The Great Escape!
Issue 83: Nov 07 2015
because getting there is half the fun...
2007 Suncamper Sovereign Prestige in the spotlight
CMCA Rally Report
Thoughts and pics flown in from Albany!
A new fridge arrives just in time for summer
$50 for the! best letter
Malcolmâ€™s KEA rental adventureâ€Ś
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! Facebook “f ” Logo
RGB / .ai
Facebook “f ” Logo
RGB / .ai
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
Contributors Jess Ciampa, Emily Barker and Allan Whiting
Published by iMotorhome PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2576. Australia.
Design and Production
ABN: 34 142 547 719
T: +614 14 604 368
Design & Production Manager
E: email@example.com W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial Publisher/Managing Editor
Advertising Sales & Marketing Business Development Manager This could be you! Interested? Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Robertson T: 0414 604 368
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.
Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street E: email@example.com
Leading the industry since 1965
New 2015 modeLs
• NeW FULL length slide out • Two new floorplans • massive bench space • Increased storage • New upholstery design
• First time with slide out • Two new floorplans • All new interior look • Large 190 L two door fridge/freezer • New stove (3 gas/1 electric)
• First time with slide out • Two new floorplans • massive bench top design • Integrated mood lighting • Large 190 L two door fridge/freezer
Contact your Avida dealer for further information 1300 4 AVIDA or www.avidarv.com.au
On my mind | 5
Appy Days are Here! The long awaited and much anticipated – by me at least – iMotorhome app is now available! Suitable for iPhones and iPads as well as Android smartphones and tablets, it’s one small step for (this) man, one giant leap forward for iMotorhome kind… The app idea started out simply as a way of delivering this magazine to you without the intermediate step of email notification. Using a push notification we can tell you when each new issue of the magazine is ready, and by clicking on that notification you’re taken directly to the magazine page, from where you can download it when ready. You can also browse and download back issues too, if desired. From that initial idea the app has developed into something much more. You can browse our website marketplace and classifieds ads, find a great deal for a rental holiday, search our roadtest database by manufacturer, read travel articles, technical article and more. It also includes handy links to external services ranging from where to find local markets to emergency services in each State and Territory, and a lot more in between. It also provides direct access to our website and social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. To keep the app size small you need to be connected to the internet when using it, but I’m open to the idea of storing selected information in it for instant access no matter where you are. I’m also looking at launching a forum so you can ask questions, post thoughts and keep in touch as you travel. But here’s the thing: I need your feedback. Please download the app and let me know what you think. But be constructive; it’s a work in progress and there are more features planned, for which I was
going to hold it over and launch in December, but what the heck? Better to get it out there and find out what you think, what you like and what you don’t, so it can be developed into something really useful for you. Please bear in mind we are considerably constrained by a structured framework that dictates how the app looks and operates. For example, at present it only works in portrait mode on phones and landscape on tablets, but ‘my people’ are woking on that. In a perfect world it would be a one-off developed by a team of experts with limitless resources. In reality it’s a template-based system with a limited set of variables and not everything I wanted – or you can dream up – is possible. Please tell your RVing friends about it and share it around. The more people download, play with it and tell us what they think the better it will become. Appy days indeed!
6 | Contents
On my Mind
On your Mind
Who we are, where and other legal stuff
Find back issues and more on our website
Appy Days are Here!
Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
Touring Test: KEA 6KQ
Reader Report: Suncamper Sovereign Prestige
Feature: Solo Traveller
What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond
What’s happening in the world of free camping…
The latest Marketplace offers
Malcolm hits the road in this spacious 6-berth rental…
A warts-and-all account from a happy owner
An new fridge unexpectedly arrives, just in time for summer!
More adventures from our aspiring solo motorhomer…
Safety first is more than just a slogan!
An A to Z of who’s in this issue!
A pictorial report fresh from Albany
Puzzle apps to keep you happy as you travel!
What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!
– SU4066 – $159,990 Drive Away
Slide Out, Loads of Extras, Fantastic Value!
Ovation M6 – AV2090 –
$141,499 Drive Away
Island Bed, Diesel Heater, Tow Bar.
Talvor Keppel – TA5008 –
$114,940 Drive Away Only 31,000kms, Bull Bar, Separate Shower/Toilet.
Winnebago Birdsville – U1191 –
$108,394 Drive Away
Only 24,000kms, Island bed, Suit New Buyer!
Enjoy the ultimate go-anywhere off road adventure with the Jabiru 4x4 Xtra. From Alice Springs to Halls Creek and via Tamani Track, reach isolated camp spots which require solid ground clearance and traction with this high performance luxury vehicle.
Jabiru 4x4 Xtra. Redefine your camping adventure.
Visit trakka.com or call 1800 TRAKKA
Resources | 9
because getting there is half the fun...
Magazine Resources Ask a Question
because getting there is half the fun...
Esprit de Cor Blimey!
Dethleffs ‘baby’ A-class is something to ogle at… Review and images by Malcolm Street
2015 MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR
For 20 years, Horizon Motorhomes have been crafting ‘built-in’ motorhomes using only the finest fixtures and fittings. This year we have been recognised for our passion and enthusiasm invested into developing Horizon Motorhomes as the RV with ‘Satisfaction Built-In’ – by being named Best Manufacturer of 2015 by the Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW.
299 C A M O L D 02 Riv PER EXC 66 er VA LUS 81 Str N 1 55 e e & I V E L 5 | t, B M O Y B i n f a l l TO R Y o@ ina H bcm NS O M c.c W 24 E CE o m 78 N T RE .au
To find out more about our range of award winning motorhomes visit our website or call 02 6681 1555.
SGG Pty Ltd. Lic No. MD11739, MVRL23910
On your mind | 11
Win $50 for the best letter! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share it with our readers. We’ll also reward
Hi Richard, on a recent trip to Foster there was an gas fire emergency in the campground one night that ended up with a family being airlifted to hospital. Since then I’ve found out more and thought it would be good to share with everyone as a valuable reminder to always be careful. I caught up with the grandfather (73) who was coming up to pick up his sons caravan after the accident and was talking to him. He was very distressed about his family and he and his son often go on long walking hikes (250km) together. Apparently the family had a 9 kg gas bottle stored in the caravan under the table, presumably to stop theft of it from their BBQ, and there were wet suits stored on top of the bottle. In preparation to making the bed up for one of the kids, the wet suits were dragged off the gas bottle before the table was lowered. It seems that this opened the valve and the next thing they saw was what they thought was white powder on the floor of the van (ice from the discharging bottle). The caravan had a 3-way fridge and the gas, being heavier than air, flowed across the floor and ignited on the pilot light from the fridge. The fire flashed over to the still discharging bottle. One of the kids was on the now made up bed and the wife and one of the other kids were at the other end of the van and couldn’t get out because of the fire. The father had to reach in under the
the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with $50 to help you on your way.
table and turn off the bottle in order to save his son on the bed, but in the process got horribly burnt. Having done this it then allowed the whole family to exit the van and escape, but all four received burns and had to be airlifted/transported to four different hospitals. When I spoke to the grandfather, the father who was the worst affected had been moved from intensive care but will require skin grafts, while one by one the others had been discharged from hospital. We offered to assist him in packing up and just to chat with him over a cup of coffee, however he was anxious to get back to his family. I felt terrible about this tragedy and all I could offer him was words of consolation about the human body’s remarkable ability to recover from trauma and offer to pray for him and his family, which we continue to do. I guess it just goes to show how something so simple can end up with terrible consequences. The need to store gas bottles in an area that vents to the outside is something all motorhome and caravan owners need to be aware or reminded of. I must admit it made me think twice about where I store my gas bottles when packing up, and I have been guilty of carrying them in an enclosed work van, when I was building. Not any more though. Lesson learnt. Regards, Dave continued...
12 | On your mind ...continued
That’s a harrowing story Dave and one I was completely able to picture while reading your account. Despite the near tragedy it does have a positive ending, although I'm sure the father will be receiving treatment for a long time to come. It's a salutary lesson to us all to be careful and fits in
well with this issue’s TechTalk subject. Thanks for sharing your experience, please accept our $50 prize, which you might want to put towards some appropriate safety equipment…
Ideas Wanted… I wanted to say how much we are enjoying our issues of iMotorhome. We are not even motorhome owners yet, but have been doing a lot of research on what to buy and your magazine and the reviews you have done have helped enormously.
We would be interested to know if any of your other readers have a disability and what sort of adaptations they have made to their motorhomes to help make their travels more comfortable. Keep up the good work.
We have always been campers and caravaners and with my husband's increasing disability with Multiple Sclerosis we been looking round for a motorhome to suit. After the Melbourne Caravan and Camping show we have put a deposit down on an A’van Ovation M3, which we hope is going to deliver everything we want.
Regards, Stevie Thanks Stevie, glad we have been a help and happy and safe travels in your new A’van. It’s great to hear of people getting out and travelling even when it’s not easy and I’d like to encourage readers with access/mobility issues to share your stories and solutions with us so everyone can benefit
Becks is Better? Hi Richard, re your report on Coopers Ultra Light @ $24.99 for 24 bottles. I really like Becks Low alcohol 0.3% $14.90 per case of 24 bottles at Dan Murphy’s. Becks Low-Alcoholic contains no more than 0.3 percent alcohol by volume, this is achieved by Becks brewmasters stopping the fermentation process before alcohol can form, but not before they achieve the distinctive full-bodied taste and aroma of the finished brew. Brewed in Bremen, Germany, Becks is made using only topgrade barley, hand-selected hops from the Bavarian Hallertau region, fresh glacier water and Becks
exclusive strain of yeast that's been cultured and cultivated for generations. Cheers, Bob I had a look at the Becks when I first bought the Coopers, Bob. It is slightly lower in alcohol (0.3% v 0.5%), but from memory significantly higher in sugar (can’t remember exactly, but still nothing like a soft drink). Either is still a great alternative to ‘normal’ beer and ideal for anyone looking to reduce alcohol intake.
AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
Accept no imitations.
The Most Recognised Name in Motorhomes
2015 motorhome range now available nationwide. Proudly Australian designed and built in our Brisbane factory.
Find a Winnebago dealership near you. Visit: www.gowinnebago.com.au Licensee and authorised distributor of Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest City Iowa USA
14 | News
Trakka’s New Website
rakka has launched an all-new website at www.trakka.com.au. The new site is impressively clean and modern, with great visual appeal. It also features Trakka Talk, a new newsletter to sign up to, plus a blog, in addition to an all-new Showroom with vehicle model specifics. The section Our Story is a nostalgic look at the company’s humble beginnings and well worth reading to see how far the company has really come).
edarc Electronic’s The Manager30 can now charge an auxiliary Lithium Iron Phosphate battery (LiFePO4) as well as Lead Acid, Calcium and AGM batteries. Lithium batteries have improved storage capacity relative to size and weight that makes them perfect for recreational vehicle power systems. They do, however require specific charging conditions in order to operate correctly and the battery itself must have an in-built cell management system. Redarc says it has considered this and designed a charging profile to complement these in-built systems. Launched in October 2014 The Manager30 has been well received and the new Lithium
charging profile means it will remain the most sophisticated auxiliary charging system on the market, according to the company. Redarc says The Manager30 operates like six separate products: It charges an auxiliary battery from the vehicle while on the move; it’s a 240 volt charger, a solar regulator, a battery isolator, a load disconnect controller, and all with a remote battery monitor, making it market leading. One key feature is its ability to power share, meaning it can charge an auxiliary battery from multiple power sources simultaneously. And, with Green Power Priority, if solar is available it will charge using the maximum available before topping up from another power source. Developed with ease of installation in mind The Manager30 is compatible with all vehicles and alternator systems. DC-DC charging enables optimal charging of house batteries, even if they have a different chemical characteristic from the vehicle battery. The remote monitor shows battery condition, where charge is coming from, how much power is remaining and where it is being used. Priced at $2097, for further information email power@redarc. com.au or call 08 8322 4848.
16 | News
n 6 March 2016 the historic NSW town of Dalgety will once again host, “A marvellous Agricultural Show that is the envy of all the region, with thousands of visitors flocking to the town for the day long show. Exhibits in the food pavilion have been lovingly cooked, made by local people hoping to win a prize. There are the much talked about sheep dog trials, horse riding, shearing and more, enough for the whole family to be entertained for the day!” according to an enthusiastic press release. Dalgety is the only town still standing on the banks of the Snowy River in New South Wales, following construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme. Originally known as Buckley’s
Crossing, the town was surveyed in 1874 and a bridge built four years later, providing livestock and travellers with a safe, year-round river crossing point. In 1902 Dalgety was gazetted as the site for the National Capital, but after much debate it was deemed to be too close to Melbourne. The Snowy River Holiday Park – owned and operated by avid iMotorhome readers Sue and Colin who took over the property 18 months ago and have extensively improved it – is situated on the Snowy River’s banks and would make the perfect base from which to enjoy the show and explore the surrounding area. Just be sure to book early.
A-Frame Towing Specialists for over 15 years DISTRIBUTORS: QLD Loganholme Cairns Hattonvale Bundaberg
07 3209 7669 07 4051 9375 07 3333 1806 1300 229 494
NSW Newcastle Penrith Terry Hills
02 4948 0433 02 4722 3444 02 9986 2952
VIC Ringwood 03 9879 3545 Wodonga/Albury 02 6055 8555 Greensborough 0411 740 354 03 9435 6202 SA
08 8552 1010
08 9451 3580
03 6331 2511
PROTECT-A-TOW Easy to install and protect your towed
vehicle from stones and mud. This product fits Blue Ox and ReadyBrute A-Frames and most other Brands.
CARRYING A COMPLETE RANGE OF BLUE OX AND READYBRUTE A-FRAMES AND ACCESSORIES
NORTHCOACH EQUIPMENT PTY LTD
RELY ON THE COMPANY WITH EXPERIENCE FOR FITTING, BACKUP & SERVICING OF YOUR A-FRAME
10 CHETWYND ST, LOGANHOLME 4128 | P: 07 3209 6654 | F: 07 3209 6729 | E: email@example.com
Relax in Paradise
Australia’s Best Quality Motorhomes • Outstanding value for
money, competitively priced from $158,000.
• Unrivalled Safety including
rollover protection, auto-locking cabinetry and superior appliance mounting systems.
• Industry’s longest & most
comprehensive motorhome warranty.
• Built for Australian conditions. • Models available with or without slide-outs. • Superior finish with stylish new contoured exterior. • Patented moulded bins for maximum storage capacity. • Outstanding road handling & ride comfort. • Genuine island queen beds and huge wardrobes. • Spacious rear ensuites with separate toilet & shower. • Market leading layouts & lifestyle features. • Full living area slide-outs providing superior living space. • Proven reliability of Paradise’s patented slide-outs.
Enjoy the prestige of owning Australia’s best quality motorhome Paradise Motor Homes
245 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters, Queensland, 4216
ph (07) 5597 4400 - email firstname.lastname@example.org Paradise Motor Homes products are protected by registered designs, patents and copyrights ™ © 2013
18 | News
Australian Motor Homes Wins Big
Motorhome congratulates the team at Newcastle-based Australian Motor Homes who picked up awards for After Sales Dealer of the Year, Caravan Customer Satisfaction Dealer of the Year and Dealer Staff Member of the Year at the recent Avida RV award evening in the Barossa Valley. “After 25 years of service with Avida it’s an honour to be recognised for these achievements as we pride ourselves on the high level of service we give to each of our valued customers. With a staff of over 30 it’s a combined effort and a big thanks go to each and every one of the team,” said Dealer Principal Ron Warden.
Webasto – your gas free solution for independent travelling
Quiet powerful operation Low power & fuel consumption Use whilst parked & on the move
Dual Top – Combination Heaters
Heat & hot water from one unit Easy to use multifunction controller Low power & fuel consumption
Thermo Top – Water Heaters
Compact and efficient Fast heat up times Can be combined with fan radiators to provide cabin heat
Diesel Cook Top
High cooking power up to 1800 W No naked flame and no fumes Robust high quality Ceran® cooking surface
Webasto Thermo & Comfort Australia Pty Ltd 423-427 The Boulevarde, Kirrawee NSW 2232 Freecall 1800 244 494 email@example.com www.webasto.com.au
RV Compressor Fridges
Extensive range of Uprights and Drawers Available as DC Only or AC/DC Robust high quality with Danfoss Compressors
Air Top – Air Heaters
News | 19
Avida Supports Flying Doctor raised each year through the Avida RV Club, with the member’s generosity making it possible. Avida itself then matches the money raised. At its recent 50th anniversary dinner Avida was pleased to present the ‘Flying Doctor with a cheque for $34,000.
or more than 10 years Avida has been supporting the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). “The RFDS is Avida's preferred charity, it’s not only a great cause, but it’s a great cause that is close to the heart of us here at Avida and our customers,” said Ben Binns, Avida's CEO. Avida says the RFDS provides reassurance to its customers travelling in remote areas. Funds are
RFDS CEO Greg Sam said, “The support from Avida and the Club members ensures we can continue to be there in emergency evacuations and provide a range of healthcare services to those who would otherwise not have access. On behalf of the Flying Doctor and our patients, thank you once again for helping us take the finest care to the furthest corner of Australia”. To view a realtime map of where RFDS aircraft are flying in Australian click HERE.
The Wirraway 260 SL
With it’s Full Length Slideout Room & Apartment Styled Layout !
From WIRRAWAY, “Australia’s Most Innovative Motorhomes” Wirraway is a dedicated family owned business striving for Motorhome excellence. Our Motorhomes are our passion! Every Wirraway Motorhome is handbuilt and designed by experienced motorhomers who know the importance of making life easier on the road. New to our Range is the brilliant ‘live like a movie star’ Wirraway 260 SL, the latest in our 260 series; our EuroStyle 260 with it’s European styled interior and “The Motorhome of the Year”, the Wirraway 260. Wirraway Motorhomes feature opulence, style and all the legendary design, electrical and construction innovations that are unique to all Wirraways.
Each Wirraway Model is unique! - All are a Must See!
View Our New Website to view All Models, Download Brochures &Virtual RealityTours For details contact: Rob Tonkin - Wirraway Motorhomes, 6 Hynes Court, Mildura Vic 3500
Phone / Fax: (03) 50 230 230 - New Email: firstname.lastname@example.org & New Website: www.wirraway.com.au On The Road Wirraway 260SL Slideout Motorhome - 2012 © Rex Willmer
20 | News
RV Industry Strong “We are seeing year-on-year growth in RV manufacturing of around 13% and these figures are some of the highest we have seen in 20 years,” Ms Gray said. “The figures are a reflection of a growing interest and engagement with the caravan and camping holiday and, with the weakening Australian dollar, we are likely to see even more Australians choosing a domestic holiday experience.
aravan & Camping Industry Association (NSW) CEO, Lyndel Gray, said the recreational vehicle manufacturing sector was continuing to grow strongly, reflecting the popularity of domestic caravan and camping holidays.
“NSW is Australia’s favourite state for such holidays claiming more than 35% of domestic caravan and camping visitors nationally and accounting for 8.2% of all visitors to the State.”
News | 21
Farmer To Fill Gap?
n online report says that with Grey Nomads providing a clear demand for affordable ‘nofrills’ spots to pull up in their rigs for a night or two, and many struggling farmers seeking an extra revenue stream, it is no surprise the two are increasingly working together in a classic win/win situation. In many cases, the growth of these private land parks is being fuelled by local authorities taking a harder line against budget campers. In Queensland, for example, farmer Allan Stott said there was a huge spike in Grey Nomads staying at his property after the Toowoomba Regional Council banned motorhomes from staying at nearby Eton Vale park. Read More
Learn To Leggo
hat's thought to be the largest caravan built out of toy bricks was unveiled at the Motorhome and Caravan Show at the NEC, near Birmingham. A time-lapse video captured the team of 12 people as they spent more than 1000 hours constructing the caravan out of 215,158 interlocking Lego bricks. Organisers of the event said the caravan was a record-breaker, having been certified as the world's largest by an official Guinness World Records adjudicator.
iHeard About Cancer
he iHeard website has been created to dispel stories, rumours and fanciful claims about cancer. Ask any cancerrelated question and your query will be reviewed by experts.
The aim is to give you accurate, evidence-based answers to your cancer questions. You can be confident the information provided is backed by Cancer Council Australia, the Nation’s peak, independent cancer control organisation.
22 | News
A Metre Matters in South Australia
ffective 25 October, drivers in South Australia are required to give a minimum of 1 metre when passing a cyclist where the speed limit is 60 km/h or less, or 1.5 metres where the speed limit is over 60km/h.
• Drive on a dividing strip that is at the same level as the road
The change is in response to the Report of the Citizen's Jury on Sharing the Road Safely. Cyclists have less protection than motorists and are more likely to be injured if a crash happens, so they need adequate space when on the road. The rule applies to all types of vehicles including cars, motorbikes, trucks and buses when passing a cyclist.
• Straddle lanes
To assist with compliance of this rule, if a driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic and can do so safely, they are permitted to: • Drive to the right of the centre of the road • Drive to the right of the dividing line
• Drive on or over continuous lines around a painted island
• Move across lanes • Drive not completely in a single line of traffic. Penalty for drivers is $287 fine + $60 victims of crime levy, and 2 demerit points. Find out more HERE.
News | 23
More Older Travellers Going It Alone
oy Morgan Research recently reported 74 year-old travel writer Paul Theroux as saying, “The greatest advantage to being an older traveller is being invisible, unregarded, ignored. This allows one to eavesdrop and to see much more of a place or a people.” Whether Australia’s mature-aged travellers share this view is debatable, but one thing
is for sure: Not only has the number of older Australians taking holidays risen since 2007, but a growing proportion of them are going it alone. In the 12 months to June 2015, 5,355,000 Australians aged 50+ took at least one holiday, up from 4,464,000 in the year to June 2007. The proportion of those who travelled alone on their last trip rose from 15.4% to 16.3%. This increase is evident among the 50-64, 65-74 and 75-79 age groups, with the 80+ age group remaining stable. Over the same period, the number of holidaying Aussies aged under-50 also rose, but not nearly to the same extent (from 6,386,000 to 6,738,000). However, only the 25-34 year-old age group showed any increase in solo travel. Read More.
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
24 | Feature
Freedom Camping O ur regular feature keeping you in touch with what’s happened and happening in the world of freedom camping in Australia.
These stories and more can be found in detail at the Freedom of Choice website, indexed by state and town, while you can also find the latest news and updates on their Facebook page. 2 Oct – Murwillumbah showground approved for overnight camping Murwillumbah should start seeing a lot more recreational vehicles in town after Tweed Shire Council’s recent approval of a development application for RV-friendly campsites at the showground. The Murwillumbah Showground Trust’s plan for a ‘primitive camping ground’ could see the showground accommodate around 26 RVs at any one time. 6 Oct – RV tourism and farming a good fit
The low Australian dollar has fuelled what was already Australia's fastest growing tourism sector: Recreational vehicles. And the peace and quiet, unique geography and community spirit of country towns is drawing them inland. While local governments across NSW are scrambling to make themselves RV friendly via rest areas for free overnight camping and parking for access to central business districts, tourism experts say working properties also present an attractive ‘stopover’ option. 5 Oct – Caboolture Show Society proves worth of the RV traveller By collecting receipts of campers during a one
month period the Show Society proved the worth of attracting the RV traveller. Receipts totalling $310,000 were collected! 13 Oct – C all to end protectionism in Bundaberg The current Council's policy to protect caravan park owners at the expense of other businesses in the region is clearly a protectionist and discriminatory policy. All of the other businesses who would benefit from increased visitation rates resulting from attracting tourists who do not wish to stay in van parks are being denied the opportunities to expand and employ. In addition, the message to RV tourists is that you cannot come to Bundaberg unless you stay in a caravan park. 13 Oct – K ingston goes all out to make you welcome Kingston District Council CEO Andrew MacDonald said the signs are more visually appealing and the language, "Is a bit more welcoming”. Mr MacDonald said RV parks are going to be "Huge for the town" and the new signs are inviting and informative. 16 Oct – P roposed changes in WA create a storm on ABC Radio Proposed changes to the laws covering camping and caravanning in Western Australia have been met with shock, but proponents say no new regulations had been added to the rules. 17 Oct – A push to have free or low-cost camps "These places don't necessarily have to be free but the town needs to be RV-friendly and it just isn't," Bundaberg resident Arthur Bugden is quoted in the local paper as saying.
Feature | 25 "Most of the other towns are doing it and we surely will become quite isolated. We need to get people staying and spending money in the shops." He said those who use these types of campsites were normally self-sufficient and only needed a place to stay and dispose of waste. 21 Oct – WA Farmstay crisis escalates Two weeks have passed and the flames of ‘vanner discontent are being fanned by Government officials seemingly playing down this vicious swipe at camping rights and liberties in WA. After the huge backlash from CMCA members, ACC members and ‘vanners at large, the WA State Government has doubled with the predictable response of, “The current legislation is from 1995,” Department Principal Legislation Officer Sheryl Siekierka,” said. “The industry and what consumers want have changed significantly since then.” 25 Oct – Usual Story - Porongurup campsite owner says free RV sites hurt local businesses
free campervan facilities offered by local councils. Porongurup Range Tourist Park's Freddie Zitcher said RV-friendly sites in Mount Barker and Albany had hit his business hard. "Since the status of being RV-friendly [in] Mount Barker, our RVs dropped to almost zero," he told Andrew Collins on ABC Great Southern. 29 Oct – R edlands Councillor makes announcement re freedom camping on Facebook One small announcement on social media brings big response. “Folks, do you have family and friends around Australia that travel (grey nomads)? Some time before Christmas, Redlands first 'dump' station will be installed for RV's near the toilet block beside the Capalaba Tavern. I'm hoping to be able to incorporate some overnight parking bays in the area shortly after. This has been a frequent request since becoming your councillor and I'm glad to see it come to fruition.”
A tourist park operator is calling for an end to
LEAVE THE OTHERS BEHIND GO WHERE THE OTHERS CAN’T GO, DO WHAT THE OTHERS CAN’T DO COMPACT, LIGHTWEIGHT FIFTH WHEELERS
EXPEDITION VEHICLES DEMOUNTABLE PODS
Luxurious interiors Flexible floorplans, On and off road models CUSTOM BUILT
BUY FACTORY DIRECT AND SAVE 222 Governor Road Braeside VIC 3195 Ph: 03 9588 0077
26 | iMotorhome Marketplace
Parkland RV Centre
Roberts RV World
Parkland RV is the official dealer for Avida Motorhomes, Crossroads RV and Opal Caravans in WA. We stock quality used RVs and our modern service department can look after everything.
An official Avida motorhome dealer, with more than 50 new motorhomes in the largest undercover RV showroom in the Southern Hemisphere. Our service department is here for all your needs too.
Australia’s leading fifth wheelers, designed here in Australia and built to suit our demanding conditions. Fifth wheelers from 24’ to 36’ available. Call 02 4953 7141 for information!
T: (08) 9493 7933 W: parklandrv.com.au
T: 1800 253 136 W: robertsrv.com.au
T: (02) 4953 7141 W: summerliferv.com.au
Battery Traders Super Store
Taronga Western Plains Zoo
We design and manufacture air suspension kits for all types of vehicles including motorhomes. Easy to install they let you ‘level up’ for stability and safety.
Batteries, solar panels, inverters, alternators and all electrical parts including cables and switches for your motorhome! We can find and fix all electrical faults and are 12 V power specialists.
Visit our world famous 300 ha open range sanctuary, home to some of the most exotic and endangered animals on earth. Explore by foot, bike, electric cart or in your motorhome!
T: 1800 AIRBAG W: airbagman.com.au
T: (07) 3209 3144 W: batterytraders.com.au
T: (02) 6881 1400 W: taronga.org.au
Australia’s leading solar power and satellite TV manufacturers! We stock the revolutionary In Flex and Mini Flex panels, Plus our Complete Traveler Satellite TV package is perfect for motorhomes.
In the heart of Victoria’s Gippsland region. Come and enjoy our natural beauty, famous lakes, High Country and expansive beaches. Find ‘Experience 40 Great Things to Do’ on our website too!
T: 1300 483 249 W: itechworld.com.au
T: (03) 5144 1108 W: tourismwellington.com.au
Connect at home! Connect anywhere!
15Amp to 10Amp Adaptor with RCD and overload protection
iMotorhome Marketplace | 27 The E-Twow Electric scooter for adults Our vehicle-specific insulation screens are Australian made from specially designed and tested material to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. As featured in iMotorhome’s Project Polly!
T: (07) 3398 5500 W: solarscreen.com.au
LATEST TECHNOLOGY FOR RV OWNERS
The alternative to a bike!!
25km/h with a range of 40km in ideal conditions! Super light too at 10.8kg
• • • • • •
More Versatile Than Any Other RV Camp Anywhere - It’s Self Contained Large Bathroom With Shower & Toilet Easy To Operate With Electric Jacks Models For Single, Extra & Dual Cabs Plus! Famous Ozcape Quality & Support
Folds away quite compact for small storage
To ﬁnd out more call Mark on 0412027330 or email email@example.com www.e-twow.com 1
Nomadic Solutions hitches fully ADR compliant no swaying increased towing safety easy reversing offroad vans available
5th wheeler specialist
Nomadic Solutions - the original, quality constructed ‘lifestyletable™’ that is easily attached to the side of your motorhome. Now available in ‘mill finish’ for custom painting.
T: (02) 9011 8144 W: nomadicsolutions.com.au
Southern Spirit Campervans
sliding & rear door FLY SCREEN
easy to self install Australian & world wide delivery for Sprinter, Hiace, VW T4/T5, Ducato, Transit from
FLEXIBLE STORAGE SYSTEMS FOR YOUR CAMPERVAN OR MOTORHOME Store those additional items up and out of the way using our adjustable, transportable and modular storage system!
America’s favourite motorhome is now available in Australia! Tiffin Motorhomes Australia is proud to offer the Allegro Breeze 32 to the Australian market. Click through to find out why they’re fast becoming Australia’s favourite too!
T: 0411 616 617 W: tiffinmotorhomes.com.au
Over 11 years cover manufacturing experience Australia wide.Free Measure & Quote Call in Factory 1:354 Mons Road Forest Glen : Sunshine Coast Queensland PH-‐1300 304 332/0754564818 www.caravancovers.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org Qld Stockist of Duvalay.
28 | Touring Test: KEA 6KQ
Rental Road Trip!
KEA’s range-topping six berth has room enough for any road trip… by Malcolm Street
Touring Test | 29
Being New Zealand designed and built it’s no wonder KEA’s 6KQ follows the time-honoured NZ design practice of a rear lounge with wrap-around windows. Note the unusual location of the awning’s support arms.
or many travellers taking time exploring the distant back blocks of Australia is something they love doing. For those of us for whom time (or lack thereof) is a problem, getting to see the furthest parts of Australia is just a dream. A good solution lies in the fly/drive holiday, or in my case a fly/drive work trip. This year's Campervan and Motorhome Club rally was happening at Albany, Western Australia, and since I'm Sydney based a road trip wasn't going to happen. However, Albany is less than five hours drive south of Perth, so collecting a KEA motorhome from their Perth depot to attend the rally was a workable arrangement. KEA was kind enough to supply me with one of its 6KQ 6-berth motorhomes. This might seem like a bit of overkill just for me, but who was I to complain – especially as I also use my motorhome as a mobile office?
Arriving at the rally site it became clear others had decided that the fly/drive concept was a good one. Normally at a CMCA rally there might be a couple of rental motorhomes, but at Albany my count was 10 at least.
hose who liked the KEA range in the past might be wondering how it has fared since merging with the Kiwi giant THL, owners of Britz and Maui, and United (an NZ-only rental operator). I must admit I have also wondered and have been keen to get my hands on one of the more recent KEA models. KEA once used only Ford Transits for its base vehicles but these days Mercedes Benz Sprinters supply the motive power. In this case KEA has opted for the lower powered 513CDI
30 | Touring Test
Nothing unusual about the use or location of the toilet cassette (right). However, the swivelling cab seats lose usability due to the design of the front dinette. Having said that, there are so many seating options in this vehicle you’re unlikely to ever need the cab seats as well.
with a 2.2-litre 95 kW/305 Nm engine and 7-speed automatic gearbox (considerably down on power from the Transit - Ed).
travelling difficult. However, this setup is much better for passenger interaction, not to mention being considerably safer and more comfortable.
The romantically named 6KQ is a six berth motorhome with a wide range of seating options. At the rear is a non-symmetrical clubstyle lounge, while behind the driver’s seat is a four person café-style dinette. There’s also a single seat lounge behind the passenger’s cab seat. This single seat, both forward facing dinette seats and one rear facing dinette seat are seat-belt equipped, making this a true sixberth/six-seat motorhome. In years gone by motorhome passengers were frequently seated at the very rear, making conversation while
Filling up the rest of the space in the motorhome is the driver’s-side bathroom between the dinette and rear lounge, plus the kitchen bench along the kerb side, between the entry door and rear lounge.
écor remains the same as earlier models with a streaked beige finish for all cabinetry, white for the ceiling and walls, and a dark brown velour for all the upholstery and cushions, of which there are a considerable
Touring Test | 31
KEA once used only Ford Transits for its base vehicles but these days Mercedes Benz Sprinters supply the motive power. number. Because the roofline rises to meet the Luton area above the cab the ceiling is very high. It’s a minimum of 2.01 m (6’ 7”) in the stepped area at the rear, so there’s no problem for the tallest of persons and certainly no problem with cramped space perceptions. Another point of note is there
are LED light fittings absolutely everywhere. These include a multiple number of down lights, strip LEDs beneath the lockers above the dinette, rear lounge and kitchen, as well as reading lights for the rear and Luton beds. As I was camping without mains power for a number of nights I was able to be highly selective about light use, which worked very well.
Since I was on my own I had the choice of three beds. I chose the Luton bed mostly because it was considerably larger than most I have seen and was therefore easy to get in and out of. There was plenty of room for two people and space aplenty for one! Indeed, even though I stored all the excess blankets, pillow and cushions right at the front,
32 | Touring Test Night and day arrangements for the rear lounge. Itâ€™s not quite U-shaped because the bathroom intrudes on the driverâ€™s side, but still provides plenty of seating and sleeping space, plus excellent viewing.
there was still plenty of sleeping area for me. The other reason I chose the Luton was that I could then use the cafe dinette for eating/ working and the rear lounge area for just sitting back. A few years ago KEA had one of the best Luton peak ladders I have ever seen. It included folding steps and was very barefoot friendly. Sadly that has gone to be replaced by a much simpler but less barefoot-friendly design.
Lounges and Beds
n earlier version of this layout had an L-shaped lounge behind the driver's seat and a swivel mounted table. It was designed to make the most of the swivelled cab seats, which made a great lounge area, but was a fiddle to make up as a bed (something that even included the kerb-side passenger seat). KEA obviously
Touring Test | 33
Because the roofline rises to meet the Luton area above the cab the ceiling is very high..
34 | Touring Test
Above: The dinette converts to another bed, but would be your last choice after the over-cab Luton bed and converted rear lounge. Right: The high roofline means overhead cupboards are set quite high and would be a challenge for shorter users.
decided that was all too hard, which it was, and has opted for a more conventional cafe style dinette. While the new arrangement does block the swivelled driver's seat somewhat it doesn’t affect the passenger’s, but it’s a good compromise. Above the dinette two cupboards offer plenty of capacity but are quite high off the floor and shorter people are certainly going to use the seats as a step to get to them. There's some under-seat storage beneath the front dinette seat and the single seat on the other side, but in the latter case it is particularly difficult to get at, given the cushion arrangement. A couple of floor side-doors would make life much easier I reckon.
Touring Test | 35 The rear club lounge makes-up into a slightly funny shaped bed, mostly because the shower cubicle intrudes into the driver’sside end. However, as long as you sleep with your head on the kerb side, where the reading lights are, then it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Making up the bed isn't too difficult: a matter of fitting the table at cushion level and fitting in the appropriate seat cushions. When not being used the table is stored behind the driver's seat. I stored the table for most of the time as it made it easier to get to the rear overhead lockers. At meal times the rear club lounge really only seats three comfortably but that's not an issue given the front dinette seats four.
Cooking and Bathing
n the department of catering, the very thing that is a good idea also creates a problem. All the plates, cups and bowls are stored in specially compartmented drawers and in the case of the wine glasses, a special rack in the overhead lockers. Keep in mind there is six of everything, which takes up considerable storage space. When you add in the toaster, electric kettle and pots and pans there isn't too much room for food – apart from the under-bench Waeco fridge. On the opposite side, outside the bathroom, are three slightly funny shaped cupboards. The middle one being a wardrobe left the upper and lower ones for some food items. When I first unpacked I used the rear overhead lockers for my clothing and the above-dinette ones for food, but I swapped that around, given the rear lockers were much easier (sans table) to get at. For keeping clean, the bathroom fitted into the category of just large enough without absorbing too much living space. It did come with a separate shower cubicle, but I
Top to bottom: There’s plenty of living room in the KEA 6KQ and the flexibility of separate front and rear dining and sleeping areas makes it ideal for travelling families or couples.
36 | Touring Test
The bathroom is compact but still manages to include a separate shower cubicle, accessed via saloon-style doors. A side window keeps it feeling bright too.
suspect larger persons would wish to leave the saloon bar-style doors open when showering. One of the benefits of the bathroomâ€™s single level floor was it was very easy to clean.
power leads were out of the way of legs. I tend to carry a four way power board these days, which makes life easier with under-table power points.
For this trip it was the 12 V outlets that were much needed as I was on a non-powered site or a rental motorhome the electrical setup for about 5 days. There are 2 x 12 V sockets in wasnâ€™t too bad. Mains power points were the driver's cab; one ignition-switch controlled fitted to the rear end of the kitchen bench, and one permanently on. Above the kerb-side in bathroom (a lower cupboard) and under the single seat was the motorhome radio, plus both front dinette seat. The latter, although out of the a 12 V and 5V outlet, fitted in behind a lipped way, was a bit awkward to get at, even though shelf.
Electrics and More!
Touring Test | 37 To be fair to KEA this is much better than some rental motorhomes I have been in, but a couple more USB outlets in particular would be good. Here's why; I was trying to charge up a laptop computer, mobile phone, mobile WiFi device, iPad, camera and camera-flash batteries. Now I know the average traveller doesn't carry anything like that amount of gear, but I was on my own. Let’s say you have four people on board, each with two devices of some sort. There's going to be arguments over charging rights, but the advantage of the setup by the radio was that charging could happen whilst travelling, with the devices being relatively well secured. I wondered about the capability of the 120 AH battery and 80 W solar panel for my rally stay, but I can report the combination was adequate. I kept the fridge turned down to a fairly low level and was careful with light use: things quite easy to do. I was usually charging one of several devices at any given time and to present more of a challenge, each day I camped saw much grey cloud and rain. But the solar panel charged up the battery sufficiently during the day such that battery voltage never dropped below 12 V overnight. Hot weather would have made a difference with the fridge, but that would also have meant more sunlight (hopefully). More people on board – think water pump use, more lights and more fridge opening – would also make a difference, but driving each day as most people do would add to the battery charge, and rental vehicles tend to stay in caravan parks quite often, too.
riving the KEA didn’t cause any dramas and while some people seem to think a 7 m (23’) motorhome is a large vehicle, in reality it isn’t. Generally speaking the 6KQ I slept in the over-cab Luton bed and used the front dinette powered along well, but uphill the 95 kW as an office and the rear lounge for dining and relaxing. turbo-diesel struggled to maintain highway What luxury! There were also sufficient charging outlets to speeds. I’m thinking also that will a full load of keep my array of devices powered up and ready to go.
38 | Touring Test
KEA switched to the Mercedes Benz Sprinter a few years back, but chose an engine that is considerable less powerful than its previous Ford Transits. The Sprinter’s saving grace is a seven speed auto, which makes the most of the limited power available. passengers and luggage it would be slower again, but for the most part keeping up with traffic really shouldn’t be a problem. Additionally the seven-speed gearbox moved through the gears very smoothly, greatly enhancing the driving experience. Occasional cross winds caused a bit of sideways rock n’ roll and headwinds certainly slowed things down, but my drive back to Perth was certainly faster than the outward journey.
What I Think
or a rental layout the 6KQ works well. KEA uses it as both a four and six berth rental vehicle, so it’s quite versatile (and
known as a ‘multi’). It’s certainly a motorhome with room to move: something that’s going to be useful with four to six people on board. If your budget runs to it the design will certainly suit two people very well. There’s plenty of personal space, plus a choice of beds! For me this style of motorhome works well because I’m very much into the fly/drive motorhome style of travel, for both work and play. It’s even good for events like CMCA rallies that happen in far flung locations – and a good reason to actively seek out such events!
Mercedes Benz Sprinter 513CDI
2.2 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
95 kW @ 3800 rpm
305 Nm @ 1200-1400 rpm
7 speed auto
Gross Vehicle Mass
7.10 m (23’ 4”)
2.26 m (7’ 5”)
3.25 m (10’ 8”)
2.01 m (6’ 7”) minimum
Main Bed Size
2.20 m x 1.4 m - 1.1 m (7’ 2” x 4’ 7” - 3’ 1”)
Luton Bed Size
1.96 m x 1.53 m (6’ 5” x 5’)
Dinette Bed Size
2.00 m x 1.1 m (6’ 7” x 3’ 7”)
Dometic 4 burner and grill
Waeco CR1140 136 L
12 V LED
1 x 120 AH
1 x 80 W
Air Command Ibis
Suburban 23 L
1 x 9 kg
1 x 90 L
Grey Water Tank
1 x 90 L
Black Water Tank
19 L Cassette
Price - POA
Contact Kea for used vehicle sales
Touring Test | 39
Pros • • • • • • • • • •
Versatile layout Generous seating Good view out rear windows Reasonable sized kitchen Good lighting with different use modes Remote camping ability (within reason) Generously Luton peak bed area Easy driving Fully kitted out, including a plunger coffee maker! 12 V and 5 V USB sockets
• Overhead lockers quite high • Under-seat storage lacks door access • 95 kW engine marginal for vehicle size • Rear bed a slightly odd shape • Smallish opening windows
KEA Sales on 1300 720 020 W: sales.keacampers.com/au/
40 | Reader Report
My Motorhome A 2007 Suncamper Sovereign Prestige… by Owen Bunker
lmost nine years ago my wife found me flat on my back in the back garden. “Give me your hands, I’ll help you up” she said. I put out my right hand, the left one stayed on the ground. “Stretch out your legs” she said, I stretched out my right leg. “You haven’t just fallen over, you’ve had a stroke!” While I praise God for a most remarkable recovery, with full use of the left limbs, my energy loss was huge. I could still handle the ute and caravan, but once I’d pulled down, rolled in, jacked up, hitched up and packed up I felt like I needed a power nap – not like facing a day’s driving. That started ‘the search’.
We didn’t want a unit where you HAD to turn the cab seats around for house seating. After all, where do you put the laundry bag, the wife’s handbag and knitting bag, your briefcase of travel-map books and man-bag with details of the volunteer projects you’re taking part in, if you can’t use the cab for storage when settling down for the night? Nor did we want a loft bed – gone are our days of climbing up and down a skinny ladder to get in, and worse, out of bed!
We did want a permanent dinette so that morning teas and lunch en-route would be After many years of tent camping and 100,000 quick and easy. Also, a permanent bed at a low km of caravan touring we had a bit of an idea of level, plus plenty of storage space, both inside and out. And we wanted a bathroom plus a what we did and didn’t want in a motorhome. fully equipped kitchen where you can actually
Reader Report | 41 cook a meal. All this had to be contained in a unit below 4500 kg GVM, to drive on a car licence, and no more than 7 metres long.
fter much research we found Suncamper’s Sovereign Prestige on a Ford Transit chassis ticked all the boxes. We also found one that had been built in late 2007 and had done duty as a demo unit at Queensland RV on the Sunshine Coast in 2008. We bought it in 2009 with 310 km on the speedo. It was registered on the day we picked it up and we got three years warranty on both the Ford and the Suncamper. Prior to delivery we had it fitted with a nudge bar to protect the radiator, intercooler and cab A/C condenser area; an Aqua-alert, which gives visual and audible warning of coolant loss (water temp gauges don’t warn of loss of water!) and an extra spare tyre mount in the boot. I’ve since fitted a UHF to monitor wide loads and vehicles that wish to pass.
uch has been written about the ‘unsuitability’ of the Ford Transit with its six-speed manual box as a motorhome base. Thirty two years involvement with tour coaches exposed me to many computer aided gearboxes (read automated manual transmissions) and the fact that these can be immobilised by just a small electrical fault. My desire to avoid that in the Outback made the reliability of a manual box my first choice. The Transit’s stubby gear lever is dashboard mounted on a small pod, a handspan away from the steering wheel, which leaves the floor clear. Ford’s 2.4 L Dura-Torq TDCI common-rail, direct-injection, turbo-charged and intercooled diesel was co-developed by Ford and Peugeot, and used in London taxis, Citroens, Peugeots,
Fiats, Jaguars and Land Rovers. Its output of 104 kW and 375 Nm produced more power and torque per cubic centimetre than its rivals, except for Mercedes Benz. Our Transit has driver and passenger airbags, ABS braking, disc brakes front and rear, and traction control, so safety is taken care of. It’s seating is among the best I’ve encountered, too. Ford has more service centres across Australia then any of its rival chassis makes, and so for us the Transit was the logical choice. The Ford has performed admirably. It even hauls us fully laden up the Toowoomba Range using 4th gear in the 60 km zone at the top at less than full throttle. On major highways I seldom have to change gears except for towns and mountain ranges. A few small oil leaks were detected and fixed under warranty and apart from that we’ve been stopped only by dirty fuel causing a blocked fuel filter. I had to have the fuel tank removed and drained as there doesn’t seem to be a drain plug! The window power mechanism in the driver’s door failed, requiring a replacement. My fuel book shows that over the 85,065 km since the first fill we’ve bought 11,349.93 litres of diesel for an average of 13.35 L/100km (21.17 mpg) at an average speed of 85 km – sometimes more, sometimes less on rough roads. Ford’s cruise control is a delight: I thought I could hold a steady speed but it can do better! Our unit does have a common Transit problem: excessive wear on the inside of the right hand steer tyre (as with most other Euro-style light trucks there is no camber adjustment). I assumed that an ‘as new’ unit with only 310 km on the clock wouldn’t need a wheel alignment. Wrong. Our first tyre was ruined at less than 15,000 km, but an alignment at a truck steering specialist and regular 10,000 km tyre rotations are keeping that in check.
42 | Reader Report
e have been very satisfied with our Sovereign Prestige, which we’ve named The Cubby, but some things could be better! It has four seat belts but is basically a two seater. The extra two would need to be children as the dinette converts into a bed that should be labelled ‘children only’, and ideally only one child. We only ever used it for two children once and now don’t even carry the extra bolsters with us.
The ‘dry’ bathroom has a vanity unit cupboard with basin, plus a shaving’ cabinet, with a power point on the end wall, so there is plenty of storage there. Firstly we want to give Suncamper their due: They honoured all warranty claims, which is much better than we have heard of some other brands.
The first major issue was when the water tank fell off! Of the five tech-screws holding it at each end, four at the front and two at the back The kitchen has a stove with three gas burners had been over-tightened (by a person who no and an electric hotplate, plus a gas grill and longer works there), stripping the thread and oven. There are mains power points for the causing them to fall out. When the last front 12/240-volt battery charger, 232-litre 3-way one broke under the water’s weight and the two-door AES fridge/freezer, microwave and bouncing of country roads, the front end of the 2-way electric/gas 23-litre water heater (why tank hit the bitumen and then went end-over, is the water-heater power switch hidden in a lifting the back of the motorhome off the road dinette seat?), plus 2 more above the stove and and providing a “WHOOPS?!” moment! It then 2 on the wall under the table. I run a switchable got pushed along the bitumen in front of the power-board onto the table for small item drive axle. A caravaner stopped to help and charging, with an extension lead to the waterfortunately I carry a second jack as we needed heater lead under the seat so either gas or 240 both to get it out. V power for it are just a switch away.
Reader Report | 43
Left: The aircon unit isn’t square in the ceiling, which makes me cringe every time I see it. Right: The rear boot is huge but it would be good to have a latch to hold the door open. Actually it did us a good turn. We had been complaining that the ‘town water’ inlet pressure restrictor was too restrictive, as only one of any four country towns had enough water pressure for us to use town water. All water pipes, etc, were torn out when the tank came out and now with the new tank installed the water inlet works fine! This model has two large 12 V rain-sensor equipped remote controlled roof hatches; one over the dinette and the other over the bed (great for star viewing at night!). Both started leaking – not nice to find your bed saturated – and both had to be taken out and re-sealed. I cringe every time I look at the ceiling as the airconditioner unit is not mounted squarely to the other roof fittings. Next to a fluro light it is 10 cm away on one side and 12 cm away at the other: that’s a 20% difference! When you are motorhome shopping in the $150K-plus category,that is not a good look! Our vehicle has one 9 kg gas bottle in a side locker, although there was plenty of room for it
to be made big enough for two. New units have 2 x 4.5 kg bottles and a pull-out BBQ there. The outside storage door – 75 x 75 cm in size – seems to be wood framed with metal edges around that apparently hadn’t been water sealed, so it started falling apart but was rebuilt. The boot is huge: Inside is 80 x 80 x 130 cm, which allows me to carry a second spare tyre as well as many others things, but the door lacks a catch to hold it open. Then there is the under-bed storage, which is certainly not up to Suncamper design standards! Getting things in/out is a two person job as you have to hold the mattress up with one hand and remove a lid from an opening that is too small, at which point the far corners of the storage are out of arm’s reach! Definitely a need for a gas-strut bed frame over a larger opening here. An interesting question is with all that storage, why was it built on a 4,250 kg chassis and not a 4,490 Kg one? Having said that I must say that most things have been well done. The under floor storage is sealed off from the inside, as who wants the
44 | Reader Report
There’s plenty of internal storage and the gloss timber finish looks good and is easy to keep clean. The tall slide-out pantry is great too. smell of the generator’s fuel wafting up around the bed head? Downstairs storage is even carpeted, as is the under-bed area.
Our Dometic automatic energy selection (AES) fridge was great until it stopped. I took it to a Dometic dealer who didn’t know what he was doing. He identified the problem as only 2.5 volts getting to fridge, which needs 12 The Equipment volts for the AES to operate. He couldn’t find otorhomes are a 12/240 V hybrid and the problem so cut the feed and joined it into the Suncamper house batteries feed another feed, which overloaded it, blowing the power via a battery isolator to 3 fused fuse, so he put in a heavier fuse, which later 12 V ‘feeds’, but they are not labelled to tell you melted the fuse holder! I eventually identified what they feed. the problem as a faulty fuse, which looked okay but only allowed two and a half volts through, First the Electro 240/12 battery charger failed. and have rewired a dedicated 12 V power feed We had it replaced with a CTEK unit. We’ve had two CTEK failures now with both replaced to the fridge. All that could have been saved if we’d known what ‘feed’ to look at and just under warranty. Then the Electro voltage replaced the fuse! sensitive relay between the cranking batteries and house batteries failed, but the ‘engaged’ The Dometic entry door hasn’t got a security light stayed on. We didn’t know we were screen door and I’ve not found one which can draining the house batteries as there was no be fitted. It also has small springs in the twin volt-meter fitted. We’ve since had one fitted locks, one of which broke. The dealer said (new models have a volt meter). The Sovereign that was unusual as Dometic didn’t even have has 2 x 100 AH deep-cycle batteries, which are spares for it! But he fitted a small spring that not cheap. later broke when were away on a trip. Then the
Reader Report | 45
one in the second lock broke while we were driving on the highway, with the door flying open. We arrived home with it tied shut with twine and an ocky strap! I got heavier springs from a hardware store, modified them with side-cutters and pointy nosed pliers and fitted them myself. They’ve not broken since! The door also had an outside plastic latch, which weathered and then broke, but Dometic don’t keep spares, so now it is held open by an ocky strap between two eye screws! This door style has an opening window, but no way to latch it open, so the ocky strap is used on it also.
The Verdict – after 6 years and 85,000 km
Next, the remote on the front roof hatch failed in all functions: up, down and on-and-off for the fluro lights at each end. I got it down by throwing a bucket of water, which activated the rain sensor! We thought we could get a new remote. Guess what? Dometic don’t keep spares, so their suggested solution was a new hatch at $800 plus fitting. Sprengers were able to fit on/off switches to allow it’s continued use, minus the rain sensor ability.
Would I recommend Suncamper to a friend?
Would I recommend the Ford Transit to a friend? Yes. It has exceeded our expectations. Would I recommend Queensland RV to a friend? Yes. Everything they told us was correct, their pre-delivery instructions were thorough and their service was excellent.
Yes. The Sovereign Prestige is well designed and strongly built, and even has a ‘ramped up’ tail to clear steep driveways. Even after its life as a ‘Demo’ nothing was broken, but I’d tell them what I’ve told you!
46 | Project Polly
Fresh fruit isn’t the only bonus from Polly’s new fridge… by Richard Robertson
Project Polly | 47
Prior to installation three narrow trim panels were attached to later secure the fridge to Polly’s kitchen cabinet. The top one is vented and Polly already had a substantial rear fridge vent, so over-fridge ventilation should be good.
hen we picked up Project Polly it's fair to say the fridge was something of an issue. We didn't realise that straightaway, but it became apparent the unit’s cooling capabilities were fairly ordinary – once we overcame the problem of intermittent operation! As reported in an earlier instalment, the fridge had been replaced at some point in Polly's relatively recent past. I don't know what the issue was and it's obvious the replacement unit was already well used, but I managed to trace the intermittent operation to a loose fuse in the electrical control panel (behind the on-off switch). At some point in the past, and probably with the previous fridge, there had been a current overload that had partially melted the fuse and the plastic surrounding the fuse holder. Although the fuse was still operational it was quite deformed and consequently loose, resulting in an intermittent power supply. A new fuse seemed to fix this, but even when
plugged into mains power overnight before departure and with the setting at maximum, the old Waeco 12 V compressor fridge struggled to bring the temperature down. Once in operation for a couple of days it seemed okay, but it certainly gave me no confidence that when the weather warmed our food wouldn’t also. Despite that, a new fridge wasn't really on my radar, but when Webasto offered one who was I to look a gift refrigerator in the door?
ou mightn't think of Webasto being a fridge company, but for many years it has marketed RV and marine fridges under the Isotherm banner. Even if you haven't heard of them you're likely to have seen one because they’re easily recognisable thanks to a central, square door handle. This isn't just a styling exercise by the way, it’s because the door can easily be set to open left or right to suit your particular needs.
48 | Project Polly Somewhat confusingly (for me at least), Webasto's fridges are marketed under the Cruise Elegance banner, but also referred to as Isotherm fridges on their website and in the manual. Four models are available, ranging from 49 to 130 litres capacity, and the 85-litre CR EL 85 seemed an almost perfect replacement fit for the old 80-litre Waeco unit. All Webasto/ Isotherm/Cruise Elegance fridge models are ready to accept the company’s proprietary Smart Energy Control (SEC) system, as fitted to Polly’s new fridge, which is offered as an option at the time of purchase. What does SEC do? According to the website it keeps the voltage level under control and allows a substantial reduction in energy consumption. According to the user's manual, SEC ensures significant energy savings by continuously scanning a series of key environmental factors (using advanced proprietary algorithms) in order to determine the best compressor speed to maximise the battery’s coefficient of performance. It’s claimed to not only render the refrigerator more intelligent, but also allows for a significant amount of cold energy stored in food and drinks to be saved. It’s also claimed SEC reduces the temperature of the cabinet more than traditional refrigerators but without freezing the food. The temperature is continuously monitored via an air sensor and cooling energy is stored and reutilised whenever a power surplus is available (when the vehicle’s engine is running or when connected to mains power). The result is a claimed energy saving of up to 35% thanks to the more efficient use of the compressor and total savings of up to 50% using the combined effects of cooling energy stored in the fridge's contents. Traditional compressor fridges run on 12 or 240 volts depending on whether the vehicle is connected to mains power or not. Polly’s new fridge is 12 V only, meaning it runs off the house batteries at all times, even while they’re being charged by mains power. This does away with
Measure twice, cut once! Note the attached trim panels on the top photo.
Project Polly | 49
the need for any 240 V wiring and eliminates the chance of the auto-switchover malfunctioning. Installation of the new fridge was straightforward and it was good to see that Talvor, Apollo Rentals’ motorhome manufacturing division, had used ‘proper’ heavy duty wiring during the original installation. As with all fridges, ventilation is vital and Webasto’s in-house installer, Adam, was keen to maximise airflow around the new unit. To this end slight trimming of the surrounding cabinetry was required to accommodate a vent panel along the top (plus ‘straighten’ the original cabinet cut-out). That aside, the process was simply one of removing the old unit and replacing it with the new one. Even allowing for the cabinetry modifications, a thorough wiring Top: The little blue box is Webasto’s Smart Energy Controller, which integrates into the compressor’s control system to ensure maximum cooling efficiency and power conservation. The white cable on top links to the internal air temp sensor. Above: Slight trimming of Polly’s cabinet was required to ensure over-fridge cooling. A little was trimmed off the side too as the original cutout wasn’t quite square.
50 | Project Polly
Our first outing with the new fridge was an impromptu picnic at Fitzroy Falls Reservoir; a good place for a lunch stop if you’re visiting the Southern Highlands. check and a good clean out, the whole process probably took less than an hour.
Cooling Off Period
ecause we've been rather busy recently the first opportunity to try out the new fridge only came last weekend. On a whim we decided to pack some lunch and head out for a picnic, so I turned the fridge to maximum (7) and off we went. There was no prior cool down period, but the weather was mild and there was little chance our salads would deteriorate in the short time prior to their consumption. Imagine my surprise when I pulled them, cold, from the fridge, about 90 minutes later! Not only were they cold, so was the cutlery wrapped in paper napkins. To say it was a revelation compared to our old fridge is a serious understatement!
I turned the thermostat down to 5 and left the fridge ‘idling’ while we had lunch and then returned home, to see how it would go keeping the big bottle of mineral water cold. No problem. We did the same thing the following day with the same results. In hindsight I remember the installer telling me to leave the thermostat on maximum – 7 – as that activates the SEC which then monitors everything and keeps the fridge running at maximum efficiency. I hope that’s right because there’s nothing about it in the owner’s manual. I’ll certainly try it next time and see if we end up with any unexpected freezing. Another good point about this cooland-go ability is we can use Polly’s fridge for bringing home meat or seafood from Sydney when we do bulk shopping up there. One more thing: The new fridge has a ‘sexy’ blue interior light that makes Polly seem much newer!
Project Polly | 51
Above: The new fridge is a snug fit and increases capacity by 5 litres. Love the blue glow! Left: Checking the wiring for adequate current prior to installation. Power-wise, Webasto claims the CR EL 85 consumes 380 W per 24 hours of operation. In a 12 V system that equates to 31.67 amps, which for a 100 amp-hour house battery like ours is just over the suggested 30% maximum drawdown of rated capacity before recharging (to ensure good battery life). Of course, that's for a full 24 hours operation and when we travel we usually only stop overnight. Also – and here's the best bit – Webasto says the SEC system can reduce this figure by up to 50% on a fully loaded fridge. Webasto’s installer reminded me there is nothing more difficult or inefficient to cool down than an empty fridge, given it's just full of air that changes when you open the door. A fridge full of cold food and drink is little affected by air movement, while the contents themselves store significant amounts of ‘cold energy’.
52 | Project Polly
Mrs iM replacing all 77 Solarscreen suction cups. She also removed the aluminium strip and cleaned out 5 years of accumulated gunk where the flooring ends behind the cab seats. What a girl! The 303-band Spot Cleaner did an excellent job on her seat back, too. The CRuise ELegance 85 with SEC retails for $1483 inc GST. A quick check online found the 80 L Waeco for around the $1300 mark, so considering the Smart Energy Controller and slightly larger capacity the Webasto unit seems well priced.
ebasto also installed one of its popular Air Top diesel-fired heaters but I'm holding that report over until the New Year to make it more timely for next winter. Perhaps its most interesting feature is Webasto's all-new digital controller, which isn’t being released in Australia until February 2016 at the Melbourne Show. The new controller, which replaces the old rotary thermostat knob, is a beauty that’s easy and intuitive to use and looks like something from Apple's design studio. Key features include digital temperature control, up to three pre-programmable operational cycles a day for seven days (after which it keeps repeating), and a heat-free ventilation mode for circulating ambient air. Most impressive!
The heater installation was done in two instalments because doing it properly required dropping the fuel tank, something not easily done at Webasto's hoist-less head office. These instalments were separated by the best part of two weeks while I popped over to the USA (another story) and consequently little else has happened to Polly since last issue. However, we were having non-stick issues with the experimental suction cups on our Solarscreens, so they shipped us down a replacement set that Mrs iMotorhome dutifully sat and took care of. All 77 of them. Beautiful woman! The new suckers, which appear deeper, show no signs of coming unstuck and all is now right in the Solarscreen department. Mrs iM has also tried out the 303-brand Spot Cleaner on some grease-like stains in the fabric on the back of her cab seat, which have been there since we bought Polly. It's a simple sprayon, rub-in and and wipe-off procedure and the result has been excellent. At $11.99 for a large bottle it’s well worth a look.
Project Polly | 53
Project Polly Costings to Date Previous Accessories/Modifications Plastic storage containers
Doormat, cutting boards, non-slip matting
10 Amp fuses & electrical tape
Bamboo cutlery drawer
LPG safety switch
Fuses and tape
Curtain fabric, hooks, thread & magnets
Carpet-backed foam mats
Melamine sheet for shelf (half price)
Shelf brackets & screws
3 x 200 mm wire pantry baskets
Pantry unit with 3 baskets
Genuine Ford floor mats
Solarscreens â€“ cab ($350) and barn doors ($96) plus freight
Solarscreens â€“ custom side windows x 5
Purchases This Issue Webasto EL CR 85-litre Compressor
303 Spot Cleaner
Total Accessory/Modification Spend to Date
Vehicle On-Road and Insurance costs in NSW
Total Spend to Date
54 | Feature: Solo Traveller
Trials and Tribulations!
Our solo-traveller-to-be battles the ups and downs of life as she waits to hit the roadâ€Ś by Sharon Hollamby
Feature | 55
he month started out well when I bought a cute little 1995 red Honda Today scooter. It needs a mirror and a new back tyre but it starts first time and runs well, so for $600 I was very happy. Of course, that came out of my bus savings but, it does have the dual purpose of saving me petrol now and becoming a get-about when I hit the road. I’ve named it Hardley because it’s hardly a motorbike! The problem was I looked in my bank account and saw the gaping hole that it left there. The panic started to rise and that old alluring voice in my head said, “If you go to the pokies you might win enough to put it all back.” Thankfully, I was able to tell myself, “Yeah, except I’ll lose the lot and have to start all over again.” It only lasted a moment but it was scary. I registered the bike but then discovered that in South Australia you need a motorbike licence to ride a 50 cc. So I will have to attend a road safety course, which will put another $400 dent in the savings. Motorbike aside, the winds have been so strong here it felt like I was stuck in the midst of a rioting crowd trying to turn the van over. My hot water service kept blowing out halfway
through my shower, so I moved it out of the wind but got distracted and didn’t reconnect the hoses, which was a big mistake! The next day I helped my mate Greg clean up a few things in his shed and found myself covered in dust and mouse droppings. In my haste to have a shower I connected the hoses and turned the water on, but nothing came out and I could smell gas. It took a moment to realise that I had connected it back up wrong and I turned everything off, hoping I hadn’t done too much damage. The hoses, which had gone on so easily, refused to come off and a fight to the death ensued. The hot water service did not fare well and the remains now lie in the shed; its insides twisted and broken. It was an expensive mistake, but I ordered another from Gleamous Hot Water on eBay, which arrived within four days. Ensuring I had everything correct this time I was able to enjoy a lovely hot shower.
onstant rain was turning the area around the van into a quagmire, so I dug a trench to allow the water to run past the toilet/shower tent and into the front paddock. People laugh at my shovel because it is about 20 years old, had lots of use and there is not much left of it; but I have a shoulder injury
56 | Feature
Rain, rain go awayâ€Ś My drainage channel worked a treat, but then I stepped in it on the way to the loo one night! and rheumatoid arthritis so it is the perfect size and weight for me. When the job was done I even taped the splintered handle up and gave it a bit of a facelift! That night it was raining heavily but I sat inside snug and warm, confident my trench would be taking most of the water away. When the rain eased it was time for a quick trip to the loo before bed. Forgetting all about the trench I stepped straight into the furrow, sinking ankle deep into the cold flowing water and thick slimy mud. Speaking of the loo, my cassette toilet is great and I donâ€™t have any problems with emptying it, but I discovered a crack in the seat that pinches me every time I use it. I am going to try and fix it, but in the meantime I make sure to sit very carefully! The list of things to repair seems to keep growing but my commitment to gambling help and reforms needs to come first for now. I was at a gambling support meeting when I got a call from Greg, telling me my gazebo had blown down. By the time I got home Greg had packed everything up and put it in his shed for me. Amazingly the little awning stayed put so I do still have some outside shelter, but with the wet, windy weather there has been no point trying to put anything else back up yet.
The Fight Continuesâ€Ś
e (Communities Against Pokies) recently had a meeting with The Honourable Tammy Franks to discuss some serious issues people had been having when banning themselves from venues through
Feature | 57
The winds have been so strong here it felt like I was stuck in the midst of a rioting crowd trying to turn the van over. the Independent Gambling authority. Gambling is a legal pastime sanctioned by the Government, but banning implies you have done something wrong so it is a difficult step to take – and doesn’t need to be made any harder.
That night was also our G-Link gambling support group at Hindmarsh, where we are in the process of practicing a play I wrote, called ‘It’s only a Dollar’. It’s the tale of a young woman lured into gambling by her manipulative sweetheart. Will she escape his evil control
or will he ultimately destroy her? In my hunt for props for the play I have found some terrific op-shops. My favourite is the Lifeline shop in Gawler, just near Foodland and behind the main street. The staff are helpful, and everything is reasonably priced and clean.
58 | Feature In my haste to reconnect the hot water system I got the hoses around the wrong way and the result was… expensive. from the farmers. There is a coffee shop in the complex but unfortunately they are closed for a while due to a fire. A sign on the door says they will be open again soon. Gawler is only twenty minutes from the Barossa wine region and ideal for picking up all your essentials, and while you are out that way you can check out the amazing Whispering Wall at Williamstown. Twenty minutes in the other direction will take you to the St Kilda Adventure Playground, which has recently been upgraded. This is a fun place for kids and adults alike and best of all it’s free. St Kilda also boasts an interesting tram museum. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for concession and $28 for a family. All include museum admission and as many tram rides as you like, but they do have limited opening hours so check online before you go. If you want to head into the city it’s only a few minutes to the Gawler Heritage Railway Station and the train
Things to See and Do!
y grandson came for a visit and we went to see ‘Inside Out’ at the Gawler Cinemas. It was a little expensive as cinemas often are but I did enjoy the old world charm of the place and the movie was fun! Every Sunday, Gawler boasts two great markets. The Lions Club Station Market is held in the Gawler Heritage Railway Station car park, with bric-a-brac, home grown produce, a great lolly stall, lovely home baked goods and delicious hot donuts. If you’re feeling thirsty after all that shopping there are a couple of pubs across the road, but I recommend the Overway Hotel because it doesn’t have pokies. The other market is at the Cheap as Chips car park on Adelaide Road and this is where you can buy fresh produce at great prices, direct
Feature | 59
Life in my little caravan is cosy and I have everything I need, but I canâ€™t wait until I can buy my motorhome and hit the road. will get you into the city in just under an hour. For those a little more adventurous than I am, you can take a flight in a glider from the Adelaide Soaring Club, or a motorised hang glider over the town with Gawler Microlights. Both of these companies operate from the Gawler Airfield. All your shopping needs are catered for with the big supermarkets competing for your dollar and the main Street boasts some interesting specialty shops. One of them has the only remaining functional flying fox in South Australia. Can you find it? Caravan parks here charge around $39 a night, plus extra per child, which may discourage some people from stopping in the area.
he urge to get out on to the open road is still strong, and my hunt for a bus continues. I have decided on either a Toyota Coaster or a Mazda T3500. A high roof is a must as I want a bed I can raise out of the way during the day, and solar would be nice. The inside isnâ€™t that important but it does need to be mechanically sound. There are some lovely buses out there, but at the moment all I can do is keep saving until the right one comes along. I feel like a bit of a fraud because I am not travelling yet, but Iâ€™m hoping you enjoy the journey of setting up and getting on the road with me. Any advice or suggestions are more than welcome and if you are in the area drop in and say hello. Perhaps we could explore together?
60 | Travel: CMCA Rally
Malcolm old mate!
A great turnout considering the distance. Pic courtesy CMCA/Tripigy.com
Rally Ho! Campervan and Motorhome Club National Rally, Albany, WAâ€Ś By Malcolm Street. Aerial photo courtesy CMCA/tripigy.com
Travel | 61 Last of the big Swagmen?
Big (and little ) ri everywhere! gs were
Wind got the better of this door…
hen I first heard the 2015 Campervan and Motorhome Club (CMCA) National Rally was to be held at Albany, Western Australia, I thought, "Good, I really have not seen much of WA and that will be a great opportunity to get over there and spend some time having a look around". Like many Australians who live on the East Coast I’m far more familiar with New Zealand than the western side of Australia.
flight to Perth, a KEA rental motorhome and an all-too-brief visit to Albany.
Sadly, events transpired that the envisaged master plan didn’t eventuate. I settled for a
Arriving at the Albany’s Centennial Park rally site it became clear there were a number of others
There isn't much on the road between Perth and Albany, but an item of note is the Bakers Hill Pie Shop: definitely worth a stop so try to time your arrival between 6 am and 6 pm. Also notable were quite a number of wineries – worth keeping in mind if time is not such a problem!
62 | Travel
Beautiful old Hymer A-class!
Rally Manager, Vince Calleja, busy on the job.
Paul Flynn, Siting Manager, was a great blok e
who had adopted a similar strategy to mine, given the much higher than usual number of rental motorhomes, and helped in part by KEAâ€™s special deal for rally attendees!
have to say the Centennial rally site was notable on two counts: One was that most sites were green grass and the other was that local shops were just a short walk away. I suspect rally manager Vince Calleja was a
little disappointed by the lower than usual attendance of about 600 motorhomes. But that was more to do with distance from the east than the way the rally was organised, which I should point out was very well. Indeed, the numerous volunteers did a great job to ensure everything ran as smoothly as possible. Knowing who to talk to at any rally is important, which is why Paul Flynn, who currently heads up the siting team, is always a good man to know!
Travel | 63 Loved this Laika, which is now for sale. Hmmm…
One of two magnificent polished aluminium Airstream A-classes!
Just sitting it out. The weather sometimes got the better of everyone, including man’s best friend…
Rally activities were not much helped by the wind and more than a few grey and drizzly days. In some ways that didn't matter because many of the events were indoors, but for those trying to enjoy tours of the Albany area and the spectacular scenery around the bays it was a disappointment. One thing I appreciated on my brief sojourn into WA was the number of unusual motorhomes at the rally. Apart from some boofy-looking 4WD motorhomes there were a couple of
polished Airstreams, a very-old-but-still-running Bedford, a neat little Hymer A-class, several large US motorhomes and my favourite: a smallish but very well appointed Fiat Ducatopowered Laika. The owners were selling because of going overseas for a couple of years and I wondered if they would just like someone to look after it whilst they are away?
64 | TechTalk
Safety First! OH&S are more than just capital letters, says our resident Techspert from Southern Spirit Campervans...
TechTalk | 65
H&S are more than just capital letters, says our resident Techspert from Southern Spirit Campervans…
In our work shop we have noticed over the years that a lot of RV owners forget about ‘health & safety’ in their vehicles, especially once ‘occupation’ is removed from their daily routine. Very recently a customer’s pop-top awning caught fire and he only noticed when the canvas skirt was flaming away! Unfortunate there was no working smoke alarm and therefore the damage was much more extensive and expensive to repair than it would have been with early intervention.
When an vehicle is first registered or modified to become a campervan/motorhome the following is on the MUST HAVE list to get on the road: • Fire extinguisher • Smoke alarm In states like Queensland, where vehicles don’t have to undergo annual road worthy inspections as long as they are owned by the same person, there is no one ‘official’ to oversee any safety checks. For your own protection – and that of fellow travellers – you shouldn't miss the following basic checks on a very regular basis:
66 | TechTalk
Fire Extinguisher: • Check the overall condition and especially check if the handle/release is loose or wobbly • Check the nozzle isn't cracked or blocked, otherwise replace • Check the pressure gauge: If needle not in the green zone replace the whole unit immediately • Check the manufacture date of your fire extinguisher. Most often you’ll find this as a stamped number on the bottom (see picture). While manufacturers say a fire extinguisher works for around 5-15 years we recommend changing it ever 3 years. Once you’ve used the extinguisher – even if just a little – replace the whole unit. Last but not least, spend a second thinking about the actual location of your fire extinguisher. Is it easy to reach? Is it in the right place? For example, if you’re in bed
and need to pass through the kitchen area to evacuate? Make sure its not hidden and buried behind or underneath luggage or fixtures. And while one extinguisher is the minimum legal requirement there’s no law against having two, three or more! Smoke Alarm: • Test it on a monthly base • Use top quality batteries and change them once a year. Tip: Most smoke alarms have a test button on the outside that you press to hear the alarm beep (so you don't have to hold a frying pan with burning food underneath to test it!). Changing the batteries: Most smoke alarms have a twist opening mechanism, so turn until the clip releases the unit from the wall/ceiling base plate. Turn the unit over and you will see the batteries. Make sure after changing batteries to test the alarm immediately.
TechTalk | 67
Gas Detectors – LPG & CO While a gas detector is not on the must-have list for manufacturers I believe one is a good investment if any gas appliances are fitted. For example, an LPG fridge, stove or water heater. There are different set-ups available; some are wired into the 12 V system while others are battery powered. LPG gas detectors range in price from $40 to $120 and are really worth considering. For installation make sure it’s less than 30 cm above the floor as LPG, like natural gas, is heavier than air. Also, make sure it’s not too far from your gas appliances and/or gas sources. The other type of gas worth detecting is carbon monoxide (CO), an odourless and colourless gas that’s the byproduct of combustion. In high concentrations it causes drowsiness, unconsciousness and leads to death. In an RV your gas appliances give off carbon monoxide, but especially the cooker as it’s
unflued and inside your living area. CO is slightly lighter than air so position a detector around head height. Detectors range from less than $10 to more than $100, but skip the cheap imports and go with a name brand around mid price. Unlike an LPG alarm a CO detector should have a digital readout of parts per hundred million. Anything over 35 is – literally – cause for alarm!
Ask The Techspert! If you have any maintenance questions or problems email us at email@example.com and we’ll see what we can sort out. Please include photos as well as a description of any problems and we’ll share them and the answers with all our readers.
68 | Mobile Tech
Apps That Puzzle! Help keep your brain in great shape while enjoying the puzzles, games and more… By Emily Barker
hen it comes to entertainment in the form of puzzles and games your smartphone, or tablet has almost limitless possibilities. Puzzles are some of the most downloaded (and profitable!) apps on the market today. This makes it an incredibly competitive field, which is good news for consumers. The variety and quality of puzzle and game apps just keeps growing. From traditional card games to obscure pet rescuing sagas and mad birds with serious behavioural issues, and pretty much everything in between! If there’s a particular type of puzzle or game you enjoy chances are there’s an app version ready for download! The following is a quick list of some popular puzzlers designed for iPad and tablets.
Mobile Tech | 69 Spider Solitaire - Free by MobilityWare Cost: Free Size: 32.3MB Spider solitaire is a popular variant of the patience game Solitaire that notches things up a little. For some reason, this relatively straightforward card game can provide hours of endless challenging fun! Your aim is to place all the cards in each suit in stacks of descending suit sequence, King to Ace. Start out as a beginner with one and two suit games then move up in difficulty as you attempt to tackle three and four suit games to become a true Spider Solitaire master/addict. There are very few ads in this free app, although one will pop up after you finish each game, but it’s not excessive. You can also play as long as you like: No lives, coins or credits required. You simply play against yourself, beat your previous score or time, or just try to finish a game! It’s quiet fun in an otherwise noisy world. Mahjong!! – Byterun Cost: Free Size: 49.8MB There is something wholesomely challenging about a good game of Mahjong. The rules are quite simple, the aim is to remove all tiles from the board by pairs, collecting sets of tiles according to the number and type. Sounds easy, right? But there is a very good reason this ancient Chinese game has withstood the test of time: Even with today’s modified rules and single player adaptions it’s simply quite a lot of fun! Today’s mobile version of Mahjong may be far removed from its origins, but what remains is still a pastime enjoyed by many. This app presents well on the iPhone as well as iPads, there are very few ads and it’s easy to navigate through the various options. There are hundreds of free Mah-jong apps available; some have
more layout options than others and can vary in download size, so it’s certainly worth having a browse. Sudoku – Mighty Mighty Good Game Cost: Free Size: 8.9MB I’ll be the first to admit there is little more satisfying than successfully completing an expert level game of Sudoku. It’s like cardio for your brain! Well, it might not be THAT good, but it’s certainly a great way to pass the time. Again, there are literally hundreds of free Sudoku apps available for both iOS and Android devices, but this one has been a feature on my phone for many many years and it’s never missed a beat. It also has all the key features that make gameplay easier, such as optional ‘show incorrect’ and ‘smart notes’, which in addition to being able to note an option, removes it once that column or row has been filled. Sudoku is not maths-driven: it’s simply a logicbased, number-placement puzzle. The objective is to fill a 9 x 9 grid with numbers in such a way that each column, each row, and each of the (9) 3 x 3 grids that make up the larger 9 x 9 grid contains all of the digits from 1 to 9. Piece of pie!
70 | Mobile Tech 4 Pics 1 Word Cost: Free Size: 70.4MB This app took the world by storm a few years ago and managed to hook a lot of players: 150 million people can’t all be wrong! It’s a very simple game; you are given four images and a series of letters, all you have to do is figure out what single word the images have in common. Frustrating, fabulous, fun. It’s actually quite a good mash of a traditional clue-prompt word puzzle and modern technology. Essentially free, it’s known as a ‘Freemium’ app as there are no ads breaking gameplay, but you can make in-game purchases to accelerate gameplay. Don’t fall for this! You can purchase hints and tips, but there is really no need. Like a great crossword, just keep hammering away – you’ll get there eventually! Settings such as sound and hint prompts are customisable. It always pays to check out the options in any app you download. All-up this is a large app at 70.4 MB but will provide hours of entertainment. It’s also one two people can work on together! – Critical Hit Software, LLC Cost: Free* in-game upgrades Size: 95.3 MB For those that enjoy traditional jigsaws you’ll be pleased to hear there are also a plethora of apps dedicated to this age old pastime. Of the many apps available this one has quite a few free puzzles and an interface that allows you to play for extended periods without tiring of the ads. However, if you’re willing to pay for an app I’d highly recommend checking out the official ‘Ravensburger Puzzle - the jigsaw collection’ before committing to any in-app upgrades. On the iPad this app can create up to 400 piece puzzles while this is capped at 100 for iPhones; more than large enough to keep you occupied for hours! Another great feature that’s not really
a feature but should be is the fact it will not interrupt any music or audio while it’s open. This means you can listen to your own music or podcasts while you play!
Advertisers' Index | 71
Advertisers' Index AirBag Man Albury Wodonga RV World
Robertâ€™s RV World
Australian Motor Homes
Southern Spirit Campervans
Battery Traders Super Store
Caravan & Motorhome Covers
Taronga Western Plains Zoo
e-Twow Electric Scooters
Outback Travel Australia
Wirraway Motor Homes
Paradise Motor Homes
Parkland RV Centre
72 | Next Issue
A Matter of Conquest
Conquest we’re thinking/hoping there have been some developments to match the switch to the new Fiat Ducato. The Conquest is Jayco’s entrylevel motorhome and is popular with first timers looking for a compact and affordable vehicle. The iMotorhome forward planning notebook was recently left on a plane, which is causing a little ‘bother’ trying to remember what’s been prescheduled for the remainder of this year. But, on the Project Polly front we’ll be trying to tie up some loose ends and we’re sure there’s another reader review lurking in the schedule, if only we can find it…
ext issue we take a look at a 6.4 m (20’) Jayco Conquest. Not sure which specific model yet but it’s nearly two years since we last tried a Jayco, and although it was also a small Nov 06-08
Issue 84 will be out on Saturday 14 November. Until then why not join our more than 30,000 Friends and Twitter followers to Facebook share laughs, fun and keep an eye on what we’re up to?
Facebook “f ” Logo
RGB / .ai
Facebook “f ” Logo
RGB / .ai
South Coast Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo
Bendigo Caravan and Camping Show
Newcastle Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo
Mackay Park Batemans Bay. NSW. 2536
Bendigo Racecourse, Heinz Street, Epsom. Vic. 3551.
• • • • •
• Open 9:30-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $8 • Kids: U 15 free
Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Showground Brown Rd, Broadmeadow. NSW. 2292
Open 9:00-4:00 daily Parking: TBA Adults: TBA Seniors: TBA Kids: TBA
Visit Website Click for Google Maps
Visit Website Click for Google Maps
• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $12 • Seniors: $8 • Kids: U 16 free with adult
Visit Website 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
Get your FREE subscription from our website now!