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ddcman

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About ddcman

  • Rank
    Over 10 posts

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Essendon, Vic, Australia
  • Interests
    Electronics
  • Towcar
    Pathfinder
  • Caravan
    Trakmaster 16'

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266 profile views
  1. Back in October, 2018, my wife and I returned from a 3.5 month trip in the UK and Ireland in a motorhome. We have a 4wd and caravan at home, so the motorhomes (one in Ireland and a different one in the UK) were a new experience for us. We did Ireland for 18 days, then we had 3 months in the UK. As far as the bars over the carparks go, we found Ireland to be worse than the UK. We passed through quite a few villages simply because we couldn't find a park anywhere. Early in our trip, I turned into one carpark, only to be confronted by one of these things (which I had never seen before, we don't have them in Australia), and had to do all sorts of mucking around to turn around. We were told it was to stop 'travellers' meaning gypsys I presume, but we never saw any. It seems to me they are to stop m/h's setting up camp for the night, which I can understand. We always used paid caravan parks, so it was frustrating for us to be barred from a walk around a village, and the village misses out on our custom (ie, money). The narrow roads in Ireland caused us some very anxious moments, with semi's bearing down on us along what seemed to be little more than paved goat tracks, flanked either side by laser cut greenery right upto the edge of the tarmac. The left hand mirror didn't last longer than a couple of days, being smashed when I moved over slightly (not off the tarmac) to let a semi pass. It was smashed by something hidden in the greenery. To top that, the power people hide the power poles in the greenery on the very edge of the tarmac just to make sure no mirror will escape! From then on, my wife was a nervous wreck, and kept up a constant monologue of ' watch the mirror, watch the mirror' (even though it was in bits). I took a wrong turn up one road, and in turning around, I backed into one of the millions of stone fences and slightly bent the bumper. Bang goes $1000, even though we knew the hire company weren't going to replace the bumper! In the UK, we fared better with no mirror or bumper casualty's over the 10 weeks we had it. But parking was still a nightmare. Maybe we were too sensitive or something. I remember in Hexam, we drove into town, but then out again and found a park at the railway station, which was fine with a little walk back into town. Once we had walked back into town, I saw a m/h looking for a park, He just pulled up in what seemed to me a very 'rude' spot, got out and walked away without a care in the world. I'd never do that here, but maybe it is different in your country, as nobody batted an eyelid! In Wells (my wife wanted to look at the cathedral), which is as low as we managed to get (will return next year to do Cornwall, but sans m/h!) we stumbled about with the m/h. We turned into what we thought was a car park, but was, in fact, a bus depot. We were quickly evicted, but I did ask the bloke where I could park. He pointed up the road. There were only three oversized parks in the public carpark, all full of course. We ended up in a supermarket carpark, so turned out Wells(ha, ha). From now on. it will be air B&B's and a little car when we next visit the UK! We are spoiled here I guess, as none of our towns suffer from medievilness, so there is always a big wide street not far from town to park our rig in.
  2. 8 ft wide vans in the UK? Arhhh!! We are back home in Australia with our wonderful wide roads,. We have just returned from a 10 week trip around the UK in a motorhome, and the narrow roads were a bit of a shock to us, especially my wife (mind the mirror, mind the mirror!). It was nerve wracking, especially when trying to find a park in some towns. We also had a motorhome in Ireland, which was even worse, as most car parks had a bar across the entrance, supposedly to keep out travellers, but it also prevented us from from parking, so we just continued on. I wouldn't swap our car/van combo for a motorhome, even here at home, for quids!
  3. We would be classified as grey nomads. We have just returned home from a 7 month trip up north, covering 30,000 k's. We travelled with 4 other couples from the very east most point (Byron Bay in NSW) to the very west most point in WA (Split point). The leader of the trip chose every dirt road imaginable. It took 3 months. We then all went our own ways once we got to Split point. I peruse this forum with the idea of going over to the UK and tryng to rent a caravan/tg combination like we have here. I prefer that to the motorhome option, but it seems that mh option is more readily available. Down here, there is a mass nomad migration from the south to the north about April/May. It the reverses around August/ September as the north heats up
  4. I don't know about boat trailers, never bothered to have a look. A large proportion of caravaners use a WDH of some description. Whether they are really required is debatable I reckon. I secretly think there is a bit of the Lemming principle involved with their use, ie he uses one, so I better too. I use to use one when I first got the van, but I think they put a lot of stress on the towbar connection, especially on undulateing dirt roads. The intructions say to not use them on dirt roads, but most do. Even going in and out of servos would be a problem, because there is quite a dip. There are always big differences of opinion on the local caravanersforum here, as to their use. Anytime someone posts a pic of a caravan accident, the first thing someone says is "did he have a wdh?". All the 'experts' examine it to the nth degree, quite entertaining sometimes! I can't detect any difference in the feel with, or without the WDH fitted. Trick is not to go to fast. I've also heard the theory of accelerating out of a wobble, but, even if I thought it was a good idea, my rig just ain't gunna do it. Trying to pass big trucks seems to get some in s bit of bother. If I see one up ahead, I slow down and leave a big gap so that others can pass, or I pull over.
  5. All caravans (except maybe very small ones) in Australia have electric brakes. The signal is analog (ie, the harder you brake, the greater the voltage applied to the brakes). It is a pendulum type thing, some versions are electronic, older ones are mechanical. The breakaway cable only operates if the chains somehow become disconnected from the tow vehicle. All vans with electric brakes must have a battery to operate the brakes if it comes adrift from the tow vehicle. All vans must have a hand brake as well. If a wobble occurrs, you can operate the van rakes to try and pull out of the wobble. Best advice is don't go to fast.
  6. ddcman

    Scary Video

    This very same video has prompted lots of relpys on the Aust. caravaners forum. http://www. caravanersforum. com/viewtopic. php?f=2&t=46510. Some are more like essays. Lot of knowalls. I keep out of most of those type of threads. Graham
  7. I have a look every few days or so. My main reason for joining was to get a few ideas re travelling around the UK, either with a van or motorhome. I was contemplating buying a van, using it for 12 months, then selling it before returning home. But reading some of the threads re wintering in a caravan in the UK has put me off that idea! Also, the hassle of address, and rego of the van and car are possibly not worth the effort. I'm now thinking of hiring a m/h for 3 months during your summer, then coming home for ours in our van. Strangely, there is a fair bit of difference in the subjects/problems discussed on this forum, and the one I frequent here at home, so I tend to lurk and learn rather than comment. Most of your vans and towing problems, etc are different to ours. Graham
  8. On our last rip, we went up through the middle of NSW to Broken Hill, and then further afield. The number of emu's and kangaroos was amazing. It's been a good year for them since the drought broke. We never travel at dawn or dusk, but even during the day there were many. I nearly collected a string of emu's that did, what I can only describe as doing a 'Beatles Abbey Rd' right in front of me. Four of them. A fifth nearly ran into the car once I stopped to let them cross, but a blast of the horn, and it veered away. I was only going pretty slow, because you can see them out in the scrub, so was wary, and also was a dirt road. I don't have a bull bar, but have been contemplating it. Nearly everyone who tows a van here has one, but I don't like the thought of carting around all that dead weight. Roos and emus arn't the only hazards either. Plenty of wild goats, deer, camels, all introduced and legitimate live stock (sheep and beef cattle). There are also some big lizards, which is good, but they like to sunbake on the road, which is just not a healthy excercise. I unfortunately contributed to the demise of a few because I can't swerve around them with the van on. Graham
  9. We tow our ~2300kg van with a auto 2011 P/F. I get about 14L/100K towing and around 9L/100K around town, etc(sorry, mpg is a distant memory here!). Just about to leave on a 5 week trip that should see us clock up about 6000~7000K's, maybe more. I find that leaving it in 4th is best. The economy doesn't seem to be affected. On flat country, overdrive seems to be OK, but any hills and I manually switch to 4th, and then down to 3rd when I encounter a reasonable hill. A while a go, with the van on, I had to change down to 2nd on a really long climb, but I think that is acceptable. I find it a really good tow car, but I've only ever towed a 6x4 trailer prior to getting the van, so can't really compare.
  10. Hi, we have 3 tanks. We only travel with water in one tank. There is a protocol here regarding water, especailly in the more remote parts. You can fill them in a van park no problems, where you are paying a fee, but if you pull up at a fuel stop, and also want to fill your water tanks, things can get a little difficult, especially if the stop relies on rain water only (I've only heard this, not experienced it). A lot of places have bore water, but it can be poor quality, so you don't really want to put it in your tanks. Some people reserve a tank for this purpose, and use it for washing only. We are going up to the Flinders ranges in SA via Broken Hill in October, so will probably fill up a second tank in Broken Hill. Speaking of payload, our van has a tare of about 2000KG and an ATM of 3000KG. Our caravan terms are a bit different from yours, but it means our van can carry a 1000kg payload. We don't do this though, as I think my car, and the wallet would object!
  11. I think nearly all vans down here have electric brakes. I have mine adjusted so that if I have to apply the brakes at highway speeds, I can't really feel anything different. When cruiseing through a town (50~60 Kph) and I apply the brakes, it grabs slightly. I prefer this, as I am then confident that at highway speeds, it pulls up smartly. I've unfortuately had to test this out a few months ago when we had a tyre blow out (rear passenger, car). Pulled up dead straight, and quickly (after checking the mirror of course).
  12. Dunno, but very interesting. I got my van via ebay, but didn't pay a cent until we picked it up.
  13. ddcman

    Manhandling

    Most vanners here install a reversing camera on the back of their van. Most have them wired in as part of the van-tug cable. I installed a removable one that fits onto a clip that allows me to view down the side of the van so that I can line up on the site slab. It's a wireless one I got off Ebay. I made a simple clip for the monitor to temporarily fit over the rear view mirror. It's better than trying to understand my wifes flapping bird impersonations.
  14. I had blowout while towing a little while ago. Certainly shakes you up! Could have been quite messy if it had been a front tyre. Link to post. http://www. caravanersforum. com/viewtopic. php?f=9&t=25983&p=388745&hilit=super+tyre+blowout#p388745
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