4WD Motorhome or offroad camper trailer plus 4WD?

Submitted: Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 01:08
ThreadID: 145029 Views:1992 Replies:15 FollowUps:14
Dear forum members,

G'day we are Roberto & Paula an oversees (Dutch) couple planning our big lap starting in Perth in January 2023. We've been trying to decide upon our best mode of transport/home-on-wheels option for this adventure and are torn. With so much passion and experience on this forum we are hoping to find some advise which will help us make a good decision.

We are trying to decide between a pre-owned Toyota Hilux based Talvor motorhome or pre-owned 4x4 combined with a pre-owned offroad camper trailer.

I'd expected cost of these purchases somewhat the same and there are some obvious usability pros/cons between both options, but the biggest thing we are stuck on is ability to resell. I have a feeling that the Hilux based motorhome is such a specific vehicle which makes reselling more difficult but I am completely unsure if this is the case.

Any advise or opinions are welcome, Roberto & Paula
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Reply By: Peter J4 - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 07:01

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 07:01
First question is what are you used to/mode of travel at home.
As whatever you do at home would be easiest to use here.
Second question is how do you travel, move every day drifting along or driving to a location and stopping for a period as that will also affect the choice.
Personally I would go with the hilux based unit, only four wheels to worry about the base unit is pretty tough and parts are available pretty much anywhere as well as pretty much any mechanic will be familiar with the vehicle.
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 08:19

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 08:19
Hi Roberto,

A couple of questions if I may, no offence intended, but do you know anything about Australia and it’s climate? How long do you intend to be in Australia on this trip?

Staring out from Perth in January, which direction do you intend heading, North or East? Either way, you do realise that you will be heading into 40+ degrees Celsius temperatures. North, it will just get hotter, up to high 40’s low 50’s, also the further north you go, the hotter and more humid it will get, up to 99% humidity if you get to Darwin in the first month or two. East pretty much the same as far as temperatures go, but the humidity will be lower, although the further east you go the temperatures will start to fall, but will still be in the high 30’s low 40’s. Heading east would be better than heading north from Perth in January.

Secondly, do you intend to go “off road” or stick to the bitumen. That may have a bearing on the vehicle you choose. If going off road, or on heavily corrugated and rutted roads, the utility based camper conversions have been known to be very heavy on the rear end, and have seen a number of them with bent and broken chassis. Reselling the vehicle at the end of your journey should not necessarily be the driving force on the type of vehicle you purchase. Reliability should be number one. Camper conversion or 4WD & camper trailer? Personally, more flexibility with a camper trailer. You can set up camp and explore without having to take your “accomodation” with you.

At the very minimum, I would strongly recommend that you get yourself a Satellite phone and a PLB (Personal Location Beacon). The Australian outback is very remote, without very much mobile phone coverage in remote areas. Not many people travel in the Northern parts of Australia in the summer months as it is just too hot, so in remote areas, passing traffic can be hours or even days apart. You will also need to be able to carry plenty of water if in remote areas. I’ll prepared tourists, and even some locals have died in remote Australia because they have broken down, or suffered a medical emergency and could not summon help.

Do not be “put off” or discouraged, simply do your research regarding when is the best time to travel in remote Australia, particularly Northern Australia. Most Australians travel the northern parts of Australia starting in mid autumn through to mid spring. It is also the wet season in tropical Norther Australia from late December through to late March. Many outback gravel roads become impassable after rain.

Whatever you decide, have a safe and enjoyable trip.



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Follow Up By: Roberto B - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 09:18

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 09:18
Morning Macca and thanks for your reply,

No offense taken at all, some of us euro's tend to go on these trips rather unprepared, not us though.
We are planning to circumvent Australia on our big lap counterclockwise starting in Perth late January with somewhere between 9-12 month ahead of us. Reason for this direction is exactly due to what you laid out...climate. In our plans we are hoping to be through the southern parts of the continent and passing Sydney by late May so that we are working our way up heading up the QLD coast in the winter months. This should drop us into Northern QLD around July, the red centre around August and Darwin and The Gibb in September and October. According to my weather research (although one cant tell lately) that should be a solid plan (i hope).

Obviously there will be a lot of bitumen but many offroad destinations on our itinerary for certain, as there is where the true gems are. I have a tad bit of offroad experience in Namibia and from our previous trek from Perth to Darwin through some of the more desolated parts of the country with a Landcruiser. Yet I do not have any experience hauling something under these conditions, but if you never start you'll never learn.

Point taken on the heavy backside of the Hilux-based motorhome and the fact that you're bringing your home everywhere with you. I am quite torn by the choice since I like the flexibility of dropping the trailer off to then go explore. But here's where I can use some of your advice. We will likely be wild camping (obviously fully self-contained and responsible) a couple of days a week and then a few days in a caravan park (one needs a proper shower now and then and then and to top-up the domestic battery). I feel a little nervous leaving the trailer behind when wild camping......should I?

On the PLB...absolutely...on top of our shopping list. And btw not putt off by your advise and warning whatsoever, one needs to be prepared for these type of trips and I much appreciate the extra care.

Still back to the reselling question though. I still feel that the resell market for trailers is bigger than for the Hilux-based motorhome, simply due to the lower purchase price but also since the trailers seem to be to more obvious choice for many Australians. I feel the Hilux-based motorhome is really only attracting a small niche of international travelers. But I could be wrong?

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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 10:07

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 10:07
I suggest that "September-October" is getting a bit late for the GRR. Temperatures are starting to climb by then. I would accelerate progress in the earlier stages by a couple of months at least.
With the Hilux, you have one vehicle to sell. With the camper trailer, there are two to register, insure and sell.
The longer you are on the road, the more sense the Hilux makes, in my view. A few weeks, the camper trailer might do. A few months, go the Hilux, it gives the option to live inside to escape the weather and the insects if things are not ideal.
We have some Dutch friends who bought an A class motorhome to tour Oz for a year some time ago. Apart from quick trips home each Christmas, they returned every year for 5 years to see some more. It is a big country.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 14:11

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 14:11
Hi again Roberto,
Now that I'm hearing that you have previously driven a Landcruiser in Australia from Perth to Darwin etc and hearing your explain your debate some more I suspect you want a trailer - so do it! We leave our camper trailer in the bush camps we find whilst we go off in the vehicle for day trips - but we lock it. Some camper trailers only have canvas so when setup cannot be locked so I probably would not do it in that case - but we have an Ultimate and has a solid door which can be locked plus we also put a cable lock through the zips. It would take a lot to break in. You can also get wheel locks etc. I would do all that.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 09:04

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 09:04
Comes down to a hard sided motorhome or a tent on wheels.
5 minutes to pack up and move or an hour.
If the weather is less than perfect, the decision is pretty easy I reckon.
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Reply By: Life Member - Duncan W (WA) - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 10:34

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 10:34
G'day Roberto, an other option is an ex hire Troop carrier camper conversion. Bit like the Britz or similar. There is a company here in Perth that sells them quite regularly. BTW if you haven't been looking at some of our vehicle sale websites for a while you will be blown away by just how expensive used vehicles have become, it is insane! Saving grace is the currency exchange rate at the moment s in your favour.

Use websites like Gumtree.com.au, FB Market Place , Carsales.com they will give you an idea of what you are up for.

If the vehicle isn't already kitted out there are masses of 4wd accessory stores, everything from Super Cheap Auto (as the name suggests), Kings - which will just about supply everything under the sun (check out their website 4wdsupacentre.com.au), up to the big franchise stores like ARB, TJM etc. Also we have a pretty reasonable hardware store(Bunnings) that can supply a good range of storage options at reasonable prices.

Enjoy your trip and stay safe.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 15:01

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 15:01
If you can find an affordable Troopy camper, go for it. A bit squeezy compared with the Hilux, but it will go anywhere you want to go.
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 12:19

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 12:19
Hi Roberto,

The choice of vehicle and accomodation is very much determined by your personal priorities and route intentions. Each transport combination has its attractions and limitations and there is no ideal formula. There will be positives and negatives for each arrangement and I would not make judgement on another person's decisions. However, over many years I have travelled Australia and camped in everything from nylon two-man tents to a Sprinter motorhome so have experienced a wide variety of their values for my needs so I will make some expressions based on that which may be useful to you.

After the tents and 2-wheel drive cars with simple camper trailers we wanted to explore more remote and difficult areas of Australia. We had found that the camper trailers afforded convenient sleeping arrangement but had limitations on some tracks..... try doing a U-turn at a locked gate on a narrow sandy road or extracting yourself from a boggy situation. So we chose a Landcruiser Troopy arranged with a double bed in the back, storage under-bed and cooking outside. The actual vehicle had been used by a young Swiss couple for a 12 month round-Australia trek and was ready for our needs.
The advantage of a Troopy was that they are virtually 'unstoppable' and could go wherever we wished to visit. The original body arrangement suits the camping activity without serious modification and setup at camp is rapid. When we travel to explore, our home goes with us.... no need to return to a camp site to collect a trailer. It served us well for many years and some 200,000km.

Camper trailers had some advantages but by having used them and watching others struggle in various ways with them, I decided to not go that way.
Similarly, having once hired a Landcruiser with a 'big box on the back' motorhome with its confined sleeping/cooking internal arrangement really put me off that idea. As for slide-on campers perched on the back of utility vehicles such as Hilux.... no way. Solitary confinement on wheels!
Certainly, a towed camper trailer with off-road construction offers a lot of comfort and flexibility but has its limitations too. And I certainly do not like the idea of the risk of leaving it behind in a remote location whilst I went off exploring for the day.

Well, I am now an octogenarian and my children were getting worried about us going remote in an old Troopy so we have moved on to a Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4WD van decked out as a comfortable motorhome (or camper-van). We have found this a very convenient and comfortable vehicle and has served well over the past year. We will not be travelling remote narrow desert tracks but it does have reasonable ability on unsealed roads and is certainly comfortable. It still retains the Troopy's quick setup but now we cook inside which is even speedier.
Our Sprinter conversion outfitted the original van body so it is not a 'big box'. Certainly, the Talvor vehicle is available in a very similar compact van style and could serve very well for what you have indicated for your planned tour. Just don't expect to travel on the Canning Stock Route or across the Simpson Desert.

I hope the above helps you in your deliberations and feel free to ask me further questions.
Very best wishes for your Australian expedition.


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Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 12:20

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 12:20
Talvor Hilux Motorhome

Looking at the 4WD motorhome you're looking at, and what I've recently seen travelling around WA and NT and hearing your situation, I would definitely recommend this option over towing a camper trailer.

Towing is a complex thing and makes travelling just a little bit harder and there's more servicing/mechanical parts to manage. The suitability of the camper trailer to your needs is very personal. With the difficulties you face in buying from overseas and not knowing all the brands/options etc I think its much easier to go with the motorhome.

We spent a week or so of our travel with a pair of adult sisters travelling in a similar 4WD motorhome and I took a look inside, it was great! And they had a ball - they spent far less time setting up and just enjoying themselves and could go everywhere we went in the NT and I think its an easy decision for you.

As others have mentioned, there is a small inconvenience of not being able to "secure" your campsite when you leave for a day trip but many people experience this issue if they travel in a 4WD with a roof top tent, or similar setup to you. Most camps like this you'd have a secured designated site booked in your name for a few days anyway (eg. national park campsites) so its yours for the duration if you're in it or not, plus you can easily just leave out a camp table or pair of camp chairs which is the common option.

As for resell, everything in the 4WD/camping/RV market is experiencing good resale turnovers. I think your last comment is actually all the more reason it will resell at a good value rather than make it harder.

Best of luck.
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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 15:44

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 15:44
Personally I think you should be favouring the version that meets the style of travel and accommodation that YOU like. You are going to be on the road for a long time so it is important that you get to do it your way as they are both quite different experiences
I personally dont like towing when touring as i find it a hindrance but many are happy to do itthis way.
I also wouldn’t be getting too hung up on the resale aspect, if you think the Motorhome will be harder to sell that price advantage will also be to your advantage when buying a unit. Also the vehicle depreciation cost will not be your biggest financial consideration in a trip like this.

Good luck with the decision process
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Reply By: Member - silkwood - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 21:49

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 21:49
Good advice here, the best being to look closely at how you prefer to travel. One thing I would mention is that there are a number of different tray-based campers other than the one you are considering (unless you have already found a specific vehicle you like). An advantage of many is the option of a slide-on configuration. You can drop the camper off at a campsite and take the vehicle on day trips, shopping, etc. Most of the benefits of a camper trailer without towing.

For anything more than an overnight stop removing most types of slide-on camper (and setting up camp) take less than an hour. Well worth it if in one place for a few days or more.

On resale, I wouldn't worry too much over the next year. I can't see prices for either camper trailers, 4wd's or camper vans going down anytime soon!

The only problem is, what once was a wonderful opportunity to camp remote with few "neighbours" is disappearing fast...

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Reply By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Nov 08, 2022 at 20:58

Tuesday, Nov 08, 2022 at 20:58
In my opinion, it all depends on the type of trailer. If you're on the road constantly then the less canvas to deal with the better. Personally, the hassle of putting up and taking down canvas structures day in and day out in rain, mud, dust, flies and mozzies becomes a real pain in the rear end compared with simply opening a door and shutting the world out. Get a couple of folding bikes to explore with?
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Reply By: Nifty1 - Thursday, Nov 10, 2022 at 09:37

Thursday, Nov 10, 2022 at 09:37
Well, we have a Talvor Hilux, ex hire, and it is a very competent travel machine. We also have a 4wd and until last week, a Tvan, which is like a hard sided, hard floor camper trailer, and reputed to be the toughest off-road camper. We opted to keep the Hilux as the best travel option for us, since it will go anywhere, can be parked in town for shopping, takes just a few minutes to set up or pack up, and is cheap to run. Two disadvantages - can’t take a kayak or anything on the roof, and you may loose your camp spot if you drive away for anything. On the other hand, you always have everything with you - fridge, food, cooking, clothing. Since we bought a used vehicle we have not been reluctant to take to it with the tools, so we have all the options to make it off grid, in fact never hook up to 240v power. (The Tvan is so good that it remains in the family anyway). Good luck with your travels!
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Reply By: Member - Broodie H3 - Thursday, Nov 10, 2022 at 10:26

Thursday, Nov 10, 2022 at 10:26
hello Roberto, this is just my slant on things I would go for a hybrid camper/ caravan as they are easier to set up not as much canvas and you can cook indoors and have them fully self contianed, which is becoming a must have when camping in inclement weather, and for camping in remote national parks. Just my thoughts we tow a 23ft caravan but the brother in law who travels with us has a forbes 15, which is light an very robust, and where we travel to is mostly remote and dirt roads. I hope this helps, and gives you some thing else to think about
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Reply By: Tim Owen - Friday, Nov 11, 2022 at 10:56

Friday, Nov 11, 2022 at 10:56
Perhaps another option to consider is a 'big' 4x4 ute (Landcruiser, Defender, Patrol) and an older 'carry me camper' style set up. A basic camper trailer 'opera' style canvas tent on top of a canopy. Less weight than a hard walled slide on - so perhaps a bit less stress on the vehicle, and more robust for slightly more adventurous tracks. Definitely more of a camping than touring experience though. 3+ nights in the rainy tropics in such a set up isn't much fun - and you'll be washing up in a bucket, not a sink etc.

When we camp, we like to be 'outside' - and so if its just the 2 of us, I dont bother to roll down the tent walls. Pack up is actually quite quick if you only go for the minimum set up ... with the option to create some space to get out of the weather if you need. We've toured in good weather for 3 months in such a set up no problem ... with the occassional night in a motel when needed to escape bad weather or for a break.

I really wanted to avoid towing.
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Friday, Nov 11, 2022 at 18:07

Friday, Nov 11, 2022 at 18:07
A Nissan Patrol towing an off road camper has been our mode of travel for the past 5 years, during which we have travelled full time (with some house-sitting/caretaking in northern wet seasons).

I wouldn't tow most campers for a long term trip for the reasons others give. The more setting up required at each stop the more tedious it becomes. This is a major reason I like our Tvan, it can be set up far more quickly & easily than most. With bare essentials only , we can pull up, open it up & be in bed within less than 1 minute. And it is capable enough to go anywhere the Patrol can tow it. Another significant advantage is that it gives you another axle to spread weight over.

That said a single vehicle is the most versatile of all when it comes to finding & stopping at hidden away camp spots, many just large enough for a single vehicle.

As to which vehicle, I feel that it's hard to go past a Patrol or Landcruiser. Just look at the chassis dimensions of either compared to a Hilux. There is no doubt that a motorhome on a Hilux will be more comfy than say a Troopy based camper, but the Troopy will go anywhere you want it. A Hilux with a motorhome body would be a bit more restricted & likely need far more care with that weight on a flimsier chassis.

What you choose should really be determined by where you want to go ...... off the beaten track or really off the beaten track. Eg. If you drove carefully the Hilux Motorhome will take you along the Gibb River Road, but if you want to get away from the majority of tourists or even just down some of the rougher side tracks (eg. to the gorges on Mt Elizabeth Station, or down the Munja Track ) then you probably wouldn't want the motorhome on the Hilux.

My comments come from the perspective which prioritises 'access' to places over comfort & convenience. Where you place your priorities should determine your choice. A secondary but important priority for us is how long our travelling outfit allows us to remain 'off grid' - This comes down to two things, power self sufficiency & carrying capacity. For us the answer to how long is 'as long as possible. With a troopy camper or a Hilux motorhome chances are you will need to shop for food at least every couple of weeks, & get water twice as often. We can manage 6 weeks/4 weeks without too much trouble. So again it comes back to where you want to go & what you want to see.For many travelling from tow to town with a bit of adventuring in between suits perfectly & for that you don't need to carry so much, but if you want to leave towns behind for longer periods you need greater carrying capacity - either a bigger vehicle, or a trailer. Every choice has pro's & cons, I'm just trying to help alert you to those which influenced our decisions.

I think whatever travelling outfit you buy, there is a very good chance that provided you look after it reasonably well you should recoup your costs when you re-sell ..... provided you have made a good choice based upon where you want to take it.

The alternative is to buy what you want in terms of comfort & convenience, with a willingness to limit where you can go.

Reality is in your timeframe you could choose a vehicle only suitable for use on sealed roads & still have a great trip, albeit stopping at places where many others stop. Again ..... comfort/convenience vs getting away from the crowds. The Hilux motorhome would be somewhere in the middle of that continuum.

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Reply By: Roberto B - Friday, Nov 11, 2022 at 22:05

Friday, Nov 11, 2022 at 22:05
Thanks you all for your advice and counsel, these have been invaluable to us and have helped us make our decision. We have decided upon the ex-rental Toyota Hilux Adventure camper.

As many of you said; "Find out what matches your camping style and preference" . If you add the fact that although we will be trying to travel with the weather, being there for a year we will likely mean we will not always be lucky, therefore hard walls and a fixed door helps. Additionally the Hilux has the convenience of maneuverability and is easier on off road terrain for someone who never towed. Add to that the quick set-up/break-up of camp. All those aforementioned things pointed us towards the Hilux yet knowingly sacrificing the ability to secure a camp-spot, cooking inside and more space.

Again thank you for helping us compare and contrast these pros and cons based on your experience.

This helped us move to the next stage and we have actually contacted a Perth based dealership who has one in stock (believe it or not there are only 2 for sale in the entire Perth area).

The dealership is asking us to pay up the entire purchase price of the vehicle to secure it. Obviously I am pretty nervous about that not being able to see the vehicle, look someone in the eye and shake hands on it. Especially for such a significant sum of money.

Is this pretty normal you think or is it more standard to arrange for a down payment and settle the balance upon collection ?

The dealership will conduct safety, mechanical and appliances check and inspection. Should we be arranging for our own impartial pre-purchase vehicle inspection you think? If so would you advise a redbook inspection or with another company more specialized in RVs ?

From the pictures it looks to be one of the better vehicles we've seen over the last months, also knowing that these Toyota Adventure campers are a tad bit hard to find and there is not much choice I feel we have little other option than to abide with the dealers conditions. There is one at another dealership in Perth who only requires a $1000 down payment, but on the pictures it looks to be in a less pristine state.

We are hoping to tap into the wealth of experience again for what is the most expensive vehicle purchase we have ever done, so obviously we are a tad bit nervous.

Roberto & Paula
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Nov 12, 2022 at 07:31

Saturday, Nov 12, 2022 at 07:31
Hi Roberto,

Yes, you are in an awkward position. Without actually being able to physically see and touch the vehicle in question, it means placing a great deal of trust in someone you have no idea about with regard to their honesty. Used vehicle salesman are not known for their honesty and integrity, although some are of course, but those that aren’t give the industry a bad name.

Do you know anyone in Perth that you trust that has the mechanical knowledge to go and look at the vehicle? As far as a mechanical inspection goes, you will obviously need to pay a fee. You may be able to research on line a few inspectors in Perth. Perhaps a state based auto club. You may also want to research the dealership for positive or negative reviews.

I can understand the dealership being nervous about “locking up” a vehicle sale from an overseas buyer for several months, and wanting full payment in advance. If for some reason you cannot get here, they have potentially lost a sale. While there is the argument that they could easily sell the vehicle to someone else if your sale fell through, they want their money now.


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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Nov 12, 2022 at 09:19

Saturday, Nov 12, 2022 at 09:19
I definitely would not rely on the dealership doing an inspection as there is a conflict of interest , I doubt there will be any warranty available to you as well as it is classified a commercial vehicle so you want to know exactly what you are buying
Look for an independent company or organisation to carry out the inspection on your behalf. Hopefully some other forum members here might be able to suggest a suitable candidate
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Follow Up By: Nifty1 - Sunday, Nov 13, 2022 at 08:50

Sunday, Nov 13, 2022 at 08:50
Must confess I’d be nervous about paying in full, sight unseen, a couple of months in advance, and I agree that you should require a completely independent inspection report. However if it is any satisfaction, we bought our unit with 230,000km on it and didn’t get it inspected, but have had no trouble. I think the hire company, Apollo, realise that the cost of retrieving a broken down vehicle in the outback can be just so expensive that they keep the maintenance up. Ours got a full roadworthy after purchase, and the mechanic could not find a single issue, even commented that it had been very well looked after. One other comment, these are not fancy vehicles loaded up with unnecessary stuff, but what is there is pretty well constructed - some of the wiring is potted in conduits, for instance.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Sunday, Nov 13, 2022 at 16:15

Sunday, Nov 13, 2022 at 16:15
Absolutely no way would I pay in full as you have been asked to do. I appreciate the difficult position you are in & I have no doubt that the dealer does too. In my view a dealer with integrity, rather than trying to exploit your situation just for a sale would be advising you as folk on this forum have done to first get an independent assessment done. It might be reasonable to expect to pay a small holding deposit, returnable if an independent assessment shows there are problems you don't wish to deal with or that cannot be rectified with appropriate negotiation on price.

FWIW Although in a different situation to you, (I was able to look at the vehicle myself) the dealer paid for a an inspection by the State based auto organisation. This was not worth the paper it was written on, I knew more about the car than the inspector did (just) who reported a serious gearbox /transmission problem. I had thought the noise which alarmed the inspector was normal for the vehicle. To be sure I arranged an independent inspection with a 4wd transmission specialist not too far from the dealership. The dealer was very accomodating, happy to deliver the car to the specialist & to collect it when done. As I had suspected there was nothing at all wrong with the gearbox/transmission (& it is still just as good now over 12 years later!) BUT the specialist did find a number of other issues. The result was that the dealer agreed to a price $2000 less than the asking price AND did almost $4000 worth of rectifications highlighted by the then $200 inspection I'd had done. Looking back, this was a dealer who rose above those who give dealers a bad name, & set the benchmark for what I would now expect. These figures were on a car which I ended up paying $31k for in 2011.

The difficulty you have is probably not finding an independent specialist who can assess the vehicle mechanically , more one who can assess the motorhome side of the vehicle.

If I were in your shoes I would definitely aim for an independent mechanical inspection & expect the dealer to be happy to comply with that if he has nothing to hide. Not sure if you will find a specific 'motorhome inspection service, in which case you will have several choices. A) take a gamble that all will be well, but with an expectation you may have to fix a couple of things when you get here. B) Get detailed photos of everything to understand the systems & then seek a written assurance that all is in good operational order from the dealer C) Find a local motorhome enthusiast via forums such as this, or the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia, CMCA (you would have to join), - they - will have Perth branch(es) ,possibly with a member who may be prepared to go & check it out for you. A good chance if you connect with the right folk they will be happy to do this for little or nothing, & you get a motorhomer connection in Oz before you even arrive! I have been happy to do this for a couple of folk in the past, but unfortunately (for you) I am as far from Perth as it is possible to be in Australia, up near the top of Cape York.

'C' would probably be best but time may be against you.

Even with all this done I would still be extremely reluctant to pay in full before arrival. What proportion of the agreed price you would be prepared to pay before arrival once you have determined you are not buying an overpriced lemon is up to you. If it were me I think I'd cap it at 10% to 20%. non refundable if you fail to arrive. That should be enough to show you are a serious purchaser.

If the dealer is unwilling to accommodate this you should 'walk away'. Worst that can happen is that you have to spend a bit of time getting to know Perth & buying whilst you are here.

It may not now be possible, but in case Perth is not 'locked in', when it comes to vehicle purchase choice will be much greater in the eastern cities.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Friday, Nov 18, 2022 at 09:24

Friday, Nov 18, 2022 at 09:24
Will be interested to hear what decision you make Roberto & Paula.
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Follow Up By: Roberto B - Friday, Nov 18, 2022 at 23:14

Friday, Nov 18, 2022 at 23:14
Dear Cuppa et all-

Your council and advise here I gave me enough confidence to not accept the dealers conditions. It absolutely did not feel right to pay up the whole amount , but one never knows what the customs/business practices are being from abroad. Thanks for helping me out.

The dealer did not move an inch which means we had to take our business elsewhere to our #2 vehicle of choice (still an ex-rental Talvor Hilux Adventure Camper but just a tad bit less pristine from the photo's). At this other dealership they asked a very acceptable $1000 down-payment fully refundable when we are not able to agree on a final deal once present. They are also very accommodating towards a 3rd party inspection. So it feels we've made the right choice.

Only thing left now is to find a good 3rd party inspector. Redbook seems to be a regular go-to for these checks. They offer a $350 on-site inspection including road test but the focus mostly seems to be a visual examination and there also seem to be a lot of exclusions.

I'd be grateful if any of you have suggestions for potential other inspection companies.

Cheers, Roberto
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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Saturday, Nov 19, 2022 at 08:49

Saturday, Nov 19, 2022 at 08:49
Hi Roberto,
It can't have been an easy decision, but I think you have made the right one.

As for somewhere to do an inspection I must admit I would have more faith on one conducted by a business who regularly work on the vehicles, than one who only do inspections.

As I mentioned previously I had an inspection done by an RACV inspector - that was his job, inspecting, It was a 'tick the box' inspection which told us very little & more importantly missed a a lot. This was an RACV inspection paid for by the dealer, perhaps one paid for by the customer may have been more comprehensive, but I believe it would have still been a 'tick the box' inspection of x number of items.

The second inspection, by a small 4wd transmission specialist workshop was clearly more thorough & importantly with access to discuss it with the person (the owner) who carried it out. (The RACV inspection was by an anonymous inspector). I was able to ask things like 'What would you do about xyz if it were yours? Overall the inspection by someone obviously very familiar with the vehicle from working on them was a 100 times more reassuring than that from a tick the box inspector. I have included images of both reports so you can see the difference. Both for the same car!

I looked up Redbook inspections & was surprised at what they exclude. I suspect you can do better. I also had a look for what else may be available in Perth(I googled pre purchase 4wd inspections Perth). This brought up several 'Inspection companies which may be OK, but most said things like '76 point inspection' or something like that which failed to enthuse me.

The one I found which on the the basis of my search would be the one I think I would talk to first (and of course I am no more familiar with them than you are ) is Robson Brothers 4WD


However if there are any members here who live in Perth & have a favourite 4wd workshop whom they have come to trust over a period of time I would be swayed by that. Any good workshop can do what is required, they don't need to specifically advertise an 'inspection service'. In fact I suspect if 'inspections are not their every day work, they may even be more thorough.

A phone call to talk about what you want will give you a better sense of whether you are likely to get what you want. Ask to speak to the person who does the work.

As mentioned previously though , I doubt any will do more than a superficial look at the motorhome side of things, but you can ask - you could get lucky.
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Reply By: Roberto B - Thursday, Nov 24, 2022 at 03:47

Thursday, Nov 24, 2022 at 03:47
Thanks Cuppa,

I have an inquiry pending with Robson to see what they cover in their inspection. On a different note, yet still related to the purchase of our Hilux, what is the nor when it comes to stamp duty on used vehicles. Is this normally paid by the customer or should this be included in the sales price and incurred by the dealership?

It's so fascinating going through all of this is foreign country, everything is different. That's why I am so thankful for being able to ask for tips and advice here.

AnswerID: 642162

Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Thursday, Nov 24, 2022 at 10:20

Thursday, Nov 24, 2022 at 10:20
As I understand it, if the price is quoted as an 'On The Road' price - the dealer will pay the Stamp duty & registration. I am uncertain whether this is for new vehicles only, or if they will do it with used vehicles too.

It would make your life easier if they did it for you. Likely a 'Garaging address' will be required for registration - I suspect dealers will have a way to deal with this for folk in your situation (unless you have someone's address here already that you can use).

I suggest you make a separate post here to ask the same question again, I think more folk will probably see it, & make getting a useful answer more likely.

It is also the case that stamp duty amounts vary from state to state.

This is the WA calculation https://www.transport.wa.gov.au/licensing/vehicle-licence-duty-calculator.asp
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Thursday, Nov 24, 2022 at 15:00

Thursday, Nov 24, 2022 at 15:00
In NSW an already registered second hand car has a transfer fee worked as a percentage of the purchase price and that is paid by the buyer not the seller. You inherit the remaining period of registration.
FollowupID: 921631

Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Thursday, Nov 24, 2022 at 20:11

Thursday, Nov 24, 2022 at 20:11
Michael that is the case when buying privately but do you need to do the tranfer yourself when buying from a dealer?
I think they may transfer it into your name at the time of purchase, when i bought a new vehicle the dealer transferred my personal plates over to my new vehicle and put normal plates on my current one so I didn’t have to visit RTA at all.

Either way it would pay to ask what the deal is as part of the purchase negotiation
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