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Post Info TOPIC: Transporting Caravan with Cracked Chassis


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Transporting Caravan with Cracked Chassis


We recently were heading from home in Melbourne to Adelaide and discovered part-way there at the Grampians that there was a serious crack in the part of the chassis supporting the undercarriage. Not wishing to tow any further for safety reasons we stopped in a nearby caravan park. The insurance company has rejected our claim (wear and tear - structural damage) so we need to transport the caravan back to home or to a repairer. Do you have any recent recommendations for caravan transporters and/or vehicle engineers in Melbourne who can help us to retrieve the caravan and get certified repairs done to guarantee trouble free travelling in the future?



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Are you a member of RACV, or otherwise google is your friend here.

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Ric - The Eccentric One



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Sadly, I am a member of RACV for over 50 years and RACV Insurance is the insurer of the Caravan. We have had no joy at all with RACV. Roadside Assist (Total Care) curiously refused to transport the van (within Victoria) and RACV Insurance rejected my claim. Duck Duck Go is my search engine of choice and has come up with a list of approved (Vehicle Assessment Signatory Scheme) engineers/repairers, but I'm seeking recommendations. Maybe I'll try Roadside assist again because they refused when I had the (unaccepted) claim with RACV Insurance at the time. This started two weeks ago and has been hindered by Easter and slow moving insurance process.

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Surely a caravan dealership in Horsham could direct you to an engineering workshop, who could carry out the necessary repairs without the added expense of transporting it to your home base.

Either Horsham or Stawell would have a welder who could do the job, depending on the location of the size of the crack, you may be able to tow it to the nearest facility, get some advice if it is safe to do so.

Ps RACV total car package should cover the cost of transportation to the nearest repairer.



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How old is the van, if it not far out of warranty, maybe you have an avenue there, it shouldn't just crack from normal wear and tear, so it should really be an insurance issue It might be worth contacting the Insurance Council to verify for sure that this sort of issue is really part of the "Normal wear and tear" reason. I have memory of other people getting insurance cover for this type of problem, so I would at lease go back and get them to clarify why they deem it normal wear and tear. And also Racv should be towing it for you.

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Ric - The Eccentric One



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I am currently in Ballarat and it seems that Roadside Assist will now talk to me since the insurance claim is rejected. The exclusions in the PDS are fairly clear on "wear and tear". I might have a valid claim under warranty if I wanted to beat my head against a brick wall or hire an expensive lawyer; neither of which appeals to me. The van is 7 years old and chassis warranted for 5 years by the manufacturer, JB Caravans. So right now I'm looking at possible repairers in Ballarat.
Thanks for your suggestions, Ric and Gundog. I'm feeling somewhat unenthusiastic at present and responses on this forum certainly help to improve my mood.



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Guru

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Bicyclecamper wrote:

so it should really be an insurance issue


 I don't think so, and as confirmed by StewG the PDS mentions it as an exclusion.

If the crack was caused by hitting something, then that could be deemed an accident and then it should be covered by insurance. However, to me, wear and tear does not fit either. A caravan chassis should not crack with nornal use. So if it is not accidental damage, that would point to either design, workmanship or materials. All of those should be manufacturer responsibilty. If it is not a major repair it is probably not worth pursuing. But if it is, then it would be worth trying the manufacturer. Probably not easy.



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To speculate, the crack may have been initiated by hitting a bad pot-hole or through severe corrugated roads. Either way it should not have happened if the design and construction was adequate. The van has never been overloaded because I have weighed it on many trips and kept a rough tally of contents each trip to ensure that it is legal and reasonably balanced. With a maximum permissible payload of 489kg and a typical payload of 350-450kg, it is not overloaded. The crack has started from a weld and progressed up both sides of a box beam. The fact that the crack was hidden by electrical cables prevented early detection during servicing. So I have no way of knowing how long the initial crack existed. It only became obvious when we stopped to re-fuel and friends travelling behind our van said that the off-side wheel was on a funny angle.





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Have you contacted JB to get their view on the matter ?

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Bill B


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Contacting JB now.

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if your in touch with a repair company i'm sure they will be able to organize some way to get the job to them. the question would be who would be footing the bill?

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Tentatively, RACV Total Care may agree to transport the van to a repairer at no or reduced charge depending on an inspection of the van by Roadside Assist - yet to be arranged because I am two hours drive from the van and it cannot be moved without me being there.

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Any welding shop can do the repair. If you have top roadside assistance cover you should be covered.

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The warranty was for five years but responsibility does not abruptly end at five years.
Consumer affairs took Apple to court and won because the cost of the product also needs to be taken into account. And the warranty needs to taper down not abruptly end.
Contact consumer affairs for device.
I would think that the manufacturer could be persuaded to cough up for part of the repair.
How do we know that the crack was not there when it was new and just kept propagating.
If it was not there one day and there the next the3n there must be a cause for it to happen.
Whate3ver, this is not fair wear and tear.


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That crack has been caused by the poor weld if the other side of the suspension is anything to go by. It has propergated from the end of the weld in the heat zone. To repair that it will require a properly designed gusset plate welded over the chassis tube once it has been straightened. The gussets should not have square ends but rather arrow shaped to spread the loads correctly along the rail. An engineer can advise. Unfortunately chassis manufacturers often employ semi skilled welders to do structural work. A properly trained coded welder would have done a proper job of it instead of the handyman effort on that chassis. The stresses on independent suspension arms and pickup points can be very high on a heavy van and I often wonder how much engineering is done by a suitably qualified engineer in the design and construction of some of these.

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Greg O'Brien



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An update:

The manufacturer of the caravan have agreed to repair the failure and RACV have agreed to transport the van to the repairer. I will report back after the various tasks are done. A special Thank You to all posters above. You have given me good advice and information and certainly eased some of the pain. This is the value that the Grey Nomads Forum delivers. Thank you all.

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Further Update:

I now have my van back and JB Caravans have done an excellent job of completely replacing the cracked beam and putting everything back together. There was no charge to me for RACV Roadside Assist to cart the van from Gariwerd to Campbellfield and no charge from JB for the chassis repairs. Overall, it has all been an interesting (albeit worrying at first) operation and many thanks go to JB for doing the right thing in repairing their product without hesitation.

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Make sure you get a proper wheel alignment very soon.
Cheers,
Peter

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OKA196 DIY, self contained 4WD MH, 1160W PV, 326Ah of CALB LiFePO4 batteries, 1.3kW inv, 310L water, 350-450L diesel.



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well done JB caravans for backing their product

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"Make sure you get a proper wheel alignment very soon."

That has been done by JB and next job for me is to get new tyres (that was the plan before the drama) and then head north to warmer climes.

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