Advice wanted for American couple --3rd post

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 12:31
ThreadID: 92008 Views:2796 Replies:8 FollowUps:0
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Thanks to all those who replied to our first two posts. I have been reading many of the web sites recommended.

We plan to arrive mid to late April 2012. We plan to travel some off the bitumen, as it seems the way to see some great places and to bush camp. We will be retired and not going fast. Want a caravan that is self contained, wife would like a washing machine... Seems we are looking at about 18-21 foot.

Our first concern is a caravan and a tow rig.

So far the advice is:
Buy used.
Tow rig -- Land Cruiser 100 or 200 series for reliability and towing capacity.
Caravan -- Bushtracker or Kedron.

Tow Rig Question:
Does everyone think that the Land Cruiser is best value?

Caravan Question:
Here things get more interesting. The price of a used Bushtracker is at the upper limit of my budget. If I take care of it and sell it after, say, three years, what percent would you guess I would recover of my original investment?

I am not planning on fording 1.5m deep rivers, nor taking a caravan on some of the 4X4 routes that I have seen people doing is some videos. Is there a "second tier" group of caravans that would be fine for extended, but moderate, off bitumen use (and lower cost)?

Again, thanks to all of you who take the time to give advice

Earl & Karen
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Reply By: Wayne David - Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 12:54

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 12:54
Hi there Earl & Karen,

On the Tow Rig Question - I'd like to refer you to

There's heaps of information on there & the Bushtracker guy, named The Ranger I believe, seems pretty helpful.

Good luck with your other questions.

Cheers - Wayne

AnswerID: 478314

Reply By: Member - Wamuranman - Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 14:59

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 14:59
Hey Earl,

Have a look at this off-road rig for sale near Brisbane:

This may suit - as I know how much Americans love their big Ford F250's !

(PS I have no association with seller - just come across it last week while searching for something for myself)

AnswerID: 478319

Reply By: didjabringabeer - Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 15:05

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 15:05
Hi Earl. As I have not owned a caravan can't give much first hand advice.
But we were in a dealers couple of weeks ago, He had a 2005 Kedron in wanted
$59000 they look well built. Maybe a Coromal or Windsor might suit your needs.
I would stay away from Jayco
AnswerID: 478320

Reply By: Member - Boo Boo (NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 16:31

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 16:31
G'day Earl & Karen

There are plenty of people that take their vans on unsealed roads and have no problems.

My sister has my old van a Regent Crusader series 3. It was built in 2003 and has a toilet and shower etc, its 20' long and her and hubby have taken it to a number of places that required them to drive on corrugated unsealed roads.

They just lower the tyre pressure and take it easy.

They did have to wrap bits of foam or whatever around cans and bottles to stop breakages and leaks.

There are some good brands out there that will do the job. For example Evernew and Regent.

Other people on this site will name many more that are also suitable.

If you look after the van you will quite often get back what you paid for it, if you sell it privately.

There are a couple of magazines that come out in any Newagency that advertise new and second hand vans. Quite often you can pick up a van and tow vehicle for a reasonable price in those mag's.

Landcruisers and other 4WD's are suitable for towing.

Check their towing capacity as some 4WD's have towing capacitys of only 2000kg to 2500kg. You will need something that has a capacity of 3000kg. That normally means you need something with a bit of grunt like the Landcruiser, Patrols or the Ford F250.

Remember if you are going on some unsealed roads, and they are a bit rough then you might want to invest in a good compressor to pump your tyres up when you get off the unsealed road.

Drive to the road conditions and you should not get into trouble.

AnswerID: 478332

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 17:12

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 17:12
Among the 4wd vehicles capable of towing 3500kg in Australia, the most common seen anywhere in my view (especially outback) is a white Toyota Landcruiser of some sort - series' include 79, 70, 100, 200 etc.... quite a few other vehicles are of course just as capable (some more than) but the above is the most popular grouping. They are all reputed to hold their value extremely well (insurance companies think that too). A rough guess on a 100 series GXL .... 85% after 3 years ? See what others say :-o). Owners I've talked to report that no matter how much you spend on them, the trayback versions cannot even approach the cruising comfort of the station wagon models - the latter type will get you everywhere you have indicated going, anyway.

A robust van in the 18 to 21' range with washing machine (and that config would probably have a full width bathroom) would need all of the above tow capacity. Note that some vehicles with auto-trans have lower tow capacity than the manuals.

As for the van - from what I read, a Bushtracker will return a very high percentage of your outlay if well looked after. As usual, other suitable makes might well do the same.....I'm only familiar with values surrounding my Trakmaster but don't intend quitting that for ages.

Say g'day here when you get started on the trip too - members will be only too glad to help with further advice and experience.
AnswerID: 478335

Reply By: Member - Des Lexic - Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 17:17

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 17:17
Earl and Karen,
I'm not sure how far your research has taken you, but most vehicles that go "Outback" are diesel engines. Reason being is reliability and fuel economy. I don't live in a large city being approximately 150miles from Adelaide and currently the fuel prices are approximately $1.50 per litre for both diesel and petrol. petrol engines will give more grunt but suffer at the refuelling station. LPG is not always available in some of the places that you might visit and that might restrict you.
For a large van, I'd use a 100 or 200 series Toyota or a Nissan but definitely DO NOT GET a 3.0litre engine Patrol. The 4.8l ones are fine.
Personally, I wouldn't tow anything that is heavier than the vehicle. Electric brakes are fitted to most new vans but when things go pear shaped, the van becomes the driving force not the vehicle.
The F series or similar trucks are great for towing but are gas guzzlers. That might not be a problem to you.
Perhaps a 5th wheeler might be a consideration to you.
Enjoy your stay. We Aussies are a friendly bunch. We have to be as we're unarmed LOL
AnswerID: 478336

Reply By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012 at 09:12

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012 at 09:12
Hi arl and Karen,

You did not say how long you were coming for. There are some brands that have a good reputation for build quality that will work fine on the unsealed roads, Evernew and Sunland come to mind. The Bushtracker is top of the range and you will get back your purchase price in a 12 months period if looked after. The advantage is they come fully equipped for extended free camping - most will have solar panels and a generator and 3 or 4 80L water tanks - shower and toilet and high end fittings and fixtures throughout. Ours has been dragged over the rougest of outback tracks over the last seven years - including the famous Gunbarrel Highway throiugh the Gibson Desert in WA. It last saw a grader in 1986. One cupboard hinge, two fridge thermostats and a 12v pump have failed in that time - maybe $300 total.

However, driven carefully, at slower speeds and reduced tyre pressures on corrugated tracks - most vans will handle unsealed roads - up to a point. Some will suck up dust like a vacumm sweeper and maybe leak when it rains. A well known author of caravanning books and articles once said to me "You need to be expert level with a screw gun" He was referring to a popular brand of mass market vans that he was testing over some corrugated outback road.

For the best have a look at www.bushtracker .com

Cheers John

AnswerID: 478394

Reply By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012 at 09:16

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012 at 09:16
Image Could Not Be FoundAnd, I forgot to mention, the 100 Series Landcruiser wagon - turbo diesel is a great workhorse with spares should you need them readily available

AnswerID: 478395

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