Finding a caravan

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 17:44
ThreadID: 83522 Views:6301 Replies:7 FollowUps:6
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Hi everyone

I'm looking for a caravan to travel around Australia for 15 months with my wife and two kids, 4.5 year old boy and month old girl. At the moment I'm looking at a coromal family series 616. My main reasons for choseing this caravan are because of the independent suspension, bunk beds for the kids plus the en suite all at $44 000. I'm looking for any other caravans that tick these boxes for under $50 000 and any opinions on the coromal caravan.

Cheers Phil
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Reply By: disco driver - Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 21:47

Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 21:47
Phil,
Before anyone can really give you any advice, it would help if we knew a bit about your tow vehicle as it has a fair bit of bearing on the advice given.
Tow speci's, max weights of both car and loaded van etc will assist in being given relevant advice.
You should stay legal and within tow vehicle speci's to avoid possible insurance issues should the worst happen.


Hope this helps,

Disco.
AnswerID: 441166

Follow Up By: 2agrov8 - Sunday, Jan 09, 2011 at 11:45

Sunday, Jan 09, 2011 at 11:45
My tow vehicle will be an Isuzu D max with a three ton towing capacity.

Cheers Phil
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Reply By: kend88 - Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 21:56

Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 21:56
I have a 2004 Coromal 535 tandem shower/toilet poptop, bought it when it was two years old, and it has been faultless. A pleasure to tow. The longest we have spent in it is 3 months, just the two of us, and it was fine. just be aware that the Coromal plated weights seem to be often understated, so if you are close to the maximum weights with your tow vehicle, do some checks before buying.
Coromals seem to be great value for money. You may find a Jayco in your price range too, but I would go with the Coromal.
Cheers

KenD
bfris
AnswerID: 441167

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 22:18

Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 22:18
Whilst Coromals suspension is independant it is NOT load sharing as in Jaycos and others that have rocker leaves.

Coromals have a light chassis relative to other makes.

I have a 754 and regret buying it.

Whilst the layout is good and the wife likes it the construction is not a patch on my previous Roadstar.

AnswerID: 441173

Reply By: Rockape - Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 22:37

Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 22:37
Phil,
Coromal vans are in the budget area and as such they won't rate with the big ticket items, having said thst they are a good honest van and I have had no problem with their service, to the point of being the second owner and out of warrenty. They sent a replacement front boot lid from WA to Qld for me to repair my cracked boot.

The suspension is great and one of the best I have ever towed, it tracks beautifully and with the tandem axle shares the load well.

I would buy another Coromal, just have a bit of a look anround as they seem to use contract labour gangs and the quality can very between vans.

Have a good one
AnswerID: 441178

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 22:53

Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 22:53
They replaced a lot of boot doors due to faults by the maker of the ones with single locks.
Both mine have been replaced for the same reasons.

You say the suspension "Shares the load" IT is NOT load sharing as the leaves on each axle are separate to each other.

Therefore when you drive over a gutter, for instance all the weight is on the one axle.

Look at the group axle ratings on them They are 120% of the total weight

A Jayco with independant rocker load sharing suspension has a 100% load

rating as when you go over a gutter the spring setup allows weight to be

transferred to the other set following.

Same with a Traveller or a Roadstar with Simplicity suspension.

Mine would have been better if they had welded the cross frame on square

and it wouldnt have cost Coromal $900 to get a chassis shop to rectify it.

Must have been a Monday van with one of the bad gangs I think.



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Follow Up By: Rockape - Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 23:04

Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 23:04
Guess you have never seen a rocker setup carry one tyre off the ground then.
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FollowupID: 713136

Follow Up By: Rockape - Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 23:54

Saturday, Jan 08, 2011 at 23:54
No! I am not gunna let this go.
Did they fix your boot. YES
Did they fix your alignment. YES
As for load sharing and going over gutters, That won't cause any problems at all, unless you are travelling way to fast.
And yes I have had enough of rocker boxes on trailers to last me a lifetime.

I didn't answer your post, I answered the person who asked the question.
You are entitled to state what you have found, I have just said what I have found. and no they are not a op end van but for the price they are honest.

And yes I have towed the odd trailer, being it a flat top, pan, drop deck or a caravan all over this country and what got me was when I was following a Coromal it tracked and behaved really well. I have no affiliation above van maker although I am open to a bribe. Ha, Ha

Have a nice day I think

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FollowupID: 713143

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 09, 2011 at 10:19

Sunday, Jan 09, 2011 at 10:19
My comments were in answer to your reply and were not intended to upset in any way.

I was merely clarifying why the boot doors were replaced.

It was a supplier fault NOT Coromals
You will see the new one has more of a metal frame to brace it.

Yes I have seen load sharing vans with a wheel off the ground as will happen if you go over anything big enough that is higher than the suspension travel.

The remarks about the alignement were in response to your comment about contract gangs and their varying expertise.

Obviously the ones who assembled mine werent the best one.

As far as price goes my vans RRP was $77,000 which is only $5,000 less than the eqivilent Traveller can be bought for.

The new version of it is now $86,000 here in QLD so not cheap for what they are.

As the wife bought it I put up with it and it does tow good now and has been OK, is nice to live in and has lots of space.
Another 3 month trip and we will retire from the travelling life so it wont matter any more.

Cheers

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FollowupID: 713176

Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Jan 09, 2011 at 07:17

Sunday, Jan 09, 2011 at 07:17
Phil are you really here to aggrovate? (2agrov8)
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Time is an illusion produced by the passage of history
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Follow Up By: 2agrov8 - Sunday, Jan 09, 2011 at 11:59

Sunday, Jan 09, 2011 at 11:59
No mate it was just a name a mate came up with a long time ago. It was meant in a nice way and has stuck.

Cheers Phil

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Reply By: Box Hill Bill- Sunday, Jan 09, 2011 at 19:38

Sunday, Jan 09, 2011 at 19:38
Hi Phil

I posted a similar blog about 15 months ago.

As you would expect I got lots of comments about many models some good and some not so good.

I did get a lot of responses suggesting that I have a hard look at Evernew as they are well built, every thing in it we needed, shower/toilet etc. without the glitter.

The unit we purchased is 20ft, we love it

Bill

AnswerID: 441284

Reply By: Road to Discovery - Monday, Jan 10, 2011 at 10:36

Monday, Jan 10, 2011 at 10:36
Hi Phil
When it comes to travelling for 15 months with a family....I think layout of the caravan become just as important as safety/engineering features.

Think about all the activities needed by you as adults and the kids - particularly one still in a cot. (Mums often have a better sense of this)

Separate areas you can call 'your own' that do not have to be packed up to commence another activity are essential to your sanity levels.

Choosing bunk beds are your first step to sensible planning. The kids can sleep, play, read etc on their beds and your daughter will need lots of sleep - you do not want to move her everytime you need to set the table for dinner. Is she going in a bunk or are you thinking port-a-cot (I dont know any caravan that would have floorspace room for a port-a-cot)

Also, I highly recommend that both sleeping zones (yours and kids) have a privacy curtain/concertina door - it helps with darkness/distractions when someone is sleeping and others are not, it helps with dressing when someone just opens the outside door of the caravan with no warning (hello world!!!) and helps maintaining the marriage too - if you get my drift.

Tables get used for a whole lot more than eating off too - computer work, travel planning, bill paying, reading, craft, colouring in, socialising, watching TV, cooking prep etc etc. Dont pick a van that needs the table for a bed.

Choosing lots of storage is also important - kids (and evenmoreso a baby) need so many more things than adults ever do (ie nappies, clothing, toys, books, bikes, prams, portacot or outside sleeping tent thingy, lifejackets, DVDs, bottles and sippy cups, etc etc etc). In-van storage is so much better than having to load the boot of your car everytime you hit the road. Leave the car boot for the pram, bike, shopping and beach stuff.

Also important is some wall space area to hang the kids art work. This may sound stupid...but its really important to their sense of achievement having their parents being proud of it. It is also one of the most important things requested by distance education centres, so the idea must have merit.

Choose a large fridge/freezer - at least 165-190litres. You need it to hold almost a weeks worth of food for 4 people and there is no way a bar fridge can do that.

Ensuites are great....imagine accompanying 2 kids to the amentities block 8 times a day (+ your own needs) x 465 days (thats over 3500 times in your trip). Make sure 2 people (ie adult & kid) can fit in it at all times. Can a tub fit in the shower base to bathe the kids?

I'd almost also recommend a washing machine. $3-4 a wash at the laundry doesnt sound like much, but for a family of 4 (including towels and bed linen) it will soon add $20 or more a week to your budget.

Air conditioning is also essential. Caravans get very hot very quickly in the sunshine (let alone 40C heat) and its essential for sanity and good sleep.

A DVD player is also more useful than a TV for that age. You can't always get good reception, so a backup plan of Wiggles and Hi5 is great - particulary when the weather is yuk.

Also consider, when your daughter is crawling, how you plan to "contain" her within a safe distance of you. I've seen some people use shade/mosquito tents and others use a fence around the van (like one for a small dog).

I know nothing of the Coromal 616 so cannot comment there. But can recommend you check out Ian Grant Tourer or Trackvan TourX for their family vans. They have heaps of storage, kids get own DVD players and have a range of models with ensuites. They use the same chassis and suspension as 50% of the caravans out there. We own a 24.5' Family Trackvan TourX and just did the big lap. It was the perfect van for our family of 4 (kids 6+7).

Have a great time exploring Oz.
R2D
AnswerID: 441340

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