Caravan in USA

Submitted: Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 14:48
ThreadID: 84111 Views:6206 Replies:9 FollowUps:3
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I have a friend who lives in Ohio, and has just ordered a new van. He paid $18,500, obviously get more for your money in US. I'm wondering g what the possibilities are of buying one and shipping it over. Apart from the door being on the other side of the van and the electrics what other issues could there be?

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Reply By: mick - Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 14:50

Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 14:50
Sorry folks, you have to copy n paste the entire wed address
AnswerID: 444168

Follow Up By: Nev (TAS) - Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 15:50

Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 15:50
Hi Mick,
be very interesting to have them give a quote to build it to Aussie specs. Also interesting to know what the build specs are on the van your friends are having built, so you could see how far off/close to Aussie specs they are.

FollowupID: 716281

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 18:31

Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 18:31
The only one I could find in that link was $28,000 and I didnt think much of the sleeping arrangements in it.

Be fairly hard to put a L/H door in it as well from the interior layout.

FollowupID: 716310

Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 15:02

Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 15:02
Check out Gas and Electrical safety requirements; different plugs and voltages as well as how easy to change side of door.Check out what is inspected when licensing; are the chains rated, will the chassis meet standards etc. Also you have to get permission to import a caravan BEFORE it comes, otherwise you will be responsible for the cost of its return or destruction. Consider the cost of importing a one off. Freight would be much higher than for bulk imported products. What quality of make is it at that price - will it be of suitable structure of Australian roads? There may be import duty and or GST added on arrival. All things to research carefully when doing the sums.


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AnswerID: 444171

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 15:03

Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 15:03
All of the appliances will be 110 v

The wiring will not comply and will have to be redone, a nightmare in a caravan.
Will cost about $2000 just to remove sheeting to get at it.

Some vans and 5th wheelers in the USA are built as "Park" vans That is to get hauled to a park and lived in. Not humped around the country like we do.

The awning is on the wrong side and so maybe wont be able to be altered.

The new door has to be a fully working one not just a fake one as has been done in the past.

I heard that wrong side doors are going to be banned and so they should be.

Some suspensions on 5th wheelers are not up to standard for here Dont know about vans. Brakes could be the same.

Gas has to be recertified and maybe replaced..

Is that enough to put you off. It certainly isn't an easy exercise.

Have friends over there at the moment and they reckon its too much trouble even at the price they can get them for in Florida.

You can order one that complies here apparently off some makers but where do you go for warranty issues.

AnswerID: 444173

Reply By: dereki - Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 15:10

Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 15:10
This has been discussed before...

From the other thread for example...

Copied from the ADR...

Every motor vehicle (motorhome) or trailer (‘Caravan') equipped with
fuel burning (cooking) facilities or living or sleeping accommodation
shall have only outward-opening or sliding doors. At least one such door
shall be located on the left-hand side or at the rear.

AnswerID: 444177

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 18:29

Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 18:29
Her it is as a link that works Hopefully

link to article above
FollowupID: 716309

Reply By: cycadcenter - Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 17:07

Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 17:07
The first thing are only going to get a VERY basic, very light van for $18,000 US. I have found that you would pay around $1,000 a foot for this type of van which is suitable ONLY for towing short distances down the freeway.
next step up is an average quality van like a Jayco either in the USA or Oz which cost about $2,000 a foot which are towed down the freeway on a regular basis,
Third are the specialty vans with upgraded wheels, suspension, brakes and chassis which are similar to the average light offroad van in Oz.
I have yet to see any REAL offroad vans here in the USA similar to the Bushwaker etc. (that's the name isn't it)

Regarding the modifications required, they are extensive but not impossible, hardest thing is changing the door, look at the plans and try and work it out how you would do it. No more fake doors are allowed. Airconditioning has be emptied and regassed, Still haven't figured out why the chains and hitches have to be changed but they do to ADR stamped products, they all probably come out of the same factory in China. Lights also have to be stamped ADR, again beats me why ADR cannot accept the rest of the world standards.

Last time I checked is was about $7,500-$10,000 shipping LAX to Brisbane as deck cargo. Extra was shrink wrapping at $700 which is highly recommended. Customs clearance and Ag inspection in Oz is about $500.00 on a good day with no problems.

No import duty as we are now free trade partners with USA, But you have to pay GST on the cost in AU$ plus the freight. so you are looking at abt $3,000 in GST.

Still want to bring one over?

Actually boats are the big item to bring over from the USA now. A used boat dealer I know in Southen California shipped over 54 boats last year and I went up and helped him last week do 11 for shipment this week.

Boats are actually allowed to come over on trailers as it is considered a boat tender. What people do in Oz is take delivery of the boat on the "boat tender" trailer, take it home, strip the trailer and set it up to Australian specs and register it as a home built trailer. Biggest thing is the 2.5 m width rule to comply to or you and only tow in daylight with signs front and rear.

Lot of stuff going to Oz now from the USA with the $ at close to parity and freight is still fairly cheap. A 20 ft container door to door from my place in Fallbrook CA to our farm in Childers is $5,800 and a 40ft is $6,500. door to door. Two hours to load it and two hours to unload it.

Bruce in Arizona at the moment

AnswerID: 444194

Reply By: mick - Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 17:08

Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 17:08
Apart from all the electrical, structural, import duties etc. why the big difference in price. Ok, they may not be built quite as strong, but I would imagine something like this is Oz would be what, $55,000 plus

AnswerID: 444195

Reply By: The Landy - Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 17:14

Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 17:14
This is a could read on the subject. Does refer to RV's and 5th wheelers but probably relevant to caravans.

Importing Vans from USA

Cheers, The Landy
AnswerID: 444196

Reply By: MattR - Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 20:21

Friday, Feb 04, 2011 at 20:21
Judging from what I see when I go camping here in the US, and from the pictures on this site, the average US trailer (caravan) has much smaller wheels and tires (say 14" or 15" wheels) and much lower ground clearance than what is common in Australia. You can raise it up a little with bigger wheels and tires, but eventually the tires will start rubbing on the underbody. Also, expect a very simple axle with leaf springs. What most manufacturers probably have in mind is highway use, with maybe 5 km of gravel at 50 km/h or 2 km of dirt road at 25 km/h at the very end of the trip.

One simple tip, while you are browsing US dealer sites and dreaming: trailers wider than 2 m will have three little red lights in a row on the back along the top edge; something like this in location 7 in this chart . 2.5 m seems to be the "magic number" for Australia, but at least the three lights will tell you that you are getting up there in width.

The incoming electric service will be 120 V at either 15 A (a small pop-up trailer) or 30 A (mid-size trailer, entry-level RV), or 120/240 V at 50 A (huge trailers and big RVs). A 15 A service may not have a breaker inside the vehicle. The 30 A and 50 A services will have a circuit breaker box inside the vehicle, which will have anywhere from two to six 15 A breakers in it. A big trailer with 50 A service will *not* have any 240 V appliances except for possibly the air conditioner. US 240 V service comes from a 240 V center-tapped transformer, so you get 120 V from the center to the ends, and that is what most everything will run on. This is mostly academic as you probably need to replace all of it with Australian spec hardware anyway.

The cable from the breaker box to the individual 120 V light switches, receptacles, appliances, etc will have three 14 AWG wires - hot (black), neutral (white), and safety ground/earth (bare or green). The insulation may be rated for 300 V or 600 V. (14 American Wire Gauge is just a tiny bit over 2 mm^2.) The laws of physics say that this wire is totally fine for 240 V, 15 A service, but the laws of your state may vary. :) If an inspector requires the local color code on the wires, or wants the right words stamped on the outer jacket, you'll have to re-do all the 120 V wiring.

You will also have to get good at making up cover or filler plates for things that don't go in the same size hole. The 120 V switches and receptacles fit in standardized boxes which are not the same size as Australian ones.

Things may not be as bad on the 12 volt side. You will probably have to change the connector that goes to the tow vehicle. Also, a lot of smaller trailers in the US will be set up with the brake light and turn signal combined on the same filament, to match what was once the most common arrangement for cars and trucks here. If you have to have separate brake and turn signal lamps, you will get to run another wire all the way from the tongue to the rear.

In my limited experience, it is rare for small to medium sized trailers to have a battery. There is sometimes a 120 V to 12 V power supply installed, so that when you are plugged into 120 V, you can still use the 12 V lamps, appliances, etc, but if you have no mains power, you have to be plugged into the tow vehicle to have 12 V.

The propane bottles often ride on the tongue of the trailer. There is usually a flexible hose from the bottle to somewhere on the frame of the trailer, where it changes to solid pipe. I don't know whether they use flare fittings, tapered threads, or what.

As to the question of "why so cheap?" - I think the general standard of construction is part of it. There is also the simple fact that a manufacturer in the US has 307 million potential customers instead of 22 million. :) Also, the RV/trailer industry in the US has been hit pretty hard by the recession; their trade association claims the industry has had over 50% layoffs since 2007, which also means they probably have a bunch of inventory to get rid of.

Standard disclaimers apply; I don't get money or other consideration from anyone I have linked to.

I hope this helps!

Matt R.
AnswerID: 444217

Reply By: PajeroTD - Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 02:40

Saturday, Feb 05, 2011 at 02:40
I find that US RVs are better made than Australian ones. Look at manufacturers like Dutchmen and Keystone. Their brands like Montana, Big Sky and Denali are much better than the likes of Jayco Australia and Coromal.
AnswerID: 444249

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