Exporting a Bushtracker overseas

 
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Shongololo



Joined: 27 Sep 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Rockhampton
State:: QL
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:02 pm    Post subject: Exporting a Bushtracker overseas Reply with quote

After seven years of touring Australia in our 22 ft Bushtracker, we are considering a coast-to-coast trip in Canada. We thought we would sell our Chev Silverado 2500 here in Australia, but would like to take our own Bushtracker (and perhaps the towbar) to Canada. We then intend to acquire another secondhand Silverado (or equivalent) locally - instead of having to re-convert the tug back to left-hand steering. We would like opinions on this and would especially appreciate advice from anyone with North American experience. (hint, hint Steve?)
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Bushtracker
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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 4985
Location: Kunda Park
State:: Queensland
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for this Post, I do get the request a couple of times a year so here it will help others. Your Title will be easy for the Search Engine to point out.

I try not to give opinions, that would be subject to personal tastes and experiences. I try and be objective on answers, with science and facts, and let the Owner decide.. So here goes:

The Positives are obvious, you love your Bushtracker and are used to it as home, seven years is no small matter. The benefits are obvious, but let me give you the hurtles to jump over as there are some serious obstacles to overcome. Not that you cannot do it, but they are quite serious:
First of all, you have to overcome the most serious and that is the electrical differences. The 12 volts systems are fine, solar and regulator, lights and so on, 12 volt is 12 volts in any language. But ALL the 240 electrical is wrong. The outlets can be dealt with just a plug change to plug in your van, but at half the voltage it would be twice the amperage so your caravan power cord should go up in size accordingly. You could do this and run your van with the equipment on board, but you would need a step up transformer from the landside 120 volt to 240 volt in your van... The frequency difference does not matter to most appliances the 50 to 60 hertz, but you would need a serious transformer, and that is a drag having to be kept waterproof and so on, or you have to build it into the van..

The big things like your air conditioner, all appliances like microwave, and battery charger, all are wrong for the North American voltages. It is an easy problem to sort out if you were building new for North America, but harder to deal with in conversion. Obviously you could change them all out, but that is expensive. Conversely if you run them on converted voltage but have to replace them, it may not be easy to get 240 volt replacements in Canada.

If and only if you were to change them out: You could take them out here and store them, and spend the couple of thousand to replace them there with a Qualified Electrician of course. Put a plate across the ac hole in the roof, you can buy the American counterpart anywhere, figure at half the price. If and only if you were to change them out: Bushtracker is over-wired on the 240 side, so wiring is not an issue other than the power cord to the van… Circuit breakers are easy to change out, take the size double what you have, half the voltage is twice the amperage, so a 10 amp takes a 20. They operate on a little different safety system there, GFI instead of RCD, GFI is "Ground Fault Interrupter", so engage an Electrician to see if you need to change that but I doubt it inside the van, IMO the RCD will take care of you, as you are autonomous from the GFI plug in on shore, but get their input.

Now, one more problem, quite simple but potentially dangerous, your door is on the wrong side. This will be irritating in parks, everything will be on the wrong side, but also potentially dangerous as the door will open on the traffic side of things. This can be overcome with safety and you would get used to it, but you would have to be careful.. It would be easy to forget you were stepping out into the traffic side of the road…

All in all, it can be done, but there will be some little problems to deal with. There are no caravans in Canada of our capability and you would be a real hit, but you will need to take these mods on board. I cannot effectively advise you which way to go. There are wilds in Canada where the Bushtracker would be very advantageous, just a few problems to overcome. Trucks are easy and cheap, and you could bring one back to be converted if you like. You do not have to take the Tow Bar or the WDH... Hayman Reece is Eric Hayman in Australia, importing the Reece Hitch... But, if you are shipping the van, why not put it in the cargo hold, no worries.

The rest is up to you, I cannot advise you, it is love and familiarity for home vrs expense and a little hassle. IF I were doing it, I might ship the Bushtracker less the appliances, ac unit, and battery charger and replace them there. Sell them there when you are done. ???? But it depends on how long you are going for. A step up transformer might be far easier.. Outlets would be easy, take the adapters, or just take a bag full of our plug ends… heh he..

Kind regards, Steven Gibbs, Director
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Shongololo



Joined: 27 Sep 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Rockhampton
State:: QL
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steven

It makes sense to replace the airconditioner, washing machine and microwave with 110V appliances in Canada. As for the 12V charger, the first question is whether we could retain the existing 4 red-top battery setup. I suspect that it is not permissible to ship the batteries in a container.

The caravan door on the roadside would not bother us, but is it legal?

Do you have any input on the electrical connections from the (new) tow vehicle to the existing electrical brakes via 12-pin plug, and Andersen plug?

Does anyone know whether our existing gas bottles, regulator, Swift stove and Suburban water heater would need to be replaced? Or whether LPG gas specs are the same in Australia and Canada? It might be a matter of merely replacing the connector fittings to match Canadian bottles.

Ultimately, it becomes a dollar numbers game.

Appreciate all comments.
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Loki of Condor



Joined: 03 Sep 2008
Posts: 594
Location: MANDURAH
State:: WA
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing to think of with conversions that will take some time is: what happens if one of you becomes ill and you have to return to Australia?

It has happened to others but fortunately all they had to do was sell their tow vehicle and van (5th wheeler in the case I'm thinking of) which was easy because both items were bought in the US.

You certainly would not want any additional stress and delays if you or your partner got sick (and from what I read, avoiding the US health system is a good thing).
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Bushtracker
Site Admin


Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 4985
Location: Kunda Park
State:: Queensland
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Francois and Cherie,

The deciding factor might be how long you are planning on staying... If your Registration runs out, you might not be able to Register it there with the door on the wrong side, I don't know that one..

Most of what we use here is North American or European.

As to the Batteries, again it depends on their age.

It would be so much easier to buy something over there, and prices are astoundingly cheap. It will not be as robust as a Bushtracker, but you could probably buy an Air Stream type of trailer over there for the cost of shipping and converting your Bushtracker back and forth... I think it does come down to how long of a venture this is...

Kind regards, stg
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bobrovin



Joined: 20 Jul 2007
Posts: 80
Location: Sydney
State:: NSW
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rather than converting everything, why not install 400a/h of lithium plus a large inverter if not already installed and take your 240v genny as backup.
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Bushtracker
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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 4985
Location: Kunda Park
State:: Queensland
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wink

Hello Bob and Laurel,

I love your resourcefulness and lateral thinking. However, that might be the most expensive option. 400 AH of Lithiums, if they needed a new charger and solar regulator if not Lithium compatible in 2010, if they needed the DC to DC and an ignition switched line from the vehicle to activate it, if they need the works and all the safety and protection and monitoring systems, this could be a $9000 retrofit...

That and what would they do if one of the appliances failed? It might be difficult to get our 240v equipment over there.. I like your lateral thinking and it is possible, but....

I would say if this is a shorter trip, and they needed new batteries, and they were going to keep the van, and if they wanted to upgrade to Lithium anyway, then maybe this is an option... It is just that at seven years old, some of their equipment might be nearing the "use by" date, and it would be harder to replace over there.

Look, it is certainly an option, but exxy and a bit risky.... But thank you for your input on it, it is an interesting an engrossing problem.. Idea Idea
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Ivor & Bernice



Joined: 25 May 2017
Posts: 4
Location: South Africa
State:: Gauteng
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Shongololo,
I visited Australia and Bushtracker in July and ordered a 22' van which I will be shipping back home to South Africa in January next year. We have great areas to tour in Southern Africa with a Caravan of this capability.
I fortunately do not face the few obvious problems that Steve pointed out with the different electrical system as well as them driving on the wrong side of the road.
South Africa has the same electrical systems as you do in Oz as well as driving on the same side of the road. Both countries are ex British colonies so similar in many ways; I assume from your name that you knew that anyway.
You mentioned shipping in a container; from what I have been able to find out there is no container wide nor high enough to fit the 22'. It appears as if I will have to ship on a RoRo (roll on roll off) car carrier from Brisbane via Japan or Korea to South Africa as there is no RoRo traffic between Oz and SA. Quite doable but an increase in cost and risk.
It may be worth investigating the shipping situation before getting too far into your technical research.
I hope that this assists you in your decision making.
Good luck with your plans, Canada is a great country to travel in.
Regards,
Ivor Karan.
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Samson & Delilah



Joined: 09 Apr 2010
Posts: 16
Location: Clayfield
State:: QLD
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:57 pm    Post subject: Caravanning in North America Reply with quote

I have been caravanning and motorhoming in North America since 2010 every year both in Canada and US and believe Iam quite experienced by now. Anybody who is seriously thinking about can give me a ring on 0447267816 until Feb 27. Then I am going overseas again. Happy to share my wisdom Laughing Laughing
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Shongololo



Joined: 27 Sep 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Rockhampton
State:: QL
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ivor, Samson and Delilah
Your comments are much appreciated.
At the moment we are considering an an exchange with North American caravanners. Does anyone have any experience with www.rvworldwide.com/swap or www.motorhomeholidayswap.com ?
Thanks!
Francois and Cherie
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