Off Road Caravans

Submitted: Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 20:38
ThreadID: 69427 Views:12257 Replies:8 FollowUps:21
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Hoping for some help looking at buying a new van upgrading from a camper trailer budget between $40,000 and $50,000 with toilet/shower.I say off road which will get us to national parks and on dirt roads towing at the moment with a Ford Territory 2004.Like the Fusion Predator, Crusader X Country, Golf Bushman Tourer and the Coromal Pioneer.
Like to here good and bad comments on any of these as we are new to this.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 20:57

Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 20:57
Start by reading the fine print Michael. With some so called 'off road' model vans the warranty is invalidated if taken on rough, stony or corrugated roads. No personal experience of the models you have mentioned (never heard of first two).

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Member - michael k (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 06:16

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 06:16
Motherhen Fusion Predator is made by Paradise Caravans why call them off road if they can not go off road strange
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Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 08:18

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 08:18
Same reason car makers put awd in a vehicle that is not capable of offroad. SALES!!! There is plenty of vans out there that are marketed as off-road that I would not be comfortable taking off road.

Supreme Getaway- solid off road van and fair value for money compared to some of the better known off road vans. The Territory will falter before the Getaway van in my opinion.

Cheers, Trevor.
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Follow Up By: Member - michael k (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 11:53

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 11:53
Trevor,
The Territory is only tempory looking at a second hand landcruiser because you are limited.

Michael

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 14:17

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 14:17
Still, check the fine print on the Supreme range. The first time i saw the disclaimer was on the Supreme on line brochure when doing research some years ago. I don't think the disclaimer is on their website now, but we met people with a nice big new Supreme Getaway and the same disclaimer was on a plate in the boot.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 16:37

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 16:37
Mh,

I don't know what the Supreme website says but I know what I have put mine through and that's enough for me to say what I said about them. The big downside with the Supreme Getaway is the weight and getting tyres to suit this, as the ones issued with my van were very inadequate in my opinion.

Cheers Trevor.

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 18:48

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 18:48
Hi Trevor, good to hear the Supreme is a success.

On tyres and wheels, we prefer to have them the same as the tow vehicle. Our Bushtracker started out with Landcruiser wheels, then had Patrol wheels when we bought it, and since we changed from Patrol to F250 it now has Ford wheels.

Have you had any tyre issues with the original tyres?

Mh
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Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 20:43

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 20:43
The original tyres that came with my brand new van were Olympic overlanders 235 75 15. These lasted about 3500km before sidewall bulges appeared and the tyre distributor in Rocky told me I was overloading them. As the van was supplied to me like this and the weight in the van was within van limits I was offered full refund and opportunity to exchange them for something more suitable. I think G/Y wrangler ATR's went on next (same size) but they were cr@p and showed bad wear signs quickly. I ended up sourcing some Firestone CV3000 tyres in a 225 70 15 that have a very high load rating and 3 sets of these later I have been very impressed and much happier with tyres on the van. Each set of these firestones have got me about 80 000km and the current set has done b/ville track, nthn Flinders, Innaminka, bore track and a heap of other smaller offroad forays as well as plenty of blacktop without a puncture. I can't recall the last puncture I had with the firestones if I have had one at all????

I agree the van and car should ideally have interchangable tyres but I am hesitant to change the winning combination after such a good run. Tyre pressures have been constantly changed to suit the conditions. Slow towing is not one of my strong points so lack of speed has had nothing to do with the longevity of the tyres.

Only spot I would hesitate to take the Supreme is in the sand as they are way to heavy for this. The Patrol does cope towing in a bit of soft sand driving at Inskip Pt (Rainbow beach) but I would not take it to Fraser Is for example.

Cheers, Trevor.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 21:32

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 21:32
We too avoid sand Trevor. When we towed the Bushtracker with the Patrol (3 litre auto) we steered clear of sand. With the F250 and the caravan loaded up, pulling of the road in sandy areas meant a hasty retreat back to the road before we sunk.

We had a good run with tyres last year. No problems at all on the road. Then we parked the caravan in front of the house, and a tyre went down. We must have picked up a nail when we got home.

Mh
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Reply By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 21:20

Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 21:20
Michael,

This is just a short answer to what can be a very long question. I would suggest that you take yourself off to the Caravan Show next weekend and start the process of 'shopping.

Just a couple of points.

1. Establish just how 'offroad' you intend to travel. Maybe you should be looking at high clearance rather than true off road and the budget you have set yourself would support this.

2. What are the weight limits for your tow vehicle? This will set another parameter.

3. Is the van for two people or more?

4. How long do you expect to be living in the van.eg 3/4 weeks or 3/4 months?

5. Single axle or tandem? Pop top or full van?

You may find that there are deals to be had in good second hand units at present. Did this same exercise about 4 years ago so know what you are on about.

Good hunting.

Kevin J

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Follow Up By: Member - michael k (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 06:25

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 06:25
Kevin to answer your points
4.only up to three weeks
5. single axle
3. two people
2. from ready 1850kg I believe
1. high clearance is all we will need
My wife is opting for a second hand van but I would like a new one have been searching the net for months now and yes we are going to the show on the weekend thanks for your imput.

michael
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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 09:38

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 09:38
This is where we differ slightly :-)

we will travel for a few months at a time hopefully

we want a tandem axel

2 people

same weight or close to

and high clearance.

Margo wants a new van and I would be happy with a second hand one !!!!!
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Follow Up By: Member - michael k (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 11:56

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 11:56
D200Dug,
Why tandem over single and yes I will most likely end up with a second hand van,maybe.

Michael
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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 12:18

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 12:18
Again from someone with no hands on experience :-) !!!

I am told and I imagine they tow better over corrugation having one wheel down and one up would be more stable than just one wheel bouncing about.

We plan longer trips over dirt tracks so think this is a good idea, less problems if you do blow a tyre and easier to back up and park.


Just what I have been told and think sounds reasonable.

I have not towed a van but did spend years towing boats behind a V8 Kingswood that had no power steering. I did not need to go to the gym to build my arm muscles back then :-)
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 22:10

Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 22:10
As most of the off roaders are Qld built you have the choices close at hand, although i suspect most will be above your target if buying new. Another to consider is the Sunland (sunland.com.au). No connection and have never owned one. The principal is a member of the caravanners forum, and someone with a dirt road Sunland was asking about tackling the Tanami on the forum. The answer was "good news is your caravan will handle it with ease" and later "I put my money where my mouth is and warrant the van for three years even for off road use". There are a range of models from bitumen to dirt road to off road.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Member - michael k (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 06:31

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 06:31
Motherhen,
Thanks I will check them out must have missed them some how in my searching,
the Fusion Predator starts at $36,000.00 and if adding a shower they tell me $42,000.00 there abouts Crusader is dearer around to end of our budget of $50,000.00

Michael
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Reply By: D200Dug- Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 22:21

Monday, Jun 01, 2009 at 22:21
We are in the same process and have been looking at vans for just on 12 months.

It is an interesting process ! Go to the van show at the RNA show and spend time looking at what is available. The range is pretty staggering but it will give you more ideas about what you don't want or need.

I would estimate less than 5% of vans there are suitable for what you want but it is a good process and start point.

We are now looking at either Evernew or the Lotus Trackvan both made in Victoria.

The Trackvans should be at the show Evernew will not be there.


Make sure they have good clearance underbody protection and a 6" galvanized frame chassis.

Evernew have offered us the best deal so far as they can make a larger bed to fit me and also fit 16" wheels the same as our Rodeo so we need to carry less spare tyres.

Good luck we are still looking so let us know if you find anything that is really good !!!!
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Follow Up By: Member - michael k (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 06:38

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 06:38
D200Dug
Going this weekend and yes we are down to about five vans but mainly like the Fusion Predator made by Paradise vans and the Crusader x country as this has the 16" wheels you talk about and have a 6'2" queen bed with 6' galvanized chassis both nice looking vans.

Michael
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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 09:36

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 09:36
As I said we went last year but had NO idea what we were looking at or for !

Our experience of caravans was yelling abuse at them for blocking the road :-) {something we intend not to do }

We are heading down on Wednesday to have another look.
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Follow Up By: Pete & Poss - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 10:28

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 10:28
we have an Evernew caravan and have taken it off road. It is extremely strong and we are very happy with our van. Evernew have been around for 40 years. The owner, Bruce is a very easy person to deal with and builds the caravan to you specifications. if you go with Evernew you wont be disappointed.

Pete
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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 10:32

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 10:32
When we get a bit more organized we plan to head down to Victoria and have a look at their vans.

May I ask where you are based and could we have a stickybeak at your van sometime please ? if you are close by of course.
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Follow Up By: Pete & Poss - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 11:54

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 11:54
D200Dug,

We are located in Hobart and you are welcome to come and look at our van anytime. You will find Bruce and Darren at Evernew most helpful. you need to know what you want in a van as their vans are all custom made to your requirements. We have had caravans before and have been looking around for quite a while for a new van until we met people camping in Isisford Qld with an Evernew van. They helped us make up our mind.

Pete
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Reply By: Steve - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 14:00

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 14:00
Michael,

Supreme Territory is a nice van with toilet and shower. Also have a look at Concept caravans. Very nicely finished, particularly inside if you look closely at cupboard joints etc

Regarding Coromal, we've had a few of those in the past and they do make a nice van. I can't remember word for word, but the small print on the back of their brochure for a Pioneer van said in effect; "any damage caused as a result in going offroad would be regarded as neglect". The salesman shrugged it off when I pointed it out to him - but then again, he would, wouldn't he? I'm sure they'd refer to it soon enough if you did suffer a bit of damage. I've also heard that the quality is not what it used to be since they've gone interstate from WA.

Regarding new or used, I must say we did very well with a 4 month old van that'd been used once by the previous owner who'd been sent to work overseas by his company.Thousands below new. Their problem is that they'd struggle to sell it at all unless it was well below new price. We had a wind-up camper that was less than 12 months old (mistake) and the offers we got for it as a trade were ludicrous. I did see their point to a degree - they would have to sell it for the price I was looking for and not make anything on it. We sold privately and quickly and bought near new as a result. Turned the argument on it's head.
AnswerID: 368108

Follow Up By: Member - michael k (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 20:55

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 20:55
Steve with regard to the territory i have been looking around and on this site

http://www.productreview.com.au/showitem.php?item_id=42197§ion=REVIEWS&next=4

most don't say much good about them in fact a bit scary and i will strike off the Coromal that makes it a little easier.

Michael
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 18:23

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 18:23
Michael, i recommend buying pre-loved rather than new. Not only does the price depreciate (like a new car) as soon as you buy, with used vans, any problems will have been sorted out.

I also strongly favour dual axle over single.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Member - michael k (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 21:01

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 21:01
MH,
Thanks for your help I will now look at duel axle and yes my wife prefers a pre-loved rather than new looking forward to the show will be there Saturday.

Michael
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Reply By: Member - Mal and Di (SA) - Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 21:23

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009 at 21:23
Michael K,
If you want a true Off Road Van look at the Kimberley Karavan.
http://www.kimberleykaravans.com/
You will need a few more dollars though and probably need to upgrade the Ford.
However it will "follow" you over the dirt roads and more. We did Oodnadatta Track, Chambers Pillar on the way to Darwin and then Cordillo and Innaminka on the way home.
Malcolm.
AnswerID: 368179

Follow Up By: Member - michael k (QLD) - Monday, Jun 08, 2009 at 18:32

Monday, Jun 08, 2009 at 18:32
Malcolm,
Kimberley Karavan real nice but out of our price range and the wife wants a shower/toilet.

Michael
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Reply By: Member - michael k (QLD) - Monday, Jun 08, 2009 at 18:29

Monday, Jun 08, 2009 at 18:29
Yes Hello again went to Caravan Show in Brisbane and brought a Supreme x-tender changed into a normal van which will suit us fine for where we will go found Supreme the most helpful and nothing was to much trouble can not say the same for the Coromal sales man asked if we could change the seating in one of their vans to cafe style and he said no and walked away obviously did not want to sell his van.
AnswerID: 368975

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