lightweight off road caravans

Submitted: Wednesday, Nov 18, 2015 at 21:30
ThreadID: 130926 Views:3286 Replies:9 FollowUps:11
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Hi everyone I'm very new this forum, however I have been keeping a eye out for this forum for quite a while now. I am currently looking at 3 Queensland made caravans around the 18' mark (1) Free Spirit (2) Zone rv & (3) Sea Change. Is there anyone out there who could give me the good oil on any of these caravans. Many thanks Gazza
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Reply By: Greg W13 - Wednesday, Nov 18, 2015 at 23:02

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2015 at 23:02
Hi Gazza
We recently went through a similar excercise and settled on a free spirit 20ft van- it's being built now. We spoke to some current owners and they had nothin but good thinks to say-the full alloy chassis, composite floor and lots of other inervative goodies got us across the line.
Good luck whatever you choose

Cheers GW
AnswerID: 592882

Follow Up By: Member - Gary H10 - Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 08:03

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 08:03
Thanks GW, is this your first caravan ? hope you many happy trails. Gazza
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Follow Up By: Backchat - Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 21:01

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 21:01
Yes Gary it's our first Van. I know of the disgruntled FS buyer and it was a wheel bearing issue from a supplied suspension and wheel package. I would suggest those type of issues can happen with 3rd party suppliers. We went for the FS because per foot in length they are lighter, there is no timber frame- joinery framing Ali also. They have excellent insulation qualities, air bag suspension etc etc. If I'm not mistaken Mother Hen has Bushtracker. Do your home work and happy shopping
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Follow Up By: Backchat - Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 21:26

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 21:26
Mother Hens thread was for a rather peeved Sea Change Van built by the Haines group- phew- we looked at the seachange 640 but I preferred the FS suspension and chassis setup. Current FS owners I spoke to were glowing in their praise of the Van. Type free spirit in the caravaners.com.au forum-
If looking seriously at FS make sure you get your head around their payment terms-its up front staged progress payments- we decided the van quality was worth it.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 22:59

Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 22:59
If you are referring to caravanersforum.com Backchat, I must remind readers that the strict moderation under their 'naming and shaming policy' ensures that only good reports for caravans remain.

Motherhen

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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Nov 18, 2015 at 23:40

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2015 at 23:40
Hi Gary

A not so glowing report from one forum member on this thread
Motherhen

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Reply By: Sigmund - Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 08:18

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 08:18
See if there are any reviews on www.productreview.com.au
AnswerID: 592891

Reply By: Mooseman - Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 13:40

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 13:40
That's an oxymoron if ever I heard one - lightweight applied to an offroad caravan! Suppose it depends on your definition of lightweight.
AnswerID: 592898

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 14:29

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 14:29
Not at all.
Simply requires the use of 21st century materials and construction techniques instead of the typical 19th century stuff that is more common.
This company supplies sandwich panel to several caravan manufacturers. I would start with them. http://vanglass.homestead.com/

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
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Follow Up By: gbc - Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 16:45

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 16:45
First thing I thought too Mooseman. I don't care what it's made of, 18 ft and full height and width is not going to make it where I would want a 'lightweight offroad van' to go.
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Follow Up By: 671 - Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 21:36

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 21:36
"Simply requires the use of 21st century materials and construction techniques instead of the typical 19th century stuff that is more common."

I agree Peter.

This subject reminds me of the 1954 R
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Follow Up By: 671 - Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 21:37

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 21:37
"Simply requires the use of 21st century materials and construction techniques instead of the typical 19th century stuff that is more common."

I agree Peter.

This subject reminds me of the 1954 Redex trail when Jack Murray pounded the living daylights out of a 1948
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Follow Up By: 671 - Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 21:49

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 21:49
"Simply requires the use of 21st century materials and construction techniques instead of the typical 19th century stuff that is more common."

I agree Peter.

This subject reminds me of the 1954 Redex trail when Jack Murray pounded the living daylights out of a 1948 Ford V8 sedan right around the country to win the trial. The front I beam axle on those cars weigh a fraction under 10 kilos and are about 48 inches long. 48 inches of 50 mm square steel bar of the type many van and trailer axles are made from weighs 34 kilos.

It is good design and materials that build a good off road van, not huge amounts of weight.
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FollowupID: 861092

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 14:26

Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 14:26
Hell no need for the 21st century technology ...... just reasonably modest mid 20'th century would be better than most vans and trailers are built from.

And design input from someone other than a partly qualified welder.

cheers
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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 19:40

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015 at 19:40
You really need to have a look at the Track Topaz and Australian Offroad Eclipse as the benchmark for this category - both comfortably under 2 tonne, great build quality and suspension capability etc, and designed to match to vehicle width etc. But if you want a good off road van it isn't going to be cheap !!
AnswerID: 592913

Follow Up By: Member - Gary H10 - Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 07:24

Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 07:24
Thanks Wildmax I will do that. Gazza
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 01:09

Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 01:09
Gary, what types of roads are you wanting your caravan for?

Motherhen

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AnswerID: 592919

Reply By: Member - Gary H10 - Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 07:22

Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 07:22
I want to do the Gibb river track, painted dessert track.
AnswerID: 592922

Reply By: Member - Mark C (QLD) - Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 08:37

Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 08:37
Maybe the Complete Campsite Exodus also. No higher than the car and as wide as the car plus 2 tonne towing capacity. Built like the proverbial Brick sh..se. Have had ours all over the country including Gibb to Mitchell falls (worse corrugations ever), Strezlecki, Birdsville, Diamantina Lakes. A great piece of equipment and no dust inside.
Mark And Helen QLD
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Reply By: outback epicurean - Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 11:37

Friday, Nov 20, 2015 at 11:37
I would be very wary of Free Spirit. Friends purchased one in July. First problem was van was delayed 2 mts after promised completion date. Then numerous problems with many components. Van itself seems OK but fittings don't seem to be correctly used. Talking to other FS owners, delays in manufacture seem very common.
AnswerID: 592941

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