46 : April 19 2014
Off the Beaten
because getting there is half the fun...
Trakka goes Sprinter and rear-wheel drive for its new Trakkaway 800…
! n i W Win!
$50 Caltex Card! l e u F e in $1990 Eng ! Upgrade
Bürstner Elegance i800! An A-class that’s all class…
Paradise Oasis Deluxe 4WD!
CMCA Rally Report
Musings and photos from Robinvale
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About iMotorhome | 3
iMotorhome eMagazine is published twice monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
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PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2576. Australia. ABN: 34 142 547 719 T: +614 14 604 368 E: email@example.com W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial Publisher/Managing Editor Richard Robertson T: 0414 604 368 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street E: email@example.com
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On my mind | 5
Happy Easter! Happy Easter and safe travels to you and your family! Goodwill aside, I can already hear the critics saying, “Not another Trakka!” Yes! But let me explain why. Unlike the car industry, in which manufacturers/importers have press departments with a fleet of cars just waiting for blasé journos to maltreat and write scathing reviews of (think Top Gear), the RV industry doesn’t. No RV manufacturer I’m aware of in Australia has a press department or even a dedicated press person. And as for press vehicles, only an enlightened few have registered demonstrators we humble scribes may borrow.
A representative from the Caravan Camping Industry Association (CCIA) of NSW gave a presentation and mentioned the Association has over 600 members. I thought it interesting to note that more than 400 members are caravan parks, which means it’s no wonder the CCIA is so hell bent on herding all of us into its caravan parks. It also means the CCIA can’t possibly, effectively represent RV manufacturers in NSW where their interests clash with those of the caravan park lobby. Coincidentally, an insider recently told me there are rumblings over the mismatch of member representation within the CCIA, which should come as no surprise.
The majority of vehicles we review are customer orders or stock vehicle awaiting sale and neither manufacturers, dealers nor prospective owners want/need many kilometres on the clock. This also restricts what we can do inside the vehicle, meaning we can’t usually use its facilities. Other factors to consider include location and cost. Sydney is our closest capital, but home to just a small number of manufacturers and/or dealers (remember, most manufacturers sell factory direct). Travelling interstate for a day or three is fun, but expensive when you factor everything in. So when a local manufacturer actually has a demonstrator – or heaven help us, a range of demonstrators – don’t be surprised we grab them. Especially when they're as good as Trakka’s.
Moving on… I gave a talk at an innovative seminar Suncamper held at its factory in Sydney’s North, last Saturday. The all-day event had been advertised locally and had the lure of free tickets to the upcoming Sydney Supershow. It was a good effort by a small manufacturer to reach the non-RVing market.
By the time issue 47 hits your inbox in two weeks time Mrs iMotorhome and I will be in the USA. We'll be enroute to collect a brand new Winnebago in Forest City, Iowa and deliver it to the Apollo Rental's office in Los Angeles, 18 nights later. Apollo changed manufacturers this year, from Fleetwood, and I’ll be interested to experience the difference. Winnebagos are quite highly regarded in the US (unlike Fleetwoods) from what I can gather. We’ll be heading through politically incorrect “Injun Country,” taking in places like the iconic Mt Rushmore, remarkable Crazy Horse Memorial and the tragic Little Bighorn Battlefield, site of General Custer’s famous last stand. Should be a great trip and it will be the subject of a special issue later in the year, but you’ll be able to follow us daily on Facebook as we travel. Can’t wait!
6 | Content
On my Mind
Who we are, where and other legal stuff
How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine
11 On your Mind 14 Win a $1990 Engine Upgrade! Share your thoughts for the chance to win a $50 Caltex fuel card!
Get your entry in NOW!
Day Test: Trakkaway 800
What’s happening in the wider RV world - and beyond
The New Black – Trakka’s first Sprinter-based coachbuilt…
Malcolm gets to grips with the Trakkaway 800
Missed a Test? No problem. Click HERE to view the complete list of tests.
Content | 7
Product Review Updates
Day Test: Bürstner Elegance i800
CMCA Rally Report
Reader Review Templates
How our long term test goodies are faring
A-class Act – A stylish European heading for Australian shores…
iMotorhome Marketplace The latest Marketplace offers
Malcolm’s musings from Robinvale
Find local markets with Your Markets!
Review your vehicle, a favourite place or whatever for a chance to win a Travel Notebook
Paradise Oasis Deluxe 4X4
Next Issue & Show Calendar What’s coming up and what shows are on soon
Missed an Issue? No problem. Click HERE to view the complete list of back issues.
8 | User Guide
How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine Note: This magazine is designed to deliver the best reading experience on an Apple iPad.
General This magazine is published in the Portable Document Format (PDF). This means that once downloaded it is a self-contained document that can be stored on your smartphone, tablet device, e-reader, laptop or desktop computer and read off-line at your convenience. PDFs are clever things and allow a degree of interactivity not possible with a conventional magazine. For example: The front cover and contents page features links in their headings that will take you directly to the appropriate article in the magazine. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer you will see the mouse cursor change to a small hand with a pointing finger, which signifies you can click on the page below All advertisements are ‘live’ and linked to the advertiser’s website. This means if you touch one (smartphone/tablet) or click on one (laptop/ desktop) you will be taken to the relevant website automatically, if you are connected to the Internet. If you are not connected to the Internet you will be asked if you want to connect, to complete the action. Text that is highlighted and/or underlined in blue is also a ‘live’ link that will either take you to the webpage of the topic being discussed, or open an email (if appropriate).
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Using iBooks On downloading each issue of iMotorhome eMagazine you’ll briefly see a message at the very top of the front cover that says “Open in iBooks.” If you miss it, don’t worry. Just tap the space immediately above the iMotorhome title and it will reappear for a few seconds. When it does, tap it and your issue will be moved to iBooks and reopen. Once open in iBooks you’ll see a number of icons across the very top of the page and a strip of tiny page thumbnails across the very bottom. To get rid of them simply tap the page anywhere there isn't text (touching text will take you to the revenant article inside). To make the icons reappear just tap anywhere on the page. To read your copy of iMotorhome eMagazine, swipe the page from right to left. Reverse this to go back a page. To go to the font cover at any time just tap on the page you're on and then touch the tiny page icon at the far left, along the very bottom. To leave the issue you’re reading and go back to your Library, tap the page and then touch Library in the top left hand corner.
User Guide | 9
How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine Laptop/Desktop Computer Users The software that allows you to view a PDF document – Acrobat Reader – has a number of controls at the top of the page. Chief amongst these are two square buttons in the centre; one showing a page with an arrow across it and the other showing a page with arrows across and top to bottom. Press these and you can view the page at the full width of your screen, or the whole page fitted to you screen, respectively. For further help or information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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On your mind | 11
It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. If you have anything to say – or ask – just drop a line to letters@imotorhome. com.au and we’ll share it with
our readers. We’ll also reward the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with a $50 Caltex fuel card to help you on your way.
Winning Letter Good Team. I never thought that I would get into trouble just for reading. When I finally got the last issue (45), I had to wait a couple of days to read it. I started when A Current Affair started on Wednesday night, 09/04/2014, and was quickly told by the boss, my wife Carmen, to only read during the adds. Well your mag got me into trouble over and over because I could not put it away, which made it hard to watch the new series of MOM and then the movie Bride Wars. Firstly the letters section. What a great read, especially the 'debate on freedom of choice camping.’ I whole heartedly agree about the council show ground. If they were not up to a required standard for use by RVers, they would not be able to be used for any purpose. What a dead argument! I am sure that there are not enough caravan parks to cater for all RVs during the peak winter season, so Ms Grey, this is basically a 'grey' area for you. Then there was the story on the Paradise motorhome going over the test track. We have a Paradise Ultra and yes, they are probably the best built motorhome on the market. We have had a few issues, but nearly all with the appliances. The manufacturers surely know that their appliances are going to have a rough time on our roads and back tracks, even some of
our main highways. If that was not bad enough the story on the Iveco go any where, all terrain, unstoppable vehicle got me in. The movie was great, from what I saw. There is one thing that I think should be considered by the companies that rent out 'whiz bangs' and other RVs that do not have toilets on board. These are the vehicles whose occupants cause the largest problem in regards to litter, especially toilet litter. I know it is not entirely their fault. These are the vehicles that the caravan parks should be focusing on, as well as all of the RV organisations and State authorities. Something needs to be done. We love to meet international tourists and have even invited them to our place when passing through, which some have done. But there are some from European countries who seem to not give a dam about dropping rubbish anywhere. Anyway, I had better let some one else have a go. Thanks team! Mike Well Mike, sorry to hear we caused near marital conniptions and for you to miss some quality television! Good to hear you’re happy with your Paradise Ultra (very nice!) and to hear your views on the free camping issue. I think most of us are Continues...
12 | On your mind ...Continued
in agreement that the core of the problem is the rental/backpacker market. Just how to coordinate the industry and government to find a workable solution is another matter though.
Anyway, for your troubles you’re this issue’s $50 Caltex Star Card winner – might I suggest you buy Carmen a little something to make up for your inattention?
In your latest edition you talk about people not knowing how to heat the water for a shower. I have had my Winnebago Esperance now for three years and used the shower feature about 5 times. That includes me and my wife.
days and shower away and recharge. I like to free camp but I also like the facilities of a caravan park.
The main reason is that if we are out there where there is no water then the last thing I will do is use it to shower. Drinking water comes first. I mainly use the shower recess to store the chairs, the esky with the beers, and the warm beers.
You’re not the first person I’ve heard of, Greg, who uses the bathroom as a storage facility. We’ve found it’s amazing how long you can make a motorhome’s standard tank/s last though, just by bucket washing (even in the bathroom!) and rinsing sparingly. Horses for courses, I guess. Happy travels!
After a few days, maybe a week depending on where we are, I stay in a caravan park for a few
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WERKT specialises in digital engine management systems customisation and tailors engine performance upgrades to suit your individual requirements. Not a one-size-fits-all solution, WERKT consults to establish your performance goals – be they extra pulling power, fuel economy, performance or across the board improvements – and then reprograms your engine’s electronic control module to deliver.
To win this outstanding prize simply email your name, address, motorhome make, model and engine type and your telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 May 2014. The winner will be notified by email and announced in iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 49 on Saturday 7 June.
To find out more about WERKT visit www.werkt.com.au/motorhome *Prize only applicable to a turbo-diesel motorhome or campervan. You and the vehicle must be available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast or Adelaide for consultation and the engine upgrade and test-drive program to be completed by the end of June 2014. iMotorhome representative must be insured and allowed to drive the vehicle pre-and-post upgrade for comparison purposes. You must consent to you and your vehicle being featured in iMotorhome eMagazine.
16 | News
More Good WERKT
hanks to your feedback we’re expanding the reach and timing of our terrific “Win a $1990 WERKT engine upgrade” competition. Now, if you’re in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast or Adelaide and get your entry in by 31 May, 2014, you’ll be in the running. You just need to be available over two days in June at a mutually convenient time. As we said last issue, engine power upgrades of modern turbo-diesel engines are commonplace and usually require the replacement of a micro chip in the engine’s electronic control module (ECM). These chips control things like fuel injection amount, fuel/air mixture ratio, timing and a host of parameters that are factory set to provide a standardised, across-the-board driving experience. Like all mass produced things this one-sizefit’s-all approach is a compromise and that’s where a specially programmed power-up chip comes in. Unfortunately, buying an off-the-
shelf chip is in itself a compromise because it, like its factory counterpart, has been preset to deliver a specific outcome. Melbourne-based WERKT is a specialist tuning company that takes a different approach. An authorised dealer for Viezu Australia, WERKT consults you to find out what you're after – more pulling power, better fuel economy, outright performance or across the board improvements – and then reprograms the existing files within your engine’s ECM to deliver those results. All work is done by simply plugging into the OBD port – where mechanics pug-in to test and diagnose for faults – so there is no physical tampering with any part of your vehicle. Impressively, all work is backed by a 30 day money-back guarantee. To find out more about the competition see page 14 for details, but to find out more about the range of services WERKT provides visit its website HERE
Charleville Bush Camp Opens
aster sees the beginning of a two year trial for self-contained RVs to stay at the Charleville Bush Caravan Park & Cottage, in Western Queensland. Just 2 kms from the town, on the road to Quilpie, the 12 ha (30 ac) site lets you park amongst the trees in a secure and well serviced setting. Facilities include a dump point, water, rubbish point and even a pet section with exercise yard. Cost is just $5 per night, but you must be non-smokers and in a fully self-contained vehicle. They also have a full service caravan park if you need more facilities. For information and bookings call 1800 654 541, email email@example.com or click HERE to visit the website.
News | 17
NEW MARKETPLACE LINKS
he iMotorhome website’s Marketplace Links pages are growing! They’re designed to link you with businesses that can help, no matter what you’re looking for. We’d like to welcome the following companies and hope you’ll consider them if and when you’re in need of their specialised services:
Webbs Motor Caravans Australia – Specialists in European motorhome rental and buy-back holidays.
Avida Shoalhaven – The NSW South Coast dealer for new Avida and a range of quality, used motorhomes.
Snipe – the new, fully automatic way of receiving TV anywhere without black spots or poor reception – is here and available at amazing prices. Try $1495 for a Snipe/Vast bundle, reduced from $2545, for example! See the Campersat ad in our Magazine Marketplace, but hurry – stock is limited and the offer closes May 4th unless sold out earlier.
D’Angelo Engineering – Australian designed and manufactured 5th Wheeler hitches and kingpins. Pacific RV Australia – Innovative Australian 5th Wheeler with a World-first drop down bedroom floor!
Campersat – one of Australia’s leading suppliers of satellite TV systems, has a special offer for iMotorhome readers to coincide with the Sydney Supershow.
18 | News
New Duvalay Reader Offer
f you like the look of the Duvalay memory foam sleeping bags featured in this issue’s Product Review Update on page 35, but want to see them before committing to purchase, visit the Anaconda Outdoors stand at the Sydney Supershow. There are sure to be show special’s too, so be prepared to pick up a bargain. If you can’t make the Show or don’t want to carry them around with you, you can still get special
deals as an iMotorhome reader. Just mention iMotorhome when you call the number below to receive a 15% discount off the recommended retail price of individual items, or a 20% discount if you buy 2 Duvalays of any size, 2 spare covers, 2 matching pillow cases and 2 carry bags (all orders plus postage and handling). Click HERE to visit the website or call (08) 9336 7714 for ‘phone orders and enquiries.
Bürstner Heading Downunder
s you’ll read at the end of the Bürstner Elegance i800 review on page 20, the Bürstner brand is heading to Australia and should be available later this year.
According to Phil Barker, director of EmmBee Caravans and Motorhomes in the UK, “We now have the approval to import the Bürstner Elegance i800g into Australia. We have a vehicle that has
The Wirraway 260 SL
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News | 19 ...Continued
is the right product to select out of the Bürstner range to introduce first. The reason is that there is little currently available in the Australian market to compare with this quality of build and finish.”
now gone through this extensive process and is fully approved, with very minor adaptations.” “We are looking now to consult with various organisations in Australia to try and establish a dealer network to distribute Bürstner Motorhomes in Australia. We have received some excellent support with attaining the approval and will now look to build on this success with key partners.” Phil said the Elegance is the flagship range for Bürstner in Europe and dominates the luxury motorhome market there. “We have felt that this
“In order to satisfy immediate enquiries we have the following options. They can collect the vehicle in the UK, enjoy a holiday within Britain or Europe with the motorhome and then import it to Australia. The customer can view the entire range at the following website www.buerstner.com/uk/ where they can build their own motorhome. This will give technical data and a price in pounds, not including shipping to Australia.” “Alternatively, the customer can visit www.emmbee.co.uk to see what current stock is available for immediate dispatch and to speak to the Australian Export team representing Bürstner,” Phil concluded. Watch iMotorhome for updates on this interesting development.
Thinking about a self-drive touring adventure? Find all the inspiration and information you need for an awesome journey with our ebooks for iPad. Touring Victoria’s Kelly Country: Learn about Australia’s most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly, on a wonderful tour through northeast Victoria. The Old Ghan Heritage Trail: Follow the legend of the Old Ghan railway from Quorn in South Australia, up the Oodnadatta Track and on to Alice Springs. The Googs Track: This remote 4WD adventure explores the southeastern extremity of the amazing Great Victoria Desert, SA. To The Inland Sea: Inspired by explorer Charles Sturt’s 1844-46 Central Expedition, To The Inland Sea takes travellers from Adelaide to the edge of the Simpson Desert at Birdsville.
Get your FREE eBOOK for iPad* www.ebooktraveller.com.au * Applies to Touring Victoria’s Kelly Country eBook for iPad
20 | Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800
The new Black! Trakka launches its Trakkaway 800 on the Mercedes Benz Sprinterâ€Ś Review and images by Malcolm Street
Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800 | 21
Low profile Aero2 nose gives the Trakkaway 800 a sharp, edgy look. It also helps with fuel consumption, but sacrifices an over-cab bed. Optional Aero4 nose fixes that! Black paint might not suit everyone, but there’s no denying it’s a change from all-over white.
ne of the more successful motorhome designs has been Trakka’s coachbuilt Trakkaway range. The current range has been built on the front-wheel drive Fiat Ducato/Al-Ko chassis combination (except for an initial offering on the rear-wheel drive VW Crafter), but the latest offering is built
on a Mercedes Benz Sprinter cab-chassis. This marks a return to rear-wheel drive and will certainly please many potential buyers, especially those looking to tow. Unusually, our review vehicle’s external finish was mostly black, which is an interesting departure from the usual white.
22 | Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800 Rear slide-out extends the main bed and overcomes legal limitations associated with overhang past the rear axle. Below: Large over-cab roof hatch can be left open while driving, if desired.
easuring 7.92 m (26 ft) the Trakkaway 800 is built almost to the maximum allowed length of 8 m. That limit is due to the maximum rear overhang being 60 per cent of the wheelbase and is one reason Trakka has incorporated its rear slide-out bed into the 800â€™s design. Whilst on the chassis, a look under the motorhome reveals a chassis extension, which looks like original Benz engineering, to accommodate a towbar. The moulded fibreglass panels on each end and the vacuummoulded composite panels used for the walls are standard Trakka-produced fare â€“ so therefore very strong and of high quality. Our motorhome came with Trakkaâ€™s Aero2 lowprofile nosecone, complete with Skyview hatch, but one of few options available is the Aero4 front end, which accommodates an over-cab bed and therefore makes the motorhome good for four people to sleep.
Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800 | 23
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t
Trademark Trakkawayseries front lounge is open, comfortable and practical.
enjoy driving the Trakkaway 800.
Still on mouldings, one of the other options is the Rain Water Retrieval System, which fits neatly around the rear wall and allows for 55 litres of rain water to be collected. Largish Seitz double-glazed hopper windows are a feature of the 800, as is a Dometic unscreened entry door. Storage space is quite
generous, with the largest bin being at the rear and accessible from both the nearside and the rear. The latter is slightly awkward to get at with the rear slide-out open (mind your head), but does offer good storage. It also happens to be where the external clip-on table is stashed (under the base of the bed), which on our prototype
unit was set a bit low but will be raised on future models.
On the Road
’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy driving the Trakkaway 800. Powered by the largest of the Sprinter turbo-diesels – the 3.0 litre 140 kW V6 – the engine delivers plenty of grunt underfoot and the supersmooth 7 speed full-automatic
24 | Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800 Despite its near 8 metre length the Trakkaway 800â€™s compact deign makes negotiating rougher campsites easy.
gearbox (not an automated manual) slides effortlessly through the gears. Our review motorhome came with a rear vision camera built into the radio/CD player/Sat Nav system, but the Trakka team tell me future models will have it as a separate unit. Being built as a B-class motorhome there is no over-cab bed, so getting to and from the cab to the rear is quite easy. A bonus of the Skyview hatch is that is can be left open when driving, thus ensuring a breezy airflow without too much buffeting. Surprisingly for a prototype motorhome, there were few squeaks and rattles, which are sometimes present beyond the normal motorhome noises.
f you are au fait with Trakkaway layouts then inside the 800 is going to look a bit familiar. To the left of the entry door are two inwards-facing lounges, plus
Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800 | 25
Although I quite like the Fiat Ducato-based Trakkaways, thereâ€™s no doubt the use of the Sprinter cab-chassis will enhance its appeal.
26 | Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800
Kitchen is smallish but makes excellent use of available space. Note the raised shelf and flip-up bench extension that add valuable space with minimal intrusion.
the swivelled cab seats that make up the lounge area, while opposite the door is the kitchen. That gives space to the right of the entry door for the bathroom, leaving all the rear for the bedroom; the bed of which fits neatly into the rear slide-out. In saying it’s a familiar layout, that’s not to be taken as a negative comment at all. It’s obvious that Trakka has a layout that works well and that its customers like and I certainly don’t have any trouble living with it, either. Trakka's trademark roller shutter-
style doors are used on the overhead lockers and a number of the cupboards.
p front, the lounge/dining area is one that’s makes full use of the swivelled cab seats. They are fairly close in height to the inwards-facing lounges, so two can sit back in comfort and if guests arrive there’s good room for them as well.
Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800 | 27 When dining time comes around the Zwaardvis mounted table, which is stored in the bedroom when not being used, can quickly be set up. One of the features of Trakka’s pole mounted TV, which is fixed to the end of the kitchen bench, is that it's easily seen from most of the seats. That might sound like a bleedin' obvious statement, but I've been in a few motorhomes where TVs are mounted in some not easily viewed locations. Two handy compartments are built into the front edge of the kitchen bench, one with
v240 and 12 V sockets for battery charging devices. Much of the space under the offside seat has been taken by the battery, charger, inverter, etc, but the air space above has not been wasted – Trakka’s built-in a lift out storage box that can easily be utilised for light weight items.
Time to Eat
s with many of its designs Trakka has opted for an L-shaped kitchen. It's a bit European in its sizing (smallish) but still
Kitchen is best for one chef at a time! Despite its compact dimensions it includes a full oven with grill. Drawers are self/soft closing, too.
28 | Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800 has all the necessary items, including a raised shelf along the front edge that uses air space below to improve the bench top area. Against the wall is a three-burner cooktop with grill/ oven below. That leaves space in the right angled section for the adjoining sink/drainer. The under-bench area is fully utilised by drawers and a slide-out wire basket pantry. Adjoining the kitchen bench to the rear is the 184-litre fridge, with microwave oven above, and plate/cup storage above that. One of the little bugbears of the microwave-above-thefridge setup (and therefore being too high) has been resolved here thanks to the steps leading to the bedroom.
ne of the advantages of a rear wall slide-out is that the rest of the motorhome can be used whether itâ€™s in or out (it also means that if it gets stuck out you can still drive - Ed). Even if you are too tired to push the slide-out switch the bed can still be used, albeit with a bit of a scramble by the nearside sleeper. Measuring 1.95 m x 1.35 m (6 ft 5 in x 5ft 5 in), the bed has curved corners for easy access and good walk around space. Because of
Sturdy wire-basket pantry is a great feature, as is the under-seat lift-out storage unit above the battery charger and other electrical componentry.
Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800 | 29
The island bed, at the rear, can also be used if the slide-out isn’t extended. It just restricts bed access. The large roof hatch, side and rear windows, plus the 12 V fan, ensure plenty of light and fresh air. the rear slide-out the bed base does not lift, but there are drawers on either side. Additionally, there’s a good selection of cupboards, wardrobes and drawers in all the usual places around the bedroom area. None are
particularly large but that’s frequently more practical in actual use. The lower half of the corner beside the shower cubicle is taken up by the housing for the cassette toilet, but the
space above is mostly for the pole-mounted flat screen TV. In some ways the pole mount arrangement is less flexible than a swivel arm but it certainly offers much in the stability and strength department, not to mention
30 | Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800
Bathroom space is maximised by a retractable toilet unit that slides away beneath the vanity.
being easy to use. A cutaway has been built into the cabinet to accept the bed when it’s closed up, but it also doubles as a seat if you don’t like bending over to lift the table and pole mount out of its storage area.
n the space efficiency department the Trakkaway 800’s Switch Mode Bathroom (SMB) is a winner, due to the remotely
controlled slide-in, slide-out cassette toilet that hides under the vanity when not being used. This allows the cubicle to be made to a size more than sufficient for showering comfortably (and using the vanity), without making it a vehicle interior space hog. It’s also quite light and bright, with a large roof hatch and window, plus plenty of wall mirror area.
In the space efficiency department the Trakkaway 800’s Switch Mode Bathroom (SMB) is a winner.
Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800 | 31
What I Think
n a motorhome like this the electrics are going to be quite sophisticated. The twin 100 AH deep cycle batteries are charged by either the Sprinter’s smart charger, the mains-supplied 25 amp charger or the 120 W solar panel. The latter might not sound like a good capacity, but given this motorhome has full LED lighting with selectable levels of illumination and a three-way fridge, living remotely for a number of days should not be a problem. Water capacity, a very generous 165-litres, might be the limiting factor. Naturally you’ll have to survive without the microwave and air-con. but hey, that’s “roughing it”! On the subject of air conditioning, these days there’s a good range of 12 V fans available, one of which has been fitted into the bedroom.
t’s a bit hard not to be impressed by the Trakkaway 800. It’s certainly the result of continuing design evolution I think I first saw in New Zealand some six or seven years ago, when Trakka had some interests across the Tasman. Although I quite like the Fiat Ducato-based Trakkaways, there’s no doubt that the use of the Sprinter cab-chassis will enhance the motorhome’s appeal.
Although the 800 ain’t cheap it offers much for the discerning motorhomer; especially one who desires comfort and style, plus the appeal of the three-pointed star on the bonnet.
32 | Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800
Mercedes Benz Sprinter 519 CDI
3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel
140 kW @ 3800 rpm
440 Nm @ 1400-2400 rpm
7-speed full automatic
Gross Vehicle Mass
Light Rigid Truck (LR)
7.92 m (26 ft)
2.39 m (7 ft 10 in)
3.05 m (10 ft)
2.1 m (6 ft 11 in)
Rear Bed Size
1.95 m x 1.35 m (6 ft 5 in x 5ft 5 in)
Thetford 3 burner with grill/oven
Dometic 184-litre three way
12 V LED
2 x 100 AH
3 x 4.0 kg
1 x 120 W
Hot Water Heater
Truma 14-litre gas/electric
Variable height flex hose
Fresh Water Tank
Grey Water Tank
Price (on road NSW)
• Easy driving • Comfortable front lounge • Storage compartments everywhere • A host of clever design features • Sophisticated electrical system
• Black not an ideal colour • Smallish kitchen area • Slide-out limits rear boot access
Click for Google Maps
9 Beaumont Rd Mt Kuring-gai NSW Ph: 1800 872552 E: email@example.com W: www.trakka.com.au For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here
Day Test: Trakka Trakkaway 800 | 33
The rear slideout increases bedroom space but wonâ€™t immobilise the vehicle if it gets stuck open, like a conventional sideways opening slideout could. Sideways opening door helps rear boot access, too.
34 | Product Review Updates
Doin’ Good? Our long-term test products are doing well. Mostly…
Product Review Updates | 35
here’s nothing like testing a product in the real world to see how it really performs. Here’s a quick rundown on four very different products we’ve been using for a while now, and it’s mostly good news.
the mattress and duvet are inside zip-off cotton covers, which can be easily washed. This also allows you to add an extra or thicker duvet for colder weather or remove the duvet and just have a top ‘sheet’ in hotter climes.
We use them whenever we take a motorhome away on test as they unroll and set-up in a moment and provide a luxurious extra layer of comfort on top of the vehicle’s mattress/ cushions. They also do away with the need for specific motorhome bedding. Mrs iMotorhome even packs hers in her suitcase (sans duvet) when she’s travelling to Asia in her real job as a flight attendant and puts it on top of their notoriously hard beds (pulling the standard covers over the top).
alling a Duvalay a sleeping bag is like calling a Ferrari a car: yes it is, but it’s so much more. Our Duvalays have been with us for six months now, maybe longer, and have impressed from day one. They have a memory foam base with a duvet cover that’s sewn down one side and across the base, but open on the other long side. The cover is twice as wide as the base, which allows you a great deal of sleeping ‘freedom’ and they don’t feel claustrophobic like a conventional sleeping bag. You can also put two Duvalays together to make a very comfortable double. Also, both
So, nothing but praise at this stage and we can’t really see that changing. Find out more at www.duvalay.net or call (08) 9336 7714 and
36 | Product Review Updates
ask about the special iMotorhome readers’ offer. Also, keep an eye out for them at the Sydney Supershow on the Anaconda Outdoor stand. Normal price range $240-$270 plus postage.
ext, but certainly no least on our list of favourite things, are our brightly coloured Glagla sports shoes. What impresses is their super light weight and the way they keep your feet cool in hot weather. This is due to their largely mesh construction, plus a unique ‘breathing’ sole with air vents underneath that basically pump air through the shoes as you walk. They’re very comfortable, machine washable and dry out very quickly, so you can wear
them when walking along the sea shore (for example) and not worry about getting them wet. The only slight negative we’ve found is that the soles tend to pick up small stones and sand in the vents, but that’s more a minor inconvenience than anything else. Available in a range of styles from sports shoes like ours to clogs, and in many colours other than tutti frutti, Glaglas are a terrific shoe for that stand up beautifully to the rigours of the outdoor life and as an added bonus are very light to pack if you’re jetting off somewhere rather than driving. You can order online or find out more at www.glaglashoes.com.au or by calling 0422 210 336. One more thing – be sure to order one size larger than usual and they’ll fit perfectly. Price range: $80-$90
Glaglas are a terrific shoe that stand up beautifully to the rigours of the outdoor life.
Product Review Updates | 37
he 4-Port USB Rapid Wall Charger: We bought two of these on special at $19 each as we have a plethora of iPhones, iPads and other devices requiring USB recharging. The concept of four lines from a single plus is enticing, but these little black beauties have failed to live up to their full potential. With three devices plugged in they won't charge a fourth, and sometimes baulk at three. They do charge quite quickly, especially with just one or two devices attached, but have disappointed by not living up to their promise.
You do need a flat or gently curving dashboard surface to mount them on, so that what you put on them has a reasonable contact area. Non-slip Dash Mats: We bought a pack of three for $9 and have used two now for several Also, they get dusty/dirty over time and lose their ‘stickiness,’ but a quick run under a tap months. Super-sticky little black silicon mats that adhere to flat surfaces on your dashboard seems to restore them to as-new performance (just be careful where you put them to dry, lest and hold phones, coins, sunglasses (yep) or just about anything else that’s reasonably light, they attach themselves firmly). Interestingly, our iPhones peels off effortlessly when ‘naked’, but it’s hard to find much to complain about for when in a cover they tend to peel the mat off the price. If you use your smartphone as a the dash and require two-handed separation GPS they hold it well, avoiding the need for a – especially in hot weather. Visit www.kogan. dedicated windscreen mount. com.au to order or for more information.
38 | Day Test: Bürstner Elegance i800
Bürstner’s Elegance i800 is an A-class motorhome to aspire to… Review and images by Malcolm Street
Day Test: Bürstner Elegance i800 | 39
Something to celebrate: Bürstner’s beautiful A-class Elegance i800 is available in New Zealand – and coming to Australia!
reckon some of the most interesting midsized motorhome conversion concepts around are those done on a European chassis (Fiat Ducato or Mercedes Benz), where the cab is entirely removed and a whole A-class coachbuilt body fitted. They are quite common in Europe, mostly because of the availability of the chassis I suspect, yet not often built by local manufacturers in New Zealand or Australia. Indeed, I could almost count the number that are around. Given the more relaxed compliance rules in NZ, things are a little different there and a number of European (mostly German) A-class motorhomes are available. One example that I looked at not so long ago was a Bürstner Elegance i800, imported by Auckland-based Smart RV. In case you happen to be Australian don’t stop reading this; I have some very interesting news that I’ll get to shortly…
40 | Day Test: Bürstner Elegance i800
The Elegance i800 is built on a Fiat Ducato with an AL-KO chassis, but you’d never know it. There’s no outward badging other than Bürstner’s own and the Fiat’s cab has been completely removed.
iding under the Bürstner Elegance i800 is a Fiat Ducato Multijet 180 cab attached to an Al-Ko chassis. That’s not obvious from the outside as there are no clues and even the grille badge is Bürstner, not Fiat. Although quite a number of Euro manufacturers seem to opt for the smaller and less powerful Ducato engines, the Elegance – being a prestige motorhome – comes with the 3.0-litre, 132 kW turbo diesel, along with the six speed AMT gearbox. In many ways, the Elegance is aptly named. From the front it’s a very streamlined looking motorhome and even at the rear it has enough
I’ve driven countless Fiat Ducatos but very few with a coachbuilt body.
Day Test: Bürstner Elegance i800 | 41
From any angle the Elegance i800 is an imposing motorhome. Interesting features are its driver and passenger doors, in addition to the side entry door on the driver’s side. These help it comply with Australian regulations that require a kerb-side entry door. curves to take away the boxy look. Extruded polystyrene (XPS) with an external aluminium finish is used for the wall structure, whilst glassfibre reinforced plastic (GRP) – fibreglass to you and I – is used for the roof. One of the characteristics of most European motorhome manufacturers is that although they’ll supply a right-hand drive vehicle, the house entry door is on the driver’s side (offside). Not exactly sure why that is, given the extent of the British market, but that’s the way it is. Bürstner is no different, which is why the Elegance has the entry door on the offside. What it does have, though, are cab doors on both sides and for Australia the passenger door is the get-out-ofgaol-free card for compliance purposes.
In some cases, motorhomes designed like this have limited external bin storage. Not so the Elegance, which has a large rear tunnel boot with access from both sides that has room for the golf clubs and a couple of fold up bikes. In case that’s not enough, there are small bins on both sides as well as the gas cylinder bin and one for a sophisticated electrical control panel.
On The Road
’ve driven countless Fiat Ducatos but very few with a coachbuilt body. At first it’s a little disconcerting to sit behind a very familiar dashboard but have a totally different cab surround. Indeed, given the front body shape, the driver and passenger are sitting slightly further back than usual.
42 | Day Test: Bürstner Elegance i800 All that said, there’s nothing wrong with the Lounging Around almost panoramic vision and certainly nothing t's difficult not to be impressed by the different about the performance or handling of front area layout. Fitted into the offside is a the Ducato/Al-Ko chassis combination. I did like shortened L-shaped dinette with a relatively the coach style external mirrors and on a slightly more trivial note, the cup holders on both sides large table. That meshes in well with the front cab seats and the nearside sideways-facing (when will Fiat include cup holders from the lounge. It's designed to be comfortable in a factory? - Ed) Euro climate, where living inside is going to happen just as often as living outside. Overhead Living Inside lockers are fitted on both sides and you might irst impressions are everything and well expect to find the same around the cab stepping into the Elegance doesn’t area. Instead, there's a second bed (1.95 m x disappoint. Everything is done in a well 1.44 m (6 ft 5in x 4 ft 9 in) that lowers to just constructed German style, with curved trim and above waist height, although the cab seatdoors along with the typical European effective backs have to be lowered too. I've seen one use of space. To the right of the entry door it’s of these clever arrangements before, but only all lounge and dining area, which includes the a manual one. In this case the bed is lowered swivelled cab seats. Much of the mid area is and raised in a very quiet and quick operation taken up by the kitchen, leaving the rear for by using a wired controller, which is much a split bathroom and an island bed. At first smoother than some of the clunky units I have sight the interior might well give the impression seen. When the bed lowers, it also brings down of being slightly cramped, but it’s only an with it a curtain for the surrounding windows. In impression. case you are wondering, there are fitted blinds as well.
There’s an extra bed cleverly concealed in the cab roof. You can just see the remote controller for it above Malcolm’s head.
Day Test: BĂźrstner Elegance i800 | 43
The kitchen lacks bench space and a microwave (a European peculiarity) but still manages to look terrific. A microwave will likely become standard when the Elegance i800 comes to Australia.
Time to Eat
o some the L-shaped kitchen might look on the small side, but it's a typical Euro setup, with a three-burner hob along with a stainless steel sink and drainer. Thereâ€™s a grill to go with the hob, but for Australian and NZ users it's fitted in an unusual location: above the 190-litre fridge, located on the opposite side. That position is often where a microwave is to be found, but that isnâ€™t a standard item (seriously? - Ed). General storage in the kitchen is a mixture of drawers, overhead lockers complete with shelves and a cupboard that comes equipped with a good sized garbage bin. The panel area directly under the sink is almost a non-kitchen area, with both 230 and 12V
44 | Day Test: BĂźrstner Elegance i800 sockets, along with a light switch, whilst below that again (behind the cupboard door) are three gas cocks: A very utilitarian area indeed!
mentioned the front bed previously, but in the rear the 1.94 m x 1.43 m (6 ft 4 in x 4 ft 8 in) island bed very much holds almost centre stage. I say almost because it's actually slightly offset to the offside. The reason being is that instead of having two narrow bedside wardrobes, the nearside one is considerably wider, thus offering much more practical hanging space. Quite a simple but effective idea, really! On both sides the bedside cabinets have a much larger shelf area than usual, as well as a single power point. Also on both sides are hinged steps to assist access to and from the bed. At first glance the island bed does look relatively normal, but the base has something Iâ€™ve not seen before: A built-in vanity/make up area. It has a hinged top and lifts in the same way as a hinged bed base, but itâ€™s much shorter. The underside of the hinged top has a large mirror (making photography tricky!) and there are two drawers, one for jewellery and a larger
The slightly offset rear bed provides extra wardrobe space on one side. Note outlet vent at floor level for the integrated heating system (air-conditioning is an option).
Day Test: Bürstner Elegance i800 | 45
Main bed at rear has a lift-up section that doubles as a mirrored dressing table, with drawers and extra storage below. Why is it only the Europeans come up with such innovative ideas? storage one underneath. The mirrors cannot be used if someone happens to be in bed, but the drawers still can.
kitchen bench and the somewhat larger toilet cubicle, complete with an amazingly spacious vanity cabinet, to be on the opposite side.
What I Think
iven the layout Bürstner has fitted a split bathroom, with the shower on one side of the aisle and the loo on the other. But the designers have been quite clever with the shape of these two bulky units. Instead of square boxes they are quite curved. This not only reduces the interior space slightly, it greatly improves the exterior walk-around area. The design allows for the shower cubicle to be located on the nearside at the end of the
iven there are few of this style A-class motorhome (Bürstner actually call it an "integrated model") available in New Zealand or Australia, it's hard not to be impressed. Once used to the slightly different cab arrangement it's quite an easy motorhome to drive. In many ways the front dining/lounge area is an interesting alternative to the more traditional "NZ back” too. You still get the view through the windows, you are just going to
46 | Day Test: Bürstner Elegance i800
Separate shower and toilet/vanity cubicles are rounded to minimise exterior space intrusion, but still provide good usable room.
be parked the other way around – as well you might – given the ‘house’ entry door is on the opposite side to usual. Naturally there are a number of design features that are more European than Antipodean, but I suspect for many that's going to be an attraction. Additionally, like its contemporaries, Bürstner is a very effective user of space and that's just one of the reasons I reckon the Elegance i800 is going to attract a considerable amount of interest.
Day Test: Bürstner Elegance i800 | 47
First impressions are everything and the Bürstner Elegance i800 doesn’t disappoint. Meanwhile across the Tasman… Our review Elegance i800 came from Smart Motorhomes and Caravans in Auckland and is currently only available in NZ. However, iMotorhome has it on very good authority that compliance approval has been gained for this vehicle in Australia. Actual motorhomes won't be arriving until later this year and at this point no dealer infrastructure has been established. However, if you are really keen, Bürstner UK might be able to get you one sooner. One of the options is to visit the UK, use your motorhome and then import it into Australia. Another is simply to order a motorhome from the UK, either from existing stock or as a custom order. All Bürstners for the Antipodes being right hand drive have to come through the UK. Note also the slightly different spellings of Bürstner/Buerstner, it's not a typo.... We'd suggest that if the above is being considered then you make sure you fully understand any Australian compliance and warranty considerations. In saying that I would note Bürstner is clearly taking a considered and long-term approach on setting up in Australia (compliance not being a quick or cheap process), so we're sure any questions will be answered and assistance given.
48 | Day Test: Bürstner Elegance i800
Fiat Ducato Multijet 180
3.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
132 kW @ 3500 rpm
400 Nm @ 1500 rpm
6 speed AMT
Gross Vehicle Mass
Standard NZ Driver
8.12 m (26 ft 7 in)
2.3 m (7 ft 7 in)
2.85 m (9 ft 4 in)
1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Rear Bed Size
1.94 m x 1.43 m (6 ft 4 in x 4 ft 8 in)
Luton Bed Size
1.95 m x 1.44 m (6 ft 5 in x 4 ft 9 in)
Thetford 3-burner & grill (above fridge)
Dometic 190-litre 3-way
12 V LED
2 x 90 AH
3 x 9.0 kg
Standard in cab, optional in rear
Hot Water Heater
Fresh Water Tank
120-litre plus optional 90-litre
Grey Water Tank
• Classy looking motorhome • German engineering • Panoramic vision from the driver's cab • Practical front lounge/dining area • Split bathroom layout • Offset island bed in the rear
• Main entry door on the offside • Smallish kitchen • The bedroom step needs to be remembered
Smart Motorhomes and Caravans
Click for Google Maps
11 Pavilion Drive Airport Oaks, Auckland Airport, New Zealand Ph: 0800 007 627 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.smartmotorhomes.co.nz For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here
iMotorhome Marketplace | 49 Snipe... The new way of receiving TV anywhere!
LED Replacement Lamps For Motorhomes & Caravans
Standard Halogen, Incandescent + Fluro bulbs are easily replaced with our wide LED range
NEW! Infrared sensor; Convert your existing lights to security lights!
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To order simply call (08) 9336 7714 or email email@example.com and mention iMotorhome.
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50 | Feature: CMCA Rally Report
Malcolm Street reports from the CMCA’s Anniversary Rally on the banks of the mighty Murray…
Feature: CMCA Rally Report | 51 Characters abound at every CMCA Rally. Like banjo-playing Geoff Phillips, who drives a bubble blowing motorhome. Of course…
ome 850 motorhomes – and occupants – turned up for the recent Campervan and Motorhome Club’ (CMCA) Anniversary Rally at Robinvale in Victoria, on the Murray River. I have to say it was very pleasant along the river and apart from anything else provided some spectacular sunrise and sunset photo opportunities! One of the problems at any or CMCA Anniversary or National Rally is getting around the vast site on foot, reasonably quickly, unless
52 | Feature: CMCA Rally Report Volunteers are the lifeblood of every CMCA Rally. Great work folks! My brand new folding bike worked well but was a magnet for monster bindies. Self-sealing inner tubes soon fixed that though!
you’re into jogging. I often borrow a bicycle of some sort, but for the Anniversary Rally I had decided to purchase a folding bike. Not one of those nancy things with tiny wheels, but something with 26-inch wheels that could cope with rough ground. In the end I opted for a Stowabike, which wasn't too expensive and fitted into the boot of the Trakka Trakkaway 860 motorhome I had borrowed for the occasion. For the first few hours it worked just fine but then I discovered the local area was home to
bindies of gigantic proportions – large enough to provide three punctures in as many hours. Fortunately and cleverly for them, one of the local emporiums sold extra heavy duty selfsealing inner tubes! Apparently they did a roaring trade and what was even better was that – they worked! I had no more problems. Flat tyres aside, daytime temperatures were differing. There were several days when the mercury moved north of 35ºC and then there were the days when having a jacket on was
I discovered the local area was home to bindies of gigantic proportions.
Feature: CMCA Rally Report | 53
a good idea. I did note with interest that the air conditioned trade exhibits building was very popular on the hot days. It also seemed to me that the entertainment marquee was populated less than usual on the warm nights. There were of course all the usual rally activities going on: seminars, happy hours, craft activities, happy hours, local tours including Mungo National Park, happy hours, good entertainment every night, excellent cooking demonstrations by Mark and Louise Holland, happy hours and,
54 | Feature: CMCA Rally Report
Fifth-wheelers of all shapes and sizes made for some interesting viewing. Evening entertainment was excellent, as was seeing Karen and Mick Griffin receive their lifetime membership awards.
oh, did I mention all the happy hour? All good fun! Apart from sampling Mark's cooking, there were plenty of little eateries offering all kinds of evening meals, thus saving journos living on their own from having to do too much cooking (not everyone has a Mrs iMotorhome). There was one stand offering such fine fare that it had a long queue every night and if one did not get in the queue early enough, one missed out! I was pleased to see longtime club stalwarts Karen and Mick Griffin presented with their life time membership awards. Karen has been a board member for a number of years and Mick always seems to be very busy at rallies. On that subject, rallies that is, the roadshow moves to Port Stephens (Newcastle, NSW) for the National Rally later this year. For this rally, I'll say congratulations to Ray Jones and his large team of volunteers for a sterling effort at Robinvale!
Feature: CMCA Rally Report | 55
I had decided to purchase a folding bike. Not one of those nancy things with tiny wheels, but something with 26-inch wheels that could cope with rough ground!
56 | Mobile Tech
A handy app for finding the best local marketsâ€Ś By Emily Barker
Mobile Tech | 57
Enter the App…
o matter where you are in Australia it’s almost guaranteed that come the weekend, dozens – if not hundreds – of people will converge to buy and sell all manner of goods at local markets. There will be sausages, coffee and fresh juices, with a good chance of a cake or two, a little homemade chutney and generally plenty to do, see, smell and eat. Keeping track of what’s on, however, can be somewhat tricky. Large markets are usually well advertised and often renowned permanent fixtures. But it’s generally the smaller more relaxed P&C or community-run markets that let travellers really get a feel for the towns they visit, while providing the opportunity to pick up fresh local produce along the way.
inding these smaller markets can be a little tricky, especially as many markets travel throughout a region appearing at a different small town each weekend. Thankfully the creators of YourMarkets have done all the secret leg work for you – no more searching local papers or outdated websites! YourMarkets is a smart little app available for both Apple and Android devices that makes finding a local market near you easy. You can search by town name, postcode, suburb or region or simply use your current location to find markets up to 25, 50 or 100 km from you. There are literally thousands of markets listed Australia-wide, from permanent city events to quiet country town gatherings. Most listings have a little detailed information and current contact details too, which is fantastic news for
58 | Mobile Tech potential stall holders. You can refine search results by date or day, with the ability to store favourites for future retrieval. GPS capabilities means you can search anywhere in Australia using familiar Google Maps, with Apple Maps support for iOS devices that includes turn-byturn voice directions. In terms of convenience and functionality this app ticks all the boxes. Itâ€™s simple yet functional, up-to-date and from what I can tell, accurate. The associated Facebook page is quite busy and is regularly updated with specific details about upcoming events, with many stall holders advertising there. Also, the in-app links are easy to find should you require more detailed information about a particular market. In terms of a free lifestyle app this one gets full points. If it were not for the somewhat distractingly faint font that makes you check that your glasses are actually on, this would be a perfect little app!
Fast Factsâ€Ś Name: YourMarkets Cost: Free Size: Just under 5 Mb. Platform: Supported on both Android and Apple devices, plus Windows Phone. Requires iOS 5.0 or later and recently optimised for iOS 7. Link: www.yourmarkets.com.au
Your Markets is a great app for lovers of fresh produce and the myriad of other treasures local markets reveal.
reader review Templates | 59
Share your experience for a chance to win a Travel Notebook!
our fellow iMotorhome readers have told us they want to know all about the rig you drive and those special places you’ve discovered during your travels. To make it easy simply use the appropriate template below!
Copy and paste the template, fill in as much information as you think relevant under each category and email it, along with a maximum of 12 photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Not only might you see your name in print, you’ll be in the draw for a Travel Notebook! Vehicle Report: My name My email address My location
Special Place Report: My name My email address My location
Vehicle: Type (e.g. camper/motorhome/bus conversion) Factory or Custom built Make & Model Year Bought new/used/dealer/private Mileage when bought Mileage now Length Licence required (car/LR/MR/HR) Base vehicle brand Engine size (litres) Transmission (man/auto) Average fuel economy No of berths No of seatbelt-equipped seats Why did I choose it First vehicle or replacement Options fitted Best features Worst features Warranty issues Dealer support Manufacturer support Recommend to a friend (Yes/No) General comments
Place Location: Name Address State Phone E-mail Website Details: Description Visited (month/year) How I found it Why I visited Was it RV Friendly (parking/dump point/etc) Price range (cheap/average/expensive) What I liked What I didn’t Would I go back General comments
60 | reader report
Paradise Oasis Deluxe 4X4 by David Spencers Type: Factory built van conversion motorhome Make & Model: Paradise Oasis Deluxe 4X4 (modified). Year: 2013 Bought: New from manufacturer. Mileage now: 7000 km Licence required: Car, as it’s only 4500 kg GVM. Base vehicle brand: Mercedes Benz Sprinter 519 LWB 4x4. Length: 7 m (23 ft). Engine size: 3.0-litre V6 intercooled turbodiesel. Transmission: 5 speed auto, with hi/low range gear box with transfer case for 4WD. Average fuel economy: 14 l/100 km (20 mpg) No of berths: 2 – it’s all about us! No of seatbelt-equipped seats: Seats 4 with seat belts – okay so we may want to move with friends occasionally.
Why did I choose it? Well for starters, my wife did! I knew I wanted a rig based on 4x4 Mercedes Sprinter to replace our well loved 2WD version. We needed a reliable vehicle that wasn’t too bulky and had the ability to drive the narrow bush tracks we wanted in any weather conditions. We chose Paradise Motorhomes due to their reputation of a high quality build. Our reasoning was that if you are spending that kind of serious money on a vehicle, you want it to last. The Oasis Deluxe with an island bed and a slideout had the best use of a relatively small space. The alternatives all had the massive wiz-bang sliding door which restricted the interior design options and also might have proven hazardous to our cat’s tail! The team at Paradise were also very receptive to our layout changes. We love our water sports and wanted easy access to the rear shower area to hang wetsuits and gear. We also needed to be able to get gear in and out easily.
reader report | 61 Factory Options: We chose the 3-litre V6 engine over the smaller, more fuel efficient 4-cylinder version. The V6 should be better in sand and tough conditions associated with 4WD expeditions. Paradise fitted a diesel cabin heater, air-con, an upgraded ECLIPSE sound system with satnav, 3 external lockers including 2 KVA Honda genset, a bull bar, larger fridge and solar cells. Factory Modifications: The standard Oasis Deluxe has a 3 burner gas stove top with a griller and a combined small sink. It is a compact unit maximising bench top space. However we wanted an electric hotplate as a back up to the gas as it gives us the option of using the genset if we run out of gas. It also means when we are being ripped off for a parking spot at a caravan park we can at least use their power! We also preferred a larger and deeper sink.
Paradise modified the design to our specs and we love it. The addition of a small table as an alternative to the larger â€˜diningâ€™ table made up for the loss of some bench space. A threequarter sized cutting board that fits over the sink allows it still to be used as a sink as well as giving extra kitchen preparation area. The standard Oasis range also has a bulkhead separating the bathroom area from the vehicleâ€™s rear barn doors. We had the bulkhead removed, allowing access from the rear. We can now hang up wetsuits in the shower without dripping through the whole van. We also had an external shower fitted. The other bonus is we now have the option of a loo with a view! Owner Options: I confess I am a gadget man, I have since fitted a wireless tyre pressure monitoring system, which allows me to keep an eye on all 6 wheels and the spare; a sub
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woofer with two more speakers (the sound is awesome) and an ULTRAGUAGE engine monitoring system (I can tell you everything from the turbo boost pressure to the airintake manifold temp as well as any engine fault codes). I also have overhead cameras to check roof clearance front and rear to monitor those low branches, a reversing sensor/ camera, LED driving lights and a NARVA LED Light-bar to floodlight campsites. In addition to the factory battery management system I have installed a XANTREX battery monitor. I admit the dashboard is starting to resemble the cockpit of a 747. The vehicle carries extensive recovery gear including a 12,000 lb synthetic rope WEYTHSCOTT hand winch (so far not used in anger) and Recover Treads (now slightly used with small amount of anger). To make it a “real” 4WD I fitted a SAFARI Snorkel. I don’t plan on taking the rig swimming, but it is supposed to get cooler air and less dust. Mostly it looks cool. I have also fitted aluminium under-body protection to the plastic water tanks.
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Best Features: The best feature is its 4WD ability and being able to drive down rough tracks to camp where others canâ€™t. It also provides the reassurance that if it pours with rain overnight we can still leave in the morning and not have an unplanned forced longer stay. The slide-out bed is impressive, making the relatively small rig much more liveable. It provides more interior space when stationary, allowing two people to move around without bumping into each other, yet minimises the external vehicle dimensions when navigating narrow tracks. The build quality is fantastic and it looks great. For two people the rig is perfectly set up for luxury extended remote camping. Yes there are compromises, but they are all in the right places. Worst Features: The CAMEC side door is easily the most annoying feature: it rattles. Actually, it is pretty much the only rattle in the entire rig. To be fair we do drive on rough roads, but thatâ€™s the whole point of the setup. I have had to stick foam blocks between the
64 | reader report
inner screen and outer door. This has helped, but the locking mechanism is pretty light-duty. Having said that, I still prefer it to the factory sliding door. Some aftermarket engineering will sort it out. The only other design issue again involves the door; the large window in the galley can’t be opened with the door open fully. An optional latch on the door limiting it to opening to 90 degrees, instead of folding flat, would solve the problem. Warranty Issues/Dealer Support: The Paradise team are great; they regularly keep in contact, answer emails or phone messages promptly and have sorted out any of the minor things that needed attention. They are based in the Gold Coast so anything major will mean a holiday north. I would highly recommend them to anyone interested in an up market motorhome. General Comments: The 4WD LWB Sprinter motorhome is not a “go anywhere” vehicle. Anyone who implies it is hasn’t driven one off
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road. It is not a Landcruiser by any stretch. The main limitations relate to the massive rear overhang, made worse by the addition of a tow bar and comparatively short suspension travel. Even with the tongue removed, it limits the vehicle’s ability to get through gullies and creek crossings. The 4WD system has a torque limiter which splits the power 65% rear and 35% front. This means that if the rear wheels loose traction (because they no longer touch the ground firmly with the towbar hooked on a rock) only 35% of the power goes to the front wheels. If that 35% isn’t enough to drag you off it then it cuts the power to the front wheels to
prevent damage. Time to put on the kettle and plan, because you are not going anywhere in a hurry. Having said that, the rig can go some amazing places, much further than non-4WD motorhome or normal car. It handles the sand brilliantly; the stability control combined with the long wheelbase easily copes with shocking corrugated Outback roads. The 4WD manages greasy tracks and wet grassy slopes with ease. As a general rule I use 2WD to get me into trouble and 4WD to get me out. Mostly that works out fine. When it doesn’t? Well the beer is cold in the fridge and time is on our side.
The best feature is its 4WD ability and being able to drive down rough tracks to camp where others can’t.
66 | Next Issue
Taking it Higer
We also have a great destination piece on Penrose Park at Silverton, just near Broken Hill in Outback NSW. From well known travel gurus Elizabeth and Helmut Mueller, who are set to become regular contributors to the iMotorhome editorial team, Elizabeth’s refreshing writing style and Helmut’s stunning photography are something we’re sure you’ll enjoy.
ext issue Malcolm brings us a look at an all-Australian A-class from Jacana Motorhomes in Taree, NSW. Well, it’s an all-Australian conversion of a Chinese Higer tourist coach, and although details are scarce at the time of going to press he promises it will be a beauty. Vehicles from Jacana usually are!
April 26-May 4 16-18
Sydney Caravan, Camping & Holiday Supershow Rosehill Racecourse, James Ruse Drive. Rose Hill. NSW • Open 10:00-5:00 daily (4:00 final day) • Parking: Free • Adults: $20 • Seniors: $15 • Kids U 16: Free with adult
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Next issue will be partially produced on-the-go as we head across America to start another great road trip, so what could possibly go wrong? Until Saturday 3 May be sure to join our and Twitter more than 7000 Facebook followers for daily travel updates and more than a few laughs. See you from America!
Mackay Home Show & Caravan, Camping Expo Mackay Showgrounds, Mackay, QLD. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $8 • Kids: Free with adult
May 16-18 23-2523-25
Hunter Valley Maitland Showground, Bloomfield St, Maitland. NSW. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $11 • Kids U16: Free with adult
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Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.