Suitability of Avan Aliner for Outback Travel

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 00:02
ThreadID: 106964 Views:5008 Replies:4 FollowUps:4
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Does anyone have any experience with standard Avan Aliners in the Outback. In particular Cobar north to Tiboora, Inaminka, Walkers Crossing, Inside Birdsville Track, Big Red, then back via Beetoota, Windorah, Eulo, Bourke in July.

My main concerns relate to clearance under the axle and dust sealing. I believe the Alko rubber torsion independent suspension will be fine. I plan on upgrading the current 14 inch road tyres to a light truck tyre spec. I am also considering raising the chassis on the axle using spacer blocks.

I also wonder about the general robustness of the vans construction and whether corrugated roads will shake it to pieces.

Any advice appreciated.
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Reply By: rooster350 - Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 10:41

Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 10:41
If the build is as good as our Avan "Tayla" 17ft dual axle poptop , then you should not have any problems at all. We have been over some of the roughest roads in Aus. with it and have no dramas,creek crossings,horrendous corrugations , dusty roads, rocky roads,then got a broken spring on a smooth wet dirt road...aaahhh the joys of motoring..cheers
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Reply By: Pimbi - Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 11:28

Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 11:28
Not sure if you will encounter the gibber roads, but we nearly wrecked the front of our Avan with stones when we tranvelled in these areas some years ago.Definitly need a stone guard in case.
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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 12:48

Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 12:48
We had an AVan for 10 years until 2012. It was the "off-road" version (which means a couple of inches of lift and light truck tyres, plus a heavier frame), and it took pretty much everything we threw at it.
That included some reasonably rough gravel around Flinders Ranges, Oodnadatta Track, Gulf roads around Lawn Hill, Burketown, Normanton etc, and also towed it across the Gibb River Road (a few surprised travellers congratulated us on that effort).
Destroyed a couple of sets of wheel bearings on the Gibb, but the suspension and chassis stood up to the pain, and we didn't have any significant dust problems. With proper attention to tyre pressures and covering of vents we managed rough surfaces and water crossings without any problem.
Not sure if the later model A-vans are as robust, and I don't think they market an offroad version. We've since changed over to a TVan because we do a lot of bush and desert travel and need the hitch articulation and clearance for dunes, rock scrambling, creek crossings etc.
But I was constantly surprised by just how durable our old A-van was.
Just make sure you regularly check for any early warning signs of problems, and drive to the conditions.
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Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 21:10

Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 21:10
Yes, I had one. Took it on one outback trip from Sydney to Carnarvon gorge, mostly sealed roads, but in Qld they were bouncy, not rough, just gave the suspension a workout. Met the microwavd at the door on one occasion. At home 6 inches at each end of each long hinge was cracked and every screw in the interior cabinet work had to be tightened.
We sold it and bought something stronger.
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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 22:40

Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 22:40
Just for a bit of balance to my reply above, and some further info...

We had it for about 18 months before that trip. I would call it a great east coast national parks camper. We liked its roominess and comfort, and the big boot at the front, and the ease of set-up - 30 seconds.

But it just was not strong enough for outback work. To be fair, I don't think it was designed for that.

Oh, also we did a lot of work to dust proof it. I made covers for every vent, sealed the long hinges with tape, made a removable seal to close the gap at the top of the lower door, etc.

We also found the entry and exit angles were pretty restrictive due to the stabilisers that hung considerably below the chassis. We relocated those. We found we couldn't cross the gutters to get into some servo in country towns until the stabilisers were fixed.

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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 22:46

Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 22:46
What model was yours Frank? - I've heard that some of the later versions weren't as well build as the earlier model I had (around 2002).
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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 23:04

Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 at 23:04
It was a 2006 model, Wildmax. So maybe you're right.

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Follow Up By: Member - Wildmax - Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 at 12:13

Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 at 12:13
Pity the AVan manufacturer doesn't put in the effort/investment to make a properly tough off-road version, because the design (weight, tow-height, ease of use etc) is fantastic. We changed because it wasn't capable of doing the type of travel we prefer
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