Newby concerns

Submitted: Saturday, Dec 30, 2006 at 02:01
ThreadID: 123143 Views:3620 Replies:6 FollowUps:3
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My wife and I are looking to travel Oz and do so in comfort. We do have a very limited experience of caravanning (a camper trailor for a few years) but feel that it is the way to go. We have decided that BT is the only van to buy and look forward to getting up to Qld to see the factory for ourselves early next year.

I have been reading the BOG site on a daily basis for the past few weeks and whilst the site has more than confirmed the correctness of the decision to buy a BT I also note the level of technical skill that BT owners have in relation to vehicle maintenance, suspension issues, towing and other equipment required for on and off road travel, etc etc. My skill level is nowhere near that discussed by BOG members and consequently feel somewhat overwhelmed by the thought that should I have a problem somewhere in the never never, I may not be able to fix it.

As we are retired our intention is to travel on sealed roads for a few trips over the first year or so (out of school holiday periods) and gradually build up to the inland trips on unsealed roads.

I imagine it is all a matter of confidence and skill building over time but would be interested to hear from other owners who started out with the similar concerns.

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Reply By: Motley - Saturday, Dec 30, 2006 at 02:49

Saturday, Dec 30, 2006 at 02:49
Before taking delivery of our 20 foot BT in 2003, I had never towed anything bigger than a 6x4 trailer. I did as your are doing, pored over the various forums and asked a lot of questions.

We had camped with tents for many years so we knew why we were buying a caravan (don't have to pack it up wet, few more creature comforts etc). We didn't know anything about how they were fitted out, the black art of weight distribution hitches, brake controllers, bearing maintenance etc

Three years later, we have a BT with close to 90,000km on it and I would say to you that selecting Bushtracker was the best decision we could have made.

The van is so robust that in most cases preventative maintenance is all that is required and I have that done by a reputable service agent before any big trip because I do not feel that I have the necessary skills, knowledge or equipment to do it myself. We have not had a major problem in the bush except for the power plug being blown apart by a rock on the Birdsville Track. In that case the plug was repaired in Birdsville and a quick phone call to Bushtracker resulted in a wiring diagram for the plug being faxed to us within minutes!

The advice I would give based upon our experience is that you are probably less likely to encounter problems with a Bushtracker off road than possibly some other vans. As long as you have communication that works, people, including Bushtracker will help you.

If you use this forum to pose your questions, you will get good advice. As for towing a BT, it needs to be respected - right speed, right tow vehicle and a well maintained rig that is checked every time you hitch up. Then it becomes luxury on wheels!

Hope this helps

Motley

Life's too short to drink bad wine.

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AnswerID: 570049

Reply By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Saturday, Dec 30, 2006 at 06:39

Saturday, Dec 30, 2006 at 06:39
NC,
Like yourselves we are also retired and, like Motley, had never towed any bigger than a box trailer before researching and making the decision to buy a BT.

In retrospect it was undoubtedly the right decision for us - we have never, in 40,000k towing, had a problem with the BT. They are built to very high design standards and the quality of the engineering build is second to none - therefore you do not need mobs of technical 'know how' to keep it in perfect condition- only common sense.

Common sense will allow you to learn from BTi how to manage your batteries and have routine daily checks before departing. Plus in rough country you will learn how to manage you tyre pressures and speeds to suit the road conditions. Otherwise an annual check and a reputable service agent is all that is required.

Expert advise is available on the end of a phone and BT's after sales service in this respect is industry 'best practice' .

My advise is "Buy with confidense"

John
AnswerID: 570050

Reply By: CD & JW - Saturday, Dec 30, 2006 at 09:29

Saturday, Dec 30, 2006 at 09:29
Hi NC
Something which was helpful to us was visiting one of the Bushtracker rallies – you get a chance to see a lot of vans in one place and people love showing their choice and telling you the why’s and wherefore’s of Bushtracker travel. Even one day at a rally is worth it, and there is usually accommodation at the camp area or nearby. Take a camera and notebook, and keep your own perspective when you get home and look at the multiples of ideas. It seems some have bought second hand BT, and when they have their ideas settled, have bought the brand new one. (Watch the forum for a BT for sale.) Anyway each to their own. Happy planning. Then happy travelling.
C& J
AnswerID: 570051

Reply By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Saturday, Dec 30, 2006 at 20:33

Saturday, Dec 30, 2006 at 20:33
NC,

Ditto to what everyone has said. We were newbies too but soon got the hang of it. We live in our van permanently (when we are not living over in the UK) and will be setting off soon to travel again.

Where are you based? Perhaps some local BT owner will let you not only look at their van but share their experiences.

Oh, and a trip to the factory is a must. You will meet some great people and have a look firsthand at why BT's are so popular.

Angie
AnswerID: 570052

Reply By: Newchum - Saturday, Dec 30, 2006 at 22:08

Saturday, Dec 30, 2006 at 22:08
Folks

Thanks for the responses (nothing less than I would have expected from the BOG). I must say that it helps tp have my feeling re the BT confirmed. I have considered a number of diffferent vans over the past couple of years and came down to 4. However, it was the BOG and the forum comments that peresuaded me (even before a visit to the BT factory that BT was the one to own. Hopefully we will do this in the next 12 to 18 mths.

Thanks again for the advice and thoughts.

AnswerID: 570053

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Dec 31, 2006 at 22:39

Sunday, Dec 31, 2006 at 22:39
One more thought Newchum,

Once you are in the system and have a van Ordered, you can get onto the Owners Forum. I have a huge amount of TIPS there that will help you get the experience you need. You will have at least six months to study all of that material and ask questions, and I can even send you pictures. It is not as hard as it might seem. In fact I try and make it interesting..

Just a little hill if you take it one step at a time... Words of wit from the lone Ranger...
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FollowupID: 846812

Reply By: Newchum - Monday, Jan 01, 2007 at 01:11

Monday, Jan 01, 2007 at 01:11
To the lone Ranger

Thanks. I am hoping to see a BT in the next couple of weeks and at Malacoota in the new year. I look forward to becoming a BT owner.

AnswerID: 570054

Follow Up By: RasCam - Thursday, Jan 11, 2007 at 02:06

Thursday, Jan 11, 2007 at 02:06
Hi all, I am a non owner of a BT and am interested in viewing or talking to any owners in FNQ, namely around the Cairns area. My choice of van type is down to 4 and need to lower it even further. Didn't realise it was such a huge effort in deciding on a van. Cheers.
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FollowupID: 846813

Follow Up By: Darcy - Thursday, Feb 15, 2007 at 17:37

Thursday, Feb 15, 2007 at 17:37
I am going through a similar exercise, have camped etc, only two people, want something strong enough to cover most country dirt raods without "doing the Simpson". My diliberations have me torn between two levels, Kimberley Karavan and Bushtracker. They are very different for a start the Karavan weighs only 1500kg and is being pulled adeqauetly by Prado level vehicles, it is small, more compact. But then I don't intend to live in it for the rest of my (our) life. We are only two and ususally spend more time sittting around outside the van (tent) than in it.

Both vans seem well constructed for what each is, have good suspension etc. Price difference in the 16 - 18 foot level is of little consequence (even more so if you buy a second hand bushtracker. The primary differences being size and weight and the fact that I therefore need a much bigger total set up to encompass a Bushtracker.

What are the thorughts of those out there that may have had similar experiences. I realsie that the Karavan has only been on the market 12 months so I doubt there are people that have had both but there are older hibrides of similar concepts.

Thanks
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FollowupID: 846814

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