Factory Tour - Bushtracker
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Factory Tour

At Bushtracker, we offer a full on site factory tour. The tour shows all the aspects of construction, from the chassis and suspension, to the finished product. As it is impractical for some to make it to our factory, we offer this alternative solution as a glimpse into the Bushtracker manufacturing process.

Chassis

 

FACT: The Bushtracker chassis and suspension provide the strongest base for the construction of an off-road caravan in Australia, that is the reason why Bushtracker has never had a failure!!

Tour 01

All chassis components are built from galvanised steel for strength and longevity. In particular it is important that the A-frame is hot dip galvanised all the way through to the suspension. This is necessary to protect the internal and external surfaces of the A-frame from corrosion.

 

Note that the A-frame is not just tacked on the front but runs through to the suspension, and then the laminated chassis carries on to the departure angle and adds skid plates to the chassis if you bottom out..

Tour 02

Suspension

 

Bushtracker uses a fully independent and load sharing suspension. NOTE THAT LOAD SHARING IS VITAL!

 

The popular belief is that the main benefit of Independent Suspension is the extra ground clearance via a tunnel effect, so the normal caravan axle doesn’t act like a boat anchor when the wheel falls into a rut. This is only a side benefit!

The main reason for an Independent Suspension is that it breaks up harmonic motion; which is the biggest destroyer of caravans. It occurs in normal suspensions when the speed of the moving suspension coincides with the ruts in the road so that the bounces build on themselves creating a destructive force. The fully independent suspension cancels out this harmonic motion. That is why the military demands independent suspension, and so does Bushtracker.

 

The second reason, and why Load Sharing is so important, is it reduces the shock to the van. This occurs as the front wheel transfers half of the load onto the rear wheel when it hits something, and when the rear wheel hits the obstacle it shifts half of the load back on to the front wheel. The net effect is that the suspension articulates over obstacles, rather than transferring the entire shock to the van twice with each wheel. You only get this in an Independent and Load Sharing Suspension with Bushtracker.

Tour 03

Wall Construction

 

In Australia most Caravan Manufacturers build their frames from glued and stapled timber. The problem with this method is that condensation forms on the inside of the cladding as well as the outside, in temperature changes like dew in the morning. This condensation attacks the wood in the exterior walls causing the wood to become prone to swelling, fungus, dry rot; as well as rusting the staples and screws.

Tour 04

Some of the methods used to combat these conditions are the use of treated timbers and so called “space age” glues to affix the cladding. Unfortunately the copper that is used to treat the wood can react with aluminium cladding causing corrosion, and glues will only bond to the immediate surfaces of the wood. Surface adhesion is not much of a structural bond, particularly when moisture is attacking the material.

 

The quarter of the industry that have made the transition to aluminium are building with very thin materials, such as 1mm “C” channel with a single punch rivet. The material is so light, it is like riveting two aluminium cans together, you could tear it apart with your bare hands. This is why wood caravan builders can say that aluminium frames are no good. If that was the only way you could build aluminium frames we would agree.

We use aluminium 2mm and 3mm structural box section lapped onto 3mm angle for a total of 5mm thick at the joints. The frames are then aircraft style double counter sunk diagonally riveted. Then the frames are welded on both sides to freeze the joint. Roof sections utilize 2.5mm box section thick with a taper, and then are insulated with 75mm (3 inches) of SL grade polystyrene cooler board. Corner wall and roof section are also through bolted with Nylock nuts and stitch welded.

 

The entire wall and roof assemblies are designed to flex like an aircraft wing but the joints will not move! The joints are 180% stronger than the material itself.

Tour 05

Our frames are the strongest caravan wall and roof frames in Australia and that is why we have had up to 9 men on the roof of one of our vans. If you have a look at our Wall Frame Crew in one building standing on a frame with no bulkheads or panelling in place, you can see how in the last sixteen years, several Bushtracker’s involved in accidents have rolled over and remained structurally intact. These vans were repaired and are still on the road today.

 

We build “Land Yachts” to last a lifetime. These wall frames are just another reason why Bushtracker is Number One in the Outback.

Tour 06

Exterior features

 

Hitch: You must have an off-road hitch as the normal ball hitch only articulates 22 degrees before it binds up and breaks something. We use the strongest 360 degree articulating off-road hitch in the Industry. It is a drop on style and very simple to operate.

 

Handbrake: We use a proper locking handbrake with excellent leverage. The design of the hand brake allows ease of operation and positive braking.

Tour 08

Jockey wheel: As part of the standard equipment the Bushtracker is fitted with a power mover jockey wheel. This style of jockey wheel allows you to move the caravan for an easier hook-up. The main shaft of the jockey wheel is double clamped for strength. We have also designed a swivel plate system so that the jockey wheel can ride on the A-frame and swivel horizontally when not in use, locked up out of the way. All galvanised of course, and slides up and down the A-frame.

Stone guard: We include a proper stone guard on the front of the vans. The cute little covered boots on normal vans look nice in the showroom, but they pitch the rocks and gravel back at the tow vehicle. It does not matter what material they are covered in, they bounce the rocks back instead of absorbing their energy and dropping them down, like our stone-guard does. In any event you would not want to lift proper 4×4 tyres and wheels out of a little boot, it would ruin your back! Proper large off-road tyres and wheels need to be chassis mounted, and would destroy a normal boot. Our system is just the best, and if you want external storage we can install custom made Cargo Doors on the outside of the van for access to storage areas such as under the beds.

 

Windows and doors: Bushtracker has standard features such as a locking security door and tinted windows. All windows and doors are sealed to the van with marine grade polyurethane sealant that costs around $12-18 per tube. Some manufacturers still use foam tape or even oil based caulk at around $1.90 per tube. This method has been known to crack, dry out, and leak within only a few years. Again, we want to use the best.

 

Watertight door: We include a watertight door that can optionally close over the caravan door, so it is able to go through floods and rivers. In the Outback, off the road, this design also helps to keep the bull dust out. Because of their watertight integrity with the off-road trailer design they are resistant to the entry of bull dust at the construction joints, and wall to floor joints, where it gets in most vans. Bull dust is a common problem in the industry, but not only is Bushtracker semi-amphibious to one metre of water, we are also the most dust proof.

Departure angle: The departure angle allows the vehicle to manoeuvre and reverse up a steep bank as well as be pulled up a steep bank with out dragging the back corner of the van. The back chassis is double strength and laminated and acts as a skid plate if necessary in extreme off-road conditions. The great value of this is the ability to do tight 3-point turns up a steep bank in reverse to get out of a difficult tight spot. The departure angle allows the overhang to go up the steep bank far enough for the suspension to start lifting the van. This is extremely valuable to get you out of a tight spot, where a conventional van would have to back out all the way, if it was even possible.

 

Body Armour: The Bushtracker comes standard with aluminium checker plate body armour in the lower 1 metre of the caravan. They are also armoured over other critical area like the tail-lights. That lower one metre is where most of the damage occurs when travelling in the Bush. Bushtracker is stronger and has the improved characteristic of a watertight and dustproof off-road trailer built into the caravan.

Tour 09

Interior features

 

Marine grade pump: Many caravan manufacturers, to save $40 or $50 use a non-marine grade water pump that require accumulator tanks to prevent short cycling which causes motor armature burnout. The marine grade pump has an internal bypass system that eliminates short cycling without the need for an accumulator tank. It also has stainless steel fittings for ease of service if ever required, and a stainless mesh filter.

 

Energy efficient lights: Bushtracker caravans also come standard with the customers choice of energy efficient fluoro or LED lights. Essentially these are high efficiency lights with a life expectancy of over 10,000 hours according to the manufacturer. 30% better light and half the power consumption.

Hand laid fibreglass shower: Bushtracker offers the option of a full ensuite available in either an all-in-one or separate shower & toilet configuration. Rather than using any sort of shower tray which requires joins to the shower walls and eventually leaks, Bushtracker uses a one piece sealed fibreglass enclosure hand built by a boat hull maker.

 

Hygienic and simple waste system: Another part of the ensuite package is a sealed electric flush toilet. Fully imported from Europe, it is the best available on the market today. It has a self sealing, self closing, 20 litre cassette which breaks down all the solids to a liquid with a mixture of environmentally friendly chemical and water. The unit is self opening and self closing. It is fully serviceable from the outside of the van, and sealed from the inside. VERY HYGIENIC and simple to use and maintain.

 

Polyester resin panelling: We use a polyester finished panelling instead of the paper finish panel that most manufacturers use. Why? It does cost more, but is mar resistant and cleanable. The normal paper finish panelling does not take scrubbing or wear as well. Again we want to use the best. Why don’t they all use it if it is so much better? The paper finish panelling is a fraction of the cost, but does not take cleaning very many times before the finish is gone. It is cheaper but our panelling is far better.

 

Cabinetry: All the cabinets are constructed from hard wood frames screwed together for durability. The bulkheads are also screwed and bolted to the aluminium frames.

 

Solid timber doors: We use pure Tasmanian Oak doors and drawer fronts and trim. Why? Because it holds the screws the best, and can be sanded and refinished if it ever shows wear. It is simply the best. We don’t like the plastic film covered artificial wood stapled material you can’t refinish. We also use Marine grade locking catches, instead of the weak little plastic caravan catches. These catches are positive locking, and will not come undone. The best!

 

Drawers: Our drawers front end is dovetailed in solid wood, to the sides like the old style furniture, Why? Because it is the strongest way to do it instead of just glued and stapled. We use real rollers and guides on our drawers instead of the plastic runners on wood rails. Our drawers run as well when they are loaded, as they do when empty. We also use Marine grade locking catches, instead of the weak little plastic caravan catches. These catches are positive locking, and will not come undone. The best!

Tour 07