To Alice and back, what a trip, such an experience Part 3 The camper trailer

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011 at 10:20

Martyn (WA)

The third part to this blog is about the camper trailer, preparation, what went right what went wrong.
The CT is a 2005 TVan, preparation, prior to going I replaced the bearings, brake shoes and the electro magnetic braking parts. I thought the electro parts were faulty which in the end turned out to be a wiring problem with the D3 electrical circuit and the Tekonsha brake controller. Something quite specific to the D3, assistance through the AULRO forum put this issue to rest.
As part of the preparation I also replaced the dust filled and cracked tail lights with two LED units, bought these off Ebay, arrived promptly, good quality. Problem one I had to make special brackets up because the lights mounted onto bolts which were hidden under the hard floor section, I had no access to them. made the new brackets up fix the lights and connected the plug to the D3. Problem 2, the lights were ever so permanently dimly lit, again another problem with the D3 and LED lights on trailers, due to the computer and the diagnostic system. Anyway, found an electronic "gizmo box" on the internet that fixes the problem. Cost $200, that hurt seeing the lights only cost $40 each. Anyway not to be defeated I persevered, I was not going to take the lights off and throw my custom made brackets away was I!! Bought the box installed it and whammo, perfect everything worked as it should. The lights survived the trip still as crisp and clean as the day they came out of the box.
Also as part of the preparation I had to replace the water tank under the floor, apparently cracking of the water tank on this particular model is quite common according to fellow members, according to Tvan mine was one of the first ones they had heard of.......... go figure. The tennis balls that are used to locate the tank in position put a point loading on the seams which is where mine had cracked.
I replaced the tank and under advice from the TVan forum I replaced the tennis balls with HD foam. As part of the tank replacement I had to take all the water out, well what was left anyway. I replaced the tank and did a water leak test all good, I the drained all the water out again not knowing when I would next be going camping.
So prior to going on this trip I filled the tank with water, again checked for leaks all good. First night camping the electric water pump didn't work........ Prior to draining after replacing the tank the water pump did work. What I have now found is that if you leave the water in the tank below the water pump level the pump dries out over time and seizes. This is the second pump I've had seize on me, I couldn't figure out the reason why until I broke the latest failure apart to find out the reason why it had seized. A lesson to be learnt.
The water pump has now been replaced.
On the trip apart from the water pump the only thing that broke was one of the small clips that holds the awning on the side of the camper trailer roof. This particular clip made the use of the awning difficult especially if we had windy weather, I only attempted to use the awning once and gave up.
The Tvan is truly versatile, for the trip between Laverton and Yulara we never used the canvas tent, the set up took about five minutes which included getting the chairs, the blankets and the solar panel off the bed. I've now devised a way that should some smart arse decide to try and lock us in the lid locks can't be latched over the clips on the main body, gave us peace of mind.
Despite the corrugations and everything else I threw at the Tvan it survived without fault. Considering some of the train wrecks of caravans on the GCR the TVan in my opinion is in a class of its own. I was quite surprised at the interest of others in the TVan, the unit proved quite a conversation starter at several camp sites and road houses. Quite often around the barbecue or maybe in the ablution block I would be met with a "good morning / evening, you're the Tvan guy aren't you".
The cooker is an inherent fault, if its windy boiling the kettle is "as slow as the coming of Christ", not a lot I can do about this without a lot of heartache. Later models have upgraded cookers which are a lot better.
I have solar power on my Tvan, we used the lights and would have used the water pump if I could have. Recharging of the glass mat battery was usually complete maybe an hour after sunrise using my Unisolar 75W panel.
So that just about covers the Tvan, the last part being part four will be the remainder of the trip. Enjoy the read.
Keep the shiny side up

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