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iMotorhome

magazine

Issue 95: May 21 2016

Super

Mid Size!

Win!

$50 for the! best letter

Fridge Facts…

Collyn Rivers tells all about RV refrigeration!

DIY!

How to make a Heki hatch latch

Project Polly

Stuff and Bother – the niggles have set in…

Sunliner’s new Navian range has something for everyone…


2015 MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR Motorhomes, Campervans & 5th Wheelers

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About iMotorhome | 3

iMotorhome eMagazine is published twice monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome! Facebook “f ” Logo

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Published by iMotorhome PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2776. Australia.

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AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

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On my mind | 5

POOR STATE OF BUSINESS… At last year’s Sydney Caravan and Camping Supershow we discovered interstate RV dealers and manufacturers had been banned from exhibiting unless they had a licensed NSW dealer. For the big companies that wasn’t a problem, but for smaller ones it was a serious setback. Apart from Western Australia, NSW is the only other State with such a requirement.

CCIA NSW and entitled CCIA Lobbying Delivers Results – Motor Dealers and Repairers Act and Regulation 2014. Here’s a quote from page two, under the heading A level playing field for NSW and interstate dealers at NSW trade shows:

At the show I, along with other members of the ‘Press Pack’, queried this during the media briefing. We were assured it was a NSW Department of Fair Trading initiative and nothing to do with CCIA NSW. Apparently the move was to protect NSW consumers from unlicensed interstate traders, as well as providing NSW dealers with a level playing field (which seemed odd as they could go and exhibit interstate). Recently, however, the following letter came my way:

“The Association highlighted that under the new Act any interstate dealer wishing to exhibit vehicles for sale at trade shows in NSW will be required to hold a NSW motor dealers licence issued by NSW Fair Trading. NSW has a licensing regime that requires all motor vehicle dealers to be licensed. This requirement does not exist in other States, with the exception of WA. The Regulatory Impact Statement on the draft Regulation, which was released as part of the consultation process, noted that some stakeholders had questioned this requirement to be licensed.

“Please see attached the information sheet that explains the change in legislation. I wish not to enter into the politics of it, however you will see that members of the NSW Association played a key role in advising the NSW department of Fair Trading on the changes to implement.

The Association argued that NSW law should not allow interstate dealers a special permit or general exemption from the legislation. To do so would provide them with an unfair advantage over licensed NSW dealers. Essentially, we advocated for a level playing field for NSW businesses.

You will note of pages 2 and 3 the sections pertinent to QLD manufacturers that have seen us excluded. It primarily affects manufacturers that are factory direct. Essentially the legislation requires them to have a licensed dealer in NSW, which is not practical for low volume and custom builders.

Positive Result: The Regulation does not provide any special permit or general exemption from the NSW law for interstate dealers. Accordingly, from 1st December 2014 interstate dealers who want to display motor vehicles at trade shows in NSW will have to comply with the same requirements as NSW dealers.”

A number of low volume QLD manufacturers have tried to comply with this, but needless to say Fair Trading were not satisfied and they will be fining companies for breaching the legislation. Unless something changes there is a good chance smaller and specialist companies will be unable to exhibit at future NSW shows. I can appreciate why they have implemented the rules to protect the NSW dealers from interstate dealers. However, there needs to be an exception for interstate factorydirect based manufacturers that do not employ dealership networks. Perhaps the ability to apply for a NSW licence at their QLD factory address?” The information sheet that came with the letter is from the

Considering how keen the CCIA NSW was to tell members what it had achieved it’s ‘disappointing’ it didn’t share this success with the media or wider public. It’s also interesting some “stakeholders” questioned the need for such a requirement. Will Queensland and Victoria retaliate? It would seem fair and who would blame them? The only certainty is that while competition is stifled, all of us as consumers lose. Seems NSW is a poorer State now due to this business…

Richard


6 | Contents

3

About Us

9

Resources

5

On my Mind

11

On your Mind

24

Marketplace

Who we are, where and other legal stuff

Find back issues and more on our website

Poor State of business…

Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!

16

News

24

Book Review

28

Day Test: Sunliner Navian 601

42

Technical: Fridge Facts

52

Events

62

DIY

67

Advertisers' Index

What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond

The latest Marketplace offers

The Caravan and Motorhome Book

Super Mid Size – Malcolm reports on Sunliner’s latest…

Collyn Rivers on fridge myths and facts

Noosa Long Weekend!

A Heki hatch latch!

An A to Z of who’s in this issue!

56

Project Polly

64

Mobile Tech

68

Next Issue

Stuff and Bother!

The Regomate app

What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!


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resources

iMotorhome

Resources | 9

because getting there is half the fun...

Magazine Resources Ask a Question

Back Issues

Road Tests

User Guide

Marketplace

Subscription

iMotorhome

90: Mar 05 2016 magazine

Issue

Time Traveller! Malcolm samples Bürstner’s stylish Ixeo Time IT 726G…

Win!

$50 for the best letter!

Project Polly

Webasto heater installation!

Travel…

A quick dash to Melbourne and back

TechTalk!

Keeping your gas cooker in top condition…

Reader Survey

Reader Review


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 letters@imotorhome.com.au and

we’ll share it with our readers. We’ll also reward the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with $50 to help you on your way.

Letters as (un) usual! Last issue’s winning letter detailing a personal you some of the replies, plus a comment at the solution to charging a vehicle battery via solar end by RV electric’s guru Collyn Rivers. Next and an inverter created quite a stir! This issue, in issue it’s Letters as usual! place of our usual letters section, we’re bringing

1: Vehicle Battery Vampires I have attacked the slow drain on the motor battery a different way. We are lucky enough to be able to keep our vehicle in a shed, but that caused the problem of no solar for the beer fridge. So I had to use the house battery charger, which did the job okay, but. So I purchased a 100 watt solar panel on eBay for $120 delivered to go on the shed roof. I then found a local friendly solar installer and scrounged some short ends of wire. One was long enough to go from the shed roof and connect to the vehicle's solar regulator via a loose fitting plug (in case the vehicle is driven off without unplugging and pulls the shed down!). This keeps the batteries charged and beer cold. I also use this panel plugged through a separate regulator to keep the car battery charged when we are away.

Enerdrive 12 volt dual-battery isolator with Voltage Sensing Regulator, which also has a dual sensing circuit, that I bought from fridgensolar. It certainly does the trick for me. The sensing switch connects the vehicle and house batteries when the alternator or solar is charging above a set voltage. However, I would advise any one with a vehicle computer to make sure that the charge does not cause problems as I do not know about these things.

Now for the vampires! I installed an

Cheers. Dean

I would also like to mention that recently a friend purchased a second hand motorhome and the house batteries were not holding the charge from the solar panels. On inspection I found the battery charger connected to an inverter and switched on. An attempt at perpetual motion is not good, too many losses.


12 | On your mind

2: Auto-Trail Setup In follow up to the topic of vehicle battery charging in Letters of Issue 94, I can offer some additional information on this important topic. Prior to purchasing our Auto-Trail Tracker FB back in 2014 I emailed the AutoTrail UK factory with the following question: “My new Auto-Trail has been ordered with the factory fitted solar panel. Does this system keep the vehicle battery and the house battery fully charged when the vehicle is locked up and not in use?” The reply, from Steve Moverley Development Manager: “The solar panel will charge both batteries when in normal use, however when the vehicle is parked up, in order to charge

3: Ctek Solution

both batteries the system shutdown button should not be pressed. If this is pressed then the system will only charge the leisure battery as this will isolate the vehicle battery. It will obviously depend on weather.” So it seems Auto-Trail has made allowances for keeping both batteries topped up. When we "park up” (as the English say) I follow the above setting and to date both batteries are always fully charged after an absence of so far up to 6 weeks. Our motorhome is a 2015 (Jan delivery) Auto-Trail Tracker FB built on an X295 Fiat Ducato. Hope this information assists Cheers, Gary.

Re your request for other solutions to keeping a motorhome battery charged. I have a Ctek D250S Dual that is now in its fourth motorhome. It has inputs labelled Solar Panel and Alternator Battery, and charges the house battery with either or both. When the house battery if fully charged it maintains the vehicle battery. Regards, Bob.

continued...


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14 | On your mind

4: Another Way Here is a very simple way to keep your starter battery charged if you have solar power available, as most freedom campers do. It is how the Electroblock power management system in my former Avan Applause did it. For about A$19 post paid, you can buy a Positive Temperature Coefficient Themistor, type PTC C945, from Germany on eBay. Connect this device between the output of your solar regulator and the starter battery, with enough

clearance since it gets hot (and that’s how it works!). It will allow a maximum current of approximately 2 A to the battery, keeping it in tip-top condition. Including a diode in the circuit would stop the starter battery trying to charge the house battery if its voltage was significantly higher, but this would also be limited to 2 A and is probably unnecessary. Regards, Peter.

5: Bridging Fuse Loss of battery charge due to the alarm system, vehicle clock, etc is normal. Batteries also have an internal amount of self discharge that gets worse with age. Both the vehicle and the leisure batteries have their negative pole connected to the vehicle chassis. Without this the vehicle alternator could not charge both; the leisure battery of course via the split charging relay. My simple method is to fit a pair of blade type fuse holders in a position in the foot well that can be seen every time the vehicle is entered via the driver’s door. One fuse holder has no wires attached, it’s is purely a ‘parking’ position for a fuse. The other fuse holder is connected one side to the positive terminal of the starter and the other side to the positive terminal of the leisure battery. This holder is clearly marked with white paint. When the vehicle is parked-up for long periods, fit the 10 amp fuse in the wired fuse

holder. This enables either the solar panel or on-board charger (via mains power) to top up both batteries. Before using the vehicle, the fuse is removed and moved to the unwired “parking” position. Should one forget to move the fuse and start the engine, the fuse will blow – so carry a few spares! Cheers, Clive.


On your mind | 15

Collyn Rivers Writes The solution provided last issue is a bit like travelling from Sydney’s Northern Beaches to the City via Newcastle – by air. The author is using his solar array and associated RV batteries' inverter-driven charger to float-charge his starter battery. All he needed to do was connect the starter battery across the RV batteries via a cable (any size will do, the current is tiny). The starter battery will then be equally float charged. This

is best done via crocodile clip connectors as such charging is not advisable when the RV is in use, as the RV batteries can drain the starter batteries whilst alternator charging. It reminds me of that curious Frenchman Joseph Pejol (stage name Le Petomane), whose late 1800s-early 1900s stage act was to fart in time with music: a neat trick but is it worth the effort?

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16 | News

HAPPY CAMPINO! • Lightweight ply cabinetry • Choice of three interior colour schemes • L-shaped kitchen with 6 drawers

T

he Campino is an all-new campervan from Southern Spirit Campervans in Brisbane. Built on the nearindestructible Toyota HiAce, it’s a well thought out design aimed at first time buyers and seasoned campervaners alike. Until now, Southern Spirit has specialised in conversions of owners’ vans. However, husband and wife team Pia (who writes iMotorhome’s regular TechTalk column) and Olli have long seen a gap in the entry-level campervan market for a well thought out and well built vehicle. Being German and with a detailed knowledge of European design and innovation, they have spent many months designing and refining the Campino’s design. They believe it will set new standards and significantly raise the bar in entry-level pop-top machines by providing design innovations and an unrivalled list of standard inclusions. Due for release around the time of the Queensland Caravan & Camping Supershow in early June, iMotorhome hopes to bring you an exclusive first review. In the mean time here are some details to whet your appetite: • Toyota HiAce base vehicle • Custom pop-top roof with fully insulated ceiling • Wind-out awning

• Multi-style bed that can be two singles or a large queen and also makes into a U-shaped lounge with swing-away table • 2 x Porta Poti spaces • 52 L fresh water tank with level gauge • 40 L grey water tank with level gauge • 12 V water pump • Outdoor shower • Drop-down outdoor table • 2 x burner Origo spirit stove • 80 L Waeco compressor fridge • 120 AH AGM deep-cycle house battery • 240 V, 12 V and USB charging outlets • LED lighting • Solar ready – B2B system and solar charger fitted • TV ready – external aerial inlet and internal aerial outlet installed • German Votronic operations panel for pump, tank and battery levels A tailgate tent, 120 W solar, a Sphere 19.5inch TV, microwave, hot water system and a bedside central cupboard are all optionally available. Pricing is still to be confirmed but planned to be highly competitive. For further information contact Pia on 0401 797 179 or email contact@sscampervans.com


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18 | News

BIKE RACK STORAGE

A

lso available from Southern Spirit Campervans is the Cargo Back bike rack storage bag by Fiamma, designed for all Fiamma-brand Carry bike racks. Essentially a removable external box for times when you need extra storage, it mounts to a Fiamma rack, has its own frame for added stability and is covered in water resistant and tough heavy-duty nylon. It also folds away to a small size when not needed. Price is $339 plus postage and for more details visit Southern Spirit’s eBay shop or call 0401 797 179

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News | 19

MAFFRA CARAVAN PARK CONVERSION

O

ver coming months, Wellington Shire Council will redevelop the Maffra Caravan Park into a short term recreational vehicle and event camping facility. Council officers will continue to liaise with local support agencies to assist the Park’s six remaining residents in finding suitable long term accommodation. Wellington Shire Mayor, Darren McCubbin says that while the welfare of the park’s residents is an important priority for Council, long term residency in local caravan parks was not the best outcome for those in need of urgent accommodation. Once the park is vacant, a $75,000 redevelopment will commence to remove and demolish old and outdated infrastructure, replacing it with new services including a dump point, solar lighting, landscaping and signage. Council officers have sought broad feedback from a range of Maffra community and business

groups and organisations, each of which has supported the formalisation of the park as a short and event stay only facility focussed on tourism and visitors. “This caravan park does not provide Maffra with the service or amenity it needs. To maintain the facility as a caravan park would cost significantly more than cost of a short stay RV refurbishment. The required infrastructure and service levels of a caravan park are far greater, with facility renewal at Maffra estimated between $750,000 and $1 million. As a caravan park this is not a successful facility. As a place of residence it is not, nor has it ever been, suitable for long term housing,” said the Mayor. “It is Council’s aim to facilitate better and more appropriate outcomes not only for the park’s residents but also for the future of tourism in Maffra.”

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20 | News

FARM GATES OPEN

S

ome 20 farms in Tasmania have signed up to a new national initiative that offers a new way for farmers to connect with tourists. Farmgate Mate is a tourism membership community that was launched in France 25 years ago. The service has also extended to the UK, the US, Italy and Spain. Self-contained motorhome owners sign up to be a member of the community with an annual fee that gives them access to the farms that have also agreed to be part of the program. Farms set aside a part of their land for use by the motorhomes and members are encouraged to purchase products from the farmers “The farmers could offer a meal, a tour of the farm or some of their products, it doesn’t matter as long as there is a commercial transaction,” Farmgate Mate co-owner Vicki Fox said. Farmgate Mate was launched in Australia by family members Hans Kerkvliet, Vicki Fox, and Sandie and Gerry Kerkvliet after seeing the success of the program overseas. The group

contacted Local Councils, State Governments and the State Planning Authority to ensure their venture was able to succeed. “We thought it would be well suited to Australia and Tasmania and were surprised that it hadn’t been established here yet,” Hans said. Farmgate Mate avoids breaching overnight camping legislation because the transaction between farmer and member is a commercial one, rather than an accommodation one. As long as there is a commercial transaction involved it does not breach overnight camping legislation. Mr Kerkvliet said he believed Tasmania would be perfect for the membership program because it had an abundance of farmers and self-contained motorhome tourists. Farms that have already signed up to the program include Seven Sheds Brewery, Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm, Turners Beach Berry Patch, Westerway Cherries and Tasmanian Natural Garlic and Tomatoes. For more information check out Farmgate Mate online or visit them on Facebook.


News | 21

NZMCA NATIONAL EASTER RALLY

F

ollowing our report on the CMCA’s 30th Anniversary Rally last issue, iMotorhome was contacted by New Zealand Motor Caravan Association’s (NZMCA) National Life Member, Barry Thomson, with details of the Association’s National Easter Rally. This year’s rally celebrated the Association’s Diamond Jubilee: 60 years since formation! Some 650 motorhomes attended the rally, held at Horowhenua College (with the vehicles parked in the adjoining AP & I Showgrounds), about 90 km north of NZ’s Capital, Wellington. Like all such events the rally depended on the hard work of a large team of volunteers. Although there were initial problems with the hosting venue the rally was a considerable success, as were the two public open days and Sunday markets.

The NZMCA has 60,000 members – a remarkable number considering New Zealand’s population is only about 17% of Australia’s – and it’s rapidly growing. The last two years alone have seen 10,000 members added to its ranks, showing the high level of interest motorhoming has in the country. Members of the CMCA can join the NZMCA via its website and avoid the initial joining fee (which confusingly doesn’t happen until well into the sign-up process). Given our Nation’s proximity and close cultural ties, dual club membership is becoming increasingly popular, especially with the advent of cheap air travel and a high degree of competition amongst motorhome rental companies. iMotorhome congratulates the NZMCA and wishes all members safe travels and many more happy hours!

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22 | News

BRISBANE SHOW TIME!

Q

ueensland’s largest caravanning and camping show is rolling into the Brisbane Showgrounds from 8-13 June, with over 250 exhibitors displaying all the latest in motorhomes, caravans, campervans, tent

trailers, slide-ons, camping accessories and more. With dozens of brand new models to be launched at the show, popular seminars covering continued...


News | 23 continued...

towing, solar and satellite communication, cooking demonstrations from the Cast Iron Boys, an enticing selection of food trucks and a kids zone to keep the whole family entertained, the show has something for everyone, says Show Manager Jason Plant.

station on the Queensland Rail City Train network (except the Airtrain); from as far north as Gympie, to as far south as the Gold Coast and west to Ipswich. There are also plenty of parking options with over 2,000 carparks just a short walk from the Brisbane Showgrounds.”

“As Queensland’s largest caravanning and camping show, there is no better place to arm yourself with information, compare different models and pickup a bargain at the same time.” Jason said.

One lucky visitor will also win an Australian-built Bailey Rangefinder Nebula caravan valued at $69,990.

Getting to the show is easy, with free train travel to and from the show with all tickets purchased online

Tickets are on sale now at queenslandcaravanshows.com.au, at $15 for concession card holders and $20 for adults. School aged children are free with a paying adult.

“Our free train transport offer is valid from any

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24 | Book Review/ iMotorhome Marketplace

THE CARAVAN AND MOTORHOME BOOK If it’s not in here you don’t need to know it… by Allan Whiting from Outback Travel Australia The latest edition covers such recent developments as lower-priced solar systems, lithium ferro-phosphate deep-cycle batteries and LED lights. Collyn’s expertise is based on sound mechanical knowledge and a history of hands-on touring in remote areas. He offers well-informed pros and cons for different camping vehicle types.

T

his is an excellent publication and the third edition in a series that has been updated annually since 2001. However, I have an issue with the title that doesn’t really describe the contents. Collyn is being way too modest and should rename it: “Everything You Need to Know About Recreational Touring in Australia” (EYNKARTA for short). I reckon it should be compulsory reading for anyone contemplating short or long trips, with or without a trailer.

Topics covered include surviving when you’re away from mains power; building your own RV; camper trailers; slide-on campers; campervans and motorhomes; caravans; toilet options; common mechanical problems; communications; LPG issues; health questions; inverters; trip preparation; safety; cyclones; entertainment; tyres; water; budgets and where to stay. The book is well illustrated with photos, charts and diagrams, and, as with previous Collyn Rivers’ books, will be updated between print runs. More info at: caravanandmotorhomebooks.com

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iMotorhome Marketplace | 25 MOBILE

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26 | iMotorhome Marketplace

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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!

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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

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iMotorhome Marketplace | 27

Tiffin Motorhomes

Nomadic Solutions hitches fully ADR compliant no swaying increased towing safety easy reversing offroad vans available

5th wheeler specialist

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!

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.

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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

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28 | Day Test: Sunliner Navian 601

Super Mid Size!

Sunliner’s range topping Navian 601 takes midsize to the extreme‌ by Malcolm Street


Day Test | 29

Traditionally called a Luton peak, Sunliner calls the Navian’s over-cab bed area a Low Profile Peak. It’s quite streamlined as these things go and meshes well with the model’s overall style. The new Iveco is a good thing too…

S

unliner is a manufacturer that periodically rationalises its range of motorhomes and recently a new model has emerged – the Navian. The company bills it as the “ultimate mid-size motorhome" and it even comes with a choice of base vehicles: Mercedes Benz Sprinter, Fiat Ducato and Iveco Daily. There's not total choice, however, as only the shorter models are available on the Fiat, while the two longest are only on the Iveco. The subject of this review – a Navian 601 supplied by our friends at Australian Motor Homes – falls into the latter category and it rides on a Daily 70C170 cab-chassis.

Facts and Figures

T

he Navian 601 has a length of 8.5 m (27’ 11”) and gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 7000 kg, so its weight puts it firmly into the light rigid (LR) driver’s licence category. A tare weight of ‘just’ 4760 kg gives it a very healthy 2240 kg load capacity, in addition to which it’s rated to tow 3500 kg.

Being fully loaded might slow things down a bit but I have to say the 3.0 litre turbodiesel moved the Navian along well, aided in no small part by Iveco’s new 8-speed fully automatic transmission. This has transformed the Daily from having one of the worst automated manual transmissions (AMT) in the business to one of the best full automatics available! Still on driving, the length of the 601 might faze a few people, but for most driving conditions it's really not a problem. Of course sharp corners and getting into some service stations mean more care is required, but 8.5 m provides considerable interior space, especially when not one but two slide-outs are included.

Outside

A

ppearance-wise the Navian has Sunliner’s signature style. It's built using a steel sub-chassis and ThermoTough™


30 | Day Test

Right: Main electrical controls are via an excellent, high-tech FinScan touchscreen unit. Smaller unit is an equally impressive Fusion sound system. Below: Only the passenger seat swivels, but it’s a ways from the dinette and unlikely to be regularly used.

walls – Sunliner speak for fibreglass composite/ Duplo foam core – and a DuraRoof™ (bonded core/timber frame). They reckon the insulation is good enough for Alpine areas and Sunliner please note, I’m happy to check that out on my winter ski holiday this year if you like! Finishing off the outside, all the nice looking curvy bits are moulded fibreglass. On the subject of curvy bits, what us old fashioned types call the Luton is known to Sunliner as the Low Profile Peak. This gives storage above the cab in the aptly named Sleep Peak, which not surprisingly does provides additional bed space. The size of the Navian also means it has plenty of external bin storage. These include a rear driver’s-side bin that gives access to

the under-bed area and two others under the forward slide-out, which are a bit awkward to access (especially the gas cylinder bin, which has a somewhat small opening). Lights aside, there are a number of electrical features on the outside of the Navian, these being the awning, entry step and outdoor speakers.

Inside

T

wo slide-outs make a considerable difference to interior space and there’s certainly plenty of that, especially with the entry door right behind the cab. In effect there are three separate areas making up the motorhome layout – well, four if the cab’s included.


Day Test | 31

The length of the 601 might faze a few people, but for most driving conditions it's really not a problem. Up front are the cab seats (though only the passenger's can be swivelled), above which the 1.7 m x 1.35 m bed can be tilted up out of the way when not needed, or simply to improve throughcab access. Aft of the entry door, the front

of the Navian 601 is devoted to the kitchen on the kerb side and the cafe-style dinette in a slide-out, opposite. That leaves the rear slide-out for the east-west bed, which butts-up against the underwindow cupboard on the kerb-side when retracted.

Finally, there is a large bathroom across the rear. Decor is very much in the Sunliner style, with an interesting mix of light and dark colours the manufacturer calls its Soho Finish. Also included is a subtle but effective lighting system that’s


32 | Day Test Below: The 601’s living area is effectively divided in two by the mid-positioned fridge and wardrobe units. There’s a privacy door for the bedroom too. Bottom: Over-cab bed access is via the usual aluminium ladder. Bed space is good and also provides useful storage when travelling.

a mixture of extensive strip lighting, ceiling downlights and reading lights, with touchpanel switching. All the windows, except for the kitchen and bathroom, have pelmets and curtains.

More Inside‌

H

aving the dinette in the slide-out gives ample room on the opposite side for the L-shaped kitchen, which is probably just as well because it's surprisingly compact for a large motorhome. The end of the bench that divides the entry zone from the kitchen has a stainless steel sink and drainer, along with drawers and an end-panel wirebasket wine-bottle holder underneath. That leaves the space along the wall for a threeburner cooktop/grill/oven, along with a limited amount of work bench space. Looking very contemporary is the acrylic splash-back, while included in the under-bench area are a cutlery drawer and wire-basket slide-out pantry.


Day Test | 33

The L-shaped kitchen (is) surprisingly compact for a large motorhome.


34 | Day Test

Above: The compact kitchen is well equipped, but the high-set shelf needs a lip or backing to stop things falling off. Note the extensive use of LED strip lighting, which works well. Right: The small door-side cupboard has controls for the front slide-out, electric awning and step, plus shelves for items you need handy access to from inside or out. A fitting I couldn't quite make up my mind about was the narrow shelf above and behind the sink, by the entry door. It was a bit too handy as a grab handle on the way out and might be better served by having a lip allround to prevent items sliding off. Between the end of the kitchen bench and the bedroom is where the 190-litre 2-door fridge sits, with microwave above. Both are colour coordinated so it almost looks like a tall glossy cabinet matching the wardrobe and drawers on the opposite side. Fitting into its own slide-out, the dinette seats four around the table but it certainly isn’t an oversize setup. The table is a bit shorter than the seats, making it easier to get in and out,


Day Test | 35

but leaving less table-top area. Seat belts fitted to the rear seat means legal travelling is for four people.

Bed, Bath and Beyond!

M

easuring 1.96 m x 1.52 m (6’ 5” x 5’), the bedhead sits in the slide-out and has a very interesting feature: it can be electrically raised to give a nice back rest for daytime lounging (it also has to be raised when the slide-out is closed)! There are two bedside cabinets but no other cabinetry around the bedhead. All that is on the opposite wall, with a long, low cabinet below the window, storage compartments up the fridge cabinet wall, and lockers above. Also fitted into the under-window cabinet is a flat screen TV that’s electrically raised when needed. Lifting the posture slat bed base gives access to under bed storage and also, if you are reasonably agile, the external bin door could also be an emergency exit. In the rear, the bathroom is certainly well appointed. It has a driver’s-side shower cubicle, kerb-side cassette toilet and a slightly offset vanity cabinet with pedestal style wash basin. The offset is so the wall mirror, rear

Top to bottom: The bedroom is private and comfortable; The bed lifts to access storage below; The smallish table allows easier access dinette but reduces dining space.


36 | Day Test

wall window, overhead lockers and a set of shelves by the loo can be fitted in. Oh, also wall mounted is a small front-loading Daewoo washing machine! Like the rest of the motorhome, the bathroom is subtly and effectively lit. I have to say I found the electrics, electronics and entertainment department a slightly mixed bag. By the entry door is a small cupboard – handy for access from inside or out – that also acts as a mounting point for various switches like the electric step, electric awning and front slide-out. There are also 12 V/USB charging outlets and a TV antenna connection, but where Clockwise from top: Bedroom shelves look good but you’d need to remove items when travelling; The full-width rear bathroom is spacious and very well equipped, but can’t be accessed without the bedroom slide-out being extended; This small Daewoo washing machine will be appreciated by many. Again, note the extensive use of LED strip lighting.


Day Test | 37 the TV was to be mounted was going to be interesting. Above the doorway was a Fusion radio/CD player with Bluetooth facility and also a touch screen FinScan control panel for the entire motorhome – both items being nicely located. In the rear above the bathroom wall cabinet were a second set of 12 V/ USB charger outlets, plus a 240 V double power point. At the other end of the cabinet the Webasto heater control was to be found hiding behind a curtain. Most 240 volt mains power points were where needed although the kitchen didn't appear to have one, which seems a serious oversight. Meanwhile, two others – one inverter-supplied – were fitted to the base of the wardrobe adjacent to the dinette area, but somewhat awkward to use. Contrasting that was the lighting switching, which was all very convenient. Certainly all the electrical essentials and more are there, but some are oddly located! Still on electrics, the overall setup seemed well sorted thanks to a pair of 100 AH deepcycle batteries backed by a 25 A mains charger and two 140 W solar panels. For those off the grid times, there was also a 1000 W inverter.

What I think

S

unliner's Navian range is certainly extensive and includes a single bed layout as well as a number of other slideout designs. This N601 is at the upper end of the range and with double slide-outs offers plenty of interior living area, not to mention a host of luxury features. If a stylish and capable motorhome with a spacious interior and impressive level of standard equipment is high on your list, this Navian might just be what you’re looking for – no matter what size you call it!

Above: The Luton bed hinges for easier cab access. Below: The Navian 601 is an imposing vehicle well suited to long term travel.


38 | Day Test

Specs GENERAL Model

Navian 601

Type

C Class

Berths

4

Approved Seating

4

Licence

LR

VEHICLE Make/Model

Iveco Daily 70C170

Engine

3.0 L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power

125 kW @ 2900-3500 rpm

Torque

430 Nm @ 1500-2600 rpm

Gearbox

8 speed automatic

Safety

ABS, ESP, Hill Start, EBD, dual airbags

Fuel

100 L

WEIGHTS Tare Weight

4760 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

7000 kg

Max Payload

2240 kg

Braked Towing Capacity

3500 kg

DIMENSIONS Overall Length

8.50 m (27’ 11”)

Overall Width

2.50 m (8’ 2”)

Overall Height

3.30 m (10’ 10”)

Internal Height

2.02 m (6’ 8”)

Main Bed

1.96 m x 1.52 m (6’ 5” x 5’)

Luton Bed

1.70 m x 1.35 m (5’ 7” x 4’ 5”)


Day DayTest Test | 39

Specs EQUIPMENT Slide-Outs

2 – Dinette and bedroom

Awning

Electric

Entry Steps

Electric

Hob

Thetford 3 burner, grill & oven

Rangehood

Yes

Sink

Stainless Steel

Fridge

2-door Dometic RMD 8551 190 L

Microwave

Sphere

Lighting

12V LED

12 V Sockets/USB Outlets

Multi

Air Conditioner

Dometic

Space Heater

Webasto diesel

Hot Water System

Truma gas/240 V

Toilet

Thetford cassette

Shower

Separate cubicle.

CAPACITIES Batteries

2 x 100 AH

Solar

1 x 140 W

LPG

2 x 9 kg

Fresh Water

100 L

Grey Water

55 L

Hot Water

14 L

Toilet

19 L cassette

Pros • • • • • • •

Spacious interior External storage Interior lighting design Large bathroom Seats and sleep four Driving the new Iveco Daily Standard equipment list

Cons

• S mallish dinette • Limited kitchen bench space • Some electricals oddly located • Small fresh and grey water capacities • No bathroom access with slide-out closed

Manufacturer:

Sunliner RV T: (03) 8761 6411 W: www.sunliner.com.au

PRICE As Tested

$242,990

Supplied by: Australian Motorhomes Click for 31 Pacific Highway Google Maps Bennetts Green NSW 2290 T: (02) 4948 0433 W: australianmotorhomes.com.au


40 | Day Test

If a stylish and capable motorhome with a spacious interior and impressive level of standard equipment is high on your list, this Navian might just be what you’re looking for.


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 Navian series of motorhomes are tailored to the unique needs of their owners. We invite you to explore the Navian series and meet your perfect travelling partner.

www.sunliner.com.au VIDA

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42 | Technical: Fridges

Fridge Facts Cutting through the myths of RV refrigerator problems‌ by Collyn Rivers


Technical | 43

The Isotherm’s compact workings are quite different to most fridges and sit in the rear top corner

O

ngoing forum and campfire comparisons of RV fridge performance have little meaning. What is unknowingly discussed is the relative competence of their installation – and many are far from good. Cooling can almost always be improved and energy draw slashed by minor changes, and at trivial cost. This article is valid for all RV fridges but 3-way (12/230 volt/LP gas) fridges have extra requirements that are covered later on. With rare exceptions (e.g. the-far-from-efficient Peltier effect), fridges do not generate ‘cold’. They pump heat from where it is not wanted to where it does not matter. It’s a bit like opening a warehouse window to let heat escape – and adding an extractor fan to speed it up. Big fridges use more energy than small ones, but not pro-rata for their size. Doubling fridge volume increases energy draw about one and a half times, not twice. Where feasible use one larger fridge, not two smaller ones.

Compressor fridges

A

fridge’s energy draw is that initially required to cool whatever is put in it, plus losses through poor installation (and ventilation), leaky door seals and voltage drop across too-small cabling from the battery. Energy draw also relates to the fridge’s preset cold temperature. It is generally recommended to set the former to 4° C and freezers to -18° C, but many RV owners settle for -14° C to save energy. Ambient temperature too affects energy draw. All fridges use a tad under 5% more for every 1° C outside temperature increase, and likewise for every 10 C decrease in their set temperature. When comparing fridge specifications be aware that for reference ambient temperature, Europe uses 25º C while Australia uses 32º C. No caravan fridge will cool a carton of room temperature beer in an hour or two! Buy it cold and put it immediately in the fridge. Likewise,


44 | Technical

Above: Overpacking a fridge limits airflow and reduces efficiency. Below: Polly’s original Waeco had a much larger fin area, but the ventilation set-up certainly wouldn’t have done it any favours. fishermen tend to grossly underestimate the energy needed to freeze their catch. Power will be drawn continuously, doubling or tripling consumption, yet still not freeze quickly. Doing so requires a generator-powered chest freezer. Most 12/24 volt compressor type fridges control temperature by cycling on and off, typically over a 2º C differential. Their energy draw is related to the ratio of on/off time. A fridge that draws more energy but runs less often, or for shorter times, might use less energy per day than one that draws less but is on longer or more often. Some new fridges run constantly, varying compressor speed to maintain constant temperature. These are more efficient not least because electric motors draw twice or more their running current every time they start. For any type of fridge only its average daily energy draw is meaningful.


Technical | 45

Before Polly’s new fridge went in the workshop guys fixed aluminium strip surrounds to make mounting easier. The top one they’re working on here is a grilled vent to improve the cupboard’s limited airflow, which also comes from underneath.

Competent installation

F

ew RV fridges are adequately installed, including many ‘professionally’. This is usually easy to correct if one knows how, but in rare extreme cases total re-installation might be required. A $550,000 motorhome had a 450 litre fridge/ freezer totally enclosed and unventilated, plus a 300 litre freezer in an unventilated locker exposed to the sun. Both were connected by cable barely able to run LEDs and neither cooled below 50 C. The RV maker rejected responsibility, blaming the fridge maker! Fixing this required a major constructional rebuild. Whilst seemingly blindingly obvious, a fridge must not be in direct sunlight. One character, who had his outside in Broome’s full tropical sun, complained: “My b..y mongrel Electrolux

won’t keep my %#@^& beer cold.” He would listen to nobody – including/especially me –who tried to explain why. Heat from a fridge must exit the RV such that it cannot re-enter. This necessitates a cool air entry at base level and a hot air exit (ideally) at roof level. Most fridges need baffles to direct cold air such that it can only flow through or over the cooling fins. The baffles can be aluminium, plywood or even cardboard and they must be within a centimetre or two of the cooling fins. Rising warm air may need channelling so none is trapped. The cool air vent can be at the side or through the floor (but never above or behind an engine’s exhaust outlet) such that air enters below the lowest cooling fin and exits well above the highest fin. Rising warm air is ideally vented through the roof. If this is not feasible, install


46 | Technical

Upper Left: – the baffles are too short. They need to be just below the cooling fins. Rising hot air is trapped in the dead air spaces – as shown. If not fixable (as at bottom centre or right), an extractor fan driven directly from a 5 watt solar module would enhance air flow. Upper right: – the upper air vent is far too low – hot air is trapped in the fins above it. Baffles are also needed. Bottom: How to install fridges correctly. Baffles really do help yet are rarely used. Note how rising hot air is channelled to the outside. This drawing is copyright:caravanandmotorhomebooks.com

a side vent well above the highest cooling fin. The sketches show the vital requirements for all types of fridges. (see info panel above) A small extractor fan assists. Those with an integral solar panel work when most needed

– when it’s sunny. Alternatively, fans used in desktop computers cost only a few dollars. They can be run directly from a 5-10 watt solar module or the RV’s 12 volt DC system.


Technical | 47

A few boat and RV fridges, such as this Australian designed and made Autofridge, dissipate heat from their side walls. These fridges need an air gap of 50 mm at each side. Pic: http://www.autofridge.com.au

Electrical cabling

F Insulation

F

ridges with external cooling fins benefit substantially by adding extra heat insulation. If space is at a premium use a heat insulating foil product such as Astrofoil. Some fridges, such as Indel and Autofridge, dissipate heat from their side walls. These ideally need a cool air feed at the base of their sides and must have an air gap (optimally of 50 mm) on either side.

ew 12 volt fridges have adequate batteryto-fridge cabling. Ensuring they have makes a huge difference to performance. If you know about this stuff, aim for <0.15 volt voltage drop. If you don’t, for electric compressor fridge to battery distances less than 4 metres, use 4 mm² cable (AWG/B&S 11). Over 4 metres use 6 mm² cable (AWG/ B&S 9). If 6 metres, move the battery closer!

Cable buying traps

T

he auto cable sold by auto parts and hardware stores is deceptively rated: its ‘size’ does not relate to the conductor that carries the current. It denotes its overall diameter, insulation and all (it’s the size hole you can just push it through!). The so-called current ratings (e.g. ‘50-amp’ etc) too can deceive. It


ic

48 | Technical indicates only the current that cable can carry before it melts! It tells nothing about voltage drop, a function of cable length. It’s useless asking most vendors about this. Few know it’s even an issue – let alone why. Never use cable lighter than advised above. If you do the fridge will never work correctly. An exact way of establishing cable size is shown in my related books (see end of story).

Three-way fridges and Climate Class

T

An LP gas fridge may sometimes suddenly stop working. This is usually due to a ‘vapour lock’ caused by the caravan being excessively out of level. It can usually be fixed by turning it off, levelling the caravan (within three degrees) and turning the fridge back on after a few hours. Cooling issues with gas fridges in imported RVs (or imported such fridges) are usually because the jets are sized for a different type of LP gas. Here, you need expert advice from a qualified gas fitter.

hese fridges have an unfair reputation for poor cooling, almost always due to buying one of the wrong Climate Class and/or poor installation. Three-way fridges do perform as claimed but must be installed as shown above to do so. Three-way fridges run on 12 volts whilst driving, 230 volts where available and LP gas at all other times. However, their energy draw, of 12-30 amps at 12 volts is far too high for solar. These fridges are designed to maintain cooling over tightly defined classes of ambient temperatures. There are four such CEN-defined Climate Classes. The ‘SN’, and ‘N’ (SubNormal, and Normal) fridges work up to 32° C, ‘ST’, (Sub-Tropical) up to 36° C, ‘T’-rated (Tropical) up to 43° C. A minor drawback for some travellers is that T-rated fridges do not work that well in ambient temperatures below 14°-18° C.

Problems with three-way fridges

F

or these some routine maintenance is required. When running on LP gas check the colour of the flame. It should be blue. If it is yellow (or the fridge works well on 12 volts but not on gas) soot may have dropped down onto the baffle. Cleaning this is such a filthy job you may prefer to have fridge repair specialist do it for you. Have the LP gas pressure checked at the same time.

Fridges in cars and 4WDs

M

aking caravan fridges work well in cars and 4WDs is more of a problem. Keep them out of direct sunlight, and leave an air space around the grill’s vent area. It’s fine to otherwise pack stuff close to or touching them - except for the types such as the Autofridge (shown above). These must


Technical | 49 conversions if the fridge battery is more than five or so metres from the alternator.

Tropical use from solar

M

any first-timers wrongly assume there’s more solar input in tropical areas. There isn’t. Solar input in midsummer is 20%-30% less than most travellers expect. It also stays hot all night (particularly near the coast). As a result, fridges draw up to 50% more energy. Meanwhile solar modules lose energy through heat loss (about 5% per 100 C.) Solar input and temperature up north in winter is similar to a warm southern spring and autumn. A good general guide is that unless your existing solar system (under typical daily usage) brings batteries to float voltage by noon on most days in temperate areas it has no chance at all of coping in tropical conditions. Adding battery capacity does not work. What’s required is more solar, or a back-up generator Above: At least Polly’s fridge power leads (green and black) are the right size. Right: The hotter it gets the less efficient solar panels become. Remember that if you’re heading way up north this winter. have a 50 mm air gap each side as the heat is radiated from those metal sides. All can nevertheless be improved (and some dramatically) by running a 6 square mm (8 AWG) cable from the battery to the fridge. Don’t even think of running one via a motor vehicle’s cigarette socket outlet as the cabling to such sockets is usually tiny. Fridges should be wired directly to the battery via a fuse at the battery end to protect the cable. In some cases, mainly with three-way fridges, the RV’s alternator and battery charging can be inadequate (the larger such fridges draw close to 30 amps). This can usually be fixed by installing a DC-DC alternator charger. This may also be needed in fifth wheelers and coach


50 | Technical charging the batteries via high quality multistage charger from its 230 volt output. The generator’s 12 volt DC voltage is too low and limited to a rarely-achieved 8 amps.

Fridge tips

K

eep just-bought frozen goods cold in a heat-insulating bag, then put them in the fridge as quickly as possible. Conserve energy by defrosting anything frozen in the fridge section. Let warm beer first cool overnight. Whilst ensuring it is sterile is vital, let food cool before placing it in the fridge. Keeping the fridge full reduces cold air falling out when opened (not an issue with chest fridges). This can be limited by installing drawers or plastic curtains. Do not over-pack the contents: space is needed to allow cool air to circulate. Fill totally empty spaces with plastic bottles full of water, ideally frozen before you leave home. Door seals leak after a few years. Check by inserting a banknote (or equally strong thin paper) at various places between the door and the seal around the door. Pull it hard to check if it is gripped. If not, cool air escapes. Seals need replacing every three to five years. You can buy replacements from stores such as Clarke Rubber.

Top: Polly’s Isotherm fridge in place. Cooling air comes from below and above, but judging from Collyn’s book the setup is just about all wrong. Hmmm. Right: Hot air from Polly’s fridge is vented sideways out the rear of the kitchen cabinet, but still inside the vehicle. What could possibly be wrong with that???


Technical | 51

Summary

E

xcept for the very cheapest fridges, dismiss claims of any fridge brand/typeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s alleged inherent deficiencies. Providing a fridge is appropriate for its proposed use, cooling problems are almost always due to installation failings, inadequate cable or poor interconnections. Cheap blade fuse holders can be a cause. For those seeking truly in depth information about fridge installation my comprehensive and fully illustrated guide is available as a download for A$5 on my website caravanandmotorhomebooks.com. Every aspect of RV electrics is covered in depth in my book Caravan & Motorhome Electrics. It even outlines how to build your own fridge that leaves commercial units for dead in cooling and economy. This is well worth considering in building or modifying an RV. Kits are readily available with construction eased by the compressor being locatable remotely. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also a lot of information about running fridges from solar in that book, and also in Solar that Really Works! (for cabins and RVs). Solar Success covers all aspects of home and property systems. For detailed information about every aspect of caravans and motor homes see the allnew Caravan & Motorhome Book. For camper trailers see the now second edition Camper Trailer Book. For information about the author please Click on Bio.


52 | Events

Noosa Long Weekend by Sharon Hollamby

S

urrounded by beautiful beaches and magnificent National Parks, Noosa is the ideal place for 10 huge days of music, theatre, food, fun and education this July. The annual Noosa Long Weekend Festival is on again – from the 15th to the 24th – and with a spectacular line up of entertainment it’s an event not to be missed! The festivities begin with a variety of street performers, musicians, jugglers and Pied Pipers, who will lead the Carnivale parade from Hastings Street to the beach. There, kids will be delighted as five of their favourite superheroes drop from the sky in a daring twilight skydiving display.

Seekers, Keith Potger AO, will perform some of his own songs and accompany himself on the 1967 Maton 12 string guitar that made the group’s instrumental sound so unique. Another great Australian headline act is ‘Small Time Girl,’ starring comedy artist Mandy Nolan, with an act that is guaranteed to entertain. Other featured artists include: • The Queensland Ballet • Divas al Dente • Sunday Lucia-International Burlesque Sensation • Ric Halstead

Opening the Festival is International • Melody Brests Cabaret Diva MEOW MEOW whose unique performances and golden voice have • Evy Pikler and Stan May mesmerised audiences worldwide. Also featuring is one of the founding members of the • Max Gillies


Events | 53

• Judy Nunn • Julian Gargiulo There are also a variety of workshops on offer including: • Burlesque • Song writing • Free kids acting workshop • Stand Up for Dummies • Dancing An exciting highlight for kids is breakfast with special guest, GAVATRON the robot, followed by a live performance of the Kung Fu Panda 3 show. Book early for this one! Free entertainment for kids also includes Nickleby the magician, The Rufus John Puppets and some groovy music from Rick Halstead’s Music Infusion This truly is a festival for all tastes with some fantastic literary events on offer, such as morning tea with Judy Nunn OA, a forum hosted by the Insiders, or a night of storytelling from five ordinary Australians to the theme ‘Busted.’ Radio presenter Sam Coward will host the variety show, Locale after Dark, every night of the festival. Along with the fine wining, dining and featured performers, it is here that you are likely to find yourself treated to ‘Pop up’ performances by some of the festival stars. Last but certainly not least, a twilight market on the 22nd will offer an impressive range of food, bars, artisan stalls and even more free entertainment!


54 | Events Fast Facts What: Noosa Long Weekend Festival Where: Festival venues are located at Noosa Heads, Noosa Junction, and Noosaville, all within easy vicinity of the Festival Headquarters - THE J theatre and the festival HUB. When: 15th - 24th July Why: A festival that is sure to rejuvenate mind, body and soul. Prices: Free, plus various ticketed events.

Getting There: Located on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, Noosa is an easy 1 ½ hour drive north of Brisbane along the Bruce Highway. From the North, Noosa is around 1 hour south of Gympie on the Bruce Highway.

Bookings Website: www.noosalongweekend.com Phone: (07) 5329 6560 – Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00. Counter sales: The J Theatre 60 Noosa Drive, Noosa Heads – Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00


Events | 55

Noosa is the ideal place for 10 huge days of music, theatre, food, fun and education this July.


56 | Project Polly

Stuff & Bother!

There’s always stuff to bother with in an older motorhome… by Richard Robertson


Project Polly | 57

Previous page: There was dirty weather afoot in Dalgety as a strong weather system moved in across the mountains. The Snowy River is a shadow of its former self, but a weir in town provides a great habitat for platypus and trout, plus safe swimming for locals and visitors alike. Above: It’s great to see a caravan park with a motorhome in its logo – even if the door’s on the wrong side!

T

he day after publishing the last issue we jumped into Polly and headed south for two nights in Dalgety at the Snowy River Holiday Park. We had loose ends to tie up regarding the next iMotorhome GetTogether – scheduled for 28-31 October and which is shaping up to be bigger than Ben-Hur – which we’ll announce officially next issue. It was also a chance to get away to a part of Australia we’re very fond of and despite the forecast rain and wind it was another mostly enjoyable escape.

gale force, from the left, all the way. Polly is a heavy girl and runs close to her 3550 kg GVM most of the time. I’ve decided that’s just as well as she is long and tall and presents quite a ‘sail’ area to crosswinds. There was no daydreaming and at times we were blown what seemed like half a lane width sideways, which made things interesting. Although the drive passed without incident it was one journey I was pleased to see the end of.

I say mostly because our return journey was on a day of seriously strong winds. The previous night they'd rocked Polly noticeably, even in the shelter of the caravan park. At one stage I thought we’d lose the roof hatch, which was open about an inch and which I promptly wound shut.

was recently lamenting to someone about the growing list of minor and not-so minor faults that need to be looked into. They just laughed and said, “Welcome to motorhome ownership. It’s like owning a boat, and you know what boat stands for: Borrow Another Thousand!”.

Heading home the winds blew at or near

B.O.A.T

I

I guess I’d mentally acknowledged the potential troubles of owning a high-mileage


58 | Project Polly

The driver’s side front tyre is scrubbing out on the inside. Hopefully there’s a proper fix to the Transit’s front wheel alignment problems via a specialist company like Narellan Truck Align. Watch this space… ex-rental motorhome, but hadn’t really ‘taken ownership’ of the reality. That’s now changed! Like most companies Apollo Rentals gets good use from its vehicles before selling them at relatively knock-down prices. As they say, you get what you pay for.

it. The things you find by fiddling! The bulbs are 5 watt things with wedge ends that simply pull-out/push-in. Supercheap Auto sells them in twin packs for three dollars and I cleaned out the local store’s supply – all three packs – just in case.

Vehicle-wise the Ford Transit has been remarkably trouble free, especially considering it’s approaching 300,000 km. Apart from a reported pre-service hiccup I put down to a fuel filter needing replacement, she hasn’t missed a beat. There were two orange sideclearance light bulbs that needed replacing and both were at the rear (on either side). The passenger-side bulb was replaced when Polly went over the pits for registration transfer to NSW and I recall the mechanic scratching his head about how to do it. Consulting the handbook produced a slightly ambiguous answer: Turn the lens in either direction to remove it, then replace the bulb. What it didn’t say was you need to prise one end of the lens gently from its rubber surround in order to turn

Driver’s-side front tyre wear continues to be a problem, even though all tyres were rotated and balanced just a few thousand kilometres ago at the major service reported on in Issue 91. Like many European vehicles, Transits are known for front tyre wear due to being designed for left-hand drive and apparently without any compensatory adjustment mechanism built-in. Regular tyre rotation is the answer but in this case it’s been exacerbated by having the same wheel put back on the driver’s side front! I picked this up after the event as it has a peculiar valve cap and was the only tyre with pronounced inside scrubbing. That little mix-up aside, I’ve been recommended to Narellan Truck Align, a heavy and custom vehicle alignment specialist, to


Project Polly | 59

see if there’s a better solution. Stay tuned. One final problem is the sliding side-door lock not always activating via the central locking. The alarm then blows the horn as an warning it’s not locked, which is highly annoying to everyone around. The door’s roller bearings are well worn and Apollo has offered a replacement set, which they say will also cure the locking problem because the door’s not sitting properly when closed. We’ll see…

Inside Niggles It’s inside where most of Polly’s niggles can be found. Here’s a list: • Fridge – fluctuating temps make it unreliable and I’m still waiting on a date from Webasto to have their dealer look at it • TV – no reception, only DVD playback. No obvious aerial issues on the roof so it’s time to explore internally • Water heater – still temperamental and often takes a dozen or so attempts to start and remain running. Even then the water

Top to bottom: Replacing two side marker-light bulbs was easy despite the owner’s manual’s somewhat ambiguous instructions. Just prise edge gently from the rubber surround, twist to remove and pull out the blown bulb.


60 | Project Polly

Polly’s bothersome old Suburban hot water system continues to be difficult to start, while it only heats to showering, not washing up, temperature. As instructed I’ve reset both thermostat buttons but to no effect. does’t really get hot enough for washing up, although it’s okay for showering. I’ve pressed the two reset switches on the heater itself, as mentioned in several online forums, but to no avail. Any suggestions? • Kitchen tap – an occasional leak has developed when the water pump is left on and the system pressurised • Flyscreen – the plastic ‘spline’ (the strip that sits in a channel around the frame edge to hold the screen material in place) on one of the rear side windows has come out and needs replacing • Diesel heater – on the way to Dalgety we pulled over for lunch and decided a bit of heat would be nice. When I went to turn on the heater the switch was already on (green light) and an unfamiliar combination of the Heat and Fan icons were displaying. However, neither of us had touched it and the heater wasn’t running. Pressing the on/

off button had no effect and so into the manual I dived. It was no help other than to say when all else fails, pull the fuse for a minute and let it reset. As the heater runs directly from the house battery I located the fuse holder (alongside the battery, under the passenger seat) and pulled the 10 A blade fuse. I gave it a few minutes, reinserted it and – same situation. I pulled it out again and left if for 20 minutes while we had lunch. Putting it back – still the same display, only this time the light started to flash between on and off and the display went a bit crazy, cycling through all sorts of icons. Great! I pulled the fuse again and we drove to Dalgety, where we took a powered site so we could use the heating element built into Polly’s Air Command air-conditioner. Imagine my surprise when I reinserted the fuse later that evening and the heater functioned normally! The next night we took an unpowered site and imagine my surprise when it began to malfunction again – though only for a


Project Polly | 61 moment – before operating normally (which it still does). Technology! It’s another thing for Webasto to check out. • iPhone mirroring – There’s still no resolution to the new Kenwood audio unit’s refusal to mirror my iPhone display. We’ve declared a truce and I’ve reverted to using the iPhone in a dash-top cradle for TomTom navigation. It’s an acceptable arrangement – for now – but we eye each other suspiciously and the fight is far from over. Hopefully…

The Webasto’s new digital controller is a beauty – pictured here during installation – but we got some strange error messages on our way to Dalgety and the only cure was to pull the fuse several times to reset it. I’ll be watching it carefully now and asking Webasto for ideas…


62 | DIY

Batten Down The Hatches! How to stop your Heki hatch going bang in the night. Or day… By Ian Pedley

I

f you’ve ever been in bed in the middle of the night clutching your heart because a gust of wind has just taken your Heki roof hatch from semi-open to fully open with a cardiac-inducing bang, this device might be for you! Easily made from 2 mm thick plastic or aluminium material (available from Bunnings or the like), it screws to the side of the Heki housing and enables both lower positions to be locked without the worry of the wind blowing it fully open. This device might save you from a heart attack or costly repairs Here’s what to do: • Make the device

• Put the Heki roof hatch bar into the middle opening position • Fit a temporary 7 mm diameter x 25 mm wooden dowel into the lowest opening position. Blu Tack is good for this.


DIY | 63

• Carefully locate the new catch over the wooden dowel and the spigot on the roof hatch bar. Hold it still with your finger and check the levels and clearances

• Carefully drill a suitable pilot hole in the Heki sidewall • Screw a self-tapping screw through the new catch and into the Heki side-wall. Do not over-tighten! It only needs to be just enough to hold the catch from swinging freely

• With a marker, carefully mark through the screw hole of the catch onto the body of the Heki housing • Remove dowel Note: Full dimensions and a fitting video supplied free on request from moho.bits@gmail.com

• Sleep tight!


64 | Mobile Tech

Regomate! An app because Nerds got even, not madâ&#x20AC;Ś By Emily Barker


Mobile Tech | 65

W

hen self-proclaimed ‘nerds’ are outraged by some form of perceived injustice they often don’t get mad, frustrated, or even disillusioned, they find a solution. In the case of two young Australian men, they got creative and proactive. It seems a problem is only a problem for the duration there is no solution…

Enter Regomate, a handy app that helps you keep track of exactly when your registration is due to expire. No more missing, late or misplaced mail, confused dates or painful and unnecessary overdue fees, fines or infringements!

Regomate is a simple and straightforward app. It allows you to store the details of everything from your car or motorhome to boats, trailers, motorbikes – in fact anything with registration. Regomate is the brain child of two young Each vehicle has its own customisable profile Australians unimpressed with the abolition of and the entire app is password protected for registration stickers. After missing the due date security. Once details are entered; including of a vehicle’s rego and feeling the painful pinch make, model, the state in which it’s registered of a fine they decided action was required; and of course the registration date, the app action that could help the entire nation pretty much takes care of the rest. Push remember to renew its rego on time! First step was a survey of 709 respondents, with 65.7% reporting they too experienced difficulty remembering their registration due date without a permanent, colourful visual cue. The additional fact that 58,608 fines were issued in NSW during 2015 to motorists for driving unregistered vehicles confirmed their suspicions. It seems under the new stickerless rego system and despite still receiving renewal notices by mail, Australians are paying millions in overdue rego fines: In NSW’s case roughly $32.4 million! Stickerless regos now apply to all vehicles under 4.5 tonnes throughout Australia. Queensland was the last State to scrap the stickers and in doing so, according to the ABC, saved the Government more than $3 million in production and postage costs. This change also coincided with the introduction of new ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras. Motorists caught by the new system were initially sent a reminder notice if their car was caught on a Main Roads ANPR camera and was less than 30 days out of registration, but police could still issue an on-the-spot fine any time after a vehicle registration has expired.


66 | Mobile Tech app will always be free,” Mr Newman, one of the developers, said. We live in a busy world and my thoughts are anything that lightens the load on the old memory bank is definitely good news. It’s even better news for those rarely or infrequently at a fixed address. This convenient app is available on both iOS and Android platforms, with individual apps for both iPads and iPhones. At a neat and tidy 6.6 MB it’s a user friendly little asset that’s not going to take up much room and could very well save you a bundle! Fast Facts: Regomate Platforms: iOS and Android Size: 6.6MB Cost: FREE

notifications are staged from one month out from your rego due date, then a fortnight, one week, the day before, on the actual day and then a day after, just to be sure! In addition to keeping track of rego renewals, when it’s time to pay, the app sends you directly to the secure and official departmental page for the type of vehicle you're registering, in the state it is registered. Very impressive. The creators have big plans for future functionality, including integrating CTP insurance and pink slip quotes from multiple providers into the app. “In both of these instances we will be charging the business a subscription, meaning that for the end user the


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68 | Next Issue

HOLA!

some surprises in store, so make sure you don’t miss it! We also have a major feature on roadside assistance for motorhomes, compiled by our specialist app writer, Emily. In it she compares the various organisations and what they have to offer, so if you’re heading bush and want peace of mind be sure to read her article. Polly continues plus there’s a TechTalk about power cables – and full details on the next iMotorhome Event, in Dalgety from 28-31 October!

N

ext issue Malcolm brushes up on his schoolboy Spanish to bring you our first review of a motorhome from the country of cathedrals and conquistadors: a Benimar Mileo 243. This compact B-class is built on the ever popular Fiat Ducato and at 7-metres has

May 27-29

MAY

27-29

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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Queensland Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow

Macarthur Caravan, Camping, 4WD, Fish & Boat Show

Brisbane Showgrounds 600 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills. Qld. 4006.

TABCORP Park, Racecourse Avenue, Menangle. NSW. 2563

• • • •

• Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00pm Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $11 • Kids: Accompanied U16 free

Parking: Free Adults: $20 Seniors: $15 Kids: Accompanied school-age free

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

Visit Website Click for Google Maps

Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at info@imotorhome.com.au and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.

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iMotorhome magazine Issue 95 – 21 May 2016  

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iMotorhome magazine Issue 95 – 21 May 2016  

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