COPY OF EMAIL SENT TO THE AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURED CAMPER TRAILER GUILD FROM MR JOHN REID ON 18TH OCTOBER 2011
From: John Reid
Sent: Sunday, 16 October 2011 1:10 PM
To: James Kelman
Subject: Australian Manufactured Camper Trailers Guild Contact:
Thank you for highlighting this situation. I had one of these depart it’s tug just south of Rosebery (Tas) and come running along the road towards me. Even now, in my 70s, my reflexes are in good order and I managed to drive around it at a closing speed of 120+kmh. It sure put ESP and ABS through a severe test, though, not to mention my disabled wife’s heart rate! When the apologetic owner stopped and returned to me, he said it was made in China and he was on his way to Spirit of Tasmania to take it back to the ‘manufacturer’ due to a number of construction issues. The drawbar had separated due to obvious poor welding. It was a near thing and thankfully happened on relatively flat ground and not in the mountains to either side of us.
More strength to your arm. I only hope enough potential purchasers catch up with the site and are aware of the possible pitfalls that exist.
From: James Kelman
Sent: Tuesday, 18 October 2011 11:07 AM
Subject: RE: Australian Manufactured Camper Trailers Guild Contact:
Dear Mr Reid,
Thanks for your recent visit to our new AMCTG website, and taking time to send your email below.
Your story of the inferior imported camper trailer sounds horrific and we can only feel for you as a driver, and your disabled wife as a passenger, when you saw the loose camper trailer go whizzing past – after the failure of the welding on the drawbar?
This type of situation is the exact reason why the AMCTG has been formed, with a lot of Australian consumers even being sold these camper trailers as being fully compliant and Made in Australia. The authorities will hopefully start listening to experiences like this and we will be doing our best to promote our members’ high quality Australian Made camper trailers, and create awareness for problems that are occurring with inferior imported models.
Thank you again for your support.
Treasurer – AMCTG
Mr James Kelman
Sorry, I’m not in a position to offer you a lot of specifics, what with the passage of time and post-stroke effects. Here goes with everything I can recall, though:
The incident was around 18 months ago. The entire West Coast Police presence was involved on the day in an ocean rescue.
The camper trailer detached itself from a fairly late model Pajero XL carrying a young family of four from the Northern Rivers (I think Dorrigo). They had bought the trailer specifically for the Tasmania trip which was meant to be of four weeks’ duration.
The chassis had developed a bad weld separation near the suspension and the garage at Strahan effected emergency repairs, including the addition of a strengthening gusset. The garage owner pointed out a couple of other areas of possible trouble and advised caution.
Even just five or six days into their trip, the family were so alarmed they decided to return home and take the camper back to ‘the manufacturer’.
The husband/father was driving the Pajero at no more than 60kmh in an
attempt to get back to Devonport safely. The trailer detached from the Pajero because the hitch separated from the drawbar.
This may be the most help, perhaps – I can picture the situation clearly. The hitch was bolted to a plate that was in turn welded to the ‘V’ of the drawbar. Poor quality welding had let go on both sides, with the plate and hitch still attached to the Pajero – as was the safety chain, the end link of which was also welded to the same plate!
This last part might just help identify the brand, perhaps. I believe the camper trailer community is probably fairly closeknit. If I remember correctly that the family was from Dorrigo, it might just be possible that someone knows someone…
I recall discussing the problems with the young couple who were bitterly disappointed at how their holiday was panning out. Even worse, now, was the loss of ability to tow the faulty device back home with them. Fortunately, I had the phone number of the RACT tilt tray operator from Zeehan and was able to call him for them. How they got on from there, I have no way of telling. The young man told me someone at Strahan Caravan Park had mentioned that the camper trailer was almost certainly Chinese, even though, when they bought it, they thought it to be Australian.
Just as an aside, I served an apprenticeship as a mechanic in a car and farm equipment workshop in an isolated area of Tasmania prior to working my way through a mechanical engineering degree. Even in my first year as an apprentice I welded better than any of the welds I observed on that camper! It was a disgrace.
That’s about as good as I can do for you, I’m afraid. My wife is now resident in a nursing home. I’ve just returned from there. We discussed the incident but she can’t now remember any part of it other than her recollection ‘this thing’ sailing past her side of the car!
Be of good heart,