New to group- 1st Expanda

Lachy83

New Member
Mar 15, 2020
6
5
3
Geelong, Victoria
#1
Hi all,
New to the group, a suggestion from Facebook.
After many years of tents and hiring vans, We have just ordered our first van, a 20-64. We are so excited to bring it home and get it sorted! Looking for any advice or tips for first timers caravanning with our four boys - aged 4-15 - and potentially with pets. I’m now looking into best battery solutions, heating and all the other gadgets and cool new things available. Cheers
 
Likes: Bluey

Bluey

Well-Known Member
Mar 31, 2014
3,655
6,218
113
51
victoria
#2
Nice big start a 20 footer some start smallar and then go bigger but nothing wrong starting at the top are you another new member of the 200 club whats your tow car
 

Lachy83

New Member
Mar 15, 2020
6
5
3
Geelong, Victoria
#3
Hi @Bluey, I’m getting a new work car now so that’s my next job to figure out, I had a 100 series for years. We hired all the different sizes over the last 2 years to figure out our needs and wants.the 4 growing boys require room. We just figured let’s go as big as possible from the start and deck it all out As we want it. We just want to create regular memories and trips with kids. So excited
 

Lachy83

New Member
Mar 15, 2020
6
5
3
Geelong, Victoria
#4
Hi @Bluey, I’m getting a new work car now so that’s my next job to figure out, I had a 100 series for years. We hired all the different sizes over the last 2 years to figure out our needs and wants.the 4 growing boys require room. We just figured let’s go as big as possible
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
9,064
15,109
113
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#5
4 kids I would go a Cruiseota for sure.......................... If you haven't finalised your order on the van yet I would stipulate panels and batteries now so that the final build weight has those things like batteries,panel, awnings etc all included in the original weight calculations, save a pain in the bum later on.
Even with a Cruiser I would keep the ATM no more than 3.2t all up, no sense in dragging a lot of weight around behind, anymore can also mean you will want to shell out more money for spring upgrade which is an expensive exercise for something that may be needed for a short time each year.

If doing off grid then batteries go for AGM, 105ah a minimum, at least 2 with 300w or more of solar if mostly parks then just a single 120ah with 200w would be enough to cover for the odd creekside camp, remember each battery will add around 30kg unless you have a fat wallet then Lithium is lighter but costs a heap and requires special charge regime.

Have a browse on here there are plenty of threads with great ideas on how to spend your money and some very informative threads on solar and batteries that will make your eyes bleed..........................

Most important anything to do with your van order ensure it is all on paper in the contract and intialled, do not take anyones word that it will be done, if not on paper it won't happen............ On Van pick up allow a few hours to check everything works, turn on fridge, open every draw and window/vent do not accept until very happy, otherwise they will tell you to check it out at home and bring it back, they will fix at first service 3 or 4 mths down the track, leave it in their yard till fixed, will make life happier for you...................

So welcome to the group, ask away about anything and don't be afraid to chime in, we sometimes wander a bit off track (usually the Victorians) but often after the main points are covered.......
 
Last edited:

Lachy83

New Member
Mar 15, 2020
6
5
3
Geelong, Victoria
#6
4 kids I would go a Cruiseota for sure.......................... If you haven't finalised your order on the van yet I would stipulate panels and batteries now so that the final build weight has those things like batteries,panel, awnings etc all included in the original weight calculations, save a pain in the bum later on.
Even with a Cruiser I would keep the ATM no more than 3.2t all up, no sense in dragging a lot of weight around behind, anymore can also mean you will want to shell out more money for spring upgrade which is an expensive exercise for something that may be needed for a short time each year.

If doing off grid then batteries go for AGM, 105ah a minimum, at least 2 with 300w or more of solar if mostly parks then just a single 120ah with 200w would be enough to cover for the odd creekside camp, remember each battery will add around 30kg unless you have a fat wallet then Lithium is lighter but costs a heap and requires special charge regime.

Have a browse on here there are plenty of threads with great ideas on how to spend your money and some very informative threads on solar and batteries that will make your eyes bleed..........................

Most important anything to do with your van order ensure it is all on paper in the contract and intialled, do not take anyones word that it will be done, if not on paper it won't happen............ On Van pick up allow a few hours to check everything works, turn on fridge, open every draw and window/vent do not accept until very happy, otherwise they will tell you to check it out at home and bring it back, they will fix at first service 3 or 4 mths down the track, leave it in their yard till fixed, will make life happier for you...................

So welcome to the group, ask away about anything and don't be afraid to chime in, we sometimes wander a bit off track (usually the Victorians) but often after the main points are covered.......
thanks for reply. I have added on practically every option available before I looked at the lithium battery option.
Jayco won’t give me the van without any batteries so I’ll keep what I originally order led with 2 x 100ah and 2x 160 panels.
Out of curiosity does anyone know the height of 20.64 including AC?
 
Likes: Drover

Johnanbev

Active Member
Jul 7, 2013
153
191
43
79
Sunbury VIC.
#7
thanks for reply. I have added on practically every option available before I looked at the lithium battery option.
Jayco won’t give me the van without any batteries so I’ll keep what I originally order led with 2 x 100ah and 2x 160 panels.
Out of curiosity does anyone know the height of 20.64 including AC?
3.055 metres
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
1,038
882
113
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#9
thanks for reply. I have added on practically every option available before I looked at the lithium battery option.
Jayco won’t give me the van without any batteries so I’ll keep what I originally order led with 2 x 100ah and 2x 160 panels.
Out of curiosity does anyone know the height of 20.64 including AC?
@Lachy83 regarding battery types, see if you can get 2 X 120ah AGMs for van as they are better (more capacity), more rugged and take more punishment than the GEL 100ah batteries that Jayco provide. Also when it comes to replacement, AGMs are more readably available and are cheaper.

https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/articles/battery-articles/gel-vs-agm.html
 

Johnanbev

Active Member
Jul 7, 2013
153
191
43
79
Sunbury VIC.
#10
4 kids I would go a Cruiseota for sure.......................... If you haven't finalised your order on the van yet I would stipulate panels and batteries now so that the final build weight has those things like batteries,panel, awnings etc all included in the original weight calculations, save a pain in the bum later on.
Even with a Cruiser I would keep the ATM no more than 3.2t all up, no sense in dragging a lot of weight around behind, anymore can also mean you will want to shell out more money for spring upgrade which is an expensive exercise for something that may be needed for a short time each year.

If doing off grid then batteries go for AGM, 105ah a minimum, at least 2 with 300w or more of solar if mostly parks then just a single 120ah with 200w would be enough to cover for the odd creekside camp, remember each battery will add around 30kg unless you have a fat wallet then Lithium is lighter but costs a heap and requires special charge regime.

Have a browse on here there are plenty of threads with great ideas on how to spend your money and some very informative threads on solar and batteries that will make your eyes bleed..........................

Most important anything to do with your van order ensure it is all on paper in the contract and intialled, do not take anyones word that it will be done, if not on paper it won't happen............ On Van pick up allow a few hours to check everything works, turn on fridge, open every draw and window/vent do not accept until very happy, otherwise they will tell you to check it out at home and bring it back, they will fix at first service 3 or 4 mths down the track, leave it in their yard till fixed, will make life happier for you...................

So welcome to the group, ask away about anything and don't be afraid to chime in, we sometimes wander a bit off track (usually the Victorians) but often after the main points are covered.......
At least we are on the track to begin with.
Go back to bending bananas
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
9,064
15,109
113
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www.expandasdownunder.com
#11
They have to have batteries in them as lights and stuff are all 12v and the whole system is designed to have a battery at the end of the line or the electronic brain is stuffed...................... I have GEL batteries and while they are no drama replacement isn't cheap and they often have to be ordered in as they aren't just on the shelf like AGM's, as for handling the roughers well if you going to bounce your van around so the GEL gets upset it would be the least of your worries to other stuff in your van falling apart, but under a bonnet an AGM is better than a GEL so they reckon anyway.... neither are much chop there I think.
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
9,064
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#13
I think I would go the compressor, make sure 2 door fridge/freezer job and they fit 2 x 120ah batteries, 400w on roof, go the 2 door model, single door will be inadequate....suppose depends on how much extra cash they want, nah, 4 kids go the compressor or a big lock on the door....I say the extra batteries and panels because you may want to spend those extra days by a river or lake off grid as with 4 kids the park fee's will be horrendous and nothing worse than trying to retrofitt later....
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
9,064
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QLD
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#15
Heating, I like the diesel heaters they put out a good bit of heat, can be maintained easily but they can make a noise but i reckon if its that cold you need it why the hell is someone wandering around outside ................ I often have the misfortune to be in the Canberra area in July and the diesel heater is damn good, cheaper than a Gas unit but as to brand well if money isn't a biggy a genuine Eberspacher or Webastco are good brands but many have had success with the cheaper Planar or no name brands that are a copy of the others mostly, my mate has a $300 knock off, been working for a few years so he reckons he's saved heaps as the big names cost around the $2K fitted, a lot to fork out when nost only use them a few weeks a year then sell it 4 yrs down the track..................others swear by the gas jobs but need a plumber to fit and a ticket, not cheap but no noise or smell.........we carry a small 240v blower heater for those times we are on 240v though the Ibis MkIII AC does a great job at cooling and heating, doesn't bang and crash like some, very quiet.....

Get USB ports fitted by table, beds/bunks and outside, demand at least a Snow Flake TV aerial, then you will pick up both types of TV signals....lots won't....Keep away from the gimmicky stuff that needs to run an app on your phone, sounds cool but novelty wears off, easier just to look at a monitor on wall than stuff about with phone, besides they chew power.
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
1,038
882
113
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#16
They have to have batteries in them as lights and stuff are all 12v and the whole system is designed to have a battery at the end of the line or the electronic brain is stuffed...................... I have GEL batteries and while they are no drama replacement isn't cheap and they often have to be ordered in as they aren't just on the shelf like AGM's, as for handling the roughers well if you going to bounce your van around so the GEL gets upset it would be the least of your worries to other stuff in your van falling apart, but under a bonnet an AGM is better than a GEL so they reckon anyway.... neither are much chop there I think.
@Drover , when I was referring to a Gel battery not being as "rugged" as an AGM, I was referring to the ability of the AGM to accept a faster charge and not having the need to have a special type charger/algorithm to get the best out of battery/ies and not damage them. Note this in the attachment. Also, if going for compressor fridge as you recommend, all the more reason to have higher capacity AGMs as easier/faster to charge from large solar set up. Heat (as in under the bonnet) is the main problem with AGMs as it is with any battery type as you know.
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
9,064
15,109
113
QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
#17
Wasn't meaning what you wrote but what you see in some of the stuff written in mags/blogs etc saying that AGMs and GELS can't handle the rough stuff, some of it just gives the wrong idea about some equipment.........