Caravan building

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 08, 2005 at 21:08
ThreadID: 21059 Views:15727 Replies:3 FollowUps:5
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I am looking for advise on where to find information to assist me in building my own caravan
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Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Mar 08, 2005 at 21:39

Tuesday, Mar 08, 2005 at 21:39
A long time ago I bought an old Viscount shell and then proceded to build my own interior. Did it on the cheap and the van lasted 5 years on the road. Then I stripped it and gave it to the neighbours and it is still in use.

If you want to build one from the ground up I suggest you talk to an engineer before you start to see what the pitfalls are. The must be a variety of Do-it-yourself websites you can look at.

Good luck
AnswerID: 101625

Follow Up By: Member - Rob F (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 08, 2005 at 22:51

Tuesday, Mar 08, 2005 at 22:51
Thank you for the good advise, it has been duly noted. Robwa
FollowupID: 359526

Reply By: jackablue - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 09:45

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 09:45
I know of a guy who went to one of the Caravan & camping shows & picked up brochures & info on a heap of vans & the structural info & then videoed inside & out of as many vans as he could & is now a third of the way through building his own aluminium structured offroad van with independant suspension chassis etc.
AnswerID: 101696

Follow Up By: iMusty - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 20:28

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 20:28
Smart guy!
FollowupID: 359653

Reply By: rou - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 11:45

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 11:45
trailers under 4.5 T ATM have to be built to state regulations so you should start at the WA transpost dept. don't know about WA but here in QLD anybody can build a trailer under 750kg atm fill out a self assessment form and rego it with any form of inspection.Again anybody can builda trailerfrom 750 kg to 4500kg but you have present it for inspection at QLD Transport to make sure that the dimemsions conform(width,rear overhang,etc) and the rim/tyre/suspenion combination is satisfactorary.As for componentry used such as coupling,axles and suspenion there are no certification requirments.example- it is illegal to have a hollow axle could knowing or unknowingly purshase/make one, use it and present your trailer for rego and chances are the person from behind the front counter is not going to crawl under your trailer to check it. they will however ask you for a load rating on your axle group. if you have purchased your componentry from a reputable company they will give you the approved rating. it is up to yhe manufactyre of the axles and suspenion to test(if they want to) and rate their product .again this is experience here in QLD so you should check in WA. below is a link for a company a have dealt with for years and actually offer a written warranty and are great for advice.
as for the engineering of the unit anything goes as ultimatly it will be registed as a "homemade" trailer and you will be responsible if it falls apart and hurts someone. for this reason home made vans tend to weigh twice as much as factory built ! you can try and ask the guys that build them but they don't seem to happy topart with the info.

good luck with the project.
AnswerID: 101716

Follow Up By: ozromer - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 22:12

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 22:12
You state that it is illegal to have a hollow axle beam (? on a 750 to 4500 kg atm trailer). Where is the regulation re this to be found? Also, what does it do to insurance if one unwittingly has one fitted to either a new or second hand trailer?
FollowupID: 359676

Follow Up By: rou - Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 14:16

Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 14:16
In 1995 I attended a Qld Transport run course to become a licensed inspector to be able to inspect trailers (under 4.5atm) for a roadworthy inspection. We were instructed that hollow axles did not conform. I am still in the industry but have not done a roadworthy for over 5 years so this morning I have done some research into this topic and have come up with some interesting stuff. No one can tell me where to find this particular
Rule/law anywhere. The guy I spoke to this morning actually referred to it as an “open can of worms”, here is why: someone imported a boat/trailer combination from USA and it has hollow square axles. For what ever reason one had to be changed so both parties began to research this rule. Apparently no such rule. The importer is successfully registering the trailer and the axle manufacture is looking at engineering and certifying a hollow axle. All this is quite recent. I also rang 4 major axle manufactures in Brisbane and could not buy a hollow axle with a 1 tone rating anywhere. Interestingly 2 of the 4 told me they were illegal and the other 2 stated that you got different answers depending on who you spoke to in the transport dept. so it was easier and more accepted to make solid ones.
So as long as that axles are tested and approved with a load rating rego and insurance
should not be an issue
Back to the original question of building your own trailer this exercise only reinforces the fact that you must research as much as possible. The best way to keep up with current ruling is to deal with reputable companies in the industry to supply your components.
I hope I cleared up some of this mess.

FollowupID: 359769

Follow Up By: ozromer - Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 20:33

Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 20:33
On behalf of many, I am sure, thank you for your detailed and expert contribution.
Having crawled under dozens of caravans, many of which seem to have square section bar axles, I automatically concluded that hollow section was used.This is probably because the usual galvanising is Duralgal or Supagal which boast simultaneous coating of inside and outside hollow steel members. Thankfully, I have now tapped my new caravan's axle and found it to be solid.
FollowupID: 359807

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