Aluminium vs Fibreglass caravan

Submitted: Monday, May 16, 2011 at 20:05
ThreadID: 86330 Views:5011 Replies:1 FollowUps:5
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Hi All,
We are looking to buy a secondhand van and have found a great design in a Jayco Heritage 2003 van with fibreglass sides. We had been advised by an "old" friend to only look at aluminium as it would give less trouble. Has anybody got any comments or advice in this regards.
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Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Monday, May 16, 2011 at 20:16

Monday, May 16, 2011 at 20:16
Hi cornhill. If the van has flat fibreglass sides then it should be a 2004 model. I'm sure it was around may that year that they were first released. There have been some in both Heritage and Sterling that have suffered some star cracking or crazing but it is fairly easily fixed and should have been done by now if it had a problem. They are slightly heavier than an aluminium body but give better insulation properties. I have a 2010 Sterling and love It. Very easy to clean and always looks good. Cheers,Bob

AnswerID: 454486

Follow Up By: Holiday Maker - Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 07:42

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 07:42
Hi Bob,

I don't want to start world war 3, but Firbreglass vans are NOT necessary better insulated than Aluminium vans.

It depends on the quality of the insulatin material between the outer skin and the inner llining.

We have a aluminium European Geist van that is rated to -12degrees. There is nothing made in Australia to match that level of insulation.

Weight wise, you are correct.

The only concern I would have in the construction of the different types is the lack of expertise in Australia to be able to fix an aluminium van if it was involved in an accident that involved extensive repairs.

Would probably be OK if the van was built here in Australia, but for us owners of European vans it doesn't bare thinking about. (That's for the insurance company)


FollowupID: 727381

Follow Up By: Member - warren h (SA) - Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 17:09

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 17:09
Hello bob,

A bit more information on insulation and backing up what Dusty posted.

I have a european van, a Burstner, 2yrs ago I punched a hole in the side of it, a very large hole, and to keep the story short, will not go into all the details but my insurance company decided to replace the whole side, bless their little hearts, and this involved shipping a complete side from Germany, anyway all this was done and the van is like new again.

When I picked up the van from the repairer I had very informative conversation with the tradesman who did the repairs. I asked him what he thought of the consruction quality of the van and he said he was quite impressed, especially the insulation and the way it is used. He then invited me into the workshop to have a look at some of the vans under repair, and all I can say is when you see what lies beneath that shiny exterior, it comes as quite a shock. The insulation on some of these name brands is atrocious, and as Dusty said it does not matter what material is used in constuction, if the insulation is not up to scratch, then it does not really matter.

Hope this helps,

All the best Warren.
FollowupID: 727467

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 19:56

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 19:56
HI Bob,
Please explain, what does a -12 degrees rating mean?
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Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 20:36

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 20:36
Dennis. I think your question is for Dusty.

FollowupID: 727499

Follow Up By: Holiday Maker - Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 21:16

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 21:16
Hi Dennis,

I will give it my best shot, but I have always been a little confused myself?

From what I understand it means that at an outside temperature of -12 degrees the occupants would be able to survive for a period of 6 hours without any additional heating.

Haven't tried it out though.

We do "free camp" over winter here in Tasmania and can vouch for it's thermal qualities at below freezing point.

FollowupID: 727508

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