you’ve gone through, there is no chance I’m considering hi-lo any more. In fact I think I’m more likely to get a roof box tent instead even though it won’t offer the “convenience” of a proper pop top install.
    I just couldn’t go thorough what you’ve gone through. I’d hate to fall “out-of-love” with my bus which is inevitably what would happen if I had experienced what you have!
    DaveyB likes this.
  15. St4n99

    St4n99 Senior Member VIP Member T6 Guru

    Wow ,just had a chance to read through this, really do feel for you,the amount of hard earned money you have put into your van and this is happening , I have a feeling when you have went away there has definitely been a stage were somone has taken the sc32 fuse and stuck it in sc18 for quickness to check the camera again and then someone has turned up with another fuse to replace sc32 and put in wrong position then went to switch ignition on and made it worse and then it's been time to look under bonnet fuses for a solution , what a found that was strange is when you arrived back and ye had no ignition lights etc , you wrote that they plugged and obd reader in and it worked and showed fault codes but when yer auto electrician tried ,it wasn't able to make a connection which was probably down to the fuse being pulled , did you actually see them doing a fault scan or did they just tell you it has this amount of codes ,am not an electrician but going by your auto electricians experience they shouldn't have been able to make a connection ,don't want them to use that against you if you take it further , would be good to know if you pull that fuse if your obd port shutsdown or stops a connection , a can't say this enough that am on your side but just thought ad point it out , they could have showed you old codes that they had taken before fuse was pulled , hopefully you can now injoy your camper buddy :thumbsup:
  16. kiter

    kiter Senior Member VIP Member T6 Guru

    Reading this I'd never get a pop top fitted, feel for you mate that is truly shocking treatment.
  17. Skyliner33

    Skyliner33 Senior Member VIP Member T6 Legend

    It’s awful to read this.
    It’s really put me off HiLo not because I don’t trust all converters but because if their attitude and treatment of you.
    DPS and Trouts like this.
  18. Peatey

    Peatey Head Treacle Miner VIP Member T6 Legend

    Just thinking out loud are @hilo and @Dean@VanDoc still trade members on here ?
  19. andys

    andys Senior Member VIP Member T6 Legend

    When you click on them, @hilo is not a member and @Dean@VanDoc (no space!) is a standard non-trade member that hasn't logged in for 3 months
    Peatey likes this.
  20. Peatey

    Peatey Head Treacle Miner VIP Member T6 Legend

    Screenshot_20190928-191249_Chrome.jpg Screenshot_20190928-191651_Chrome.jpg

    That's what i was wondering following a bit of a dig around the site

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