caravans, what can you tell me.

Submitted: Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 16:01
ThreadID: 33646 Views:2553 Replies:13 FollowUps:4
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hi there yeh all. what a bloody lovely hot sunday it is here on the gold coast. anyway back to what i want help with, i have been looking at second hand caravans and want to know why there so many 2000 plus jayco heritage around the 18 ft -23 ft on the market. is there some thing wrong with them that i haven't heard of. i mean they are a nice van and are just what i am looking for. thanks in advanace. and have a great day.
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Reply By: Notso - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 16:27

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 16:27

Well the Jaycos have about half the Aus market, and they make a van for every niche.

They are done on a production line style of construction so you probably don't get some of the finish that some of the more expensive ones give you.

You hear stories around the traps, but there are a lot of them out there with happy owners.

Like any second hand purchase, have it checked over by someone you trust.
AnswerID: 171319

Reply By: Footloose - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 16:39

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 16:39
If you're here on the Coast then you'll have a lot of vans to look at anyway :))
AnswerID: 171320

Reply By: Member - Cruiser (NSW) - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 17:11

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 17:11
Jayco, well all I will say is "you get what you pay for"

I am very biased AGAINST Jayco. Have had one and never again. As said in another reply, they are a production line van and built to a price, which is why they have 43% of the Australian market. They are built to a price.

If you want to stay on the blacktop, then I suppose they re OK, but dont take them down to many dirt roads as I am sure you will find that they will start to fall apart soon enough. Even their so called "off road" models are only just suitable for dirt roads.

Have a look at the way the cupboards are assembled and fixed. The majority of their models are stapled together as well as to the walls and floors, and the draws run wood on wood instead of runners. The wind down legs are screwd into the "chassis" with mild steel tek screws and they also use mild steel screws to fit all windows and external fittings. Sure the more up market models have a little bit more quality, but not much more.

Sorry to sound negative, but I am in the process of replacing a van and have done a lot of research into a lot of vans (unlike in the past where I bought to price and asthetic appeal), and have come to the conclusion that you only get what you pay for.

Fortunately I am in the position to buy a custom built van (Evernew) and will be flying to Melbourne in July to order it prior to a Mar/April departure next year on a trip around the block for 12/18 months or so.

Please bear in mind, this is only my opinion on Jayco and I do not mean to offend anyone who thinks otherwise, but to back my opinion up, I have 3 friends who all have post 2000 model Jaycos and all of them say, never again.


AnswerID: 171323

Follow Up By: keepkampen - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 17:23

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 17:23
hi Cruiser, thanks just what i am looking for info like that, we do already have a 17 ft windsor but want to move up in size and have a shower/toilet and are planing to do a working trip around the block. .
FollowupID: 426786

Reply By: Member - Athol (NSW, 2527) - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 18:26

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 18:26
Ahhh, Jayco the Hyundai of the carvan world !!!

Just my opinion.

AnswerID: 171339

Follow Up By: Jimbo - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 19:27

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 19:27
You've obviously never owned either.

I have an Hyundai Terracan (2004) and a Jayco Outback Eagle (2005).

Both are sensational value for money. Functional but not fashionable.
FollowupID: 426808

Reply By: Bobdate - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 18:28

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 18:28
I have, until now, refrained from venting my spleen about my Jayco caravan, but since others are doing it, I may as well join the fray…

I have a 1999 model 16.5 ft Jayco Starcraft pop-top, first registered in January 2000. This was the base model, but I am sure that their top-of-the-line models are just as bad. Mine has done a reasonable distance now – about 90000 km and things have finally settled down (I hope). A few things wrong with it…

1 I am now on the 4th set of tyres! Only one tyre actually blew out – the others wore on the shoulders. Jayco assembled the axle back-to front. I had 10 mm toe-out with the tyres. It was less than 2 yrs old when I first noted the tyres. Jayco did not want to know me, despite their 2 yr warranty. Only their work is covered by the 2 yr warranty. The fridge, power supply, gas installation are covered by the individual manufacturer’s warranties – typically 1 year. The axle and wheels were covered by AL-KO (1 yr warranty). Can you imagine the seats, alternator, gearbox etc on your car being covered by separate warranties because they were supplied by other companies?

2 Jayco’s attitude and service was abysmal, to say the least. I wrote them a letter, detailing the problems, followed 6 weeks later by another, then 1 week after by a fax, then another fax, then phonecalls (the service manager was out and would ”return the call ASAP”). Finally, I loaded the axle into my trailer and took it down to Jayco factory and parked it right in their doorway and asked to see the service manager. He was in, and when I explained what I had outside, blocking their doorway, has said it would have been nice if I could have told him I was coming! Mushroom clouds started forming.

3 In addition to having 10 mm toe-out, Jayco had assembled the axle 20 mm offset from the centre, so that the U bolts had hit the chassis and dented it. This was all documented in my letters to them, but Service Manager hadn’t got to reading it by the time I got there. Neither had he found my faxes or phonecall messages. They were all there in his in-tray…

4 Jayco shoved the problem to AL-KO who “fixed” the axle (reversed it) and Jayco rewelded the centre bolt brackets so that they were central, but the van was now not tracking properly.

5 By this time, the second set of tyres was well on the way out, and to their credit, AL-KO paid me for the replacement tyre I had to buy in Perth (on my trip).

6 The toe-in was still what I thought to be way too much – it is a rigid axle – but I had to accept their recommendations. A blowout (on the only good tyre on the van) forced me to buy 3 new tyres. Last year, with the 3rd set of tyres about half worn on the outer shoulders, I approached AL-KO, asking them what should be the toe-in on a rigid axle. They have never told me. By the time I arrived home, the tyres were fairly well gone. I again approached AL-KO and they suggested that I install a new axle, which they gave me for free. I hope it is OK now. The 4th set of tyres has done about 6000 km now and are wearing evenly (in fact they are barely wearing at all). That is about what I would have expected.

7 The door lock has failed twice, the 12 V power supply for the light has failed twice and I now have a new 12 V supply relocated into the front of the van (because the fan noise in the old unit used to drive me nuts). The electric supply to the brakes has failed several times – I have re-routed the cabling and hopefully they won’t give any more troubles.

8 A wheel hub developed a crack. When I approached AL-KO, they said they had heard of only 2 or 3 others failing and “would I send both hubs to them so they could examine the broken one?” They sent me 2 new hubs & bearings- again no charge.

9 The awning fixings are weak as … They are only aluminium rivets and can shear quite easily.

10 The tail lights fill up with dust. I am paranoid about being thumped up the rear, so I regularly remove the lens and clean the dust away, carefully replacing the gaskets. I have actually glued bits of mirror inside the lamp body to improve visibility.

11 Other areas such as cupboard construction and general quality of build are covered elsewhere, but I totally agree with the other contributors – they are KRAP.

As you can see, we use our van a fair bit and subject it to a reasonable service life. I think I have most of the bugs out of it by now. It has had its share of dirt roads, but most of its life has been on blacktop. We have just about sorted out the dust entry problems by now.

12 In summary, as you can see, AL-KO have been wonderful to me. Their after sales service has been excellent, but Jayco’s was abysmal. The build quality was just as bad. Having said that, most of the competition are just as bad – you have to be prepared to rebuild the van once you get it. Would I buy another Jayco? – Probably yes because from what I have seen and heard, the opposition isn’t much better. It would all depend on the price and colour of the interior (SWMBO gets into the act here!) I would thoroughly check the mechanicals and ensure they were OK
AnswerID: 171340

Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser (NSW) - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 19:25

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 19:25
And I thought I had a bad run with Jayco, and to think that you would back up for another go.

You have more faith than me.
FollowupID: 426807

Reply By: Jimbo - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 19:38

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 19:38
There are heaps of 70's and 80's Jayco's still getting dragged all over Australia.

Why? Because they're OK. They last. They're well built.

They have sensational resale. eg, I looked at a 98 Outback Hawk for $16,000, which was more than it cost new. I ended up buying a new Outback Eagle for $19,500 with a Fiamma awning, last December. It is a gem.

Henry Ford worked out how to produce at minimal cost in the 1920's with the T Model. It was called a production line. Even Mercedes and Porsche have adopted the same principle.

The Caravan industry in Australia is way behind the times, with exception of Jayco. Any wonder they have 43% of the market. A good honest product with outstanding warranty/factory support.

Value for money is second to none.
AnswerID: 171358

Reply By: keepkampen - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 19:54

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 19:54
I would like to thank you all for your replys, been great help to us.
AnswerID: 171367

Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser (NSW) - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 20:33

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 20:33
Well keepkampen, at least you got a balanced view from those replies.

Glad we were all able to help in some way.

That is the good thing about this forum.
FollowupID: 426822

Reply By: keepkampen - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 20:56

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 20:56
yer Cruiser, sure did and thanks very much that was exactly what I wanted. and have a good trip next year.
AnswerID: 171394

Reply By: Phillip - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 21:21

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 21:21
A friend from Yamba has just sold his van. The people who purchased it got it to replace a jayco. Having just returned from a trip around Australia on the black top, the jayco was falling apart.

The workmanship was of poor quality.

"If you can aford a dodge, dodge a ford" The same can be said for quailty vans and Jayco.

There are plenty of good vans out their, just look around.
AnswerID: 171411

Reply By: Member - Ian W (NSW) - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 21:47

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 21:47
Right at the start I must state that I have never owned a Jayco or any other for that matter. I'm a tent trailer owner who is looking to upgrade. I am not quite ready to buy yet and am one of those finicky people who like to research, compare and work out just what you get for your money.

I actually give half the van salesmen the bleep s, the other half fall over laughing because I get down on the ground roll over on my back and slither underneath their vans. I lift the beds up and check out the joinery and materials used. I follow the wiring from the drawbar connector through to the end, wether it be to the electric brakes or to the vans kitchen and that gets difficult. I follow the plumbing from the tanks to the kitchen/ensuite, paticuarly the runs under the van ready to be wiped out by the first stone to be thrown up. I'm a real fussy bastard and I'm hard to please, that's probably because I work hard for my money.
Sorry but Jayco is down near the end of my list.

Ian W
AnswerID: 171424

Reply By: hazo - Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 22:14

Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 22:14
I've had two jaycos. A freedom outback and a 2003 Heritage. both had there faults (many) but the Heritage was a real lemon! Every window leaked and stained the timber lining! the boot lid dropped causing fibreglass to abrade on corners! bedroom ceiling came adrift from bearers above! and to top it off the fibreglass front panel started to degrade due to UV exposure! I quickly traded to get rid! Jayco are renound for there after sales service, they have to be as the product is crap and built to a price not a standard. Just my experience but while we are travelling I look at other jaycos and see similar problems that many owners are oblivious to! I actually pointed out to one guy in Broome last year that he had a similar boot lid problem and he hadn't noticed himself! he thought the corners rubbing was normal! My mate has a 25' 2003 Heritage and is still having problems fixed under warranty now! even though its ywo years out of warranty!
AnswerID: 171433

Reply By: Nifty1 - Monday, May 08, 2006 at 09:13

Monday, May 08, 2006 at 09:13
Never had a Jayco, but did buy a secondhand van last year. The thing was, although it was 8 years old and had done some miles, it looked like new - nothing broken or falling off or leaking. I took that as a good indication of the build quality and the past 12 months has borne that out. Also discovered it was virtually hand-built - they made only one a week compared with Jayco's 2,500. Had never heard of the brand and have seen only one other since.

Big name brands and advertising don't, per se, indicate high quality. But if you find a van (any brand) with a few years' use and no problems, it will probably outlast you.
AnswerID: 171480

Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, May 08, 2006 at 21:42

Monday, May 08, 2006 at 21:42
Because they make huge quantities of them and i suppose some of the survive the trip on the bitumen road and make it to the 2nd hand market. Just look at the caravans going past on the major highways - what brand are most of them? Some people i have met are happy with them, but they know the limitations and park them in a cp to go touring. Not my idea of enjoying the great Aussie outdoors.

Red desert dreaming

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AnswerID: 171619

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