Seachange Caravans

Submitted: Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 09:35
ThreadID: 130391 Views:7493 Replies:6 FollowUps:5
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We have just returned from 5 months on the road with our 640 and have had heaps of issues. We travelled the Plenty then the Tanami then the Gibb and back via the Savannah way from Roper Bar to Hells gate and then to Birdsville and down to Innaminka and back home to the Sunshine Coast - a total of 13185 kms.
None of these roads were in really bad condition, as they can be at times, but DUSTY all of them. We took the precaution of dropping all the tyres down to 20psi and mostly travelled about the 40 to 60kph depending on corrugations. I've driven on dirt roads much of my life, so knew what could go wrong - so I thought.
The 640 floor did not meet the wheel arch in the cupboards, so you can imagine what we found when we opened the doors. Also the bathroom ceiling has fallen in, a number of door and drawer striker plates have fallen off due to short screws, the fridge was out and nearly on the floor, the stove flap in the bench top came off - short screws again, the bathroom slider fell off, and the pot drawer under the seat smashed its way out and finished up on the floor. Also one battery came unscrewed from the floor and the screw protruding from the battery box really messed up the floor.
Almost every visible screw was loose inside after the Tanami, so spent a week in Broome screwing and glueing everything that came loose. Since then, because I did the job properly we have had no problems, except the vinyl is lifting off the floor and the side wall is delaminating up near the shower window.
When I complained to Haines - guess what...........The van is 3 years old now. Bye.

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Reply By: Kenell - Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 10:16

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 10:16
Sounds like a great trip. Nothing worse than not knowing what is going to fall off next though. Don't give up on the supplier. Have a look at the ACCC site and what it says about warranties. Since 2011 suppliers / manufacturers can't just walk away because the warranty has expired. Saying no is the first response of a manufacturer who skimps on quality and who is no doubt inundated with claims as a result. They probably know full well where they stand at a point of law but only respond when pressed.
Good luck,'

AnswerID: 590685

Reply By: Member - KBAD - Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 10:16

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 10:16
Contact your local department of fair trading the makers list it as a Premium off road caravan, prove it isn't and their idea of how long a warranty period is doesn't mean anything, it becomes what is fair and reasonable to expect.
AnswerID: 590686

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 22:19

Thursday, Sep 24, 2015 at 22:19
Hi Berky

As the others have said, contact your local Consumer Affairs.

Regardless of warranty periods, if a product is not fit for use, the end consumer has far more powers than manufacturers will tell you.

By law they must repair and rectify any faults, end of story.

All the best


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Reply By: Member - Sue & Joe L (QLD) - Friday, Sep 25, 2015 at 08:00

Friday, Sep 25, 2015 at 08:00
Hi Berky52
Sorry to hear your problems, curious to know what suspension you have.
Regards Joe.
AnswerID: 590731

Follow Up By: Member - Berky51 - Saturday, Sep 26, 2015 at 07:38

Saturday, Sep 26, 2015 at 07:38
Hi Sue and Joe,

The suspension is Cruismaster and has been very good. Only minor issue is that the grease nipples face forward and are subject to stone damage, so I carry a few spares and remove the damaged ones, grease it up, then replace the old ones.


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Reply By: Member - Berky51 - Saturday, Sep 26, 2015 at 07:40

Saturday, Sep 26, 2015 at 07:40
Thanks folks,

have contacted them again and they will 'look at the issues", so I'll see where we go from here.


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Reply By: 322 - Saturday, Sep 26, 2015 at 23:41

Saturday, Sep 26, 2015 at 23:41
Consumer affairs can only help to mediate an outcome. They can not force the supplier to fix the issue. That can only be done through court action. This is what Consumer Protection WA told me when I was trying to get my Gentech generator sorted out. I truly hope you get a good outcome. But don't hold your breath with getting to much support from Consumer Protection. They do try hard, but their hands are tied.
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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Sunday, Sep 27, 2015 at 10:11

Sunday, Sep 27, 2015 at 10:11
Consumer Protection WA in our case were very reluctant to even approach the head of one of the biggest van yards in WA. I had complained of excessive tyre wear on our new "off road" van and got told in no uncertain terms that it was misuse and abuse and to get out of their yard!
That was the attitude to a 3 time customer who's spent something in the order of a 100 grand there. 2 purchases being from that same maker.
I also complained of drawers opening when locked, pelmets falling down and curtain liners having holes in. That last was dismissed as moth damage.... on a van just a few months old.
The consumer seat polishers eventually contacted them and the old bloke (now dead) was as sweet as and advised 1 tyre would be replaced as well as the shockies which had been tested and found to be weak.
That didn't fix the problem and it was only after our daughter had watched us pull away one day and told us the wheels were badly buckled we guessed the problem.
Back to the tyre people and they checked them and found 2 were so bad they couldn't be balanced. Absolutely no damage to the wheels except for a bit of gravel rash.
Pics taken and sent to parties concerned and kept by me "just in case".....
Back to the retailer who really got the poops and told me again to sod off.
Consumer Protection said they could do no more so I went to the small claims people and too out a case against the yard with a summons delivered by bailiffs.
The manufacturer paid up straight away but the dealers eldest son said "I wouldn't have paid".
In which case I would have spent all it took to get maximum publicity for him and his smarmy salesmen.
New wheels with tyres balanced have done the trick and it's now performing quite well.
All up cost for the wheels, court action etc less than a grand.
Brownie points to the girls at the dealers warranty section though, they took pics of the damage to curtains and we got a complete new set.....though they arrived tightly screwed up in a rubbish bag direct from the van maker apparently. No doubt this was another expression of their contempt for their customers once they parted with the brass. Plus they're in Vic while we're in WA.
All documented with pics, emails, statement from tyre people, court etc. but they've still ignored me about the small info plate which fell of the chassis when the van was shaking itself to bits with the cheap nasty wheels which they fitted.
"Industry Standards" a term which van salesman love to use, just means anything they can get away with especially if us the consumer, allow them to.
Get right up them in no uncertain terms when treated like these 2 businesses treated me and the Cook.
FollowupID: 858821

Follow Up By: 322 - Sunday, Sep 27, 2015 at 13:52

Sunday, Sep 27, 2015 at 13:52
I too would have taken the next step in action. The Consumer Protection person I dealt with was very helpful to me. I suppose its lime anything. It depends on who you get.
Consumer Protection need more powers to help provide an outcome. The dealers, supplies and agents currently have the upper hand. Well done on your win mate.
FollowupID: 858834

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Sep 27, 2015 at 14:09

Sunday, Sep 27, 2015 at 14:09
Sizeable numbers of trailer and caravan manufacturers use secondhand wheels and tyres sourced from wreckers to keep their build costs down.
This has been a feature of the trailer and caravan industry for at least 50 years.
These wheels are often buckled, and it's rare that anyone checks them for buckles.
Probably 50% of wrecked cars have buckled wheels from hitting rocks, kerbs, or other obstructions, whilst skidding, spinning, or sliding in crashes.

You need to see new wheels and tyres specifically mentioned in the build information details when purchasing, or ensure you specify new wheels and tyres when you sign the order.

You also need to see the tyre and suspension load rating specifications when ordering, and ensure that what is specified meets the load requirements with a margin to spare - and that what is actually supplied, is what was actually specified.

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 858835

Follow Up By: AlanTH - Monday, Sep 28, 2015 at 10:43

Monday, Sep 28, 2015 at 10:43
All good advice Ron. We did specify new 16" wheels and tyres and they certainly looked it.
I think they're buckled during manufacture when the hub is continuously welded to the outer and the heat distorts them.
One contact I have in the van repair industry says that a whole container load was sent back by importers a couple of years ago as they were all very badly made.
Of course there's also the question as to why the original tyre fitters didn't bring it to the attention of their management as it would surely have been seen when spinning the wheel? All van wheels/tyres should be balanced at manufacture then it'll stop the van shaking to bits behind the vehicle. I don't think another few dollars on the cost is going to hurt anyone of it gives peace of mind.
Shoddy workmanship with shoddy goods by people with no thought for anything but their bottom line.
FollowupID: 858878

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