2 more prospective BT owners need help

Submitted: Saturday, Sep 13, 2003 at 06:28
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Hi from David & Liz. We are just about to embark on the planning of our first caravan, probably a BT 18' and would welcome any advice on what mistakes to avoid. We are working our way through the discussion groups and learning. It is amazing how little we know about caravans and how many things there are to consider. We have a Nissan Patrol 3L Turbo Diesel, 2000 model. Does that seem OK to tow such a van? Any hints from experienced BT owners most welcome. The number of decisions to make seem overwhelming at times. Wonder if we should stick to the Oztent?
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Sep 13, 2003 at 06:30

Saturday, Sep 13, 2003 at 06:30
There are lots of good layouts for an 18 foot van that can include a shower Toilet and so long as you don't go overboard with lots of additions that you don't really require the loaded weight should come in at about 2.6 tonne. I know of several 3.0lt Patrols towing such vans and the only problem that they have is that they slow down on the hills, but then most other brands of caravans being towed by lots of other vehicles do also. I recently went out to Birdsville with a friend towing a 16' heavily laden BT (much heavier than the norm with boat trailer and outboard motor etc etc on and in it (3 ton) and the 3.0lt patrol did it easily and returned about 5.5 to 6 km/litre. If you put some more personal details such as where you live and means to contact you direct, then someone with a Bushtracker in your area may be able to meet you and discuss the van. One thing is for sure, you want be sorry if you make the decision to buy a Bushtracker, Everyone who attended our recent rally were very happy with their vans.
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Reply By: Deleted User - Saturday, Sep 13, 2003 at 06:31

Saturday, Sep 13, 2003 at 06:31
Hi David & Liz,<o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> We have an 18' 6' BT which we absolutely love. I won't make suggestions about layout, as that is a very personal thing, except to say that Steve Gibbs is right in discouraging a rear-end kitchen design because of the rear end weight and risk of tail wagging. And on the subject of Steve, some find hime a bit difficult, but he does know what he is talking about - remember, you are buying the van, not the person!<o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> When we order again - which is very likely just to get a "newie" for our big trip - these are the mistakes we made last time, which would be corrected:<o:p></o:p> * Definitely get a 3 battery x 3 solar panel setup (we had 2 x 2 and had to upgrade later).<o:p></o:p> * Put in a 12v socket outlet or two - very handy for recharging the mobile phone and other things when off mains<o:p></o:p> power * Put in lots of halogen reading lights around the seat/sofa areas.<o:p></o:p> * If you have a rear door design, then get either an extra external light at the rear, or recessed lights above the steps (when the flyscreen door is open, it stops the external light from shining on the steps * Get an external grab handle installed for extra safety at the steps - in rough, uneven terrain, the drop down the steps can be fairly severe. * Get lights fitted into the cargo bays - it is a pain otherwise, and you will only end up having to do it yourself later<o:p></o:p> * Definitely get the large fridge (about 190l) - Steve and my wife talked me into this, and it was wise advice<o:p></o:p> * Try and get a pantry cupboard somewehere into the design - the BT's are great, but other than the massive under-bed storage, are otherwise a bit light on for storage.<o:p></o:p> * Get an exhaust hood over the stove - we were talked out of this because you lose cupboard space - but everytime we cook, the smoke alarm goes off! If you sneak a pantry in, that will more than make up for loss of overhead cupboard.<o:p></o:p> * Critically evaluate the positioning and number of 240v outlets - we put in extras, and are very glad we did Phil<o:p></o:p>
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Sep 13, 2003 at 06:32

Saturday, Sep 13, 2003 at 06:32
Check out the comments under Newbies designing their van for more comments. Brian
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