A Class Motorhome
Denning 34 Foot Dual Slide Out Aussie Drifter
by Alan & Robyn Tesch
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.
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|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. |
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
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.
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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.
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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.
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Some members of Alans 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!
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.
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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