Around-Oz: Living the Dream!

Australia’s Ultimate A Class Motorhome
Denning 34 Foot Dual Slide Out Aussie Drifter
Designed by Alan & Robyn Tesch

 

This is a review of the latest offering from long time manufacturer Dennings made especially for Alan and Robyn Tesch and is a truly spectacular piece of machinery. The paint job is absolutely stunning and is a real head turner. Interior is all in autumn tonings based on low gloss American Oak. Attention to detail in all areas is certain to please the most fastidious motorhomer and internally it has that "wow" factor that all manufacturers try to achieve, but rarely do. The photographs shown here were mostly taken at the "launch" ceremony. We have concentrated here on showing you detail photographs particularly on construction, as there are just so many good ideas gathered over many years of motorhoming by Alan and Robyn. For motorhoming newbies Alan was the chairman of CMCA for many years and is currently the chairman of the very successful Casino Village - a great place for motorhomers to retire. This article concentrates on the technical side of things, hopefully to encourage those going it alone and doing their own conversion. If you would like a more simplified condensed version just order a back issue of "The Motorhome Guide" - Nov/Dec 2005 - page 84.


 
 
 

The launch attracted over 100 guests, most of whom wanted to see this masterpiece, three years in the making and enjoying a lovely lunch and the fantastic music provided by a couple of very musical CMCA members. Alan and Robyn invited people who had worked on the motorhome, including staff from Denning, the painters, the electricians, and a number of friends from within the RV industry. Built on a rear diesel pusher German MAN chassis with a GVM of 12 tonnes, it is neither too big nor too small and matches perfectly to the A-frame towed Honda CRV, even down to matching decals.

 
 
 

We have followed the construction of this motorhome from the frame stage and can vouch for the build quality and strength. If you are looking for a vehicle with a "knock 'em dead" wow factor, then this is it! The design is such that there is no aisle down the middle as everything is offset, and the interior is revealed a little at a time as you move towards the rear - very much like a traditional Japanese garden.

 
 
 


Construction
The complete shell was built in the Denning factory, fit out and some body detail was designed by Alan Tesch and master craftsman Phil Smith did all the cabinet work. Electrical was taken care of by young Sue Alcott, who served her apprenticeship with Dennings. Alan himself did a lot of the detail fitting out - the complete project spanning almost 3 years.


 
 
 

The photos above and below show the strength of the structure. Note the exhaust pipe going up in the rear left. This is an area where many DIY converters really come unstuck as anything over 4.5 tonnes MUST have a vertical exhaust to comply with EPA. Yes, there are a lot of vehicles out there including quite a few commercial units that do not meet this requirement. Some are faced with having to run the exhaust pipe up the outside of the vehicle. This can have two disastrous effects - knock thousands off the value of the vehicle and even worse send it over the 60% length rule. Anyway, there's no chance of this magnificent motorhome suffering from any of these problems.


 
 
 

You get an idea of the kilometres of electrical cable that goes into a motorhome of this complexity. It was wonderful to see the use of decent size cabling instead of the "4 mm auto cable" found in so many commercial units. We were most impressed with the supply to the 3 way fridge. This would have to be one of the most neglected areas in the RV industry with most failing to realise that a two door Dometic requires 20 amps to operate efficiently. Most commercial motorhomes could not withstand a roll over, however the Aussie Drifter, as you can see by the amount of steel, would (heaven forbid such an event) survive quite well. The picture below was taken on its first "run", albeit just to the weigh bridge to check how things were going weight wise.


 
 

Some members of Alan’s motorhome club, during the looooong building stage, affectionately christened the coach “The Phantom”, as many thought it didn't actually exist! We can guarantee the 100 plus people who came that Sunday were all awe inspired! It was only a question of whether it was the boys who conferred over the bins, electrics or other systems or the girls who loved the interior layout and colour scheme. Robyn handled the latter with typical Robyn finesse!


 
 

Electrical
Overall, the electrics on this rig were extremely impressive. Take the hot water service for instance - If your 240 fails you can't light it, so Alan has a separate small dedicated inverter just for this. We liked the clear and concise labeling of all functions, as even the builder can forget what does what a few years down the track (maybe earlier if one was to get the dreaded "old timers" or "egg timers"). It was great to see battery slide outs that actually come all the way out, for easy and safe servicing. We saw a chap slice a finger almost off on a poorly designed slide. The ones shown here slide with finger pressure due to the ball bearing glides.


 
 
 

Yes, this costs a lot, as dual tracks are needed - however it is worth every cent extra. We liked the extensive use of rubber insertion on battery straps to stop chaffing. Another manufacture using similar ideas is Drydens 5th Wheelers on their gas bottles. Megapulse battery conditioners were used on all batteries. Interestingly Alan told us that if using HF radio,x the Megapulse can cause a lot of interference with weak signals, so there is provision on the dash to easily turn them off during transmission.


 
 
 


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