What off road van ?

Submitted: Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 14:46
ThreadID: 97541 Views:3371 Replies:8 FollowUps:17
This Thread has been Archived
Hi Guys,
I am looking to buy an off road van and just want to know who makes a good van.
are they all dust proof?
I Have a Nissan Patrol ST 3l auto diesel

any info greatly appreciated


Cheers
Steve
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Robert H2 - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 17:25

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 17:25
Steve,

Have a look at "Australian Off Road"

http://www.australianoffroadcampers.com.au

I looked hard and wide.
No they are not all dust proof. Look for a manufacture that has been building off road van for quite a while and then get some reference checks.
Most common problem was weight, in making the van stronger many manufactures made it heavier (which is the last thing you want when you are off road). Also be mindful of van width. If van is wider than car i.e. over 2Meters you will get a lot of damage down the sides on bush tracks.

All the best

Rob


AnswerID: 493273

Follow Up By: Ross M - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 19:13

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 19:13
I agree with Robert in saying weight is the problem and manufacturers don't seem to be very good at making strong, without weight.
What makes a good off road van is of course ground clearance and a supply/compliant suspension which is engineered to absorb road shocks.
These are not very common.
Irrespective of what is above the floor/frame it is the suspension which is most important.
The bodywork is many and variable but is still just a caravan or camper or poptop.

IMHO many have far too much ball weight and this causes towing vehicle issues, of course you have to have sufficient for stability.

A 3litre Patrol will not enjoy a large heavy caravan behind it.
0
FollowupID: 768854

Follow Up By: braggy - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 20:02

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 20:02
I was looking at those AORC but did not like the thought of powder coat chassis for gravel roads
0
FollowupID: 768857

Follow Up By: bortols - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 20:08

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 20:08
Hey braggy, i agree powder coating means chipping, means rusting.
0
FollowupID: 768858

Follow Up By: Robert H2 - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:58

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:58
The chassis on the AORC is manufactured from galvanized steel sections that are then powder coated, so possibility of rusting from stone chipping is remote.
0
FollowupID: 768873

Follow Up By: braggy - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 06:51

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 06:51
Galvanised sections that are then cut and welded, then powder coated
It is hard to beat hot gal dipped
0
FollowupID: 768887

Follow Up By: Robert H2 - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 08:08

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 08:08
Braggy.

Us debating the merits of chassis construction is probable not helping Steve select a good van, but your comment highlights the first point I made about weight.

You are correct in saying “It is hard to beat hot gal dip”.

A properly designed chassis is strong yet light and so usually consists of lightweight high tensile steel sections (or more recently some manufactures are using aluminum alloys). When these lightweight steel sections are put into a galvanizing bath the heat will distort the chassis frame and may also affect the tensile strength. If the chassis frame is fabricated from heavier extruded mild steel sections (as many caravan manufactures still do) then distortion from the hot dipped galvanizing process is minimal, and you end up with a stronger but much heavier caravan.

While the powder coated steel is not better than hot dipped galvanized it is certainly as effective in mitigating rust.

Regards

Rob

0
FollowupID: 768892

Reply By: Member - DereelGirl - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 18:23

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 18:23
Hi Steve, I'm heading to Melbourne this weekend to checkout UEV440/490 Conquerer cross-over camper at the 4x4show. Great looking setup & looks pretty tough.
Just my 2 bob's worth.
Cheers Rob
Dereelgirl

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 493277

Follow Up By: bortols - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 20:12

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 20:12
Hi Rob which 4x4 show is that?.....is the the fishing and boating show at the Melb show grounds?
Steve
0
FollowupID: 768859

Follow Up By: Member - DereelGirl - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:07

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:07
Yep that's the one Steve, at the showgrounds. I realise the missus wants a van but the crossovers are the best of both world. www.conqueroraustralia.com.au
Rob
Dereelgirl

Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 768865

Reply By: bortols - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 20:06

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 20:06
Hey thanks guys i'm new to this i probably need to give you more info.
I am looking for a Van not a Camper Trailer ( the wife will rough it if its a van with a toilet & Shower lol )
While i'm saying off road it won't be extreme off road and i have heard the biggest issue are suspension and bull dust so if anyone can poit me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated
Steve
AnswerID: 493285

Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 20:40

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 20:40
Here's the ideal match for your tow vehicle:

On the Move Caravans

Image Could Not Be Found
I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
- Augustus McCrae (Lonesome Dove)

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 493288

Follow Up By: Geoff in SA - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:03

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:03
I too agree with Gone Bush and would go with On The Move.
great van with a good price.
Saw on over Xmas and looked at them at the last Melb 4x4 show.
They will take a lot of beating value for money.

I would not recommend the manufacturer of my van to anyone

Geoff
0
FollowupID: 768861

Follow Up By: Geoff in SA - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:05

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:05
Forgot to mention that Bushtracker are doing a 20 footer ????? With an allow chassis
0
FollowupID: 768862

Follow Up By: Geoff in SA - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:06

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:06
Ollow should read alloy
0
FollowupID: 768864

Follow Up By: Robert H2 - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:30

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:30
Steve,

I note that the towing capacity of a Nissan Patrol ST 3l auto diesel is 2500Kgs, so your starting point must be a van with an Aggregate Total Mass (ATM) of something less than this. Perhaps around 2300Kgs.

Your list of possibilities will not be a long one. Once you have identified some vans that you think meet your (& very importantly your wife's) requirements, talk with the manufactures and start with the question, What is the ATM of your van? You may get some evasive answers so persist. Your list will now be shorter.

Regards

Rob

0
FollowupID: 768869

Follow Up By: Geoff in SA - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:58

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 21:58
I must agree with H2. I missed the Auto bit and to find a half decent off reader that these can tow will be a little difficult. they are available but you may miss out on the ensuite toilet etc. remember most come with at least 1 or 2 water tanks and that will add some 180 to 200 kgs in water alone.
Remember if you overload and have the misfortune to have a dingle or accident you may get to own your wreck and the other persons as insurance suddenly seems to cease if you don't follow the ADRs and vehicle loading requirements

Geodd
0
FollowupID: 768874

Follow Up By: Geoff in SA - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 22:01

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 22:01
Woops
Just checked my spelling and must apologies .
Sitting in the lounge at KL awaiting my return flight to Adelaide.

Mental note to ones self to check spelling prior to posting
0
FollowupID: 768875

Follow Up By: awill4x4 - Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 23:01

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 at 23:01
I think that Gone Bush's reference was a tongue in cheek comparison of the ZD30 engined Patrol and the Grenade moniker.
The ZD30 is commonly known throughout the interweb as "the grenade" for some pretty obvious reasons.
Regards Andrew.
0
FollowupID: 768882

Reply By: Member - Wamuranman - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 07:51

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 07:51
Hi Steve,

As already stated weight will be an issue as off road vans are robust and heavy by definition and if your vehicle is limited to towing 2500kg that makes it pretty hard.
But it is not impossible.
If you are prepared to get a brand new van there are some issues you can consider to reduce weight on a custom made van (as we have just done). There are ways to reduce the weight of a van without compromising its strength or structural integrity:
(1) Look for manufacturers that use new materials such as sandwich panel. WE used this for our floor as it is much lighter than heavy marine ply and a far better insulator (imagine the temperature of the air just above the bitumen in summer...that is blowing up against your van floor)
(2) For all cabinetry in van use oak or mountain ash timber as it is very light and look good. Veneered particle board or MDF is very heavy. Same for door to shower...use lightweight acrylic rather other heavy material.
(3) IMO true off road vans do not have front or rear windows...this is where dust ingress is most likely due to the turbulence/vacuum effect when towing on a dirt road at speed. Also this saves weight....extra framing etc is needed for windows.
(4) Get one spare tyre for van only.... a tandem van can limp into the next town on 1 axle if need be ....1 spare means you will have to get 4 punctures before you come immobile. Carrying 2 spares is simply extra weight that is not needed.
BUT
Do not compromise on the important parts....we have 150mm galvanised chassis and heavy duty trailing arm independent suspension with 8 shock absorbers.
Our 20ft 6 in van with full ensuite incl washing machine, 2 water tanks etc etc has a tare weight of only 2300kg and an ATM of 3000kg (but fully laden ours is about 2750kg).
Our Landcruiser can tow 3500kg but I have a self-imposed tow limit of about 85% of my capacity for safety reasons. Remember the vehicles tow limit is a MAXIMUM specified by the manufacturer and related to good road conditions in good weather. Most times you do not have the prevailing parameters to tow to your maximum capacity in my opinion (in the past 12 months on our travels I have seen 3 jack-knifed van accidents...all seemingly on good sections of road).
I also choose not to tow a van that is a greater weight than my tow vehicle. I know legally I can...but I choose not to.
These are some of the issues we dealt with 12 months ago when researching what van to get. After extensive research we choose to go to a manufacturers that would help us achieve a lighter van than otherwise would be the case without sacrificing the important bits or its off road capabilities. In the end we chose a Sunland Patriot and have just completed our first trip with it (7,000km). WE are very happy with it...especially its towing parameters.
Hope these comments help your deliberations.
GemHunter caravans in another one that uses the sandwich panel method.
(sandwich panel is 2 pieces of fibreglass with foam in between).
Cheers
AnswerID: 493306

Follow Up By: bortols - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 09:25

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 09:25
Hi Wamuranman,
Thanks for the great information, greatly appreciated.
i am sure i will find something that will suit after the great points your raised.

cheers
Steve
0
FollowupID: 768899

Reply By: Robert H2 - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 15:13

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 15:13
Steve,

Wamuranman criteria for an off road van are very similar to what I came up with when I did my research late last year.

Like yourself I had a wife insisting on an internal shower and toilet, comfortable queen bed and lots of storage, while I wanted at least 260L of water in 2 tanks (one for drinking and the other for general purpose) an electrical system with sufficient capacity for several days of independent camping and genuine off road capability. All this with 2500Kg towing capacity (Toyota Prado).

Ross M made the point “good ground clearance and supple/compliant suspension” is of the upmost importance and Wamuranman has also emphasized this via “ heavy duty trailing arm independent suspension with 8 shock absorbers.”

These views I concur with, especially the suitability of a trailing arm independent suspension with 2 shock absorbers per wheel for off road. (If one shocker goes you can still keep moving, but if you only have one to start with you stop where it failed)

We purchased a full height caravan with an ATM of 2200KG that didn’t just meet our requirements but exceed them in a number of areas: -
• Can carry 4 jerry cans so have the option of additional diesel and/or water capacity if required.
• Fold out rack for fire wood and/or up to 4 push bikes (we only need 2)
• Wheels and tyres fitted are the same as the car (so need 3 tyres destroyed before we are stopped)
• An extensive range of options

Good luck in you search

Rob

AnswerID: 493395

Follow Up By: bortols - Thursday, Aug 23, 2012 at 15:22

Thursday, Aug 23, 2012 at 15:22
Hi Rob,
Real interested to know what caravan did you get

Thanks
Steve
0
FollowupID: 769064

Reply By: Kevin T2 - Thursday, Aug 23, 2012 at 07:42

Thursday, Aug 23, 2012 at 07:42
Hi Rob,

So what caravan did you buy ?

Regards Kev
AnswerID: 493436

Reply By: Robert H2 - Thursday, Aug 23, 2012 at 15:43

Thursday, Aug 23, 2012 at 15:43
We purchased a "Matrix" from AORC (in months of research and looking I could not find anything better)

http://www.australianoffroadcampers.com.au/specifications-a-prices/matrix-off-road.html

Wife very happy with en suite, kitchen with lots of storage and bench space and also the comfy bed.
Husband very happy with the extensive use of lightweight materials, the suspension system and general build quality.

All the best

Rob
AnswerID: 493451

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)