Cheaper Camper Trailers

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 02:21
ThreadID: 110932 Views:3251 Replies:8 FollowUps:7
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Hi I am new to this forum and camper trailers.

I have read many web based forums over the past few weeks and found that the information on these sites covering the reliability/quality/warranty support of budget campers/manufacturers generally is out of date, so I thought of coming to the experts.

I am considering purchasing an imported /Australian assembled unit (MDC, Leisure Matters or equivalent) which would generally suit my purpose (occasional off road use, majority C/van parks etc) however archived threads indicate that these units are of a generally poor quality (cheap canvas, weak construction etc) and the after sales warranty service by many distributors leaves a lot to be desired.

The point of this thread is to get an update on these type of products from real customers to see if the assemblers/distributors have addressed customer concerns by improving unit quality, customer service and warranty claims?

So any advice or info would be greatly appreciate....
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Reply By: Member - Tony F8 - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 07:37

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 07:37
I would suggest going to productreview.com.au and type in MDC and see what comes up. I use this site for numerous items.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 08:32

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 08:32
A first hand account of MDC ownership here
See 'My Profile' (below) for link to our Aussie travel blog, now in it's 4th year

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Follow Up By: Tony H15 - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 10:43

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 10:43
I'll second and third that - Product Review. Real reviews by people who actually own and use products on a daily basis. I think you also need to keep in mind that not all Australian made products are up to scratch either. You need to have a good look at the trailer, the standard of finish and quality of workmanship says a lot about the on seller.

After sales backup and service speaks for itself, if it's lacking - don't touch!
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Reply By: Member - Bigred13 - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 08:35

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 08:35
Hi Neil, Yes I found the same thing when we were looking for off road campers,I looked at quite a few campers,all from o/seas and found that most are very cheap to buy and that would seem to be a good point for some ,but if you are not mechanically inclined or have a basic knowledge of steel construction ,please get someone you know check them out before you commit to part with your cash .
We finally settled on the MDC Voyager ,as it was the best constructed camper that I checked out .It was not the lightest of them,but having a strong chassis is the basis for a good well built camper .It had all the equipment that is required for off road,plenty of storage space,gas bottles,fuel storage,independent suspension,stainless steel water tank and ours is a hard floor model.the one drawback with a heavy duty off roader is the weight,tare around 900kgs,so make sure you have a tow vehicle with at least 350kg tow ball capacity .
On a trip to SE Qld last year we saw a elcheapo one on its first trip from Sydney,upside down with one suspension completely ripped out of the chassis,upon closer inspection,I saw that the mounts were just welded on top of the RHS section without any gussets to stiffen it.Now this camper was on its first outing from Sydney and there is not much dirt roads between Sydney and Nocundra where I saw this sorry site .I also noticed where the welding had been done there were pieces of Mig welding wire and weld splatter on the steel that had not been cleaned off,so that gives you some idea of the pride someone did or did not take in their work.
But at about a third of the price of an Australian built one,check the build quality and you will be ok and you still have all the bells and whistles in it .As someone wrote in a forum when I was looking,why would you pay more for a camper than your tow vehicle.
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Follow Up By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 10:24

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 10:24
your last comment is an interesting one which most people would probably agree with but there can be another side to the story

when I purchased my camper trailer it cost half what my 80 series cost. when I sold it 8 years later I got same price for the camper trailer as the tow vehicle.

you will find your tow rig will depreciate at a far greater rate than the camper.

cheers
howard
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 14:03

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 14:03
I had a brand new Australian built camper trailer, initials TB, that had all of the above issues, plus angle grinder "dust" stuck to the oily protective steel coating & then painted over, huge areas of the trailer with missed top coat & unbelievably poor welds, so it is not only imported products with QC Issues!

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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 10:19

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 10:19
Neil

I don't have any experience with these type of CT but I have bought a couple. What's the appeal of a new CT especially if you have doubts over their quality?

Why not look at 2nd hand units by manufacturers who have been in the business for many years (and still are)? They have something you are looking for by posting this thread, it's called reputation. Most CT don't actually get very much use each year.

Cheap canvas / poor tent manufacture you can overcome with a good silver tarp extending past the CT roof area, especially on extended stops. Just make sure that you use additional poles to support much of the down forces from securing the tarp and not rely on the CT internal frame.

You can live with poor canvas via the tarp, but poor trailer build is dangerous and costly.

Mark
AnswerID: 545158

Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 11:28

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 11:28
Neil

You almost always get what you pay for.
Cheap for a reason.
My mate has a cheap Chinese off road hard floor camper, Construction and finish is ordinary.
I know the good quality stuff is generally overpriced, so maybe a second hand name brand may be better.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 13:57

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 13:57
Just because his is ordinary by your standards, doesn't mean all Chinese campers are of poor quality!

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Follow Up By: Member - mark D18 - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 19:00

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 19:00
Shaker

Sorry what I meant to say is ordinary by everyone's standards
Must have hit a raw nerve.

Cheers
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Reply By: Sigmund - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 11:30

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 11:30
There are a couple of CT specific forums/groups that you might seek info on as well.

www.myswag.org and http://www.campertrailers.org/

Note that GIC threatened to take legal action against the first forum's owners for publishing negative posts.

You might also consider the second-hand market. Quality Australian-made units are the best value buy at the moment IMO. Properly looked after (which isn't hard) they give many years of reliable service. (By Australian-made I mean the trailer components are made and assembled here and ditto for the tent).

And maybe take a look here if you haven't already: http://www.australianmanufacturedcampertrailers.org.au/

Declaration: no financial interest in any CT maker or retailer.
AnswerID: 545161

Reply By: Member - Allan F (Gold Coast) - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 16:33

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 16:33
I also looked around and settled on an MDC Voyager rear fold hard floor. Well built, strong and well specced. I checked the wheel bearings after I picked it up, correctly greased even though the doomsayers said they would be dry. The canvas seems OK and I spoke to a trimmer who does a fair bit with canvas and he says the quality is as good as the local stuff. Tows really well and easy to set up. It has been through a couple of storms and no leaks or other problems. I suppose some people like to buy 2nd hand but why buy something that is part way through its life when for similar money you can buy new.
It is like everything there is always someone who knocks the product and others who rave about it. Personal choice really.
AnswerID: 545176

Follow Up By: Member - Bigred13 - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 19:44

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 19:44
Yes Alan ,we are very pleased with our MDC Voyager ,tows really well and the canvas is very good too ,I like the way the suspension is made with no weak points in the stub axle setup.
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Reply By: Tony H15 - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 17:50

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 17:50
Funny thing about cheap, those that say they aren't any good have never actually owned one and usually have more money than sense. I've never spoken to anyone with a 'cheap' camper trailer that didn't like it. I have however owned a Cub camper - never again.
AnswerID: 545181

Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 22:53

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 22:53
Neil

I purchased a Cameron camper trailer about 18months ago. It is a ripper - very pleased with it. Not expensive in comparison to some of the hard floor Australian built but expensive when compared to chinese specials.

I have not been sorry that I paid a little bit extra and got the Cameron. Extremely well built and so easy and quick to erect.

http://www.cameroncampers.com.au/video-3/


Cheers


Tjilpi
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