We directed your question to the guys who rent out the kitted Suzuki Jimny vehicles. This is what they had to say:
John is correct: the standard roof rails are plastic units, and these are definitely not strong enough for the tent and occupants. We, however, remove these racks and replace them with strong Africa Outback units that can take the weight. Suzuki Eastrand has given the go-ahead to implement the necessary weight approval for up to 250 kg on the roof, provided the roofracks are upgraded. The standard roof fixing points are used for the upgraded brackets.
Also, maximum roof loading is determined by the manufacturers as the maximum weight while moving, which takes into account changes in the centre of gravity of the vehicle caused by the load on the roof. The maximum weight while stationary is a lot higher, and is determined by the strength of roof racks and car construction, and of course it does not affect the handling.
The additional load of the (closed) roof tent while moving (the important figure) is easily manageable by this vehicle with the alternative roofrack system.
Fish tank water heater
Piet and Jolene Reynolds write:
We have a 1999 Jurgens Palma and love camping. These older models do not have a hot-water geyser fitted in the caravan, so we were looking for an affordable method to warm up the water in the external 25-litre tank that supplies the water for the caravan’s basins, but we didn’t want to install a geyser.
We ended up opting for a fish tank heater!
This can warm up the water to a maximum of 32°C. Such heaters are not bulky or expensive, and simply fit through the tank inlet. We can now camp during winter and also enjoy relatively warm water inside our caravan.
Now that’s one warm-water solution that we’ve never considered for camping! Presumably you quickly get used to lukewarm water when you’re on holiday!?
Gert Smit writes:
I refer to page 42 in the July 2011 issue, regarding the modification of the 2007 Jurgens Fleetline island bed.
I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see that there are also other people who aren’t happy with the angled island bed in the earlier Jurgens Fleetline. I am in the same situation as Reg Stone: I’m not necessarily in a position to trade in the caravan, yet I’m not happy with the layout. This article was published at just the right time – thank you for all the great advice!
We’re pleased that our DIY article helped you out, Gert. Be sure to keep an eye on the mag for more great do-it-yourself ideas.
Spasie vir my wiele
Heinrich Kruger skryf:
Ek is ‘n parapleeg en ek soek iemand wat my Caravette 4 se deur kan groter maak. Ek soek ook raad om ‘n sterker as in te sit, miskien ‘n 4x4 as. Die wiele moet 16-duim wees, soos my Land Rover sleepvoertuig. As julle my kan help, sal ek dit hoog op prys stel.
Toe ons verlede jaar die Düsseldorf Karavaanskou bygewoon het, was daar uitstekende produksiemodelle te sien van karavane wat spesiaal ontwerp is vir gestremde persone. Ongelukkig lyk dit dat daar geen soortgelyke modelle in Suid-Afrika direk uit 'n fabriek beskibaar is nie.
Ons stel voor dat jy jou naaste karavaanhandelaar kontak om uit te vind waar jy jou karavaan kan laat modifiseer sodat dit vir 'n persoon in 'n rolstoel toegang kan bied. Hulle sal ook vir jou advies kan gee oor die opgradering van jou karavaan se as en wiele om te pas by jou Land Rover sleepvoertuig. Hou asseblief kontak met ons en laat weet hoe dit met jou projek gaan.
Onthou om fotos te neem?
Canvas roof surround
Donald Stumke writes:
I urgently require assistance. I own a 1983 Caravette 5 and need to replace the canvas roof surround. I approached our local caravan dealer for advice, and they said I should remove the surround and they would send it away to have a new one made. However, I don’t have a clue how to remove it. I’ve noticed that the lower ‘rails’ that the canvas slides into are screwed to the roof opening, but what puzzles me is how to get the top section against the roof off. Any assistance would be highly appreciated.
There is a pocket that fits around the edges of the canvas, and this has a wooden strip inside which is screwed into the roof and lower sill. You need to undo all these screws to release the old canvas material sides. Jurgens Ci’s canvas division in Pinetown still has the pattern for making up new sides, so your caravan dealer will be able to order directly from them. Hope this helps!
What to buy?
Annie Boehler writes:
My husband and I have a dilemma regarding what to buy. We aren’t sure what will suit us best, and hope that someone out there will be able to assist us with some advice.
As a long-time caravaner, I’m inclined to look at a caravan like the Sprite Surfer, with a bathroom and an island double bed, whereas my husband would prefer a trailer-tent, preferably of the off-road variety. I believe that it’s a hassle to pack and set up, though understand that we will be able to venture further afield with a trailer compared to an on-road caravan.
Our other question is whether there is a motorbike attachment that can be attached to the back of a caravan or trailer that would carry either my scooter or his 1300 Suzuki motorbike.
Great to hear you’re in the market for a caravan or trailer! You’re right in assuming that it can be awkward, at times, to fully set up a tent trailer, particularly when you’re stopping briefly overnight somewhere. However, many modern trailers are relatively quick and simple to set up.
But the convenience of a caravan is hard to beat: you simply arrive at your campsite, unhitch (if you like), drop the corner steadies, and you’re ready to sleep.
Unfortunately you won’t be able to attach your scooter or your husband’s motorbike to the back of any caravan or camping trailer, as no such bracket exists, nor would it be legal or safe. What you may want to consider is a caravan made by Multi-Purpose Trailers (see www.mptsa.co.za). One of their models has a back-opening door, allowing you to load your motorbike inside. Their off-roader model would also make gravel roads more accessible, meaning you could venture further off tar to scenic destinations.
Towbar in the middle, Cyril
Dave Gassner writes:
I’ve had a towbar fitted to my vehicle. On inspection I noticed that although it appears to be centred, one of the points of attachment to the car is further back than the other. The drawbar therefore doesn’t follow a central line, but instead points towards one side. It’s difficult for me to measure accurately, but it doesn’t look out by much. Intuitively I suspect that this will result in a skew pull on the car when the trailer is hitched behind, and also a skew load on the car under braking. Will the slightly off-centre towball now also cause the trailer to run off line, i.e. not follow directly behind the car?
Not being able to view the installation personally, we tend to agree with your presumptions.
It’s vital that the towbar be fitted perfectly in the centre, and that each side mirror the other, otherwise not only will there be an effect on the caravan or trailer, but unequal forces will be exerted on the bolts and mounting points holding the towbar in position. This could have dire consequences in the future.
We would insist on the fitment centre taking another look at the installation. Ask someone senior to help you, and make it clear they must rectify the error at no cost to you.
Tony Taylor writes:
Which stabiliser is most suited to towing a Jurgens Xplorer behind a Land Rover Discovery 2? It needs to be able to handle light off-road towing, without having to disconnect when going off-road.
It’s surprising that you require a stabiliser for your Xplorer: it’s a heavy caravan that usually sits very well when in tow. However, there is really only one well-known brand of off-road towing stabiliser: the Trapezium Offroader. Get hold of one by calling 011 474 4431.
Got a question, a tip or some advice?
(This edition of Caravan Clinic was published in the August 2011 issue of Caravan & Outdoor Life)