GOLF Savannah 499
Recently brought a GOLF caravan
Just started with a few trips but is it just fantastic, so good for two "grey nomads: Plenty of room and so many features, also great to see so many power points in the van
Purchased in May 2019.
Well equipped for a great adventure
We loved this van which was a great home on our big adventure. Big tanks for water and solar gave us freedom to get away from the crowds and stay in some remote places. The outdoor kitchen gave us extra space for food prep and we used it as much as weather permitted. We didn’t do a lot of off-road but it handled well when we did. The dealer however was almost completely hopeless and in the end we ended up resolving any issues ourselves.
Old Golf Vans are Quality built and durable.
I have a 1995 Golf Savannah. Yes It's old, nearly 20 years of trouble free service. It has been every where with only a few very minor issues. The timber fit & finish inside has proven bomb proof. Mine is 16" with shower and toilet,hot water, 2 berth. I have upgraded the solar to a 2 panel 220amp hour system and complete led light upgrade. TV, Bluetooth, 12V usb ports throughout. Ducted reverse cycle air cond. Smart charger & inverter. I have in my van what the manufacturers of today would fit into a new one and you would pay around 60k?. That would be ok if the vans of today were biuilt with the same workmanship and quality I have in my 20 year old. The suspension is tired so I will replace the springs and shocks very soon. After reading the nightmares encountered by new van buyers, I will definately be hanging on to the old Savannah. It's looking like it will outlast me!
If you want a Golf, buy a pre 2009 model.
If you want a Golf caravan, buy a pre 2009 model when they were built at Lawnton Brisbane. These were the original Golf caravans known for their high quality build. We have owned our 2009 Golf Savannah GTS for 9 years. From the day we left the dealer ( Takalvans Bundaberg ) nothing has ever gone wrong with it. The appearance of the van can still be considered as new. We still get comments from other travellers who can’t believe the caravan is nine years old. It tows smoothly and quietly behind our Pajero and even in the strongest winds shows no tendency to sway or exhibit any other undesirable towing irregularities. WE LOVE IT!
PROBLEMS WITH THE GOLF SAVANNAH 499
We purchased the van in 2014 and were given a half an hour hand over by the dealership.
Due to all the problems encountered, we have called Golf Savanah manufacturers, Melbourne, on numerous occasions only to be put on hold, every time.
YOU ASK WHY WE PURCHASED THIS VAN?
If we knew then the problems we would encounter and the service given by GOLF we would not have bought this van. Instead we would have bought an Australian made van, with a good reputation.
Both of the original batteries failed and were replaced, shortly after we purchased the van. The van was consumed by a strong sulphur smell whilst we were travelling. The wiring in the van was in such a mess an auto electrician had to sort out all the battery wiring and fuses to enable him to work on it.
LOCATION OF BATTERIES
The batteries were in frustrating locations.
Battery 1: was located under the bed.
Battery 2: was located in a box near the bed/kitchen which was not easily seen. This box was sealed by 12 screws which had to be extracted to get to the battery.
This failed and had to be replaced.
BOOT AT FRONT OF VAN
The door of the boot only opens half way and is extremely restrictive to get into. The struts on the boot have failed and we have to prop it open.
GAS BOTTLE LOCATION
The 2 x 9ltr gas bottles are located in the front boot of the van.
These are extremely hard to get out and replace due to the limited space. These bottles should be secured on the draw bar.
CONNECTION CHAINS ON VAN
The bolts on the Hyland hitch bolts became loose and dangerous. Hyland hitch and safety chains had to be replaced.
JOCKEY WHEEL & JACK
The jockey wheel and jack were cheap, dangerous and not fit for the job! The jack was replaced with a hydraulic jack.
These are way too low and will scrap on anything including gutters on the road. We removed these and use portable steps.
Why Golf installed these steps is anyone’s guess.
The original fridge installed in the van was a very inferior model.
There are very limited instructions relating to the set up, operation and troubleshooting of the fridge. Instructions do not explain that the van has to be completely level before the 3 way fridge will work.
We have replaced the original Thetford fridge with a bigger 100ltr Waco upright compressor fridge. The Thetford continually broke down and would not keep cool in tropical conditions.
The stable type door is unfortunately not designed very well and is not practicable. This door is moulded into 2 sections and the top is able to be opened (as per a stable door) and left open. Can’t fathom why/when, anyone would use this.
There is no lockable security mesh door over the doorway to allow the main door to remain open whilst feeling secure inside.
When it rains the water flows down the side of the van and splashes into the door recess.
When the door is fully open and secured on the plastic holder, it covers the vents for the fridge and won’t allow the kitchen window to open, which creates problems with ventilation when cooking. We have installed metal clips to secure the door to allow airflow around fridge vents and secures door in place.
CURTAINS & BLINDS THROUGHTOUT THE VAN
These are pretend and not operational. We’ve had to replace these with real curtains that actually pull across, give privacy and block the sun.
The curtains above the stove became splattered with fat and food so had to be removed. The same happened with the curtains above the vanity.
The pull-up blinds on all the windows are useless as they are only plastic and after continual use they come off the rails.
The plastic clips on the windows broke on our first trip.
The rear window fell out shortly after purchase. Had to be repaired.
There are no instructions regarding having to completely level the van before using the shower.
As we have found by trial and error, when you are planning to use the indoor shower, you must first ensure the van is exactly level.
The result of not levelling off (much to our dismay) is to find the recess will overflow with shower water into the van and damage any floor coverings/property you have.
Shower is fine if you have three arms! There needs to be a bracket mounted on the exterior wall to hold the shower rose.
We have had to replace the awning twice and are now on the third, due to faulty mechanisms. We have had one Dometic and two Prostors. If you travel interstate, don’t expect to have your awning replaced in any great hurry or at all, especially WA & SA, as the caravan repairers we went to have never heard of these brands and couldn’t help us.
On our big lap trip around Australia, the awning jammed and had to be replaced. It could not be replaced in SA or WA so we contacted Golf, as we were heading to Melbourne. We gave them 9 days but still they could not fit us in!!!
LOCATION OF FUSES THROUGHOUT VAN
There is no map or instructions to help locate any of the fuses or wiring. There is no booklet or instructions to help locate a blown fuse.
After a lot of searching we found the fuses in 3 different locations, (in a sealed battery box, under the bed and under the bench seat).
MANUALS FOR CARAVAN
It is only by trial and error we have discovered how to operate most things within and outside of the van.
SLIDOUT OUTDOOR KITCHEN
The hot and cold water connections are a very inferior product.
We had to replace these with stainless steel connections.
Connecting the pipes to the unit was such a problem each time, we had to extend these hoses to make it easier.
The plug for the sink is so unique, it is impossible to obtain another of the same size (so don’t loose the original).
We found when it rains, water will come in through the side of the van where the sink is and settle in the recess under the bed, causing excessive dampness. When using the outdoor kitchen, the full annex can’t be used on this side, which means there is no protection from the elements.
WATER TANK INDICATOR & REFILLING WATER TANKS
The water gauge indicator on both the 90ltr tanks was registering as full, when in fact only one tank had filled. We had to put a separate tap on the reserve tank to make sure that both tanks had been filled.
We have run out of water on several occasions, due to this fact.
The indicator does not drop gradually with the use of water but drops in quarterly increments. This leads to a false reading as you believe there is more water in the tank, than there actually is.
STONE CHIP PROTECTOR
The stone chip protector was installed on purchase from the Golf Dealership. We had to remove this as it would catch on the 4x4 when we backed into tight spaces. They are not well designed.
The original TV installed in the van was a very inferior model. It was so bad we couldn’t receive channels when we were staying in most big towns/cities. We have replaced this with a better quality TV and antenna (which wasn’t hard).
There are very limited instructions relating to the set up, operation and troubleshooting of the original TV.
The whole van fills up with dust and dirt when taken on ANY dirt road. We have had to completely clean everything in the van (including inside the kitchen drawers) on several occasions (not much fun). We had to fit a scupper vent and now tape up the door, vents, and windows every time we take the van on a dirt road.
This van is certainly not SEMI OFF-ROAD.
Maxxi 531-what should be a great van one day?
Love the 531 design or most of it ,but struggling to get company to fix the problems. Service and communication or lack of, upsetting . One way communication mostly. Tv antenna too tight won't turn, toilet hose fell off into the tank, rear bed hard to close. Now worried there are other issues to be found. Also have had to remake the privacy curtain provided as was impracticable and awkward to use, preventing access to two upper cupboards. Alterations asked for were not done at all initially, still waiting for bike rack, seating cushions to be corrected, and repairs done by company. feeling a bit disappointed. Also check the shower has been turned off before storing bedding in there for travelling, as ours had been left on at handover, so not only did we lose water, but had soaked bedding as well. Very strange process all round for an expensive van. Like the look, rounded cupboards, sliding doors on bathroom and bedroom, storage appears ok- have been away once, now trying to get repairs done to get away again, Tow vehicle- Ranger, towed well.
Not happy with manufacturers
The van is a great family van. The issues and trying to get them resolved is hopeless
Electrical wiring is dangerous and doesn’t work
Most components of the van don’t work
Manufacturers are unhelpful and so is the seller
Beds get wet unless storm covers are provided
No support to have both bunks up
Definitely get an extended warranty
Golf maxxi 501 outstanding service
Just purchased a golf maxxi 501 from bomaderry avan and the service from start to finish was outstanding. Dealer advice and personnel at the dealership could not be faulted. Product is excellent
Very good -we love it
Pretty good always some teething problems
Very - we tow with an Izusu DMax ver efficient and economical
Some warranty issues need resolving. Minor but frustrating with dealer
the original isherman golfs are an engineering work of art
my 2005 isherman golf has given me 10yrs of trouble free caravaning. the coil sprung suspension with shocks and alloy frame with fibreglass [hail proof] cladding placed this van at the pinnacle of australian van manufacturing.if you are looking at buying a wood framed metal clad van beware. a good quality used van is a wiser buy than a new glitterbox . spend the money you save on traveling costs.
First road trip.
Picked up my new 501 maxxi. some minor issues but all covered by warranty. Our first 2 month road trip conclusion:- great. The van tows really well and its tough, it rides very smoothly behind my dual cab ute even on rough roads and doesn't pull and push on the rear of the car like other vans I've had. We had minor dust issues on dirt road towing but that's to be expected. The set up is simple and takes about 5 minutes all up before your sitting down with a beer. The inside set up is well designed with plenty of cupboards and storage. The shower and toilet is a bonus. We went for the foam bed mattresses and added the eggshell liner and its very comfortable, The seating is ample and comfortable and the large fridge is great. We also deleted the slide out kitchen and installed a Weber baby Q on a slide out instead to allow some valuable storage in the front locker. The Antennatek TV antenna works very well and is comparable with the wineguard. i have had reception where other vans haven't in areas known to be black spots. The air con works well even as a heater. All up we are very happy with the van. We have previously owned much larger vans but this set up with the beds folding out each end allows heaps of room inside and is a small van to maneuver and tow.
update. We've now owned the van for a year and couldn't be happier. The only thing i would add is an additional vent/skylight over the sink/fridge area as the van is a bit dark inside. we have timber finished cupboards.
Good concept not usable as semi off road van
Draws fell off runners
Plumbing problems with water bypass and the wasted space used by pump
Dust problems as the whole van fills with dirt and dust on gravel roads
Table difficulty being not suitable for the space
Electrical problems and fuses of wrong capacity
Types of wrong size for semi off road
Airconditioner can’t handle over 36
Ongoing issues difficult to resolve
A new van purchased 2016 from Avan Golf
•A major issue is that our bedding becomes soaked whenever it rains. The rain drips in near the mattress as well as soaks in through zips and then spreads around the underside of the bedding. Every time it rains is a worry. I would argue that the van is "not fit for purpose".
•We have also had ongoing problems with electricals. No diagrams or labelling provided so quite difficult to try to fix. Wrong sized fuses and wrongly wired.
•The sink water was coming up through the shower drain. We resolved this by purchasing another, wider (than normal) sullage pipe. It would have been great if we had been given the specifications!
•On a warm evening with the windows open and screens closed the van fills up with hundreds if not thousands of insects if the lights are on. We suspect they can get in around the sides of the screens. We have to spray insecticide.
• The jack provided is not really adequate.
The process to resolve these problems under warranty is ridiculously complex. Ring the factory. Ring the dealer. Ring the warranty contractor who has to ring the dealer who has to ring the factory who has to ring the dealer who rings the warranty contractor to give the go-ahead. A very disappointing consumer experience. The van looks great and has some cool features but it isn't made with love!
The best experience
Have owned a 2006 Savannah Deluxe in turquoise/white for 3 years. We added a bike rack and can store our petrol generator in the front boot. Loads of cupboard space and excellent finish on everything. Sleeps three (queen + single bed) with room for two more if you want to dismantle the table. It is everything we needed and couldn't be happier. We will be reluctantly selling after traveling to purchase a home. Recommend Golf - tow beautifully and very comfortable.
Have owned a 2006 GTS in Mango/Cream for more than 4 years and over 50,000km's. We've added an extra solar panel, water tank and diesel heater to bolster our free-camping performance (which is now up to a week) and could not be happier. Have towed behind a Falcon wagon and also Pajero with excellent results. Woe that these superbly manufactured vans are now no longer made ..... we would only sell this van to buy another golf.
Our ensuite, great bed and layout generally
Would have liked a cover for the front window !!
Questions & Answers
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