Keeping dust out of your caravan

Submitted: Sunday, Jul 23, 2006 at 19:27
ThreadID: 122805 Views:6658 Replies:5 FollowUps:2
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We are just about to place an order for a new van with all the latest wizz-bang features including dometic skylights, fantastic hatch, 4 seasons hatch, ensuite exhaust fan etc.

After many years of caravanning and battling dust inside our van, we are very concerned about the above features allowing dust to infiltrate. Our old van has none of these features and whilst they look very nice, if they create more of a problem dust wise - would we be better off without them?

We have been told by manufacturers that whilst they don't completely seal that dust "is not a problem" due to air movement across the roof of the van. Sounds like "bull dust" to us!!

Any first hand experience would be appreciated.

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Reply By: Mobi Condo - Sunday, Jul 23, 2006 at 20:49

Sunday, Jul 23, 2006 at 20:49
Hello Eddie,
We are newish owners - Van is Nov 2005 - have done 7000 k + with much dust work around the Flinders. I have great mirrors which gives me clear view from rear of TOJO and stone guard of van to rear corner of van and ground to top of van on both sides. I made a thourough study of our dust flow from car to rear of van and to top of van as we toured south from Arkaroola through to Blinman. We threw up a "grand looking" kilometre long "Rooster Trail" of dust which simply went under the van via air flow deflection from Stone Guard, then AFTER the van wheels the dust started to rise but AT NO STAGE did I see any dust going up and over the top of the van! We have had NO travelling caused dust in the van since new!
From one very happy customer.
Cheers - Ian & Sally.
AnswerID: 568927

Follow Up By: Mobi Condo - Sunday, Jul 23, 2006 at 20:53

Sunday, Jul 23, 2006 at 20:53
Eddie - PS we did take note of the hint to use the foam sheet held to the door vent via the Water Proof Door set up and used it to good effect.
Cheers - Ian & Sally
FollowupID: 846073

Reply By: Eddie - Sunday, Jul 23, 2006 at 21:33

Sunday, Jul 23, 2006 at 21:33
Thanks Ian & Sally for your very quick response.

Your van looks to have a 4 Seasons Hatch which we have been told do not seal completely. What about when travelling in dust filled air from other vehicles or passing road trains etc? Our experience has been that dust will come in anywhere and everywhere it can and the latest model vans seem to have lots of possible openings for this to occur i.e. skylights, roof hatches, exhaust fans etc.

Thanks again
David & Val
AnswerID: 568928

Follow Up By: Mobi Condo - Sunday, Jul 23, 2006 at 22:36

Sunday, Jul 23, 2006 at 22:36
Howdy David & Val,
Not any problems at all thus far. I did have a 4 Seasons Hatch catch fail, but BTi posted one to Adelaide very pronto and it was an easy fix. The catches / latches are quite firm to lock for travel, but with the dust "Rooster Tail" scenario I mentioned above I noticed very clear air all round the hatch as the plume twirled out after the van. No problems from passing traffic.
Cheers - Ian & Sally
FollowupID: 846074

Reply By: Jaunty Jordans - Monday, Jul 24, 2006 at 04:39

Monday, Jul 24, 2006 at 04:39
Hi David and Val,
We have been travelling on dirt roads pretty much every trip we do and have not had a problem with dust ingress. I must say however that we only have the one 4 season hatch and feel that the less 'holes' the better. We don't have a problem not having an exhaust hatch in bathroom, we simply open the window!
Hope this helps
AnswerID: 568929

Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Monday, Jul 24, 2006 at 09:07

Monday, Jul 24, 2006 at 09:07
Like Prue, we have basically just the 4 seasons. We use a piece of foam that fits in it, inherited from the previous owner, but it comes down looking clean. We have a hatch over the bathroom and have never had dust through it. The dust around the northern Flinders is extremely fine talcy stuff, and if that doesn't get in, nothing will.

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AnswerID: 568930

Reply By: Bushtracker - Monday, Jul 24, 2006 at 20:45

Monday, Jul 24, 2006 at 20:45
Hello Eddie,
The Ranger here, back after eight days out with horses at the Olympic Equestrian Center in Sydney...

We are without a doubt the most dustproof van built in Australia, as a direct result of our watertight integrity and construction methods... If you hear of a Bushtracker with a dust problem, there will be a cause, like possibly the one in fifty or a hundred case of aerodynamics with the tow vehicle causing dust to come up over the roof and into the gas hatch function of the 4 Seasons hatch... It cannot seal by law... But this is rare. Otherwise, here is the most common reason if there is dust reported.... And by the way these TIPS are able to be pulled up out of the BOG ......

TIP # 33, Bulldust and Maintenance.............

LIKE BULLDUST? This is in the interests of you not ruining the seal on your rear window…And other tips to keep out the Bulldust... PROPER MAINTENANCE is the key....

In the Bulldust the back hinge on the rear window binds up with dust…It gets in there, then gets wet, and packs up into a hard clay like material…. You have to wash it out with a hose and nozzle.. If you are standing looking up at it, on the hinge section of the window, you have to hose out the dust out of the round extruded hinge section… You can try to blow it out with air, or brush it out each time you run in the Bulldust before you open the window with a soft brush is better than nothing, but water and a nozzle under pressure is best..… But if you open the window with the dust in there, it packs the dust even more. If this is ignored, packed hard, gotten wet and set hard, and you cannot blow it out; then a major service has to be done. This involves actually taking the Hopper part of the window apart to clean the hardened clay of the bulldust out of the curved extrusion of the fixed frame itself…

It is always a problem in the Bulldust, and it needs to be cleaned before the window is opened… If not, when you go to close it, it will only close so far then jamb up.. DO NOT force the window closed, or it will spring the window out of shape. If you give a push assist from the outside, all that will happen is the top mitred frame part of the window will break loose at the mitre and spring out... Then the rest of the Perspex frame will not close tight against the fixed frame part of the window on the caravan… And you will have a leak of bulldust into the caravan… This is the primary Culprit of all vans that complain about Bulldust, and you need to be aware of what causes it so you don’t join the Bulldust Club….

It can happen to any window, but the rear window is the worst. Several per year ruin their rear window by doing this. Then of course it is our fault, the window must be defective, and some people get very upset when we have to tell them that they ruined the window. But if we be polite, and let them win in the interest of Customer Relations, it will backfire on both Parties as it only happens again. So, we have to warn people, and it is in the Owners Manual: Clean the hinge on the rear window before opening it when in the Bulldust… Per the Owners Manual, and per the Delivery Day Instructions… OK? Or maybe an alternative is to leave it closed when travelling in the bulldust, if you cannot hose it out.... There is no easy answer.

Pressure Hatch??? Now some think the answer is an open hatch to the wind to pressurize the van... Pressure Hatch is a sales gimmick to combat this problem of bull dust that is down to the size of particles of cigarette smoke... Now we can put one in for you, but they are just a bit of a gimmick as they actually scoop dust up as they travel along... Have you ever been on a bull dust track where the dust hangs in the air for few kilometres? Well the hatch just vacuums that up... And you aren't going to get out and close it every time a car passes you either way on a windless day when the bull dust hangs in the air...?? Not sure this is the answer.

OTHER THINGS OF IMPORTANCE IN THE DUST BATTLE: Bushtracker is the most Dust Free of any van built. Anyone that says different has not tried the alternatives...We get to hear all the Horror stories from those who have tried others, and come to us for a Bushtracker. But in saying that, you have to take care of things like the rear window seal, and if you do not you will be joining the dust brigade... And yes, we also put a foam strip in our van over the top of the watertight door when closed in the Bulldust tracks... And yes, we have constantly improved the engineering over the years to combat the dust... BUT ON OLDER VANS, you need to look at the sealants around pipes and such underneath that get worn by the gravel shower and such in the Outback... This is MAINTENANCE... And part of the responsibility of ownership. With proper maintenance, my own van has only ever suffered a trace of dust with a damp paper towel, on the rear window sill. DUST DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A PROBLEM WITH PROPER CARE AND MAINTENANCE... CLEANING THE DUST IS MORE WORK THAN DOING THE PROPER MAINTENANCE... Things wear, sealants and such exposed to the constant gravel shower and flexing in an older van need a little attention... So does every vehicle traveling in the Outback, and if you do not, then you will have problems...

Some people have reported that if they tape over the window hinge when in the bulldust, it is not a problem… We have heard this from a number of sources, that a little strip of grey duct tape over the hinge when in the dust is the easiest solution… Maybe give it a try… Tracy and I have never had the problem, but him with four kids and me with three, we always have rear bunks and the short long windows that are only 280mm high.. They have not been a problem, it seems to be more of an issue with the taller windows of the 565mm high, where you have quite a bit of leverage on the window as you try and push it closed… So, take care...

Cheers from the Ranger, trying to do the right thing…. And be of a help....

This is a copy of TIP # 33 from last year, Regards, Ranger
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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