On the 3rd of December, 2015 while I was in Mt Morgan, a storm came through in the afternoon and took the awning over the top of the van and tore one of the arms out of the top of the wall of the van.
The arms of the awning were bent and this panel damage was the only other visible damage.
Because of the way the cladding is installed, ie. from the top down, you have to remove all of the paneling from the bottom up and then replace it.
You put the first length of paneling on, and staple along the bottom edge and then the next sheet is pushed up inside the grove on the bottom of the previous sheet, which hides the staples. To do this job you have to remove all of the doors and windows, lights and speakers and the track that the awning slides into (that is the black strip you see in this photo).
The dust on all of these parts shows that they were not disturbed, ie. they were not removed so that the paneling behind them could be removed so that the whole wall could be replaced.
After 21 days I got my van back and in the next photograph you can see two things (click the photo to get a better view). The white paneling across the top of the door and down to the right is different to the rest of the wall (which hasn't been touched) and there is no awning. NO AWNING, you ask. The reason is, that after 21 days when he decides to install the new awning, when he takes it out of the packing he discovers that it is damaged, presumably in transit, and it has to be sent back to Victoria and a replacement sent up to Rockhampton.
Three days later I had to take the van back to Rockhampton, because I'm staying in Mt. Morgan, to get the new awning attached. It is during this trip that I discovered that while they were working on my van the first time they had created a leak in the roof just above the door, rain water all over the floor coming in through the ceiling and dripping out of the light fixtures.
Although it can't be seen in any of the photographs, when they sealed the gap between the door frame and the paneling, they simply put a dob of sealant on their finger and painted it on, spreading it out over both surfaces; what a mess. The same mess was applied to the corner strip around the edge of the wall.
The insurances assessor took one look at the work and said NO, we are not accepting this, this is a terrible finish.
When the van was damaged, I was faced with the problem of either taking the van on a 700km round trip to Bundaberg just to get a quote or finding someone in Rockhampton to do the work. I had spoken to a couple of other repairers in Rockhampton but one well known caravan sales and repair company said that they didn't do this type of work and another company I approached on Gladstone Road had stories circulating that they had left Mackay because they couldn't pay their bills and they also said that they wouldn't deal with insurance companies.
Now I have made the round trip to Takalvans in Bundaberg, and Best Caravan Repairs in Pialba, to get new quotes to submit to Suncorp, who have been very good about the whole fiasco.
On the 9th of May I took the van to Takalvans in Bundaberg and on the 13th of May I picked it up at lunch time, all done. A professional job well done.
Now, about oxtrailers, I would suggest that you don't go near them.
The owner of the business is Paul Downing and he does not answer the phone during work hours. You are asked to leave a number and he calls you back after 6pm.
If you go to his workshop you will notice a number of jobs there that have obviously been there for some time judging by the amount of dust on them.
If you are in need of caravan repairs in the Rockhampton area, head south, Bundaberg, Maryborough and Brisbane. Best Caravan Repairs in Pialba was recommended but they do have a lengthy waiting period.