kimberley karavan

Submitted: Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 16:14
ThreadID: 134171 Views:7835 Replies:6 FollowUps:8
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I am interested in buying a second hand Kimberley karavan to upgrade from my Kimberley kamper. I'd like opinions on their reliability and ease of use. Thanks
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 16:20

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 16:20

I have a 2007 model, have travelled extensively with it and am very happy. It is complex and requires maintenance but if you're prepared to do that you will be rewarded.

There is an owners group which allows limited access for a month to its forum for prospective owners. There you can ask questions to the owners of 350 or so Karavans. Contact sec_treasurer at kkog dot org dot au and request provisional member access.


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Follow Up By: Tim F3 - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 16:53

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 16:53
I looked at buying one 12mths ago , it had discovery wheels fitted , i enquired at the manufacturer if the hubs could be changed to suit landcruiser rims , reply was no , have to change suspension arms etc , cost in excess of $3000 , also to get annex walls made they advised i would have to bring the van to the factory to have it tailor made (interstate for me ).

If you find one that is right for you i believe they are a top unit ,
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 17:34

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 17:34
Tim, depending on wheel offset, I think they weren't giving you the whole story.
Easy enough to change hubs on any sort of axle, but they probably didn't want to go outside their "normal" course of doing things.

Same with canvas additions, but any good quality canvas maker could have done the job !

Great unit, and if I had the coin, they would get a serious look at ...
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 17:56

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 17:56
Gronk is on the money re the wheel offset.

If changing wheels and the offsets are the same then you can just change hubs.

If the offsets are different, then the swing arms have to be changed.

Alternatively, leave the wheels alone, even if they're different from the tug. Not ideal, I know, but in 8 years of outback travel that has never been a problem for me. I carry 2 spares for the car, one for the Karavan. I rationalise that as one for each axle.

Kimberley's Bedouin awning for the Karavan is a bit special but very nice.

You can get smaller conventional awnings made up with a quality poly tarp or canvas, with or without walls - your choice. Many in our club use a bag awning such as Fiamma Caravanstore 3.1. Perfect fit, easy setup for single overnights and easily removable to sailtrack on the other side if you want to replace it with a full awning for a long stay.

Advice for the OP - since you're looking for second hand try and find a 2009-2010 LE model with the long hatch in the floor that enables easy access to the lifting system for inspection and maintenance. Later models did away that and access is from underneath, after dropping water tanks. Too damned hard for my liking.

Karavans are pretty power hungry. If you can find one with a lithium battery conversion you'll be ahead of the game.


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Follow Up By: Shaker - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 18:02

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 18:02
Not necessarily, it depends on wheel offsets & clearances behind the wheel. I can't fit Toyota rims to my Tvan that was factory built with Nissan rims, as they would foul on the shock absorbers.
I also think that if I put a Nissan rims on my AORC Quantum they would protrude well past the body line.

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Follow Up By: Tim F3 - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 18:06

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 18:06
Yes the offsets were different hence the cost quoted to change the swing arms , but as i said a top unit.
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Reply By: Member - Terry D (Brisbane QLD - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 21:33

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 21:33
They are OK. Reliability seemed good ( build, suspension, cookers, hot water and heating great), although the pulleys and cables worried us. Water ingress down the rear slide was an issue with wind and rain from rear end. You really need to consider what you want and where your going. They are costly for what they are. The good bits;- you can sit on the dunny, cook on the stove and get a beer from the fridge, all at t he same time. Other options abound for less $$. Had mine for less that 12 months, other half said after first trip, get rid of it (I agreed totally). Like buying a boat, everything is a compromise. Good luck with your deliberations.
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Sunday, Jan 29, 2017 at 12:00

Sunday, Jan 29, 2017 at 12:00
What didn't the missus like about it ?

Unless someone intends to do a lot of outback/4wd type trips, buying a hybrid type van is probably a waste of money.

Me personally, I have access issues at home, restricting a van to less than 2m wide and no more than 2.1m high, and less than approx 4.5m long.

Doesn't leave me with many options ( currently have a Lifestyle AT10 ), so it will always be a compromise with me. If I had the money, the KK would be high on my list !
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Reply By: Cheryl & Ian (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2017 at 09:57

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2017 at 09:57

We have 2013 model and love it. As Frank pointed out the later models don't have the floor hatch but so far we haven't needed the convenience of having it (hope I haven't jinxed ourselves now). The later models have made much better use of space with the outside kitchen and have more solar fitted as standard. So of course there are trade offs as to what suits your lifestyle. If someone has 'pimped out' an earlier model it would be worth looking at.

As pointed out, a good canvas maker can custom make any awnings/screens you might want. We had a sunscreen made for our quick awning, which is what we use all the time and there are other options as Frank has also mentioned.


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Reply By: CSeaJay - Tuesday, Jan 24, 2017 at 15:19

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2017 at 15:19
I can comment on the Karavan only as far as I have done much research on it at the time we were in the market for a "hybrid" moving up from our TVan, and have spoken to almost each fellow camper me came across with one on our trips which included the Kimberley and Simpson.

It made our shortlist of only two: The other was the AOR Quantum which we ended up choosing over the KK for several reasons.

Although I do not want to go into all the reasons or start a "BFG v Cooper" situation, at least do yourself the service of considering the latter option as well, it is a very good unit.

AnswerID: 607937

Reply By: Member - J&A&KK - Sunday, Jan 29, 2017 at 01:46

Sunday, Jan 29, 2017 at 01:46
Hi Grant

I bought a 2014 model new and have had a few niggles but no major problems. As stated by others it is a complex unit and needs to be to be able to be packed down into such a compact unit. Most of the problems I had were due to poor final QC from the factory and were mainly electrics. So you shouldn't have such problems with a second hand unit. Accessibility to the lifting cables, pulleys and yoke mechanism is not easy and always sits at the back of my mind as a bit of a worry.

Mine has now done 50,000 kms including the Cape, Gulf, Arnhem,GCR, Tanami, GRR, Pilbara etc. so probably 15,000 or more of dirt. Some of which I would have preferred not to be towing anything. Nothing has fallen off or broken, it doesn't leak dust or water and has done the job for me.

Kimberley factory is not very effective with their customer service but I have found the agent I bought the van through very good. I would suggest you buy your used van through a KK dealer. That way you will probably get better service and information. The Karavan has a few quirks that are best explained in advance.

They are expensive units and there are probably better value for money vans available if serious outback touring is only a rare occurrence.

All the best with whatever you decide to do.

AnswerID: 608044

Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Jan 29, 2017 at 13:50

Sunday, Jan 29, 2017 at 13:50
I had the opposite experience with the Kimberly factory a couple of years ago with my Kamper which developed compounding problems due to a failed shock absorber 120km from Bamaga. Despite being years out of warranty I couldn't praise the staff highly enough, sourcing & making parts up same day and shipping them to Bamaga, so much so I bought them a case of good beer a few months later when I passed through Ballina!
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 29, 2017 at 17:16

Sunday, Jan 29, 2017 at 17:16
Yes, I have found similar with out-of-warranty help from both the factory and my dealer, Express Campers in Unanderra (suburb of Wollongong). Excellent people.



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Reply By: Sigmund - Sunday, Jan 29, 2017 at 10:57

Sunday, Jan 29, 2017 at 10:57
Reading with interest. Curious about this unit though not with a view to buy.

Some day I expect to shift from the CT to a hybrid or offroad van.
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