On the Value Track
Issue 87: Jan 16 2016
because getting there is half the fun...
Reader Report! Kea Freedom…
Product Review Ice Mule cooler bag!
Project Polly… Add-ons and updates
$50 for the! best letter
Out and about in Sunliner’s big ‘campervan’ …
2015 MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR Motorhomes, Campervans & 5th Wheelers
For 20 years, Horizon Motorhomes have been crafting ‘built-in’ motorhomes using only the finest fixtures and fittings.
To find out more about our range of award winning motorhomes visit our website or call 02 6681 1555.
299 C A M O L D 02 R i v P E R E X C 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
Late last year we were 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.
SGG Pty Ltd. Lic No. MD11739, MVRL23910
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
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Contributors Emily Barker, Sharon Hollamby 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: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial Publisher/Managing Editor
Advertising Sales & Marketing Business Development Manager This could be you! Interested? Contact us on email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
On my mind | 5
LOOKING AHEAD One of the things I learned from cycling is it takes much longer to ride up a hill than ride down it, even over the same distance. Of course that’s obvious when you think about it, but when you're riding – and especially when you first start out – you seem to spend an awful lot of time going uphill and precious little coming down! It’s an analogy I've come to understand that has applications in everyday life. For example, a long dinner with good friends is over in no time, while a half hour dental appointment can seem to last all day. I was thinking about January last year and sitting down to write my first editorial for 2015. The year just seemed to stretch ahead and I remember wondering what would fill it. In hindsight it seems to have passed in the blink of an eye and here I am looking at 2016 and wondering what's going to fill it. Silly question – I know it will soon be Christmas again. Obviously my mind only remembers the ‘downhill’ sections of 2015 (and for that matter the nearly 4 years since we started iMotorhome). I guess that means producing this magazine is largely enjoyable, and at least more fun than having teeth pulled! We have some interesting things planed for 2016, including a renewed focus on keeping the website updated as well as developing an industry-first feature I can't mention right now without shooting you. Around the middle of the year some high-tech video equipment will arrive from the USA that will enable us to ‘shoot’ video road tests, destination features and product reviews without the need for a cameraman (no, it doesn't fly!). You've told us a video is what you want and video is what you're going to get, and we'll be experimenting with more modest videos in the mean time to get the presentation and format right. The 2016 RV show season kicks off in Newcastle in just a few weeks and we'll be visiting all the
shows we can get to to report on what's new, interesting and trending. Malcolm and I have also already booked flights to Auckland for March to jointly attend the Covi Supershow for the first time. We’ll be featuring more vehicles and destinations from the Land of the Long White Cloud from next issue, as New Zealand has a vibrant and unique motorhome scene that's less flying time from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane than Perth. It's also one of the few international destinations where the Australian dollar still has some purchasing power and is an ideal holiday destination. If you're new to motorhoming and can be in Brisbane on 12 March we're running a free Motorhome 101 Day for novices, in conjunction with Southern Spirit Campervans. We’ll be looking at everything from how to empty a toilet cassette to how to set up an awning, the different types of hot water systems and much, much more. There will also be a question and answer session and even a sausage sizzle (of course). See the ad on page 12 for details and be sure to book in early as places are limited. That seems to just about take care of the first half of the year and it's only the second week of January. And there I was wondering what we’ll do in 2016. I'll leave you with the immortal words of radio presenter Doug Mulray from the 1980s: “Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana”. See you next month!
6 | Contents
Who we are, where and other legal stuff
Find back issues and more on our website
On my Mind
On your Mind
Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
Day Test: Sunliner Vida V21
Reader Report: Kea Freedom
What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond
The latest Marketplace offers
What’s In the Box? – Malcolm reviews this campervan/motorhome crossover…
Lyn Rule reports on her very first motorhome!
Add-ons and updates kick off the new year
The versatile Torch 250
RV First Aid Kit
An A to Z of who’s in this issue!
Ice Mule’s 20 L cooler bag
New Year’s apps
What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!
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
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• 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 email@example.com Paradise Motor Homes products are protected by registered designs, patents and copyrights ™ © 2013
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
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 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 the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with $50 to help you on your way.
Thanks to everyone who took the time and made the effort to share thoughts, experiences, tips and observations in 2015. Thanks also for the many good wishes for the festive season, which were most appreciated. Please keep writing in and feel free to share whatever’s on your mind. This is your forum and we know it’s also one of the most popular sections of the magazine, so keep those letters coming in 2016!
Boab Tree Blues Hi iMotorhome Team. Just read the latest edition of iMotorhome and would like to make comment in relation to the Boab Tree rest area (Just thinking) as mentioned by Mike. Several years ago when we stayed at the Boab Tree rest area we also found lots of used toilet paper in the bushes and blowing through the rest area. We also picked it up using a nail in the end of a piece of broom stick, rubber gloves and disposed of it in the bins. To our surprise later in the afternoon a four wheel drive tourist bus pulled in and the driver instructed the male and female passengers the toilet break was in the bush, so you can guess the toilet paper started all over again. We contacted the bus company (I can't recall the name) and they said they would look into it, but we never heard back from them. So even though a lot of blame, and rightly so, goes to the backpackers, there are bigger fish (so to speak) that also need attention.. Regards, Paul
Thanks for that Paul, very interesting and also sad that ‘responsible’ companies let this sort of thing happen. Do you remember if they we’re Australian or overseas passengers? Anyway, I’ll run it next issue and see if anyone else has had a similar experience.
12 | On your mind
Hi Richard. At your suggestion I downloaded ElfYourself and turned my friend and I into the enormously talented 'Elf Duo'. I dare say the joints will never be the same again! So amid peals of laughter, I would like to share our efforts with you (you can view them HERE) and wish all at iMotorhome a very happy Christmas and a great 2016. Thank you for the effort you have put into the publication and I look forward to many more in 2016.
Kind regards, Margaret Hi Margaret. Thanks, that made my jet lagged night in Los Angeles when I received your email just before Christmas. Thanks for sharing and glad you enjoy the magazine and here’s to 2106 – I’m sure there will be many more issues!
iMotorhome Free Motorhome 101 Day: 12 March – Brisbane Calling All Beginners! Southern Spirit Campervans, in conjunction with iMotorhome, is running a special day for anyone new to motorhomes and campervans who wants to see and learn the basics. If you’re looking to buy your first vehicle, a new owner or just heading off on a rental holiday for the first time and want a head start on how things work, this is the day for you! This special event will include demonstrations of the various types, usage and maintenance of items like: • Awnings • Toilets • Batteries • Hot Water Systems • Fresh and Grey Water Systems
• Gas systems • Fridges • Cookers • Solar • 12 V Lighting and Electrical Systems There will also be a question and answer session, plus a free sausage sizzle and refreshments. Caravan park and motel accommodation is available near by and details will be supplied if requested upon booking. You’ll also be able to book a one-on-one session with Southern Spirit Campervans for a small fee after the event, if you’d like a personal rundown on your vehicle’s individual systems and features. Book early as numbers are limited! Email your name and contact details to email@example.com or call Pia on (07) 3112 6114.
14 | News
VOLKSWAGEN T6 POP-TOPS complete with bed – thanks to Brisbane-based Southern Spirit Campervans. The roofs feature fibreglass sandwich construction with an internal frame and insulation for excellent noise and temperature control, safety and durability. They are also sleek, streamlined and finished to a very high standard outside and in. Standing height ranges from 1.75 m to 2.45 m, while airflow and natural light are obviously dramatically increased.
olkswagen’s eagerly anticipated T6 – the 6th generation of its iconic Transporter series – is finally in dealers’ yards and beginning to appear on the roads. Months ago iMotorhome was promised an advance peek at this important new model by Volkswagen Australia, but sadly that didn’t materialise. However, we hope to bring you the first reports on a T6 campervan conversion soon.
New for the T6 SWB and LWB Multivan is a version that keeps the original rear air conditioning system intact. Also available for the basic Transporter is a roof elevated higher at the rear. All are strong enough to accommodate an upper bed for two adults, which is on gas struts that just pushes up out of the way when not required. All roofs are also roof-rack compatible and can carry up to 34 kg.
While a full camper conversion is iMotorhome’s obvious interest, those who buy the people mover versions or even the basic van for work can now have a quality German engineered and manufactured lift-up roof installed –
Conversions vary in price depending on the base vehicle but start from $7,950 for supply and installation. More information can be found by clicking HERE or by calling 0401 797179.
FIAT DUCATO SPRING UPGRADE
iat Ducatos are know for their noselow stance and short travel front suspension that’s prone to bottoming out uncomfortably over bumps at speed. Brian Foley Automotive is offering a Ducato front spring upgrade using popular King Springsbrand high-tensile steel springs for an all inclusive price of $850 fitted.
The upgrade is claimed to improve ride and handling, and while iMotorhome hasn’t experienced a King Springs’ equipped vehicle first hand we have heard from readers who are very happy with their upgraded vehicles. To find out more or to book in, call service manager Phil Ciareglio on (02) 9546 5661.
News | 15
WINNEBAGO MOVING AHEAD
ccording to a press release, “Less than one year since the launch of Winnebago Australia, CEO Luke Trouchet says the iconic brand has made a strong impact with its quality Australian-built motorhomes, campervans and U.S. Minnie Winnie caravans.” “Australian caravan and motorhome enthusiasts have really welcomed Winnebago - 2015 has been an exciting journey for us and we are making some big plans for the road ahead. With new models in production, brand new colour schemes and the launch of the first Australian made Winnebago caravan, we’re aiming to make 2016 a record-breaking year,” he said.
Trouchet’s family-owned Apollo Group is licensed to build, import and sell official Winnebago products in Australia and New Zealand and has established a dealer network in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and New Zealand. The current Winnebago range comprises five motorhomes, two campervans and a range of three to sixberth caravans. New models are expected to be introduced this year and the brand will be active across Australia at the major RV shows, plus the Covi Supershow in Auckland, NZ.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
16 | News
ZEISS IPHONE LENSES
here's no shortage of smartphone camera accessory lenses out there. But when a respected lens manufacturer like Zeiss joins the market it's worth taking notice. The firm has announced that in partnership with ExoLens it will launch three high-performance iPhone lenses this year. The lenses will include a wide-angle, a telephoto and a macro, and all will mount to iPhones via a screw thread on an ExoLens machined aluminium bracket. Each lens will also incorporate the Zeiss T* antireflective coating, which helps minimise reflections and improves the transmission of light. Zeiss says that the 0.6x wide angle (giving a 18-mm equivalent) and 2x telephoto (56 mm equivalent) use an afocal optical design, which
is different to traditional interchangeable lenses for system cameras. This means the lenses themselves are focused at infinity, with the smartphone camera responsible for focusing. Both optics are said to offer edge-to-edge contrast and feature aspheric lenses. Meanwhile, the macro lens will offer a useful continuous zoom function giving a 40-80 mm equivalent and letting users fill the frame with subjects with diameters between 3 and 12 cm. An optionally attachable and semi-transparent diffusor serves as a spacer that allows light to shine evenly on the object and enables convenient focusing. At launch, expected to be late in the spring (Australian time), ExoLens with optics by Zeiss will be available for iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus, though more devices (and more lenses) could be added in the future. There's no word yet on price.
NORTHCOACH EQUIPMENT PTY LTD
News | 17
DARLING DOWNS BACKFLIP
Vers will continue to be offered free camping facilities in Queensland's Southern Downs Regional Council area. And the backflip has been welcomed by one councillor who pointed out that it had "historically occurred" at Mitchell Park Dalveen, Dalrymple Creek Allora and on the Sports Reserve at Leyburn. “Sometimes it takes several meetings to get council resolutions right,” Cr Jamie Mackenzie said. “We need to say to the travelling public that the Southern Downs region is open for tourism business. All are welcome on the Southern Downs and we need an increasing number and variety of options for travellers.”
Cr Mackenzie believes “Lots of roadside camping spots” should be provided across the Southern Downs, especially in small centres away from commercial caravan parks. Council has also decided to undertake consultations during the next two years with a view to handing over control and maintenance of existing public camping at Dalveen, Allora and Leyburn to community groups. “This way the groups can make money for local facilities and are not a burden to ratepayers,” Cr Mackenzie said. He believed this would save council money and enhance the tourist industry. The council is also considering erecting welcoming signage.
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
18 | News
NT COMMUNICATIONS IMPROVE
ravellers are now able to make mobile 'phone calls from two of the Northern Territory's remote locations. Telecommunications Hotspots have been activated at the Tropic of Capricorn roadside rest area 29 km north of Alice Springs and at Simpson's Gap in the West MacDonnell National Park. The Hotspots are part of the $367,000 NT Governmentfunded project that will see 22 installed across the Territory over 2 years.
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: email@example.com & New Website: www.wirraway.com.au On The Road Wirraway 260SL Slideout Motorhome - 2012 © Rex Willmer
20 | News
STRATEGY FEEDBACK INVITED
ictoria's Moira Shire wants public feedback on its draft recreational vehicles strategy. The blueprint was developed after 12 months of investigation and discussion by the council’s RV Friendly Working Group. Mayor Gary Cleveland said the draft included more than 10 individual recommendations.
“The draft strategy begins from the basic principle that RVs are largely self-sufficient,” he explained. “They do not need continuous access to toilets, showers, electricity, water or other services that are commonly associated with the more traditional caravan and camping accommodation”. Continued...
News | 21 ...Continued
Four of the Shire’s towns – Yarrawonga, Nathalia, Numurkah and Cobram – are already numbered amongst Victoria’s 35 RV Friendly Towns. Cr Cleveland said that indicated the community welcomes and provides amenities to accommodate the needs of RV tourists, including parking, access to potable water and a free dump point. “The draft strategy aims to build a shirewide approach to being RV friendly,” he said. Amongst its more than 10 recommendations, the draft strategy proposes the council meets basic service needs such as a dump point, potable water supply and long-bay parking in towns. It should also hold a 12-month trial of free short-term camping at the council’s showgrounds in Cobram, Nathalia, Numurkah and Yarrawonga.
“The draft strategy expects RV travellers who chose to stay longer will move into one of Moira's many caravan and camping parks,” Cr Cleveland said. “This draft strategy needs to balance the opportunities to grow local tourism with the interests of existing operators and the potential impact on our infrastructure. It should also add consistency to what had been an ad hoc approach to RV tourism in recent times.” Feedback on the strategy will be accepted until the end of next month. Copies are available by calling or visiting the council's Visitor Information Centres and Service Centres or by downloading it from the link HERE.
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22 | News/ iMotorhome Marketplace
CRESCENT HEAD CAMPING RESTRICTIONS
our-hour time limited parking and designated ‘no stopping’ zones may soon be implemented in Crescent Head as part of Council’s bid to crackdown on free camping in the town. Kempsey Shire mayor Liz Campbell and council representatives proposed the plan for the foreshore carpark to about 100 residents at a workshop meeting at the Crescent Head Community Hall on 11 January. The meeting comes after numerous complaints from residents of a proliferation of tourists free camping in cars and campervans, some for a week or more, along the foreshore carpark and Willow St, while using both areas as a toilet and rubbish tip. Residents said the problem was so bad that some mornings more than 30 vans and cars were permanently occupying the car park to the exclusion of locals and day visitors. The proposed plan, if it is to go ahead in its current form, will involve the establishment of a ‘no stopping’ zone from 11 pm to 5 am and the installation of four-hour time limited
parking signs across the Point carpark, as well as improved line marking, temporary parking arrangements during peak times, alternative overflow parking in Willow St and better access control for the land behind the properties in Willow St. Council’s manager of infrastructure services, Robert Scott, said after consulting with NSW Police, the plan was viewed as the most feasible for action to be taken prior to the Easter holiday period. While the majority of residents in attendance seemed supportive of the plan, some voiced concern about the lack of enforcement by council in the days after Christmas. A copy of the proposed plan will be available in council’s February business paper. In the meantime, council is encouraging residents to provide feedback on the proposal via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing addressed to the general manager David Rawlings, PO Box 3078, West Kempsey NSW 2440. Alternatively phone council offices on 6566-3200.
Are you living that dream? Tax returns need lodging? Do you have income from working or investments? Use a tax agent who understands. We do, because our office has 4 wheels and a Luton peak. Whether you’re in FNQ, WA or Tas., email for info Grey Nomad Tax Advisers ABN 76 114 458 058 Eric Taylor, FIPA, CTA, Reg. Tax Agent Email: email@example.com www.greynomadtax.com.au
Southern Highlands Service Centre • • • • • •
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
An Authorised Repco Service Centre just off the Hume Highway at Mittagong. Auto electrical and mechanical service specialists happy to look after your motorhome or campervan! Call Mark or Sharon and tell them iMotorhome sent you!
T: (02) 4872 2822 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
iMotorhome Marketplace | 23 MOBILE
Our new App is now available for Andriod & iPhone
Scan QR code or click below to download
Scan QR code or click below to download
Bony Mountain Folk Festival This great Aussie festival in the bush is on again, featuring the legendary Murphy’s Pigs! Many other great artists, a Bush Poets breakfast, billy tea, damper, great tucker – don’t miss it!
The Duvalay Memory Foam Sleeping System – No lifting, no tucking, no fighting over the doona and bedding that stays put. Find out why it’s Europes bedding of choice for caravans & motorhomes. The premium grade memory foam ensures total comfort and the award winning design cover means your bed is made in seconds.
duvalay.com.au | (02) 6653 4640
24 | 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 | 25 ®
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
The E-Twow Electric scooter for adults 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
Australian-built In-vehicle Dual Battery Chargers, Battery Management Systems and 52mm monitoring gauges that won’t let you down.
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.
26 | Day Test: Sunliner Vida V21
What’s In The Box?
Checking out Sunliner’s entry-level motorhome, the Vida… by Malcolm Street
Day Test | 27
Sunliner’s swirling graphics help disguise the ‘white box’ look of the Fiat Ducato van. At six metres long the Vida 21 is exactly the maximum legal length for parking in a standard car.
unliner makes a wide range of motorhomes; everything from the flagship Monte Carlo to the diminutive Vida van conversion. The latter is now the smallest model in the fleet due to a recent lineup rationalisation, but just to confuse things it’s available in either a Toyota HiAce or Fiat Ducato. Also to confuse things, Sunliner calls the Vida a campervan, which is certainly correct in the HiAce case but not really so in the Ducato, which has a bathroom (the accepted difference between a campervan and motorhome). For this test, preferring more room to move and walk-through cab access, I opted to look at a Ducato conversion – the V21. Not by coincidence, it happened to be at the front of the line in the motorhomes displayed at Australian Motor Homes, courtesy of Sunliner guru Bert van Leeuwarden.
What’s On The Box?
or this model Vida, Sunliner has opted to use the 6 metre (19’ 8”) Ducato mid-roof LWB van. It started out as a white van but the decals give it a much more dashing image, to say the least. Indeed, one might say that is a good thing since the Vida comes with the largest and most powerful of the Ducato turbo-diesels: the 3.0 litre 132 kW/140 Nm engine, coupled to a 6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT). All you need are a good set of alloy wheels and you're away in a good looking daily driver as well as a small motorhome when you need to escape the rat race. In the driver’s cab everything is where it should be, including the centre water bottle/cup holders and a decent radio with bluetooth.
28 | Day Test
Right: The gas locker is inside the back door, under the seat. It’s legal but less than ideal. Below: While the passenger seat swivels the driver’s is prevented from turning by the bathroom right behind it.
Most of the external features on the Vida are fairly standard items – Seitz double-glazed acrylic windows, electric step, toilet cassette and Truma 14 litre water heater. Surprisingly there isn't an awning, but something like a Fiamma F65 is an option and AMH will certainly fit one, as they will an air conditioner. A not-so-new problem along the kerb side is that the sliding door can hit and damage the rear window if it’s open. One solution to this is to fit a short stop to the sliding door, another is to fit a sliding window (which Seitz/Dometic now have in Australia) at the rear.
In my list of external features I didn't mention the gas cylinder bin, because there isn't one – on the outside. The Vida’s unit is inside the rear kerbside door, beneath the end of the seat. Whether this is a legal arrangement or not depends on which state you live in – helpful hey? – but given the access issues, I reckon a gas fuse shut off device is a must. Being a standard sort of van layout there are the usual two entry points (excluding the cab doors) and both the sliding side-door and rear barn doors provide easy accessibility. Of course if you like to leave the doors open
Day Test | 29
Being a standard sort of van layout there are the usual two entry points (excluding the cab doors) and both the sliding side-door and rear barn doors provide easy accessibility. when stopped then custom fitted, zipped/velcroed insect screens are definitely a must.
battery monitor, there are also 240 V and 12 V sockets. The sockets are slightly oddly placed for internal use but can be used from outside as well, which is the sort of compromise we are all used to.
arrangement with sideways facing lounges in the rear, which convert to a bed at night. Up front, the bathroom cubicle sits behind the driverâ€™s Whatâ€™s In the Box? seat with the space between feature of convenience it and the lounge/bed being is the mini control used for a good sized panel on the side of the wardrobe/cupboard unit, kitchen cabinet that is right by For the Vida layout Sunliner with microwave above. That the entry door. In addition to has opted for a fairly standard leaves the remaining midwater tank gauges and house
30 | Day Test Below: The layout follows campervan tradition and is almost identical to Project Polly’s, although ‘real’ windows and modern cabinetry show this is no rental vehicle. Middle: Overhead cupboard interiors are lined and there is good internal 12 V lighting. Bottom: The sliding side door provides good entry but can hit the van’s rear side-window if it’s open. A restrictor in the door runner would be a good idea (or a sliding side window).
kerbside area for the modest kitchen bench. A slight problem with this arrangement is that the Ducato swivelling cab seats cannot be fully utilised. Certainly there’s no problem with the passenger seat, but the driver’s seat is blocked from swivelling by the bathroom cubicle. In any van conversion general storage is always a bit restricted. However, Sunliner has made the best of it by providing good sized lockers above the lounges. There’s also good storage under the lounges and in the compartment above the cab. A characteristic of just about all Sunliner motorhomes I’ve seen is that the 12 V LED lighting is very good and this van is no exception, with plenty of ceiling and reading lights fitted. In the rear the lounges provide plenty of seating comfort for two, with the usual option of sitting at the single pole-mounted table at meal times or kicking back with your legs up and relaxing. Making up the bed is the
Day Test | 31
Sunliner has opted to use the 6 metre Ducato mid-roof LWB van. It started out as a white van but the decals give it a much more dashing image, to say the least.
32 | Day Test
Above: Although Malcolm thought they looked a bit narrow the brochure says the lounges can be used as single beds. The addition of a central board converts them to a large double/queen. Right: The kitchen is compact but has good drawer space. Given the lack of bench space a lift-up extension on the end is a puzzling omission. usual procedure of removing the table, filling in the centre area with (in this case) a single timber board and then filling the gap with the driver’s side seat cushion, using the slightly thicker side cushions to fill the kerb side area. I have to say it’s a tad fiddly procedure. The one piece board, which slides under the driver’s side seat cushion when not being used, is unwieldy and slightly difficult for one person to manoeuvre easily. It really requires two people. Secondly, the velcro on the seat backs – a feature I would applaud for keeping said seat backs in position when travelling – catches easily on the velcro on the seat base when pushing the seat cushions into position. I did ponder over it but I suspect the lounges are too narrow to be used as single beds
Day Test | 33
(although the brochure says they’re okay – Ed), which would be good of solos or friends travelling together. There are no surprises in the catering department. Given the van’s size it’s going to be a relatively small kitchen. Taking up all the kitchen bench top is a combo stainless steel three-burner cooktop and sink. There’s no grill beneath the cooktop; instead a drawer is fitted in between it and the 80 litre Waeco compressor fridge below. That leaves the adjoining area for three good sized drawers and a small storage area under the sink If you like a compact bathroom then you are on a winner here. There are of course the essentials, like a Thetford cassette toilet and variable height, flexible hose shower. Fitted to the door are both a good sized mirror and the loo roll holder. A shower curtain keeps those two items relatively dry, certainly important in the latter case, while a vent fan hatch keeps the air circulating.
The bathroom is basic but has the essentials of a toilet and shower. There’s a mirror on the inside of the door but not one outside, which would be handy too.
34 | Day Test What I Think
n many ways this is a something of a budget motorhome. All the essentials are there but items like the awning and air conditioning are an option. Whilst that might seem to be a bit penny pinching it does keep the cost down and increase affordability. Fitting the aforementioned accessories, plus things like solar, can certainly be done at purchase time, or they can be fitted â€˜down the trackâ€™ as finances permit. What the Vida V21 offers are all the features of a motorhome in a vehicle that can easily be used as a daily driver for two people. For those of us who still need to earn a living, rather than just swanning around the country at leisure, there is much to be said for such versatility! Indeed the Vida V21 is going to be equally usable for a quick weekend trip or something much longer term.
Rear barn doors provide good access and the space between the beds can easily accommodate a pushbike. Aftermarket insect screens would be a worthwhile investment here and on the sliding side door.
Day Test | 35
Fiat Ducato Multijet 180
3.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
132 kW @ 3500 rpm
400 Nm @ 1400 rpm
6 speed automated manual transmission (AMT)
Gross Vehicle Mass
6.00 m (19’ 8”)
2.05 m (6’ 9”)
2.60 m (8’ 6”)
1.90 m (6’ 3”)
Main Bed Size
1.85 m x 1.83 m (6’ 1” x 6”)
Dometic 3 burner
Waeco 80 L compressor
12 V LED
1 x 100 AH
Truma 14 L
Thetford cassette 19 L
Vary height, flexible hose
2 x 4 kg
1 x 94 L
Grey Water Tank
1 x 45 L
Price on-road NSW
• 3.0 litre turbo-diesel standard • Motorhome features in a compact package • Easily used around town and when parking • Nicely sized for solo travellers. • Good internal storage • Stylish decals
• Smallish kitchen • Bed fiddly to make up • 12 V/5 V sockets not so handy for inside use • Awning not standard
Sunliner Motorhomes T: (03) 8761 6411 W: www.sunliner.com.au
Australian Motor Homes
Click for Google Maps
31 Pacific Highway Bennetts Green NSW 2290. T: (02) 4948 0433 W: australianmotorhomes.com.au
36 | Day Test
the Vida V21 offers all the features of a motorhome in a vehicle that can easily be used as a daily driver for two people.
38 | Reader Report
by Lyn Rule
have to say I am totally enjoying Project Polly. Great job by all! I have my own “Polly”, a converted Ford Transit (Kea Freedom) motorhome. It’s also a 2010 model that’s just done 95,000 kms and it has/had quite a few issues that I seem to be continuously working on! As a 58 year old single female who has never owned a motorhome before I am on a steep learning curve to say the least. I have recently decided to call my motorhome “Firefly”. I purchased Firefly from a very well known Sydney RV dealership and drove it back to Adelaide. I have had a lot of issues with it so far and slowly I am fixing the problems and making improvements, and quite frankly, some of the issues shouldn’t have been issues in the first place. Of course I did expect to have some problems to fix, since the motorhome is five years old and an ex-rental vehicle (same as Polly!).
I started off the trip from Sydney to Adelaide with the coolant drain plug not tightened properly and half of the coolant dripped onto the ground in the first 100 kilometres. Not a good start for a vehicle supposedly prepared by “professional technicians”. I noticed it and went straight to a rural mechanic, who found the issue in 10 minutes. However, other problems like water leaks, broken DVD player, squashed door seals, loose fridge door latch, were all fixed under warranty. I am enjoying all Polly’s hints such as using 303 Aerospace – it worked perfectly on the bumper bars. I just recently tested my awning (as in your issue number 85 “A Word of Awning”) and checked it rolls back properly. I purchased a silicone-based lubricant and used it on the two clips for the awning legs on the sides of the motorhome and they now slide up easily. The first time I opened up the awning I didn’t read
Reader Report | 39
Coming home from Sydney. Note the original ‘spectacular’ curtains! The fold-down outdoor table is a great idea. New curtains and matching bedding. The netting hold-alls in the back doors are very useful, too. the instructions and broke the leg off. Oops! I managed to find the part number on-line and was lucky enough to find the part in Adelaide. I replaced it myself and inserted the two rivets supplied and now the awning is fixed – I’m learning and very proud of myself! Certainly won’t make that mistake again! Lesson: Read instruction manual first. After Polly is completed maybe iMotorhome could feature up a ‘Fact Sheet’ with all of her dramas/fixes/ideas?
this happening – had to use my girl brains! I found a shower manufacturer who cut me an aluminium rail to size, which has a plastic slide-in flap that falls down over the bottom rail once the door is closed (see photo). It seems to have solved the problem but I still have the wood/laminate damage under the shower door area (see photo). After drying it out I put some sealant between the wood and the floor. I am wondering whether to chop out the wood or just cover with a vinyl or aluminium skirting with silicone around the edge? Maybe some readers could advise?
Here are a few of my dramas and improvements over the last eight months: • The Sydney dealership replaced the top sliding door bearings before I picked it up, • The shower water ran down the inside shower but after coming back to Adelaide, the rain door, over the rubber slip on the bottom of the bucketed down and I found out the sliding door frame, bounced off the bottom shower door didn’t shut properly and ended up with rail, ran onto the floor and seeped under the a waterfall coming in. Of course it rained for wood, swelling the wood and bubbling the six weeks straight, so Firefly was covered by laminate. I managed to think of a way to stop a tarp and unusable (I was not happy). Ford
40 | Reader Report adjusted the door for me here in Adelaide once the problem was found. • The DVD component of the Sphere TV/DVD needed replacing under warranty. The TV is hard mounted on the driver’s side of my motorhome right next to the wall and the DVD entry is from the left hand side. Apparently they don’t make left hand side DVD entry anymore! It was a relief when I received the warranty replacement from the Sydney dealership as to try and find another TV/DVD that fits this area and doesn’t protrude into the passageway (and also uses the existing bracket) was looking way too hard. • I replaced the water filter, which is located under the sink cabinet, after a long fight trying to find the correct one to replace it with. Successful in the end, I purchased the Hydro Life Model HL-170 from Waterways, the same as the original one. Got a friend to put this in and he included a lesson so I can do the replacement myself next time. • I replaced all the curtains with help from my mother. Never sewed in my life! • Another friend put in a 30 A MPPT solar regulator so I can put on extra portable panels via an Anderson plug. He also put in a digital voltage/amp meter so I can see what’s going on with incoming solar, and another meter for measuring output/load. Solar – another great learning curve! • The door seals/latches on the gas bottle and toilet compartments were a little loose fitting and rain got in through the top of the doors, but a friend kindly tightened the doors for me. Problem solved!
Top to Bottom: The original water filter and associated plumbing; My modified shower screen and the result of years of water damage to the bathroom woodwork.
• Dario Caravans replaced the power inlet with the “New Style Clipsal 15 amp 240 V Power Inlet 435VFS15” – and a plastic part inside broke as soon as I put the power cord on (I pushed the three pins right back into the socket)! I had this part replaced again
Reader Report | 41 last weekend by a friend from the Australian Caravan Club. Time will tell if there’s a design fault or not, but I am more careful now. Lesson: Don’t do things in the dark if you are not sure. • I replaced the two Alco house batteries with two RAA, 105 AH deep cycle, AGM batteries. I put them under Firefly’s passenger seat, but the original cover wouldn’t fit again as the new batteries are a bit higher than the originals, so I put four little rubber covers over the terminals. On purchase of the Kea I was told I had two deep-cycle, house batteries but when I looked and investigated with the manufacturer, they were just cranking batteries and not the right ones at all, so they died pretty quickly. My new batteries are the biggest expense so far, but I am very happy with them. •I have a Muller shower vent on the roof and the wiring from the solar panel goes through it to the electronics. A “capillary action” thing (new words for me) happens and the rainwater runs up the wires and through the shower extraction fan and drips onto the floor in the shower cubicle! I did get someone to put some silicone around the vent, but then the water just pooled and still managed to run uphill and into the cavity. Still looking for a resolution here. • My Vitrifrigo C85i compressor fridge is out for servicing/testing with an RV specialist at present. It cycles four minutes on and four minutes off at times and drives me crazy in the middle of the night. The screws in the frame were going into “thin air” and not into the wooden frame, so I have had a friend put aluminium angle on each side of the frame so the screws now have something to screw into. He also cut a new hole into the cabinetry behind the fridge, near the compressor, to help with the air flow. If I need to replace the fridge I am finding it difficult to find another brand with the same dimensions and I really
The solar panels are great but the way the wiring enters via the bathroom roof hatch isn’t! It leads to water dripping into the shower due to capillary action.
don’t want to change the cabinetry to fit another size fridge. Somewhere in Firefly’s past the 12 V cigarette lighter socket was wired into the fridge’s wiring, which isn’t a brilliant idea! Maybe Polly has come across some of my issues? It is really difficult being a single female and not in the least bit mechanically or electronically minded, and having to ask for help. But I have been very successful in finding lovely people to help me out. I am very grateful to all of them. The Australian Caravan Club, Stillwell Ford, CMCA , Facebook and of course the internet have become great sources of information, friends and helpers. Project Polly has also helped me with ideas, issues and resolutions and now Polly has an admirer – Firefly! Next time I buy a motorhome I will have more knowledge. Guaranteed!
42 | Project Polly
THE WHEEL THING! Polly rolls into the new year looking goodâ€Ś by Richard Robertson
Project Polly | 43
Above: The Transit’s twin vehicle batteries live under the driver’s seat and are a ‘challenge’ to get to. Thank goodness the new batteries are maintenance free! Below: New hubcaps are genuine Ford items found on eBay and airmailed from the UK. A little ‘extravagance’ that’s worth it for the look.
e all had a good break this Festive Season, including Polly, who slumbered on the driveway while Mrs iMotorhome went to work over Christmas and I tagged along. But when we returned home it seemed Santa had visited… In a large box was a set of genuine Ford Transit hubcaps, resplendent in a sort of metallic light grey with contrasting Ford blue-oval centres. Sleigh space must have been limited as they were postmarked from the UK and had arrived airmail, complete with a packing slip for £57.95 ($117.40) and £31.41 postage ($63.63). From my research I knew that hubcaps for a 2010 Transit – complete with snazzy blue oval centres – are scarcer than hen’s teeth. Not wanting to burden Santa with a request for a set of new alloy wheels to smarten Polly up, I found these swish hubcaps on eBay and put them on my wish list – and he delivered. Merry Christmas indeed!
Just before Christmas a pair of new batteries had been installed, courtesy of our mate Mark Willard at Southern Highlands Service
44 | Project Polly
Centre in Mittagong. For some reason Ford Transits have two vehicle batteries fitted, apart from the deep cycle house battery that powers the motorhome’s electrics. As reported last issue, one was still in good condition but the other was failing and as both were original (from 2010) it was time for a new pair. Mark fitted maintenance-free Century DIN65L MF heavy duty batteries, rated at 580 cold cranking amps (CCA) and that come with a 24 month warranty. Cost was $248 each plus fitting and while I got ‘mates rates’ you should budget between $500 and $600 would seem right for someone coming in off the street.
e continue to be impressed by the difference the custom Solarscreens seem to make in keeping Polly’s interior cooler. I say “seem to” because we don’t have any hard data yet, but I’m waiting for a couple of days with the same forecast top temperature so I can take hourly readings with and without the screens in place. Subjectively, even on the hottest days we’ve had this summer they feel like they’re doing a remarkable job of keeping the worst of the sun’s heat out. And while the internal temperature certainly climbs and it’s stuffy with
Mark and Sharon from Repco’s Southern Highlands Service Centre regularly look after passing RVs and are highly recommended. The coffee machine in their waiting area does a decent brew, too! The Century heavy-duty batteries they supplied had to be ordered in – Polly is finicky like that – but come with a 24 month warranty.
Project Polly | 45
We’re extremely happy with our new 85-litre Webasto fridge (left), which runs rings around the old Waeco unit for cool-down speed even without being plugged into mains power overnight. The bigger 130-litre unit (right) is wider and taller but maintains the same depth and would be our first choice in a new motorhome, space permitting. everything closed up, it will be interesting to see engineering quality of the Talvor conversion just what a difference they really make when manufactured in-house by Apollo for its rental the thermometer’s in place. fleet, but my mind’s changing. Sure the actual conversion is heavy as hell, being made of Our 85-litre Webasto compressor fridge also melamine as it is, compared to the Kea Transit continues to impress. Whereas the old Waeco reviewed in this issue’s Reader’s Report on 80-litre unit that came with Polly took an age page 38 she’s been relatively trouble free. to cool down, even when plugged into mains The fridge wiring and ventilation were already power overnight, this one works a treat when up to spec – as verified when the new fridge just turned on as we head down the driveway. was installed – and there’s no sign of wood Interestingly, Allan Whiting from Outback damage beneath the shower door opening Travel Australia has the same unit in his slide- despite the lack of a shower curtain or water on camper, which he and his wife take into the run-off device. The side door hasn’t leaked remote Outback for a couple of months each (although the roof hatch did), the coolant plug year. They go off-road in the true sense of the in the radiator didn’t come loose, the house word and don't see a road or track for weeks battery was a proper deep cycle unit, the at a time, and they swear by their fridge. original fridge worked and the cigarette lighter wasn’t wried into the fridge circuit! Polly also continues to impress, overall. At the beginning I was somewhat dubious of the
46 | Project Polly
The new hubcaps add a finishing touch that helps make Polly look less utilitarian. Our solarscreen sun blinds also continue to impress with their excellent heat shielding qualities. We often leave the side window units in place as in summer it helps keep the interior temperature in check. We’ll soon run proper temperature checks with and without the blinds to test their actual efficiency.
he top part of Polly’s radio aerial fell off a month or two back and so a new one has just arrived via eBay (of course), which I’ll be investigating how to install – hopefully by next issue. I’m also thinking the cab aircon might need a re-gas and it’s probably worth getting the Heron 2.2 system checked at the same time. The steering pulls to the left slightly but noticeably and while there is no indication of uneven front tyre wear I’ll be looking into a wheel alignment. Any Transit owners out there who’d like to share their wheel alignment experiences, please do. Finally, a funny story. Many of Mrs iMotorhome’s flight attendant colleagues (and pilots) subscribe to this magazine. Recently, she was sitting with some of them in a hotel lobby in Los Angeles when another crew arrived. One of the new arrivals saw her, called out her name across the lobby and raised both hands with Churchill-style V-for-Victory salutes, then roared “Polly rules!”. Seems our fame is spreading…
Project Polly | 47
y l l o P t c e j Pro s to Date osting
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
Webasto EL CR 85-litre Compressor
303 Spot Cleaner
Narva Oval LED light P/N 87516
Purchases This Issue 2 x Century heavy duty batteries, test and fit (approx)
Set of 4 genuine Ford Transit hubcaps
Total Accessory/Modification Spend to Date
Vehicle On-Road and Insurance costs in NSW
Total Spend to Date
48 | New On my Product: mind Torch
Lighten Up! The Torch 250 could be the essential multi-function flashlightâ€Ś by Allan Whiting, Outback Travel Australia
New On my Product mind | 49
his Goal Zero product combines a solarpowered flashlight, hand-crank flashlight and a solar charger in the one compact unit. It also has flood light and red emergency light modes, a USB cable to connect mobile phones, tablets, etc for charging and a fold-out hanging hook. The Torch 250 is powered by a 3.7-volt, 16.3 watt-hour lithium-ion battery that is claimed to run the spotlight beam on full power for 7 hours or the floodlight beam at low power for 48 hours. Charge time for the lithium-ion battery, using the inbuilt solar panel, is said to be 24 hours of full sunlight, but the torch will operate for two minutes after one minute of hand-cranking. Charge time for a mobile phone battery, via the inbuilt five-volt USB connector, is a claimed seven hours.
The Torch 250 measures 254 mm x 8.9 mm x 4.5 mm and weighs 408 grams. Recommended retail price is $119 and for more information or to order, click HERE.
50 | Product Review: Ice Mule
The Ice Mule Cometh! The Ice Mule range of soft cooler bags and back packs rewrites the soft-cooler concept, we reckon. by Allan Whiting, Outback Travel Australia
Product Review | 51
Ruggedly constructed, waterproof and even able to float when laden, the Ice Mule cooler bag is also highly thermally efficient and ideal for a wide range of uses.
e’ve had soft vinyl cooler bags over the years and they inevitably split around the inside seams and the zippers give up after a couple of months of regular use, but the Ice Mule range is built much tougher than traditional soft cooler bags.
trapped air layer between their inner and outer skins. That air layer can be increased in volume by blowing in more air, through a valve in the bag. Even with the 6 x 600 ml bottles and a cold chook inside it, our test Ice Mule floated quite happily. The clip-on strap has proved strong enough to handle the bag’s normal Our test unit was a 20-litre bag that we used loaded weight and it can be a simple shoulder mainly as a transit bag: getting shopping to our strap, or an across-the chest strap. vehicle fridge and from the vehicle fridge to the boat fridge. We also used it as a picnic bag, We’ve also found the Ice Mule handy for where it kept food cool and away from flies for stowing sensitive gear, such as laptops and hours on end. The makers say you can put cameras, when we’re transporting gear to the fresh ice into the Ice Mule, but we find glycolboat. The top section folds over and closes filled freezer bricks or bottles of frozen water tightly, without the need for a troublesome much more user-friendly and you can drink the zipper, making the clipped-up bag waterproof. water after the ice has melted. Unlike most soft coolers the Ice Mule can be We tested the Ice Mule with 6 x 600 ml frozen rolled up without compromising its structure water bottles in an ambient temperature of 20 and it fits into a compact mesh bag when not degrees and found that the bottles were three- being used. The Ice Mule range includes two quarters ice and one-quarter water after 24 different back-pack-style bags that should suit hours. After 36 hours the bottles still contained hikers and fisher-folk. Ice Mule stuff isn’t cheap about 50-percent solid ice and after 48 hours, – our test 20-litre bag was around $95 – but about one-third to one-quarter ice. you get what you pay for. To find out more or order online click HERE Ice Mules can float too, because there’s a
52 | TechTalk
RV First Aid! Getting a first aid kit together for your RV is vital, says our resident Techspert from Southern Spirit Campervans...
regularly have people calling me and reporting a problem when they are on the road. Often they are in trouble in a remote location where there are no repairers, or where a repairer doesn't have the time and/or parts to solve their problems. In some cases I've been able to help customers over the phone by troubleshooting the problem, but a lack of basic tools on board becomes a real roadblock in helping them get going again.
It’s common sense to carry a first aid kit when travelling, but how many of you have an RV first aid kit to basically patch up your vehicle at least enough to get it somewhere for proper repairs? Even if you're not a very handy person you should carry one, as chances are you can find a helpful soul out on the road to assist. Here's a list of things I recommend you pack away “just in case” when next you hit the road…
TechTalk | 53 – grey little blocks that are wired inline with the cables. The little 12 V circuit breakers often have a auto reset, which means they do trip and cut of the power, but after a moment they come back on again. Have a look inside you RV. Often you’ll find fuses close to the area where your house battery is located or as mentioned above, in the switch panel. Where ever they are you must become familiar with their location and how to change them.
can not say it often enough: Check where the fuses are in your RV and which ones are used, then always carry some spares. Fuses have been designed to protect appliances and 12-volt circuits, however no fuse is built to last forever. They can blow due to an electrical overload (their job), but occasionally just fail due to age, vibration or whatever. Fuses are the first things to check if any of your 12 V appliances aren’t working. Take the fuse out and check if the ‘wire’ is broken, which means it has blown. Often you will find several items are protected by one fuse. For example you have a fuse for the 12 V lights but there is only one fuse for several lights. So if one unit has a problem you loose use of them all. Having a spare fuse, plus maybe using some insulation tape after disconnecting the faulty light from the circuit, will fix the problem temporarily and let you use the remaining lights. The average RV has either automotive style blade fuses (the ones with coloured plastic bodies for different amp ratings) or glass fuses. Some of them are easy to find as there is an obvious fusebox; some – like Project Polly’s – are hidden behind a little panel by the switch, while others are fitted to a inline fuse holder. Also, you might find some 12 V circuit breakers
The colour coding of blade fuses makes it easy to see how strong (in amps) the fuse is and makes the changing with the correct replacement even easier. Colour codes for blade fuses are: • Brown: 7.5 amp • Red: 10 amp • Blue: 15 amp • Yellow: 20 amp • Clear: 25 amp • Green: 30 amp Just be sure to replace like-for-like!
54 | TechTalk
Tools & Other Essentials
ou need a basic tool kit and the following tools will come in handy in a lot of day today scenarios:
• Shifting/adjustable spanner • Hammer • Small screwdriver • Medium screwdriver • Pliers Check what sorts of wood and metal screws are used in your RV and buy a packet or two. They will come in very handy to replace the ones that invariably fall out as you travel!
awning in its box until you can get it repaired. Of course, the heavier the job the larger/thicker cable tie you'll need to use. Velcro one-wrap straps are also good things as they are reusable. They’re ideal to neatly store away a 240 V extension cord, ropes, use as curtain ties, hold in place small items, or used on an awning rafter to hang small things up, etc. SOS Emergency/rescue silicon tape is absolutely essential! It’s available from different manufacturers under various brand names and can be used to fix: • Holes/splits in pipes/hoses in the plumbing system (hot and cold) • Damaged 240 V extension leads
Cable ties are another essential. Buy a selection • Holes/splits in fresh or grey water connection hoses of different sizes as they come in very handy to temporarily secure loose items or even replace a missing bolt. At a pinch you can even join them • Broken shower hoses or failing washers from shower head to hose together daisy-chain style to make them longer if required! Some examples of use include • Insulate exposed 12 V wiring ends or securing wires, cables or plumbing hanging damaged cable skins beneath your vehicle or for keeping a broken
TechTalk | 55 You can even completely wrap a house water pump if it’s leaking badly, which should help enough until you can get a proper repair. It also can fix radiator hose leaks and much more. Make sure your read how to use it for best results. However, the main secret is to apply and wrap around very tightly. You can find some videos about the use of them for example by clicking HERE.
As a quick and cheap alternative you could use duct tape, but keep in mind it might leave adhesive residue on the material when taken off and should only be used for a very temporary repair as it’s not UV stabilised.
How much will a first RV aid kit cost you?
his will vary and depend on the quality of tools you buy. You also might or might Lanolin spray can be used for protection, not have a plastic box such as a old lubrication purposes and maintenance. It’s ideal tackle box you can re-use to hold everything. In for use on: any case an outlay of $100 to $250 should see • Roof scissors that are stiff and hard to operate you well set up, depending on just what you decide to include. However, compared to the • Metal drawer slides hassle and inconvenience a minor breakdown • Hard to operate wind-out awning mechanisms or problem can cause when you’re travelling and a long way from help, whatever you spend • Sliding door tracks and mechanisms on vans will be a good investment. Safe travels! so they close easier An alternative to lanolin spray is WD40, which will also do the same jobs. Tear Aid – type A (fabric) and B (vinyl) – is great to add to your first aid kit if you have an awning and/or a pop top campervan. It’s ideal to use on rips and holes in roof canvas skirts, awnings, tents and annexes. Tear aid works very well and will last for a while, and because it’s clear is a nice way to repair rips and tears. For a basic instruction video click HERE.
Ask The Techspert! If you have any maintenance questions or problems email us at techtalk@ imotorhome.com.au 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.
56 | Mobile Tech
New Year, New You!
Resolutions aside, sometimes just keeping things going is the main thing, says Emily Barker…
t’s traditional to try and assume new behaviours or habits as we enter each New Year. In some cases, however, it’s more a matter of simply keeping a classic model in road-ready condition and running smoothly! At the end of the day often the best thing we can do for our families is to be there; to live a happy, healthy life and enjoy the ride (while making the most of every bump, detour and side track along the way of course!). The apps within this New Year’s list are not necessarily going to redirect or transform your life; the aim instead is to enhance, support and complement it! “May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!” – Aleister Crowley
Mobile Tech | 57 HealthEngine - Book Health Appointments Size: 14.4 MB Cost: Free For: iOS & Android It’s been described by the Herald Sun as the app everyone should have on their phones ‘just in case’ and it’s partnered up with some big businesses including Telstra and Channel 7, which translates directly into some serious technological clout. HealthEngine is an innovative and heavily awarded E-health app that’s leading the way in terms of appointment booking technology, changing the landscape for both patients and practices. Convenience is the primary selling point with this app, essentially bypassing the traditional inefficient search and telephone booking process. In addition to online appointments, HealthEngine is also a comprehensive directory that can be used to find GPs and allied health practitioners including dentists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, psychologists, audiologists, podiatrists, counsellors, skin check clinics and optometrists. As digital technology advances the need to adopt such technology to help meet the challenges in healthcare has never been clearer. Patients can locate their nearest practitioner utilising their phone’s inbuilt location service or by a manual search. They will then be presented with a list of available appointment times and can book an appointment directly via the app. It’s quick and easy to use and provides additional information about each practice, including bulk billing status. E-health continues to evolve globally and HealthEngine is leading the way in Australia, bringing the benefits of digital health directly to consumers, helping to empower people of all ages as they take more control over their health. Available for both Android and iOS devices, HealthEngine is free for
patients and with over 70,000 practices listed nationally you are sure to find an appointment where and when you need it. Australian Calorie Counter – Easy Diet Diary Size: 62.8 MB Cost: Free Platform: iOS & Android It’s also the season to indulge, and while there is nothing wrong with kicking back at the end of the year surrounded by good friends, family and great food, there are few of us who can do this with absolute abandon. The name of this app is a little harsh, but it’s designed for those looking to actively monitor their calorie intake and energy expenditure in order to lose or maintain their current weight. The term ‘diet’ is also a little edgy as diets usually have an end point. It’s always healthier and more beneficial to make an ideal diet your everyday diet, without ever looking back! What this app
58 | Mobile Tech is great at is identifying just what it is you’re eating, how many calories and how much hidden sugar, salt and fat you are consuming. You’d be surprised!
lesions are a good place to start. People who previously have had skin cancers removed could have their skin checked as often as every three months.
The reason I’ve included this app is not to pre-load you with guilt, but to assist making the healthiest decisions possible in the year ahead. This app has been developed with Australian dieticians and health professionals and contains a range of important information. Foods are quickly and easily entered by searching the extensive database or by scanning the barcode. Your energy intake is easily tracked (in kilojoules or calories), as are major nutrients, the energy you burn in exercise and your weight (if required). It also has an extensive range of exercise options that can be recorded to assist in developing your energy expenditure. Apps like this are great at helping us understand what we are eating. As it’s possible to consume an entire day’s worth of calories in a single sitting, knowledge is the power to turn your choices into healthier and often tastier options.
E-Health apps are the latest to flood the app store and this is not necessarily a bad thing as a competitive market place often results in better technological advances. SkinVison is clearly a leader within its field as not only does it offer tracking of suspect moles but also contains the world’s first mole analysing algorithm, giving you an instant recommendation. Upon downloading the app, you have one free month to analyse the moles on your skin for skin cancer or melanoma risk. After this month you can choose to purchase a monthly subscription to continue using the online analysis tool or remain a free user of all other imagery features, including personal archive to check your skin's health over time. In addition to access to the free analysis tool your first month includes a full assessment of skin type and risk profile to develop melanoma. Available for both Android and iOS this app is gaining positive reception from melanoma specialists throughout the world including the Australian Cancer Council.
Skin Vision Size: 14.4 MB Cost: Free Platform: iOS & Android Two-thirds of Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer lesion before the age of 70. This is an alarming figure that all Australians should be aware of. We all generally know the importance of regular skin checks and staying sun-safe, but realistically it can be difficult to ensure we stay up-todate with regular check-ups, especially when travelling. These types of apps should never replace a visit to the doctor, but can certainly assist with self-monitoring and periodical documentation of suspect moles. There are no set guidelines upon how often people should have their skin checked, but certain risk factors such as age, skin type and history of previous
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60 | Next Issue
private purchase for the budget buyer. Conversely, the Traillite rides on the proven Iveco Daily cabchassis and is a much more luxurious vehicle aimed squarely at the well healed buyer looking for a quality product. Both reviews should make interesting reading. Project Polly will have some more work done, there’ll be more apps and products, and TechTalk will look at – well, you’ll have to wait and see!
ext issue we take a look at two new but very different Kiwi motorhomes: the Kea Breeze and Traillite Kapiro 756. The Kea is a clean sheet design and the first based on the Chinese LDV cab-chassis. It’s a motorhome aimed at the rental market but could make an attractive
Feb 05-07 24-29 17-21
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Newcastle Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo
Adelaide Let’s Go Caravan & Camping Lifestyle Show
Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow
Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Showground Brown Rd, Broadmeadow. NSW. 2292
Adelaide Showground Goodwood Rd, Wayville. SA. 5034.
Melbourne Showgrounds Epsom Rd, Ascot Vale. Vic. 3032.
• • • • •
• Open 10:00-5:00 daily (4:00 final day) • Parking: TBA • Adults: $20 • Seniors: $16 • Kids: U 15 free
• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $12 • Seniors: $8 • Kids: U 16 free with adult
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Open 10:00-5:00 daily Parking: Limited Adults: $13 Seniors: $10 Kids: U 15 free with adult
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