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Post Info TOPIC: What van should I be looking at? All too confusing


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What van should I be looking at? All too confusing


HI GN's I am new to this forum so please be kind to a soon to be GN.

Having spent the past few months looking around at second hand vans for my first van I am starting to get a bit confused as to what makes for a good reliable van. At this stage a second hand van seems the best option to ensure that we can, (a) enjoy the lifestyle at length and (b) put up with each other for the longer term.   

Basically the bride and I (and truth be known me) are looking for a comfortable van for the 2 of us that has an full ensuite. So far I have tended towards the Jayco Sterling and recently the Opalite which seems to provide more features for less dollars. While I have seem many Jayco's on the road the Opalite seems a rare option. 

Having spent, on separate occasions, a couple of months touring in a Camper in the North, I have decided that a van and 4WD is the better option.  But she who shall be obeyed at all costs insists on the full ensuite.

Advice from the more experienced of you would be greatly appreciated.  

   

 



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Apples09



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Hello Apples09

Firstly welcome to the forum

My opinion is that a happy wife means a happy life

Whatever you buy, make sure that it has a full ensuite

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Tony

It cost nothing to be polite



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Hi Tony, After 41 years I think I may have stumbled blindly onto the Happy Wife part and thanks for the advice on the Ensuite. I am tending to think it may be my little bit forgiveness.



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Apples09



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Welcome to the gang Apples09, enjoy here and out in the playground.

I won't get involved with 'advice' about what caravan to buy as it is a personal choice as is the tug. The only thing I will say is make sure your tug is capable of towing the weights of the den. Make sure ALL weights on the compliance plate are adheared to as it is more important now than before.



Keep Safe on the roads and out there.

 

Edit.....Forgot to say, I have a full ensuite with seperate shower and toot and love it. I also have a continuous hot water service but is a waste of money as it doesn't know what hot water is so will be spending more money around September/October to replace it with a Suburban hot water service. Hot showers on the horizon biggrin 

I am solo since losing my wife and did do what I was told at all times.

 



-- Edited by Dougwe on Wednesday 5th of July 2017 08:41:38 AM

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TUG.......2014 Holden LT Colorado Twin Cab Ute with Canopy

DEN....... 2014 "Chief" Arrow CV  (with some changes)

 



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Welcome to the forum Apples 09. Unfortunately it may become even more confusing as everyone will have a different opinion to share with you! Seems you're looking for a fairly large van (ref. Sterling). Many good makes & models exist, and many have en suites (including the smaller vans these days). Read product reviews also - there will be more info & feedback out there on Jayco than just about anything else, they're the mass produced "Holden" of caravans. Many other makes are boutique or custom builders. We opted for the latter, a new Billabong Grove semi off-roader, excellent van & superbly built. Not easy to find used Billabongs, but worth looking.

Good luck and happy travels!

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Cheers,

Tony

"Opinion is the medium between ignorance and knowledge" - Plato  

 The moral: Focus on the Facts

 



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Hi Apples09 and welcome,

Just have a good look.....I knew a bloke that was a president of a small caravan club. It was his hobby, and he had 6 caravans built for him over the years by various manufactures.

He said every one was different and every one was unique. His latest 6th one was not perfect but he reckoned it was the last one.smile

Me I like the popular, around 22 footers with the ensuite across the back.....But us fellows with small vans always want some thing bigger. But smaller is easy to tow. Beware of the upgradis bug.smile



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 2004 Toyota TD LC

A'van Tayla 17'6" Caravan



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Put a Jurgens on your list. Not necessarily cheap but comes with all the mod cons. Although "Ya gets wot ya pays for" so it may not be that expensive. They are light and because they are built here, the are easy to insure. Towed a J1901 one behind a Ranger 4WD for 24,000 kms now over 2 years. The van is not off road but it does have good clearance. Have needed the 4WD when I've been in a bit of sand along by a river or two (Murray mainly).

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we've had 2 jaycos with separate shower and loo - no issues with either - an 18' Heritage and a 20' Stirling. We noticed the smooth sided Stirling a few degrees warmer in winter and cooler in summer. They were good value for money. An ensuite or at least separate shower and loo will always have better re-sale value than a combined model.
A friend has an Opalite and is currently having cracks in the chassis repaired - and it has never been off the bitumen.

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Jenny and Barry

2009 Roma Elegance / 2013 Colorado. Permanent travellers 2011-2015 now just travel for 4-6 mths 



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Dougwe, after putting up with problems with the Continuous Hot Water Service for 4 years, we eventually went to the big R V Accessories place on Burwood Hwy at Ferntree Gully in Melbourne, dealt with Anthony who was so helpful ,so obliging and now our opinion of said hot water service has completely changed. I should have done this earlier. He changed the burner and the electronic switch and now it is faultless very reliable and beautiful warm or hot water as it was supposed to give. Highly recommend seeing these people and get your superior appliance working correctly. Keep well and catch up on the road again one day. Cheers Wendy and Brian



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Chief one feather

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Thanks Wendy and Brian, after the same suggestion last year I did go to the very same place and probably same person but had no luck at all. Everything tested up ok but still had same problems after leaving so bit the bullet I have, or will anyway. I tried all sorts of different things that were suggested by many here and out on the road but all failed.

"NOT HAPPY JAN"

Never mind, it will be all sorted when I finally get my act together and leave Townsville and get back to VIC for summer.

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Live Life On Your Terms

DOUG  Chief One Feather  (Losing feathers with age)

TUG.......2014 Holden LT Colorado Twin Cab Ute with Canopy

DEN....... 2014 "Chief" Arrow CV  (with some changes)

 



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Apple09, I had the same issue. Ensuites add a fair bit of cost. But I bit the bullet and got one. Lesley is happy (well sometimes lol) And it does come in handy late at night. We got a 20 footer. PS. I think as you get older you will appreciate it more.

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Hi Doug, thank for this.  I have noted a lot of articles recently about towing mass, ball weight and GVM. I may be a little dull but would have expected people to ensure the tow was big and strong enough to take the load before getting on the road.  But having said, this I am amazed by some who are pulling a sizeable van with Tiquans and Captivas.  I currently have a work Craptiva, and that is not a spelling mistake, and would not pull anything bigger than a box trailer.



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Apples09



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I am very much in favour of a van with an ensuite which includes separate shower & toilet.  We're too old to rough it.

We got our faithful 21'6" Jayco Westport way back in 1999 & it has been excellent, trundling along behind our faithful (but a bit rough) GQ 4.2 EFI Patrol for more than 200,000Km.

Had we not gone that way I am certain that our caravanning life would have been a short one.  SWMBO loves the convenience of her own facilities as I do on late/cold evenings or the occasional mid evening call of nature.  The thought of wet loo after a shower in a combo set up does not appeal, nor does the idea of stepping out of the shower into the open van.

In your research, be sure to read & understand the subject of caravan weights & towing capacities.   There are lots of heavy but pretty & well equipped vans on the market & many over rated tow vehicles.  I am not convinced of tales of any National Authority blitz on van weights et al, or Insurance policy claim implications but it seems that it is just common sense to abide by the Manufacturer/Engineering recommendations for your & other road users' safety.  IMHO if you operate well within the machinery's capabilities it it's likely to perform better & last longer.



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See Ya ... Cupie




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When you look at a modern rigs.

Al Awful lot seem to be towing huge vans behind the latest utes.
With all the bullbars. racks etc on them.

I wonder how many of them could go over the scales with self. wife and a full tank.
and still be legal with those vans behind them.

Very few of them.
Loaded with drawbar weights added. weight restrictions deducted..
can tow much more than 2.5ton.
Even the big three are basically 3 ton and a little bit Max.

People need to go down the workshop stores,
and sign out a coupla "skyhooks", yes.
Lift a little weight off the van wheels.

Along with a Left handed screwdriver, and a right handed Ringie.

SOME actually do go there as apprentices
If I hadn't come off the Trawlers I probably would have too.
Dumb 17\18yr old kids.. Chuckle.

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It does remind me of sending the new apprentice to the storeman for a box of yellow grinding sparks and make sure he does not give you the orange ones. Now that was a long time ago

But seriously the mass and ball weights issue have played big on my decision process.



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Apples09



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We chose our van after doing research on towing weights.
Made sure we understood them then chose the van to suit, with more than 10% at max left over.
We dont live in van only long weekends and the odd month away and find the full ensuit great, wouldnt be without it.
P.S. Welcome to the forum.
Kezngaz.

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G'day Apples09, I hope you'll find some good advice from this forum (most of us are ok, most of the time, perhaps we get wound up on our High Horses, sometimes).

Some pointers -
Work out where you want to go - on the black stuff or gravel or sand.
What is the level of your funds?
Is your current vehicle sufficient?
Check out magazines at your library for road tests.
Look around at various yards for suitable vans (no cost to you).
Go into a caravan park & ask owners of the vans that may interest you (when I had a tent trailer, that was a common thing with other owners).
Yes, as we get older (mainly for the women), a toilet is essential.
Beds - singles offer more room internally & often more storage.
Beds - better N-S. with E-W style, one partner has to crawl over the other to get out.
Height inside (that's important for me as I'm 6'6" tall).
Does it have sufficient opening windows?
Where is the door? Front, middle, rear?

WEIGHTS - WEIGHTS - WEIGHTS!

Yes, Jayco is the assembly line caravan but for people like me, they are fine. I don't know if I'd like to knock a expensive van around on some bush track.

Happy looking,
Warren


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Warren

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2019 Isuzu D-Max (I still miss the reliable old Patrol though)/2011 17' Jayco Discovery Outback



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Warren-Pat_01 wrote:

G'day Apples09, I hope you'll find some good advice from this forum (most of us are ok, most of the time, perhaps we get wound up on our High Horses, sometimes).

Some pointers -
Work out where you want to go - on the black stuff or gravel or sand.
What is the level of your funds?
Is your current vehicle sufficient?
Check out magazines at your library for road tests.
Look around at various yards for suitable vans (no cost to you).
Go into a caravan park & ask owners of the vans that may interest you (when I had a tent trailer, that was a common thing with other owners).
Yes, as we get older (mainly for the women), a toilet is essential.
Beds - singles offer more room internally & often more storage.
Beds - better N-S. with E-W style, one partner has to crawl over the other to get out. Only an issue if they are not Island beds . 
Height inside (that's important for me as I'm 6'6" tall).
Does it have sufficient opening windows?
Where is the door? Front, middle, rear?

WEIGHTS - WEIGHTS - WEIGHTS!

Yes, Jayco is the assembly line caravan but for people like me, they are fine. I don't know if I'd like to knock a expensive van around on some bush track.

Happy looking,
Warren


 My comment in red ... I have an EW bed ie across the van, & the only issue with it is lack of space to walk past it when fully extended at night.



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Apples, you have already made a smart decision, buying a pre-loved van. I have had the pleasure of owning several and with her approval we continue to trail about with just a portapotti and external shower in our 16.5 pop top, mostly because we love the layout and an ensuite will mean a different floor plan. The only easy thing about ensuite vans is that there are almost no variations in the layout... so you will love it or hate it I guess, but at 2nd hand price you will probably recover most of your money if it does not work out.

Warren is on the right track....buy private if you can, but make sure you crawl under, inside and over the whole of the van. If you find a water leak or signs of previous leakage, at least get an explanation. Excessive lumps of white silicon in the shower might be indications of leakage, good caravans in good condition do not have great wide blobs of Selleys best products trowelled over them. Check chassis for cracks, welds and or fresh paint. And when you check the airconditioner make sure you let it chill off properly....

I bought our current van privately, flicked the aircon on, made right noises, fridge seemed fine, yep, no water leaks, deal... done. Aircon was buggered. the heat exchanger was fractured and showed signs of previous repair. The heating element was dead (still is). I didnt realise until I got home the fridge was a 12 volt compressor fridge... a WHAT??? turn out that was a great thing....

Good luck... they are a great thing.


Sarge

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Thanks Sarge, That's what I tell the bride if this does not work out we will not have lost too much.  There seems to be a great range of vans in the second hand market and many varying prices for apparently the same van. I note you made mention about the 12 volt compressor fridge. Was this a good thing or not? I have seen many 3 way fridges and just assumed (and we know what that can do) this was vanning standard.

I also take up on Warren's point about taking the time to talk to owners of the vans.  From the response and advice I have received so far it looks as though the GN community would be very helpful and supportive of a newby.  

Are cracks in the chassis a common thing?

Again to all thank you.

Jeff

 

confuse  

 



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Apples09



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G'day Apples. We've owned several vans over the past 40 years. We have just taken delivery or our 2nd Jayco van, a Starcraft Outback TL 18.55.3. An 18.5 ft van, all smooth fiberglass sides & roof. It's set up for free camping, and has a stunning and generous sized ensuite to keep the girl happy. We were looking at the larger 22ft Silverline but storage area at home was too tight. We tow with a 2015 Mazda BT50 4x4 twin cab utility, which tows the new van easily. We have recently retired so looking forward to on & off Nomading. My best advise is to attend one of the BIG Caravan & Camping shows held in every capital city, and spend a couple of days there looking and talking to all the manufactures. Cheers.

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