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Post Info TOPIC: Caravan recommendations please


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Caravan recommendations please


 Attended the leisure fest in Melbourne while it was great we are perhaps a bit more confused now lol. We narrowed it down to 3 manuf - JB, lotus, and sunseeker. We looked at the jayco silver line which looked great but the others just seemed better made. Obv price is different between all  with Lotus and Sunseeker, JB higher end  We are a couple no kids so we dont want bunks however club lounge necessity for me and hubby looks at the technical stuff. We want off grid not necessarily off-road but would go either. Would be interested in hearing from anybody that has any of these vans and what they would recommend or not recommend. What is a necessity for you in your van? 

thanks in advance.



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Boothy


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Boothy,
I would recommend that you acquaint yourself with the buying guides and technical checklists available for free at www.caravancouncil.com.au/

The brands mentioned do have quite a lot of adverse reports on Lemon Caravans, I suggest you check the alleged faults on that site in order to ensure the faults are not on any caravans you are considering.

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Possum; AKA:- Ali El-Aziz Mohamed Gundawiathan

Sent from my imperial66 typewriter using carrier pigeon, message sticks and smoke signals.



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thank you!  I will check it out.



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Boothy


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You have opened a tin of worms here.

Most caravans have issues. They are a low volume manufactured product with very few rules governing their manufacture so buying a new van is always a bit of a lottery. As Possum has suggested, do some research first.

Unfortunately Lemon Caravans has now become a bit useless as pretty much every manufacturer gets a mention in that list. Some get a lot of mentions so steer away from those.

Because they are a low volume product, there will always be a few small items that will require attention during the warranty period. How the manufacturer and dealer deals with warranty claims is important. Look for reviews of this.

Some tips buying a van.

Most importantly look at the weights and what you intend towing it with.
Be aware that almost all vehicles on the market will not tow their rated capacity in any practical sense if you do the math. For instance, my Ranger is rated at 3500kgs but in reality that is more like 3100kgs.
Don't get caught by the slick caravan salesman telling you that you will be OK.
Understanding weights is a real minefield and many people have great difficulty in understanding them fully, as several things affect whether or not a particular vehicle can tow a certain van.
See if you can do a course on this prior to buying.
Usually I suggest to people that they select a van first and then before actual purchase, see if they can find a suitable tow vehicle that will tow it legally fully laden.

See if you can get a tour of the factory they are made in. This will give you an idea as to their structural strength or lack thereof.
Don't get hung up on manufacturer claims of a vans off road credentials. I have seen so called off road vans shed half their internal fittings at the first sniff of a corrugated road and break suspension arms which can be a major if out in remote areas.
Getting a well screwed together van is far more important in my view. That does not mean that all off roads vans are tarred with the same brush, but many are being built that have little right to be on the road never mind be called off road.

Remembering the weight issue, try not to get carried away with what you stick in the van. Look at where the heavy items are placed in relationship with the axles. They should be over or just forward of the axle group. This includes the water tanks.
Look at where the axle group is placed. If it is rearward of the centre line of the van then you have a good chance that it will tow well.


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Greg O'Brien



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Thank you so much for your detailed response its much appreciated. I did notice that most manufacturers have there share of complaints list by looking at product review website. A lot of complaints seem to be customer service. We will def be updating our car after we decide on a van as the triton isnt capable of towing the vans weve been considering. We are going to visit all the manufacturers over the next few months to really compare and hopefully make a well informed decision and purchase. We have had a van before but quite small and this will be our biggest purchase and hopefully last!!

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Boothy


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Personally, I would be looking at vans with a maximum ATM of around the 3 tonne mark as most tow vehicles that are rated at 3500kgs will tow that comfortably and legally provided you don't overload the tow vehicle.
Above that and you start stepping into territory that you can easily be overweight without realising it.
For example.
My van has an ATM of 2980kgs. I travel as light as possible and anything I haven't used on past trips I heave out so not to carry excess baggage.
The Ranger is rated at 3500kgs with a reasonable rear axle rating so making it one of the better dual cabs. But as I said before, by the time you are actually loaded for a trip, it's practical limit is about 3100kgs. This is because of other limitations that the salesman will not point out to you.

The last time I weighed the rig fully laden and ready to go the van was 140kgs under its ATM and the car 70kgs under its GVM. I do not carry very much in the car other than my wife and self, a small portable weber Q and few tools and my wife's wheelchair.
So I was legal but it would not take a huge amount to put me over the limit.
The Ranger's big limitation is it's GCM or the total weight of van and car. That or the rear axle limits most tow vehicles that are otherwise rated as 3500kgs.

Do not be tempted to buy a van which starts to knock on the door of the vehicles tow rating. You will almost invariably end up being overweight. It is now very serious with rigs being weighed across the country with fines and even not being able to travel further if you are found to be overweight.

If you are unsure of whether your selected vehicle will tow your choice of van, seek advice. It is a very costly mistake to make if you choose incorrectly.

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Greg O'Brien



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We bought a JB Gator in 2017 and there are number of aspects that could have been designed or assembled better, so I would not rank JB as number one for quality. However, our JB represents very good value for money and the after sales support and warranty issues cannot be faulted in our experience. We gave the caravan a good workout in a five month big lap and while a number of mostly minor items broke, JB repaired and replaced all items without hesitation at no cost to us.

As for essential optionals:

Rear camera(s)
Grey water tank
Space heater - we chose gas
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) - this is a good safety device and will get an insurance discount
Solar panels and as much battery(ies) as feasible

I also endorse Greg's advice. My van is rated at 2.8T ATM. The tug is rated at 3.5T but the rear axle limit is reached if I put anything much in the rear of the wagon and before I get near the GVM or GCM limits.

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Thanks Stew good to know. JB seemed to compare pretty well to lotus slightly less expensive. Curious as to would you whether your would buy another JB on your experience?

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Boothy


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Thanks Stew good to know. JB seemed to compare pretty well to lotus slightly less expensive. Curious as to would you whether your would buy another JB on your experience?

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Boothy


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Thanks Stew good to know. JB seemed to compare pretty well to lotus slightly less expensive. Curious as to would you whether your would buy another JB on your experience?

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Boothy


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was at the caravan show and OH my God, prices have gone thru the roof. Always looking at JB and Lotus and from before the rona they have gone up 20- 30K depending on model. Lotus even more.

Even the Chinese vans have gone up from 35-40k to over 60 - 65K

Worlds gone nuts.

Mixo

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yes crazy isn't it!  and they were saying to us lock it in because they will go up another 20k in 2 years.  The Lotus if purchased at the show we were told would be ready by March 2024!   I did notice quite a few vans had sold stickers on them and they weren't great deals like previous years however people perhaps aren't prepared to wait.



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Boothy


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When I win Lotto I will be investigating Masterpiece Caravans more thoroughly for a purchase, not the timber framed versions.

A video of one couples caravan buying decision adventure in the youtube link; www.youtube.com/watch

Peter

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Boothy, don't forget to check on the amount of weight the Caravan puts on the tow ball. This varies a lot. But what ever it is, it adds to the GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass), rear axle weight of the Tow vehicle. Water weighs a kilo per litre, so those big Off road water tanks can weigh a bit. Just sayin.

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Karl Marx.."the masses are the asses" Groucho Marx.. "I never knew my brother Karl"



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Back again!!!! so heading off to the next caravan show in Feb (Victoria) where we will most likely make a purchase. The only other option we would like to check is the sun seeker Desert Storm and they are not at the Vic shows, but we are heading up North in March so might check out. We are expecting a 12 month wait on a van??? Also quite similar for a car, prob 9 months. Nissan Patrol or Ram are the vehicles we are considering due the the weight of the van. Cannot wait to start this adventure...get on the road. (realistically we will be waiting tho lol...hopefully not much longer than the 12 months).

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Boothy


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Boothy wrote:

 The only other option we would like to check is the sun seeker Desert Storm and they are not at the Vic shows,

 

 

They are made by Titanium Caravans who are based in Campbellfield Vic



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Bill B


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Oh really? can you view the range there?

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Boothy


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Boothy wrote:

Oh really? can you view the range there?


 Vans are built to order for Sunseeker by Titanium : https://titaniumcaravans.com.au/dealers/

 



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Bill B
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