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iMotorhome magazine Apr 2021

Hustle ‘n

BUSSELTON! ON THE ROAD IN AVIDA’S NEW MIDSIZER... PROJECT POLLY DREAMING I READER - VW VAN BUILD TECH - AMPING IT UP I DIY - PLYWOOD PHILERS


ON MY MIND

Changing Times

I

and it’s now a full factory operation with two brands: Great Wall (utes) and Haval (SUVs). I’d venture to say that in the 11 years since those first utes landed, the brand has progressed at a rate that took the Japanese and Koreans two decades, maybe longer.

t’s been a surprisingly busy month; one that involved a couple of trips away for us – one in Polly and the other in the Avida Busselton reviewed in this issue. It was good to be on the road again, especially as it reminded us of how much there is to see and do in regional New South Wales (the same is sure to be true in any State or Territory). As many of you are well aware, there is something wonderful about small-town Australia. Having the time to wander at leisure is still a luxury for us, but the times they are a changing. It’s our plan over the next 12 months to get away for a few days each month in ever increasing circles, starting within an hour or so from home to see what we can discover. I ran out of time in this issue to relate an encounter we had in the tiny 1920s heritage village of Ariah Park, some 40 km west of Temora. I’ll save that for next month but ironically, when the CMCA supplied this month’s RV Friendly Towns content there was Ariah Park at the top of the list. Spooky huh?

The GWM Cannon ute is all-new, thoroughly modern and downright impressive. It’s a proper 4x4 dual-cab with a 2.0L 120kW/400Nm turbo diesel driving through an 8-speed ZF gearbox (like the Iveco Daily and VW Crafter) and features a Borg-Warner 4x4 system with self-locking rear differential. While not as powerful as its local competitors, it’s not that far behind and in the real world terms doesn’t make a huge amount of difference. It also has a 3000kg tow rating, again not quite up to its competitors’ 3500kg limit.

The vehicle we drove in had almost 9000km on the clock, most presumably at the hands of motoring journalists, who are a merciless bunch. We did 600km in the day without an ache or pain and there wasn’t On the subject of short trips, another involved a full a squeak or rattle in the vehicle. The cabin was day’s adventure with technical guru Allan Whiting in remarkably quiet at any speed and even when you a Chinese-made GWM Cannon L 4x4 dual-cab ute. heard the engine working, it was muted and civilised. Like many, I’m generally dismissive of Chinese-made vehicles and especially the Great Wall utes of old, which By comparison, the Isuzu Dmax ute I drove a year or so back felt and sounded like a truck. The Cannon’s basically were rubbish. While the Chinese aren’t great doors closed with a European-quality thud, the ride innovators they are great copiers (you could argue much of that comes from stealing confidential data from quality was good (for a dual cab ute) and Apple CarPlay worked faultlessly all day, as did everything competing nations, but we won’t go there, will we?). else. I drove the return leg of our 600 km day, which included more than an hour in the car park otherwise China’s domestic auto market is the largest in the known as Sydney’s M7 Motorway. world and in 2019 it saw more than 21 million new vehicle registrations. Most of those were Chinese The Cannon has a full suite of electronic safety and made and although they probably wouldn’t pass driver aids and is capable of semi-autonomous driving muster in the West, they obviously suit the local using a combination of active cruise control and lane market. With all that in mind and knowing how awful keeping assist. I used that capability in the bumperthe original Great Wall utes were, I was only mildly to-bumper afternoon traffic and it worked well, if not looking forward to a full day in the rebadged GWM with quite the refinement of Volkswagen’s system. The (Great Wall Motors) ute. Cannon L has keyless entry and push-button start, leather upholstery with heated front seats, a leather When Allan arrived and I jumped in, he looked at me and said, “I didn’t want to like this and you won’t either, steering wheel, climate control and a full complement of airbags, including one between the front seats. I but it’s good”. And he was right. expect it will receive a five star safety rating in due course. The vehicle we drove was priced at $37,990 Great Wall arrived in Australia in 2009 and faded into drive-away no more to pay and Allan said it would still obscurity a few years later after an unsuccessful run via an indifferent distributor. The company has returned be good value at $60,000.

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ON MY MIND On the downside there are still the questions regarding long-term durability, quality and resale value, but given the leaps and bounds GWM has made, those are far less than before, except resale (in the shorter term, at least). The decision to buy one now is really mostly ethical: In the face of China’s bellicose and aggressive military and trade moves, how could you buy one? I guess the bottom line is how do you justify paying $20,000 or so more for a name-brand equivalent, and will your purchase/non-purchase influence the Chinese Communist Party’s actions or fortunes? After all, it’s the Government that’s causing the issues, not the people.

Anyway, Australian ute buyers continue to pay a premium for Japanese utes made in Thailand (and imported tariff-free under a free trade agreement). Imagine how much money Toyota and the others are making on each unit? Australian RV buyers are better off than their ute-buying brethren, but there’s always room for competition and it would be good to see Kea re-enter our market. In the News pages you’ll also read the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane ‘Supershows’ are back on, with Sydney kicking them off from 13-18 of this month at Rosehill Racecourse. Considering the market is reportedly on fire it will be interesting to see how much stock is on display, what order lead-times are and if anyone’s actually had time to come out with new models. I’ll pop in to see what’s new, but I’m also off to Melbourne at that time to check-out Achtung Camper’s latest VW T6.1 campervan, which I’ll report on next issue. Should be interesting…

The reason I relate all this is because it’s only a matter of time before we see Chinese-made commercial vehicles entering the campervan and motorhome market here. GWM’s main competitor, LDV, has been in the New Zealand RV market for a while, but its products are pretty ordinary. If GWM moves into the light commercial vehicle realm and brings those products into Australia, it could be a game changer. Ditto when LDV lifts its game.

Finally, as also reported in the News pages, the free iMotorhome Magazine Reader Weekend date Speaking of game changers, in this issue’s News pages have gone back one week to 10–13 September. That’s because someone didn’t realise the original you’ll find details of the Kea Dreamland just released date conflicted with Father’s Day. Oops. Hopefully in NZ. Evolutionary and spiritual successor to the Kea Dreamtime, which has achieved almost iconic status on the borders remain open because as we go to print, both sides of the Tasman, the Dreamland looks set to Brisbane is back in lockdown, WA has closed its build on that success and carve a substantial new niche borders to anyone who has eaten a banana in the last two weeks and the Northern Territory has said for itself. Key to its appeal are its compact dimensions and thoughtful and impressive standard equipment list. Corona virus is due to a lack of Mexican beer. With There are a couple of layout options and whilst they luck everything will be sorted by September, but in might not suit everyone, everything in this business is this strange new world there are no guarantees. Safe a compromise of some sort and a matter of personal travels and see you down on road! Maybe… taste. You can tell a lot of experience has gone in to this new machine and I believe it will be a major success, not least with loyal Dreamtime owners finally being able to upgrade. Will we see it in Australia? Hopefully, as I’m sure it’s been made with our market in mind – and I can’t wait to get my hands on one. The only negative I can see from the press images is the decor appears old school, but fingers crossed Kea hasn’t missed an opportunity to lead on that front too. 3


iMotorhome Magazine iMotorhome Magazineis free, independent and published monthly. Download issues HERE or read online HERE Publisher/Editor

Richard Robertson (+61) 0414 604 368 richard@imotorhome.com.au

Published by iMotorhome Pty Ltd PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2776. Australia. ABN: 34 142 547 719 T: +614 14 604 368 E: info@imotorhome.com.au W: www.imotorhome.com.au

Technical

© 2021 iMotorhome Pty Ltd.

Allan Whiting (+61) 0410 677 966 allan@imotorhome.com.au

Contributors

Warren McCullough Ian@anotherwayround.com.au Phil McLeod

All content of iMotorhome Magazine and website is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the Publisher. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of content, no responsibility is accepted for any inconvenience and/ or loss arising from reading and/or acting upon information contained within iMotorhome+Caravan magazine, in the app or on the website.


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CONTENTS

2 7 11 22 36

43

ON MY MIND Costs of Doing Business

47

LETTERS Sharing what’s on your mind!

53

NEWS A glimpse at what’s happening in the wide world of RVing

59

TESTED Hustle ‘n Busselton – Travelling in Avida’s new midsizer

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PROJECT POLLY Polly Dreaming – our wishlist for making Polly even better

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READER The Olive Van Project – a DIY VW Crafter build

TECH Amping it Up – Working out your 12V power usage

DIY Plywood Philers – Phil McLeod’s handy DIY RV jobs

TRAVEL Temora Finally Comes – The CMCA’s latest RV Park opens

RV FRIENDLY Three more country towns supporting our great way of life!


LETTERS

Best Issue Ever? Hi Richard, the March edition may just be the best yet – top stuff! This edition was also far easier to access then previously and I should imaging that there was a lot of work behind that success. From the articles on transmissions written by – oh gosh – you, through to the also very informative and sensible analysis of electrical systems, all was good.

We would like to join you for the Reader’s Weekend at the delightful Jugiong – a great choice of venue even though it was a fallback choice for you. Jugiong has always resonated with me since my teenage years in the Air Force at Wagga when conquering the hill was something of a challenge. Hills, of course as my memory serves me, were much steeper in those days and so it was a struggle for a mighty Renault 750 with The Trakkadu is clearly an innovative vehicle and 5 teenagers on board. I think of it at times, when my the cost although high seems reasonable enough 90 kW Fiat Ducato (low powered by todays‘ standards) but then you notice that a toilet is not included, which zooms over the hill whilst I’m taking care not to exceed renders it less than fit for purpose for a significant (and the speed limit, just how much times have changed. increasing) percentage of users. Best wishes, The list of electronic gizmos going into the new “All Ross Change” Paradise Motorhome is breathtaking. We go the opposite way, hot-spotting to our tablets now we Great to hear from you Ross and glad you enjoyed have given up the tiresome business of TV antennas the March issue – even the article on transmissions! and use the phone network for TV by tablet. A single Regarding the Trakkadu, it’s interesting but there appears 100 Ah lead-acid battery is adequate with no espresso to be a solid and growing market for that sort of vehicle. machine to sap the power and what’s more, we have Whether it’s professionals salary packaging one for a the pleasure (well actually Jenny insists on it) of visiting growing family or those simply after the ultimate daily the local coffee shops. driver and weekend escape machine, it’s I use the Czone electrical certainly in demand. system on my boat and find it excellent, but it is best Thanks for the disabled should there be an info on the Czone electrical storm in the vicinity. system, which is The boat has a maze of very interesting and circuits including a lot of nav certainly appears to gear, satellite this and that, be the way of the pumps and refrigeration. They future. Like you, I was are susceptible to lightning but mightily impressed then boats have that problem but somewhat anyway because they are a overwhelmed by the blob on the water rather than list of equipment the land, where lightning is not such an issue. going into the Paradise build, and the thought of researching and planning it all. Also like you, sometimes I The Czone lets a manufacturer use one wire for think less is more, but it’s horses for courses and there’s multiple purposes, reducing the size of the wiring really no right or wrong. looms. Programming it allows you to group-switch a block of circuits such as moving, stationary or gone I’ve added you to the ReaderWeekend list and laughed home. They, like others, also have an app whereby you when I read about your overloaded Renault on Jugiong’s can switch or adjust services remotely. For example famous hill. I could just picture it! Perhaps we could set you can turn on your aircon remotely before you arrive, up an event on the weekend to see whose motorhome is etc, which we have not chosen to use, because just quickest up it? Mind you, I think it has a 60 km/h speed how many apps can we handle?? limit now, so maybe not. See you in September!

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LETTERS

Don’t Fear AdBlue In the road test of the VW T6.1 there was the sentence. “The upgraded engine makes do with outdated Euro 5 emissions standards, meaning no AdBlue fuel additive is required. I can already hear the sighs of relief from potential owners, if not from the environment.” Hmmmm…

Back to your AdBlue consumption figures, are you absolutely certain of them (you say you don’t actually track AdBlue consumption)? The reason I ask is that the latest Fiat Ducato has a Euro 6 engine and a 19.5-litre AdBlue tank. To quote from my review of the Trakka Torino in the February issue, “Fiat says in a motorhome application the engine could consume up to 7 L/1000 km (about 404 mpg) on the highway, but only about 2.5L/1000 km (1130 mpg) in urban running”. At the highway figure that gives the Fiat a range of as little as 2700 km per tank, while at the urban figure the range is up to 7800 km. Mercedes-Benz quotes AdBlue consumption at 2.5 to 4L/1000 km, giving the Sprinter’s 22-litre tank a theoretical range of 5500 (highway) and 8800 km (urban). That’s calculated on the assumption that, like the Ducato, the Sprinter drinks more AdBlue on the highway.

So let’s cut through the FUD (Fear Uncertainly and Doubt). My Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 motorhome has a 22 litre AdBlue tank which we top up at about half full. In the 38,000km we have done travelling around Australia this year, we’ve topped up about 7 times, giving a consumption of more than 500km per litre. That equates to over 10,000 km per tank with 10% in reserve, or to put it another way Sydney to Perth and back and then back to Perth, or about once per year if you travel 10,000 km in your motor home each year, not exactly a real problem.

Anyway, it won’t be too long before small-capacity high-output turbo-diesels are consigned to history, as meeting increasingly strict emissions standards is becoming too technically difficult and expensive. And with the global shift to zero-emissions electricity is the future in Europe and much of America, and so we’ll have to follow suit. Euro 6 is a stepping stone and probably the end of the road in emissions terms. Next will be hybrids like Fiat’s venture with AL-KO and Huber, before full electric – and the world will be a much better place. They will also be more fun and enjoyable to drive, as well as more capable – and I can’t wait. Enjoy your Sprinter – whatever the consumptions – and sorry about your VW diesel. I guess it just means you need to do more motorhoming!

Oh, but what about the aggro of filling the tank, or the cost and availability I hear you cry? Well, virtually any service station that sells diesel to trucks now has an AdBlue pump. It’s just like any other pump a small nozzle a handle and a pipe, you put the nozzle in the tank pull the handle until it stops and put the nozzle back on the pump, just like you’ve done thousands of times before. We’ve paid all over Australia no more than 99c per litre, so spent a total of around $70 on AdBlue compared to $5,800 on diesel (I track my fuel consumption, not AdBlue). So do the world a favour and don’t buy some old VW pollution maker, buy something with Euro 6 engine. Lets face it, VW don’t have a great record when it comes to diesel engines and I should know, my car unfortunately has one. Thanks Trevor. I don’t think people are afraid of AdBlue, it’s just another thing to consider, another thing to do/remember and another expense. In this transition period there will likely be a lot of people looking to snap-up an ‘old’ Euro 5 machine that are running-out, just as people are rushing to buy thirsty/smoky V8 LandCruisers because they (think) they don’t want the new fuel-efficient and environmentally hybrid that’s coming.

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TRAVEL NEWS

JABIRU AWD Off the Beaten Track

20 3


LETTERS

Facebook Boycot have also recently moved from a Google-based Android phone to an iPhone, such is my concern about Surveillance Capitalism. Personally, we use our motorhome as an escape from daily city life, but in modern society, the web of Surveillance Capitalism is a challenge for us all. Regards, Jaron Lanier’s book ‘Ten Arguments for Deleting your Eric, Social Media Accounts Right Now’ was a good insight   into the world of Facebook. Lanier has produced the Good to hear from you and all very interesting. The acronym BUMMER – Behaviours of Users Modified, books sound interesting, if heavy going, but good on and Made into an Empire for Rent. Facebook is a you for persevering. My gripe with Facebook et al BUMMER. Having finished this book, it drew me into the world of others who are having a critical look at our isn’t so much privacy and the use of my data – where I go or what I do – in return for product (access to current digital world.  information). Rather, it’s the insidiously tightening restrictions on which of my ‘followers’ can see what I The second book, which I am currently about 20 percent into, is a heavy read. It is one that I may spend want them to see in return for the Big Brother mining all that data. It used to be a much fairer exchange but a day enjoying, then putting aside for a week or more is now decidedly one sided. That said, I'm probably while the mind comprehends what I have read. The too naive and easy-going about it all and since writing book is Shoshana Zuboff’s ‘The Age of Surveillance about my boycott have posted a few things on the Capitalism’. So far into the book, it is more into the effect that Google is having on our lives. Readers may iMotorhome Facebook page. However, like you, I now mainly use Facebook to keep in touch with family and have heard the saying that, “If you are not paying for friends, but still have no plan to use it commercially a product, then you are the product”. Zuboff suggests moving forwards. this is not quite correct and takes it to a further level: She states that for Google, data is the product. We, as individuals, are simply the raw material from which the product is extracted, and that Google and Facebook are obtaining free access to this raw material. I have added Roger McNamee’s ‘Zucked’ and Cathy O’Neil’s Good move on ditching Facebook. I was just a user, ‘Weapons of Math Destruction’ to my list for future mostly of groups and keeping in contact with friends reads on this topic. (real ones) and acquaintances, but I had become   increasingly annoyed by Facebook’s bully boy tactics Like you, I have wound back my use of Facebook. I and apparent attitude to their consumers. This last still access it to find out what friends are doing, and episode made me pull the pin and I have deleted my do access a number of motorhome user groups, but profile. So far I have managed to survive! little else. I have gone further with Google and it’s related entities. I ceased using Google Chrome as a web-browser some time ago, preferring Vivaldi, Mozilla Thanks, Chris. Firefox, Opera and now Microsoft Edge, together with Safari when using Apple devices. For a search Good to hear life still goes on, Chris, and good on you engine, Google is no longer used except on very rare for taking the big leap. I'm still using it for family and occasions, with preference for Ecosia (which claims friends and the odd thing to business, but that's it. Are it is a non-profit organisation spending what it earns you using any other social media platform or app to investing in trees around the world), Duck Duck Go keep in touch with family and friends as you travel? (which does not mine data) and Microsoft’s Bing. I Hello Richard. An interesting read on your Facebook encounter and current business boycott. It may be of interest to other iMotorhome readers of a book I recently read, and one I am currently ploughing through (once I am up to date with iMotorhome reading of course).

Ditch the ‘Book

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NEWS

iM Magazine Reader Weekend Date Change The iMotorhome Magazine Reader Weekend in Jugiong, NSW, has been put back a week to 10-13 September, to allow for Father’s Day on the original weekend. In case you missed it, this will be a free weekend to provide maximum flexibility in case of unexpected border closures or other travel restrictions.

We did a quick reconnaissance trip in March and have identified a couple of areas suitable for a group of 20 to 25 vehicles. We were looking to book the onsite community hall to provide an all-weather venue (just in case), but current Covid restrictions make this unworkable. However, if restrictions ease we hope to secure this for the weekend. Also closer to time, we’ll be sending out a mud map of the planned camping site to those attending. As we already have 15 or so bookings, if you’re interested please email richard@ imotorhome.com.au with your names, vehicle type and registration number and we’ll add you to the list. So, if you’d like to come and meet the iMotorhome Team and some fellow readers, don’t delay – book today.

No specific events are planned, although closer to time we will look at organising a couple of pay-onthe-day meals at the historic Sir George hotel and Longtrack Pantry. You’ll also be asked to pay a small per-night donation for use of the community–maintained free camping area, which features facilities including barbecues, picnic tables, a dump point and potable water. While our event runs for four days, you are allowed to stay up to seven days, if contemplating an earlier arrival to grab the best spots or if you decide to linger longer.

NORTHCOACH NORTHCOACH STARFIN AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

STARFIN AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Quality ISO 9001

Quality ISO 9001

ISO: QMS42870

ISO: QMS42870

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NEWS

Kea’s New Dreamland Kea in New Zealand has released full details of its Dreamland M725 on the latest Mercedes-Benz 519, priced from NZ$179,500. The Dreamland has evolved from the Dreamtime, Kea’s iconic model that’s still revered by owners on both sides of the Tasman. Hopefully the new model will make it to Australia despite differences between the two countries on gross vehicle mass (GVM) weight limits on a car licence. In NZ that limit is 6000 kg and the Dreamland has a GVM of 5000 kg, 500 kg more than Australia’s 4500 kg limit. The good news is the Dreamland has a tare weight of 3780 kg including fuel and fresh water, thanks to modern, light weight construction. Even with Australia's restrictive limit that still leaves a payload around 700 kg for occupants and equipment, which bodes well for its arrival on this side of the pond. Kea says, “We like to think the Dreamland has the best possible combination of performance, engineering and creature comforts. Built with our customers in mind, we understand flexibility is the key. The Kea Dreamland sleeps four and offers a choice of two floor plans: One where the rear lounge can be converted into two single beds or one large double, and the other that features an electric drop-down bed over the rear lounge. Both feature an over-cab double bed, classic U-shaped rear

lounge with large panoramic double-glazed windows, a separate shower and toilet, ample kitchen workspace and generous storage”. Measuring 7.24 m (23’8”) the Dreamtime is quite compact but features an impressive standard equipment list that includes a swivelling passenger seat, Fusion sound system, full oven and hob, auto satellite dish, 280W of solar, an electric entry step, 2 x 100 amp-hour lithium batteries, Webasto diesel heater, 4.2m awning, bike rack, 188L 12V compressor fridgefreezer, Xtron multimedia navigation system, 24” Smart LEDTV, reversing camera, gas hot water, an 800W inverter and USB points at each bed. The Dreamland also carries 145L of fresh and grey water,and is powered by the 140kW/440Nm Mercedes-Benz V6 turbo-diesel driving through a 7G Tronic 7-speed auto. Given the competitive price, extensive standard equipment list and floor plan options, there appears to be a significant market in Australia as well as New Zealand for this important new model. Its arrival in Australia would also shake up the local industry, with buyers the certain winners, and iMotorhome will be watching developments with considerable interest.

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DIY

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NEWS

Mitsubishi Express’ ANCAP Safety Failure Van Life readers and campervan converters beware. Australasia’s independent voice on vehicle safety, ANCAP SAFETY, has released its first zero star rating. The Mitsubishi Express van was unable to qualify for a rating higher than zero due to the absence of active safety systems. The Express also delivered marginal performance in physical crash tests and lacks basic safety features that consumers have come to expect in a newly released model. Mitsubishi announced the withdrawal of the original Express van from the Australasian market in 2013, but after a seven year hiatus, a new model was released locally last year. Following a full suite of crash tests by ANCAP, physical crash performance of the newly released Express was marginal in areas, with notable risk of serious injury to the chest of the driver in three of the four destructive crash tests (frontal offset, full width frontal and oblique pole tests). A penalty was also applied for potential hard knee contact points for the driver in frontal crashes, and close to the maximum penalty applied for “aggressivity” in frontal collisions with other vehicles. Further penalties were applied for significant deformation of the side cargo door in both the side impact and pole tests creating openings through which partial ejection may be possible. A high risk of neck injury was recorded for the driver in the whiplash test, with passenger whiplash injury

risk likely to be higher due to the basic design of the bench seat and head restraints fitted for the two frontrow passenger seating positions. There is no chestprotecting side airbag fitted on the passenger side, nor is a centre airbag fitted for protection in side crashes. A frontal airbag for the centre passenger seating position is also not offered. Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane support systems (LSS) – safety features which are routinely fitted to almost all vehicles assessed in recent years – are not offered on the Mitsubishi Express, resulting in a Safety Assist score of just 7%. Scores for Adult Occupant Protection and Vulnerable Road User Protection were also low. The zero star rating will see the Mitsubishi Express ineligible for purchase by a wide range of fleets and commercial buyers that have for many years required 5 star rated vehicles. “The Express’ poor result sends a clear signal to manufacturers and their global parent companies that safety must be prioritised in all segments offered to the Australasian market,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, Carla Hoorweg. “Safety rating criteria and consumer expectations have evolved, as have manufacturers’ desire and ability to introduce improved levels of safety. We know Mitsubishi can deliver vehicles with high levels of overall safety and a wide range of modern safety technologies and we encourage them to accelerate the introduction of these features into their van product”.

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NEWS

Easter RV Success Aladdin’s Cave

Caravanning and camping in Australia is heading for its biggest most successful ever. That the Police haveand allegedly uncoveredEaster an Aladdin's caveisof prediction of theatindustry’s peak theGold Caravanning stolen property a caravan parkbody, on the Coast. Industry Association of Australia. Television’s A Current Affair recentlyafter aired a feature Aussies making It happened officers fromon Mudgeeraba identified plans to hit the wide open road to explore the amazing a vehicle of interest that was thought to have been experiences on offer. involved in recent property offences in Robina and Broadbeach. That led to a search warrant being “In particular, theMudgeeraba uptake of young families couples executed at the caravan park,and where who are trying out for the first time realising numerous toolsit and construction siteafter equipment were what they may have previously taken for granted found. Police also allegedly located two syringes prior and a to the pandemic,” plastic water pipe.the association said. CIAA said it had also been hard at work withboth media A 45-year-old man and 23-year-old woman, relating to road safety. from Mudgeeraba, were charged with two counts of entering with intent, one count of stealing, one count “Over coming weeks will also see media activity of possessing taintedyou property, one count of receiving relating to safety one in caravan is a timely tainted property, count ofparks. wilfulItdamage and three reminder as we head into Easter to be ever present counts of drug possession. both in terms of safety on the road and at camp.” The association also warned people looking to buy a caravan or upgrade their existing RV to be careful to avoid potential scammers.

Major RV Shows Return STOP PRESS!

Fans of big RVs shows will be pleased to know that the Sydney Camping & Touring Supershow, Just as weCaravan, were going to press, the following update Victorian Caravan, Camping Touring Supershow was received regarding the&legal battle as outlined in and Let’s Go Queensland Sorry State in our LettersCaravan section: & Camping Supershow are back on for 2021. The Sydney show, at“Good Rosehill Racecourse, runs from and 13-18 April, while morning to all our friends supporters. Your the Melbourne 13-16 May but has donations areShow beingruns well from spent. been moved to Sandown Racecourse. The Brisbane show runs from 2-7 June and as usualhearings, will be at the “Excellent news: Following further Brisbane Showgrounds. Sydney details www. provisional orders haveFor been handed downvisit until such supershow.com.au, Melbourne www.caravanshow. time as a full hearing is held, which could be some com.au andto Brisbane www.caravanqld.com.au/events/ time, due the current circumstances. queensland-caravan-camping-supershow. “The Orders: Everybody gets their land and buildings back and all are to be given quiet enjoyment of their sites, no more threats or bullying or blocking friends from visiting. To keep good faith, we will be paying appropriate fees, which will be determined by an independent expert. I will keep you posted when we get details. Bye for now, Rich”.

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NEWS

Caravan Park Warning NSW Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, has warned people to take extra care when considering setting up their permanent home in a caravan park. It comes after an announcement the NSW Court of Appeal has upheld a Supreme Court decision, which included an order for three companies to pay more than $2.3 million in compensation plus interest to consumers who were allegedly led to believe that waterfront sites along the Tweed River were ‘permanent residences’ despite them not having development consent for permanent accommodation.

In a statement issued, Mr Anderson said he was glad consumers would be properly compensated. “These operators acted unconscionably, leading to consumers, including retirees, paying a premium for what they believed were permanent waterfront residences,” he said. “If you’re looking at buying a dwelling located inside a caravan park, make sure you check with council to confirm what you’re being offered is above board and seek independent legal advice on the sale.”

Victor Harbour becoming RV Unfriendly? South Australia’s City of Victor Harbor has decided to abandon its trial of the free RV overnight camping site at Dump Beach car park, following complaints from the local community. A motion calling for another sixmonth trial at a more suitable site, such as the town’s

information bay where a dump point is located, was lost. Cr David Kemp said most problems seemed to stem from tent campers who frequently sat around campfires and partied, leaving behind large amounts of rubbish when they left. 16


DIY NEWS

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NEWS

Gold Coast Show Record Caravanning Queensland has set a new record for the largest caravanning, camping and outdoor expo on the Gold Coast. With almost 20,000 enthusiasts flocking through the gates of Metricon Stadium, attendance at the recent Let’s Go Gold Coast Caravan and Outdoor Expo was up by 30 percent year-on-year. More than 130 exhibitors displayed over 500 recreational vehicles.

Caravanning Queensland chief executive Jason Plant said many exhibitors had generated record sales, proving the appeal of caravanning was continuing to gain popularity – welcome news for Queensland tourism providers.

 “Given 2020 was peppered with lockdowns and disruptions, the fact that over 400 recreational vehicles were sold at the event is great news for domestic tourism,” he said. “Those sales resulted in

an approximate combined value of over $20 million, providing another win for the caravanning industry which suffered through the first hard lockdown in 2020 but has rebounded over the past year.

“With international travel still off the cards for now, Queenslanders of all ages are hitting the road in their own RV to experience what we have here at home in our own backyard,” he added.

Apollo’s national sales manager Robin Harris said it was looking forward to a successful year of trade shows with Caravanning Queensland.

“We find great value in CQ’s shows,” she explained. “Being able to interact with our customers on a large scale is so beneficial to our trade, and the success of the Gold Coast Expo points to another great year for us at the upcoming Supershow in Brisbane.” 18


NEWS

Kangaroo Island Free Fares SeaLink is offering two travellers free return ferry fares to Kangaroo Island between May 15 and September 14 when they travel with their car, camper trailer or caravan. But it warns: “Camping is only permitted in designated areas on Kangaroo Island.” Meanwhile, more than a thousand RVers are taking advantage of a special Spirit of Tasmania deal in which RVs will cross the Bass Strait to the Apple Isle on the cheap until June 30.

NT Camp Fees Rise The NT Government has announced higher camping fees for its parks and reserves. Changes from July 1 include the introduction of an online booking system and increased camping fees of up to $3.40 a night. There will also be multi-day walking fees for some trails. Parks and Rangers Minister Selena Uibo said, “Camping and walking fees for Territory parks have not been increased in over 20 years, and increasing fees will help to generate some of the funds required to support our parks”. 20


RV enthusiasts helping other likeminded people start their next big adventure...

RV Sales Service Centre Parts & Accessories Australia’s largest range of RVs in one convenient location. www.ausmhc.com.au Open 6 Days - 02 4948 0433 enquiries@ausmhc.com.au 31 Pacific Hwy, Bennetts Green, NSW 2290


TESTED: AVIDATESTED BUSSELTON C7544SL

Hustle ‘n

Busselton Almost a week hustling along in the new Avida Busselton gave us time to get to know this important new model… 22

by Richard Robertson


TESTED

A

vida’s expanding motorhome range now comprises eight models, encompassing everything from the compact van-conversion Escape to the flagship, truck-based Longreach. For some time the mid-range Birdsville and larger Esperance models have been Avida’s mainstays, but technological ‘bracket creep’ has brought about a range reshuffle and created a new slot, filled by the Busselton. Priced at $193, 213 on the road in NSW for the C7544SL model tested here, Mrs iM and I spent 5 days in the new Busselton, including 3 nights in different locations and in some atrocious weather. We came away impressed, yet initially perplexed as to the Busselton’s market: On one hand it’s a sizeable and impressive motorhome – it elicited quite a number of positive comments – but on the other its physical dimensions limit its potential. It took a few days to work out who the Busselton will appeal to and where it sits in Avida’s scheme of things, but it’s an important addition in Avida’s expanding range, which aims to have a model for every buyer.


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TESTED

Background

T

he Busselton has come about because the hugely popular Esperance range is moving up the weight category. Built on the equally popular Iveco Daily, the Esperance has been the biggest Avida model you can drive on a car licence. Well regarded for its genuine 3500 kg towing capacity, dual-tyre stability, rear-wheeldrive configuration and ‘big truck’ over-engineering, the Daily is undisputed king of the medium-to-heavy RV market. However, the new Daily E6 is about to hit Avida’s production line and it’s some 80 kg heavier, making keeping the Esperance below the 4500 kg gross vehicle mass (GVM) limit for a car licence very difficult. So, the new Esperance will move into the light

rigid (LR) licence category, with an across-the-range 5200 kg GVM to accomodate all its new bells and whistles. That’s where the Busselton fits in. Busseltons will be the go-to Avidas for those still wanting the Daily’s huge towing capacity, rear-wheel drive and big-truck DNA, but on a car licence. Shorter than the Esperance, there are three models and all are C-Class motorhomes (meaning beds over the cabs). The hero model is the 7.5m (24’7”) C7544SL, which has a near full-length slide-out on the driver’s side that incorporates a four-seat cafe-style dinette and eastwest bed. It also has a full-width bathroom at the back.

24


TESTED

The other Busselton models – the C7814 and C7824 – are 7.8m (25’7”) long but lack the slide-out. However, the layouts are good, with the former having an island bed while the latter has singles, and each has a split bathroom. Both also incorporate swivelling cab seats into their four-place dinettes (the test Busselton seats six). All Busseltons are 2.32m (7’7”) wide (exc mirrors), 3.13m (10’3”) tall, have 80L of fresh and grey water, a 14L Truma LPG/electric hot water system, 17L toilet cassette, 2 x 4kg gas cylinders and 1 x 100 amp-hour deep-cycle house battery. While those water, gas and battery power figures are disappointing for vehicles of this size and price (as is the lack of solar, although it’s pre-wired), they’re understandable given the weight constraints. Indeed, balancing weight will require careful attention to options and loading, because with a 3950 kg tare weight for the C7544 in this review there’s not a lot of wiggle room to keep it under its 4495 kg GVM. Factor in 80 kg for water and 83 kg for fuel and you’re left with a theoretical maximum of 382 kg. That has to cover wine, occupants, chairs, tables, tools, clothes, food – and more wine. It’s doable, but of course you can load up your toad, boat or trailer with more wine, so there’s no need to panic (there will also be a 5200 kg GVM upgrade option if you have/want an LR licence but don’t want a new Esperance). With all that clarified, let me tell you about the test Busselton. Well, in a moment. If you’re not wedded to the hairy-chested Iveco Daily but like the Busselton C7544’s layout, consider the Birdsville (right), which is on the front-wheel drive Fiat Ducato. Just 110mm (4.4”) shorter and with an almost indistinguishable floorplan; has 40% more payload, carries 40 litres more fresh and grey water and still tows 2000 kg – on a car licence. It’s also some $28,000 cheaper, which buys a lot of wine...

Avida Birdsville

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TESTED

Daily Hustle

I

n case you’re wondering, when the new Iveco Daily E6 hits the production line it too will underpin the Busselton, but Avida has earmarked a range of weight reduction measures to counter the new Italian’s bloat. Apart from being Euro 6 emissions complaint, the new Daily E6 also includes some important safety upgrades. From adaptive cruise control and lanekeeping assist to Apple CarPlay and optional LED headlights, it will include many other features to put it up there with the latest from Mercedes-Benz and other rivals. While the new engine is essentially the same 3.0-litre turbo-diesel, the current 125 kW power output increases to 132 kW on the E6, although torque remains the same at 430 Nm. What carries over from the current model, however, is the excellent eightspeed ‘Hi-Matic’ automatic transmission with Power and Eco modes, and that’s a good thing. Smooth and capable, it moves the Busselton along nicely, although in Eco mode it quickly shuffles through the first four gears, which feels a bit ‘doughy’. We averaged 14.6 L/100 km (19.35 mpg) over a lot of freeway and highway driving, and with just a bit of around-town driving thrown in. Running just below GVM with full fuel (100 L) and water (80 L) because of bedding, cutlery, crockery and chairs for four, plus an outdoor table, hoses, leads, wheel chocks, etc, it was a good result for an engine with just 5000 km on the clock. Although the Busselton-spec lacks cab suspension seats or even seat armrests (go figure), it’s still a comfortable place to pass the kilometres. Visibility is excellent, helped by big mirrors and a (rather average) reversing camera, while ground clearance is good. Also, there’s little rear overhang and the turning circle is European-compact for the vehicle’s size. Ride comfort is good too, although the frontend crashes a bit over broken surfaces at speed. On blacktop freeways, however, all is serenity, with engine noise and vibration well suppressed. One final impression: The Iveco-based Busselton feels pretty much indestructible from behind the wheel and inspires driver and passenger confidence.

26


TESTED

Busselton Build

L

ike all Avida coachbuilt motorhomes the Busselton features steel floor/aluminium frame/foam insulation/fibreglass body-panel construction. It’s proven, durable and tough, if not as cutting-edge as the frameless, solid-panel construction that’s becoming more common. The body is all the more imposing because of the Iveco’s considerable chassis height, necessitating a pair of electric entry steps in addition to a step-up, once inside. Avida also uses steel-framed single-pane glass windows rather than the aluminium-framed, doubleglazed acrylic units favoured by others. Both have their plus and minus points, with Avida pointing out its units provide better security and can be left open in most rain conditions. We discovered, however, that their smaller opening section (the bottom third or so) restricted airflow somewhat, making a 12V Sirocco fan or two a worthwhile consideration. The windows also lack the inbuilt privacy screens of the others, which slide up from the base and allow you to sit at the dinette, for example, with just a small section open at the top and to watch the world go by. The Busselton’s windows have simple pull-down blinds that can be left slightly raised for ventilation. There’s also a large, sideways-opening electric roof hatch and a roof-top airconditioner to add to the ventilation picture.

Outside, the body and cab integrate nicely, aided by mouldings that form side-steps. These proved highly practical, although you have to be careful not to drip diesel on the passenger’s step when refuelling as it’s difficult to wipe it off the non-stick surface. Considering the GVM limit there’s decent external storage, with two lockers on the kerb side (the front one has the house battery) and three on the driver’s side; the middle-one home to the pair of gas cylinders. There’s still plenty of room for hoses, power leads, a tool box, etc, while the slide-out has three lockers at waist height that access storage under the bed and both lounge seats. The water filler and mains-water connector are on the back wall, as is the toilet cassette hatch, while the mains power connector is on the slide-out. 27


TESTED

Busselton Life

A

s mentioned, the C7544SL gets a near-full length slide-out on the driver’s side that's home to a four-seat, cafe-style dinette and east-west bed (with a wardrobe separating them), plus a full-width rear bathroom. The test Busselton was equipped with seat belts for four, but production models won’t have the dinette ‘belts unless requested. The cab seats swivel – something I didn't discover until returning the vehicle! – but don't integrate with the dinette. However, when stuck indoors due to rain as we were, they would provide invaluable additional seating and also come in handy when entertaining. The three-way fridge and the microwave sit in a tall unit between the swivelled passenger seat and entry door. That unit also has a drop-down table on the side, which spans the doorway and becomes a useful kitchen bench extension. The kitchen itself extends aft from the entry door through to the bedroom, morphing along the way into a kind of narrower dressing table complete with a ton of storage below and ending at another wardrobe by the bathroom door.

Mrs iM was thoroughly impressed by the internal storage, although not so fussed on having to fully extend the slide-out during the day to access the bathroom, despite a lift-up bed. Apparently, partial slide-out extension isn’t permitted and the bed end tucks under the benchtop when fully retracted, hence the dilemma. An obvious solution would be an extendable bed-end and mattress bolster, to allow the bed to lift when the slide-out’s tucked away, but perhaps it’s not possible. You can also just roll across the bed as Mrs iM did if needs be, so it’s not really that big an issue. Up front, the over-cab bed appeared a 28


TESTED

decent size and is reached via the usual aluminium ladder. It also easily hinges-up, making walk-through cab access easier. Speaking of the cab, I’m not sure about the black carpet and think a rubber mat/s would be a more practical inclusion. The Busselton has a good mix of LED strip and fixed lighting, with the latter having a nighttime blue mode. A touchscreen above the entry door controls most functions, from 12V power on/off to water pump, vehicle and hose battery condition, tank levels, etc. Almost everything is at your fingertips, except for the hot water switch, which is wayyyy down the back, in the bathroom. Given you’re likely to wash-up more than shower, I’d think that switch would be above the door with all the others. Speaking of batteries, the poor old 100 AH house battery dropped to 11.8V indicated on the morning after our second free camping night (and after only about 2 hrs driving in-between). That’s technically flat although it obviously wasn’t and we’re not big power users, but it shows how much the Busselton needs extra power if you don’t want to spend the majority of your time in caravan parks. Avida offers a wide choice of interior and exterior colours and finishes, but we quite liked the white, marble-effect laminate dominating most of the interior of the test vehicle. Mrs iM also remarked it would be very easy to wipe down to keep clean; ditto the fauxwood flooring. 29


TESTED

Busselton Bustle

W

e took the Busselton on a road trip to catch up with our friends Allan and Kezzie Whiting of outbacktravelaustralia.com.au, who were camped on the shores of Burrinjuck Dam in South-East NSW. They'd been sailing their little catamaran around the dam’s placid waters for a few days and saved us a spot at the Reflections Holiday Park. We planned a couple of nights, but the rains were coming and so we just stayed for one. That worked out well as the March flies (aka Horse flies) were biting, but the Busselton, with slide-out extended, provided a perfect dinner venue with elevated lake views. It also showed the Busselton can double as a mobile dance floor, when Mrs iM and Mr Whiting rocked-’n-rolled to tunes from the in-built sound system. If only I’d taken a photo… The Busselton’s dinette comfortably seats four, although I question the need for a Zwaardviz everywhich-way table mount in such a situation. The large central leg with its various knobs did get in the way a

bit and a simpler solution would be just as effective and save a few kilograms, I think. We all found the dinette seats comfortable thanks to the contoured backrests that gave good lumbar support – a feature missing in many motorhomes. The forward facing seat has an extra-tall backrest that provides head protection for seat-belted occupants when travelling, which is another welcome touch. Our second night away was in the tiny town of Dalton, in an equally tiny free camping spot, as our planned stopping place in Gunning was full and storms were building. After a very quick walk into town the heavens opened and remained that way all afternoon and evening. We read, did computer things and passed the time at the dinette – sometimes sitting sideways with a pillow against the wall – all the while listening to the rain on the roof. It was relaxing and enjoyable, but I wish I’d realised the cab seats swivelled. Doh… 30


TESTED

Both evenings, Mrs iM rustled up culinary masterpieces on the new Thetford Topline 981 threering Hybrid Hob. It has a pair of gas burners and a single induction-cooking ring, and I think will become the new RV standard. Ideal when connected to mains power or with good batteries and an inverter, Mrs iM stuck to the gas burners but loved their open, elevated design that didn’t limit pot/pan placement. She also loved the deep sink and noted you get full kitchen (and dinette) access when the slide-out’s retracted, so you can easily rustle-up and enjoy a meal on the go. Our final night in the Busselton was at a friend’s new property in Fitzroy Falls. Still unpacking after a hectic move, we were much more comfortable in the big Avida than their fledgling guest room, despite torrential rain, lighting and thunder. Once again the bed proved comfortable (although an innerspring mattress would be better), while the bathroom, with proper room and privacy, proved entirely practical and user friendly. It also saved lugging bags to and from the house in such ‘inclement’ conditions…

31


TESTED

What I Think

I

n a nutshell, the new Avida Busselton C7544SL is a small apartment on wheels; one best suited to those looking for maximum living space and towing capacity on a car licence, but who rarely want to free camp more than one night at a time. The Iveco Daily is comfortable, capable and big-truck tough. It help makes the Busselton a substantial rig well suited to long-distance and long-term travel, and I’ve little doubt you’ll see plenty of them around Australia in years to come. Amidst the hustle and bustle of modern life it can even make you dance (‘though hopefully nobody’s watching)… 32


SPECS GENERAL Make

Avida RV

Model

Busselton C7544SL

Type

C-Class

Berths

4

Approved Seating

4

Licence

Car

Pros... Iveco Daily tough Eight-speed auto Towing capacity Large slide-out Living space Internal storage Dinette comfort Warranty

VEHICLE Make/Model

Iveco Daily 50C

Engine

3.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power

125 kW @ 3500 rpm

Torque

430 Nm @ 1500 rpm

Transmission/Drive

HiMatic 8-speed automatic

Safety

Airbags, ABS, ETC, etc

Fuel/AdBlue

100 L

WEIGHTS Tare Weight

3950 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4495 kg

Braked Towing Capacity

3500 kg

DIMENSIONS Overall Length

7.50 m (24' 7”)

Overall Width (exc mirrors)

2.32 m (7' 7")

Overall Height

3.13 m (10' 3”)

Internal Height

2.20 m (6’ 7”)

Bed - Main

1.91 m x 1.37 m (6' 3" x 4' 6”)

Bed - Over Cab

1.91 m x 1.32 m (6’ 3” x 4’ 4”)

Cons...

EQUIPMENT Slide-Out

Yes

Awning

Roll-out

Entry Steps

Electric x 2

Cooker

Thetford Topline 981. 2 x LPG & 1 x Induction

Rangehood Sink Fridge Microwave Lighting 12 V Sockets/USB Outlets Air Conditioner Space Heater Hot Water System Toilet Shower CAPACITIES Batteries Solar LPG Fresh Water Grey Water Hot Water Toilet PRICE - drive-away NSW From Warranty

Yes Square with drainer & flick-mixer tap 189 L Dometic 2-door LPG/12V/240V Yes 12 V LED Yes/Yes Yes Optional Truma LPG/electric Cassette Separate cubicle

Weight limitations Single house battery No solar Water capacities Cross Ventilation Manufacturer Avida RV

32 David Rd Emu Plains. NSW. 2750. T: (02) 4735-8116 W: avidarv.com.au

1 x 100 AH Deep Cycle Optional 2 x 4 kg 80 L 80 L 14 L 17 L Cassette

Dealers

A$193.213 3-yrs Iveco/5-yrs Structural/2-yrs Roadside Assist

33

T: 1300 428 432 (Aus) T: 0800 946 643 (NZ) W: avidarv.com.au/buying-tools/ dealers/


TESTED

“In a nutshell, the new Avida Busselton C7544SL is a small apartment on wheels; one best suited to those looking for maximum living space and towing capacity on a car licence, but who rarely want to free camp more than one night at a time...”

34


LETTERS TESTED

AKUNA Get away from it all in style

35 12


PROJECT POLLY

y l l o P ING M A E R D or f t s … -li s h r s u i o w s ’ a e s r ha He . e e n ryo orhom e v t E o m r thei

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PROJECT POLLY

Flashback 2015: Collecting Polly from Apollo RV in Brisbane.

he problem with not buying the motorhome of your dreams is once you have it you still spend time dreaming of the motorhome of your dreams. Project Polly has always been a work in progress, which of course is a part of her charm. However, as we move towards our sixth anniversary of purchase we have been soul-searching regarding her future and like so many things in life, it's good not to rush decisions. Speaking of decisions, the best advice I ever received as a younger man was not to make them in a bad mood (this has little to do with the subject at hand, but it's a piece of sage advice worth remembering and sharing!). I only wish I’d always heeded it…

T

travel and live in the vehicles we've been testing and while you might think that would have us longing for a new motorhome, it’s actually made us appreciate Polly all the more. Okay, if we won Lotto tomorrow we'd be off in something new and you’d miss us, but what’s the chance? The thing is, we’ve come to realise that no matter how impressive a motorhome, they all do the same basic job as Polly, just with more space and/or convenience. Add to that existing family considerations that mean a trip away of more than a week or so is difficult, and with the clarity of careful consideration we realise Polly still works for us and can do going forward.

Late in 2019 we thought it was time to sell Polly and advertised her just as the drought bit and bushfires hit, and then Covid arrived. To say it was ‘inauspicious timing’ is an understatement. In retrospect, however, those events seem to have held a silver lining: Polly is still with us and becoming more useful – and used. The opening months of this year have seen us able to

Over time we've also added the odd extra or two, purely in the line of research you understand. In no particular order these comprise 150 watts of Redarc solar plus a Redarc Manager30 battery management system (BMS). It prioritises solar input over mains or vehicle power in recharging Polly’s basic, 100 amp-hour house battery, which was new at purchase 37


PROJECT POLLY time and is still going strong. We’ve also added a Webasto 2.5 kW diesel heater with programable digital controller, acquired a set of solar screens for all windows, added a 12-volt Scirocco fan and 12volt socket/USB charging outlet, and replaced the old fridge with a new Isotherm 12V compressor unit. Early on, Mrs iM made a new set of curtains, while Southern Spirit Campervans fitted insects screens to the side and rear door openings, and supplied a pair of louvered vents that fit into the tops of the cab windows and are held in place by the raised windows. They also replaced the crappy opaque roof hatch with a proper Heki unit and refurbished the roof, which was something of a mammoth undertaking. The windscreen was replaced and so too was the entire windscreen surround, due to rust and water leaks from too many replacements in Polly’s rental career. That also necessitated a front respray, plus we fitted new aftermarket headlight units with +50 blue bulbs, and a small light bar. The standard radio/CD player was replaced by a (truly disappointing) touchscreen infotainment system; its saving grace being handsfree telephone operation and music streaming. A Hayman Reece towbar was added, along with a Reverse Alert system that uses the parking sensors to apply the brakes if an object or person is detected while reversing. Unfortunately the system stopped working after a couple of years but started-up again after replacing the spare tyre, then stopped once more (along with the reversing lights!)

when the bike rack lights were plugged in. Recently the ancient Suburban hot water system was replaced by Suncamper Motorhomes for an excellent Aussie-made Swift unit and that’s made a world of difference, as has an ARB tyre pressure monitoring system for added peace of mind. Finally, just last week I bought a new 4kg LPG cylinder as the old was past its use-by date and the valve was dodgy. In hindsight that’s way more than remembered and combined they have gone a long way to helping make Polly a reasonably comfortable and capable touring machine – and mobile office. However, that doesn't make her perfect! As ‘a keeper’ it’s time to identify and address her limitations, plus create a wish list for that illusive perfect world. So here goes…

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PROJECT POLLY

Limitations and Solutions

C

oming up to 11.5 years old and 315,000 km travelled (the first 5 years/240,000 km as an Apollo rental [hence the name ‘Polly’] in case you’e unaware), she’s well worn and a bit tired. That said, Polly still runs perfectly and achieves’ point-to-point travel times equal to a car. The wear-and-tear of her age come from repeated use of things like the sliding side door, plus some rust now developing in the driver’s door entry step. The tiredness comes from the distance travelled at near maximum weight: Polly has a 3550 kg GVM and is usually within a hundred kilos or so when we travel. The suspension is getting a little ‘floaty’ over bumps at speed and there’s some slop evident in the drive train when backing off the accelerator. Also, the clutch is getting close to renewal time. So, what must we do and what would we like to do? A recent trip to the local Ford dealer identified the issues with the sliding side door (and passenger door for good measure), resulting in a quote of around $3000 to replace locks and rollers, give or take $500 or so because they’ve never done one before. They also said to allow $3000-3500 for the clutch, including labour. Ouch! Whilst the doors and locks at this stage are just mild inconveniences, the clutch is something

that will need to be addressed sooner than later, but so far there is no slip or sign of it. I’ve had a second quote at $2500-$2800 from a local transmission specialist and will get another before embarking on that financial adventure. Other limitations come mainly from her size and layout. For example, the front seats don't swivel as the driver’s seat backs up against the bathroom. However, the passenger seat could swivel if the appropriate base was fitted. There’s no awning, outside light or mains water connector due to being a rental; the sliding side windows at the rear barely open and the screens are rubbish, the mattresses are tired and the covers hideous, while under-bed/dinette storage is okay but could be better. Pollys flooring is serviceable but looking shabby, while the general decor is dark upfront, making the interior feel even smaller than it is. Whilst every problem is solvable, we have to balance outcome and cost. Given Polly’s age and mileage it would also be easy to over-invest. At the end of the day she is what she is and quite liveable in her current form for our limited travel needs. So, what to do?

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PROJECT POLLY

Wish List

T

his is where things get interesting – and potentially expensive – and your ideas/comments/advice are certainly welcome. 1: First ‘wish’ is for a good clean. Polly hasn’t had the best of cosmetic care and is in serious need of a wash, cut and polish. I’m also keen to remove the ‘temporary’ sign writing that’s now almost six years old as we’d like to go incognito when it suits and use magnetic signs at other times. The plastic bumpers and mirrors also need revitalising; all of which sounds like quite a tedious job for DIY or an expensive one to have done. Thoughts please. 2: The only must-have is an awning, which Mrs iM has been campaigning for for some time. It will be a simple wind-out unit and greatly enhance our outdoor living space. An external light shouldn’t be too difficult to organise, although it will be away from the door to reduce the number of insects getting inside on a warm night. 3: Almost a must-have is a proper entry door in place of the slider. Priced around $5k before any deal, it includes a Crimsafe security screen, which would be especially useful when free camping. It also eliminates the dreaded ‘whizz-bang’ and doesn’t cost much more than replacing the old rollers and locks. 4: Next on the big-ticket wish list is probably the most complex job: Swivelling the passenger seat, upgrading the battery (lithium?), replacing the bulky Redarc Manager30 system with (probably) a smaller Ctek unit that charges the vehicle batteries as well as the house battery, and a flip-up extension for the kitchen bench that could double as a desk for the swivelled seat. Nothing like ambition, eh? How would it work? Transit seat swivel bases are available; the battery upgrade is size-and-cost dependent and it might remain at or close to the ‘current’ (sorry) 100 Ah capacity, as a deep-cycle AGM. Much as I love buying Australian, Redarc don’t have a BMS that charges the house and vehicle batteries, at least not at last checking. Finally, the flip-up extension would have to be at a lower height than usual to work with the swivelled seat, but Mrs iM says that’s okay! No idea on pricing or practicality for all this, but it certainly sounds good and would add an invaluable secondary seating/working space. 40


PROJECT POLLY

5: Replacing the foam mattresses with custom-made innerspring jobbies would certainly increase comfort. Have you had experience with custom mattresses and what are your thoughts?

removing the current units, welding new body panels in their place and then cutting them out to suit. It would also necessitate a body respray, so that’s not going to happen. However, replacements for the current windows are reasonably affordable, if we can’t free-up 6: There’s not much we can do with the bathroom apart the originals after some concerted effort. from add some quality stick-on accessories. There’s no roof hatch, just an unpowered vent to the side and I’m 10: The last big project on the wish list would be to wondering if it’s possible to add a small fan? Oh yes, scrap the exisiting cabinetry aft of the kitchen and the plastic lock on the door needs replacing. have the whole thing rebuilt in a U-shape – a la New Zealand Back – with proper storage underneath and a 8: A mains water connector seems to be an affordable boot across the rear. Combined with proper mattresses and worthwhile improvement, not that we often stay in it would transform Polly’s living area and, at the same caravan parks. It should be a straight forward addition, time, we could replace the flooring with modern fauxclose to the hot water system. Speaking of hot water, wood boards. Easy! I have to run an extension cord from a mains outlet in the wardrobe to the new Swift unit as it can heat using 11: The current Kenwood touchscreen sound system 240 volts when we’re plugged in, saving LPG. was supposed to be able to mirror an iPhone, but that never worked. Now units with Apple CarPlay are 9: How we’d love to replace the sliding glass windows available it’s really tempting to replace the Kenwood with proper European-style motorhome units! and have all the benefits proper connectivity brings. Unfortunately, that would require something like Tempting… 41


PROJECT POLLY

12: Still on the radio front, a CB is probably a good idea, although I’m not interested in participating in the highway babble. It would be for safety and I already have a little (older) GME unit somewhere that would probably do the job. That just leaves the aerial and its location to consider. 13: Connectivity is a big consideration for us and while not big TV users when travelling, we certainly need internet access. I’m not yet sold on our new Telstra Nighthawk wifi modem, although it did work well in Jugiong and Temora, as did our Vodafone mobiles. It probably would also have worked well at Burrinjuck Dam (unlike our Vodafone mobiles) if it hadn’t been sitting at home on the kitchen bench. Bugger. The Nighthawk needs an external antenna set-up to maximise reception and that’s something to look into. Any suggestions? 14: Finally, all those kilometres travelled and weight carried have taken their toll on Polly’s suspension. A shock absorber and spring upgrade would be a good

idea, along perhaps with helper airbags at the rear. Has anyone had experience with a Transit suspension makeover? Well, that’s it for now although there’s bound to be more, which is the problem with projects. Of course we could always buy that fully equipped new motorhome of our dreams (after the Lotto win), but where’s the fun in that? Watch these pages for progress as we slowly begin making at least some Wishlist items a reality. Along with other readers, I’d love to hear how your dreams have become reality. Feel free to share your successes and failures – the latter can teach us a lot – so we can all learn and get ideas. As far a Project Polly goes, I keep hearing John Lennon’s lyrics playing on repeat in my mind: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”…

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READER

E H T N A V E V I OL

T C E J O R P 43


READER

by Ian @ anotherwayround.com.au

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have been enjoying iMotorhome for many years and first wrote in some time ago asking Richard about my planning dilemma: Do I buy or do I build when considering embarking on a motorhome adventure? His sage advice at the time was that it is a lot of work and probably best to leave it to the professionals.

or Horizon. Unfortunately, even second hand they are still outside our budget and good ones are snapped up quickly. A concerted effort to find a suitable second hand motorhome commenced. Going for an ex-rental, a la Project Polly, certainly had its merits and we inspected quite a few. Many were frankly clapped out, others were overpriced for what was presented or After multiple motorhome rental adventures in Australia needed too much work to justify the outlay. and Unzed we roll on a few more years and semiretirement of some kind beckons – as does further A recent extended medical layup, coupled with road tripping around our beautiful country, particularly subdued business conditions gave me a lot of time to while the rest of world is off limits. research iMotorhome back issues on the iPad, as well as van life videos on Youtube. Following the online I’ve had too many VWs, including an old split window classifieds and watching all the bargains disappear Kombi in another century, and was always committed quickly during the ‘plague' really got me thinking that to a van based option for the same reason many are. a motorhome project was our preferred next great Now we’d all love a new, or at least late model Trakka adventure. “Build it and you can drive,” she said!

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READER

Bargain Build

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lthough not searching for a particular model, what I consider to be an absolute bargain popped up locally just before Christmas and better yet it was a V Dub. After an impressive, albeit brief lap of the block – wow, what an eye opener – vans have come a long way in the last few years. Here I am, out on the test drive scheming how I can convince my final wife we should snap this up. All the while, Wendy is texting our sons telling them we have, "Just bought a motorhome”. And so, Volkswagen #18, a 2018 Crafter LWB manual with 105,000 highway kilometres and dubbed 'Olive Van’ is now parked in our driveway – and Hugo the Bulldog just loves it :)

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READER I am giving myself about six months for the build and inviting you all along on the ride. I reckon the middle of the year is a great time to hit the highways with a break-in adventure. As regular road tripping campers by car, we have already completed a few short local trips; beer fridge, camping chairs and airbed in the back, while we settle on a final layout. We have a decent budget – double the purchase price of the bare van – and it must accommodate Hugo, have a full toilet and shower, be able to operate off-grid for extended periods and at least have the ability to slip a motorcycle in the back occasionally. The two companies that are my inspiration, are of course Trakka and Horizon. The plan is to build Olive Van for around half the price of a new one (I love ambition! – Ed). The online retailers, local small businesses, Bookface marketplace and eBay account are all copping a hammering. With the components starting to pile up under the house, the angle grinder/jig saw has been set free in the back of our oversized Kombi and the project is underway! Although the name came before the idea, OLIVE may well translate to ‘Our Living In Van Experience’. I look forward to bringing you the updates…

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TECH

UP!

Amping it

by Warren McCullough

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s discussed in the previous instalment, our van is equipped with two 100Ah (Amp/Hour) AGM batteries storing electrical energy to power our 12V appliances. That's a total of 200Ah. Given the 50% discharge limit of AGM batteries, we actually have around 100Ah of ‘usable’ battery capacity. But how long will this 100Ah battery capacity be able to supply enough electrical current to keep the fridge running when we are free-camping? The first step in answering that question is understanding how much current (amps) our 12V appliances draw from the batteries. This can be measured using a suitable meter – an ammeter – when each appliance is running, or (more easily) sourced from the manufacturer's specifications in the back of the appliance manual….

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“Keep in mind that other appliances also consume small amounts of electrical current when in standby mode, when not actually being used...”


TECH

Refrigerator – Our fridge is our biggest consumer of stored battery energy. Our 110L Dometic fridge/freezer consumes around 2.5 amps per hour, once it is cold and running, 24 hours a day. It can draw over 6 amps when it is starting up and initially cooling down, which is why it is always a good idea to hook up to a mains power outlet in the garage the night before departing on a trip to get the fridge cold.

For 24 hrs at 2.5 amps, the fridge will consume around 60 amp hours per day. This is likely to fluctuate up or down a little, depending on variables such as the ambient temperature, how much food is in the fridge and how often the door is opened. Either way, that’s more than half our available 100Ah battery capacity consumed by the fridge every day.


 Lighting – The current consumed by our LED lights is trivial compared to the electrical appetite of the fridge. We have LED lights in the roof of the living area, in the bathroom, over the galley, and under the awning, as well as reading lights above the sleeping area. Depending on the size of the light and the number of LEDs they contain, these devices consume between 0.1 and 0.4 amps per hour.

If we run our ceiling lights and kitchen galley lights for 1 hour and the reading lights for 2 hours each day, the current consumed by our LED lights will be around 2 Ah per day.
 TV/DVD - Our TV/DVD draws about 1.5 amps per hour; possibly a little more when watching a DVD, with a small motor rotating the disk. When not in use, we disconnect the unit from power (to avoid ‘standby’ drain) and turn off the antenna booster. Let’s say that at 1.7 amps, for 2 hours per day, the TV/ DVD unit consumes 3.5 Ah per day (alternatively, reading a book consumes 0 Ah per day!). 

 Water pump - Our water pump draws a maximum 5.2 amps when running, which is likely to be no more than 15 mins each day. That runs out at about 1.5 Ah per day.


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TECH Sirocco Fan – The fan has three speeds, drawing 0.12/0.22/0.35 amp, depending on the speed setting. Leaving the fan running for 3 hours on the low or midrange setting, which we often do at night, will draw less than 1 Ah from our battery.
 iDevices – We try to recharge our phones/ iPads/etc when we are driving, so as not to deplete our house batteries when camped. We also carry a portable USB battery pack which can be charged while driving and later used to provide an extra top-up charge for phones when we aren't on a powered site. An iPhone battery requires around 2.6 Ah to fully charge, while an iPad will require around 11.6 Ah to fully charge. Given our other off-grid recharge options, let’s assume another 2 Ah of battery drain for occasional phone top-ups, etc. Summarising the above info, the average daily energy consumption of our appliances is: • • • • • • •

Fridge: 60 Ah Lights: 2 Ah TV/DVD: 3.5 Ah Water pump: 1.5 Ah Fan: 1 Ah iDevices: 2 Ah TOTAL: 70 Ah/day

That grand total of 70 amp hours per day doesn’t, however, include full USB iDevice charging, the diesel heater fan, stove ignition, appliances on ‘standby’ or the use of any inverter-powered 240V appliances (although we don’t use an inverter). If our total usable AGM battery capacity is 100 Ah and the consumption of our appliances is 70 Ah per day, then without any battery recharging we have less than 1.5 days (35 hours) of total battery capacity to keep our 12V appliances operating. If we had Lithium batteries of a similar capacity – 200 Ah – and we were discharging them to 80% capacity, we would have a ‘usable’ capacity of 160 Ah. Consuming this stored energy at the rate of 70 Ah per day would give us 2.25 days (54 hours) of usable current, without any recharging of the batteries. This is all in theory of course, and assumes no battery recharging at all. In reality of course, we do have the ability to recharge our batteries, greatly extending the time the batteries are able to power our appliances, but more of this in our next instalment, which will focus on battery recharging. 49


TECH

Heaters and other stuff

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hile our diesel-powered air heater is powered primarily by diesel fuel, a small amount of 12V power is used to ignite the fuel to start the heater and to keep the heater fan running – about 1 Ah on medium speed (the same applies for LPG-fuelled heaters). Our Truma LPG hot water heater uses a small amount of 12V current to ignite the gas and about 0.16 Ah while heating the water (not to be confused with the Truma model that also has an electric heating element for use when plugged into 240 volts – Ed). The manual also suggests that 0.05 amp of current is drawn when in 'standby' mode.

Keep in mind that other appliances also consume small amounts of electrical current when in standby mode, when not actually being used - water pump, hot water heater, TV, antenna booster, etc.

Inverters

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ortable 240V appliances, such as kettles, toasters, hair dryers and more recently induction cooktops, are gaining popularity in motorhomes when powered by 12V batteries. This is made possible using power supplied through an electronic gadget known as an inverter. An Inverter is an electrical device that can supply 240V AC output from a 12V DC battery input. It sounds great and almost magical, but there are some serious limitations that need to be understood. These are based around inverter capacity, battery capacity and – most importantly but often ignored – wiring capacity.

Inverter capacity: An inverter must be rated to supply at least the amount of power that is drawn by your appliances. This is measured in watts (W), with popular inverters usually rated from 1000 to 3000W. Check the power rating of the appliances you intend to use before purchasing an inverter.

As always, there are cheap inverters and more expensive inverters. Look for a quality inverter that provides a ‘pure sine wave’ output, which is important for sensitive electric 50


TECH devices like laptops and mobile electric, which require ‘clean’ alternating current input. The term ‘clean’ means lacking surges/spikes in the supply that can overload devices.
 Battery capacity: Your batteries must also be up to the task of supplying the current that will be drawn by an inverter when powering a 240V appliance. Many draw large amounts of current from your battery; for example, while our 12V compressor fridge draws 60Ah of current from our batteries over 24 hours, an 1800W induction cooktop connected through an inverter can draw the same amount of current in just 20 minutes.

 Some appliances draw an even higher initial load as they start up and our battery has to have the capacity to supply this current. Check your battery’s specifications for ‘peak’, ‘sustained’ or ‘continuous’ output rating, measured in amps.

 How do you calculate how much current an appliance draws from your battery? Most appliances display a label indicating their power requirements, measured in watts (W). Without going into all the technical details here, a neat rule of thumb to calculate the current drawn from your battery (in amps) when running an appliance through an inverter is to divide the appliance’s power draw (in watts) by 10. 

 For example, an 1800 watt induction cooktop will draw around 180 amps from your 12V battery. This figure is over a period of 60 minutes, so if you are cooking for 15 minutes you will draw around 45 Ah from your battery's stored energy. In general, appliances that generate heat will suck plenty of amps from your battery.

CPAP machines – used to assist those with sleep apnoea – draw a more reasonable 30 to 60W, which will consume about 3 to 6 amps per hour from your battery. An 8 hour sleep at 6 amps per hour will consume around 48 Ah from your battery’s stored capacity.


and inverter. Also, this wiring run should be as short as possible, meaning the inverter connection should be close to the battery. 

To put this in perspective, an Wiring capacity: The current drawn by 240V appliances induction cooktop installed in your kitchen at home usually requires a dedicated high capacity circuit to be requires not only a quality inverter and substantial battery capacity, but also a heavy duty wiring connection installed from the kitchen to the switchboard. How good (with an appropriate circuit breaker) between the battery is the electrical wiring in your van?
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TECH

Thoughts on Inverters

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nless you have a new van with a 12V electrical system that has been purpose-built for use with an inverter, be very careful. Use these devices only if you really, really need those 240V appliances and there isn’t an LPG or 12V powered alternative available. Alternatively, stick to using an inverter to power only relatively low power appliances like CPAP machines (30-60W) or charging a laptop computer (30-60W) or an electric shaver (10-20W). This situation may well change over time as the technology improves and the use of inverters will likely become more widespread. But for now, the regular

use of 240V appliances in a motorhome requires the installation of dedicated infrastructure – a quality inverter, robust cabling and (preferably) an appropriate lithium battery bank able to supply high peak and continuous current output. With this much current draining from your batteries you will also need a reliable and efficient battery charging regime to recharge those rapidly-discharged batteries. Which takes us to our next instalment – recharging your batteries. See you in May…

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DIY

Plywood

Philers

by Phil McLeod

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few years ago I wrote an article about modifications we had made to our then newly acquired Sunliner Isle, to make it more usable for us as a couple. We’ve now moved up into a newer, more modern motorhome, this time an Avida Esperance. It’s a better set-up unit, as would be expected for something much newer and more expensive. But once again, I find myself carrying out small improvements to make it just right for our requirements. Some things never change!

Over our years of motorhoming, I have often wondered if there are any motorhomes out there on the road that remain exactly as they left the factory, or is it just me who can’t resist tinkering? Certainly some of my ideas might be unique to our requirements, but others, as you will see, must be desirable for almost any user. Is it just keeping the price down that prevents motorhome manufacturers from including some of these from the word go?

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DIY For example, hanging rails. They were one of the first additions we made to our Sunliner, and the same now with our Esperance. We have added a double towel rail adjacent to the dinette window, where we hang our bath towels to dry during the day, so they’re dry by evening shower time. Not so important if staying put at a site for several days (where we would use our small portable clothesline), but very handy when we’re travelling every day. Ditto a rail for the tea towel near the kitchen sink. How do other people cope without these basics? I’m sure every motorhome owner would agree that effective use of storage spaces is one of the secrets to successful travelling. Again, some of the things we’ve done have been designed specifically for the things we need to store. But others would be universal. For example, the cutting board: Surely everyone needs one of these, yet they are one of the most inconvenient things to stow. If you just toss them in a drawer they move around and rattle, and get in the way of other stuff in the drawer. I’ve solved this by adapting suitable pieces of plastic extrusion, into which the cutting board can be slid when not in use. Ours is on the side of the pantry compartment.

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DIY

The pantry of the Esperance takes the form of a narrow sliding drawer with metal storage racks, which works well, but only occupies part of the space. I’ve added a plywood box that slides between some floor guides beside the racks, to utilise otherwise wasted space and to supplement pantry storage. Another feature common to our Esperance (and the previous Sunliner), is the generous height of the clothes storage lockers above the bed. The down side of the height is that there’s usually a lot of wasted space on top of the clothes. Either that, or the stack of clothes becomes so high that it’s difficult to access what you want, or the stack falls over. We’ve added internal shelving constructed from plywood to solve these problems and make much more convenient use of all the space available.

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DIY

In a further repeat of the Sunliner, we also found a lack of a space for small bits and pieces around the sleeping area – keys, loose change and laundry coins, sunburn cream, sunglasses, hand sanitiser, etc. As in the Sunliner, I’ve added a row of small bins above the window pelmet for this purpose.

“Over our years of motorhoming, I have often wondered if there are any motorhomes out there on the road that remain exactly as they left the factory...”

It’s nice also to have somewhere near the external door to place keys (our own plus amenities keys, etc) during the day. The previous owner of our Avida must have felt likewise, because he had installed a haphazard row of mismatched cuphooks on the end of the overhead cupboards. I’ve improved that using a plywood backboard and decent matching hooks.

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DIY

Still on the matter of storage, more trips to the plywood retailer were required so that I could make some purpose-built boxes. One was a simple enough box to store glassware. I’ve tried various proprietary setups sold by caravan/motorhome retailers, but a simple box seems to work best for us.

Next came a box to fit under the bed, for storing kitchen appliances like the electric kettle, toaster, fan heater, iron, etc. We previously stored these under the bed in their original cardboard boxes, but these get very scrappy with repeated use and were a pain to use. Making a purpose-built box divided into compartments (incorporating a suitable blockout for one of the diesel heater ducts), solved this problem. It’s so much easier to use and actually saved quite a lot of space, because the cardboard boxes are generally oversized for the appliance they contain

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DIY

My most recent invention is a thin plywood sunblock cover for the skylight. Everything I read from the manufacturers, suggests the skylight blind and/or screen shouldn’t be left closed for long periods of storage. But we still wanted to protect the interior furnishings from the sun. The plywood panel needed to be quite thin (about 1.5mm) so it can be flexed to get it into position. But it needed a swivelling blade which, when rotated to the transverse position after installation, stops it from sagging and falling out. Now we just need to do two more things: 1. Get out and use the motorhome more, and 2. Buy some shares in a plywood company!

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TESTED TRAVEL

Temora Finally Comes!

Despite taking less time than usual, there was relief and smiles all 'round when the CMCA’s latest RV Park opened in Temora, NSW… By Richard Robertson

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TRAVEL

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f a week’s a long time in politics, try opening a new RV park. From scouting the site to acquisition, development and opening, it can be along and arduous process. Even when things go quickly it’s still a great relief when the gates finally open. Such was the case with the CMCA’s Temora RV Park in Central Western NSW, which officially opened on Monday March 8th. The CMCA RV Park initiative is an interesting one. Its basic aim is to provide safe and affordable shortterm stays for Club members within walking distance of shops and other facilities. As many if not most of you are already CMCA members you’re probably quite aware of the parks and might well have stayed at one or more. However, if you are new to these pages, here’s how it works, as explained on the CMCA website: “CMCA RV Parks provide low-cost, no-frills accommodation for CMCA members and nonmembers whose vehicles meet the requirements of the CMCA Self-Contained Vehicle (SCV) policy. This great CMCA initiative involves the development of a network of specialised RV parks across Australia for

self-contained RVs. New parks will continue to be established across the country. You can book a site for up to 5 nights in any 21 day period and at any of our parks, for only $3 per-person per-night (members) or $15 per-site per-night (non-members). Each park provides a safe parking area for all RV sizes, within easy walking distance to shops, potable water, a dump point and a happy hour shelter to relax and catch up with other travellers. With slightly different set-ups and park sizes at each location, please check park information to see what is provided, prior to arriving. Our fantastic member volunteer custodians will meet you on arrival and make you feel welcome. Explore the local area, enjoy the friendly communities and relax before your next journey.” There are currently seven CMCA RV Parks in Australia, with three in Queensland (Bundaberg, Charleville and Ingham), two in Tassie (Geeveston and Park Railton), one in South Australia (Penola) and the latest one – also the first in NSW – at Temora. There is also a new park opening soon in Innisvale, boosting the Sunshine State’s total to four. Interestingly, the Ingham park is only open to CMCA members.

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TRAVEL

Overnighting with Dianne and Eddie at Jugiong

The Temora RV Park officially opened on Monday March 8th and unusually, the event fitted in with the iMotorhome Magazine calendar. We arrived the night before – it appears the park had been open for a short time – on the same day as the Royal Australian Air Force’s centenary celebration airshow at the nearby airport. Despite that, however, there was plenty of space available. The night before we’d free-camped in Jugiong on a reconnaissance run for the upcoming iMotorhome Magazine Reader Weekend in September. There, we’d been flagged down by magazine readers and friends Dianne and Eddie, and spent an enjoyable evening in their company. As it happened, they were also heading to Temora for the official opening and so we regrouped on Sunday afternoon for a second, thoroughly enjoyable night.

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TRAVEL

As the CMCA website explains, its RV parks are no-frills set-ups, with their attraction resting on the combination of security, location and affordability. The availability of level parking, potable water, a dump point and bins, along with the happy hour shelter shed (which could do with some extra rolldown sides for weather protection), are perfect inclusions for the self-contained audience. The Temora site – formerly a horse paddock – is suitably level, with some grass and a smattering of shade trees. There was quite a bit of bare ground, however, and the wind whipped-up dust when some vehicles moved. Of course it was the end of summer and to be expected. The site is probably a realistic 15 minute walk into town – I say probably because we didn’t actually try it – and quiet, being on the suburban fringe. Weather for the official opening Monday was hot, around 30°C or so and by the time of the official opening at 3:30 pm the wind was doing its best to

upset proceedings. CMCA CEO Richard Barwick and Director Eleanor Scully represented the Club, while Mayor Rick Firman OAM officiated on behalf of Temora Shire Council. What stood out from the mayoral address was the enthusiasm the town has for embracing the park concept (and RV travel in general), and how it had only taken 12 months from the outset to get the project open – apparently a record compared to other CMCA RV parks. 62


TRAVEL

L to R: CMCA CEO Richard Barwick, CMCA Director Eleanor Scully and Temora Mayor Rick Firman OAM

In front of maybe 30 park ‘residents’ and a smattering of invited guests the wind continued to hamper proceedings, including ‘dismantling’ the unveiling curtain and plaque stand at opening time! However, it was all received with good humour in the difficult conditions and the requisite smiling handshakes and photo opportunities ensued, followed by refreshments.

utilised by club members it will likely also become a popular meeting point for catch-ups as well as for those staying to ‘see the sights’.

Congratulations to the CMCA and all who have worked hard to make the RV Park vision a reality. It’s yet another string to the Club’s bow and a valuable resource for members, and we’ll certainly be back to While Temora already has an official RV Friendly spend time in and around Temora. Even if you’re not campsite by the railway station and low-cost camping a club member and/or towing one of those cara-box available at the showground, the addition of the CMCA thingys, be sure to check out the CMCA Temora RV RV Park will no doubt bring more travellers to the Park – a little Club oasis in our wide brown land. Who town. Importantly for many, being a park predominantly said Temora never comes? 63


TRAVELTOWNS RV FRIENDLY

CMCA

RV Friendly Towns image: Joey Csunyo

he RV Friendly program is a Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Limited (CMCA) initiative aimed at assisting RV travellers as they journey throughout this wonderful country.

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will be provided for them that may not be available in other centres, and they will have access to a safe place to stay overnight and possibly for a longer period.

An RV Friendly Town (RVFT) is one that provides a certain number of amenities and a certain level of services for these travellers.

On the following pages are this issue’s featured RV Friendly towns. If possible please include them in your travels and support the communities going out of their way to welcome those of us fortunate enough to be travelling. Enjoy!

When RV travellers enter a town displaying the RVFT sign they know they will be welcome. Certain services

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RV FRIENDLY TOWNS

Ariah Park, NSW

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riah Park is a picturesque, heritage village established at the beginning of the 20th Century. The town is famed for the original retro petrol bowsers and peppercorn trees that line the main street and is home to the iconic Ariah Park Hotel.

More history of the town can be discovered on the selfguided walking tour, a must for any visitor.

RV travellers in the region can make use of the excellent facilities at Ariah Park Campground. Parking is available for up to 7 days, with powered sites available for $15 per-vehicle per-night and unpowered The bronze wheat lumper statue, crafted in 2016, is sites available for just $8 per-vehicle per-night. The a tribute to the hardworking men who lumped and campground offers access to showers and toilets, plus stacked bags of wheat. That was until the advent of bulk grain handling in 1916, which saw the construction a dump point and potable water is located at the site. of large concrete railway silos begin in the region. Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Temora Shire Visitor Information Centre Coolamon St ARIAH PARK, NSW, near tennis courts. T: (02) 6977-5921 W: www.temora.com.au

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Coolamon St, Ariah Park

Short Term Parking

Ariah Park Campground, Barnes St. $8 pvpn unpowered, $15 pvpn powered, 7 nights max stay, showers, power, bins, barbecue, toilets, water, covered seating, pets on leads.

Dump Point

Cnr Barnes Street and Mary Gilmore Way, entry via Barnes Street.

Potable Water

Ariah Park Campground, Barnes St.

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RV FRIENDLY TOWNS

Goulburn, NSW

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museums or immerse yourself in a captivating gallery or performance venue. The more adventurous can explore the unspoiled bushland or wander through the many neighbouring towns and villages.

e enticed by the country charm of Australia’s first inland city, perfectly positioned just 195 kilometres south-west of Sydney and 90 kilometres north-east of Canberra. Goulburn is a regional centre incredibly RV travellers looking for an easy stopover will find rich in heritage, culture, contemporary services and natural beauty. With remarkable attractions and regular parking available at the visitor information centre. Parking is only available for up to 24 hours at no cost events, Goulburn is an ideal destination for a break. and includes access to toilets during business hours. A short stopover just might not be enough time, Potable water is also available at the visitor information with Goulburn offering visitors an array of activities: centre, while the town’s dump points are accessible at Experience the past and discover fascinating stories Marsden Weir Park on Fitzroy St and at the Goulburn of the town’s eclectic history at one of the many Recreation Area on Braidwood Rd. Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Goulburn Visitor Information Centre 201 Sloan Street, GOULBURN, NSW. T: 1800 353 646 W: www.goulburnaustralia.com.au

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Goulburn Visitor Information Centre, 201 Sloane St

Short Term Parking

Goulburn Visitor Information Centre, 201 Sloane St 24 hours, no charge, toilets during business hours, bins, seating, water, pets on leads.

Dump Point

Marsden Weir Park, Fitzroy St or Braidwood Rd

Potable Water

Goulburn Visitor Information Centre, 201 Sloane St

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RV FRIENDLY TOWNS

Mannum, SA

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at close quarters. Closer to town are several attractions including Bear Rock, river cruises and the Mannum Dock Museum.

annum is on the broad reaches of the lower Murray and currently supports a population of approximately 2300 residents who enjoy a peaceful and relaxing lifestyle. The town is centrally located to enable visitors to use the town as a base for their activities and to visit places of interest in the surrounding areas. Mannum Waterfalls are situated approximately 6 kilometres out of town, on Murray Bridge Road. This geological phenomenon, with its large granite outcrops rising from the plains around Reedy Creek, provides delightful natural waterfalls. Alongside the outcrops are walking trails for those who wish to enjoy the scenery

Visitors to Mannum can park their RV at both Haythorpe and Bolton Reserves. Both sites permit parking for up to 5 consecutive days for just $10 pervehicle per-night. Toilets are available on-site and pets are permitted on leads. A dump point is available at Haythorpe Reserve; however, a free dump point is located at Murray Bridge. Mannum Visitor Information Centre offers potable water for those with removable tanks, while the showground caters to those with onboard tanks.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Mannum Visitor Information Centre 6 Randell St, MANNUM, SA. T: (08) 8569-1303 E: mannumvic@psmarion.com W: www.psmarion.com

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Arnold Park, Randell St, Mannum.

Short Term Parking

Haythorpe Reserve & Bolto Reserve Toilets provided, pets on leads okay, $10 PVPN for up to 5 consecutive days.

Dump Point

Haythorpe Reserve, Mannum or a free dump point is located at Murray Bridge.

Potable Water

Mannum Visitor Centre for those with removable tanks or the Showground on North Terrace for all vehicles.

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“Time changes everything, except something with in us which is always surprised by change...” Thomas Hardy

Profile for iMotorhome Magazine

iMotorhome Magazine – Apr 2021  

Inside : Ed • News • Tested – Avida Busselton C7544SL • Project Polly – Wishlist Dreaming • Reader – The Olive Van Project • Tech – Amping i...

iMotorhome Magazine – Apr 2021  

Inside : Ed • News • Tested – Avida Busselton C7544SL • Project Polly – Wishlist Dreaming • Reader – The Olive Van Project • Tech – Amping i...

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