Caravan Crash Course

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 19:24
ThreadID: 106369 Views:1813 Replies:4 FollowUps:4
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I am located in west Australia and I am looking at buying a small 12 to 14 foot on road caravan around $10000 I have a fair idea what to check for, water damage etc but can anyone tell me what brands in that late eighties to mid nineties I should be on the look out for because of some redeeming feature for example it might be a model that had independent suspension or a alloy frame. I am thinking of models that might be regarded like the 80 series or the 4.2 patrol of the caravan world.

Most seem to be pop tops although I have seen a couple of full height versions for sale. I know to check that the windows still have butyl mastic rather than someone putting silicone over the top/ I think being able to identify well made brands would be a good start. Any advice or information is appreciated.................Peter
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Reply By: disco driver - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 20:03

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 20:03
Hi Peter,
Vans in that price bracket will be those made in the late 70s/early80s.
Anything much younger than that I would treat with a fair amount of caution. They may have been flooded or otherwise damaged and could possibly be moneypits.

Some of the older names that spring to mind are the older versions of Millard, Modern, Coromal (all made in WA) and Viscount. These are generally solid reliable vans of that period. They all had re-incarnations in later years but were not as good as the originals

I have a 1982 82 Viscount "Grand Tourer" which was allegedly one of the best made in that period which I bought a few years ago for around $6500. It was a 1 owner unit and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to snap it up.

A word of warning about some models of that era...
A number of companies made what was usually termed "UltraLight" with various spellings. Most of these units were extremely light in both chassis and body comstruction and didn't last too well on anything other than good bitumen.

Most vans of that era were the usual leaf spring, rigid axle suspension and I can't think of any with independent systems but there may well have been

Looking for a suitable van involves visiting van yards and asking about trade ins, local newspapers and shop notice boards. Even Gumtree and ebay are worth a look

Hope you find what you are looking for

Disco.
AnswerID: 527032

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 22:04

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 22:04
We had a Golf van of around that vintage and it was very well built with good quality components. Was still going strong when we sold it a few years ago.
Peter
1996 Oka Motorhome

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AnswerID: 527038

Reply By: Stu-e - Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 01:34

Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 01:34
We just bought a 97 coromal seka 535, tandem poptop we paid 12k not in spotless condition but being a family and not wanting to spend 30k we knew we were up for some work. It is aluminum framed and hs independent suspension ours was a trade in at George day, nothing fancy but tidy and the work that needs to be done was minor.
Good luck
AnswerID: 527044

Reply By: Member - evaredy - Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 11:55

Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 11:55
This thread maybe of interest to you.

http://caravanersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12286
AnswerID: 527055

Follow Up By: Member - kwk56pt - Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 15:18

Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 15:18
Thanks that link was a education, very interesting. It seems caravans can be a bit like boats in the grief they cause. At least I am that little bit more knowledgeable than I was yesterday and I am more aware of the need for great care in buying one of these things
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FollowupID: 809438

Follow Up By: 671 - Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 15:56

Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 15:56
The big problem is how do you detect most of those faults before buying?
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Follow Up By: Member - kwk56pt - Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 23:02

Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 23:02
I think all you can do is inspect the seams carefully, look underneath and in cupboards wheel arches under beds and sinks and below windows. Inspect windows, should see butyl mastic rather than someone putting silastic over the top to try and stop a leak. Try the sniff test for dampness. Bounce a bit on the floor to see if its spongy.

Its still a gamble, any other ideas for improving the odds of buying a lemon ?
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FollowupID: 809491

Follow Up By: Member - kwk56pt - Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 23:45

Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 23:45
A Damp Meter is what is needed to check a van, look on E bay I only just discovered them myself
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FollowupID: 809496

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