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iMotorhome

52 : Jul 19 2014

BirdsvibylleSea?

magazine

Issue

because getting there is half the fun...

Win!

$50 Caltex Fuel Card!

Avida’s popular Birdsville is at home by the sea, in the bush and everywhere in between…

Major Landmark!

Driving Traillite’s impressive Landmark Oakura 758

Paradise Oasis 4WD

Pt 2 of an owner’s off-road adventures…

Fit for Purpose…

Installing an Eberspacher diesel heater!


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! Contributors Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Jess Ciampa, Emily Barker, Elizabeth & Helmut Mueller

Published by iMotorhome

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Design Manager

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E: agnes@imotorhome.com.au

Agnes Nielsen

T: +614 14 604 368 E: info@imotorhome.com.au W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial

Advertising Advertising Manager Keith Smyth M: 0408 315 288

Publisher/Managing Editor

T: 03 9579 3079

Richard Robertson

E: advertising@imotorhome.com.au

T: 0414 604 368 E: richard@imotorhome.com.au Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street E: malcolm@imotorhome.com.au

Legal All content of iMotorhome eMagazine and website is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of content, however no responsibility is accepted for any inconvenience and/or loss arising from reading and/or acting upon information contained within iMotorhome eMagazine or the iMotorhome website.


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On my mind | 5

my cunning plan Lovers of Blackadder will remember Baldrick’s catch cry whenever he came up with a new, if usually doomed idea: “I have a cunning plan!” Well, I have my own Baldrick plan, but first let me set the scene. The rallying point of the caravan park lobby’s ‘stop the free camping’ campaign is the example set by backpackers. Thousands of young overseas tourists parking where they like in gaudily painted vans; leaving their personal and private waste wherever they please and partying endlessly into the night in one long, sun-soaked and alcoholfuelled orgy is a PR gift few organisations have dropped into their laps. The fact it conveniently masks the responsible actions of the vast majority of free camping travellers, while giving the Lobby the moral justification to righteously incite public anger against the growing scourge of the ‘Irresponsible RV Hordes’ must be something they’re revelling in. These same ‘Hoards’ become ‘valued, responsible customers’, of course, the instant they decide to stay a night or two in a caravan park, demonstrating the fight isn’t a moral or social one, it’s purely dollar driven. The reasons backpackers (in particular) don’t stay in caravan parks are complex. They include inconvenient locations, lack of site availability and the simple desire to escape the regulated confines of their lives back home, but for the most part it’s probably price: Paying $20-$50 a night for a piece of grass to park on and a hot shower is too big an ask. Caravan Park owners, on the other hand, justify their rates by citing overheads like staff and regulatory obligations, along with the cost of providing the facilities people want. The fact most free campers don’t give a toss about jumping pillows, swimming pools and kids’ playgrounds

seems lost on them. But of course, how can you justify high rates if you’re not providing lots of facilities? It’s a viscous circle without a simple answer, but consider this: There’s nothing so perishable as an unoccupied campsite when the sun goes down. It’s what the ‘real’ accommodation industry realised years ago, hence the abundance of last-minute deal websites. So – and this is where my cunning plan comes in – why not let Backpackers stay on an unpowered patch of grass (or even a ‘proper’ powered site, perish the thought), for $5 or so a night, if it’s otherwise unoccupied at 5 or 6 pm? “Why not? Overheads of course!” I can hear the Lobby shouting. “But you’re already paying staff to clean toilets and showers, so anything extra is surely a bonus, and if you’re worried about the electricity they’ll use charging their iPhones then lock the power boxes or charge a nominal extra fee.” I reply in my best Baldrick impersonation… “Better still,” I continue, “Why don't big holiday park chains do deals with rental companies so backpackers can buy pre-paid cards and remove the pain of parting with cash every night? They could even let the local tourist offices know how many extra sites they’re likely to have at, say, 4pm, so rather than having to run all over the place Backpackers could go to one place to find a legally and socially acceptable campsite? They could even make an app!” So that’s my Baldrick Plan. It needs work, I know, but what do you think? Or do you have an even more cunninger plan?

Richard


6 | Content

3

About us

5

On my Mind

8

User Guide

Who we are, where and other legal stuff

My cunning plan…

How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine

11

On your Mind

14

News

20

Day Test: Avida Birdsville

Share your thoughts for the chance to win a $50 Caltex fuel card!

What’s happening in the wider RV world - and beyond

Malcolm takes a close look at one of Avida’s most popular models

Avida’s Birdsville is very popular in its size category…

Missed a Test? No problem. Click HERE to view the complete list of tests.


Content | 7

32

Day test: Traillite Oakura 758

43

iMotorhome Marketplace

44

Travel

52

Tech: Heaters

60

Mobile Tech: MDH Roadie

64

What's Cooking?

66

Next Issue & Show Calendar

Behind the wheel of Traillite’s upmarket Oakura series

The latest Marketplace offers

Paradise by the Dashboard Lights - Part 2

Installing an Eberspacher diesel heater

Find that caravan park!

Sweet, sweet jerky!

What’s coming up and what shows are on soon

Traillite’s Landmark-series Oakura 758 in its natural environment…

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 that allow a degree of interactivity not possible with a conventional magazine. For example: The front cover and contents pages feature links in their headings that will take you directly to the relevant articles 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 link below it All advertisements are ‘live’ and linked to the advertisers’ websites. This means if you touch one (smartphone/tablet) or click on one (laptop/ desktop) you will be taken to the appropriate 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 or website of the topic being discussed, or open an email (if appropriate).

iPad and iPhone Users Important: Be sure you have the free iBooks app installed. Books displays a full page at a time and allows you to read the magazine by swiping the pages sideways, just like turning the pages in a printed magazine. iBooks also has a Library function that displays a small thumbnail of the front cover of each issue. You can even create Collections so that you can store each year’s issues separately or by vehicle brand tested, or however you desire.

Using iBooks On downloading each issue of iMotorhome eMagazine on your iPad or iPhone 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. You need to do this with each issue you download. 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 relevant article). To make the icons reappear just tap anywhere on the page again. 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 front cover at any time just tap on the page your 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 lefthand 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 info@imotorhome.com.au.

Thinking about a self-drive touring adventure?

Find all the inspiration and information you need for an awesome journey with our ebooks for iPad.

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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.

Cup-it-all Idea! G’day iMotorhome, here’s a tip I thought other readers might find useful, it is something I learned many years ago from my Dad, who worked on fit outs for buses. When you’re working on something above you and need to remove a screw, but need your spare hand to hold things together, chances are you’ll lose the screw when it comes out and drops down. To avoid this get a small paper cup and carefully cut a very small ‘X’ in the bottom. Put the screwdriver up through the bottom of the cup and then unscrew the screw. When it

drops out it falls safely into the cup! This has worked for me many times and I keep a pack of small water cups handy, like the ones in office water towers, which lasts me for years. Hope this helps someone, thanks for a great mag too! Cheers, Andrew. Now that’s a great idea Andrew, thanks. Please accept this issue’s $50 Caltex cash card as a thank you – I’m sure it will buy lots of paper cups for your future odd jobs!

A Day in History 64 AD: Circus Maximus in Rome catches fire 1553: England’s Lady Jane Grey deposed at nine days as Queen 1867: Dutch Red Cross is formed 1940: Hitler orders Great Britain to surrender 1997: IRA declares ceasefire in Northern Ireland


12 | On your mind

WERKT update and other costs...

Hi Richard, I have been going to contact you for a week but have been rather busy. Just a quick Werkt engine upgrade update. We took our motorhome down to Sale a few weekends ago to run in, as Dom asked. As this is an area we go to regularly I thought it would be easier to judge improvements. I found power has improved very noticeable as there are a few hills I would have previously had to change down gears on, but for the full trip I was able to maintain top gear. On some of the hills there was a speed loss, but as they levelled out I was able to increase to the speed limit easily. I was also able to cruise at 110 km/h, but I am sure it was at the cost of fuel economy. For this trip there was no improvement with economy, but I was driving a lot harder than I would have normally. Also, on costs of community-based sites I have found Sale show grounds has increased from $19.00 to $25.00 over the last 2 years. I went looking for an alternative site in Sale and found I could stay in the caravan park for $17,

site only, or $19 powered. It certainly shows we should be checking pricing before blindly booking into sites that are reported to be cheap. The caravan park had well maintained grassed areas with some concrete sites and, if needed, clean well maintained amenities. It defiantly goes to show some parks are providing more competitive service to people who don’t need all the frills. I will contact you again with updates on fuel economy when I have had my trip to Queensland, which I start on July 30. Best regards, Noel. Thanks Noel, good to hear all is going well and I’m sure you appreciate the extra power. It will be interesting to see how you go on the longer trip to Queensland. Thanks also for the headup on the Sale showgrounds and caravan park – very interesting. Good to know there are still some reasonably priced caravan parks out there.


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14 | News

NSW North Coast Councils Seek RV Solution

A

ccording to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald on July 16th, tourism authorities are working with councils across the North Coast to develop a consistent strategy for handling the growing number of RVs travelling the Pacific Highway. “The Pacific Highway is becoming increasingly popular for tourists in RV’s [sic], or motorhomes, who stop in free parking sites overnight. Concerns have been raised about caravan and holiday parks losing business, as RV's [sic] use free public facilities. Caravan parks fear the popularity of free overnight parking and dumping sites could threaten their business.” “The North Coast Destination Network will begin work next month with all North Coast councils, hoping to develop a more consistent strategy to accommodate [sic] RV’s [sic]. Executive Officer of

the Network, Belinda Novicky, said they are looking to strike the right balance.” "There needs to be quite a bit of work done," she said. "We want to make sure that we have the right facilities and that we're able to promote our holiday parks, and what they have to offer, as well as making sure that we're providing free camping that is of interest to the RV market.” Ms Novicky said it is a complex problem, but a policy can be found to satisfy both travellers and businesses. "It is definitely a tricky one," she said. "There are a number of councils at the moment who are looking at things like a limit of two days or twenty-four hours free camping. That allows those travellers to get a hold of where they're travelling to, and look at it as a stop-over destination on to their final point.”

Wicked Ways Over?

Q

ueenslandbased Wicked Campers this week bowed to public pressure to remove “misogynistic and degrading” slogans from its vehicles.

Simmering public ire peaked last week when Sydney mother Paula Orbea started an online campaign through change.org after her 11 year old daughter asked her to explain a slogan she spotted during a visit to the Blue Mountains. It read,“In every princess there is a little slut who wants to try it just once…” "I was livid," she said. I agree with free speech, but where is the line? At what point do we say no, that's not morally correct?

"I believe these [slogans] are changing the way we see each other through these labels. I just feel like it's wallpapering our lives, this idea, this obsession with sex, and creating a sexobsessed male and a victim female, a hypersexualised 'asking for it' female.” She said her daughter was upset because she thought the slogan could be referring to a child like her. "It made her fear being perceived that way - especially by someone she may cross paths with who may agree with that perspective," Ms Orbea wrote on the petition. Despite initial dismissal by Wicked Camper’s management the petition went viral and within 4 days had attracted more than 120,000 signatures. The vehicle in question has since been repainted to read, “Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitos?”


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16 | News

Fuel Comparison Surprise

M

‘corrosive’ effect on rubber components of the fuel system, although the vast majority of petrol engined vehicles on the road can now use it without issue.

E10 (10% ethanol) is the lowest priced unleaded fuel that’s widely available and suits the majority of petrol-powered vehicles, while E85 (85% ethanol) is cheaper but suits only a few vehicle types and suffers from limited availability. Premium 98 RON – commonly referred to as premium unleaded – has long been promoted by oil companies as providing longer range and therefore cheaper running despite costing more, and it’s a fuel type required by most, if not all, European petrol-engined vehicles; a factor many owners don’t realise at the time of purchase.

The test covered 2057 km (293 km city/1764 km country) using three new Holden Commodores. As expected, range was furthest with premium unleaded and least with E85, while E85 produced the lowest greenhouse gas emissions and premium unleaded and E10 ran neckand-neck to produce the highest. Despite its significantly lower price the E85 powered Commodore was the most expensive to run, at $242.70. And despite what the oil companies would have you believe, the E10 vehicle came in cheapest ($218.84), with the premium unleaded car costing $237.36 over the same distance.

Critics of E10 have long cited reduced range and increased fill cost, due to the fuel (which has a RON or octane rating of 95) containing less energy due to its ethanol content. Some older engines are also adversely affected by ethanol’s

The Drive team was at pains to explain that fuel costs vary widely and that this was just a single test, but in relative terms it does indicate E10 is the most cost effective fuel for most petrol powered vehicles.

otoring website drive.com.au recently conducted a real-world test to compare the consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and cost of three fuel types for petrol engines, E10, E85 and Premium 98 Ron.

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18 | News

CMCA Safari Price Slashed

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MCA members looking for adventure from August 27 to September 18 will be pleased to see the cost of the Birdsville Safari has been reduced to $495 per person, which includes camping fees and some meals. Accompanied by an experienced road boss and followed by a sweep vehicle, the event

starts in Broken Hill, NSW, and will get you to Birdsville in time for its famous and hugely popular race meeting. From there the Safari continues to Charleville, Qld, from where you’ll go your own way. For information and bookings call (02) 4978 8788.

Lifetime Award

T

ony Hunter, founder of Sunliner Motorhomes, recently received the Caravan Industry of Victoria’s lifetime achievement award. Presented in front of more than 550 industry peers and family members, the award helps celebrate Sunliner’s 40th anniversary as a motorhome manufacturer.

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News | 19

Future Connections

I

n a move that will eventually impact the RV sector, the Volkswagen Group is taking over BlackBerry's European research and development centre in Bochum, Germany. The newly founded Volkswagen Infotainment GmbH, VW is expanding its expertise and capabilities in the field of vehicle connectivity. Its objective is interlinking vehicles with the surrounding world, research that has seen rapid growth in recent years. The exchange of information between vehicle and mobile devices, such as MP3 players, smart phones and car keys, is already taking place. In the near future further forms of communication will become equally established: communication between vehicle and the driver's home or office; communication between vehicle and filling stations, parking spaces and road

infrastructure (car-to-X communication) and ultimately, from vehicle to vehicle. This will allow for real-time information of traffic holdups, for example. Volkswagen’s Dr Heinz-Jakob Neußer said, “Connectivity will be a key feature of the car of the future. Many customers are expecting connected vehicles (that will introduce) a new dimension of convenience and road safety.” RV applications could include the ability to directly check caravan park availability and fees as well as live weather and road conditions, plus emergency situations like bush fires and floods.


Birdsville on Track

20 | Day Test: Avida Birdsville C7334

Avida’s versatile Birdsville is on track to maintain its popularity‌ Review and images by Malcolm Street


Day Test: Avida Birdsville C7334 | 21

Good external storage is a key feature of the Birdsville’s design, just be sure to resist the temptation to overload with every available lifestyle accessory. Windowless rear panel is ideal for a high mounted bike rack.

I

n the mid-size motorhome market one of the more successful designs has been the Avida Birdsville. Built on a Fiat Ducato cab-chassis the Birdsville is available in a variety of layouts, featuring single or double beds and a split or full-width rear bathroom. For this test, which was supped by Australian Motor Homes near Newcastle, NSW, I’m looking at the Birdsville C7334, with both a double bed and full-width rear bathroom.

The Vehicle

T

he Birdsville is built on a Fiat Ducato Multijet 180 chassis, has an empty (tare) weight of 3354 kg and is 7.2 m (23 ft 7 in) long. Like most other Avida motorhomes the Birdsville is built using a fully welded metal frame for the walls, floor and roof. That frame has a foam sheet filler that Avida reckons acts as both thermal and road noise insulation. For the walls,


22 | Day Test: Avida Birdsville C7334

Bright red upholstery mightn’t suit everyone, but it certainly brightens up the interior. Inwards-facing seat is useful, just watch your head.

all are laminated with backing panels and an outer fibreglass skin. Slightly differently, the one piece floor has a ply timber sheet above and metal sheeting below, for underfloor protection. Additionally, the front Luton peak/cab surround, rear wall and roof are fullymoulded fibreglass. One of the features of this motorhome, especially given its length, is its generous external bin space. In addition to the gas cylinder bin there are two On the Road low level ones along the driver’s n so many ways the Ducato side. On the kerb side, one bin is well suited to this length door accesses the under-bed motorhome. It's gross area whilst a second at the rear weight (GVM) of 4250 kg corner offers a considerable gives a good load capacity of amount of space and doesn't nearly 900 kg and the 3.0-litre require any bending over. 132 kW turbo-diesel powers the rig along well, enabling There are no surprises the driver to maintain posted in the door and window road speeds without difficulty. departments, the latter being Behind the driver's cab were Seitz double-glazed hoppers a few squeaks and rattles, whilst the former is Avida's most easily cured with a towel favourite Hehr item, with separate (non-security) screen or cushion in the right place, door. Doing the job of covering while the loudest noise was the nearside al fresco area is a wind – not surprising given the Fiamma F45 wind-out awning. proximity of the entry door to the cab.

I

Living Inside

B

eing a motorhome with a forward entry door this Birdsville layout makes full use of the Ducato’s swivelling seats, which form up part of the front lounge/dining area. The zone immediately behind that is devoted to the kitchen, leaving the rear for an east-west bed and full-width bathroom. Being designed with a full Luton peak there's a second bed above the driver's cab that can be lifted up if not needed – something that assists greatly getting to and from the cab seats. In many ways, the


Day Test: Avida Birdsville C7334 | 23

The table can be moved across

to be reached from all seats. Birdsville interior is typically Avida in style, but the red of the upholstery seating adds an attractive splash of colour. Although the interior does not feel particularly cramped, one of the benefits of the Luton peak is that the rising roofline at the front does much for space perception. Another side benefit is that the top of

the adjacent overhead lockers can be quite easily used as bedside storage. Just on the Luton bed, it would nice if the ladder could be stored somewhere secure rather than just being thrown up onto the bed, as you then need a ladder to get to the ladder!

Light coloured cabinetry keeps the Birdsville’s interior bright, as does good window space and a tall ceiling. The dinette seat is very handy, being seatbelt equipped for two, so you can take advantage of the four-berth design.

Lounging and Dining

A

t the front the non-cab seats are set up with an inwards-facing seat on the kerb side and a forward facing seat on the driver’s side. It's quite a clever setup because the latter is fitted with seat belts and can legally accommodate two travelling passengers. It did seem,


24 | Day Test: Avida Birdsville C7334 There’s seating for five up front and the Zwaardvis mount provides the most table adjustment possible. Note under-seat powerpoint (below) in a less-than-ideal location.

however, that as the base cushion is quite deep it would not be particularly comfortable for those with shorter legs, like grandchildren, and a cushion or two for back support would be helpful. Tables are often an issue in a layout like this because they need to be large enough to be practical, yet not in the way when moving around. A folding table is often the solution, which is what’s used here, along with a Zwaardvis table mount. That means the table can be moved across so as to be reached from all seats, but it's certainly most stable in front of the driver’s side seats. Neither of the cab seats has a reading light but both the rear seats do, although they are non-matching and do look slightly odd. Overhead lockers supply generous storage space, but both the under-seat areas are occupied: the kerb side by the water heater and


Day Test: Avida Birdsville C7334 | 25

The flat screen TV is mounted on a clever slide-out bracket that holds the TV securely and can be swivelled to be easily seen from the cab seats or bed.


26 | Day Test: Avida Birdsville C7334

The small kitchen has limited storage and the under-bench cupboards would be better as drawers. A flip-up bench extension would be welcome, too.

the driver’s side by the house battery, charge and 240 V/12 V electrics. Although the fuse panel is quite easy to get at, it's not quite so easy to locate the correct fuse, especially if you wear multi-focal glasses!

Catering

G

iven what else has been fitted into this layout, something had to be squeezed a bit and that something is the kitchen.

It comes with a three-burner cooktop adjacent to a stainless steel sink, and in a variation on normal design the grill sits under the sink, not the cooktop. All that leaves little room for bench top area and storage space, with just two cupboards, one cutlery-sized drawer and two overhead lockers. In typical Avida style the hot water service switch and two light switches are located just under the bench top edge, whilst two more – along with the electric step switch – are along the side.


Day Test: Avida Birdsville C7334 | 27 Completing the catering essentials are a 190-litre Dometic fridge and a microwave, located opposite the kitchen bench. Above the microwave is what looks like a handy cupboard but is in fact the "garage" for the flat screen TV. It's mounted on one of those clever slide-out brackets that not only holds the TV securely, but when pulled out can be swivelled around so as to be easily seen from either the front cab seats or the bed.

After Hours

E

ast-west beds can be tricky little items as they sit across the motorhome and the walls, naturally, restrict the length. In this case the bed has a unextended length of 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in) and a width of 1.73 m (4 ft 6 in). Bathroom access is restricted when the bed is fully extended, like this. Although the bed can be lifted it is quite awkward to do so.

The length can be increased to a generous 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in), but of course that does restrict bathroom access considerably. For day use it’s possible to lift the bed but this is quite awkward. Something else that took a few goes to remember is the slight step over the right wheel arch. I do wonder about a permanently raised floor area in the rear, so there is only one step. Once in bed only one person gets a bedside cabinet, but they also get a magazine pouch. That same person has the convenience of being closest to the bathroom, but both have (matching) reading lights and both get an overhead locker. As noted, the bed can be lifted to get to the


28 | Day Test: Avida Birdsville C7334 storage area underneath, while there’s a good sized wardrobe butting up against the fridge cabinet. Although the diagonal shape means hanging space isn't readily available it does have some good sized shelves. Something that is a feature of all Avida motorhome is the specification/compliance chart inside the wardrobe door. It's a pity more manufactures don't follow suit with that idea.

Keeping Clean

I

n a way the full-width rear bathroom’s layout is a bit unconventional. In the driver’s-side corner is a good sized vanity cabinet with wash basin, upper and lower cupboards and a wall mirror. Next across is a shower cubicle

To maximise space in the full width-rear bathroom the toilet is accessed though the shower! Fortunately it’s screened off to keep it dry.

with flex-hose shower head and in the kerb-side corner is a bench-style Thetford cassette toilet. What makes this different is that in an effort to maximise space efficiency you have to walk through the shower cubicle to get to the loo. The shower cubicle has roller screens on both ends, to keep the floor and loo seat dry.


Day Test: Avida Birdsville C7334 | 29 The Birdsville’s distinctive raised Luton peak protects the rooftop air-conditioner to a degree, while the extra external storage lockers are very handy.

What I Think

A

s mentioned earlier, one of the assets of the Birdsville is that if you to like the design concept there are a number of layouts available. I mention that because if you are a taller person the bed length in this case might be an issue, but there are alternative layouts with either single beds or the bed right at the rear, which might suit you better. Being just over 7.2 m (23 ft 7 in) long there were going to be few design compromises, but generally speaking this layout works well. Additionally, the Birdsville is built on the easy driving Fiat Ducato cab chassis that now comes with a factorybacked 5 year/100,000 km warranty. And like all Avida’s, the Birdsville is backed by a 2 year/1 million km warranty and a 5 year structural guarantee.

One of the features of this motorhome, especially given its length, is its generous external bin space.


30 | Day Test: Avida Birdsville C7334

Specifications

Manufacturer

Avida

Model

Birdsville C7334

Base Vehicle

Fiat Ducato Multijet 180

Engine

3.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power

132 kW @ 3500 rpm

Torque

400 Nm @ 1400 rpm

Gearbox

Six speed AMT

Brakes

ABS Disc

Tare Weight

3354 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4250 kg

Towing Capacity

2500 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

4

External Length

7.20 m (23 ft 7 in)

External Width

2.32 m (7 ft 7in)

External Height

3.10 m (10 ft 2 in)

External Height with AC

1.97 m (6 ft 6 in)

Internal Height

1.9 m (6 ft 3 in)

Rear Bed Size

1.77 m (5 ft 10 in) x 1.73 m (4 ft 6 in)

Cooktop

Dometic 3-burner and Spinflo grill

Fridge

Dometic RM 2555 150-litre 3 way

Microwave

LG

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

1 x 100 AH

Gas

2 x 4.0 kg

Heater

Optional

Solar Panels

Optional

Air Conditioner

Dometic

Hot Water Heater

Truma gas/electric 14-litre

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Separate cubicle

Fresh Water Tank

124-litre

Grey Water Tank

124-litre

Price as tested (on road NSW)

$137,600.00

There is currently a $6,000.00 Avida factory rebate available

• • • • • •

Pros

Good level of external storage Driving the Ducato Eye catching interior colours Front lounge/dining set Rear bathroom arrangement Extendable table

Cons

• Smallish kitchen • Bed length/walkway when extended • Power point under table awkward to access • 12 V/5 V charger sockets not fitted

Contact

Australian Motor Homes Click for Google Maps

31 Pacific Highway Bennetts Green NSW 2290 T: (02) 4948 0433 E: enquiries@australianmotorhomes.com.au W: www.australianmotorhomes.com.au

For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here


Day Test: Avida Birdsville C7334 | 31

In the mid-size motorhome market one of the more successful designs has been the Avida Birdsville.


32 | Day Test: Traillite Oakura 758

Major Landmark!

If you’re looking for luxury and ability, Traillite’s Landmark Oakura 758 could be just the ticket… Story and Images by Malcolm Street


Day Test: Traillite Oakura 758 | 33

With its white and silver finish the big Traillite Oakura certainly looks up-market, and actually a bit smaller than it really is.

I

n case you’re not aware, Traillite is almost a national icon in the NZ Recreational Vehicle world. The company has been in business since the 1950s and builds a wide range of quality motorhomes. At the top end is the Landmark Oakura series and in this particular case the 758, which is part of the 700 series. I did wonder about that number, but it refers to the base vehicle: generally speaking an Iveco and in this case a Daily 70C17.

The Vehicle

T

he Landmark Oakura 758 measures an impressive 8.4 m (27 ft 7 in) in length. Constructed on a steel chassis above the Iveco’s, the Oakura’s body actually has no frame. Instead, walls are made using sandwich panel construction that consists of AluFiber on the outside, an insulative foam core and


34 | Day Test: Traillite Oakura 758

Angular lines give this motorhome a distinctive appearance. External storage is good, although not capacious considering the size of the vehicle. plywood lining inside. Sandwich panel covers a multitude of wall construction techniques but to explain a bit more, AluFiber is an external finish that consists of a layer of fibreglass with a thin layer of powder coated aluminium on the outside. Included in the Oakura’s body construction are a number of external storage bins; the main ones being a rear boot and ones on either side, also at the rear. Behind the passenger door is a fourth bin that's partly taken up by the house battery and battery charger. None of the bins are particularly large, but that makes it quite easy for packing and securing everything, unlike say just one large open storage area. Behind the driver's door is where the gas cylinder bin and external shower are located, with the latter being very close to the water heater.

Given the price you might expect the Landmark Oakura 758 to come with everything, and it pretty much does.


Day Test: Traillite Oakura 758 | 35

The large TV is excellent, but can’t be viewed from the swivelled cab seats. Over-cab storage is good and neatly finished. Very familiarly, the Oakura is fitted with a Camec triple-lock security door and Seitz hopper windows, which come complete with integrated blinds and insect screens. For a looks point of view, the white/silvery grey colour scheme is okay and should be easy to keep looking clean. Regarding self-containment, 375 litres of fresh and 200 litres of grey water is a generous capacity, although the cassette toilet’s 22 litre capacity, which is usual for these unit, could be a limiting factor. There are no such issues electrically speaking, with the 280 watt solar panels well able to keep the 250 amp hour AGM batteries charged up. The 300 watt inverter can’t be used for everything, but it’s certainly good for laptop and the like, being the more expensive pure sine wave type that it is. The Oakura 758 has a tare weight of 4960 kg and a GVM of 5995 kg, which gives a

good load capacity even with full water. It also means it can be driven on a normal car licence in NZ, being under 6000 kg.

On The Road

G

iven its length this motorhome is never going to be a lightweight on the road, but the 125 kW Iveco Daily is well up to the task. The six-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) has the usual, occasional hesitancies in the lower ranges, but otherwise gear shifts are smooth. The Daily is certainly more truck like than its front-wheel drive Italian stablemate the Fiat Ducato, but being a Euro platform, offers a higher comfort level than a Japanese equivalent. Unlike the Ducato, the Daily does have grab handles on the windscreen pillars that make ingress just so much easier. The mirrors give good side vision and are aided by a rear vision camera clipped to the interior rear view mirror. For driving


36 | Day Test: Traillite Oakura 758

Reflecting the trends of contemporary interior design, the Oakura’s interior might be a bit stark for some. It’s certainly bright, however, and easy to keep clean, while the separate toilet cubicle (right) is a welcome inclusion.

entertainment a standard Iveco radio is fitted, which is very basic and lacks an interface with any external music players.

Living Inside

T

his particular layout, with minor variations, is quite common in the motorhome world and for good reason: It works well. With the entry door set forward of the rear axle, the design features a front lounge/dining area, mid motorhome kitchen and rear bedroom/ bathroom. If a light and bright interior was the aim of the Traillite team, they have certainly succeeded. It might be a bit stark for some, but I like it. Given that most of the bulky cabinets are to the rear, the front area is quite open. Features like the Roman blinds are a nice touch, softening the plain look of the frame-integrated blinds.


Day Test: Traillite Oakura 758 | 37

Inwards facing front lounges provide good after-hours relaxation space. Large windows and a roof hatch ensure plenty of light and fresh air, too.

Handily, most electrical switches are in the locker above the entry door and just in case you have forgotten what day it is, a decent sized digital clock under the locker is there for all to see. In the adjoining locker and also quite easy to reach, a Fusion radio supplies music entertainment, whilst the panel above looks after the satellite TV.

Lounging Around

T

wo inwards facing lounges are designed to fit in with the swivelled cab seats and Zwaardvis mounted table. Being an Iveco, the passenger seat swivels quite easily but the driver's seat is a bit more of a fiddle, given the handbrake’s location. Large windows on either side give a good view of the surrounding countryside


38 | Day Test: Traillite Oakura 758 A standout feature is the 81 cm (32 in) flat screen TV that’s mounted in the cabinet above the driver's cab. It's easy to view – except no seats directly face it. However, a couple of strategically placed cushions against the cabinet ends of the inwards facing lounges should sort that problem. General storage in this area is good, with the usual overhead lockers on both sides, plus cabinets above the driver's cab. That includes a shelf area which, apart from anything else, is good for battery chargers, given the power points on either side. Instead of ply hatches giving access to the under seat storage, Traillite has fitted three handy drawers and one floor locker. Like the drawers in the rest of the motorhome, these are fitted with metal sides and self-closers.

Time to Eat

U

ndoubtedly one of the standout features of the kitchen is its generous drawer and slide-out pantry storage. In fact pantries are fitted on both sides of the motorhome at the lounge end, with the lower

Cooks will rejoice at the Oakura’s well equipped kitchen and masses of drawer space, which includes two slide-out under-bench pantries.


Day Test: Traillite Oakura 758 | 39

Rear island bed is good but could be longer. There’s certainly no shortage of bedroom storage space, however.

offside one including two fitted garbage bins: so much better than the plastic bag hanging on a door handle! Also of interest is the drawer that fits under the sink, which includes a special cut out to get past the sink drainage pipe. No wasted space here! Of course, the kitchen bench area includes a couple of other essential features like the stainless steel sink (no drainer) and four-burner hob with grill and oven. On the opposite side is a 190-litre 2-door Dometic fridge, with microwave above.

After Hours

T

aking centre stage in the rear is an island bed. Featuring a very comfortable inner spring mattress, it sits on a metal-framed posture-slated base that lifts to access storage underneath, complete with good sized drawers on either side. To me, the bed length of 1.7 m


40 | Day Test: Traillite Oakura 758 (5 ft 8 in) is on the short side, although it can be extended to 1.83 m (6 ft) – still not very long – but this bites into the walk-around area. Like everywhere else in this motorhome general storage is good, with a well designed bed head of cupboards, overhead lockers and bedside cabinets.

Keeping Clean

T

he split bathroom, with the shower cubicle on the driver’s side and the toilet cubicle on the kerb side, works well. Complete with a curved corner to facilitate getting by, the shower cubicle is fully kitted out with a variable height shower rose, soap dispenser, ventilation hatch and extendible towel rack. Equally well appointed is the toilet cubicle, complete with cassette toilet, pedestal-style wash basin, good cupboard space and a decent size wall mirror.

What I Think

G

iven the price you might expect the Landmark Oakura 758 to come with everything, and it pretty much does (except aircon - Ed). It's very well laid out, while the Iveco Daily is a more than capable base vehicle. This is also a motorhome that offers plenty of capacity for extended remote camping. Best of all, for many people, it can be driven on a standard car licence – in New Zealand.

The all-glass shower is a touch of luxury that certainly looks good and doesn’t seem to encroach on bedroom space. The separate toilet cubicle across the aisle is also tastefully finished and a good size.


Day Test: Traillite Oakura 758 | 41

Specifications Manufacturer

Traillite

Model

Landmark Oakura 758

Base Vehicle

Iveco Daily 70C17

Engine

3.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power

125 kW @ 3000-3500 rpm

Torque

400 Nm @ 1250-3000 rpm

Gearbox

6-speed AMT

Brakes

ABS Disc

Tare Weight

4960 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

5995 kg

Towing Capacity

3500 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

4

External Length

8.40 m (27 ft 7 in)

External Width

2.40 m (7 ft 11 in)

External Height

3.23 m (10 ft 6 in)

Internal Height

2.0 m (6 ft 7 in)

Rear Bed Size

1.83 m (6 ft) x 1.53 m (5 ft)

Cooktop

Thetford Caprice 4 burner/grill/oven

Fridge

Dometic RM 8555 190-litre

Microwave

Panasonic Inverter

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

250 AH

Gas

2 x 9.0 kg

Heater

Webasto diesel

Solar Panels

280 W

Air Conditioner

Optional

Hot Water Heater

Suburban 23-litre

Toilet

Thetford cassette with SOG vent

Shower

Separate cubicle

Fresh Water Tank

375-litre

Grey Water Tank

200-litre

Price as tested (on road NZ)

$263,204.00 – as displayed (Landmark specification).

Pros

• Mostly well proportioned layout • Comfortable front lounge area • Generous internal and external storage • Kitchen drawer capacity • Excellent 230 V/12 V electricals • Easy driving Iveco • Excellent towing capacity

Cons

• Bed length an issue for taller people • No USB charger

Contact

Click for Google Maps

Traillite

77 Paerata Road Pukekohe NZ T: 0800 872 455 W: www.traillite.co.nz

For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here


42 | Day Test: Traillite Oakura 758

This motorhome offers plenty of capacity for extended remote camping. Best of all it can be driven on a standard car licence – in New Zealand.


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44 | Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights

Paradise by the Dashbord Light! Part 2

Part 2 of a new owner’s off road adventures… By David Spencer


Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights | 45

W

ith one week of our four week road test completed it was time to put ourselves and the vehicle under a little more stress. Ours is a 4WD rig, designed and built (we hoped!) for roads most Motorhome drivers would avoid.

Moving On Newnes to Glen Innes is around 650 Km. We travelled via Mussellbrook, taking good back roads, with not much traffic and great views. We stopped overnight at Phipps Cutting, listed in Wikicamps as Honeysuckle Creek. You can walk up above the road cutting and see the hand placed stonework that gives the place its name. There’s a small parking area with limited flat sections and it’s great for an overnight stop. From Glen Innes we took the less travelled Old Grafton Road. It used to be 175 km of rough dirt and I remembered it as a kid, sitting in the back of a HK station wagon towing a Hillandale caravan. It was an adventure back then and the highlight was driving through a

tunnel carved by prisoners (well that's what Dad said). In truth it was opened in 1867 and the tunnel was cut by underpaid, but free workers. Still, Dad was never one to let facts get in the way of a good yarn. It was also the home of bushrangers and pioneers alike and it was going to be interesting to see if any adventure was left now. The adventure part was not looking good as the first section is now paved as it winds down the mountainside. It’s narrow with very tight corners, making us glad we didn't meet much traffic. At the bottom of the range you can camp at Mann River, which has basic facilities and overlooks the river. Locals from Glen Innes camp there to escape the cold.

Tunnel Visions

F

rom there on the road is dirt. Initially quite wide, it twists and turns, narrowing as you work your way down the valley. The long wheel base sprinter handled the corrugations easily, although I kept the speed down to 40 km/h or less on the narrow blind


46 | Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights

corners. It was smoother at 60 km/h, however the risk of head butting a Landcruiser or similar coming the other way didn't appeal. Fortunately we met no traffic on the two hour drive to our camp site, and the tunnel. By now we were starting to feel some adventure creeping in, especially since the sign said the tunnel was 20 m long and only 3 m high. The Paradise Oasis is 2.8m high, so roof clearance camera was going to be useful! The feelings of adventure continued as high winds stripped leaves and small branches from the numerous gums. The track skirted the rock face as the gorge narrowed and the river cut in below. The track was now littered with rocks and rubble that had fallen from the cliff during the recent rains and with such a steep drop to the river the idea of having to reverse a kilometre or so in the event the track was blocked by fallen trees, rocks or a land cruiser coming the other way was not something I looked forward too. The idea of having to turn around and backtrack 90 km if the tunnel

roof was too low was even less appealing. I was now getting more adventure than I had bargained for and a rapidly approaching storm didn't help my mood. The forecast in Glen Innes included possibility of snow and with our planned campsite just on the other side of the tunnel the suspense was getting to me. It turns out the tunnel is at least 3.3 m high, so I can now go buy a bigger truck! We camped a few kilometres further on at the Dalmorton camp area, which is now a ghost town with origins dating back to the construction of the road. Somewhat bizarrely a ruined tennis court remains. The camp site on the other side of the river is well set up, with great fireplaces, pit toilets and plenty of sites. It also is well treed with young gums and no branches likely to drop off, a serious consideration given the high winds ripping down the valley. It was a great spot to sort out the troubles of the world over a glass of wine, in front of a fire overlooking a river. 


Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights | 47

Purple Haze

F

rom Grafton we headed for the alternative lifestyle town of Nimbin. Traffic was pretty light on the narrow road through the lush green bush and we were amazed to see a police RBT site, complete with a Winnebago motorhome of their own! There were also a surprising number of driverless cars sprawled beside the road. After a quick breath test and a brief chat with the nice senior constable we were back on our way. Apparently they were getting a hit rate of 1 in 4 cars with drivers who were drug or alcohol effected. Very scary, especially driving a Motorhome on narrow country roads. It didn't make sense to me at the time, why would there be some many impaired drivers 11 am on a back road? Ten minutes later we had the answer as we drove through the township of Nimbin, in what must have been in the middle of a Greenie, tree hugging, dope festival of some kind. Cars were parked everywhere off the road and hundreds of

people were milling around on the road. As we navigated through the sea of people, all we could see were happy people with dreadlocks, wearing green and brown with ribbons in their hair. We also saw some slightly less happy, serious, looking people with very short hair, caps, wearing blue and lots of velcro. Our plan to stay a night in Nimbin dissipated like a bong haze in a cyclone. As we departed on the other side of town we ran straight into another RBT site run by the blue crowd. They too appeared to be doing great business. A quick look at our iThingy Hema map App and cross check with Wikicamps showed a national park and camp not that far away. Yet another narrow bush track called Cutters Camp wound its way beside Byrrill Creek to Mebbin Nature Reserve. Not a track you would want to take a big rig on, but fine for 2WD Sprinter-sized rigs. The camp has all the usual facilities with the bonus of a fireplace inside a shelter.


48 | Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights

We added a candle lit trail to the RV – my wife must have decided the whole hippy thing had something going for it. At least we were born in the 60s, unlike the 90% of the mob back at Nimbin.

Driving Style

I

Warning

We both love driving the Sprinter; its simple to drive, has plenty of power and great visibility. It is easy to forget it weighs officially 4.5 tonne. No-one following us would mistake the motorhome as being driven by "grey nomads" with all the time in the world. We don't do 8090 km/h on open freeways – ever.

rom Mebbin NP we drove around the iconic Mt Warning in the Murwillumbah Valley. It is a scenic drive on pitted bitumen roads that’s always in view of the mountain. Mt Warning gets its forbidding name from early maritime charts as it is the first indication of land. It’s also the first place in Australia to get the day’s sun as it is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard.

n addition to testing out the machine, the road trip was intended to test the human component. How would we survive as a couple living in the confines of a small motorhome?

For highway runs at highway speed, fully loaded we average around 14.5 L/100 km. We actually get far better consumption off the main roads, using as little as 12 L/100 km, but on steep bush tracks with plenty of 4WD 17-20 is easily possible.

F

Climbing the mountain is very worthwhile, but requires a reasonable degree of fitness; if you are hardcore enough you can get to be the first person to see the morning sun. That would of course mean getting up hours before dawn and that's just plain crazy on holidays!


Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights | 49

The return trip is posted as being five hours; it’s four km up a good zig-zag path. The last few hundred meters is a very steep rock face and has a chain handhold to help. It can be challenging, but the reward at the top is worth it. If your mobility is not quiet up to it it's still worth walking as far as you can before risking a coronary. There are plenty of lookouts along the way, reassuringly marked as "helicopter rescue platforms,” which made me feel so much better.

operate on the same business model they had 30-plus years ago.

Border Ranges

I

love jungle. There is something primeval about vines, massive ferns and strangler fig trees that kill their hosts.

The Border Ranges National Park, just north of Kyogal, has some great examples of subtropical rain forest and it’s about as close to real jungle as you get in Australia. It also has For convenience we camped at the Mt Warning spectacular views (when it isn't raining, which Rain Forest Caravan Park, located near the apparently isn't that often) and a great scenic entrance to the Wollumbin National Park. It’s a drive. It’s dirt and suitable for 2WD vehicles, but nice clean park and although we had no mobile not suitable for vehicles over seven metres, or reception in the area the park’s intermittent free caravans. Warning signs like that always get WiFi was great. my hopes up, especially when it starts to rain. We came in via Wiangaree from Kyogal and I still fail to see the value for money at $30 per night. It seems a lot for a patch of dirt, a power followed the park signs. The tightest part of the point and a tap, especially as we don't use the circuit is one way. There are some great short local toilet and shower facilities. The inflexibility walks as well as some six hour ones along the way, with picnic spots. of van parks pricing amazes me, especially in off peak times with 80 % of the park empty. The track itself was pretty easy; the biggest Why not charge less and gain more customers problem was dodging hanging vines and our or encourage longer stays? Parks seem to directional TV antenna spun like a roulette


50 | Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights

wheel when I got it wrong. Fortunately, no damage was done. Even in the wet we had plenty of traction in 2WD, and why the road is limited to seven meters escapes me. I had been hoping to use 4WD and was a little disappointed the road was so good, however I was impressed by the spectacular scenery. The camp at Sheep Station is the pick, with good facilities, plenty of tent sites and a couple of good, level RV sites. The walking tracks are excellent, with great trails along a picturesque creek. Walks vary in length from a few hundred metres to nine kilometres. We did the Rosewood walk, which is six kilometres. Be warned, if leeches freak you out this is probably not the place to get out of the RV without protection. My wife used some good old DEET (Bushmans repellant). This stuff melts plastic as well as upsetting mosquitoes and, it would seem, leeches. She was leech free. I didn't use it and picked up seven in thirty minutes of walking! I quickly relented and DEET sprayed my legs and boots and the next

two hours saw no leeches on me; they actually stayed on my gaters rather than my DEET covered skin. From Sheep Station we headed across to Cougal then up through the Border Rangers Park, following the railway on Lions Road. The railway was put through after WW1 and was a massive engineering feat. To climb the ranges the railway spirals around a hill using two tunnels to gain thirty metres height before punching through the range into QLD via a one point five kilometre long tunnel – and all hand cut. The road itself was made much later by volunteers from the region’s Lions Club. A note of caution, one of the bridges apparently has a two tonne limit. At the top of the range there is a short drive to the border range track lookout; at the picnic spot you get a great view of the valley and the railway, although unfortunately you can't see the spiral tunnels.


Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights | 51

With just over two weeks on the road completed the Oasis was performing extremely well. The only issue was a rattle in the side door, which had progressively worsened. We were over halfway through the trip we still had not seriously tested the 4WD system. The final part of the trip would involve state forests and national parks inland from Mooloolaba. Hopefully they would provide us with a tougher challenge!


52 | Tech: Fit For Purpose!

Fit For Purpose!

An owner’s account of fitting his new diesel heater… In conjunction with RV World Online Store (NZ)


Tech: Fit For Purpose! | 53 This article is customer written and discusses the comparisons made when deciding what brand of diesel heater to buy and the extra installation steps he took to fit the heater in his particular vehicle. Due to restrictions below the floor line the heater mounting plate was raised off the floor using custom made brackets. Usually the heater’s mounting plate is installed into the vehicle floor. Click HERE for a copy of the installation manual. Note: The comments and opinions in this article don’t necessarily reflect the views of iMotorhome, RV World or Eberspacher. This is a guide only and you should conduct your own research and not make decisions based entirely on what is printed here.

T

he 20 year old Suburban LPG heater in my American RV used old technology and had a massive current draw of around 11 amps. I decided to replace it with a modern diesel fuelled model. The advantages? They’re really quiet, small and very power efficient. The only disadvantage is price. There are two worthwhile diesel heaters and both German made: Webasto and Eberspacher. There are also two cheaper diesel heaters brands, more commonly sold in Australia. The Snugger and the Yeki; Chinese and Korean made, respectively. Both are cheaper units and owner feedback suggests they should be ignored. The most common complaint is they’re noisy, unreliable and have a service life of only 2,000 hours, compared to the market leader at 5,000 hours.

Of the German units I consider Eberspacher to be the best. The heating capacity, fuel consumption and power consumption of both is similar, although the Eberspacher is slightly more favourable. After considerable research it seems the Webasto isn't as easy to service and the blower motor design life is 3,000 hours against the Eberspacher’s 5,000 hours. Carbon build up in diesel heaters can be a problem and Eberspacher has a solution: The glow plug runs at the beginning and end of each run cycle to ensure excess fuel and carbon are cleared from the combustion chamber. A small amount of smoke is produced during this burn off, but it’s barely noticeable. Also, the Eberspacher’s burner plate is larger, which means it's easier to maintain cleanliness, while the kit comes with a spark arrester/muffler and a


54 | Tech: Fit For Purpose!

fuel filter (inside the pump), unlike Webasto.

Installation

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he old Suburban LPG heater weighed 16 kg and occupied all the space in this cavity. It’s being replaced by the much smaller and lighter 4.5 kg Eberspacher D4. Included in the D4 kit is 2 m of black 75 mm ID ducting that brings cool interior air to the heater, for heating, then it ducts the warm air back into

the cabin. For this installation the vehicle already had existing floor vents for the warm air and an aluminium plate was made up to block off the rear duct to act as a warm air input point from the new heater. Two layers of heat proof cloth were used to insulate the surrounding structure from the warm ducting and also provide a snug fit. The cool, incoming cabin air is drawn through an existing vent into the locker cavity, so I left the furnace inlet air vent open and just fitted the inlet guard.

Few things surpass the pleasure of a nice warm motorhome in winter.


Tech: Fit For Purpose! | 55

Typically German, the Eberspacher’s quality is return line as typically it contains air bubbles from obvious in every part that comes with it. There’s the injector pump process and these will cause even a diesel pick up point to install into your fuel all sorts of problems. tank. Once sure of which one was the supply I Our motorhome already had a diesel generator, 'clamped' the rubber fuel supply line with vice with fuel supplied via a flexible hose from the grips to prevent fuel from leaking after cutting the vehicle’s tank and I decided to tap into this pipe, using an old piece of inner tube to line the supply. There are usually two pipes; one supplies jaws so they didn't distort or puncture the fuel fresh diesel from the tank and the other returns line. Next, I installed a brass “T” (not supplied) unused fuel to the tank. Be sure not to tap the into the existing fuel line and ran the new black


56 | Tech: Fit Heaters For Purpose!

plastic fuel line (supplied) from there, ensuring I crimped and fastened the pipe clamps well to provide a perfect connection. Be thorough and careful with the new fuel line connection as it will remain this way for many years. Also consider shielding the line at every corner, especially where it contacts the chassis. Old inner rubber tube or even garden hose makes ideal protection in these circumstances. The heater’s fuel pump sits inline, between the fuel source and heater, and comes with a special rubber holder that dampens pump noise. Note: It’s very important the fuel pump sits 15-30 degrees to horizontal. Eberspacher says this is so any air bubbles can feed from the fuel pump to the heater and not become a source of fuel blockage.

Although the plastic fuel pipe can withstand a little heat it can shrink and restrict the fuel flow if it touches the hot exhaust pipe. This is almost impossible to see from outside and difficult to diagnose, so be sure the fuel hose is supported and kept well clear of the exhaust. The heater is provided with a rubber cushion and floor mounting plate that bolts to the underside of the furnace. I couldn't fit the mounting plate to the compartment floor due to restrictions below, so I made some support legs to raise the mounting plate. I used 30 mm wide strips of aluminium plate, drilling holes drilled at each end of the plate for mounting to the D4 and securing it to the floor. If you need to do this, remember that with aluminium you should always try and make any bends gradual. Being a soft metal, aluminium has a tendency to lose strength if the bends are severe. Tip: Bending aluminium around a pipe achieves a gradual curve that minimises any reduction in strength. I used gloss black spray paint capable of withstanding temperatures to 500º C on the new aluminium fabrications and parts, although the heat capacity wasn’t really necessary. I also spent time considering the mounting location for the electrical wiring loom and the pipes that enter and leave the furnace, prior to securing the heater in its final position. The exhaust


Tech: Fit For Purpose! | 57

reaches up to 230º C so be aware of the heat that will be reflected from it, or transfer to any fitting holding it. The spark arrester/muffler is made from stainless steel plate folded into shape and spot-welded. This construction ensures an extended lifespan, although it’s not completely airtight. As some exhaust gas can leak it should not be mounted in the furnace cavity, but in an area external to the cabin. For this installation I cut a 30 mm hole in the cavity floor, which meant the exhaust pipe could be wrapped in heatproof cloth for about 50 mm as it passed through the floor.

pipe downwards to the muffler location, from where the remaining pipe takes the fumes clear of the motorhome. As there already was a 75-100 mm open hole below the floor I used this to route the exhaust

I blocked off the original heater exhaust exit point and used only the inlet air entry. By painting the pipe with black spray paint, the internal pipework


58 | Tech: Fit For Purpose!

is almost invisible when looking at it from outside.

recommended cable size is 4 mm for cable runs up to 5 m or 6 mm for from 5 to 8 m.

The furnace cavity wiring was easy as the main wiring loom is prewired with special connectors, so the wall controller, fuel pump and heater just clip in.

Installing the electronic wall controller was next and I mounted it in the kitchen on the fridge wall cabinet. Unfortunately the 8 m loom supplied wasn’t long enough, so it was cut and extended to reach the display unit location. The electrical loom that comes with the D4 has plug connections on either end and passing these through wall cavities isn’t easy. Cutting the colour coded cable was an easy option and made running cables a simple task. To make a watertight, snug finish, when I joined the cables I used heat shrink tubing over the connections.

The only significant wiring for me was to bring a 12 V supply from the battery. Despite minimal power being used while operating, the heater does draw some 10 A for approx 30-60 seconds during start up and shutdown. This is to heat the glow pin to some 1200º C to ignite the diesel on start up and burn off any combustion residue at shutdown. Therefore it’s important the 12 V wiring from the battery is up to the job and I used 6 mm cable. The

Although I made a rough diagram of the controller on the wall I realised later that


Tech: Fit For Purpose! | 59

Eberspacher supplies a pattern I could have used instead. The controller is surface mounted to the wall, consumes very little power and always displays the ambient air temperature inside the vehicle, whether the heater is on or off. The temperature display allows you to heat up to a very tropical 30 degrees. It also allows you to circulate air without the heater running.

Switching on for the first time

R

The furnace is well engineered and it’s surprising how cool the plastic outer cover remains while the heater is running. Running the heater without the muffler doesn't make a big difference to the noise level produced, I’ve been told it acts more as a spark arrestor.

Final Thoughts

T

his heater is expensive, but also very well designed, quiet and very efficient.

unning the heater the first couple of times As fuel comes from your vehicle’s diesel produces a little smoke off the stainless fuel tank it’s very convenient and you’ll hardly see steel exhaust tubing, the result of lubricating oil used in the manufacturing process. a drop in your fuel gauge, unless you are using it 24 hours a day. Because of the expected 5,000 In my 10.6 m motorhome the cabin temperature hour life cycle, you can install it and forget it takes about 20 minutes to go from 10º C to (other than a few simple services along the way). a very comfortable 20º C. On full heat the air I’m very pleased with my purchase and highly coming out of the warm air outlet gets up to recommend the Eberspacher product. The D4 is 80º C. Once the desired temperature is almost a great match for my size vehicle. achieved the blower speed starts to reduce, as does the amount of fuel used and the heat For special tips and more photos of this produced. With the heater down to low mode installation click HERE to visit the RV World and settled into its 'sweet spot' the air coming Online website. out dropped down to about 35º C. Even with an outside temperature of 0º C the heater ran at its lowest speed and fuel setting for about 50 minutes each hour, occasionally gradually increasing speed for about 10 minutes once it sensed it was losing the battle to maintain 20º C inside.


60 | Mobile Tech: MDH Roadie

One For The Roadie!

A smart new app for finding the perfect caravan park‌ By Emily Barker


Mobile Tech: MDH Roadie | 61

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DH Roadie is a new travel app that provides handy on-thego access to MyDriveHoliday’s extensive caravan park listings throughout Australia, New-Zealand and Canada. Searches can be conducted from a map overview, with the ability to zoom in on locations, or you can search by town. Results can then be refined according to selectable recreation and facility features, including availability of dump points, powered sites, swimming pools, Wi-Fi, nearby beaches, fishing options, cabin rentals, playgrounds and BBQ facilities. Each marked listing has five individual categories presented as tabs: • Overview tab – provides a brief summary about the caravan park and in some cases contains a series of enlargeable photos • Location tab – gives the complete address and a very detailed series of directions; directing you from the nearest major centre, including the distance in kilometres •F  eatures tab – this is divided into a further three categories: recreation, facilities and pets, in which the prominent features are listed along with the pet friendly status of the park • Booking tab – contains useful contact information including telephone numbers and relevant links to the parks’ own websites, where applicable. This tab also generally includes current fees and rates and any additional booking information such as reservation conditions


62 | Mobile Tech: MDH Roadie All screens are simple, well laid out and easy to read.


Mobile Tech: MDH Roadie | 63

You can zoom the map with your fingers to see what’s close to you, while the novel motorhome icon showing your location is always easy to find.

• Map tab – displays an interactive graphic of the parks’ locations. Maps are able to be saved, but only from the main search page using your local location services or when you search by area In terms of convenience this app is great. You have a visual record of all caravan parks and highlighted national parks near you or your destination and quite detailed information about each, including the facilities, services and amenities offered. It’s an ad-free app too, which is great, and is very easy to navigate. The ability to save searches is useful, although the save icon can be a little tricky to find at first. You can also name each save individually and access them in offline mode, which is handy when preserving your data allowance or out of phone/WiFi range.

At 2.6 Mb it’s nice and tidy too. Perhaps the only disappointing aspect is the absence of free camping areas and rest sites, although when you consider the price, it’s a pretty good deal! Available for both Apple and Android devices MDH Roadie is jammed full of convenient, reliable and useful information. Fast Facts: Name: MDH Roadie Cost: Free Size: 2.6 MB Platforms: Supported on both Apple and android devices, Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimised for iPhone 5.


64 | What's Cooking?

This might just be the ideal on-road snack for your motorhoming travels…

Sweet, Sweet Jerky!

O

n our road trips across the United States, Mrs iMotorhome and I are partial to a pack or two of beef jerky – usually chilli infused – as a (reasonably) nutritious snack to ward off hunger between meals. Jerky – the name comes from ch’arki, a word of the Quechua language from South America – is lean strips of meat that traditionally are dried to prevent spoilage. The original drying process involved salt, which stopped bacteria

development before all moisture was removed, but these days it’s largely factory produced and includes a range of flavourings, from savoury to spicy or sweet. This recipe for Honey Glazed Pork Jerky is a winner. Although made using pork mince rather than whole pieces of meat, you still end up with strips of delicious, chewy jerky with a delicate honey flavour. Try it!


What's Cooking? | 65

pa

iam C s s e J by

Honey Glazed Pork Jerky

You’ll need...

Then...

1 kg ground pork

For the marinade… • • • • • • • • • •

2 tbsp soy sauce 2 tbsp fish sauce 2 tbsp dark soy sauce ½ tsp salt 2 tbsp sugar 1 tbsp cooking wine 2 tbsp honey 1 tsp five-spice powder ½ tsp freshly ground pepper Cayenne pepper powder to your own taste (optional)

For basting… • •

2 tbsp honey 1 tbsp cooking wine

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground pork and marinade ingredients. Mix with a spoon or by hand until the pork turns into a paste. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 190º C (375º F).

Place a piece of cooking paper on a baking sheet. Put a few spoons of pork on a sheet of cooking paper then cover with plastic wrap.

Gently run a rolling pin over the wrap to flatten the pork and form a thin layer of pork, about 5-7 mm thick.

Prepare the basting glaze by mixing the honey with the cooking wine.

Bake the pork for about 12 minutes on each side. Carefully flipping it once in between

Coat the pork with the honey glaze on both sides and bake at 200º C (400º F) for 5 minutes each side.

Repeat this step one more time, then cool down the pork jerky on a cooling rack.

Cut into strips 20 mm x 100 mm or bite size pieces to suit.


66 | Next Issue

Slide’n On In…

different slide-ons in a special feature, to give you an idea of what’s available and which one might be right for you. Not to be outdone, Malcolm brings us a review of an as-new reconditioned Kea in the last of his New Zealand motorhome review series (for now), while David Spencer’s travels in his Paradise Oasis Deluxe 4WD conclude.

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ext issue we’ve got a big truck camper review as Richard takes a close look at Trailblazers’ completely redesigned slide-on for it’s rugged 4WD Canter expedition vehicle. We’ll also be taking a look at some

August 08-10

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And that’s just for starters! Next issue is on August 2nd, so until then why not join our and Twitter more than 11,000 Facebook followers for news, updates and more than a few laughs? See you in two weeks!

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September 05-07

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Mid North Coast Caravan & Camping Show

Border RV & Camping Show

Penrith Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo

Wauchope Showground, Beechwood Rd, Wauchope. NSW. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Not specified. • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $11 • Kids: U16 Free with adult

Wodonga Racecourse, Thomas Mitchell Drive, Wodonga. VIC. • Open 9:30-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free. • Adults: $12 • Seniors: $10 • Kids: U15 Free with adult

Penrith Panthers, Mulgoa Rd, Penrith. NSW. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $6 • Kids: U16 Free with adult

CLICK HERE Click for Google Maps

CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE

Click for Google Maps

Click for Google Maps

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 info@imotorhome.com.au and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.

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iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 52 – 19 July 2014  

Available by free subscription at www.imotorhome.com.au.

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 52 – 19 July 2014  

Available by free subscription at www.imotorhome.com.au.