Pre-Trip Second Hand Bushtracker Inspection Idea.... Feedback??? Safety???

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 01:20
ThreadID: 123258 Views:5622 Replies:9 FollowUps:14
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Now, Boggers to be, don't take this wrong. I am not looking for more business in this fashion, I am asking about the idea of a Service to help you along, OK? We have won the race, we are Number One in Australia, we do not need more work, we are Booked out as far or further than we have ever been... So don't take this wrong.

This is just a question, to see if you think it would be a good idea. Since I am laid up until next week, on a couple of scotches, I have the opportunity to run some ideas past some of you, OK?

I don't know what it would cost, I don't know if we can really even afford the time, really. But in an earnest effort to take care of you, even if you are a Pre-Loved Bushtracker Owner, I wonder if this is not a good idea? Now I have not had a Staff meeting on it yet, and I don't know the cost, just to pick a figure say $499 including the following:

1) We show you all through the van and how it runs.
2) We show you how all the design is supposed to work and why, and how it is equipped.
3) We tear down the brakes and inspect... And tear down bearings, inspect, repack.
4) We inspect the springs, how it is sitting, pivot blocks, seats and the rest...
5) We load test the batteries and inspect the electrical system
6) We test the solar panels and systems
7) We generally go over the van, looking for the kinds of things that could cause you problems on a big trip out west...

Now don't get me wrong, I am speaking frankly here, off my antibiotics and now on my second four fingered scotch... This is NOT about any economic gain. Sure, I have a responsibility to 50 families to keep the Shop going and pay the Bills.. Sure there are economic realities with the cost of running a business this size.. But this is not the motivation. My motivation in considering this, is Service to help you along, to prevent problems out there in remote regions... Secondly, some of you call us about things that you should know about already! That is, somehow you are buying the van and not getting any understanding of how to run it..

In all fairness, there is also a safety issue. Some of these vans could have worn out hitches or something that makes them unfit to tow in remote regions, and you are our Ambassadors, second hand or new. I want you safe, and happy, out there having fun.

So what do you think of the idea? Does it have merit? Would you be interested?
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Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 01:36

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 01:36
Sounds an excellent idea Steve. But it would only be if the vans were being purchased near Brisbane. It would not only help the purchaser ensure everything is up to scratch before setting out on their adventures with confidence and safety, but would also help for those people we meet occasionally who think something is wrong and blame the van, without considering that it may have been in an accident, or the appliances not properly maintained in it's past life.

Keep up the Scotches - the idea is good - keep 'em coming

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Mobi Condo - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 02:17

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 02:17
Ah! There it is - your lovely pic! Did not appear at first Mother hen!
Any ways back onto thread - Hmm! Good for Brissy area etc. Guess the topic of "trust" of interstate agents to do a like and equally reliable thing for BTi is sort of in my mind. The idea of remote "agents" may be a bit far fetched and maybe strikes fear into the heart of BTi :-) LOL
I only say this because although I tend to do all my stuff (just spent Aust Day morning on the bearings and brake lining inspection and brake adjustment after just over a year of use.) and then after todays home maintenace stuff will go and do the HWS anode inspection!
Getting the time and the timing as well to do a trip to BTi for such would be a problem to us; HOWEVER we hope to get to Brisbane area over Christmas New Year and then in to mid Jan 2007 -2008 and was going to find out when BTi get going again in the new year 2008 - why - because I would like a full inspection of van and test of electrical system (I am a tad under knowledged and skilled in elctrical stuff).
If we were much closer then I would be one to use such a service and possibly annually!
Cheers - Ian & Sally
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Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 04:34

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 04:34
Hi Ian and Sally

I recently updated the rig pic to the one i have been using on ExplorOz for some time. It was the culmination of the most colourful and amazing sunrise when parked at a glorious spot on a peninsular at Lake Alexandrina, taken just as the sun broke through. The original picture was a little dark, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology my rig pic was born.

I am still working on my trip notes, having completed Tasmania, and am at this moment describing that sunrise and re-living the memories.

Motherhen
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Reply By: TroopyTracker - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 03:21

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 03:21
Steve,

Sounds like a great idea that many I'm sure would take advantage of. Would save so much unneccessary angst that many seem to go through just because they have little idea how some things work. Would suggest the 12 volt system would be worth spending the most time on, seems to be the least understood thing for many.

I have another idea re manuals. What if you had detailed instructions for each component/system in BT's, and could quickly tailor make a manual based on what systems,/components van in question has. A small questionnaire for the owner to fill out would tell you guys whats needed, and with afew clicks of the mouse you could have a custom manual printed. You could charge a fee for this and I'm sure many owners would love one of these (particularly owners of 2nd hand vans).

Many people would never use the internet or the BOG so this would give them access to some very useful info-although encouraging them here would be better!! Owners of 2nd hand vans only have the original owners view of things which might be fine but might also include alot of misinformation.

Problem-I could see your hard work being ripped off more easily as once all this was in print (off the owners BOG) others would plagiarise, at least in part and this would peeve me if I were you.

If have an issue I ask here and if all owners were on the BOG that would be perfect but it ain't gonna happen.

Please feel free to tell this idea is no good, just something I had floating around my head.

Matt
AnswerID: 570378

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 23:25

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 23:25
Thank you Matt,
and thank you all for keeping me occupied on the keyboard while I am laid up...

Look Matt, on the Manual Idea, great idea but just not practical... I thought I answered this but must have pushed the wrong button. It would be a full time job for someone, as yes while we put in a complete Owners Manual in all the vans in the last couple of years, we could not figure out what had been done in the Older vans. What has been changed, what gear has been upgraded, we really could not put together a manual without a complete inspection. But, if we got this program up, and went through the van to see what had been modified or changed, then maybe we could put one together then.. Otherwise it might do more harm than good...

Good idea, well taken... Keep em coming Matt...
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Reply By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 03:21

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 03:21
I think it is a good idea full stop - and not just for pre-loved BT buyers. Us over here in the real outback of WA would love to call into BT on the occassional trip "t'other side' and get such a service done.

We will call in next time we gert over your way - could be a while yet.

Keep the scotch going

John and Jean
AnswerID: 570379

Reply By: Bob & Chris - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 19:37

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 19:37
HI Steve
Glad to here you are feeling better.Yes I like the idea of a service,inspection.As we get older the joints are not as flexible. I service my van before every big trip,bearings etc.Done just over 80,000klms,just replaced pivot blocks etc.I would pay $500 as I know one fellow that had his bearings cleaned and greased for $500.The problem with this service was that 3 hubs had red grease coming out of the dust caps and blue from the other,so he didnot know what sort of service he had received.Yes I think that if you are about to sell your BT a service report for the purchaser would be great, Bob
AnswerID: 570380

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 19:53

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 19:53
Hello Bob,
Thank you, I am feeling better, on the mend, off most Dopey meds, and will even get into work tomorrow (just not driving til Wed on a promise to my Surgeon) and no lifting or horses for three weeks... Bummer... ! Comments on your points as they were all good:

Bearings serviced for $500 ?????????? He should have called the Police, Rape and Robbery are illegal. I would think a COMPLETE replacement of bearings might get close, but I would not have paid that OUTRAGEOUS PRICE... !!! Somebody got taken. Now if spring packs were dropped, pivot blocks, brakes serviced, .... maybe...
But just bearing serviced? Can't see that figure..

You got good mileage out of your pivot blocks at 80,000 kms. I cannot account for some getting far less for about a six month period... As if they were all driving hard or it was a bad mix or batch, but the Manufacturer denys and says he can prove that there was not any mix change...

On your idea of a Pre-Purchase... I like it, but have reservations. Some people are too cheap for their own good. I had one Character years ago, come in with 100,000 kms on his, and could not even remember servicing them in the past couple of years. He wanted me to grease and repack them, and I said no, only if he was prepared to put in all new bearings because of extreme mileage and lack of service; they were not likely to pass inspection... He actually declined, and drove it away!!!! I would not like to get in front of a sale, with feelings that I had prejudiced the transaction either by being too strict or too slack on our Inspection. I could catch it (the prevervial) from either direction... While I like your idea, I don't know.. We could however give a Certificate of current condition, brakes-bearings-springs-batteries-solar-charger-pumps- that all the gear was in working order??? Just not at the time of sale getting caught between two Owners could be messy...

Thank you for you thinking... It is all a big help..
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FollowupID: 847069

Reply By: Xautoman - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 20:19

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 20:19
Hi i have just joined your Bog site . After seeing one of your van in SA while on holidays this year my mine has been made up. Just like my HSV Holden I JUST WANT ONE . After asking the owners if we could have a look inside and 3 hours later after detailing all the pros and cons from the frame to the solar power I was sold . So I have been looking around at second hand vans (hard to find ) and i feel your service could be a very good selling tool :ie as the van part could be serviced and a full report on condition given at point of sale and the the new owner could at maybe a later date be given the how to use 1 hour guided tour . This would sure give a buyer confidence and the owner a sale .

cheers mark
AnswerID: 570381

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 22:52

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 22:52
Hello Mark, WELCOME TO THE FORUM !!!! Regards, lone Ranger

(aka Steven T. Gibbs, Director, Bushtracker), only here to do a service and be of help. I actually have nothing to do with finance or administration of this site. But if you contact us on our Website, the Contact Us button, I will answer any questions to help you in your quest. I promise you one thing, we do our best to do the right thing by people always, and that and the best product, with the Blessing of the Lord, is the reason for our Success.. Regards LR
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FollowupID: 847070

Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 23:52

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 23:52
Hi Mark, Like you, when we saw our first BT, my husband would not consider buying anything else.

We'd tended to spend our holidays looking at other people's rigs before the sites we'd come to see, so had a few options to compare. Then in 2003 in the Karajini NP we saw some Qlders with the Bushtracker drive past - Wow - what was that! Then when we camped, we discovered it camped not far away. We spent some time talking to the owners.

We only saw the outside (and a peep underneath). After that it was a BT or nothing!
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Reply By: gottabjoaken - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 21:51

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 21:51
Steve,

If I was selling a Bushtracker, I would certainly have that sort of service and condition certificate done before the sale, how else would you prepare a $50k+ item for sale? Polish the door handles???

And when I buy one I would expect the seller to have had the confidence to have it done first. To hear "I do all the maintenance myself" would be a huge turnoff.

But "I do all the maintenance myself - it is easy, but here is the certificate from the manufacturer that they have done this and this, and that all the rest is good" would be a huge turn-on!!

However the real big problem is that you are in Brisbane. And that seems to be where all the vans are too.

What is wrong with the best part of the world - South Australia????

Anyway, apart from realising we are likely to have to make trips to Qld even to look at vans, we had already determined that you would be the first port of call for a safety inpection, repairs and guidance, even at the cost of a couple more trips.

Ken and Joan
AnswerID: 570382

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 23:17

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 23:17
I understand Ken and Joan,

A couple of point, second hand vans are all over, from Tasmania to Broome. We are an hour north of Brisbane and if there are a few of them for sale up here this month it is just coincidence. Next month it may be three in Sydney...

Second of all, $50k ? The last couple of 3 1/2 year old vans sold for $85,000 and one brought it here for $7000 in Modifications so his cost $92k. He would have been better off getting in the Production Schedule for new, but some people just cannot wait.

As to source... Distance is always a problem. And there is just not enough of me or Tracy to start another Factory in some place like Melbourne. Quality of life and our Families come first. That is why the picking of the great Bogger brains in this Thread...

Look, the truth is, we just could not educate another source to do the job that we would do. It is education, and experience, and Ethics, and Dedication, and trust, and to be quite frank we could not trust another source not to be corrupt and put money first... We will only do the right thing, and to tell you the truth, it may only be possible for such a program to be done here..

As for S.A. there is always hope for you to move up here to "Gods Country" Ha! LR
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FollowupID: 847072

Follow Up By: gottabjoaken - Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 03:05

Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 03:05
Oh, I know.
$50k... I am just trying to seed the market.
Some people are prepared to pay too much!!!
Let's bring the prices down, I say !!

(as if !!)

Ken
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Follow Up By: F Troop - Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 20:54

Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 20:54
You won't say that when you own one!
Graham
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FollowupID: 847074

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 21:33

Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 21:33
Guys, I will give you a guess about the economics of it all.... Only a guess, but:

I suppose in hard times, we might see some lower prices on Bushtrackers in the 50's for late model well equipped ones, and F-250's second hand for $30,000 well equipped and cared for....

Yea, when pigs fly!!! Ha! Mind you I am only guessing, but thas is not the trend in 10 years so far... In fact, quite the opposite has been happening...

My guess is that with world debt like it is, there might be more of a chance of some hyperinflation to lower the relative debt burden. The last time we had such a trend was in the 70's. I saw new Mercedes costing $10,000 in 1970, loved and driven for ten years, then sold for $10,000 in 1980... Just a guess now, but I am looking right now for second hand units and in all fairness for the first time there are NONE in the Caravan Trader Magazine that I could see.?? And the RV Point that has had a peak of 20 for sale (with half already sold but still on the site) only has 5 or so for sale???

It is hard to read the future, but as Director I can safely say that right now, Demand far outstrips supply. I get converts from every major Manufacturer you can mention. And the major reason we don't keep them is we are Booked out too far. Many people tell us we are too cheap for what we offer, in comparison to the so called competition, we are no longer expensive. Due to the rising costs of doing business and cost of basic materials, I would expect a price increase by midyear sometime, June to August. And an interesting fact is that about 42 out 44 that have gotten a second van from us, have sold their first van at a profit over what they paid for it. So much for devaluation and depreciation. Actually it appears the just the opposite is happenin: Appreciation, something unheard of, but happening....

Regards, lone Ranger with a murky crystal ball...

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FollowupID: 847075

Follow Up By: TroopyTracker - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2007 at 02:57

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2007 at 02:57
Steve,

Just yesterday I was on the Trading Post web page checking out a friends listing for their phoneix(she did try to get a BT!). While I was there I did a search for BT's and thought it would come up with a dozen or so as there was something like 3000 vans listed, 0 results for "bushtracker"!?

Have spoken to several owners of off road vans other than BT and they say they would have bought a BT but thought they started at $100k or something stupid that someones told them. Often, they payed the same or more than we did for a similar spec BT!

Not sure why I'm posting this as I don't want the price to go up either! We may well be ordering again in the next few years (bigger).

Matt

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FollowupID: 847076

Follow Up By: TroopyTracker - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2007 at 03:35

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2007 at 03:35
Meant to add,
Boroma has several on the same site for sale as factory stock?? I notice another decent van maker (IMO) Evernew , seem to be able to have stock for sale. Are they having more trouble selling or is this just a different way of doing things??

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FollowupID: 847077

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2007 at 22:34

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2007 at 22:34
Matt,
I have to answer your direct question, but it is a bit difficult to not prejudice the answer. I would just say a couple of facts: We get converts from just about every possible manufacturer of vans out there. When they are getting into trouble in remote regions, who do you think they meet up with???

Secondly, I cannot explain why we are at what seems a historic low in second hand Bushtracker vans. The answer could be from one spectrum of more evidence that we are Number One in Australia, to something as simple as the explanation that it is just a temporary statistical anomaly... (In statistical analysis you get freak situations of coincidence, and often to get a better picture when you throw out the highest and lowest values to fine the mean average)... Not meaning any disrespect to you, just an explanation to further understanding... Regards, .................Ranger
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FollowupID: 847078

Reply By: TRAVLN - Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 22:05

Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 22:05
Steve,

An excellent idea! As a potential purchaser of a 2nd hand BT I would have contacted you anyway to ask you to give my purchase a once over to ensure everything worked the way it was intended. The idea of giving a thorough 'orientation' would be an added bonus.

I also think the idea of a manual that could be put together would be helpful.

As has been mentioned, many Boggers may mave misconceptions as to how things really work, and this could be corrected instead of passed on to a 2nd hand purchaser.

Carl
AnswerID: 570383

Reply By: The paca people - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2007 at 06:07

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2007 at 06:07
Hi Steve,
Let us get back to the question of a "Works Service/Review" for a sum (say $500 as suggested by you) - the original subject of this Thread rather than stock and market prices of pre-loved caravans.

Great Idea - The Works Service !!! I had already thought to bring our 18' in for a check-over later this year when half way thru our proposed RoundOz trip before we hit the rougher stuff outback in Qld and NT. Your suggested Plan is even better.

One other item which may be worth considering is wheel alignment; it is adjustable and although our tyres all look OK and no telltale feather edges to indicate mis-alignment scuffing, I would be happy having an alignment check done by professionals. The sturdy suspension could have been jolted out of true by any number of incidents and a check is much better than a subsequent problem. I do realise the incidence of mis-alignment is probably rather rare.

If I recall correctly, is there not an auto mechanic shop opposite the BT works who does wheel alingments for BT [assuming BT do not do this job themselves] ?

Cheers from Martin B.
AnswerID: 570384

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Jan 30, 2007 at 19:41

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2007 at 19:41
Hello Martin,
In response to your questions, you stand more risk in doing an unnecessary alignment that leaving it alone.. What I mean to say, is if it is running true and straight and there are no wear patterns emerging, I would not touch it.... "Don't 'Fix it' if it ain't broke" syndrome... That is my suggestion.

As to the Mechanic across the street, I keep trying to Retire him and buy his building, Ha! But yes, we are too busy to do much mechanical maintenance, and so we send bearing and brakes and such jobs over to him.. I think his prices are fair. And he comes over for parts and we go over for advice, as needed. I hope to buy another lot or shop within walking distance to Institute this project, and to do other maintenance, warranty, and Insurance work, so we can speed up our Production Schedule...
Just let us know enough in advance to book in work, as he is busy too......

Best Regards, Ranger
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FollowupID: 847079

Reply By: Bushabout - Wednesday, Jan 31, 2007 at 02:48

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2007 at 02:48
Hi Steve,

We trust you are making a speedy recovery?

As a purchaser of a Pre-Loved Bushtracker this is a great idea, and we would have been a customer.

Fortunately in our case the seller had plenty of time to spend a week, on and off with us whilst we lived in the Bushtracker thus giving us a very informed orientation. Plus some very valuable driver / towing training.

Our first stop after departing Sydney was Vic Wickman's 4 wheel drive training facility in Braidwood.

Perhaps a 4 Wheel Drive and Towing Training facility on your horse ranch is something you could also incorporate in your "Value Added BTi Products"

Both myself and my wife ( Sue ) found the training invaluable. The course covered all aspects of 4 wheel driving, plus vehicle recovery with Snatch Strap, Big Haul Winches, Exhaust Jack's etc. Plus vehicle inpection and maintenance issues.

Having towed nothing bigger than a 4 x 6 box trailer, the towing and revese technique gave us both the confidence to handle the tow safely.On completion of the course Sue was now confident in towing and or hooking up the Bushtracker in an emergency. An added bonus was Sue had a feel for what our 80 series Land Cruiser could handle, now we were ready to go offroad, and 5 star camping!

Cheers
Graham & Sue
"Unemployed & Lovin IT"
AnswerID: 570385

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