vendredi 30 mars 2012

The camper van search

One of main and most difficult tasks in Perth was to get a campervan.

There weren’t that many on sale, plus our budget was rather low.
We had a look at a few.
One I really liked was an 98 Ford Econovan Maxi. Automatic, air-con, a fridge. Only thing wrong was that it didn’t have 2 batteries. Plus the price was a bit high.

Another Ford Econovan came up for sale, so we went and saw it. This second one didn’t have a fridge, nor air-con, but had all the camping gear and 3 batteries!
The guy that first owned it was some sort electrician. There are led lights everywhere, big loud speakers and a subwoofer. The van really looks like it had been ‘pimped up’! It even has a freaking spoiler and big noisy exhaust pipe!

The girl selling it had to get rid of fast (flight back home the next week), so we got it for rather cheap.

Here are some pictures of it.
I really don’t like it. I actually hate it sometimes! It has no power steering and no air-con, but those aren’t really serious problems.
I should have tried it when we brought it (only Orianne had a drive in it), I was to nervous about driving around Perth on the left hand side of the road!

So what problems have we had with the van so far…

N°1: The batteries.
One of the main reasons that we chose this van was because it has 3 batteries. Never run out of electricity! That’s what we thought… A couple of days after having brought the van we found out the 2 extra batteries weren’t recharging when we were driving. Not cool at all!
One evening, Orianne, alias MacGyver, decided to have a good look at everything and found where the problem was coming from: the 2 extra batteries weren’t connected to the main battery! Problem N°1 solved!

N°2: no music.
Another thing that we liked with the van when we brought it was its stereo setup. 2 big speakers in the front, a subwoofer in the back… mad loud noise! But there again we found out that there was a problem. The car stereo only reads cds. We had none, only mp3s. Plus the radio would only pick up one station once in a while. Then, the speakers stopped working all together.
So for the first couple of days we drove around getting a headache from the loud noise the enormous ‘pimped-up’ exhaust pipe makes.
‘MacGyver’ decided to get to the bottom of this problem too. After having taken the radio out, we saw that some cables had become detached. Once put back together, the speakers started working again. Even better still, we found a little gadget in the van that enables you to send the music you’re playing on your mp3 to the radio.
Finally we could listen to some good music during our long hours of driving!

N°3: the LED lights
One evening, our lovely LED lights decided to stop working. Lights in a van are really important: the sun sets really early, around 6pm, and it gets really dark really fast! With no lights in the van, we had to make do with our little flashlights.
Was the battery mucking up again? No, all the rest seemed to be working fine. A problem with some electrical wires? Nothing we could spot. In the end we thought about fuses. That was the problem. A fuse had come loose with all the bumps we had been driving over along the gravel roads. Once the fuse put back in properly, the lights came back on!

Ok, so those are all little problems.
There are a couple of ‘bigger’ ones…

The gearbox.
The gearbox is hell. Or should I saw ‘was’…
5th and reverse were really really hard to pass. I actually never managed to pass those two gears. One day, while driving, Orianne wanted to pass 5th gear, but shoved it into reverse instead. We heard a really loud noise… the gearbox still kind of works… but we have no reverse or 5th gear any more.
At least we can still drive around in it, plus having no reverse makes everyone laugh!

Starting the van.
There seems to be some sort of problem with the choke. The van is really hard to start on cold mornings. For the mean time, it has always started…lets just hope it continues like that…

And what about driving on the left hand side?
Well, you get used to it really fast. At first you do sometimes drive a bit close to the pavement or ditch, and nearly always put the windscreen wipers on instead of the indicators. Passing gears with your left hand also feels weird. But now, after a couple of months, it feels natural.

Well, that’s about all about the campervan!

More news soon!

Le carnet de voyage (en français)
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1 commentaire:

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