what to look for when buying a jayco swan

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 18:44
ThreadID: 21724 Views:33995 Replies:12 FollowUps:13
This Thread has been Archived
My husband and i are looking to buy a jayco swan 2000 model to go away on weekends with our 2 young kids. it comes with annex,queen bed etc.the seller said he would connect electric brake system to our car(is this neccesary)Is $17500 a fair price?We have no idea about what to look for as we are new to this(obviously)and we just started looking today .Iam so glad i have found this site! Can anyone give us a few hints.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - John - Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:25

Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:25
muma, this link may be of some use to you, they should be able to answer your question. Hope this hellps.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/campertrailers/
John and Jan

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 104826

Reply By: Member - John - Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:39

Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:39
muma, just had a thought, I think the Jayco Swan is a camper trailer style, if not, ignore my previous post. Doh!!!!!!!!!!!!!
John and Jan

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 104827

Reply By: vanaway - Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:58

Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:58
Muma
I suggest your signup for the Australian Jayco users group JUGA at-

http://au.groups.yahoo.com/group/JUGA/

these people would know what 2nd hand values are & what probelms to expect in the model.

We have a Jayco - but not a campervan so cant comment on the swan. Overall we have foiund Jayco to be good value for money.

hope this little tit bit helps.

AnswerID: 104829

Reply By: AJB - Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:16

Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:16
On our 3rd jayco now.( Lifestyles change and so do camping configurations). Anyhow electric brakes are essential with the swan as it is not the lightest camper around. Aoto electrician is the go and it cost me about $200 ish but we are pretty good friends. $17500 for a 5 year old camper van! Too much. They hold their value very well but check out new prices first especially as you have no trade in for the dealer to shift.
AnswerID: 104836

Reply By: Keith_A (Qld) - Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:25

Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:25
Hi - Sorry if this post is somewhat long, but hope it helps.
We owned a Jayco Dove for 13 years - Same as Swan but larger. Towed it everywhere - also with 2 young children. They are great for on-road and forest tracks. If you are planning any off-road treks, you need to buy a unit that is designed for rougher tracks. Having a 4WD, we towed ours into central QLD, incl corragated roads, dirt tracks etc, and had to repair many items. If you stay on good roads, they are great.

We replaced the Jayco with a 1999 Coromal Magnum 420 Offroad for $17,000. Same basic style but much stronger build in many aspects. Includes on board battery, charger, elect water pump, hot water system, O/S shower, awnings, twin tanks etc. (all in a wind-up camper). Probably much heavier than the Swan, but we do go outback treking and camp at off-road sites.

Re electric brakes, if the trailer exceeds 750 Kgs, then you must have electric brakes. I would think most wind-up style campers would weigh above this.
Cost aprox $300 to supply and fit the unit to the car. Prefer to be done by a qualified auto electrician. While it can be a DIY, there are several aspects of the wiring that need to be done properly - take care with this aspect.

Check that the towing capacity of your vehicle is legal for the camper weight.
There are 3 aspects to this : 1. The total weight your car can tow.
2. The Down-weight on the ball of the towbar - as specified for your car;
3. The specs of the towbar fitted to your vehicle;

Fully agree with the previous post - visit/join the campertrailer group at Yahoo.
(Though many of these have the traditional style Camper Trailer (CT) - eg double bed in trailer, with canvas roof - great bunch of very knowledgable and friendly people). You can search the archives for Jayco or SWAN).

The great aspect of the camper is you can buy a set of cooking/eating/sleeping gear, and leave it ready packed. Throw some food and clothes in, and off you go. Takes most of the hassle out of getting away.
Being up off the ground, you also have a safe camp/sleep for children.

Like all canvas products, if left wet the canvas will rot. Costly excercise to replace.
Check that wheel nuts do not need a special tool (spanner or socket).
Like all trailers, wheel bearings need checking and repacking (grease) occasionally.
Leave the water tank either full or completely empty after each trip - else it grows life forms, and the water is not good. Flushing and purifier tablets will clean them, if this happens.
The 3 way fridges are great, but need to be turned on (240V) the night before a trip to get the unit temp down, and the refrigerant chemicals cirulating. A 12V computer fan sucking the hot air away from the cooling fins improves performance 100%. We use a $5 thermostat on the fridge exhaust pipe to power the fan. On camp, ours runs on Gas. For 12V operation, there can be wiring problems that result in very poor performance. Gas is great & economical.
If it has both 12V and 240V light bulbs, there is one danger. If you camp on say the beach and use 12V, during the trip you may hit the 240V light switch. When you come home and connect the 240V to charge the battery, the 240V light comes on (inside the folded down camper). After a few days, the camper goes up in smoke.
A visual check of the unit normally shows how it has been treated. Are door/cupboard hinges loose or tight; Are windows/screens in good order; do the Zips all work; Is the canvas in good repair (You may also need to unfold the awnings - bed end awnings and front awning to check them). Wind it up and down to ensure smooth operation;
Jack the unit up - spin the wheels to check bearings; Hook it to his car, and check the electric brakes work.

Having owned this style of camper for over 15 years, we think they are the perfect way to see the great out-doors in comfort and safety. They tow any-where; are easy to set up and have all the conveniences.
Do your homework (as you are doing) then buy one ...happy camping...Keith
AnswerID: 104838

Follow Up By: muma - Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:47

Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:47
Hi keith,
We really appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions! I am going to look at the yahoo jayco site later.Sounds like we should be okay for the usual touristy destinations to start with ,maybe change to offroad camper when kids are older and we have had some practice and gain some more skills.Pre kids we used to camp in the back of our HZ wagon ,we travelled across the nullabor and up to exmouth and back down again.It was the best time of our lives.we would love our kids to experience the joys of travelling this country.So we have to make sure we choose the right equipment so it will be enjoyable and not a chore!
once again thankyou cindy
0
FollowupID: 362107

Follow Up By: pjchris - Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 22:10

Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 22:10
Two minor corrections...

1) The Dove is smaller than the Swan...11 feet 4 inches for the Dove versus 13 feet 8 inches for the Swan.
2) Jayco do not use rel canvas now nor have they for at least the last 10 years or so.

A 2000 year model Swan will have a plastisiced type of material for the sides and ends. Our 2000 model Jayco Freedom expanda van has this. We thought the ends had a couple of pin hole in them but this is because the basic material is clear nd needs to be 'painted' to the colour you see. We were advised to get a hair or piece of fishing line and put it through the 'holes'. Guess what, we couldn't...they actually weren't holes.

This material is virtually rot proof. Mildew from packing up wet will stain the material but shouldn't cause it to fail.

In addition to checking out the 'canvas' get the roof checked out...I have heard that the sealant used on the exterior joins of modern caravans can, in certain circumstances, last as little as 5-8 years before it needs replacing. This is a costly exercise.

From a quick search in The Trading Post prices for 2000 and newer models are from $17k to $19k. There is a 2003 model for $18k. Most of these appear to be dealers and a private sale should be lower. They appear to nearly all have annexes, some have solar panels, bike racks etc.

For $16,500 there is even one with the offroad pack in Mornington, Vic. If you plan on going offroad at all definately try to get one of these, The chassis is much stronger, wheels are bigger, more ground clearance etc.

Peter
0
FollowupID: 362110

Follow Up By: Keith_A (Qld) - Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 22:56

Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 22:56
Thanks for the corrections Peter - our Jayco was an older model before the new 'canvas' materials.
Our Coromal has the 'vinyl' canvas - apart from awnings and bed-end covers. I agree entirely with your suggestion re off-road pack. If you spend your hard earned dollars on one now - (and often you will find a secondhand off-road at the same price as the on-road), it allows for future adventures without an upgrade. The 'extras' also make the unit much stronger. The increased height means beach camping without getting bogged. They are definately worth it.
Decide what you want; then wait until one comes up at the right price - then buy it. A little patience can save a bundle. Our Jayco served us for 13 years, so it really is a long term investment.
We also have a 'change shelter' (type of self erecting pyramid tent from K-Mart) and a port-a-loo (Bi-Pot brand). Where-ever we go, we have your own private toilet. Probably the next most useful add-on for family camping. Flushable with chemical decomposition, they are almost the same height as the normal toilet, and only a slight chemical smell.
Worth keeping in mind if you save enough on the camper purchase.
kind regards..............Keith
0
FollowupID: 362111

Follow Up By: muma - Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 15:48

Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 15:48
Can you put an offroad camper on a 2 wheel drive?I think your right about them being better and we have come across a few over the weekend but we overlooked them as we have a vs commodore.WE looked at a 1996 eagle this morning $11,500 but i was still unsure of what to do.Did learn how to put it up and down and that the electrical cords near sink could become hooked around tap when raising and lowering top........cindy
0
FollowupID: 362146

Follow Up By: muma - Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 16:29

Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 16:29
Also i noticed a sticker on the camper which said not to run fridge whilst camper is down,I thought that the fridge ran on 12 volt whilst you are driving to your destination ?....
0
FollowupID: 362152

Follow Up By: pjchris - Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 20:30

Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 20:30
Muma,

It is possible to put an offroad camper on a 2WD. You will need a Hayman Reese hitchhref="http://www.haymanreese.com.au/consumer/products/wdh/productsindex.htm">Adjustable Height Weight distributing hitch. This can raise the ball height and fit weight distributing hitches so the back of the Commodore won't sag.

As far as running the fridge with the top down the problem is the heat generated by fridge cannot escape as readily and you wouldn't want to melt the 'canvas' or set fire to it.

Many people do run the fridge with the top down successfully, we did but often we would raise the top 6 inches when we did it in the garage, but not of course while moving.

Peter
0
FollowupID: 362181

Follow Up By: pjchris - Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 20:35

Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 20:35
Muma,

It is possible to put an offroad camper on a 2WD. You will need a Hayman Reese Adjustable Height Weight distributing hitch. This can raise the ball height and fit weight distributing hitches so the back of the Commodore won't sag.

As far as running the fridge with the top down the problem is the heat generated by fridge cannot escape as readily and you wouldn't want to melt the 'canvas' or set fire to it.

Many people do run the fridge with the top down successfully, we did but often we would raise the top 6 inches when we did it in the garage, but not of course while moving.

Peter

repost to correct link...
ps. Why doesn't this forum have a preview function when composing posts?
0
FollowupID: 362184

Reply By: Vinnie - Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 23:53

Saturday, Apr 02, 2005 at 23:53
Muma

Trading post has a couple to compare.

My mate has an 2000 Eagle he will be selling soon and it is in absolute new condition and will be asking $16500 - it`s a full offroad poptop camper with some extras.

Keith_A has given good advice and a great response to your questions.

Vince
AnswerID: 104855

Reply By: ev700 - Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 02:15

Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 02:15
Muma
We are going through the same exercise, though originally I wanted a camper trailer which is a trailer with a canvas tent (haven't ruled it out yet) however spouse became keener on a Jayco or Coromal camper because of the bed either end and the built in setee etc.

We are over 50 and sometimes have some teens with us so the camper will be 'home base' and there are tents for the teens. We will be doing mainly short trips and island getaways (Fraser etc)

So far we have been able to find a number of brands which all come as 'off-road' versions (within limits): Jayco, Windsor, Coromal, Goldstream are some. Advice so far is that all would handle most off road except more extreme work.

One thing to think about is how much water you need - eg we need to at least double up on the usual 65L.

Keith_A and others in this thread have given really sound advice and maybe they or others can comment on the availability/robustness/relative merits of the range of campers available.

EV700
AnswerID: 104862

Follow Up By: muma - Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 16:05

Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 16:05
one of the reasons why we like the swan is because of its layout.There is a cupboard next to the bed that seperates the cooking facilitys from the bed.And we noticed that the 2000 models have a queen size bed and a double bed which is good if your a larger person.

We used to have a dingo camper about 15 years ago,I don`t know if designs have changed but they are a pain when it is raining if you are trying to put them up and down.As you still have to deal with tarps, poles and pegging down floors. Once their up its good fun. Storage is usually inside the trailer itself and things are hard to get to.These are some of the reasons why we are going to give the jayco swan a go but as the cost is a lot more we need to make sure that these sorts of problems dont occur.
0
FollowupID: 362148

Follow Up By: ev700 - Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 17:31

Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 17:31
muma
Didn't realise there were QS and double beds in the Swan. Must have a look.

I like your point about struggling with canvas in rain. I am not 50 anymore ;-)
EV700
0
FollowupID: 362161

Follow Up By: muma - Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 17:57

Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 17:57
noticed you said that you are going to do short trips to frazer and island getaways,obviously you live in queensland.What a great place to live!We are in melbourne so thats why we know about the miseries of camping in the rain.OUr children 4yr &7 yr old had their first trip away last year we did it cabins in caravan parks (expensive).We drove across thru dubbo and toowoomba and ended up at dickie beach (caloundra).They are all excited as now we are going to drive to cairns.My son keeps saying he wants to live at queensland cause it has warm water and you can swim! everyday
0
FollowupID: 362164

Reply By: Keith_A (Qld) - Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 18:11

Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 18:11
Cindy - I would like to answer your 2 questions :
1. can a 2wd tow an off-road camper and
2. Running the 3way fridge.
The first question depends on the car manufacturer specs on max towing weight and max ball weight - as per my original post. On other forums, I have noticed people with sedans who bought off-road campers. The car tow specs decide that question. Height of tow ball (for level) and wheel size are factors.
The main downside is the wheel size. It is preferable (nice but not mandatory) to have the same wheels on the camper as the car. But then you change the car ......
Provided the car specs allow you to tow that weight and carry the ball 'down weight' , buy the unit with the layout & fittings you like best. This tow -weight factor will probably decide the whole issue for you.

Running a 3 way fridge - many people hold very firm and divergent views on this subject. A firefighter will hold very different views to an electrician, and again from a fridge manufacturer. I run mine on 240V at home before the trip, then it stays on gas until we get home. Search the archives of this forum, and join the camper-trailer forum, and search their archives, to make up your own mind. I would be happy to email you some of my research, however if you do it yourself, your decision will then be your own.

Each person approaches danger from their experience, training and fears.
We each balance the risks of life differently. How you Run a 3 way fridge is one.

EV700 - Frazer is dangerous - once you go there the magic will get you.
nb - our camper has twin tanks @ 60ltrs each.

To touch on the question of the 'true' CT (bed in trailer with canvas roof). They are light weight - often don't need electric brakes - can tow with smaller car. They can be (not all though) less expensive than the wind-ups. True 'campers' prefer them as you eat and cook 'outside' - eg feet on the ground. The wind-ups are convenient - full kitchen; sleeps 6 up off the ground; fridge; IVES (in van entertainment system - CD/Radio etc). It can rain all it likes with the wind-up, and the holiday is still great. Cooking with your feet in mud - at over 50 we like a bit of comfort. Different folks / different strokes / and different budgets.

I hope this helps..................best regards.....Keith.
AnswerID: 104947

Reply By: rickwagupatrol - Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 22:22

Sunday, Apr 03, 2005 at 22:22
http://au.groups.yahoo.com/group/JUGA/

try here muma,,,all questions answered.

rick.
AnswerID: 105000

Reply By: Capt. Wrongway - Monday, Apr 04, 2005 at 08:32

Monday, Apr 04, 2005 at 08:32
G'Day muma,
You do'nt say where you are located, but in Sydney at the moment there is a caravan, camping & 4wd show happening. Jayco is a major player in these shows, with many vans a on display. Three years ago, a mate and I bought two (2) display campervans from Jayco on the last day of the show. We saved about $3,500 each by doing this. Keep an eye out for a van show in your area, it's the best way to same some big dollars.
Regards,
Bazza.
AnswerID: 105028

Follow Up By: muma - Monday, Apr 04, 2005 at 09:21

Monday, Apr 04, 2005 at 09:21
Hi Bazza ,
we are in melbourne.I think that after the school holidays could be a good time for us to buy.One of the caravan dealers said that before easter they couldn`t keep up with sales,..cindy
0
FollowupID: 362225

Reply By: muma - Monday, Apr 04, 2005 at 19:06

Monday, Apr 04, 2005 at 19:06
Well everyone i think weve done it!
We went back to page brothers caravans had another look around and we walked past a certain swan 3 times in as many days but overlooked it as we thought it was the latest model(2003++)and out of our price range.By accident the dealer gave us the wrong details and told us about this van a 1999 swan that comes with stove,fridge microwave,queen bed in front double in back perfect upholstery(no stains)portable pole lights ,tv connection,full annex,bed end awnings, electric brakes connected to our car, 12 v transformer,starter pack(sulage tube extension cord etc.) new gas bottle ,fully checked and serviced ,3 month warranty, will pay reg if nearly out .And most importantly a Fishing Rod holder! $16,750.AS i said at the start it looks brand new everything was there inc stove protecter top and as my 4 yr old pointed out the fridge locks properly,and the cupboards have tuff locks (new style) The only thing i don`t like is the flimsy locks on the front door.
All we have to do is go back in the morning and sign and pay.
What do you think........cindy
AnswerID: 105141

Follow Up By: Capt. Wrongway - Tuesday, Apr 05, 2005 at 09:49

Tuesday, Apr 05, 2005 at 09:49
G'Day cindy,
"What do I think?" Sounds like you bought yourselves a van! Great stuff ... enjoy yourselves. Stick an "ExplorOz" sticker on the back end .... and I might catch up with you, somewhere out there.
Regards,
Bazza.
0
FollowupID: 362340

Follow Up By: muma - Tuesday, Apr 05, 2005 at 10:42

Tuesday, Apr 05, 2005 at 10:42
where do i get the stickers? We pick up the van thursday afternoon.They set up the electric brakes system and explain to us how everything works.Guessin we wont be home this weekend!!
0
FollowupID: 362344

Reply By: Swanning it - Tuesday, Apr 05, 2005 at 16:46

Tuesday, Apr 05, 2005 at 16:46
Well done Muma, We purchased a 2002 Outback Swan with all the gear you mentioned and solar for $19500 a year ago! We have found the Swan to be an ideal getaway for our family and they also hold their value well. As someone said in an earlier post, don't expect to drag them up to the Cape etc but they will provide good affordable fun for you and your family!

Definitely get breaks hooked up and a weight distribution hitch, they're bigger than you think! Talk to you on JUGA some time.
Ian
AnswerID: 105283

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)