AVAN RVs have serious health & safety concerns and security issues.
(1): the diesel engine exhaust is NOT extended out past the rear bumper which is a commonly recognised “best practice’ in the RV industry especially by the best RV manufacturers.The exhaust outlet must be located behind any passenger seats and to the rear of all “unsealed openings”,ie. anything “not permanently sealed”. Every Avan engine exhaust must be behind all “openable windows”. AND, because Avan Ovation M3 models have large rear wall openable windows the exhaust must go vertically up the rear wall to above roof level and be encased in a safety heat-shield. OR – as a significant $cost saving to Avan – it should replace all these large openable rear wall windows with the fully sealed non-openable variety as the best manufacturers install! Even better,why not do away with these large rear wall windows as they are really unnecessary.
Supportive evidence: (a)since the start of the new millenium ADR42/04 General Safety – Exhausts has stated that exhausts must be extended to the rear of all passenger seats and any “unsealed openings” (b)Jayco,22 August 2008, did the right thing and extended the exhausts in a batch of their Motorhomes after noticing the mistake (c)Canberra’s bureaucrats for reasons known only to themselves deleted ADR42/04′s exhaust extension requirement in April 2013 and classified Motorhomes as “goods carrying vehicles”.Have you ever heard of such imbecility and stupidity? Thank goodness the RV Industry’s commonly recognised “best practice” prevails and the best manufacturers continue to extend their engine exhausts out past the rear bumper.
All Avan’s engine exhausts have been wrongly positioned since February 2007!
(2): all Avan’s diesel heaters are wrongly installed on the LHS of their Motorhomes. The heater manufacturers stipulate a maximum exhaust length of two metres. As with the engine exhaust the diesel heater exhaust must be extended to the rear area of the Motorhome. The only way Avan can satisfactorily achieve this is to re-position the heater unit at the rear of the Motorhome with its own small diesel tank and battery. NB: Installing these units on the LHS – near/over the road verge when travelling – makes them susceptible to damage from the road grime,dust and small stones sucked in by the air for combustion inlet which can lead to heater blower fin damage.
(3): Avan’s lower airvent is “unroadworthy”. This airvent is installed in the side of the dinette seat just above the floor and exits directly through a purpose-built vertical shaft to the outside air under the Motorhome .This “hole through the floor” renders the vehicle floor unroadworthy.No vehicle in Australia – or the world for that matter – has “a hole through the floor”!! This “hole”also allows cold air,dust and exhaust fumes to blow in.This airvent is non-compliant with the commonly recognised “best practice” in the RV Industry where the best manufacturers install the lower airvent in the bottom of the entrance door or sometimes in the first step riser of the stairwell.
(4):the juxtaposition of the charger/transformer,“house battery”and a 240V power point is a dangerous risk. Being all cramped together in an unventilated underfloor compartment is an unsafe fire risk.The storage compartment is not completely sealed and is not vented to the outside air! No other RV manufacturer has such a dangerous installation.Leads from a battery charger to a house battery must be a minimum 1metre long! There must be isolation switches on both the transformer/charger and the house battery leads for absolute safety. Avan’s house battery positive(+) lead is still “live” when disconnected because it is connected direct to the engine battery/alternator setup.The German charger manufacturer insists the charger must be on “zero current” to change a fuse.That’s where an isolation switch is a necessity but also very convenient. To change a fuse you have to remove the one-legged dinette table, get on your knees to remove the battery compartment access cover and then spread out on the floor to try to see what fuse has failed! The fuses should be up high at eye level in the overhead cupboard behind the switchboard. Turning OFF Avan’s 12V powerboard does NOT turn everything OFF. The wiring remains “live” to the diesel heater,the refrigerator “heat panel”,the outside awning light and to the retractable entrance step all of which is a very dangerous fire risk.Nothing at all should be able to be turned ON. Turn it OFF and everything 12V must be OFF!
(5): Not one Avan RV is supplied to the market with a 240V Compliance Safety Certificate. Avan must immediately engage a professional electrician to inspect all Avan RVs – both Motorhomes and Caravans – to confirm 240V compliance and issue the Compliance Safety Certificates as all other RV manufacturers provide and as the RVMA recommends. NB: Avan’s two main 240V circuit breakers are installed at the lowest point in the Motorhome. Circuit breakers must be placed at the HIGHEST point in the vehicle. Avan’s are even installed on the same level as 12V & 240V wiring to the Truma Hot Water Boiler and below water supply and drainage pipes. Everybody knows water near 240V electricity can be disastrous? Avan does NOT know this!
(6):The TRUMA hotwater boiler is NOT installed according to TRUMA’s installation instructions, which state its exhaust flue must NOT be below an openable window and the unit itself must be easily accessible at all times! (Avan has ignored every instruction from Truma.Also see below about “warning stickers”!)To get to the boiler where Avan has installed it for repair ,maintenance or removal you have to pull the kitchen apart!! Non-compliance with a manufacturer’s installation instructions is classified as a “fault” within the Australian LPG Standard.If,as a last resort only,the HWS flue has to be installed under a window Truma instructs to affix “warning stickers“ on the windows above the flue and worded: “This window must be closed whenever the HWS boiler is operating”.
(7): Avan Motorhome floors sink because there are not enough structural supports. One owner’s floor was sinking in about three large areas and Avan management said Avan Motorhomes are NOT built to be lived in permanently.To fix the sinking floor in this owner’s Avan Ovation M3 model the sheets of polypropylene(plastic) underfloor screwed on top of the metal chassis had to be cut through to gain access to the sub-floor area.Avan tried to insert some extra “supports” and secure them somehow! The owner was given no details as to how this work was done or what material was actually inserted! The interior top of the floor finish was a disgrace.Then – to cover up the access holes in the plastic underfloor a patchwork quilt of polypropylene sheets were glued and screwed over the openings using over 200+ tech screws. It’s so obvious the underfloor has undergone a repair attempt.It looks like a bikie’s studded motorcylce jacket. The owner paid a contractor about $700 to scrape and grind the unlevel interior floor level and to seal it with paste and then cover it with a matching colour/design lino! Avan’s policy is NOT to admit to any fault. Despite showing photos of the contractor doing the work and also the finished job when done and showing the invoice there was no financial compensation from Avan. The three(3)floor sinking areas were in the entrance /kitchen area, around/under/beside the dinette table and approaches to the toilet ensuite area. Avan’s structural integrity of their Motorhome floors is certainly brought into question!!
(8):The fresh water tank cannot be removed for health and safety cleaning. Filling the tank is another annoying problem. The airvent hole is too narrow compared with the size of the fill hole, so airlocks occur if you fill too fast. You have to dribble the water in or remove the internal tank lid for a quicker fill. And the vehicle must be dead level! The tank is thin plastic and has not been pressure-tested and if an airlock occurs the tank swells up like a football bladder and blows the lid off!! Every other manufacturer installs a removable fresh water tank!
THE EIGHT(8) MAJOR FAULTS LISTED ABOVE SHOW AN OBVIOUS LACK OF BASIC COMMON SENSE AND TOTAL IGNORANCE OF ALL COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS AND ALL COMMONLY RECOGNISED “BEST PRACTICES” IN THE RV INDUSTRY. EVEN APPLIANCE MANUFACTURER’S INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS ARE IGNORED BY AVAN.
AVAN DESIGN FAULTS:
(9):the entrance door lock problems are never-ending.The two (2)locking mechanisms are placed at the top and bottom of the door and the handle is in the middle! This is very unusual to begin with!To activate the locks thin rigid trip wires run from the central handle to the locks.The whole design is fraught with problems. The concertina flywire mosquito netting door is absolutely useless and provides no security. The entrance doorway is too narrow and the plastic stairwell is slippery and dangerous. Even the floor should be covered with a non-slip material for safety like other Motorhomes are.
(10):One single 95Ah “house battery” is completely inadequate. Two(2) batteries are essential and should be provided as standard and NOT as an add-on $600 cost option. (IF a diesel heater is installed a second battery is a must.) To remove the second battery installed you have to remove the first one installed! These batteries must be installed in their own sealed compartment and ventilated to the outside air. A dangerous design!
(11):Can you quickly and easily reach the fire extinguisher above the entrance steps doorway?
(12):Can you reach the microwave door above the refrigerator safely and easily to remove a hot container of liquid or food above your head so you don’t spill it ?
(13):The water pump is not easily accessible as it must be for removal, maintenance or repairs etc. And the pump is not earthed to the chassis so 12V interference occurs to the TV when the pump is used.
(14):NB: All accessories are installed BEFORE the side walls go on so access to the HWS boiler, the 2nd battery if installed, the water pump, drainage system etc. are extremely difficult if not virtually impossible.
(15):The spare wheel is underneath the vehicle and is lowered to the ground by winding down a winch located on the RHS. You then try to drag the tyre out to the RHS side of the vehicle to unscrew the nut holding the spare tyre to the winch wire. You need a 4ft long gaff rod to hook onto the spare to help you drag it out. Remounting the flat is the reverse procedure. The winch should be on the LHS/kerbside of the vehicle for total safety.
(17):The Fiat scissor jack is not really suitable for jacking up a 6 metre long Motorhomes,especially with such a long rear overhang. The jack is designed solely for Fiat’s combi-van use only where the rear end of the vehicle is just behind the rear axle. Also the jack has no Australian Standard sticker on it and no safety warning as required. And Fiat’s recommended rear jack-up points are in front of the rear wheel. BUT with Avan’s add-on chassis extension the jack-up points are 2700mm (9 ft) from the rear of the vehicle! It is abnormally difficult to try to jack it up far enough off the ground to get the spare tyre out. A decent trolley jack and two(2) jack stands are essential to make the job easier and safer.The plastic rear wheel surrounds encroach across the edges of the tyres and make removal even harder!
(18):Those chrome-plated plastic mixer taps over the kitchen sink are expensive and not durable enough like metal taps which are much cheaper and can be bought at any plumbing supplies centre.
(19):The benchtops Avan installed are not solid timber.Some are filled with corrugated concertina cardboard! Solid benchtops started being installed in later models! There is no benchtop space at all, none. One RV Industry “commonly recognised rule of thumb” is 500mm benchtop space per passenger. Any suggestion to work on the sink and cooker glass tops is ridiculous and a dangerous suggestion. Not much cupboard space either because most of it in the kitchen is taken up by the HWS boiler, plumbing/waste water drainage lines, water pump etc.
(20):The mattress comprises two pieces buttoned together. It is too narrow and the inside piece has a cutout section which narrows to about 30cms, so that side is only suitable for a child!
(21): Ensuite. Absolutely no privacy if you want the window open to vent toilet smells or shower steam vapour. A 12v exhaust fan in the roof airvent is essential. The ensuite window should be a narrow rectangular type up high across the wall and the mirror under it. The mirror should be made of safety glass and also the mirror on the cupboard door.The shower drain outlet is twice as big as the drain pipe so the shower water drains too slowly.As in domestic ensuites Avan should cover this ensuite “wet area”with a water impermeable layer and even probably install a drain outlet in the floor in case of any accidental water overflows!
(22):”S traps”. There are none in the grey water drainage system so unpleasant odours waft back up from the grey water tank! And you can’t remove the in-line grease traps anyway – they’re glued in! The RV Industry might one day come up with small screw-in “S trap” fittings like in domestic under sink installations
(23):The rearlight assemblies are held in with Velcro! They must be securely screwed in. The amber sidelights are NOT correctly positioned at both rear corner extremities NOT 90mm(3 ft) in from the end.
(24): Window security. There is none. The windows can NOT be locked in the slightly “open position” to catch a summer breeze if needed! So access is quite easy for those with undesirable intentions!
(25):Poor quality workmanship by non-professional assemblers throughout compromises all the joinery/cabinetry work etc.The only benefit is $cost savings to Avan not having to pay more expensive professional tradesmen!All junction and butt joins between vertical panels are inadequately secured. Have a look behind those fawny coloured round plastic caps. These caps cover angled screws which do not go in far enough so fine gaps soon appear where the vertical panels abut the side walls. Another example is the ensuite door jamb secured with over 20 screws!!This is poor planning and design and certainly comprises structural integrity which no guarantee is provided for.
(26)Overall Summation: Avans are built to a price and it shows.Corners are cut to save $costs! They are NOT all built according to basic building code regulations or commonly recognised “best practices” in the RV Industry. Avans are a cheap example of how NOT to build a Motorhome. How Avan can justify a $130,000+ price tag beggars belief. Copying and importing ideas from Europe does NOT work in Australia. Friendly customer service is almost non-existent and spare parts delay can be over 6 months. Warranty period of only 12 months or 10,000klms is completely inadequate for the money paid out. Options are over-priced when compared to other suppliers in the market. Alert: The “defect notice” relating to LPG faults puts a cloud over the LPG compliance of all Avan Caravans and Avan Motorhomes
The LPG installation faults listed on the abovementioned DN concern the LPG cylinder compartment being unsealed;the Truma brand hot water service(HWS) flue’s incorrect/non-compliant location;the “hole through the floor” lower LPG airvent being too close(less than 1 metre) to the LPG cylinder compartment drain openings.(NB:This lower LPG airvent purpose-built through the vehicle floor is “an unsealed opening” and renders the vehicle floor unroadworthy according to VicRoads: “A vehicle floor must be completely and effectively sealed”. A serious fault concerned the incorrectly installed 170L Dometic refrigerator with undersized and wrongly positioned airvents. (Refer page – “LPG Installations: Safety and Compliance” – which details all LPG Standard compliance requirements. SO…check if your Avan RV is LPG compliant in every respect.
Avan’s LPG cylinder compartment: the compartment is NOT completely and effectively sealed.The compartment door does NOT seal against the vehicle body.It should be similar to a Thetford toilet cassette door and hinged on the forward side,NOT a lift-up door which can be clipped and left up in the “open” position! It should also have an airvent in the top of the door and one single 25mm diameter pipe drain in the base of the compartment with the end of the pipe cut at an angle with the opening facing away from the forward direction of travel. (NB: Avan’s slide-out tray is NOT the bottom of the compartment.)The provision of a 25mm diameter drain pipe in the bottom of the compartment and an airvent in the top of the door provide essential airflow down and across the cylinders. Avan’s compartment door can be left clipped up in “the open position” and the Defect Notice ordered “warning notices” to be affixed to both sides of the door warning that the door must be securely closed when appliances are in use to avoid the risk of any LPG – if a leak did occur – being drawn either into the kitchen window via the cooktop exhaust fan and/or sucked into the air intake on the Truma HWS flue etc. The drain holes in Avan’s slide-out tray do not provide minimum 25mm area as required. NB: the distance between Avan’s HWS flue – which is an ignition source – and the nearest LPG cylinder valve is non-compliant because it(the HWS flue) falls within a 500mm square exclusion zone from the nearest cylinder valve in the compartment.
Avan’s lower airvent: This airvent is like no other in the RV Industry! There is no reason for it whatsoever to be so positioned as “a hole through the floor”! It is “non-compliant” for four(4) reasons. First,the underfloor metal box is closer than one(1) metre to the “drain openings” in the LPG cylinder compartment. Second,the wiremesh covering the metal box’s end opening is undersized and does NOT provide adequate ventilation. Third,the “hole through the floor” airvent leads down/up from the airvent in the side of the dinette seat.This airvent in the seat is in the wrong position and is NOT low enough. It must be at the lowest point in the RV which is in the bottom of the stairwell or as commonly installed – as an RV Industry “best practice”- in the bottom of the entrance door. Fourth, it is a serious roadworthy fault as stated by VicRoads! The floor of a vehicle must be completely and effectively sealed to prevent the risk of any exhaust fumes entering the interior of the vehicle.The diesel engine exhaust – and any diesel heater exhaust installed – are located in front of this unroadworthy lower airvent through the floor rather than behind it. What a total amateurish non-professional non-compliant airvent installation mess which would $cost heaps for each Avan RV owner to have rectified at Avan’s $cost!
Avan’s Truma LPG hot water service(HWS) flue terminal. The flue position is “non-compliant” because it is less than 500mm below an openable window and contravenes Truma’s own installation instructions. This Truma HWS flue non-compliant position is present in all Avan Ovation M3 Motorhomes from early February 2007! Once Avan’s plumber/gasfitter director became aware of this fault in March 2010 he applied for “an exemption from compliance” – no logical reason given – from the State gas/plumbing Authority,which granted it 12 months later in March 2011! BUT such exemption is NOT retrospective SO every Avan Ovation M3 Motorhome built from February 2007 until March 2011 are still affected by this very serious fault!! Said plumber/gasfitter director was ordered to provide a copy of this “Exemption Notice” to every Ovation M3& M4 Motorhome owner affected.This has NOT been done! He was also ordered to provide safety “warning stickers” to these Motorhome owners for affixing to the windows above the HWS flue worded: “This window must be closed whenever the hot water service is in LPG operation“. This also has NOT been done! I believe Avan’s plumber/gasfitter director has a moral, ethical and legal “duty of care” responsibility to comply with the orders of the State Plumbing/Gas Authority in relation to this matter in an immediate sense.
Dometic Refrigerators. These are NOT installed as per Dometic’s own installation instructions available from Dometic’s website. One obvious fault is the awning light positioned just above the top refrigerator airvent. This awning light prevents that top airvent being correctly positioned.The two refrigerator outside wall airvents are both undersized and incorrectly positioned. The bottom edge of the top airvent must be level with or higher than the top of the refrigerator.Larger airvents are required top and bottom for adequate ventilation which enables optimum refrigerator performance. The awning light must be repositioned 300+mm towards the rear.Climate class ST refrigerators are completely unsuitable for Australia-wide conditions.The hot 40+ degrees often experienced across the northern areas of Australia coupled with incorrect installation and inadequate ventilation can drop performance by more than 35%. Avan argue that these Dometic ST refrigerators work OK in Tasmania,Victoria and NSW, which do not get generally as hot as Northern Australia. So what? This is NOT good enough as Avan Dealers sell these Motorhomes as completely suitable for Australia-wide travel,which is misleading and deceptive conduct. Avan must – whatever the $cost – provide replacement T class refrigerators for all the ST models installed for owners of Avan Ovation M3 Motorhomes. (You don’t sell somebody a 4 cylinder car and argue that it’s just as good as the V8 he ordered but is not available as
E. & O.E.