$50 for the! best letter
Happiness in an Auto Trail Comanche
Plug and Pay: Installing a new sound system…
Don’t miss Darwin’s famous Beer Can Regatta!
Dethleffs’ Magic Edition A-Class is all class…
Issue 93: Apr 16 2016
About iMotorhome | 3
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On my mind | 5
SHOWTIME DREAMING… We had planned to bring you an Explorer motorhome as the main test this issue but the gremlins had other ideas. Still, Malcolm tells me it will happen (though not overnight). Such is short lead-time publishing… Speaking of changes of plan, I didn’t get to the Sydney Show this week despite the best of intentions. There was a media day on Monday and I was registered and ready to go, but a flat car battery on Sunday – the NRMA battery man didn’t have a Falcon battery after a run on them – and a broken front tooth put paid to it. The battery man returned mid-morning Monday and my dentist got me in at 12:30 for what turned out to be a big old filling that had come adrift, but by then the day was lost. This being publishing week, I then ran out of attendance time. Anyway, from what Malcolm told me there wasn't much new or exciting to report (or maybe he was just being kind). A comment on Facebook about the show, however, got me thinking about it. The person wondered why a hundred or so companies get together and charge money for people to go and see the products they can just go and buy from them at any other time. I pointed out it’s not quite as simple as that and it’s actually the show organiser who charges the money to cover the costs of hiring premises, staffing, promotion and so on. There are many – some would say way too many – RV-inclusive shows across Australia every year. Most run under the banner of a caravan, camping, fishing, boating, outdoor, home or lifestyle show, but the basis is all the same. And most are run by commercial organisations whose purpose is to make money. That means visitors and exhibitors pay and the only people who know they’ll do well are the organisers. I remember a chat with a major manufacturer a year or two back in which I was told they (and
many others they’d talked to) would love to give the shows a miss. They cost a lot to participate in, both in terms of exhibitor’s fees and staffing/travel costs, and results are often patchy. But they felt they had to be there because otherwise the public – and other industry people – would think the company was in trouble. I also know manufacturers, especially those who sell factory-direct, who do well at shows. That’s because it’s a chance to meet prospective customers who wouldn’t otherwise be able to get to see their products first hand, on their home turf. Like so many things there are two sides to the story. Wouldn’t it be great, however, if the State RV industry associations dropped the entry fee at the major city shows? I realise capital city shows cost a fortune for venue hire, but imagine if they waived admission and made up any shortfall from their marketing budgets. It would encourage thousands more to take a look at what RVing has to offer. It would also likely drive sales, jobs growth and help spread the word to many more people in Australia’s major population centres; the people with the highest disposable incomes. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. Or am I? Finally, Polly, Mrs iM and I will be at the CMCA’s 30th Anniversary Rally in Bathurst. Malcolm will be there too, in Trakka’s stylish Trakkaway 700 I reviewed last issue, so if you’re up for a chat look out for us. Ideally, email me at richard@ imotorhome.com.au or call 0414 604 368 to make sure we’re free! I’m also giving a talk as part of the Duvalay seminar on Tuesday the 26th, commencing at 2:30 pm. Wherever we catch up I look forward to it. See you there!
6 | Contents
On my Mind
On your Mind
Who we are, where and other legal stuff
Find back issues and more on our website
Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!
Freedom of Choice
Day Test: Dethleffs Black Magic Edition
Reader’s Rig: Auto Trail Comanche
Project Polly: Plug and Pay?
TechTalk: Wicking Leaks!
What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond
The latest Marketplace offers
A freshen-up for our regular look at the world of freedom camping
A compact A-class with a host of features at a very reasonable price…
Experienced motorhomers find their perfect vehicle!
A simple audio upgrade has proven to be anything but…
Make sure you stop water leaks before they happen
Darwin’s famous Beer Can Regatta!
An A to Z of who’s in this issue!
Welcome to Country!
What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!
OUR 2016 RELEASE
Meet Your Perfect Travelling Partner The Sunliner Navian series offers the ultimate in mid-sized Recreational Vehicles available in the Australian and New Zealand market. The Navian is fully equipped with a vast array of equipment and accessories; all as standard. Crafted to highest quality, the Navaian series of motorhomes are tailored to the unique needs of their owners. We invite you to explore the Navain series and meet your perfect travelling partner.
GRAND OPENING SUPER SATURDAY
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Resources | 9
because getting there is half the fun...
Magazine Resources Ask a Question
90: Mar 05 2016 magazine
Time Traveller! Malcolm samples Bürstner’s stylish Ixeo Time IT 726G…
$50 for the best letter!
Webasto heater installation!
A quick dash to Melbourne and back
Keeping your gas cooker in top condition…
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.
Truma Cover Hi to you both. I set myself a project to make taking the cover off the Truma water heater exhaust outlet easier. I took the grill off, which is not sealed, and undid six screws. This does not interfere with the seal of water heater. I purchased a locker latch and fitted it to the lid (see photos). I then got a piece of piano hinge, cut the top lip of the cover and fitted the hinge to the cover and frame.
Then I cut out part of the frame work to let the tongue of the lock fit through. A little bit of white paint on the hinge, the six screws back through the frame work and the job was finished for about $30 – plus a little bit of time and effort. The custom metal cover I made for our old Winnebago was stolen, so I made a new cover for it out off metal. But with our new van I used the Truma plastic cover. It’s much easier to open and I don't have to find a place to put the cover while the water heater is in use. As you know we thoroughly enjoy the magazine; hope this might help someone out. Kind regards, Arthur Good to hear from you Arthur and thanks for the excellent DIY tip. Very clever! Of course I remember your metal cover from our Joadja weekend last year and it was great, but this is even better. Please accept this issues $50 for sharing your invention, which will cover the cost of parts – and maybe a nice bottle of red? Look forward to seeing the cover at Bathurst.
12 | On your mind
Happy Wife Happy Life…
Hi Richard. My wife and I recently spent four days at South West Rocks for a quick break from setting up our new house in Dorrigo, NSW. When we got home we found that we both had been covered with sandfly bites – very, very uncomfortable! My wife then told me that I had to do something about screening our campervan before she would go away again. After viewing Issue 91 about “Polly” getting her rear door screened, I got in touch with Pia at Southern Spirit Campervans, in Geebung, Qld. After a couple of e-mails, Pia advised me my van would have it’s screens ready within a week. I took a quick trip to Southern Spirit Campers last Wednesday and arrived at 8:00 am. By 10:00 am my van had both side and back doors screened. What a great job this company have done; on time, right price and great people to do business with. Thanks for informing me and others out there of this great product and company. Regards, John.
P.S. The wife is ready for our next trip now! Hi John. Thanks for your email and great to hear your story. Yes, Pia and the Southern Spirit Campervans crew do an excellent job and I’m glad you like the screens. Best of all I’m pleased to hear your wife is now ready for your next adventure!
Open the doors to ďŹ‚exibility trakka.com.au
14 | On your mind
Help Wanted! G'day Richard. Congratulations on an excellent magazine, my wife and I await each issue with anticipation, especially when travelling. I am seeking help from our readers regarding motorhome covers. We have a Winnebago Leisure Seeker that we love. The trouble is it’s 6 m long by 2.5 m wide and over 3 m tall, making it extremely difficult to drape a cover over (especially with the aircon unit on the roof). Do any readers have any tips for getting a cover over such a vehicle? I can't use a tall ladder as none are available where I store it. I would also appreciate any feedback on brands of covers, especially UV proof ones. I had a caravan with cover earlier, but the cover disintegrated after two years in the sun. Any help with these issues would be greatly appreciated.
“Every tarpaulin I've bought has only lasted a few years but I buy $100-150 ones, not any that cost an arm and a leg. Tie ropes to the cover ends and use them to pull it up onto the roof from front to back. Use a long handled broom to lift over the aircon unit. The job is easier with two people but one can do it with a bit of mucking around. On the leading edge of the tarp tie 3 (or more depending on width) swimming noodles. Join them together by threading the length of rope you need first through the eyelet in the tarp. Then through the noodles and then through the last eyelet. Leave enough rope at either end to use to pull the tarp up and over the motorhome. The noodles act as a roller to roll across the roof.” Mark
“You'll need lots of air vents or seals will unseal if it gets hot. I’ve seen it too many times when a cover is fitted.” Roslyn
G’day Roger, I’ll put your question to readers and see what they say. In the mean time I’ve run it on Facebook and here are some of the responses so far (thanks to all who’ve commented):
“We found one on eBay for $500 delivered. It was a new one and has certainly been worth using as we live beachside on the South Coast of NSW.” Angela.
Transit Trick Hi Richard, I also had the problem of the spanner warning on the dash of my Transit, outside Alice Springs in 2012. I took it to the local Ford dealer who told me it comes on when the computer thinks it’s time for an oil change. The solution to turning the light off is to switch on the ignition (but not the motor), press the brake hard and put the accelerator
pedal to the floor for 30 seconds. Sometimes you have to do it more than once. Regards, Bob Cheers Bob and thanks for the tip. Hopefully it will help some other Transit owners out there, especially those who like to do their on oil changes.
On my mind | 15
2015 MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR Motorhomes, Campervans & 5th Wheelers
16 | News
CONCORDE LANDS IN AUSTRALIA truck chassis, and comes complete with a rear boot for a small car!
erman luxury motorhome brand Concorde is now available in Australia. Concorde Motorhomes Australia, based near Newcastle, is offering Australian buyers four luxurious A-class models to choose from â€“ Credo, Carver, Charisma and Liner Plus. Credo is the entry level and rides on an Iveco Daily chassis, while the Liner Plus is the flagship, built on a Mercedes Benz Atego
Unlike some imports, each locally delivered Concorde is built in Germany to Australian Design Rules and has type approval through the Federal Governmentâ€™s Road Vehicle Certification Scheme (RVCS). This ensures German quality control and finish with full righthand drive compliance. These are top-end A-class motorhomes with a very high standard of equipment and iMotorhome will soon bring you a first-hand report, plus further details of the models and pricing. Until then, contact Wayne or Allan Stocker for further information on (02) 4954 6326 or email sales@concordemotorhomes. com.au
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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
18 | News
utback TV is an Australian developed, single-button ‘Pop Up’ satellite TV system for RVs that automatically locks onto the correct satellite. It’s claimed to be suitable for Australia and New Zealand, with full coverage across Australia. Currently there are two permanently mounted fully-automatic antenna systems: the 85 cm diameter RV85A for $2150 and the 60 cm diameter RV60A for $1999. Plans are also underway for a portable system in the future. Both units have simple plug-and-play installation and a 24 channel GPS. Outback TV’s background is in auto-tracking Marine Satellite TV Antennas and you can contact them for further details on 0412 250 222 or by email at sales@ outbacktv.com.au.
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
News | 19
PORTABLE LPG SHOWER
ampervan owners or those looking for a separate outdoor shower will find this interesting. The Bushranger portable hot water shower provides instant hot water from any water source and is said to take only a few minutes to set up. The heating chamber connects to a standard gas cylinder and is said to consume only six litres of water per minute. Safety aspects built into the Bushranger unit include a digital temperature display, maximum temperature cut-out at 50ºC, instant ignition without a pilot light and AS2658 gas compliance. Power required is 12 V (8 A) for the pump and a pair of D batteries for the heat exchanger. Recommended retail price is $399.00. Visit Bushranger for further information.
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
20 | News
ULURU FIELD OF LIGHTS
ritish artist Bruce Munro has created a solar-powered light installation close to Uluru that he hopes will give visitors an even more magical experience. Munro conceived the idea for an artwork that would "bloom at night" during a visit to Uluru in 1992 and has been planning for it to be exhibited there ever since. While the installation has been developed and exhibited in a number of places in the meantime, only now has it come to the place for which the idea was originally conceived. The Field of Light installation comprises 50,000 frosted glass spheres on stems, which are connected by more than 380 km of fibre-
optic cable. Using 144 projectors as light sources, the spheres, stems and cables are illuminated in a host of different colours. The installation is said to have taken more than 2800 hours to design and build, in the UK, and a further 3900 hours to recreate on site. The effect is to make the otherwise dark 49,000 square metre installation area awash with colour via what look like tall luminous flowers. Visitors can walk around the circular installation, which has a diameter of 250 m and amongst the "flowers." Admission costs from AU$35. The Field of Light opened on 1 April and will run through until 31 March 2017.
News | 21
MORE RV FRIENDLY TOWNS
asterton, Victoria, is among the latest towns to become RV Friendly. Situated on the Glenelg Highway 42 km east of the South Australian border, it has a population of around 2000 and is surrounded by rolling hills and sheep, cattle and dairy farms. The CMCA says travellers can now stay free of charge for up to a month at the Ess Lagoon campground on McPherson Street. A dump point and drinking water are available at the nearby Island Park Caravan Park. Attractions in the area include the 40-metre tall Bilstons Tree and ancient granite boulders called Baileys Rocks. Meanwhile, the small country town of Heywood on the Fitzroy River, 352 km southwest of Melbourne, is offering a free 48 hr stay at its campsite on Hunter Street East.
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BUY FACTORY DIRECT AND SAVE 222 Governor Road Braeside VIC 3195 Ph: 03 9588 0077
22 | News
RURAL SA OUR BARBECUE CAPITAL highest-density barbecue-owning region, just ahead of the ACT.
ccording to the latest Roy Morgan Research data, almost two-thirds of Australian households own a barbecue. In certain places this figure rises to more than three-quarters of households, with country South Australia emerging as the nation’s
In 2015, 5.8 million Aussie households had a barbecue (63.7% of total households), an increase of some 400,000 households since 2011, when 63.2% of households had one. In country SA – Australia’s barbecue heartland – the figure rises to 75.6%, followed closely by the ACT (73.5%) and country WA (71.2%). While barbecue ownership tends to be above average in rural households, capital-city households hover slightly below average, with Melbourne having the lowest rate of barbecue ownership (60.1%).
News | 23
BROOME COMMUNITY CONCERNS in December, 2017, and the council needed “to be mindful” of expending funds that would be redundant if significant redevelopment occurred.
ommunity members have pleaded with the Shire of Broome in WA to retain Roebuck Caravan Park as a low-cost holiday destination. The call was the general theme among 103 submissions received on redeveloping the park. A report to councillors said the current lease would expire
While the report revealed the majority of respondents would like to see the park upgraded, many wanted to ensure it remained as low-cost holiday park accommodation for tourists. Interestingly, the majority of respondents indicated a pool was not essential. The priority for items to be upgraded included ablutions, roads, camp kitchen, manager’s accommodation and office.
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 | News/ iMotorhome Marketplace
TASSIE FERRY WARNINGS
ollowing complaints the operators of the Spirit of Tasmania ferries are working to ensure RVers are not stranded on the Apple Isle. Despite an increase in sailings, reports reveal that there is no room on the ferries to the mainland until next month. The problem has been compounded by a decision to abandon a regular day service because it is now regarded as the ‘off-peak' season.
recreational vehicle associations around Australia to warn about the backlogs. "At certain parts of the year it's risky to think you'll be able to get spots on the ferry with a day or two's notice," he warned. From iMotorhome’s research, getting a booking within a month or two can prove difficult.
TT Line chief executive Bernard Dwyer told the ABC his company was working with
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 | 25 MOBILE
Our new App is now available for Android & 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
26 | iMotorhome Marketplace
Connect at home! Connect anywhere!
15Amp to 10Amp Adaptor with RCD and overload protection
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
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
iMotorhome Marketplace | 27
Southern Spirit Campervans FLEXIBLE STORAGE SYSTEMS FOR YOUR CAMPERVAN OR MOTORHOME Full & part fitouts Hitop, Poptop and Reimo roofs True custommade conversions Repairs & improvements BYO van from Hiace to Sprinter
Store those additional items up and out of the way using our adjustable, transportable and modular storage system!
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
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 email@example.com Qld Stockist of Duvalay.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
28 | Feature
FREEDOM OF CHOICE!
new take on our regular roundup 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.
arch has been an interesting month, kicking off with an article in the Weekend Australian extolling the virtues of the Australian caravan and Camping industry. Gerry Ryan, owner of the Jayco
empire that manufacturers around 50% of Australia's RV says, “This is the best I have seen the market in 40 years,” and calls on Authorities to open up more National Parks to cater for the boom. Stuart Lamont, CEO of the Caravan Industry Association, points out that registration of caravans is among the fastest-growing categories in Australia, eclipsing passenger cars and motorbikes. All this tends to put to the test the claim that freedom camping is hurting the industry. There were council elections in Queensland during March and various candidates around the
Feature | 29 state were making noises about becoming RV Friendly. We found it quite amusing that in some councils the very councillors who brought in draconian RV policies were now arguing against retaining them. HERE is just one example.
It is not too often the average RVer gets the opportunity to have any input into Council’s decision making when it comes to RV Tourism but the District Council of Grant is inviting your input. Don't miss this opportunity!
The Isaac Coast Council has brought in an Doing it Tough? interesting policy for payment of camping fees " n the past year Australians have taken over at what were formally free camps by using an 10.7 million overnight domestic caravan online app. What will make this policy very interesting is that these camp sites are in an area and camping trips, with NSW reaching where mobile reception is flakey to say the least. its strongest year ever with over 3.6 million One has to wonder if these things are really overnight trips in 2015. “It’s been a great thought through. year with more than 14.2 million visitor nights
Interstate Travel is Booming
fficial figures like these tend to say something about some of the stories we often present on this site. Just who are we supposed to believe?
“Forget Bali, Phuket or Fiji. As the dollar softens, Australians are returning to the joys of ¬domestic travel, whether it be free camping sites, a high-end ¬resort or visiting friends and ¬relatives. Federal government figures released today reveal 10 per cent growth in interstate travel for the year to December — the largest increase since 1998. Overnight spending also jumped 6 per cent to a record $28.2 billion and holiday nights increased 3 per cent to 133.3 million nights, according to Tourism Research Australia’s National Visitor Survey. More Australians are staying at free camping, caravan parks and rest stops.” Some towns seem to excel in welcoming RV Tourists and this story epitomises what a small town can do to boost their tourism. Wingham has learned the RV Tourism lesson well and we congratulate the local community on their initiative. One story always sure to raise an eyebrow and get us ‘gracefully ageing’ people hot under the collar is any story about older people loosing their licence. This story got the expected reaction.
spent in caravan or camping accommodation in NSW, making it one of the strongest years on record,” Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW CEO, Lyndel Gray said. “It is clear from the latest industry data, released by Tourism Research Australia, along with what we hear from our own members, that families are loving a traditional Aussie caravan and camping getaway." Given the boom times it would be good to see a more conciliatory approach for the Industry in regard to low cost and freedom camping alternatives.
30 | Day Test: Dethleffs Magic
All Black Magic!
Dethleffs Magic T1 DBM Black is an A-class that’s all class, but only in New Zealand… by Malcolm Street
Day Test | 31
At 7.35 m Dethleffs’ Magic Edition A-class strikes the right balance between liveability and manoeuvrability. Built on a Fiat Ducato it’s also economical and surprisingly light, with a tare weight of just 3100 kg. It looks the business and would give you bragging rights at just about any gathering!
ne of the benefits New Zealand motorhomes have over their Australians counterparts is the availability of new, small-to-mid-sized A-class motorhomes. All are imported from Europe by factory-backed distributors. One we were recently able to get our hands on was the intriguingly named Dethleffs ‘Magic Edition’, from South Island dealer UCC Motorhomes. Ours was the Black model T1 DBM, which is 7.35 m (24f’ 1”) long and surprisingly narrow, relatively speaking, at 2.33 m (7’ 8”). Like many an A-class motorhome out of Europe – in this case Germany – the Magic Edition is built on a Fiat Ducato chassis; the Multjet 180 with a 3.0 litre 132 kW/400 Nm engine. In keeping with Euro engineering it's surprisingly light, with a tare weight of 3100 kg and a
gross vehicle mass (GVM) of just 3850 kg. That might seem to be a bit light-on, but the Dethleffs motorhome does have a good load capacity. If that is not enough the 4250 kg GVM chassis is optionally available.
composite panel structure is used for the body and floor areas. The beautiful and distinctive body having aluminium exterior walls, XPS foam for insulation/strength and wood panelling on the inside. Slightly differently, the roof and floor are a fibreglass/ XPS foam/plywood/PVC structure. There isn't a frame as such, but very stiff polyurethane struts are used for rigidity. Dethleffs obviously thinks much about their construction method because it comes with a six year water ingress warranty. Imagine that…
32 | Day Test
Right: A ‘garage’ or through-boot provides good storage, although the gas cylinder bin intrudes on the kerbside. Below: Swivelling cab seats become an integral part of the lounge/dinette. Note the secondary bed, which when stored becomes the cab ceiling. Very neat!
With the A-class body there are two entry doors; one midway along the driver’s side and the other by the front passenger seat, the latter giving easy access to the kerbside. For the record this arrangement is certainly legal in New Zealand. It’s also legal in Australia, where as long as there’s a kerbside door you can have one on the driver’s side too. Across the rear is a good sized garage, which is Euro-speak for tunnel boot. Part of the boot space is taken by the gas cylinder bin but there is still plenty of room for golf clubs, folding bikes, snow skis and tool boxes.
Access from both sides makes the space easy to get at and there are tie down rings to keep everything secure.
tepping inside the Magic Edition reveals a fit and finish familiar to any observer of European motorhomes. That means clean looking cabinetry, attractive decor and practical functionality. Also familiar might be the general design: rear bedroom, driver’s-side bathroom, midkerbside kitchen and a front that combines
Day Test | 33
Fit and finish is familiar to any observer of European motorhomes. That means clean looking cabinetry, attractive decor and practical functionality.
passenger and dining seating for four plus a pull-down bed above the cab. Multi-purpose is definitely the word up front! Both cab seats swivel, of course, and there's a two-person forward-facing lounge behind the passenger seat, with
an every-which-way table in between. To add to the seating there's a sideways facing lounge behind the driver's seat. All seats and lounges are nicely finished in leather, while above the seats on both sides are good sized overhead lockers.
From above the cab a 1.95 m x 1.5 m-1. 36 m (6’ 3” x 5’-4’ 6’) bed can be lowered. There are no fancy electrical drives; once the bed is unclipped it is simply lowered by hand. Probably the most fiddly bit is folding the driver/passenger seat backs forward so the
34 | Day Test Top to bottom: Even with the roof bed lowered the dinette is still useable; Typically European, the kitchen has little bench space; a split bathroom separates the bedroom from the kitchen and main living area.
bed can be fully lowered. An aluminium ladder provides access and the bed comes with privacy curtains all round, while a good sized roof hatch gives ventilation. The kitchen is of a size we have come to associate with European motorhomes: not particularly big. In this case it's not quite the usual L-shape, but more rectangular with a curved extension behind the seat back. To make the most of the bench top a three-burner hob/stainless steel sink has been fitted. To give more cooking options a Thetford grill/oven has been fitted beneath the hob. That still leaves enough space for a drawer below the oven and a cupboard, compete with an S-curved door and two lockers with shelves, above. A cutlery drawer is fitted into the lower cupboard. Between the bedroom and end of the kitchen bench is the 190-litre fridge, with cupboard above.
Day Test | 35
There are two entry doors, one midway along the driverâ€™s side and the other by the front passenger seat. For the record, this arrangement is certainly legal in New Zealand. Itâ€™s also legal in Australia.
36 | Day Test
Above: The cab’s generous roof bed eschews mechanical operation for a simple but effective manual system. Privacy curtains are incorporated and there’s a roof hatch for fresh air. Right: Door-side tilting cupboards are handy for things you need easy access to from outside.
doorway doesn't usually rate too much of a mention but this one does, mostly because it's a bit more than a doorway. Built into the area that butts-up against the bathroom are an upper wine glass cabinet, lower two-tier shoe locker and a mid area that is used for mounting the flat screen TV. The television is in a slightly awkward location and best seen from the swivelled cab seats. Above the doorway is the electrical control panel. In addition to multiple switches it has three dials – one being a clock – that are done old-style with round gauges, but newstyle with small LED indicators: The best of both worlds! Digressing slightly, although digital indication is very much with us, it
Day Test | 37
appears ‘old fashioned’ analogue dials are still very popular, even if they are done with LEDs. Think conventional car speedos and tachos for example. Must be something to do with the way our brains process things or something…
Bathroom and More…
etting back to the motorhome, the bathroom is one of those dashed clever German designs that has a centrally hinged swinging wall. Have it clipped over to one side and there's a Thetford cassette toilet, multi-shelved narrow cupboard and vanity wash basin, complete with large wall mirror. Clip it to the other side and all the above is closed off, revealing a decent sized shower cubicle. It works well!
Clockwise from top: A movable divider separates the wet and dry halves of the bathroom; Retro-style dials contain high-tech LEDs for power system monitoring, while the analogue clock is a nice touch; The ‘dry’ half of the bathroom.
38 | Day Test
In the rear the 1.85 m x 1.53 m (6’ 1” x 5’) island bed, complete with an overhead locker/side wardrobe bedhead, sits centre stage. Access around the foot is a tad awkward due to the kerbside wheel arch. The drive’s side foot area comes with an upper multi-shelved cupboard and a lower area that contains a hinged panel with a dirty laundry bag attached. It certainly adds storage space, but with a bit of a space compromise. It's no big deal, but it seemed to me the bedroom windows were set too low or were just not tall/large enough. They are at a height for easy viewing from the bed but when standing up I had the feeling I wanted to open the blinds.
Top: The bedroom has an island bed and good ventilation, although Malcolm felt the windows were a bit low-set. Right: Note the laundry bag in the lower pull-out section of the bedroom’s corner wall cupboard.
Day Test | 39 Easily accessible from the foot of the bed is the roller shuttered storage area underneath it. It's part taken by the Truma Combi 6E water/space heater, but there’s still space for other items. One of the reasons for easy access is there's a step up to get to the bed, so the storage compartment is not set at the main area floor level.
lectrically speaking the 2 x 95 AH deepcycle batteries are backed by a mains charger and 200 W of solar power. LED lights are fitted everywhere, but being multi switchable keeps the battery load down. Anyone used to driving a B or C-class Fiat/ Mercedes/Iveco-based motorhome might find the more open cab of the Magic Edition a little disconcerting at first, especially the larger dashboard area. However, I have to say adjustment comes very quickly. The all round panoramic views are terrific and I liked the side storage compartment with hinged top on the driver's side. One of the benefits of the larger Ducato turbo-diesel is it moves this comparatively lightweight motorhome along very nicely. There was plenty of grunt for both
overtaking and tackling New Zealand’s many hills! Although the A-class appears to be bulky it is quite easy to handle, both when driving and manoeuvring.
What I Think
t's hard not to be impressed with the Dethleffs Magic Edition motorhome. For a start it's a mid size A-class designed with European know how. That means there's no wasted space and any number of features have multiple uses. In addition the engineering is quite simple but quite complex at the same time – if that makes sense. An example is the bed above the cab. I have seen more than one clunky mechanism for lowering roof beds, but this hand operated cantilever mechanism operates very easily indeed. Best of all I reckon is that four people can be carried very easily and all get a good view out of the cab’s panoramic windows!
40 | Day Test
Specs GENERAL Model
Dethleffs Magic i1DBM Black
Fiat Ducato Multijet 180
3.0 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
132 kW @ 3500 rpm
400 Nm @ 1400 rpm
ESP, ABS, traction control, hip-hold, dual airbags
WEIGHTS Tare Weight
Gross Vehicle Mass
Braked Towing Capacity
DIMENSIONS Overall Length
7.35 m (24’ 1”)
2.33 m (7’ 8”)
2.72 m (9’)
Internal Height front/mid/ rear
1.85 m/1.98 m/1.76 m (6’ 1”/6’ 6”/5’ 9”)
1.85 m x 1.53 m (6’ 1” x 5’)
Pull down bed
1.95 m x 1.5 m - 1. 36 m (6’ 3” x 5’ - 4’ 6”)
Day DayTest Test | 41
Dometic 3 burner with sink combo
Stainless steel hob combo
190 L Dometic RM 8555 3-way
Thetford oven/grill duplex
12 V LED
12 V Sockets/USB Outlets
Truma Combi 6E
Hot Water System
Truma Combi 6E
2 x 95AH
2 x 9 kg
• • • • • • • • •
The view! Mid-sized A-class motorhome 3.0 litre turbo-diesel powered Practical multi-purpose layout Cabinetry work External storage LED lighting Spacious front lounge area Optional higher GVM
• Smallish kitchen • Bed a bit awkward to get around • Low bedroom windows
Click for Google Maps
Acacia Motorhomes 16 Drake Street Howick, Auckland 2014 T: 0800 112828 E: email@example.com W: www.buycampervan.co.nz
Click for Google Maps
UCC Motorhomes and Caravans 7 Foremans Road Islington, Christchurch 8042 T: 0800 222108 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.uccmotorhomes.co.nz
42 | Readerâ€™s Rig
Living The Life! Experienced motorhomers find true happiness in their Auto Trail Comancheâ€Ś by Malcolm Street
Reader’s Rig | 43
enerally speaking most of the imported motorhomes we get in Australia have an external length of less than 8.0 m (26’). However, there are a few longer – one being an Auto Trail Comanche – which measures 8.73 m (28’ 7’). This model also has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 5000 kg. The Comanche has a Fiat Ducato cab but comes with an AL-KO tandem-axle chassis, which with its wide track is well suited to something like the Comanche. In fact it was the size of the Comanche that attracted Clarrie and Joyce Hough. They have been motorhoming since 1991 and have not only travelled widely but owned a series of motorhomes: a converted Toyota Coaster, Outback Flinders, Suncamper Sydney, Sunliner Monte Carlo and now this Auto Trail Comanche.
nfortunately, whilst owning the Suncamper Joyce had an accident and broke both legs. Her recovery required a walker and a wheelchair, and these needed to be stored in their motorhome. This tells
Despite having an over-cab bed the nose is surprisingly streamlined.
44 | Reader’s Rig
Camera angle exaggerates rear overhang (compare to the previous page). Note the integrated roof ladder and spare wheel carrier, plus Clarrie’s rear bumper, added for low speed ‘nudge’ protection.
you something of just how much Clarrie and Joyce love the motorhome lifestyle – walking difficulties weren’t going to stop them! To accommodate this the Sunliner Monte Carlo was purchased, with better external storage. However, there were a number of issues the Hough’s had with the Sunliner and it was not found to be suitable for them. Subsequently it was sold and after looking around, the Auto Trail Comanche was purchased. It wasn't quite the layout wanted, but Clarrie and Joyce were prepared to compromise; something the couple has not regretted as they’ve had far fewer problems with the Comanche than with previous motorhomes.
uto Trail motorhomes use laminated wall and floor construction finished in a highgloss GRP (that's fibreglass to you and me). A standout feature is the awning, which looks like part of the wall structure rather than
just being bolted on. Another item of interest and one that particularly gained Clarrie and Joyce's attention is the considerable number of storage bins, including a large tunnel boot across the rear with access doors on both sides. Inside the Comanche, as you might expect, there is plenty of living space and few compromises in terms of one area being larger at the expense of another. The layout follows a familiar theme: a rear island bed with a split bathroom ahead of it; an offside kitchen, and lounge/dining area that takes up all the front. The interior is also bright and welcoming. This is mostly due to the large window area, but also two large roof hatches: one at the front and one in the bedroom. Space perceptions are helped at the front of the Comanche by the slightly raised Luton and the Skyview hatch. The above-cab area has a second bed, but it's one of the folding-mattress/sliding base-style
Reader’s Rig | 45
that can be pushed out of the way when not needed and gives easy cab access. Mostly because there is plenty of space the Comanche has a conventional cafe-style dinette behind the driver's seat. It means the driver’s seat can’t be swivelled, but the passenger seat certainly can. Adding to the relaxation/entertainment space up front is a sideways facing lounge opposite the dinette. An almost trademark feature of Auto Trail motorhomes is a flat screen TV mounted in the cab roof and which hinges down for use. Joyce wondered how practical it would be but has decided it's a workable arrangement. The same applies to the L-shaped kitchen, which is somewhat larger than most European models. It comes with a stainless steel sink, four burner cooktop with grill and oven, plus a microwave in the overhead locker space. A 175-litre Dometic fridge sits across the walkway by the entry door.
46 | Reader’s Rig
There's no doubt the bedroom and bathroom area is very spacious. Clarrie is a bit of a big bloke but has no trouble moving around. He also has a sleep apnea problem and needs to run a CACP machine during the night. It's for that reason he had a 12 V socket installed in his bedside cabinet and an extra battery and solar panel installed when the motorhome was purchased. The split bathroom with the toilet/ vanity on the kerbside and the shower cubicle opposite is an arrangement the couple has found to work very well for them. Spec’s wise the Comanche has been upgraded with an additional 100 L fresh water tank (135 L standard) and the same again for extra fuel (90 L standard). Solar power has also been increased to 180 W from 100 W.
What They Think
larrie and Joyce had some reservations about purchasing an imported motorhome, but report no issues to date – or at least none that have not been fixed very quickly. This is also the first time they’ve owned a Fiat Ducato-powered motorhome, but are quite happy with the performance and ride. Clarrie drove coaches for some years
Reader’s Rig | 47
and knows a thing or two about heavy vehicle driving. Given the 5000 kg GVM and his previous experience, the light rigid (LR) driver’s licence requirement wasn't even a minor problem. “We really love our Auto Trail. No more running out of power and plenty of storage, it’s the best we have ever had and we’d recommend them to anyone. Also, Sydney RV we found very good to do business with.” Clarrie enthused.
What I Think
espite Clarrie and Joyce’s past and present medical issues, which could so easily have sidelined them, they’re both still happily fulfilling their travel dreams. Therefore it's great they’ve finally found a motorhome that truly suits their needs. And after 25,000 km in 8 months there’s no sign they’re planning to slow down anytime soon. Talk about living the life!
48 | Project Polly
Plug Pay! A simple sound system upgrade hasn’t been that simple… by Richard Robertson
Project Polly | 49
Combining iPod/iPhone music streaming, CD/DVD playback, handsfree phone and radio, plus the promise of iPhone mirroring for apps like navigation, how could I resist?
olly’s standard Ford Transit sound system did a decent job. It picked up radio stations – before the aerial broke, that is – played CDs (remember them?) and could play music from my iPhone via an auxiliary cable or Bluetooth adapter. It even had steering column-mounted volume and channel select controls. But I wanted more… This is the age of touchscreen infotainment systems. They combine the humble radio with CD/DVD capability to play music or watch movies; ‘stream’ music and let you make hands-free phone calls via built-in Bluetooth; display the camera image when you select reverse; run apps on your Apple or Android device and provide a big screen GPS navigation experience. That’s what I wanted!
What’s the DIN?
he Transit’s standard audio unit is ‘double DIN’, but what does that mean? DIN stands for Duetch Industri Normen and is a size standard the German’s began using for their car radios in the mid 80s. It has since become the international norm and today, car audio units are either single or double DIN.
Single DIN units measure 50 mm (2”) deep x 200 mm 8” wide, while doubles are 100 mm (4”) deep by 200 mm (8”) wide. Theoretically you can unplug any car audio system and replace it with an equivalent of the same DIN rating. That’s the theory, but like many theory’s the practice is far more complex. In the computer world the concept is called ‘plug & play’. I’ve decided in this instance it’s plug and pay…
onths ago, when looking at doubleDIN touch screen infotainment systems the thing I decided it had to have was navigation. There are plenty of non-navigation double DIN units out there, so beware if you go looking. I searched eBay and there were plenty of them, but many were no-name and I had no faith in their quality. An email from Supercheap Auto arrived, saying a sale was on and so down I went and found the perfect unit – a 6.2” display Kenwood DDX5015BT – with iPhone mirroring. Brilliant! Rather than a built-in navigation system needing regular map upgrades (at a cost, of
50 | Project Polly
Out with the old. The Transit’s standard sound system was good, but that’s all it provided. Note the four metal ‘keys’ needed to unlock it for removal. They came from Poland via eBay – of course! course), being able to ‘mirror’ my iPhone 6 Plus would let me run my Tom-tom app or Google or Apple Maps on the big screen. The clincher was it was reduced from $559 to $399. “How good is that?” I thought. “What a bargain!”. Indeed, name-brand units with navigation were much more expensive. They seemed to start around $800 and headed north of $1500 quite quickly – way north for some brands – so for $399 my plug and play solution looked like the bargain of the year.
The Saga Begins
eciding to let an expert handle this simple swap job so I could stand back and photograph it all, I headed to my tame auto electrician, Mark from Southern Highlands Auto Electrics. “Have you got a harness for it?” he asked.
than having a sparky ‘hard wire’ it in. “Get it.” Mark replied. “It will save us mucking around and you money, but I can’t fit you in for three weeks. I need to allocate half a day to it, just in case.” Supercheap don’t actually carry the harnesses as they are vehicle specific, although they can order them. So back on the internet and I found a ‘Kenwood ISO Wiring Harness’ on eBay for $15.75 with free pick-up from my local Big W. Much cheaper than the $40-plus mentioned by young Mr Supercheap! A bit more research and I realised that was only half the story. I’d need a ‘Ford Transit Quadlock Radio Wiring Harness ISO Headunit Connector Loom’ to connect the other harness from the new unit to the Transit – a pinch at $23.62 delivered! Maybe the Kid was talking $40-plus for both? And so Polly and I rolled in on the appointed day. Mark took a quick look at the old audio unit and asked if I had the keys to remove it?
“No, but I can get one if that helps,” I replied, having been advised by the 12 year old Supercheap car audio specialist I might need “Keys?” I asked, swallowing hard. one to make ‘plug and play’ easier and cheaper
Project Polly | 51
What was billed as a simple ‘plug and play’ exercise quickly deteriorated into something far more complex and expensive – proof one size doesn’t fit all. The lesson? Ask lots of questions before undertaking a job like this. “Keys. We have them for most makes and models but not the Transit,” Mark replied. “They’re little flat metal things that go in the slots in each corner and unlock it. It’s an antitheft device. You’ll also need an adaptor for the radio aerial. The Transit has a European aerial connector and the Kenwood unit is Japanese. Supercheap will have them.” So back I went to the internet after the simple plug and play job was rebooked for a couple of weeks later. I found a set of ‘Ford Transit 20062013 Stereo Radio Removal Extraction Release Pins Keys Tools’ on eBay for $3.13 plus $2.09 postage – in Poland. Poland. They arrived 10 days later. In the mean time Mr Supercheap ordered a connector for me for $11.99 from another store, which must have also been in Poland as it arrived about the same time. Back at Mark’s on the reappointed day and all was good. A couple of hours later he called and said it needs a mounting kit. “Turns out it’s not a simple swap. We need a mounting kit and I’ve tried all the local auto accessory places but they don’t have one.”
The internet is a wonderful place and in no time I’d discovered an Aerpro FP8020 “Universal Double DIN Mounting Kit”. Retail price was around $95 but I found one online, though not through eBay, for $56 in South Australia. It arrived in just a couple of days and by this stage Polly was in for her solar fitting, so now at least we could kill two birds with one stone; no new appointment necessary. What could possibly go wrong? “Did the passenger-side door speaker work when Polly came in?” Mark enquired as the installation progressed. “Yes…” “Okay, must be a loose wire in one of the harnesses.” Two hours later… “Mate, the harnesses are rubbish. We’ve mucked around with them but they seem to have broken wires or connection points in them and we’re just going to have to hardwire the unit in. It’ll cost an extra hour’s labour but it’s the best solution.”
52 | Project Polly
Above: The green wire is the aerial lead. Being European it needed an adapter to fit the Japanese Kenwood unit. The big plug was for the back of the Transit’s radio and needed a matching connection to make the new unit work. Below: Plug and play? I don’t think so… “Which harness is faulty?” I asked. “Can’t say. Could be either. Or both”. So there went a refund and up went the price.
The Big Day!
he final part of the radio installation finished after the solar job. In all, Polly was in Mark’s for a marathon four days, emerging on Good Friday eve. Importantly, everything seemed to work. I could get radio stations, make and receive phone calls hands free, stream music and mirror my iPhone and TomTom app. Oh, no I couldn’t… After much in-depth reading of the manual I discovered that to mirror an iDevice you need a genuine Apple HDMI to Lighting adapter. It didn’t say anything about that on the box. Or on Supercheap’s car audio display stand. Mind
Project Polly | 53 The new radio was just the beginning. The harnesses, mounting kit and more were extras I discovered we needed as the job progressed.
you, it didn’t mention the harnesses, keys, aerial connector or mounting kit. So forgetful those box designers! The latest cable was a snip at $75 and arrived by post the very next day. I was in business! Almost… It turns out there was also no mention of Kenwood part KCA-HD100, the HDMI cable needed to connect the other end of the new Apple adapter to the back of the now renamed ‘Infotorture’ unit in order to mirror my iPhone. It was an online bargain at $46.25 and as I write I’m awaiting it’s arrival. It was due yesterday, but you know these things go. So far the bargain $399 Kenwood system has cost $967.83. In fairness, that’s still at the bottom end of the price range for a brandname unit with built-in SatNav, and there still would have been installation costs. It’s as much the frustration with the process that has made this a ‘memorable’ upgrade, though we’re not there yet. Polly is going back to Mark’s very
soon to have the Kenwood system pulled out, the final missing cable attached and threaded through the dash for easy iPhone connection, and reinstallation. THEN I’ll have iPhone mirroring. What could possibly go wrong? Stay tuned.
he Redarc system is powering away and I’ve run the fridge 24/7 for about a week, with some interesting and unexpected results. The 200 watts of solar output has had no trouble keeping Polly’s 100 AH house battery going strong. In the mornings the Manager30’s Battery Charge readout has shown the battery at 98% capacity or better, and never more than an hour or so from being fully charged even on overcast days. That’s a far better result than I had hoped for, but there could be a more sinister reason: It appears the fridge isn’t running properly. The temperature is fluctuating between 5ºC and 10ºC when running on 6, just below max, according to a digital thermometer. Unfortunately the nearest
54 | Project Polly
Above: The finished job. Although technically the same size it’s considerably narrower and needs ‘fillers’ on either side to neaten it up. Below: The final installation job was done while Polly had her solar panels fitted. dealer for warranty service is in Sydney and this issue’s deadline took priority. Between now and next issue we are escaping to Victoria for a five day break and although not staying in Polly we will be using the fridge. Immediately after we’ll be in Bathurst at the CMCA’s 30th Anniversary Rally on an unpowered site for up to a week. It will be interesting to see how the solar/battery balance works and if the fridge really is having conniptions. Speaking of solar and house battery power, from research and talking with knowledgable people I’m swinging around to the belief that solar size/output is more important than house battery capacity. I’ll be keeping a close eye on Polly’s battery health and report back next issue. Of course I’m an optimist so what could possibly go wrong? At least I’ll have iPhone mirroring!
Project Polly | 55
Project Polly Costings to Date Previous Accessories/Modifications Various accessories – see previous issues Solarscreens – cab ($350) and barn doors ($96) plus freight Solarscreens – custom side windows x 5 Webasto EL CR 85-litre Compressor 303 Spot Cleaner Ampfibian Narva Oval LED light P/N 87516 2 x Century heavy duty batteries, test and fit (approx) Set of 4 genuine Ford Transit hubcaps Lagun table replacement splines and handle 240 Double adaptor with 2 x USB outlets Webasto Air Top 2000 STC diesel heater Heater fitting Levelling blocks Custom insect screen for rear doors inc fitting Cab window air vents Redarc solar equipment Installation (estimate to be confirmed) Sub-total
$ 516.64 $ 471.00 $ 332.96 $ 1,483.00 $ 11.99 $ 269.00 $ 47.00 $ 600.00 $ 181.03 $ 63.00 $ 38.00 $ 1,883.00 $ 700.00 $ 40.00 $ 417.00 $ 165.00 $ 3,028.64 $ 1,350.00 $ 11,597.26
Purchases This Issue Kenwood DDX5015BT Touchscreen audio system 2 x Wiring harnesses Radio aerial adapter Radio removal keys Universal mounting kit Apple HDMI to Lightning connector Kenwood HDMI connector cable Installation labour at mate’s rates Sub-total
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
Total Accessory/Modification Spend to Date Vehicle On-Road and Insurance costs in NSW Total Spend to Date Budget Surplus/Defecit
$12,565.09 $43,428.31 $55,993.40 $50,000.00 -$ 5,993.40
399.00 39.37 11.99 5.22 56.00 75.00 46.25 335.00 967.83
56 | TechTalk
Wicking Leaks? Water leaks and moisture problems are a real issue for RVers, says our resident Techspert at Southern Spirit Campervans…
his issue we have a look at a very common problem and the one many people fear most: water ingress and the resulting damage of timber rot and rust. The biggest problem with water damage is that repairing it will never be cheap, as labour and material costs can turn even a simple looking job into a nightmare. Certainly no RV owner wants to face this, so let’s see how you can prevent it by knowing where to check and what to do before it’s too late. I recommend checking at least on a yearly basis and seeing an expert if you find something suspicious, especially if you aren’t confident enough to do a reseal job on your own. Here’s what to look out for:
Windows, Hatches and Inlets
arger RVs often have single glazed windows with rubber seals around them or in between the inner and outer frame.
Age and the Australian sun will harm this rubber over time and as a result they shrink, become brittle or porous. It’s a good idea to check windows and seals every six months and have a very close look at them. Quite often you can see, particularly in corners, that the rubber has shrunk or is cracking and exposing the frame underneath. Sliding window tracks should be cleaned on a frequent base to avoid debris build up in the tracks. If the rubber is damaged in any way you should replace it as soon as you can. You can help rubbers last longer and keep them in better shape by treating them with a rubber rejuvenatory spray/UV stabiliser spray/wipe or similar product. European style windows such as the Dometic Seitz S4 windows and similar usually have an inner and outer frame. Both are screwed together and when initially installed the outer frame is fitted with an adhesive sealer.
TechTalk | 57 Depending which product was used and how long ago the initial fit was, the seal can deteriorate and resealing is a very good idea. Toilet and gas cylinder compartments and access doors and hatches most often are fitted in a similar way to windows, so check on the existing seals. Also, some of the hatches might have screws and rusted screws can easily transfer water into the vehicle.
Roof Hatches, Antennas, Vents and Roof Construction
e recommend checking you roof at least once a year. Check all the seals and surrounds of all the fittings on your roof. Look for stress cracks and pin holes. Some RV roofs have corner pieces or joiners where parts connect together and you need to check them all. These seals can become damaged over time due to sun, storms and slight impacts. If you plan to reseal on your own make sure all the old sealer and gunk is removed and that the surfaces are cleaned thoroughly before resealing.
Underbody and Lower Sill Problems
Vs built on a cab-chassis can have timber floors, especially older vehicles.
To prevent water damage and timber rot it’s advisable to treat the under-body on a frequent base with protection. It’s also a good idea to have mud flaps fitted as they decrease the amount of water from wet roads being splashed up underneath. You should also check to see if the vehicle has hit anything while travelling – sometimes you don't even realise it has happened – and therefore if the under-body protection is damaged. On the lower sill of the vehicle you can check for rusted screws, loose aluminium angles or steel channels.
58 | TechTalk Bathroom and Toilet
t sounds obvious, but check all the sealing in the bathroom, including the seals in the toilet. Often these can shrink or become loose and when you shower, water can run behind the walls or between wall and toilet. Not only will water cause damage there it can find its way under the shower tray, which is extremely hard to reach for a repair. Thetford and Dometic sell original seals as spare parts if needed. Also check the shower tray (this is even more important if the tray is ABS plastic or similar and not fibreglass). Check for hairline cracks and inspect around the drainer too.
Door Seals In van conversion motorhomes and campervans check all the rubber seals surrounding the doors. To keep them elastic use a rubber rejuvenator (glycerin is a good idea).
o save furniture and cabinetry from water damage – particular the lower parts – check if they are sealed along the floor (you can quite easy seal with a clear silicon). Often they are not and some manufacturers do not edge-band the furniture material, which allows moisture to soak in. On older vans where the cabinetry is made from MDF or particle board you frequently find it swollen and damaged on the lower parts due to wet floors, mopping or leaving the door open when raining.
Prevention! • Make sure you never leave open hatches, skylights, etc, unattended in case the weather changes • Check all areas listed above on a frequent
TechTalk | 59 basis. Even just a thorough visual check can make the difference finding a problem early enough for easy correction • For mould prevention a great idea is to avoid condensation inside the vehicle. For example use thermal screens in the cab and make sure you cook with the exhaust fan on or windows open, with good airflow • A shower curtain, even in a fibreglass shower cubicle, can be good to avoid leak problems in the toilet area • If the RV won’t be used for a while leave all doors and particularly overhead cupboard doors open (in the overheads there can often be large temperature differences) • Try to keep your vehicle well ventilated at all times • If you smell something musty try to find where its coming from • Make a moisture and dampness check by using a moisture checker. These work without leaving marks and you can buy them relatively cheaply on the Internet (try Amazon). The checker will show you how dry or wet the surface you are checking is. Anything over 25% means there is moisture inside or behind the area you’re testing. The tester will show you what's ‘behind the scenes’ and can alert you to problems much earlier than visual water damage might appear. Ask your RV repairer if they offer dampness testing. • Keep in mind that where you see water damage is not always where it’s coming from! Water can travel a surprising distance in an RV • If you would like to read further information on dampness testing and the types of damage download our PDF file HERE.
60 | Events
Darwin Lions’ Beer Can Regatta by Sharon Hollamby
appy hour takes on a whole new meaning when you’re doing it for a good cause. Last years’ Beer Can Regatta raised $30,000 for local charities and it is on again this July, so you still have time to build a boat and join in the fun. Be sure to save lots of cans from the Big Red Bash!
Cyclone Tracy destroyed the city, the Regatta was covertly held. At the time you needed a permit to be in Darwin, but it is rumoured the authorities turned a blind eye to the event in favour of the morale boost it would give those who were struggling with the destruction around them.
The first Beer Can Regatta, held in 1974, was the brainchild of Paul Rice-Chapman and Lutz Frankerfield in an attempt to clean up all the discarded cans and bottles that littered the area. It was an instant success and the Beer Can Regatta is now one of the longest continuously running environmental festivals in the world.
Can You Help?
Even the devastating Cyclone Tracy in 1975 couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the Darwin people for this event. The population at the time was mainly men who were rebuilding the city, but on June 15th, barely six months after
here you at 1974 regatta? So much was lost when Cyclone Tracy destroyed Darwin, which means that there are very few images of the very first Beer Can Regatta. The organisers would love to hear from anyone who may have any old photos or movies of that very special event.
his is a day for the whole family to enjoy, so if you are not a beer drinker don’t worry because soft drink cans,
Events | 61 bottles and even milk cartons are acceptable substitutes. According to the instruction site, a reasonable sized boat is about 2500 cans and is sufficient to hold a team of 6. One of the biggest boats ever entered was the Grogmonsta built with an impressive 45,000 cans. It was equipped with water cannons to attack their opponents and could carry more than 80 people! The main race is the Battle of Mindil, where almost anything goes. Competitors bombard each other with flour bombs and water sprays while sailing around the course looking for a hidden underwater object. However, finding this object is not the end of the race, as the object can be pirated at any time. The winners are the team who get the object back to the registration tent on the beach. If your boat falls apart during the race don’t worry, aside from it being all a part of the fun, you can still take part in the Henley-on-Mindil race. This is where everyone races their boat Flintstone style, so if you can still carry your vessel and run fast, this could be the race for ‘Yabba Dabba’ you! The day is definitely all about fun. Even their race rules – or as they call them Can Mandments – are hilarious. The first and last Can Mandments are the same and declare, “Thou shalt enter the event in the right spirit (to have a bloody great time)” Other Can Mandments include no drowning permitted, bribes are accepted (but have no effect on decisions) and no adultery allowed. The last has nothing to do with the race but gives organisers an air of respectability. For a full list and some hints for building your boat click HERE. A small entry fee is charged for the adults events. For all the details on registering your craft, click HERE.
62 | Events Fast Facts Entry for spectators is a gold coin donation so it certainly is an inexpensive day out. If boat building or drinking is not your thing there is still plenty to enjoy on the day such as: • Concerts • Thong throwing (the kind you wear on your feet) • Sandcastle competition • Running races • Tug of war • Novelty hat competition and much more! I have it on good authority that there will be some surprise new events this year, so be ready for anything. While you are there take advantage of the chance to browse around the Mindil Beach Markets. With around 60 different food stalls there is sure to be something to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.
Where To Stay
here is no camping available on site but Darwin has many caravan parks near Mindil beach, with prices starting at
around $20 per night for an unpowered site. At the moment there are still a lot of vacancies, but book early to avoid disappointment.
indil Markets are located less than 3 km from Darwin City Centre, between the Sky City Casino and the Botanic Gardens. If you are feeling energetic it’s an easy walk from the city or you can catch a number 4 or 6 bus. Shuttle buses also operate from many of the major hotels. What: Darwin Lions' Beer Can Regatta Where: Mindil Beach Darwin NT When: Sunday 17 July – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Who: Beer Can Regatta Why: An economical environmentally friendly fun day out for the whole family
Events | 63
If youâ€™re not a beer drinker, soft drink cans, bottles and even milk cartons are acceptable substitutes. A reasonable sized boat is about 2500 cans and sufficient to hold a team of 6.
64 | Mobile Tech
Welcome to Country! A guide to local Indigenous culture as you travelâ€Ś By Emily Barker
Mobile Tech | 65
ustralia is an incredibly vast and diverse land; even more so when you take a moment to consider our indigenous cultural heritage. With more than 500 tribes, each with its own geo-boundary and often individual language, this continent is indeed an amazing place. The creators of this app, Weerianna Street Media, describe themselves as digital storytellers and they skilfully fuse age-old culture with modern technology. This app is aimed at educating travellers, both local and international, as they move across the country. In Australia we understand and celebrate other cultures more than we do our own. We openly celebrate events like Chinese New Year, St Patrickâ€™s Day and Oktoberfest, and most of us understand the importance of dates like the 4th of July. We are a wonderfully multicultural society and cultural sensitivity is generally within our nature. Yet very few Australians practice this towards our own nationâ€™s first people; not out of disrespect but simply because we are unaware.
Welcome to Country?
Welcome to Country is a respectful practice that has taken place for thousands of years. Itâ€™s where a custodian or elder from a particular traditional area welcomes people to their land through speech, ceremony or music. Acknowledgement of Country can be done by everyone, Indigenous or non-Indigenous, to pay respect to the people of the land and to the country itself. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols or customs in relation to Welcome to Country are diverse and vary from region to region. This app is still in its infancy, but growing daily and looking to celebrate and educate people about the wonderful diversity of Indigenous
cultures across Australia. Identifying in the process, the actual places where tribal languages originated. Currently there are more than 30 individual language tribes represented, with many more to follow, so keep an eye out for regular updates.
sing GPS technology, users are notified via a push notification when they cross into a new traditional tribal land. Once the app is opened it delivers a brief Welcome to Country video that has to be activated by the user, ensuring no excess data charges are incurred. In some locations, the video is of a traditional owner or elder welcoming the visitor to their land, while others are simply words from the people. The app also provides a brief yet informative cultural summary of an area, including geographical information, basic cultural protocols and any prominent symbols,
66 | Mobile Tech
beliefs or traits that are tribal-boundary geospecific. There is also a list of alternative spellings of tribal names, and a map identifying the locale. The app itself is well created, easy to use and has a pleasant interface. Also, the videos are only very brief and do not navigate away from the app itself. For anyone interested in the rich cultural diversity of Indigenous Australia or the history, myths and traditions attached to the land, this app is both informative and eloquent. Indigenous Australians might not have written a record of their history, but they are excellent story tellers and their ancient and sacred
knowledge is a national treasure we all should value. Fast Facts Cost: Free Size: 7.5MB Currently Only Available on iTunes for iOS devices. For a closer look at an Indigenous Australia map go to HERE. This map indicates the general location of larger groupings of people and may include smaller groups such as clans, dialects or individual languages within a group.
Advertisers' Index | 67
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68 | Next Issue
AVIDA’S MULTI-TERRAIN CEDUNA!
report next issue if Malcolm manages to prise it from Avida’s hands right after the Sydney Show!
vida has released a multi-terrain version of its popular Ceduna and it could find wide appeal. Built on the new Iveco Daily, but with a suspension lift and differential lock, it could probably get you in – and out – of some quite remote places. Watch for a full
Apr 09-1727-29 13-15
RV industry icon Collyn Rivers joins us next issue. He’s penned an up-to-date and in-depth technical piece on fridges, so if you want to know what’s what don’t miss it. We’ll have a report on the CMCA’s 30th Anniversary Rally in Bathurst – see you there? – and of course an update on Project Polly. Due to the workings of the calendar, Issue 94 will be out in 3 weeks time on Saturday 7 May. Until then why not join our more than 31,000 Friends and followers on Twitter Facebook , Pinterest and Instagram ? Facebook “f ” Logo
Sydney Caravan Camping & Holiday Supershow
Cairns Home Show, Caravan, Camping & Boating Expo
Rosehill Racecourse James Ruse Drive, Rosehill, NSW. 2142.
Cairns Showgrounds Cnr Mulgrave Rd & Severin St, Cairns, Qld. 487
• Open 10:00-5:00 daily (4:00pm last Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $25 • Seniors: $20 • Kids: Under 16 free with adult
• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00pm Sunday) • Parking: Limited free • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $8 • Kids: Free with adult
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Hunter Valley Caravan and Camping Show Maitland Showgrounds Bloomfield St, Maitland NSW. 2230. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00pm Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $11 • Kids: Under 16 free
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Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
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