Caravan building standards ..or lack off.

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 19, 2017 at 21:13
ThreadID: 134493 Views:5347 Replies:13 FollowUps:22
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It appears there are virtually no aust standards that caravan builders must comply with..

I purchased a 3 year old 20 foot "off road van" built by a victorian manufacturer.

The front boot leaks badly...i rang the manufacturer and asked if they have an improved rubber seal for the front boot to address the leaks.. Their answer ....THEY ALL LEAK thats why we dont make vans with a front boot anymore...

I then said the boot in mine has holes drilled in the floor ,i thought the previous owner must have drilled them....their response....WE DRILL HOLES IN THE FLOOR AT THE FACTORY..due to the known leaks...

When i said the timber in the boot would rot i was told just put some metal sheet over it one will know..

This is my experience with an australian manufacturer...

Caviat emptor...buyer beware..
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Reply By: Bob R4 - Sunday, Mar 19, 2017 at 21:21

Sunday, Mar 19, 2017 at 21:21
Seemingly no standards observed for boats either.
The lack of compliance is remarkable.
Bit harder to walk home from a boat failure though.
AnswerID: 609536

Reply By: Notso - Sunday, Mar 19, 2017 at 22:49

Sunday, Mar 19, 2017 at 22:49
Yes, you get good ones and bad ones. I've had three now and so far they've all been pretty good. Did have a leak in the front of my latest one after about 4 years. Rang the manufacturer and he said bring it in, it's for me to fix! No charge, whole front of van replaced including frame as he thought "It might rot out in a few years if I don't". Great service!
AnswerID: 609537

Follow Up By: Lindsaydi - Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 16:16

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 16:16
If that was a WA company it is so sad to see that both of them no longer build --so I have heard
FollowupID: 879531

Follow Up By: Notso - Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 17:16

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 17:16
No, a small Melbourne builder, Blue Sky!
FollowupID: 879536

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Mar 19, 2017 at 23:25

Sunday, Mar 19, 2017 at 23:25
A caravan is like a house. Lots of bits and pieces stuck together by human beings.
Always going to have problems.
One day I wish a car manufacturer would use their robots to produce monocoque caravans.
AnswerID: 609538

Reply By: Paul E6 - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 00:16

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 00:16
My understanding is that front boots aren't built to be waterproof in the first place, just weather resistant. My Millard has a factory drain hole at one end like a bath tub, with plug.
AnswerID: 609539

Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 02:39

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 02:39
My old van had two drain holes in it. I put a bit of foam in them to keep the dust out, but let any water run out.
It was one of the lucky ones as it didn't leak.

The one I have now leaks in the tunnel boot, now that's a bit more of a worry.
FollowupID: 879385

Follow Up By: CSeaJay - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 11:14

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 11:14
Paul tat is simply not the case.
Yours is a blanket statement - does that cover the more than 100 manufacturers and their 1000's models?
FollowupID: 879389

Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 14:47

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 14:47
Who would have guessed that! We put a man on the 40+ years ago but still cant make a simple waterproof front boot for a caravan....
FollowupID: 879392

Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 15:40

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 15:40
I am on our third van, the first was a Jayco and I had the front boot seal fixed by PDA in Maddingtom WA.

The second van was a Statesman Royal and not a Lotus Sprint and neither of them have leaked.

To say they all leak is not true.
FollowupID: 879393

Follow Up By: Paul E6 - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 20:44

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 20:44
"Paul tat is simply not the case.
Yours is a blanket statement - does that cover the more than 100 manufacturers and their 1000's models?"

I said nothing about blankets.
Don't keep blankets in there, they'll get damp for sure.
FollowupID: 879397

Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 22:37

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 22:37
If I was to buy another van it would have 2 things not included -
1. Front Boot
2. Front Window

Being on the front of the van and driving through torrential rain you are very likely to get some water into both of them. Our last 2 vans had front windows over the bed and I can not remember ever opening either of them.

One way to stop the ingress on the front window is to an awning that is about a third wider that the actual window.
FollowupID: 879403

Reply By: 9900Eagle - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 06:09

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 06:09
Many leak and my current van is no exception. Some have had success by placing the sealing rubber on the door itself and not on the van.

Mine has a drain in the floor of the boot that is properly installed and flush with the galvanised liner. What I don't like is items in the boot gets wet, so after many attempts I gave up, I made and fitted an aluminium gutter with linked drains that go from either side and down through the floor drain.

Totally solved the problem.
AnswerID: 609540

Reply By: Rangiephil - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 08:16

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 08:16
If your gas cylinder is in the boot, the holes are mandatory so that leaking gas can escape.

Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 609541

Reply By: Tim F3 - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 09:45

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 09:45
Thankyou to all for your replies ,i cured the water leaking into the boot by attaching a strip of 40 mm x 3 mm aluminium strip along the inside lower edge of the boot thus preventing any water flowing over the lower lip of the boot and ending up inside...please see photo..
AnswerID: 609543

Follow Up By: Paul and Mel - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 21:17

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 21:17
Have a look on the bottom of the boot lid as it should have 2 holes in the bottom of it's rim. I'll bet they have put adhesive strip rubber over them. Simply cut a 5mm wide piece out exposing the hole and presto, no more leaks.
FollowupID: 879400

Reply By: AlanTH - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 10:00

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 10:00
Van salesman love to say everything is built to "caravan industry standards" and point to the little badge most vans have on the side. "Your guarantee of quality" they say but forget to say whether that's good or bad quality.
Many hair raising stories of the buyer being pushed around from retailer to maker to parts supplier with all denying liability.
This happened to us after buying 3 RVs from one yard..... 2 from the same maker!
Neither of them could give a stuff about the van falling apart until we took action through consumer affairs and small claims court.
Don't take crap from them and push for action through local courts under Australian consumer law.
AnswerID: 609545

Reply By: pop2jocem - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 10:33

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 10:33
This is exactly why I am loathe to trade our van in on a new and slightly smaller one.
We bought our Supreme near new in 2007. It has a front boot and front window, both features have a reputation for leaking. Maybe we have just been plain lucky but so far neither have shown any inclination to let water in and yes it has been through and parked in some torrential downpours.
If you had a browse through the horror stories on the Caravaners Forum under the thread called, I think, Rogues gallery or Horror story, you may never buy an Australian built van again.
AnswerID: 609546

Follow Up By: Malcom M - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 10:46

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 10:46
Yeah, thats a damn good read.
Pity he doesn't keep it up to date any more.
FollowupID: 879411

Reply By: CSeaJay - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 11:21

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 11:21
There are horror stories of manufacturers just saying anything to get the van out the door, including mistruths about weight, tow ball weight etc.
Then don't want to know anything when things fall apart or when the stated weights are nowhere near actual leaving people (often newly retired putting all their eggs into this basket) heartbroken with nowhere to go (both literally and figuratively)
Not sure what the answer is other than doing research about the manufacturers reputation and after-sale service before you buy. - this to me is more important than the 'goodies' of a van, because all those extras are not worth anything when it goes south and no-one listening to at the manufacturer
AnswerID: 609548

Reply By: Member - Roachie - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 15:33

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 15:33
For anybody who is on Facebook, there is a site called "Lemon Caravans and RVs in Australia" which is worth being a member of. There is a list of shonky caravans and dealers.

Some of the stories I've read on there would make a saint weep.

Buyer beware for sure!!!!
AnswerID: 609552

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 21:00

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 21:00
Gday Roachie,
I joined that site for a while but you can't believe a word that anyone says - nothing is substantiated, and the mod puts any manufacturer she likes on the lemon list!
FollowupID: 879399

Follow Up By: Shaker - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 21:19

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 21:19
I also wouldn't take any notice of unsubstantiated vitriole from people snivelling because somebody said no to them.

FollowupID: 879401

Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 21:59

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 21:59
At least the Rogues gallery on caravanners forum was by one of the leading caravan repairs in Australia.
FollowupID: 879402

Follow Up By: Kyle H - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 22:39

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 22:39
Well this sniveller with unsubstantiated vitriol has had his caravan replaced due to this site.
Why do you think that caravan manufacturers cannot shut the site down or sue the moderator for slander?
Because what is being presented is factual and therefore they cannot prove any wrong doing.
FollowupID: 879404

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 23:13

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 23:13
Kyle - well said. Shaker, if you sitting on an $80,000+ investment that was falling to bits and both the manufacturer and the dealer were stonewalling, I suppose you'd classify yourself as an unsubstantiated sniveler???
FollowupID: 879405

Follow Up By: Shaker - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 23:24

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 23:24
I didn't suggest that there were no genuine cases, but I certainly don't believe everything I read on the internet, there are plenty of vindictive people.
I have had my own experiences with a prominent camper trailer manufacturer, I certainly didn't consider using Facebook, I sorted it out in VCAT.

FollowupID: 879406

Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 02:45

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 02:45
I have been following this site for a quite while now, and yes there are some people on there that do have a legitimate reasons for complaints.
Kyle, I find some one will post " I have a caravan with 52 faults and neither the dealer or the manufacturer will help me fix them".
I can find that there is nothing factual about that at all.

The next 150 reply's are along the following, name and shame, sue them, we feel for you and then quote every rule in the book.

Nobody has any idea what their problems are, it could be anything from a broken suspension to a knob falling off a cupboard.

Any form of a negative reply is accepted, but at no time can you say that the dealer/manufacturer has fixed my problems, and I am now happy, for this is a positive reply and banned.

I feel for people that do have major problems with their van, and I feel it would be more beneficial to other readers, if they were to express what they were.
I know some may not be able to due to legal battles pending, but I am sure a lot could.
I have no doubt that the person in charge has helped some people achieve results they could not have done by themselves.
I still read it most days to fill in some time before bed.

FollowupID: 879408

Follow Up By: Kyle H - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 04:46

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 04:46
Blue if you want to read positive stuff then the Lemons site is not for you as it is a site that many people have been screwed by caravan dealers and manufacturers and the site is geared for their support only, not general discussion about how good their caravans are, the moderator will quickly remove these positive remarks. Many people who visit the site struggle with this concept and come away with critical comments of the site. But as you have said yourself you read it most days.
Some of the guys that have unresolved issues you will hear them post time and again about their problems, spend $80K on a van that is a lemon where you are not getting any joy from the dealer or manufacturer that have a legal obligation to fix their crap workmanship and you will probably see this site as your only comeback at these scumbags.
Many of the problems originally posted such as mine, have been removed as part of the agreement with the manufacturer or to get some progress with the repairs of their vans. Some removed due to legal proceedings.
The reality is why should these manufacturers get away with ignoring the issues of some of these consumers who for no reason of their own have been given a caravan that they cannot use.
Basically the unregulated caravan industry has some unscrupulous manufacturers in it and because the industry is currently booming some are getting away with screwing the consumer. The Lemons site is endeavouring to push some regulation into the industry but I think this will be difficult to achieve.
If you were looking at losing $80K you would probably be vocal also. By the way my van was $95K.
For positive reading it is best to stay with ExploreOz but sometimes there are very negative comments here also and quite often from the same group of posters.
FollowupID: 879409

Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 05:33

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 05:33
Thanks for your reply Kyle, and am glad that you got your problems sorted out.
I originally joined the site to read about what the defects were that made a caravan a Lemon.

As I stated above there are many that do have real problems with their vans and I do feel for them.
At no time did I think that it was a place where you could sing praises about what you have just to make others less unfortunate feel worse than they already do.

I also own a van, most quite as expensive as yours, that has a few of problems and was hoping to find out whether these were a general things that happen or just a one off.

I also somewhat agree with what is going on, and hope the site can help some people with their woes, but it is hard to distinguish between the people with genuine problems and those that are there just to jeer it along.

I am well aware it is a support group, negatively expressing their concerns, but would you agree that half the people on there that don't have problems, would have no idea what they are supporting.

Anyway, I like to read about The Good, The Bad and The Ugly stories about all things, as this gives me a broader understanding on most topics, much the same as on this site. It's all good.


FollowupID: 879410

Follow Up By: cruiser80 - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 11:41

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 11:41
Is that lemon caravan facebook group still active. I joined it earlier this year to see what its all about as I'm looking to buy, but it has recently dropped off my facebook. Cant even find it on searches now.
Is it still the same name?
FollowupID: 879412

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 14:48

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 14:48
Yes, just checked it now and still there. It is a closed group, so you have to be a member.

Beware, if you buck the rules on the site you will likely be booted off.

There is no room (nor should there be) for people to ridicule any owners of lemon vans and also no room for putting up comments about how good YOUR van is.

It is a site for venting your anger and frustration when you have a van with significant issues.....not for gloating such as "mate, you should have bought a XYZ van like's great" etc

FollowupID: 879421

Follow Up By: Kyle H - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 15:41

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 at 15:41
Blue, the Lemons site has 12.5K members now increasing by near on 250 or more per week, most are there for a geek, many have had significant issues with their vans and have had a battle with their dealer or manufacturer but are managing to get these resolved by themselves or with little assistance, then there are the small group where their dealer or manufacturer have decided that their issues are in the too hard tray and cannot get any resolution whatsoever.

There is a list of dealers and manufacturers that for certain reasons is not a lemons list, but it is a Buyers Beware List to alert members that if they deal with these guys, they may have issues.

There have been a quite a few successes for some who have issues and where those dealers and manufacturers are no longer on the buyers beware list, there are many dealers and manufacturers that obstinately refuse to assist or resolve their customers legal rites for a "fit for purpose" caravan. Some of these manufacturers would prefer to send threats of legal action rather than fix the caravans.

There are many owners out there that own some of these named vans that IMO see the site as a threat to their resale value and giving a bad name to the caravan they have purchased. They have often tried to tackle the people who report bad things about a product they think is great, hence the no recommendations policy.

The site is working, there are many people who now recognise a particular brand of caravan as a total lemon and to steer away from them.
FollowupID: 879423

Reply By: Nutta - Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 22:10

Monday, Mar 20, 2017 at 22:10
I found a leak on our first 2nd hand purchased van, it was under the pop top bracket, leaked into the rear wall and caused plenty of wood rot, we updated and I swore off meranti for good.

We purchased a new Jayco silverline outback in August 2015, panel walls with no wood!

We had a couple of small issues initially but Jayco were great with the warranty side of it. Even had an issue recently and they were still very helpful so I cant complain.

No leaks in the front boot thats for sure, totally water tight!!
AnswerID: 609558

Reply By: Colcam42 - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017 at 14:20

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017 at 14:20
Our first van, Rxxx, even had a sticker inside telling us that the front boot was not waterproof. Delivered from the factory in the rain, the interior boot was wet. "Normal" said the dealer........
AnswerID: 609751

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