Two of the more popular 4WD touring and towing vehicles, the Ford Ranger and the Mazda BT-50, are currently involved in a serious brake recall.
The Mazda BT-50, specifically MY2016-2018 models, have potential problems with front brake hoses and front brake calipers, affecting 30,505 vehicles.
Ford has also placed a recall on their Ranger models built from 1 March 2016 through 13 July 2018 (MY2016-2018) with potential brake hose problems. The Campaign Number is 19S12 and affects 89,094 vehicles.
A second recall by Ford, under Campaign Number 19S10, affects certain Ranger vehicles built from 7 March 2018 through 13 April 2018 (MY2018) and involves 4648 vehicles at risk of brake failure.
The ACCC reported that the failure of the front brake hose or cracking of the front brake caliper could lead to a loss of brake fluid, causing increased brake pedal travel and increased stopping distances. This increases the risk of an accident.
Each company will be contacting owners who are affected, however more information can be found at https://www.productsafety.gov.au/ where there is a VIN number list available.
Alternatively, you can contact Mazda Customer Support on 1800 034 411 or Ford Ranger owners can contact the Ford Customer Relationship Centre on 1800 503 672.
Opalite’s Skoot Tandem Caravans have been recalled due to a safety hazard, specifically, the models with independent suspension and gross trailer mass (GTM) rating of 2600kg and above.
Despite being marked with a gross trailer mass (GTM) rating of 2600kg or above, the axle bearings on the affected Skoot vans are unable to support a GTM in excess of 2500kg. If the caravan reaches a GTM in excess of 2500kg, there is the risk of the axle bearings failing and the wheels dislocating, which, as you can imagine, has the potential to cause a serious accident and poses a major safety risk to the driver, passengers and other road users.
If you own an affected van, you will need to contact your local Opalite Caravans dealer to arrange for replacement control arm hubs and bearings to be installed. In the meantime, to err on the side of caution, you should either stop using your caravan altogether, or at the very least avoid overloading it (in excess of 2500kg) until repairs have been carried out.
We take the Retreat electric caravan on the red stuff! - YouTube
Our intrepid testers hauled the Retreat from Laverton along the Old Laverton Road to the Deep Well area, a favourite spot for some time-out. This road was rough and in very poor condition, which really tested the dirt road driveability of the van.
The weather has been good with sunny days hovering around the 20°C mark. With very chilly mornings, the electric blankets are a welcome way to get a great night’s sleep. Of course, the heater on the reverse-cycle unit could be used, although it’s not as toasty warm as being in bed with the electric blanket on!
The sun is dipping lower during the day, meaning less battery recovery time. Having said that, the team reported the battery at 78 percent and averaging around 850 watts of solar gain at midday. As the crew hit Laverton for Mother’s Day, they met up with the engineering team to carry out extensive tests on the solar system and the electrics; everything was working well and as expected.
Panel testing at Laverton WA
The crew will now head north-west towards Geraldton and some sea and salt exposure before they head for the Gibb River area in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned to RV Daily as the electric caravan adventures continue soak up the sun through WA.
I don’t usually write this message, but Editor Tim Scott has afforded me the privilege of his column inches this month. Why? Because I felt that if ever a publisher needed a platform, it was probably this edition.
This month’s cover story centres upon a significant issue in the caravan industry. I’ll let you read that story and make your mind up as to whether we should or should not have published it. But when you make your mind up, consider this.
As a publisher, we are servants of our readers. If we publish a magazine that lacks integrity, lacks guts, and lacks honesty, then you probably won’t bother to read the next edition. It’s a simple transaction really. We publish interesting and informative articles that make a difference to your life, and you continue reading the next edition.
So how do we make a buck and continue to afford to publish a free magazine? The more people that read our magazine, the better it is for those who advertise within our pages. Pretty simple really. And it seems to work, as more than 150,000 unique readers scroll through this magazine every month. RV Daily remains the most read caravan magazine in Australia.
Yet historically, it has been rare to see a controversial or investigative story in a caravan magazine. Unfortunately, many readers’ gut feelings have been correct. ‘Cash for comment’ has been an issue over the years. Yet we consider ourselves rather different from other publishers. You see, we think it’s important for our readers to know what is going on.
We think they should know that an ‘Of The Year Award’ is not necessarily made up of the best products on the market – merely the ones most willing to spend the money to qualify. And we think it’s important for readers to know if judging criteria has been modified or tweaked to suit a certain outcome. Why? Because the more honest the media is, the more the manufacturers are held to account.
Ultimately, the cream rises to the top. Companies tend to listen that little harder to a problem that’s in the public sphere, and consumers get a better product. And of course we get a stronger industry. Because that is, after all, our main game – to build a better industry.
We believe caravan and motorhome travel is a glorious pursuit, which should be celebrated. Sure, there will be those who will argue that we’re vilifying another publisher. Believe me, that’s not the case. If we ever err in our judgement, I wouldn’t judge them for writing about us. It’s the media’s job to publish the facts, however unpalatable they may seem at the time.
There’s a lot of fun to be had by going off grid. Our crew started the week with 56 percent battery charge, and while there’s been some cloud, there’s been sun, sun, sun!
After heading out from Laverton, and with gold prospecting a passion, the team ended up finding 11 pieces of the precious metal over the week – a great result considering the gold detector needed some repairs. Apart from spending time under the glorious WA sun, there was some work done on the van.
John updated and fine-tuned the liveability of the test van, fitting rails in the shower and both bedroom side cupboards. These are ongoing little mods to make travel more comfortable. Some minor repairs were needed to stop dust coming through the step and securing the fridge front panel, which had slipped down; another easy fix.
A slight dust leak
Enjoying a cuppa
John also fitted and tested Cel-fi GO, which works like a charm offering full mobile signal in an area where we could not get a signal in previous years. This just adds to the connectedness for remote travellers.
The week out in the outback gold detecting was successful with some gold, beautiful sunshine daily and also a more relaxed, generator-free experience. Stay tuned to RV Daily as the electric caravan adventures continue through WA.
The Australian Motorhoming Lions Club (AMLC) is organising to set two world records – the longest parade of camping vehicles (RVs) currently set at 672, and the longest connected image of an LED rope light. Just quietly, they are expecting to smash this record!
These events, along with a host of other events around the record attempts, will be held at Barcaldine Queensland, commencing 23 May 2019. Some other comps include “Best decorated RVs, day and night”. There is a raft of prizes on offer and it will be a lot of fun. There’s plenty of merchandising available online too.
If you want to participate, it’s important that you email the event organisers ASAP at email@example.com.Pic by M Street
As a part of bringing life to towns surrounding Barcaldine, the Barcaldine Regional Challenge has been set up. Essentially, when you visit the towns of Alpha, Jericho, Aramac, Muttaburra and Barcaldine and the participating stores, you’ll get tickets to go into the draw to win $500. Participating stores will have posters to guide participants. Go to the website www.thelongestline.net.au.
for more details.
The City of Casey, one of the larger councils in Melbourne’s outer east, has been questioned over charging residents for storage caravans, trailers and even boats on their own property.
The fees, according to the forms RV Daily obtained, stated that the application cost, which is not refundable, is $120 while the yearly fee was $420 on the Casey website. Owners would have to supply a site plan of where the units would be stored and neighbours contacted to find out whether this would affect them. A council inspection would also take place.
When RV Daily contacted the City of Casey they were told that there would be clarifications next week and no further comment was available. The outcry on social media has alerted Casey Councillors that this sort of money grab won’t be tolerated.
According to Casey rules, anyone living in a caravan for longer than 14 days will also need a permit although you can get a permit to live in a temporary dwelling for 60 days according to the form.
Watch this space as RV Daily follows up with Casey to find out.
After powering three vans in Coolgardie where the State of Charge (SoC) dropped to just 23.4 percent as per our last update, the gasless van was allowed some time to recharge in the glorious sun. In fact the van jumped up to 55 percent in just a day!
While our crew had no luck with finding any gold, the lease holder found a ripper 3.5oz nugget just to rub things in.
The team moved from Coolgardie to Kalgoorlie with the idea of re-stocking and servicing the Ranger and after observing ANZAC Day remembrances, they fitted two motion-activated sensor lights to the van, one light for the rear and one for above the door. It was so popular in the park apparently you can buy a sensor light in town anymore!A sensor light was a great addition to the Retreat
The aluminium decorative strip (covering the black Raptor coating to the white composite wall) had fallen off in the caravan park, so as part of the service work John proceeded to clean it up to allow it to be refixed with glue and screws.
The week ended with the van up to 63 percent charge having been used a lot for washing clothes and the like. The Ranger had been repaired and serviced and the team will be heading off north to some distant remote area goldfields.
Stay tuned to RV Daily as the electric caravan adventures continue through WA with a gold prospecting win in mind!
The new MY19 Isuzu D-MAX and MU-X have just launched, and brought with them very few changes. Despite more than a few spy images of the new mule getting around, it appears that we will have to wait at least until next year to see a new model. Isuzu have, however, added a few creature comforts and aesthetics to keep the D-MAX and MU-X relevant. It is good to know that the platform is unchanged, so it remains a tried and tested towing and four-wheel drive platform.
So what changes are there?
MY19 Isuzu D-MAX
The new D-MAX features mostly aesthetic changes, with a set of new 18×7″ aluminium wheels, matte black centre caps, and wrapped in 255/60R18 Toyo Open Country highway terrain rubber. Side steps fitted to the LS-U and LS-T models are now a fibre-reinforced polymer, offering better protection and grip under-foot, compared with the aluminium option of old. The lower air-intake grille of the LS-M, LS-U and LS-T models are now matte black, and the roof rails and B-pillar feature black trim. To the interior for the D-MAX, passive entry and start system (push button start) is now available across all LS-T 4X4 and 4X2 models. As a new accessory, the D-MUX now has the option to have front park-assist sensors added, when in drive.
MY19 Isuzu MU-X
The new MU-X gets a few more interior trim upgrades, as well as some exterior. The MU-X also receives a set of new 18×7″ aluminium wheels, with gloss black centre cap, wrapped in 255/60R18 Bridgestone Dueler highway terrain tyres. The radiator grille styling has been changed up a touch, with the LS-M model being finished in grey, while the LS-U and LS-T feature chrome. To the interior, the LS-M, LS-U and LS-T models receive piano black interior door trims, indirect ambient lighting in the door trims (LS-T model), and a lighter slow speed steering re-calibration to the steering rack and ECM.
Accessories in the MU-X now include blind-spot monitoring, with the sensors added to the rear bumper, and the indicators affixed to the A-pillar. This also offers Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which warns the driver of approaching objects (vehicles, bikes, people), well outside field of view, when parallel parked.
Across the range, warranty is now set at six years (150,000km), with six years roadside assist, and seven years capped price servicing (up to 105,000km). Servicing schedules are also out at 12 months/15,000km. Servicing is capped at $3600 over the seven-year/105,000km period.
But what next?
As we said above, we were a little disappointed with the minimal changes in this year’s model, however we should have expected that. Plus we get to hold on to what has become a staple in the towing world for another year. The current model is now in its seventh year, chances are the designers and engineering teams are hard at work on the new model. Despite many questions directed to the Isuzu team at the launch, they would not be baited into offering up any information on a new model, or when it would launch, so for the moment, we have to go with spy pics, and doing the math.
There is also the new X-RUNNER model that adds some rather tasteful additions to the D-MAX, however it retains the H/T tyres, and is essentially a sticker/trim pack, but we’ll go further into this at a later date. So the undying question now becomes, do you jump on what could be the last of such a solid model, or do you wait until next year to see what happens? Let us know your thoughts on the new MY19 Isuzu D-MAX and MU-X below.
Now here’s something a little different for you. The ‘Notel’ is a collection of six boutique ’70s Airstream caravans on the rooftop of a multi-level carpark on Flinders Lane, right in the heart of Melbourne. Sourced from the west coast of the US, these spacious, retro-chic caravans promise a luxurious experience to all who visit – perfect if you’re wanting to explore Melbourne without tugging the van around in city traffic, but still want the experience of staying in a caravan. #vanlife, am I right?
Melbourne has plenty of high-altitude experiences on offer, but it doesn’t get much more unique than this…
Within the 31-foot van, you will find a queen-size bed, full-size shower, split system A/C, and even a complementary mini bar complete with wine, gourmet chocolate and chips. There’s also a ‘virtual concierge’ (we’re just as intrigued as you are), an iPad Pro with Netflix, and of course free WiFi. But before you settle in for an extra-indulgent movie night, why not enjoy an evening meal on your own decked area?
And, if you’re willing to pay the extra $45 per night to upgrade, you’ll also get your very own spa and prime view of Flinders Lane, so you can watch all the commoners scurrying the streets below as you sip (and soak in) bubbles on the rooftop.
The ‘retro-futuristic’ interiors, designed by Melbourne-based architects Edwards Moore, are surprisingly comfy and spacious
At $395 per night (and that’s just for the regular package), it’s hard to justify staying at the Notel when you can pull up your own van at a regular old caravan park for a fraction of the price, but it’s certainly a cool concept and something to consider if you’re exploring Melbourne and craving a bit of luxury.
The retro-chic ensuite even has a full-size shower
For all the details, click here to visit the Notel website.