Shakedown Trip in New van to Qld - March 2010
Home to Corindi Beach
Before we left home at 6am towing the new van, we couldn't lock the fridge door - it would close but the lock wouldn't engage and as the van was on uneven ground thought that this maybe the cause so we left it till later to try and fix.
Headed off at 6am and met up with Sue & Bob at Heatherbrae and then travelled north and stopped at the Service Centre near Taree for breakfast and Bob had to get some fuel.
Again tried the fridge door but it still would not lock - so I rang the dealership who advised maybe putting some type of spacer in the bottom hinge to lift the door slightly to enable it to lock. Would do that after we go to Daina's.
Had an uneventful trip with the van towing beautifully all the way to Coffs Harbour where we stopped at Macca's as Sue & Bob had arranged to meet up with their son, (my nephew) Daryl to drop some things off to him. His wife Leanne also called over and we had a bit of a chat and as it was quite hot I left the engine running to try and keep the car cool with the aircon as we had both dogs with us and they were feeling the heat as well.
When it was time to leave I noticed that the aircon didn't seem to be working properly and it was quite warm in the car and I just put it down to being a rather hot and very humid day.On our way to Corindi beach Caravan Park the temp in the car would climb up to around 3/4 mark and then the aircon would cutout and the temp would drop back again. Thinking it was because of the very hot and humid day, and the way the heat was going up n down, I wasn't really too concerned.
Day 2 - Corindi Beach
After a rather hot n humid night and not wanting to run the air conditioner too much because of the noise and close proximity of the neighbours (we ran the air con's fan all night though) we headed off to Coffs this morning and bought a new fan from Bunnings. It should help tonight and be a bit quieter at least.
Also called into Watson's Caravans and bought a support arm to hold my mirror our when travelling as any wind from trucks and even some cars was causing the my mirror to be folded inwards towards the side window. Cost $86 but will be well worth it I hope.
Had a great day as John & Bette Davoren called in for a visit and it was great to catch up with them after not seeing either of them for a few years. Sat around and chatted for some hours and then they left and we also relaxed and just took things easy.
Day 3 - Corindi to Caloundra
We stopped at Little Italy for some morning tea and a rest break, it was still drizzling slightly but not too bad, the dogs had a bit of a run around and we were able to help Bob finish off some of the pikelets he had cooked yesterday for breakfast. LOL We then ventured on and parted our ways at Woodburn, where Sue and Bob headed for some R&R at Evan Head and we kept going north.
We ended up stopping on the side of the road just north of Byron at a roadside rest area for a lunch break, let the dogs have a bit of a run in the grass and we had lunch and then pushed on into Qld.
We had an uneventful trip til we were about halfway between Caboolture and Caloundra on the Bruce Highway when the temp in the car again started to climb up to about 3/4 and the aircon would cut out and then the temp would drop back down to just above half and then after a few mins would do the same again. So I turned the aircon off and continued on to Daina & Nug's arriving there safe 'n sound around 3pm and parked the van in their driveway.
Daina & Nug's
As the car was a bit of concern to me now I spoke to Nug about it and he contacted his mechanic friend and he was unable to look at the car till the following Tuesday - the day before we had planned to head for home. So we booked it in till then and just sat back and relaxed and enjoyed visiting with Daina, Nug, Makayla & Hollie
We stayed the night and headed back to Daina & Nug's the next morning. We originally had planned to take the van up there but because of all the rain and mud around, Herb & Dors advised against it so we left it at Daina & Nug's.
We just veged out and relaxed at Daina's and I went and bought another mirror support for the passenger side arm as it was bouncing around a bit as well and I was hoping that this would fix it too.
Tuesday came and I took the car to the mechanics and left it with them. Later that afternoon they said that they had checked everything and all seemed OK however they thought that the thermostat maybe buggered so they took it out, the guts of it removed and then the restrictor replaced so as to have some water restriction in place. They said that the radiator could maybe do with some work, but without removing it they couldn't properly tell, but other than this said all appeared to be OK
Heading for Home - 18th March, 2010
We left Daina's around 8am and decided to head down the highway to Caboolture and then up the D'Aguilar Hwy to Kilcoy and then to Esk, Gatton, to Allora and head home via the New England Hwy as we wanted to have a free camp on the way home considering we had the dogs with us.
Everything was going well, temps was good, although the outside air was still quite cool.
We stopped at a roadside rest area between Fordsdale & West Haldon - at Heifer Creek, No 747 in Qld camps in Camps 5 Book, and had some morning tea and let the dogs have a bit of a run. Lovely spot and there were a few other vans and motor homes parked there as well.
We left there and headed further south hoping to get to around Guyra, or Uralla to camp the night.
We made it to the range just before Stanthorpe and as we climbed the range so did the temp to the extent that it went into the red this time - made it to the top and I stopped at the rest area at the top and let the engine cool - which it did rather quickly and when it had cooled sufficiently we pushed on a bit further and every rise or hill we came to the temp would rise to about 3/4 and once we had crested the hill it would then drop back to above half.
This kept happening all the time - the day was quite warm by now - we had a blustery SE wind blowing into us and the warm weather didn't help at all.
We made it to Tenterfield and then stopped at the Bluff Rock Rest Area 11k's on the southern side of the town NSW Camps 5 #143, where we had a belated lunch and gave the car a rest and let it cool down for a while, also the dogs had another run around and a bit of exercise.
We then pressed on to Bendemeer where we stopped at the Bendemeer Memorial Park Rest Area, NSW Camps 5 #164 where we again had a break, gave the car a rest and cool off and also had our dinner and let the dogs have another run around.
This is a very pretty little spot that used to allow overnight camping but no longer is allowed due to the intense lobbying of the shire council by a few of the locals. Pity as it is such a nice area.
After dinner, it was now around 6.30pm'ish, the air was cooling, so I mentioned to Grandma that I think it would be better to push on towards home as the cooler night air may help us out.
So we decided to push on and sure enough the cooler air helped the car stay cool and temp stayed around the 'normal' mark all the way home - with exception of the range at Murrurundi, where the temp again rose to near the red again, but other than that all was well.
We arrived home at 1 minute past midnight, grabbed our pyjamas, locked the car & van up, and headed inside and crashed in bed and didn't stir till 8am the next morning.
Rang the local Natrad Radiator repair place the next day, booked it in for the following week and lo and behold the upon close inspection the radiator was buggered, with the lower half of the core pretty well rotted away and also the inside had gunked up somewhat as well. This could've been caused by incompatible coolant which would've been done by the servicing agents, not myself.
So a total of $880 later, a new, brass tanked, heavy duty, & somewhat larger radiator, new thermostat and seal and hopefully all will be fine for our next journey to the Eyre & Yorke Peninsula's on 18th April.
The Natrad guy tends to think all should be well and good now as the radiator was well and truly knackered.
Will just have to wait and see what eventuates.
PopPop & Grandma