Update – Progressive Thoughts Nov 2015

The fundamental question was always going to be “Did we make the right choice?”

Almost 2 years on (November 2015 now) the answer overall is certainly”Yes” for the van and “probably” for the Tug.  So what have the issues been?

The Van:

Positives: Great layout, fantastic kitchen, comfortable to live in,  tows great, no major maintenance issues.

Negatives: Small fridge (but we knew that and made the compromise), poorly performing TV antenna (after spending money on deciding on the Digital Jack model), upholstery foam wearing out on the dining seats (needs new foam, better quality).

Improvements and maintenance since starting travelling:

Electrical: Changed to 2 new Deep Cycle batteries to give us a total 220AH capacity, added 140 watt portable solar panel and switch box to control charging sources, added TV booster, added 12v-12v DC 20 amp charger for Anderson plug connection to the Tug, added 300 watt Inverter specifically to operate the washing machine, replaced Solar Controller with an MPPT type of higher (30 amp) capacity, added LED light strip under awning to replace basic outside light, added external TV and 12 volt connections under awning.

Other: Installed Diesel Heater and 5 litre fuel tank, added dual water filters permanently mounted at rear,, replaced Jockey Wheel with Trailer Mate Hydraulic type (which doubles as a side lift jack), made 2 grey water catch tanks to comply with “self contained” camp sites.

Maintenance Issues: Replaced several joiners in plumbing near water heater due to leak and incorrect installation at some point, repacked wheel bearings and replaced brake magnets, replaced awning “Skin”, replaced awning slide rail bracket and bought a second spare, changed rear camera to a different (non night vision) type for better vision.  Replaced Shower skylight after breakage on tree branch.

Other: Insurance repair to R/H rear corner after damage by an unknown vehicle.

The Tug:

Improvements and maintenance: (and problems)

Additions: Fitted second spare tyre to a rim and made hold down bracket for roof rack to secure it.  Bought vinyl trailer cover to adapt to roof rack and fitted to rack in order to carry the awning walls and other items on the roof.

Maintenance:  Thermostat failed and replaced (at Sarina), Fuel Manager filter fitted in place of original fuel filter after a fuel contamination problem.  “New” (roaded) tyres fitted in July 2015.

Maintenance becoming Failures:

September 2014 at Townsville we had severe performance issues which turned out to be worn out injectors,, probably reasonable as they had done (we think) about 150,000km, about normal for many common rail diesels in Australian conditions.  So all four were replaced and this was when we fitted the Fuel Manager filter mentioned above.

After only about 3,500km, through Winton returning from Alice one injector failed and was replaced; Holden reimbursed all the costs for this.  About 1500km later, in Brisbane we had further problems which was the injector harness, a known problem with the Jackaroo (and the Land Rover Discovery apparently!).  This corrupts the pulses to the injectors and showed 2 failing.  The harness was replaced and then only 1 injector was not working so was replaced.  A further 2,000 km in Parkes we had further problems which were the other 2 of the original replaced 4 which had failed.

On reflection it would seem that we probably had a faulty batch of new injectors but there is no way of proving that because of the harness issue; I was told by the Holden Service manager in Parkes that failure of new injectors was “not uncommon” – says it all I suppose.

Anyway we have now traversed another 3,000 plus since then and everything is running normal.

Taking the original replacement as a maintenance issue the problems of the last three cost around $3,000 so that is really what we are out of pocket in the greater picture; as the Jackaroo has now done 30,000km since we bought it that is probably not too bad for a now 14 year old vehicle.

Positives:

A very comfortable and capable tow vehicle which returns reasonable economy for that generation (no worse than around 18l/100km towing and around 11l/100km around town) and handles anything we throw at it including some very steep climbs fully loaded.  Returning from Alice to Brisbane we did over 740km one day with both of us driving and were relatively unfatigued which says a lot for the comfort.

The electronic Auto is a pleasure to drive and changes totally seamlessly whereby you sometimes have to look at the tacho to see whether it has shifted out of torque lock or down a gear.

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