Checking over a new caravan.

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 11, 2006 at 16:16
ThreadID: 30683 Views:4148 Replies:6 FollowUps:6
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What things should we look for and check on the day that we take delivery of a custom built caravan?

Brand:Traveller Hurrican 17foot full van.
basic layout but no ensuit.
Chassie:
6" draw bar to axles
Simplicity independant single axles 1450 kg. each;
16" Prado Landcruiser wheels
Electric breaks;
Breaksaafe Break-away system
Deep cycle battery and recharger
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Reply By: hazo - Saturday, Feb 11, 2006 at 17:06

Saturday, Feb 11, 2006 at 17:06
Rv novice, A simple answer would be to check everything! then do it again! Take a mate or someone with a little caravan experience with you and get him to look at things while the salesman keeps you busy with the handover spiel.
I went with a mate to pick up new jayco last year, and while him and wife were being given the tour inside I noticed the external ally cladding looked strange in certain areas! after pointing it out to him, we found that two different lots of cladding had obviuosly been used and there was a definate colour difference! eg: both white, but slightly different shade! talk about candy stripes! The salesman agreed and tried to get them to accept as it was and get new panels fitted on warranty! In the end he got a better, different van for same price!
And finally dont be afraid to point out anything you dont like, its your money, and they want it!
Brian wa
AnswerID: 154460

Reply By: mick - Saturday, Feb 11, 2006 at 19:48

Saturday, Feb 11, 2006 at 19:48
RV Novice,

Most faults, if there are going to be any will be evident after a few trips away, so make sure the warranty they offer is a good one.

Enjoy it!
AnswerID: 154474

Follow Up By: rvnovice - Sunday, Feb 12, 2006 at 09:29

Sunday, Feb 12, 2006 at 09:29
Thanks for replying Mick, We only get a 1 year warranty, not sure if that is the average. Mike.
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FollowupID: 408477

Reply By: Craigjackaroo - Saturday, Feb 11, 2006 at 22:44

Saturday, Feb 11, 2006 at 22:44
We purchased a custom modified new van about 5years ago and had a lot of issues to sort out. In our excitment we made the mistake of accepting it and paying for it upon delivery and then started to discover all the faults.

Problems we encountered are as follows

Ordered a window in the front but found the window fitted to the rear.

A smaller charger and battery size were fit than the one shown in the demonstration van.

They fit a shelf above the front bed (where the window should have been) that we hit our heads on every time we rolled over.

The stove was fit crooked into the opening in the bench.

The range hood was fit back up against the wall. The intake grills being only about 150mm wide were mostly drawing air from behind the lift up glass cover of the hotplates which sat about 100mm off the wall when open. The range hood was not centralised over the stove but nearly 200mm to one side.

We have a L shaped seat at the rear of the van with a fold up top bunk at the rear. The shelf which the bunk hinged from was made too wide so that you could not sit in the seat properly when the bunk was folded up.

Our sink had a hole in it.

Some small dents in cladding.

On our first trip one of the wheels nearly fell off. Powdercoated mag wheels, apparently the paint can crumble under the nuts enough to give a little then work loose.

The hand brake cable got caught in a bracket on the back of the brake/hub assembly and fried the drum and bearing. Cable was loose at handle but was held on enough to overheat.

We had to take it back to Melb several times for the manufacturer to fix. This was a big time and dollar cost for us. You would go back in a few days to pick it up and all the issues would not be rectified.
More damage was done in fixing the above items to the point we felt we were better off accepting the low standard of manufacture than risk major problems down the track.
The worst issue was the bunk shelf.
They narrowed the shelf so that you could sit on the seat when it was folded but when they removed the timber where it joined the internal panelling they pulled big holes in the panelling. To rectify this they used some wood grain laminate edging tape to cover the holes. To replace that section of panelling they would have just about have to remove the whole side of the caravan. We decided to begrudgingly accept the bodgy repair rather than let them do more damage by pushing the issue.
They put a window in the front and removed the shelf above the bed.
At least when they did this they had the sense to leave small sections of the shelf in place where it was joined to the side panelling of the wardrobes rather than put more big holes in the panelling.

All the timber on the front of our drawers is starting to split where the screws hold the front onto the the drawer. Screws look a little bit too blong for the timber used. Other minor issues all our taillights etc have leaked in water and have corroded up and don't work very well even though the van only comes out of the shed once a year for about two to three weeks. Would recommend new sealed LED lights. some of the lenses were actually cracked from overtightening when fit.
Don't get carpet at all. Looks nice on the demonstrator models but is a shocker to keep clean. Lots of other niggly things that needed attention like screw caps falling off everywhere etc.

Get a proper jack for the van.
We tried using the car one under the axle but found you could not remove the wheel from the hub because it was pushed up into the wheel well. You need to lift the body of the van to get clearance.
Get a heavier duty axle and get the van rated to take a higher luggage weight as most single axle vans are only good for 200kg. This is weighed before you fit your awnings and batteries a bit of water in the tank, gas in the bottles etc. You find the weight adds up fairly quickly.

Hope this experience is of some value to you.
AnswerID: 154498

Follow Up By: apwaddo - Saturday, Feb 11, 2006 at 23:15

Saturday, Feb 11, 2006 at 23:15
Wow Craig - you have my sympathy! What a disaster. I can only tell you of the complete opposite and hope my experience is more common these days. We too ordered a customer built van from a Melbourne manufacturer, collected it (albeit 2 weeks late), had a quick look round and decided all was OK, !5 months later, nothing, I repeat nothing, has failed broken or gone wrong and we are as delighted with the van now as we were when we picked it up. Can't help but mention the maker is Scenic - and no i have no connection with them other than a very satisfied customer.
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FollowupID: 408458

Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Saturday, Feb 11, 2006 at 23:41

Saturday, Feb 11, 2006 at 23:41
Craig, sorry to hear such a job was done to you. Not having been a caravan fan, I would say it shows up horrors in quality control and planning for any sort of manufacturer.

To think you have not posted a warning of the manufacturer or brand here will get everyone looking to see what they have had done wrong. The Melbourne manufacturer is hardly code as I am sure there are several.

Love to see you warn the unwary.......
Cheers,
Who?
John

Member
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FollowupID: 408460

Follow Up By: Craigjackaroo - Sunday, Feb 12, 2006 at 23:36

Sunday, Feb 12, 2006 at 23:36
We bought our caravan to suit a budget.
The manufacturer of the caravan offered several beneficial features over their competition. For example at the time they were one of the first to offer the smooth polyesterised internal panelling. This is a durable easy maintenance product far superior to what Jayco, who we were also considering, offered at the time and cheaper too. They were one of the only ones to allow modifications to the layout of their standard line without being charged extra. Other people we know who bought and still have their vans are very satisfied. Many of the upgrades we chose were given to us at cost price.
If we had purchased one of their standard lines unmodified I am sure we would have been satisfied.
But we didn't and we suffered for it.
There are a couple of other stories I could mention but won't publicly.
The manufacturer is Royal Flair.
The van was not too bad otherwise and we still have it. The wheel and brake thing was put back to the chassis manufacturer.
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FollowupID: 408618

Follow Up By: jfr - Monday, Feb 13, 2006 at 11:49

Monday, Feb 13, 2006 at 11:49
craigjackaroo
i to bought a van to a budget and have had the same experiance as you the van is only 3 mths old and had to shell out 3 thousand extra dollars to have it fixed an even to day things are falling of. shape salesmen pothetic manufactures
thanks ROMA
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FollowupID: 408671

Reply By: Member - Charlie M (SA) - Sunday, Feb 12, 2006 at 15:27

Sunday, Feb 12, 2006 at 15:27
Check 240v power points for correct polarity. problems with our new van. can buy plug in tasters to check power points. Get van weight checked on licenced scales, vin placard did not include the airconditioner. check all items wanted are listed AND installed. Our van was supposed to be insulated as an extra but on pickup no insulated sticker on it. Would not pay for insulation cost. when hole drilled for annex no insulation in van sides.
Cheers
Charlie
AnswerID: 154571

Reply By: Bilbo - Monday, Feb 13, 2006 at 01:42

Monday, Feb 13, 2006 at 01:42
Check all water tank fittings and plumbing. My new Supreme Getaway Offroader dumped all of its water on a recent trip due to a leaky tank/hose fitting. In fact the whole water tank set up was pathetic. Rather than mess about sending it back I repiped myself so that it's fit for purpose. I lost 95 litres of water. That would have been marvellous if I'd have been out prospecting with it as I usually am! Bloody marvellous! It cost me a night in a van park to fix it and top up.

Check brake wiring. It's amazing how many aren't wired up! Even Bushtrackers!

Ask for wiring diagram. You won't get one, but the looks on thier faces is worth a giggle!

Bilbo
AnswerID: 154655

Reply By: ringa - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 02:49

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 02:49
Hi rvnovice, as a caravanner for many years, and have owned a few different makes, in my opinion the best made Caravan is a Phoenix, however you do pay for the quality. The best made, value for money is aTraveller. A lot of Manufacturers
wil not let you into the Factory to see the Vans being made. This includes Jayco, Coramal, and others, Traveller are very happy to take you through the factory, and explain everything, You can speak to the employees, and I like the way they make their Floors, also the walls are bolted to the chassis, not joined with self tappers as most of them are, I am very pleased with my Traveller, the service during the manufacturing, and on pick up was exemplary, We picked up our van in Melbourne, and took off for Perth straight away, we have had no problems with anything and have done well over 30000, kms in three years, and the van is still as good as new, no I do not have shares in the Company, just a very satisfied owner
cheers Ringa
AnswerID: 155488

Follow Up By: rvnovice - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 08:42

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 08:42
Thank you Ringa for your informative comments. Can you give some more detail about the manufacture of the floors? The thing drew us to Traveller were comments we've picked up over several years about their quality control and high standard of engineering. So your reply has some what support that. regards renovice.
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FollowupID: 409676

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