I thought I might catalogue the things that have broken since we left. It’s amazing that after four years of ownership we would have any significant issues, but it turns out that big trips are fantastic at making once reliable items pack in. Given that I expect the list to keep growing, I thought that I would make this a dedicated page rather than a post!!!
- Leaks I
So it started raining as soon as we left Brisbane after months of dry. We noticed the first leak in the ceiling vent in the front of the van and on investigation, when the Van is leaning forward, the water pools and the split caulking lets water in.
- Leaks II
Being a logical chap, I used our levelling blocks to lean the Van backwards slightly and lo-and-behold, the leak stopped. Result.
What I hadn’t realised that a second leak in the Shower-room vent was much more serious and only occurred when water pooled with a rearward slant. The carpet in the van was saturated and the stink pretty fierce for a few days.
Once the rain subsided, I was up on the roof with some silicone sealant and problem solved. Cost: $15
- Awning Trouble
For whatever reason, the awning winder decided to strip a tooth when we got to Chaffey Dam. This had the interesting effect of allowing the entire awning to unfurl in a single, noisy and rather disturbing woosh. Winston has still not recovered from the experience and the moment I go for the winder, he runs and hides! Getting a new winder was somewhat troublesome too. It is not an uncommon issue and there were only a handful in the country. I Had one posted to Lakes Entrance and fixed it there after having the thing strapped up to avoid further embarrassment. Cost: $150
- Fridge Woes
And would you believe it, the fridge wouldn’t ignite on gas when we were free camping at Ebor. It was working fine on 240v, but all our (Winstons!) frozen tucker was ruined. We managed to get a running repair done at Shell Harbour, but that lasted a few days before it broke again. At least we have learned how to manually light it now and can free camp with refrigeration. Cost so far $300
- Battered Battery Charger
I noticed that the on-board battery charger wasn’t working for the house battery. On investigation I found that there was a blown internal fuse. Fortunately I found a place at Lakes Entrance that sold the correct fuse so I bought three. On changing the fuse, it blew again. I checked the circuit for shorts and tried once more. Bang. I have one fuse left. I had packed a spare battery charger and that’s what is being used at the moment but it’s not really powerful enough for the job. A new one would cost $500 bucks! I think that this one isn’t over yet.
- Buggered Battery
Related to the broken Battery Charger? The house battery really wasn’t holding it’s charge and symptomatic of it being well past its use by date. To be fair, its never been replaced. It has now. Cost $250
- Leaks III
Ann woke up to a wet foot. Turned out her window was letting in water during the overnight showers we enjoyed whilst staying in Nurioopta. We’re experts at leaks now, and have plenty of silicone sealant to fix them.
- Wiper Woes
Where is the water when you want it? I thought that the wiper water bottle was empty, but alas it was full. Every time I used the wipers, the connecting hose in the engine bay came loose and sprayed water on the hot engine. After a while I got fed up with this and zip-tied the bloody thing on. Coming into Adelaide on a filthy day weather wise, I was cursing my luck as the issue re-materialised. I could hardly see through the muddy road spray and had to pull over to re connect the pipe. That’s when I discovered that, ahem, the water bottle was empty…
- The first time the propane gas alarm went off was as we were on the windy drive into the Adelaide Hills. Winston doesn’t like alarms. Nope, not at all. So he found some comfort in hiding behind daddy’s legs, which is inconvenient when said daddy is driving! Needless to say, it was a false alarm. A few days it went off again whilst driving and on further investigation it turns out that they have a limited life of 5 years and this unit was toast. One is on its way to Alice Springs for me to replace. $140, Ka-ching!
- Windscreen wipe-out
Ah yes, thank you Mr Truck Driver for shedding a rock from your lorry as it came off a side road. Crunch, crack, crikey! A nice crack is gradually heading upwards from near the base of the windscreen and it is a source of entertainment to see how far it travels each day. We could (should?) have had it changed in Broome, but I figured we should hold out until as late as possible. We get a free screen each year on our insurance, so our plan is to have it replaced just before renewal!!!
- A wheely bad day
After leaving Barn Hill Station after a lovely break on the coast, the rear handbreak pads decide to disintegrate on us! A very suspicious grinding started just as we reached the highway and it was very fortunately that it was only a couple of hundred of metres to a jolly palatial rest area with excellent Telstra reception. I got to flex my bush mechanic skills and removed each rear wheel for exploration and after an hour came to the conclusion that we were stuffed. One tow to Broome later, a real mechanic found the issue and got the van back on the road again, albeit shy of half of its hand breaking system. Will be continued in Perth, but so far: Tow $1043 ($600 covered by Recovery insurance), $77 for remedial mechanical work (Biggest bargain of the trip so far).
- September – That new windscreen has picked its first stone chip 🙁 It hasn’t run yet, but Ann suits looking at a nice rosette in front of her as we drive!
- October – We’ve just had to replace the hose of our auxiliary shower at $30. Not a big deal, but that rear shower head is a useful tool for cleaning dogs/shoes/etc, so needed fixing.
- October – Damn it, one of our rear tyres is badly scalloped and needs to be replaced as soon as possible to avoid a blow out. Of course Continental have discontinued the actual model so it looks like we will have to change two rather than just one…
- October 8th Sunday – packed up camp at Naracoorte, started the van, gave a cheery wave to the campsite managers and then noticed that no dials were functioning on the dashboard. Indicators not working either. A blown fuse was the first thought. After consulting the manual, the appropriate fuse was tested and found to be fine. Some jiggling with the other fuses and suddenly everything sprang into life again – a loose connection? At least this was a cost-free fix.
- Nov 15, Pop goes the tyre.
Those back tyres have been low for a while and whilst still legal, I would have normally changed them by now. That decision was taken out of my hands whilst driving back from Tasmania’s most southern point along a 20km unsealed track where I hit a sharp rock and the rest is history! A kind couple stopped to give moral support as I changed the wheel (it’s not great fun jacking up a 4 tonne van) and a fantastic workshop in Hobart got us another 2 new tyres within a couple of hours to see us safely on our adventures again! $425