Please Help!

Submitted: Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 21:14
ThreadID: 109921 Views:6951 Replies:9 FollowUps:7
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Hi all I am in desperate need of some help with finding spec information about our 1980 16.5ft Viscount caravan. I've searched everywhere that I can think of with absolutely no success. If anyone has a old manual laying around I'd be interested in purchasing it. Or just someone who has a extended knowledge of Viscount caravans would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Cheers Kelley.
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Reply By: B1B2 - Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 21:58

Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 21:58
I would be surprised if it ever had a manual. What do you need to know? There would be a few of us here who have owned them and found them to be a good van. Mine was a 1982 poptop.


AnswerID: 540826

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 17:35

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 17:35
The Viscounts were a particularly well-made van, and speaking as a former contractor, they provided sterling service under tough contracting conditions.
FollowupID: 826730

Reply By: Slow one - Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 22:42

Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 22:42
We had a few Viscounts from around the late 60's on to the early 80's and I can't remember any manuals on them or with them at all. All I can remember is a chassis number. The late 60's van was brand new.

One of the places you could go is to a caravan sales business as they quite often have those old vans for sale. Many of the older salesman and business owners know them well.

Also you could put in "1980 viscount caravans manual" in google and see what comes up, if anything is available, I am sure it would show up.
AnswerID: 540830

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 17:33

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 17:33
I'm in the same boat as slow one. Owned a number of Viscounts in the same period, from small to very large (37' tri-axle) and no factory manuals were ever provided.
All that was ever provided was manuals for the operation of HWS or stoves or A/C or other internal items, that were made by outside manufacturers.
FollowupID: 826729

Reply By: disco driver - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 01:19

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 01:19
I've got an 82 Viscount Grand Tourer, definitely didn't come with a handbook, but I do have some manuals for the stove and fridge which I believe to be original equipment.
I'm not a member here but will offer what advice I can when I know what you need on this post on this forum.

AnswerID: 540833

Follow Up By: disco driver - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 15:40

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 15:40
Hi Kelley,
As a followup from my previous post (above), my rego papers state tare as 800kg and ATM as 1200kg.
They were probably the weights the manufacturer got from weighing a brand new unit with no allowances for water in the tank and/or any changes made at the request of the original owner. That was quite common back then , probably still the same today with the modern stuff too.
So you should take those figures as a rough indicator of what your van weighs, To be sure take it to a public weighbridge and check out the following: only the caravan on weigh bridge with jockey wheel on the bridge too, and caravan on the weighbridge with the jockey wheel off the bridge.
This will give your ATM and GTM respectively, the difference is the load on the towbar, but no indication of what you can put into your van (food Clothing etc). Most vans allow around 400kg for all that.

Hope this helps.

FollowupID: 826728

Reply By: Fossil Phill - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 01:44

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 01:44
here are a couple of excellent vintage & veteran caravan forums that might be worth your while.
AnswerID: 540835

Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 09:16

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 09:16
G'day Kelley, you could try this site - they are very helpful
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FollowupID: 826723

Reply By: Kelley B - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 07:16

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 07:16
Thanks for the help everyone. I'm in search of the model name, the ATM and the load carrying capacity of the axle. Any help at all with these will be a big help. Thanks again & I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend. Cheers Kelley.
AnswerID: 540839

Follow Up By: Fossil Phill - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 12:50

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 12:50
Axle capacity is fairly easy.
Capacity is determined by axle shape (round or square) axle size (e.g. 2" x 2" or 2" diameter) and the bearing type used. (the axles "turning")

The van model is probably irrelevant, because the van might have been ordered with parallel bearings for instance, which have a higher rating than say Ford Slimline bearings, or Holden bearings.

There is a lot of caravan knowledge tied up in places like these:-
FollowupID: 826724

Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 08:46

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 08:46
Hi Kelly,
Compliance plating on vans and trailers did not come in till about a decade or so ago so many of the earlier vans and trailers did not have compliance plates where the GVM and
Tare weights could be noted on the vehicle. I had an early seventies van for many years, 34 in fact, and all it had on it was a chassis number welded on to the draw bar.

These tare and loaded weight figures would only have been noted on rego papers in the early days as I recall so if you were lucky enough to find someone with an old rego paper for your specific model, that would be about your best chance but highly unlikely.

Perhaps you could ask at a Motor registery if they have a records division. The chassis number would be the key to that information.

If it is for new registration you may need to go to an engineer and get them to go through the ratings for your specific van. To do this they would need to inspect the chassis elements and make some calculations based on the construction and general condition of the chassis before providing a compliance plate and certification.

Suspension would also come into it but remember the suspension can always be upgraded without too much hassle. It just depends on how much money you want to spend on it.

Cheers, Bruce.
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restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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AnswerID: 540842

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 14:13

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 14:13
As stated above handbooks were not produced for specific caravans. The only handbooks that have been supplied is the generic one that is supplied by RVM Australia to their members for inclusion in their own vans. You can download it here. Where PC items came with handbooks these were generally included in the delivery and mostly discarded (after all how many handbooks do you have for toasters, jugs and heaters do you still have?)

As far as weights and measures are concerned with pre 1989 vans, body length was always the overall body length and only the tare weight was specified. It was suggested that you would not need more than 300 kg of stuff in single axle vans and 400 kg in dual axle ones. (unfortunately this has been translated into the modern so called "industry standard" that many manufacturers will not deviate from.)

The most reliable method of estimating the GTM of your van is to survey the axle assembly. You have to look to see what is the maximum capacity of the springs, axle, hubs (bearings,) rims and tyres. Often the rims or the tyres were the limiting components and frequently the rims were undersized for the expectations of the van.

A good site for comparing axle bits is the Al-Ko site. Look at this page for the hubs and compare yours with the shown items. There is a link on the RHS "Bearings & Bearing Sets" to give you the actual bearing sizes and also one for the studs. Other links on the LHS will take you to axles and springs.

A word of warning. If you get the urge to modernise the van you will need to build furniture in the style of the time. The chassis were built lighter than the modern vans and will not take extra weight. The cupboard construction is much lighter than you will find in the drum construction or chipboard panels of our later vans. If you are going to install modern furniture then you will have to strengthen the chassis and drawbar.
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AnswerID: 540851

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 17:43

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 17:43
PeterD is spot on - the tyre loading capacity is generally the governing factor on what you can load up to. In many cases the tyres fell well short of the capacity of the axles, hubs, springs and chassis.
This is because a lot of manufacturers in the 60's to 80's sourced cheap secondhand tyres and wheels from the wreckers to fit to new vans, and purchased the smallest tyre diameter and width that they reckoned would do the job.
FollowupID: 826731

Reply By: Kelley B - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 18:44

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 18:44
Thank you everyone for all your fantastic helpful advice. Cheers Kelley.
AnswerID: 540855

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 19:42

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 19:42

What about approaching the Caravan Industry Association - either in your state or the national body?

Never know!


FollowupID: 826737

Reply By: Athol W1 - Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 21:54

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014 at 21:54
Kelly B
As I was working in the area of inspecting vehicles for registration purposes in NSW in 1980 I can tell you the following
1. Tare weight of any caravan was obtained from the weighbridge ticket that was supplied by the applicant for the vehicles registration (usually the dealer)
2. The Agg weight (as it was referred to at the time) was always the lesser of
2a. the capacity of the tyres fitted at the time, or
2b. the capacity of the coupling, or
2c. the maximum allowed by the brake system fitted (at the time in NSW the maximum for over ride brakes was 1020 kg (1 imperial ton), and a driver operated brakes 1020 and up, with breakaway brakes over 2040, these have now been rounded down to the metric 2 tonnes), or
2d. the capacity of the axles if known.

There was NEVER any consideration for any reasonable load to be included, and it was not unusual for caravans to be presented with over ride brakes (max 1020kg) with a WBT showing a tare of 990kg (most common, but sometimes up to 1010kg) giving a maximum load capacity of just 30kg, and these vans were often weighed without any cushions or bedding as these were considered by some manufacturers as loading and if included in the WBT then the brakes would require upgrading.

The first time that any caravan manufacturer had to specify the GTM and ATM for their products was vehicles built on or after 01/07/1987 when the 3rd edition of the ADR's took effect.

Having owned Viscount caravans of that era all of mine came fitted with Holden wheels and hubs.

Also the first 2 digits of the chassis number were the year of manufacture.

Hope this helps
AnswerID: 540864

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