Outback Touring – Preparation

Outback Touring - Preparation

We suggest the following preparation before you embark on a tour.

Item/Modification/Task Benefit/Reason Notes
Install a Friction Sway Control. Keeps van under control in sandy or muddy conditions. Subject to the weight ratio of the car and caravan.
Ensure Two Spare Caravan Wheels are carried. Because travelling without a functional spare creates anxiety that will spoil the experience.
Fit deflector plates to shield all exposed PVC pipes under the floor. Stones will quickly shatter any exposed PVC piping.
Fit water tank guards to cover the tanks and the inlet and outlet barbs. The plastic tanks and fittings are highly vulnerable to stones. Your water is very important.
Carry a second gas bottle. LP Gas may not always be available. Ensure the means of storing and securing the bottle is adequate.
Adequate ground clearance for the caravan is a must. Prevent the van under belly from bottoming out due to sandy tracks, wheel ruts or the like. We recommend a minimum of 17″ coupling height.
Fit hold down mechanisms for stove lids, microwave and fridge doors. On corrugated roads a fridge door can swing open and make one hell of a mess. Octopus straps with anchor points work well.
Check that the fridge, stove and microwave are well fixed to the body. Again the corrugations will force heavy objects free of any inadequate mountings. eg. The fridge chassis should be bolted through the floor.
Ensure that the caravan fridge works well on 12 volts from the car and is satisfactorily insulated and vented. Anticipate hot weather so get the best out of your refrigerator whilst you are both driving and stationary.
Seal any obvious dust entry spots: wheel arches, around pipes etc. Otherwise you may encounter bull dust in the van for a long time after. A pressure vent or four seasons hatch does help.
Seek advice as to whether an A-Frame Stress Rail is required. A stress rail gives the A-Frame extra support and reduces flexing. Particularly important where the draw bar is light weight.
Carry a spare caravan chassis spring, U Bolts and Fish Plate. Relatively easy for a local workshop to fit if required but difficult to procure.
Ensure the caravan body is well attached to the chassis. Corrugations will cause the van to tear away from the front cross member if this fixing is failing. Test by pushing the front roll up and down and watching for movement at the bottom.
Assess the risk of damage (from stones) to the towing vehicle’s rear window. Stones can ricochet off steel fitting back onto the vehicles rear window. A laminated, heated and tinted rear window might cost $1000.
If you don’t have a second spare wheel to suit the car ensure you carry a spare tube. Because travelling without a functional spare creates anxiety that will spoil the experience. Make sure you have the right equipment to install it too!