Windsor Rapid Off Road Ability

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 20:54
ThreadID: 88343 Views:11195 Replies:6 FollowUps:7
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Hi All,
I have a 2005 16.5ft Windsor Rapid off road with independant suspension. Tow vehicle is a 2010 Nissan Navara D40 duelcab 2.5lit td man..

We are planning to do a 2 month trip from Newcastle to Broome via Aryes Rock, Gibb River Road and back.

I am umming and areing about whether the Rapid is up to the job. We love the van as it suits us well. Have had it for 3 years and have done a some off roading, but mainly forest type trails.
Van has a normal heavy duty hitch with heavy duty load sharing bars.
Is this OK for the type of trip planned or would we be better off with a Tregg type coupling?
I can't really afford to buy a new van, so what are the recommended mods should I do to the Rapid, if any?
Also, the Navara has 16" rims and the van 15". Is there any issues with upgrading the van to 16".

Any info would be great.
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 21:23

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 21:23
I don't know anything about Caravans and haven't been on the GRR for > 25 years but travel plenty of gravel roads with a camper trailer.
Your caravan will be fine provided you are prepared to travel slowly enough and have tyres which are suited (LT are better) with appropriate pressure for dirt roads. I presume your suspension has shockers/dampers.
In addition you have to consider that unless you are going to travel at < 40km/hr, what are you going to do about the stones which your tow vehicle will spray your caravan with?
Assuming you can't fit a stone guard, the stone issue can be managed with slower travel, stone retarding curtains behind your vehicle and suitable protection on the front of your vehicle. I would also look under your caravan to make sure things like electrical cables & hoses are protected/ out of harms way.

Most failures with people towing caravans/ camper trailers which aren't "off road" doing limited dirt roads occur as they don't have good enough tyres, travel slowly enough and have had their wheel bearings/ suspension checked prior to taking off.

Seems to me the only dirt you will see is the Tanamai and GRR, perhaps 1200km.

Off road hitch is not necessary, you shouldn't be going anywhere which will require the additional articulation and you just put up with the ball noise. It is handy to have identical tyres, but provided you have good tyres to start with one spare on a rim and perhaps one spare tyre for your caravan, I wouldn't worry for a once in a life time trip.
AnswerID: 462076

Follow Up By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 21:31

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 21:31
Ditto from me......
Good advice Mark
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Follow Up By: PeterI - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 21:40

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 21:40
Thanks guys for the advise.
I agree preparation is everything, which will be done.

The main concern was that the Rapid as a van can handle the off road work.
The van is a single axle with independant leaf spring with shock absorbers.
Will check all the wiring and hoses etc, which will need some work to protect them.
Stone guard can be added as well as some decent stone flaps on the ute.
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Reply By: Member - LandieRick - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 21:54

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 21:54
Hi Peter,

I towed a 16 ft Rapid with pretty much the same age/ spec as yours from melb through central NSW and QLD to NT across to Kununurra, down the GRR, the west coast and the nullabor to home.

I upgraded tyres to 10R15 LT to increase carrying capacity etc (but still kept weight down) and ran pressures at 50 on bitumen smooth dirt.

On the GRR dropped Tyre pressures down to 25 (same on car) and slowed down to max 70ks. Drove to conditions which meant only 30-40kph in places - and checked everything (tyres/heat in hubs etc by feel) every couple of hours.

Probably a little careful but no issues at all.

Take it easy, enjoy the views and you should have few issues - the rapid is up to it.



AnswerID: 462078

Follow Up By: PeterI - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 21:58

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 21:58
Thanks for the info

FollowupID: 735789

Reply By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 22:01

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 22:01
from what i have found out about the "Rapid's" is they are probally the most reliable for off road situations, it is NOT a camper trailer and will not take the extream off road stuff and as stated above it is fine with the standard towball as long as it is not a "cheap" one it will last fine, 15" rims are fine and again it is up to the tyres on them, dont go real cheap ones but again dont blow your money on real expensive tyres as it just aint worth it ..... only reason to go 16" is if the rims and tyres are the same as the ones on the car, 6 stud/same offset ect, if so it is a good move as you can interchange rims and tyres around the car and trailer if things get bad in the tyre dept .....
Also be very careful as to how much weight you put on the ute, you are NOT going remote so you dont need to carry to much gear, weight can crack the chassis on them so be careful.. really dont know if the "load sharing bars" are good for the chassis as they move the stress loading to points that are not designed for it, they do however make it drive and level better so a bit of a comprimise there.
AnswerID: 462079

Follow Up By: PeterI - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 22:25

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 22:25
I havn't had the load sharing bars for long and have only done one trip on a pretty ordinary tar road. I must say the load sharing bars made a huge difference to the handling. I did have the back of the ute pretty full as well and did not have any bottoming out issues.

When we do the GRR trip, the back of the ute will not have too much in it.

Thanks for the input
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Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 23:40

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 23:40
I used to have a Windsor Rapid (Off-Road Pak) and while it survived quite well for the 4 years I had it, the corrugated gravel roads took their toll. Apart from the obvious cosmetic stuff, the biggest issue was with the very large opening of the bed ends and its impact on frame strength.

As both ends of the van are basically open, there is little structural support (diagonal bracing) to stop the top of the van going out of square with the bottom. With the beds closed, they are only held in place by the T lock, the end does not form part of the van structure and you can see (over time) the amount of movement by the rubbing on the van frame on the bed frame. Not sure if I explained this well, but its simply an inherent design constraint.

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If you are only doing infrequent corrugated road travel, with most travel on the blacktop, then the Rapid should serve you well for your trip. However, IMHO it would not survive corrugated roads long term like a proper dedicated off-road van (one reason I upgraded).

Are the stud patterns for the van and Navara the same? If not, no point in changing rim size. If the tyres are similair sizes and the stud patterns are the same, then its fine to use them in an emergency, no real point to change to the same rim size unless you have tyre changing gear and know how to use it. Besides, if you have an annexe, changing you may affect the van height and how the annexe reaches the ground. Also, no need to change the hitch, thats only required if you need the articulation.

Take it steady on the GRR, run the right tyre pressure and speed and you should be fine - enjoy your trip :)


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Follow Up By: PeterI - Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 07:56

Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 07:56
Captain Thanks,
I have read some info on adding clips like that that hold the pop top down onto the corners of the bead end lids.

Does this add some strength to reduce the effects of not having and walls for bracing.
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 09:38

Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 09:38
If you added the over-centre clamps to the bottom corners, and halfway up the sides, it should help significantly as it will make the bed ends a structural member. But at the end of the day its a design limitation and why full on off-roaders don't have openeing ends. But for what you propose to do, it shouldn't be too much of an issue and for a single GRR trip I wouldn't worry about it. I did much more gravel road work and while it was showing signs of use, it was structurally sound.

I would be more concerned about stone protection. I had a vinyl cover fitted to my bed end to hide the stone dings, it looked like a machine gun had been fired at it! I had a full length stone guard (similiair to Rock Tamers) on the rear of the cruiser, but they can cause as many issues as they save. I have fitted a Stone Stomper to my AORC camper and it is MUCH better and would recommend it to anyone travelling on gravel roads.


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Reply By: ao767brad - Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 08:00

Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 08:00
Hi, we are just home from 3 months away over a similar area that you mention in our 2006 rapid offroad. You mention yours is single axle? The offroad model has no axle is has independant trailing links with 9 leaf springs and shock absorbers, is this the model you refer to? We did the Flinders Ranges and Oonadatta Track together with a number of tracks , but not the Gunbarrel this time total of 13,000km, we only turned around once to seek another route due to the road conditions as we thought the van would be shaken to bits internally if we were to continue. As previous posts have said tyre pressure and speed selection will see you through most situations we ran 40Psi on black top and good(freshly graded) dirt dropping to 25Psi on most dirt roads. The only time we elected to bug out was Earnest Giles road from Kings Canyon across to the Stuart Highway as the corrugations were upto 6" deep and the van was pulling the 4x4 around the offcamber corners even down to 30km/hr.
Only drama we had was a water pipe holed, on tar road irronically, so cover all the hoses in garden hose split and cable tied over the 12mm that windsor uses. The 12mm is very brittle even 5 years old so if you need to repair it is easier to totally replace than repair a short section. We used a cardboard box taped over the rear window and it saved it from breaking at least 3 times with rocks thrown up that hit the van then car window. Had suprisingly little van rock damage with standard tyre mud flaps, but rock tammers seem to be the popular choice with most buying them via Amazon in the USA for half the price of Australian purchase.
We stuck with the standard 15' wheels and had 16" on tow vehicle with no punctures at all. Took 2 spares for car and 1 for van, but was religious with tyre pressure every day and road conditions would change them 2-3 times a day. Think about a set of tyre deflattors with the 2 pressures pre set.
AnswerID: 462083

Follow Up By: PeterI - Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 08:23

Monday, Aug 08, 2011 at 08:23
Sorry bad description.
The van does have the independant trailing link with leaf springs and shocks.
FollowupID: 735798

Reply By: carlsp - Tuesday, Aug 09, 2011 at 05:24

Tuesday, Aug 09, 2011 at 05:24
Hi Peter,

I was down the GRR last year in a Kedron and a F250.

I have a road van again at the moment and are building my own off road crossover after descovering towing a oil tanker restricts where one can go.

No one has covered interior furniture so far. I in the past (with road vans) have lined all furiture with Sikaflex 333FC. By that I mean a bead of it on the botton of all draw supports and the same on draws / frames etc.. Hard to explain but shoot me a email and I will send you a picture. Use the grey one not the white as red dirt tends to stick to it and do not use it on the outside if you can. It adds great strength to interior furniture, absorbs shock and also acts to restrict the movement of small ants if you get any inside the van.

You get it at Bunnings $16.95 a tube so it is not cheap. My crossover is mainly glued together with the stuff. It never comes apart.
AnswerID: 462153

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