Caravan Choice - opinions wanted

Submitted: Sunday, Jul 25, 2004 at 19:11
ThreadID: 15002 Views:2482 Replies:5 FollowUps:4
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Hi,

I know this is 4WD forum 'cos most of you are insane, but some of you also pull caravans (as well as other things!). Plus, I value your opinions, so...........

We've been looking at 1987 Viscount Ultralite 16 footer, single axle. It seems well cared for and has been upgraded in a few areas - 2 spare wheels, bike carrier, 2 big gas bottles, awning and external shower and toilet. They're asking 10k for it and it seems solid etc. It seems, in spite of its "Ultralite" tag, to be very solid underneath. The chassis and sub frames seem a lot stronger than some more modern vans that we've look at. It has 'rubber in torsion' suspension. Plus I'd change the overrun brakes to electric brakes if I bought it.

NOTE - This van is not an "Aerolite".

Tow vehicle is 2000 TD 100 series diesel Landcruiser - should eat it - van weight is 900 kg tare and 1320 loaded. I've been informed that these vans are sandwich construction but this one's been places and still seems solid.

The sellers appear very genuine and if they don't sell it within the next 5 weeks they'll be off in it again.We intend to retire and start touring early next year and we could afford something dearer. However, we thought about starting off with a cheapy and seeing how we went with it, and then maybe upgrade to something more "splendid". We are both fully experienced in towing and spending long periods in the bush, away from home. Any one have any opinions on this van please. Thanks,

Bilbo
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Reply By: GOB & denny vic member - Sunday, Jul 25, 2004 at 19:39

Sunday, Jul 25, 2004 at 19:39
goodday bilbo
cant be to much wrong with it if owner is going to bolt if he doesnt sell .dont know about this brand but we had an older van to start with and it towed pretty well .the yota should have no problems .
i think your doing the right thing starting off with a cheaper unit to see if you like caravanning we love it but there are so many people buy new van and car never been aeay before head off get a 1000k down the road and start blewing cause 1 doesnt like it and they have blown the budget for next 10 yrs
jmho
steve
AnswerID: 69580

Reply By: motherhen - Sunday, Jul 25, 2004 at 19:43

Sunday, Jul 25, 2004 at 19:43
I was happy to go for the cheaper option and try a regular off roader (that means "occasional trips on non bitumised roads") but my husband wisely insisted that it had to be a real heavy duty off roader - didn't fancy having our home fall to bits in remote central Oz. Also he wanted double axle for safety. We therefore chose a Bushtracker - got one 3rd hand - looks like new. Prior to that we tried a fold up style off roader - had to screw cupboard hinges back on and shovel dust out most stops. Also with the single axle, everything that could move did; even milk cartons wore through on the bottom in the frig! The water tank was holed on a stoney road (luckily we carried extra water so it wasn't a problem to us). We like to avoid the black top, so it did have a rough time. I am looking forward to getting out there with our luxury home. Prior to that, holidays were camping off the back of the ute. Wanted something easier for our retirement and with room to carry our needs for long trips. If you stay on the highways a regular van may be OK, but if you want to get out and explore this wonderful land - get a real off roader so you can make the most of your trip.
AnswerID: 69586

Follow Up By: Bilbo - Sunday, Jul 25, 2004 at 22:02

Sunday, Jul 25, 2004 at 22:02
MH,

It is my intentention, desire and life long wish to own a Bushtracker. One day I will. However, The War Office has other much cheaper ideas. We are both fully familiar with camping in the "deep bush", having spent many years gold prospecting. But initially we want to spend some time just cruising around and not get too involved in real bush work again - just yet. "Been there, done that" in a customised Cub Campomatic that's been heavlily modified for offroad - never broke it yet. Boy, that thing went places that the Nissan wasn't supposed to go! I will keep the Cub for use offroad. I know too many spots that still have gold in 'em ;). In the meantime, we just wanna chill out fer a while.

Bilbo
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Reply By: Aandy(WA) - Sunday, Jul 25, 2004 at 20:46

Sunday, Jul 25, 2004 at 20:46
Bilbo, I've had a Viscount 16'6" poptop for 26 years and have towed it with many different vehicles - currently a TD Prado. I've looked after it and it's really just the same as it was when new - nothing falling off, no leaks ..... absolutely fine. It's not the same model as you are considering but if the quality is similar you'll have no problems. I have 3 other friends who have about the same model as me and all are still in top shape.
Since motherhen didn't even touch on the subject, I'm going to wander from it as I at least addressed your query.
My thoughts on the hierachy of 4wds. I'd appreciate comments. If you can't afford a Landcruiser you purchase a Patrol. If you can't afford a Prado you purchase a Pajero. If you can't afford a Range Rover, you purchase a Discovery. If you can't afford any of the above you purchase one of the many semi 4wd vehicles. Is this a fair and reasonable summary of the hierachy in the 4wd world? I'm preparing a debate for a trivia/fundraising night and wish to canvas opinions from those involved in this recreational activity.
AnswerID: 69601

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, Jul 26, 2004 at 00:13

Monday, Jul 26, 2004 at 00:13
Hi Andy,

Not too sure about your 4WD trivia myths. I could have easily afforded a Landcruiser but bought Patrol. They have gone soft IMHO by having IFS suspension etc while the Patrol has a bullet proof drive train. I would have probably gone cruiser if you could get a turbo diesel with live axle.

I suppose its the generalisations you have made that propagate the myths. I haven't purchased the same make vehicle in my last 8 vehicles, I have always chosen what suits my needs at the time. But some people get sucked in with all the advertising and start to believe the myths(particularly Toyotas - Hilux unbreakable, just ask a diff/CV specialist!!!). I reckon the 80 series cruiser was perhaps the "best" 4WD ever made IMHO, but you cannot get a new one now. So I bought a Patrol. Is it the best ever - no, but I reckon its the best currently that suits my needs. Price came second.

Same goes for Prado vs Pajero. Each has there own strengths and weaknesses and I disagree that the Prado is better than a Pajero for all peoples needs.

It all boils down to the needs of the buyer as no vehicle is better in all areas than its opposition. I suppose I do not think one can make such a simplistic generalisation and expect it to be even close to factual.

Cheers

Captain
Its not what you drive, but how you drive it!
LC 200 + AOR Quantum

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Follow Up By: Member - Ed. C.- Monday, Jul 26, 2004 at 02:10

Monday, Jul 26, 2004 at 02:10
Aandy (Double-"A" for excellence!) the English proffessor wrote....

"I have 3 OTHER friends who have about the same model as ME"..etc. etc....

There are FOUR of you?????

Gosh A'Mighty!!!!!

FYI Aandy, I can afford 2 'Cruisers AND a Rangie (true!), and I CHOOSE to drive a 5-y.o. Patrol (pretty much for the same reasons stated by Captain, above), and a 7-y.o. Ford Falcon wagon, so what does that tell you about you about your so-called "hierachy" of 4wds ????

BTW, Your 'puter got a spell-check on it???
Might want to switch it on... Cya
Confucius say.....
"He who lie underneath automobile with tool in hand,
....Not necessarily mechanic!!"

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Follow Up By: greydemon - Monday, Jul 26, 2004 at 20:42

Monday, Jul 26, 2004 at 20:42
Hi Aandy,

Just to give you a complete set of 'wrongs' I have a a Diesel Discovery and have no interest in owning a Range Rover, which I could afford. Quite different vehicle.
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Reply By: Member - Mick S (QLD) - Monday, Jul 26, 2004 at 12:28

Monday, Jul 26, 2004 at 12:28
Nothing wrong with the older vans. Obviously common sense must be exercised in the selection. We looked at many new and late model vans before getting very lucky in finding our old jigger. I believe that the very high demand for caravans has created an artificial pricing regime. In other words, the manufacturers have a huge waiting list and can charge what they damn well like! Many modern vans we looked at were long on style and very short on quality and practicality. Really, it's not rocket science to build what is essentially a box on wheels, yet we're asked to pay as much or more than for a sophisticated up market luxury car or 4wd. Get Real!
Mick
AnswerID: 69702

Reply By: Bilbo - Monday, Jul 26, 2004 at 17:23

Monday, Jul 26, 2004 at 17:23
Mick,

The more I look into this, the more I start thinking like you. It seems older/practical/cheaper/stronger is better than modern/costlier/flashier. I can do most of the flashy bits meself if I need 'em.

Bilbo
AnswerID: 69730

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