Cub camper

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 09:12
ThreadID: 137278 Views:8805 Replies:13 FollowUps:8
This Thread has been Archived
Hi guys we have an early model cub camper , it’s raised but not off road
We want to take it through the Gibb River road
We would take it really slow and steady
Has anyone had experience with towing this type of trailer or would it better go upgrade to something like a jayco penguin
Or your thoughts on it
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 09:44

Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 09:44
Liz, I'm not familiar with the specific camper. It helps that it's from a recognised manufacturer, but as you say it's not off road I would have concerns regarding suspension (tyres, axles, bearings, shock absorbers and springs & assembly). If all suspension was near new I would say probably OK if driven s l o w l y. If it's not, forget it
We have an "unbreakable" Kimberly Kamper, but I didn't replace the shock absorbers before setting off on a trip as they had only done 60 000km, but one broke in a remote location and we were really up the creek a few years back.
The trailer is likely to get showered with stones from your tow vehicle, even at 60km/hr, does it have a stone guard (I'm guess not if it's not off road). Those stones will damage your trailer and ones bouncing back off the trailer will damage the rear of your vehicle.
Unfortunately for me I learn most things the hard way.
AnswerID: 621344

Follow Up By: Darian - Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 11:18

Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 11:18
Sage advice from many, (with robust hardware) the Gibb is a straight forward maintained gravel road...but the stones on some sections can play havoc with your hardware if not protected. As I recall, corrugations were not a biggy when I last drove it, but depending on surface types, they can emerge of course....with basic hardware, driving slowly often provides little relief. Enjoy the trip though ! Great country up there.
FollowupID: 893829

Follow Up By: Liz C3 - Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 07:20

Monday, Oct 29, 2018 at 07:20
FollowupID: 894459

Reply By: Member - abqaiq - Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 09:49

Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 09:49
We looked at the various brands for a minimal canvas off road unit for two. As you mentioned the Penguin it seems you are looking for similar. We thought the Penguin rather flimsy for real off road use and the web mentioned several problem with erection that would be difficult to fix in the outback. For a super rugged unit look at the Ellis Recreational Vehicle site for a Basecamp style unit.Paul Ellis will build an excellent unit that chases our Troopy, with ease.
Very satisfied customers -FWIW.
AnswerID: 621345

Reply By: Sigmund - Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 11:24

Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 11:24
Because of the corrugations on the Gibb slow is rougher than fast - say 80 kmh.

I wouldn't take any Jayco Outback model on the Gibb. The factory says they're for graded dirt roads.Well, the Gibb gets graded from time to time and it is dirt, but it's a lot more too.

The old Cubs were well built. You could get a CT or caravan service place to go over it and bring the key parts already mentioned up to scratch.
AnswerID: 621346

Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 15:57

Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 15:57
Whilst not my personal experience, a mate of mine took a brand new Jayco Off road pop up van on its maiden voyage on a corrugated road. He was so concerned with regard to the amount of bits coming loose, he took it back and demanded & got his money back. He went out and bought a Goldstream RV pop up off road van. Given his experience, and others I have read about on various forums, I would not take a Jayco on a corrugated road. I know plenty of people have & still do without problems, and many people will criticise me for saying so, but IMHO, I do not think they are built strong enough for our off road conditions.

Having said that, we had an early Cub Supermatic, and took it on dirt roads. We did have to have the frame welded back up when a couple of the cross pieces came apart, but overall, if driven to the conditions, and with the right shocks and springs, I think your Cub will be ok. As someone else has mentioned, lower tyre pressures will help with the corrugations.


Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

FollowupID: 893832

Reply By: Sigmund - Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 11:29

Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 11:29
BTW shocks are a consumable.
If you use them extensively offroad or on corrugations don't expect to get more than 30 K out of them.
They can be serviced but it's not worth it with cheapies (which is most of them).
AnswerID: 621347

Reply By: Member - DingoBlue(WA) - Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 12:54

Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 12:54
We travel offroad extensively with another couple who have an early Cub camper. Apart from the usual bits and pieces being damaged/falling off, the worst happened when the piano hinge rivets broke out due to the corrugations and the camper virtually fell in half. Fortunately we had rivets and a rivet gun with us and we put it back together.
Probably a good idea to carry rivets and a rivet gun.

Most campers we've noticed broken down on places like the CSR and Gunbarrel have been Jayco's, however, as there are more Jayco's on the road than any other make, maybe the number of carcasses is not indicative of their build quality. Also have seen a few Kimberley campers in dire straits during our travels. I think any camper will suffer when subjected to extreme offroad conditions no matter what the salesmen tell you. Keep the maintenance up and carry spares for the trailer.
Rather a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy!

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 621348

Follow Up By: Shaker - Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 15:49

Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 15:49
You are right, a camper doesn’t need to be cheap and/or Chinese to fail, I have seen Aussie Swag & Complete Campsite with major issues.
I would recommend anybody with Tvan to carry spare a couple of sets of shocker bushes as they seem quite prone to chopping out, I certainly haven’t been the only one with that issue.
Also check the roll pin through the main shaft & nut on DO35 couplings as they have been known to split longitudinally & fall out with disastrous consequences, I am thinking of knocking mine out & replacing it with a split pin.
FollowupID: 893831

Reply By: RMD - Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 15:34

Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 15:34
Without having to rebuild the camber for rough use you can do things which provide an increased level of ability.

Because of corrugations the shocks mentioned previously are essential to absorb destroying type oscillations of suspension.
A change to over size tyres which have much more rim to ground clearance will allow still load carrying with sufficient but lower inflation pressure. That increase in volume under the rim will absorb a great deal of undesirable road conditions. "The tyre on any vehicle is the primary suspension" and so can be utilized to advantage.

Changing to longer leaves and compliant springs, and larger section tyres, combined with shock absorbers will increase off road/rough road ability without damage.
Years ago I did this to my 6 x 4 trailer to take up the Oodnadatta track. Many said these trailers fall apart on such roads. My trailer has done many KM on very rough roads carrying a load and has just been refurbished/freshened up, after 20 years of various useage. No cracks anywhere.
AnswerID: 621349

Reply By: splits - Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 16:39

Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 16:39
You could start by contacting Cub and see what they say.

We are told today you need a modified 4wd to drive around Australia. In 1925 this was all you needed. CITROEN I would imagine a lack of speed with that car played a major part in its it success and that is still true today. I have always said it is not the road that breaks cars, it is the driver. You are not likely to break anything at 10 kph but you are in with a real good chance of breaking just about anything at 100.

Somewhere in between those two extremes is the ideal speed for your trailer but it may have to be very low. I have the patience to drive all day at 20 kph if I had to but I doubt if all drivers could. It is often unavoidable on steep winding mountain tracks but I have also spent many an hour at those speeds on very rough desert tracks. It all comes down to how you feel about driving slowly.

One vital thing on your trailer in those conditions is shock absorbers. If it hasn't got any then install some. If it has them but they are laying over at such a steep angle that they are more for show than effectively controlling spring rebound then change the design. Everything that I have read on tubular shocks has said they should not be any more than thirty degrees off vertical. My Hilux is approximately 22 degrees and that is about the steepest angle that I can remember seeing on any car. Many sedans and wagons have them on towers protruding up through the floor into the boot space or rear section of wagons. That restricts interior space but the manufactures continue doing it.

I have a small trailer with the shocks coming up through the floor about 100 mm. I designed it like that and it does not cause any problems while loading it.

Without springs and shocks properly matched and the right distance from the wheel you run the risk of snapping the end off the axle, destroying wheel bearings or sheering wheel studs and that has happened to countless trailers on unsealed roads.
AnswerID: 621350

Follow Up By: Bill C9 - Saturday, Oct 27, 2018 at 10:44

Saturday, Oct 27, 2018 at 10:44
Our Scruby model from CampaPack had no shocks and worked fine for 17 years of rough travel...

Some mechanics have said the shocks don't help. Many different stories..
Depends on weight carried and the tyres used. We always had BFGs after they did 50-80k on the #Smoky60Series..
FollowupID: 894392

Reply By: Iza B - Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 18:12

Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 18:12
I had a Cub, some time ago. Manufactured in 1996. Very light and had good shocks. Did lots of Ks around Birdsville, Oodnadatta Track, and the Corner.Home made stone stomper and full width mud flap in front of the axle was a good idea. Lots of dust sealing around the wheel humps was also a good idea after first 1000K of dirt. Never had any trouble with the camper while I had it.

AnswerID: 621352

Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 22:14

Sunday, Sep 23, 2018 at 22:14
Well Liz, the Birdsville Track, which I would consider to be comparable to the Gibb River Road,
was not kind to this Cub Camper................


My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 621354

Follow Up By: Member - nick b boab - Monday, Sep 24, 2018 at 07:48

Monday, Sep 24, 2018 at 07:48
Allan :how long since you have been the Gibb ? Not a similar comparison in my opinion
There are so many vehicles on gibb these days,
I was suprised how rough it was compared to last time we were there and It's lost a lot of its appeal with Road development .
Damaged and broken trailers caravans are no surprise on the road . We saw one caravan that had had it's drawbar ripped right off ,bent chassis and broken crossmember were some of the damaged we saw. I think there are a lot of people don't know how to treat their equipment. Like when people say you need to go fast enough to get on top of the corrugations that doesn't allways work well~that might be ok in there late model vehicles but what about what they are towing ??
The camper trailer in my profile picture has done the Gibb River Road twice kalumburu Cape York & many Outback Australian tracks it has leaf springs and no shock absorbers just your conventional box trailer Style and still going strong . People need to take their time and remember why they are out there ...IMO
Cheers Nick b

My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

FollowupID: 893835

Follow Up By: KevinE - Monday, Sep 24, 2018 at 08:45

Monday, Sep 24, 2018 at 08:45
I have only seen 3 trailers wrecked in all of my travels. One was so old it should never have been where it was (Yunta-Arkaroola Rd) & the other 2 were Aust made, off road, soft floor campers. Both had lost a spring hangar pin, with catastrophic consequences.

One was on the Mereenie Loop & the other was on the tar on the Stuart Hwy in the top end. Both looked to be brand new.

I won't name the brands, as I don't know what the driver who was towing them had been doing with them. As an example; I know someone who thinks it's fine to tow a trailer through winding roads at 120KMH. So I think it's unfair to the manufacturer to name them.

As I've written before; everyone (correctly) focuses on wheel bearing maintenance with camper trailers, but most of them will never go where we forumites choose to go. Spring hangars, shackle plates & pins wear very quickly on corrugated roads, but they never seem to rate a mention.

I don't own a Cub & have no interest in the company, but I have seen them at just about every remote destination that I've been to, so they can't be that bad ;-)

FollowupID: 893838

Follow Up By: Bill C9 - Saturday, Oct 27, 2018 at 10:57

Saturday, Oct 27, 2018 at 10:57
Nicks trailer looks very much like our old Scrub by CampaPack from Milton area, NSW. Tough as boots!

Google #VelcroPalace .....
FollowupID: 894393

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Monday, Sep 24, 2018 at 07:58

Monday, Sep 24, 2018 at 07:58
We towed a very early 1979 Cub hardfloor all over Oz for 5 or 6 years until the kids came along, then purchased a very early Cub Supamatic in 1988, it too has done and is still doing thousands of k's on outback tracks including a few Simpson desert crossings BUT both were strengthened and had beefed up axles and tyres.
Bothe were also basic models with no interior fitout except mattresses and the standard twin beds with storage underneath in the Supamatic, basically just a tent on wheels and they were always loaded as such no heavy gear in or on them just bedding and clothes so were always reasonably light loaded.
Both had proper eye to eye springs from the factory, axles were replaced with solid 40mm axles, 14" rims and Light truck 8 ply steel radials, lifted 100mm and all spring mounts reinforced and braced, the little outriggers that go between the chassis and the sides fore and aft of the wheels were braced and strengthened, drawbars fitted with trusses underneath from the front right back to the front spring mounts and the floor removed and every weld inspected and redone if necessary.
While the floor was out a 75 x 50 x 2 mm length of RHS was fitted from right at the rear of the camper right through to the point of the A frame under the hitch, all crossmembers were then attached/welded to it as required as well as an additional crossmember fitted to mount Torana front shocks between it and the axle. A conveyer belt flap was hung vertically in front of each shock to stop stone damage, the Torana shocks were the only ones I could find that had eye's both ends and full guard on the shaft when extended.
Unless you are capable of doing the work yourself it isn't really feasible to have it done as the cost would be more than the camper is worth. But as I said once done they are pretty much indestructible. We've even towed other vehicles and cars and caravans off the back of them as the tube running through the centre takes the strain not the trailer, I also always fitted a ring coupling to the trailer and pintle hook on the vehicle which could handle the strain easily.
AnswerID: 621355

Reply By: Bruce and Di T - Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018 at 20:23

Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018 at 20:23
Our first camper was an onroad Campomatic. We took it along many rough outback tracks including a crossing of the Simpson. It was stock standard and we never ever had a problem with it. Its advantage was that it was light. Drive to the conditions and you should be right. Make sure you lower your tyre pressure. We also had a Cub, this time offroad and it also never displayed any problems.

AnswerID: 621373

Reply By: Keith B2 - Saturday, Oct 27, 2018 at 11:23

Saturday, Oct 27, 2018 at 11:23
I don't want to sound like a grumpy old man here, but I guess that's what I am. If you drove your 4WD down one of the major tracks at normal traffic speed and it started to fall apart, you would be justified in being very disappointed and upset. In fact you'd expect any modern 4WD to handle this stuff all day long, which they do.

But take a camper or caravan that is marketed and sold as "off road". Somehow we have become more or less philsophical in accepting structural and minor failings which would be totally unacceptable if the same thing happened in a 4WD. The Gibb, the Oodnadatta and the Birdsville tracks are not "off road". But they induce many of the so-called "off road" offerings to fail. Like many others, my "off road" camper trailer certainly did.

The bottom line is that, with the exception of several blue chip manufactures, many "of road" trailer manufacturers are conning the public. Their product is not fit for its claimed use and customers should be a lot angrier than they seem to be.
There, I feel better now.
AnswerID: 621782

Reply By: nickb - Sunday, Oct 28, 2018 at 20:46

Sunday, Oct 28, 2018 at 20:46
I would take the Cub over the Jayco Penguin, and I own a Jayco Dove!!! I have taken it over many dirt roads eg Oodnadatta Track and GCR and it handled it ok but I had made modifications for it to do so. And quite a bit of dust got in too.
AnswerID: 621820

Sponsored Links