Put Your Thinking Caps On!

Submitted: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:29
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Much wailing and Gnashing of teeth. The Forces of Darkness have over-taken us! Some bad (read Very Expensive) news has come our way from Canada (Mrs Griff's home turf). Family member who we cherish is in Dire Need. We have chosen to offer aid & multiple visits next year. There goes the budget (but absolutely grateful we are in a position to help). We very nearly decided to can the BT, but have decided to press on. Will have to make some very tough decisions. Was wondering if I could get some help with triage on the whole project (being a bit close to the deal fair wrecks the old ticker it does). To make both budgets co-habitate MUST get the BT+Vehicle on the road for no more than 100 kiloquid. The BT has already topped $70k and we haven't even been in the clutches of The Factory yet! Mother! So, here goes. Vehicle still has to be an Auto LandCruiser post Oct 96, 80 or 100 series, but (and how it pains me) probably drop down to Petrol. Can buy well at auction so probably pick up a city slicker's ex for about $25 - 30k including some extras (like tow rig, bull bar etc). Anyone game to suggest any alternatives (like Rangies or Discoveries etc? Can pick them up even cheaper - there must be a message there - or even something totally left field like a Musso!!??) This vehicle probably only to last 12-24 months, then go up-scale. Van must be able to sleep 4 (Mrs Griff & the two Wonderboys). Willing to forgo any but the shortest (overnight?) stays away from 240v at parks, providing van wired for easy upgrade over 12-18 months. (Alternately, sell after 12-18 months & order The Real Thing). Current spec for 19 footer is as follows:- Layout very similar to 20' Yacht Berth with the front door, but with double bunks across rear. Full ensuite; Remote hot water ignition; 12" Brakes; Dual Water; Extra tank; 190L fridge; Air Con; Awning; 2x Cal-Cal batteries; 50A Charger; 2x Large cargo doors; 12v fan Roof Hatch; Al checker body kit; extended drawbar; Caprice Stove, Oven & Grill; Annexe; Full length mirror on external ensuite wall. Total $68k We definately want the Webasto diesel heater for the cold climate trips we have scheduled - add $2,500? There we have it folks. Bared my soul, an' all (if not me teeth). Feeling fairly cornered right about now. (Mrs Griff - being a Delicate Soul - does not do well in excessive heat or cold if you're thinking of ditching the Air & heater - though it still may be a last resort option). Just how rough does it get with no ensuite? How would it affect re-saleability not having one? Happy to do without AudioVisual (DVD's on a lap-top & music from the 15 year old boom-box?) & rear-vision camera, solar & all trappings PROVIDED wiring & panel pull-outs in place for later inclusion. Ditch one cargo door? I dunno. Talk to me people! Lip Quiveringly Yours Griff the Mournful
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:31

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:31
Sorry to hear of your trobles. No matter what budget cutting is involved I would not give up diesel. A lot of the extras - turbo, long range tanks, suspension etc can be added latter. I am not an expert but I have seen too many petrol drivers bemoaning the fact they did not have diesel. Best of luck John
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Reply By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:32

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:32
Okay Griff, The first things i WOULD look at are the aircon and heater. i know, i know. mrs griff. but i am not good at the extremes of heat or the cold either. however, the aircon would need to have a generator to run, so already you will have saved about $2500 for the aircon, $3000 for the generator and then $2500 for the heater (not that it requires a genny to run that). so already $8,000 back in the pocket. The other thing to watch out for is a microwave - they soak up power too. Now to solve the problem of the aircon, you could get one of those 12v or 240v box fans - ezibreeze i think they are called. as long as there is cooler air circulating, mrs griff will survive. if you need to think about aircon later then get it wired at least at the build stage and then put the unit in when finances are more readily available. Reality is you may not go anywhere where the extremes are in place for the first 12-18 months anyway, as it seems you will be a little busy travelling back and forth to Canada. As far as the heating goes, more clothes and definitely socks and uggies help and also in a small enclosure like a van it would heat up pretty quickly with a safety type heater that again can operate through 240v and inverter. (others might have better ideas of what type would be suitable for the environment that wouldn't drain the powersystem). Another good option is electric blankets. I know what you are going through because we ask ourselves the same questions on an almost daily basis. i have a list of "would be nice to have" but we have set a financial limit and have stars (*) next to those things with a priority list of "would have to cut out if needing to go to Plan B" type inclusions e.g. upgraded oven with rangehood (I can cook on different ovens if I want to - but don't tell Ivan or he will make me prove it), aircon, outdoor shower, campersat, aluminium box on A-frame. I can't comment on the vehicle but at one stage we were looking at a Toyota Troop Carrier and there are plenty of those around that are safely towing BT's. The main things we wont compromise on, is safety issues and towability. As far as the rest, there was a time when we would have been happy to have the lifestyle with a trailer or tenting it. The main thing is "attitude is everything" and you will have just as good a lifestyle as those who pay out for a Winnebago if you choose to. To be getting out and doing it, however it looks in practicality, is better than sitting at home and wishing this or that were different. As you said - you have chosen to help the family member and that is to be commended, but the last thing you would need now is to sit there and say "if only things could be different" because they can, but then you wouldn't be making the same choice for the relative. More power to you and Mrs Griff for the sacrifice. Short term inconvenience for longer-term gain might be the final greater outcome here. Hope this helps, don't mean to sound patronising Serendipitous Angie
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:33

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:33
I agree with Angie ...

Aircon ....
Obviously get the roof strengthening option to fit later. We have used the aircon only a few times but have been grateful when we did. Can go without though .... especially if it is coming later.

Diesel Heater ....
This can be a retro fit also ... our kids have camped some quite cold places one minus 3 and one minus 1 .... in a canvas tent .... in a sleeping bag. Amy was 20 months on minus 1 trip.
Dogs water bowl was frozen solid by morning. So drop heater and deal with it. BT is well insulated.

Annexe
We have done 12 trips (longest 9 days) and dont even own an annexe. Easily retro fitted as well.

Ensuite
I think with the kids keep it ..... if weather is cold our kids use it regularly in the night. Amenities blocks are far away when it is cold. Nuffin wrong with a bucket but ensuite will give much better resale.

12v Fan Hatch
I can stink with the best of ya ..... and the ensuite window is plenty for a bit a circulation ... we have the hatch and hardly use it. It might be a retro fit as well.


I'll term this next bit .... Sacrilege oh Sacrilege .....

If push comes to shove .... With 100k in pocket spend 50 on a cruiser and spend 50 on another brand of van ( Hush ...who said that .... wash your mouth out). When circumstances are better sell it and buy dream BT.
Because of the popularity of vanning (with an expected peak at 2008 and a plateau to 2015) you could still do well and have good resale to step up to BT.

Regards
Anthony

AnswerID: 558946

Reply By: Wadefarers - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:34

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:34
Griff I agree with all that has been said and your priorities must be what they are. The other thought is to purchase the second hand BT that Linton and Jean have for sale here, especially seeing its sleep 5, but check out the specs. At $64k this would allow $36 for a second hand 80 series, maybe even a 100, but probably only petrol. I guess when it all boils down you and Mrs Griff have to make the final decision. Best of luck with that. Regards Jeff
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Reply By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:35

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:35
Anthony said "If push comes to shove .... With 100k in pocket spend 50 on a cruiser and spend 50 on another brand of van. When circumstances are better sell it and buy dream BT"
Yes, I wanted to say that too (but would rather someone else be hung drawn and quartered for saying it first as Angie is too young and pretty and intelligent to die), but Griff -understand that this would only be a temporary measure until you can realise the dream. And should only be used as a last resort. Angie
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:36

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:36
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:37

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:37
I have been following all you E-mails since you joined and ticking off all the items or idea's that I want to include in my caravan. I have just two thoughts I think that it might be better for you dollar wise to cancel the new van and buy a second hand one then once you have tried out vanning for a while and found a goldmine. Order a new van with all the items you know you want from experience. As second hand bushtracker vans hold value you may get out of it cheaply. Secondly a mate of mine just bought at the auctions in Sydney ex nsw police 100 landcrusier (not the bog standard government model) with 35 k on the clock and less than 12 months old for $33K - so auctions are good hunting grounds but a word of warning look underneath it and if its been respayed with undercoat with no marks on it be very careful as it might be very well used "bushbasher" Best of luck - to you
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:38

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:38
Thanks all for the considered input (even the Sacrelidge!). Certainly some interesting approaches. Never wishing to roll over & play dead, the research continues. Here's some more for you. Tow Rating Hokum. The common belief is that 80series Cruisers are unusable if pre Oct 96 models due to a 2500kg tow rating. NO LONGER SO (if it ever was). Checked with RTA - they are clear that the rating derives from GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) subtracted from GCM (Gross Combined Mass) which give a 3500kg rating on all 80 series. This is confirmed by Toyota Service specifying a 3500kg tow bar for all 80's Series. Interesting. Still I don't think I'd go back further than '95 as they moved to the 24 valve engins, rear discs & a general tidy up then - a few more options. The second hand van with a mod to the rear couch to create bunks certainly is another thought! Ducking & Weaving Griff
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:39

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:39
I would have to agree with most of what the others have said. A big part depends on what deposit if any you have already paid, if you are going to go down the second hand Bushtracker or other van road. As most of your trips away initially will be to van parks you will have 240v power so a $25 fan heater will keep van warm. We have a very good box type fan that circulates air around the van and rarely use the airconditioner. When we are bush camping aircon doesn't get used, but fan only drawns 5-6amps so can us on inverter. Microwave, extra you can do without. We all managed very well not too many years back without microwaves and airconditioners for that matter, and a very large number of campers still do. Awning is good when it is wet or very hot and sunny, but it can be fitted later is money is a problem. Annex walls. Used twice in 2 years. Unless you are setup somewhere for a reasonable time you wont use one either. If you are restricting use to powered sites for the time being, 2 batteries will be sufficient to run fridge and lighting etc as the tow vehicle will be putting in charge while travelling, and you only require to store power for periods while stopped for lunch etc. 12v fan roof hatch, we have one but find the fan doesn't get used a lot, the main thing is having a roof hatch that allows hot air out, but there is probably not a lot of extra cost between standard hatch and fan type hatch. Full length mirror. You are camping, not getting dressed up to go to a ball. Forget the mirror and just tell Mrs Griff how beautiful she looks. Diesel heater. Forget it. Until Bob found it no-one had one and as you are paying for 240 power at van parks, use their power and electric heater. Ensuite. Most modern campers prefer shower and toilet and it makes the van a much better resale item. We use ours all the time and if Mrs Griff is a delicate soul, she will appreciate being able to use toilet when it is cold or shower and hop out into warm (electric heated) van to get dry rather than in well ventillated park shower block. Radio CD player is a personal choice, nice to have but not necessary. If speaker wiring is fitted during maufacture through roof & or walls it can be installed at a later date. Vehicle. You don't realise how much better the 100 series is until you have driven the 100 for a while and then go back to an 80. The Nissans also do a good job at towing and are usually a lot cheaper second hand than the Toyotas. Good luck
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:40

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:40
Actually Brian, we will be going to odd Ball or three! Our business often have conferences and expos inter & intra-state which we usually spend big bucks for accomodation at 4 & 5 star venues. Just think of the quirky couple exiting the van in tux & ball gown & then rolling up to the valet parking in the fully bush-rigged 4x4 (no I wouldn't leave the van attached - that would be stretching the point)! Besides, not a totally illegitamate technique for turning the whole shebang into a business tax deduction. (I try). Fiscally Yours Griff
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Reply By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:41

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:41
hey Griff, Just wondering what you ended up deciding in the end. Is the van still a goer and if so, what did you finish up with? Angie
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:42

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:42
Hey, Angie, welcome back. Hope you had a great Aussie adventure & that BT was all you hoped. In answer to your question, still waiting on BT to come back to us with layout drawing after our visit a couple of weeks ago, but have settled on the vehicle. After Cobradave's strong recommendation, put a deposit down last Thursday on a 80 series TD Sahara (he's ultra keen on sunroofs apparently). Been ordering mods & extras ever since. Cranking up the cash-flow to try and recover my sanity and keep Mrs Griff from panicking. In the Deep End Griff
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Reply By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:43

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 09:43
Thanks Griff, had a great time and BT was great. Better than the pictures. I was in Bushtracker heaven for better part of the day. Got to see Baby with a bit more flesh on her. Met the man, paid the deposit and picked out the colours. Now all we have to do is last out the time distance. I am just waiting for Paul to finish our layout too now. Have picked out the style based on lots of good info from this forum plus standing in a few vans now. And I can tell you that standing in them felt really good. I loved the smell of the wood and thanks to owners who let me open cupboards, answered heaps of questions and Motley and others who supplied some follow up notes. Also looked at some F250's and reckon that it's just what I need. Just waiting to get final quote on van and Effie and we will be set. And don't worry, if Mrs Griff looks like she is going into hyperventilation, just wave a copy of her favourite caravan mag in front of her and she will soon re-focus on the lifestyle that is waiting for you both. It will all be worth it. Tongue hangingly out with 395 days to go, Angie
AnswerID: 558956

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