Buying our first caravan,

Submitted: Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 20:34
ThreadID: 102178 Views:2097 Replies:5 FollowUps:2
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Well the Camper Trailer has long gone and now the time has come to start looking at few S/H vans that are on the market.
Now we have settled on a size, floor plan/layout,and a few of the extras that would be nice but not essential.
My question is to all you knowledgeable caravaners out there on Explore Oz, "What are some of the things or pitfalls" to look out for when purchasing S/Hand ??
Age would be 10-15 years, Single axle, about 16/17 ft.
We will be of to Brisbane and the Gold Coast in the next couple of weeks for a look at what is about.

Thanks for your reply's

Laurie & Glenda.
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Reply By: bluefella - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 06:12

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 06:12
1..water leaks , staining around windows, roof vents etc. the timber frame will rot If damp. also the floor for rot.
2..rust on the chassis, draw bar. especially on welds.
3..compliance plate for tare weight, max loaded weight.
All the rest is cosmetic. I would replace the wheel bearings and check brake linings as soon as possible.
Any other little gremlins can be sorted over time, loose latches etc.
AnswerID: 510936

Follow Up By: bluefella - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 06:47

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 06:47
I should ad a van of that age will not be perfect, use any cosmetic problems as a bargaining chip, if the van is sound in points 1 & 2 it will give a lot more years of happy travelling.
point 4.. check all internal and external electrics work, lights, power points etc.
FollowupID: 789046

Reply By: Keith H7 - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 08:35

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 08:35
Signs of water leaks is a key factor. Check all Electrics, as re -wiring is not easy or cheap. Cosmetics are easier to fix. Great article on this site

AnswerID: 510943

Follow Up By: Keith H7 - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 08:40

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 08:40
Not sure of your budget, but not a bad looking van on this site in Qld -

Look on the net there are 100's of vans, this will give you a great idea what you can get for your $.
FollowupID: 789053

Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 10:38

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 10:38
Check the fridge - ask to have it turned on for a while for gas and electricity. In a van that age it will probably not be a T (Tropical) rated fridge - just ST (Sub Tropical) so not so effective in hot conditions. Check the plate. You may need to budget on a new fridge - could be a good move if the van is otherwise in good shape with no leaks. Lynne
AnswerID: 510949

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 11:12

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 11:12
I would suggest getting a van with a centre kitchen. Centre kitchens tend to concentrate your loading towards the middle of the van, this makes for a more stable van than one with the weight concentrated at the ends. Also steer clear of vans with large boxes at the ends. If a likely looking van has things tacked onto the ends then remove them.

Read about the effects of loads at the ends in this article.
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AnswerID: 510952

Reply By: Member - Wamuranman - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 10:58

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 10:58
Hi Laurie & Glenda,

In my view there is a lot more risk in buying a s/h caravan that there is a s/h motor vehicle. This is because much of what is in the van is hidden and cannot easily be checked.
Have a careful read through this article;

The best advice that I can suggest is to check everything carefully and stick with a reputable brand. If you buy an older "quality van" it may be better than a newer "cheaper" one. For example Evernew build a quality van (as do others) so our last s/h van we chose to find an Evernew that suited. We had it for 8 years with no problems and sold it for more than we paid for it after 8 years use.

Choose carefully and thoroughly test everything and ask how long is the warranty period. Then give it a good trial during that period. If you are buying privately of course there is no warranty so the price has to be good in case repairs are required.

Good luck
AnswerID: 511039

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