Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 14:23
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To all the jayco owners out there with the offroad versions. How do these treat you? I was looking at Kimberley Kampers ($$$$) and Pioneer camper trailers but for the extra comfort am thinking about going down a jayco route. How do these hold up to 4x4'ing, do they rattle apart like some claim, how do they tow, good bad and ugly please.

Also, if not Jayco, any other brands to recommend?


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Reply By: Member - Tom L (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 14:46

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 14:46
G'day Broe, We have a 1999 Jayco Starcraft Pop-top that we bought new.It has a heavier chassis and 16" cruiser wheels. We have done approx.50000 Kms. off road including The Diamantina.Birdsville Track,Strezlekie Track and many other back roads and N.Parks.Out of Chillagoe(FNQ)I missed a turn and broke the steering arm on my Patrol and laid the van on it's side with minimal damage. If it hadn't been for the broken steering we could have righted the van and kept driving.The garage out of Mt. Surprise that picked us up said that the corner we came to greif on is notorious and that mostly the vans they pick up are write offs. We have not had a major problem in all the time we've had the van(still got it). I am not sure if Jayco still make them. I have found that regardless of what van or vehicle you have if you drive to the conditions you will minimize any problems.
Good Luck, Tom
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Reply By: Grizzle - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 14:47

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 14:47
I have Jayco Swan Outback towed by a Nissan Patrol TD42. Tows well. Offroad is Ok. Always need to put a few screws back in after a trip. Comfortable to sleep in and large when opened up. Very easy to set up for an overnighter.

Easy and cheap for parts.


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Follow Up By: Member - Broe (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 17:23

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 17:23
As current owners, how do you thenk these compare to having a camper trailer and how do they handle off-road, are they heavy, track well etc etc. I have a 2009 Hilux that I am slowly ktting up for outback wandering but really need something that would go into places like Rudall river, Mitchell Plateau, Madigan Line etc etc


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Follow Up By: Grizzle - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 12:47

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 12:47
Much quicker than a camper trailer to set for overnighter. A bit more work and very comfortable longer term. Indoor Kitchen & Table set up. Large fridge. Two large beds.

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Reply By: Anthony (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 17:31

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 17:31
There have been a few recent posts on Jayco's and other similiar camper trailers.

From reading these posts it would appear that the more current model Jayco's (fibreglass ends and sides) have had a few more problems then the earlier models (Aluminum clad ends and sides).

I have not used or towed a later model so connot confirm if it is the csae. I do have an 2003 Jayco Outback Dove (Alumimum ends & sides) which is holding up ok on tracks, but is showing wear and tear.

No matter which model jayco, current or older model, I believe you need to do a bit of additional work to help an Outback model survive outback tracks.

I made a few mods to our, and there a few few things I still need to do before I will take mine off road again.

I would happy to expand on this if your interested.
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Follow Up By: Member - Broe (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 17:37

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 17:37

Thanks for your feedback. In regards to this and what I want to do as in Reply #3, I really should sacrifice a little comfort and go slightly more hardcore and get a camper trailer (prob 2nd hand premium brand like KK, Ausie Swag etc).

Am I reading in between the lines here correctly?


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Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 17:49

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 17:49
Broe, the safe answer to your question is yes. The Jayco is not a hard core camper but it can do hard core trips, if you know what i mean.

If you like to and have the time to do a bit of work to prep a jayco, then I think they are a cost effective choice, but, like anything,... to much speed and things break.

My wife likes a hard floor camper. The jayco beds are high off the ground, which she likes to not get to close to spider, snakes and crocs.

I was impressed how our Dove went on 3000kms of outback track. Yes, a few things broke but I managed to fix them as they happened and completed a 2 month 10,000km total trip. Did Oodnadatta trk, Meninee Loop, Flinders Ranges, Plenty Hwy Alice to Boulia, and Ross River to Gemtree via Pickle trk (I think that the name). The last one took 4 hours to do 120kms.

Our next trip, planning to do GRR, Mitchell Pl., Cape Levque (?), Tanami Road. Things need fixing along the way but I'II take to easy on the tuff bits.
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Reply By: Mr Z - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 17:32

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 17:32
also curious, how long is set up time?

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Follow Up By: Member - Old/new Girl (QLD) - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 18:49

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 18:49
Takes no time to set up as long as you don't have too much gear. We had a Hawk and found with five of us great room for sleeping but no storage for clothing. As said above keep an eye out on those little white screws. Like many van owners we got sick of that and bought a Destiny Outback dual wheel pop top. Its maiden voyage was out to a station near Innaminka. 70ks of corrugation's and steep climbs. I was freaking out and didn't want to open the door. But all that was dislodged was the spice rack that hooks off easy to adjust the height and of course dust that went into the cuppards. Since then we have filled the gaps. Recently came back from a 6000km trip covering southern Aust inc Vic High country. The 80 pulled her no worries. Over easter we took it to a 4x4 park and again didn't let us down. It poured just before leaving and the tracks were a wash we thought it was going to be a job getting it out but worried for nothing. Of course our choice $$ permitting would be something like a bushtracker but we are happy with the Jayco.

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Follow Up By: Ozboc - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 21:01

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 21:01
I have the Flamingo - my partner and i can be set up in about 30 MIN - COMPLETE (inc annex)- and thats for 4 kids 2 adults -- we have friends that also come and sleep in a tent -- we are generally fully set up and having first drinks by the time they get there tent up - then they have to inflate there air mattresses and so forth

we have also set up in less time than some camping trailers , but then again - we have beein doing it for a while now and have it down pat.

we love our jayco.. have not had a moments prob with it as yet ..


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Reply By: Member - Tom L (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 18:55

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 18:55
The only tracks we won't tow a vanis into the Mitchell Plateau past thr King River or up to Cape York,The reason is that when we did those trips the tracks were so narrow we would have done lots of damage to the van body. That's where the smaller camper trailers are great. The reason we don't tow a camper trailer is that my wife does not like the idea of puttin everything awaycovered in dust which is inevitanle with the fold out camper trailers We towed the 13ft. van to CapreLeveque no problem although we were strongly advised against
cheers and good luck,
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Follow Up By: bilgolabands - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:43

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 15:43
Tom L.
Agree with most of your comment except for the bit where dust entry is inevitable with a fold out camper trailer.
I have earlier made a comment about our Camp-o-matic SS and its more than satisfactory performance.
Dust sealing would have to be one its strong points as even on the Cape York track we had NO dust inside the body, kitchen or nose boxes at all.
At times we needed to blow or brush the dust from the double rubber sealed joints before we opened it (sometimes 10-15 mm thick), to prevent any falling inside.
A couple of the units we were with (no names) were carrying the dust out with whisk brooms, trays and sometimes kids sand buckets.
Talk about test their brides patience.
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Reply By: LeanneW - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 19:33

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 19:33
Hi Broe,

I was in the same position as you a couple of months ago.

You need to have a good think about how much off-road travelling you really want to do. My advice would be to get a properly off-road equipped trailer if you want to do a lot, or else consider hiring an off-road camper trailer for the times when you want to head off the beaten track, and buy a more comfortable trailer/van for the other times.

AnswerID: 360730

Reply By: Member - Hughesy (NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 19:38

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 19:38
Broe, I have a 03 Dove.

If you have kids (I do x 3) - definitely go for the Jayco.

No kids - go the offroad camper.

AnswerID: 360732

Reply By: Mudjimba - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 20:06

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 20:06
We have a 1992 Jaco Finch off road which fine for 3 of us. It has been around Aus a couple of times with the previous owners and they have modified the susspension and put a rack on the back for jerry cans. I think this a good option for off road as it will go pretty much any where the tow vehicle will go as it is not too wide and good entry/exit angles.
We just came back from Fraser Island and did it with out damage where a Jaco Dove was just because of the over hang and extra width. Last year I did a 10 day trip to with a mate to Innaminka, Tibooburra, Wanaring, Bourke and home, setting up each day, 15 mins tops up or down. With most camper trailers you can't do that, and minimal dust inside!
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Reply By: D200Dug- Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 21:05

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 21:05
We looked at the Brisbane Jayco sales yesterday :-) I must admit we were not all that impressed especially with the service we received.

A mate had bought a jayco and was really happy with the deal and service.

Good news is about 150 service points around Australia. Bad news they are pretty well mass produced and built to a price. I was just not convinced to go out and buy one.

We are still looking at the Lotus Trackvan.
AnswerID: 360756

Reply By: PatrolSTL04 - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 22:28

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 22:28
I have an Eagle Outback 2007. She has done some very hard kilometres of dirt tracks.....and lesser dirt tracks and stood up well. Had it supplied with Simplicty Suspension and I installed a stone guard to end all stone guards.

Had a CapeYork Explorer before, but needed comfort for growing family.

Lock tight every nut and bolt....and take it easy and she will give you years of enjoyment.

Wheel track....too wide for the Patrol. In soft sand I have to let tyres on CT down further as the Patrol basically has to drag it through.

Have smacked the rear bar a few times on some pretty narly dips....seems to come back for more.

Improve dust sealing....mine lets nil in now.

Have fun.

AnswerID: 360787

Follow Up By: meerkat - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 15:45

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 15:45
Hi Brett, I have the same camper and would be keen to know what you did to dustproof it. Heading up to the top end in a few months and no doubt will be travelling on dirt tracks. I haven't changed the shockers or suspension so hoping it won't give in while on the trip.
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Follow Up By: PatrolSTL04 - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 20:21

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 20:21
G'day Meerkat,

Firstly, I had the old girl make up some vinyl covers to go over both fridge vents and door vent. This were veclroed in place, so easy to remove at camp. Same as what the Bushtrackers use on their fridge vents.

Secondly, bought that black stick on soft rubber tape to go all around on top of the ridge around the camper trailer to give a better seal when closed up.

Thirdly, put silicon in each corner on the white rubber seal that joins top to bottom sections (each corner is screwed in and lets dust in). This, with the black rubber stick on bit below has made a HUGE difference.

Fourthly (is there such a word), placed a pad bolt on the inside door to pull it a little tighter.

Fifthly (is this such a word), made sure the vent on the roof was perfectly sealed.

Sixthly, sealed inside the front boot all the way around to prevent dust getting from the boot into the cabin.

Seventhly, sealed the slide out bbq area better, and also the inside where the seat sits on top of the bbq....sealed the timber to prevent dust from the sealed bbq area to the cabin.

She no longer lets any dust in.

But, broom comes in handy to get all the crap out the kids bring in.

Bit of work, but its now perfect from my perspective. (Did the same thing with my Cape York Hardfloor too).

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Follow Up By: meerkat - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 21:37

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 21:37
Thanks for the info - it was very informative. In terms of the vinyl covers, I assume you fitted them externally. Did you also place one over the fridge vent inside on the benchtop? I guess you can't run your fridge on 12v when towing though otherwise there is no where for the heat to go.
The pad bolt has me confused somewhat - did you place it externally at the bottom of the door. Jayco dealer told me to ensure the roof is closed over the door to provide a better seal and stop the door from bowing but I have from time to time closed the door after I have put the roof down.
I don't have the slide out bbq but the door nonetheless does not seal well so will probably have to think of how to seal this as well - perhaps some of the black sealer tape you mentioned.
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Follow Up By: PatrolSTL04 - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 02:48

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 02:48
The vinyl covers are velcroed to the outside. I leave the inside one alone, except for adding flr wire underneath to stop the bigs getting in. Also did this to the two fridge ones.

I opted for the Waeco, as the previous Dometic I had was a waste of gas in the tropics. Waeco not much better (Waeco admitted that the BDF35 Compressor is too small for this model, but would not replace it with the BDF50. It hammers the three AGMS I have mounted on the Aframe (hate them inside) - Gas bottles tilted slightly forward. Have two 65w Unisolars mounted on the boat holders, and Ctek mounted inside (disconnected original Setec II, as charge voltage was too low), with Honda Genny backup. Gets about one week with little sun. Good sun....dont know how long they would last.

Run fridge all the time.

Pad bolt is about arms length down on the inside. Shut door before closing the top, otherwise I reckon over corrugations and with some slow offroad, roof may flex and break door hinges.

Replaced all for sets of rivets in roof latches with nuts and bolts (Blaze gave me this tip). Pulls it down better with no flex - rivets would flex when closing.

Replaced all rivets under seats with nuts and bolts.

Reinforce robe hinges just above the circuit breaker.

Replaced all the Bunnings elbows in the water lines to the tanks with quality Philmac ones and utilux clamps. A few of the Bunnings ones that came with the CT broke on some corrugations....lucky I had plenty of rescue tape to prevent loss of too much water.

CT has seen Gibb River rd, right out to Mitchell Falls (they so no camper trailers, but its a good run in), Mt Augustus to Tom Price, Gunbarrel, Bungles.

Hammered the rear bar going across a dry creek to one of the Gorges at the Bungles. Dragged it through slowly....just scratches and nothing bent. About 6 river crossings into the Bungles....vinyl covers also prevented water getting in....nice and dry and dust free when we arrived at camp.

Money saved with Jayco, 3 months in the shed getting it right (couple of hours here and there), and she lets no dust in.

Take it carefully and let those knobs that want to travel at warp speed go bye, and you will be very happy with the Jayco.


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Reply By: bilgolabands - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 22:34

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 22:34
Have been down the GoldStream Crown track and was very happy with the rig, within its logical limits. No trouble on some serious tracks but we were always concious of possible damage.
We have since purchased a Campomatic SS off road camper trailer and could not be happier with it.
We looked at what we figured were the top three C/T units.
- Campomatic
- Aussie Swag
- Kimberley
and chose the Campo for the nose set up, kitchen and the slightly lower price. It came with Waeco fridge, full annex, boat loader and really did not need optioning up.
I feel I agree with the comment that a real off road camper, not a huge tent on a trailer, is better without small children.
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Reply By: cyoung2203 - Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 23:37

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 at 23:37
Hi there.. I have an Outback Hawk 2003 model. I recently built my own van and will / have sold the Outback.

It has done approx 30,000kms. In that time there has really been few issues.

The obligatory screws falling out or coming loose
A good dozen rivets had liberated themselves
Furniture (settee) broke a few times as it is made out of joined pieces of timber..pine...
The 240V went on the Dometic 3 way the 2nd time it went to a caravan park - Fixed under warranty. But, upon pulling it out I found a heap of sawdust and shavings that they hadnt bothered to clean out
The solution for the fridge is to buy a surge cube from Dick Smith's and install it in the power point that the fridge plugs into. This protects against power surges. The guy who did the repair on behalf of Jayco for the fridge told me that - no probs ever since.

The standard foam matress is terrible but you can get some egg shell foam from clarks rubber etc that makes the beds an absolute delight to sleep on.

The cook top inside...you must make sure that the lid is in the vertical position completely or it wont work.

Also...the glue used on mine along the roof join was not properly applied...and water got under it and damaged the roof. When i checked it, it appeared that they had run out of glue / sealant and kind of smeared it...then started with more sealant (You could see what appeared to be a start point). Had to paint the roof and it had cracked in a few spots where the water damage was.

My roof has 3 cracks in it from delivery. I have 2 friends with the same van and all of us have the same issue. Nothing significant..just cracks about 3 - 5 cm long and very small in width. Common problem according to Jayco and solution is for them to grind away the existing roof layer and put another one in...which increases the weight. I didnt bother and they never grew in size.

The covers on the lights (Proximity lights and rear marker lights mainly) come off after a while. Replaced them with black Camec ones and no further issues.

It does tow very well. Brakes are great...as you would expect. I had a tregg on mine which was really good. Not a lof storage though...

I went the Jayco over the Kimberley camper...dont regret it from a price / comfort perspective but the Kimberley is bullet proof by comparison

I heard a Jayco rep at last years show telling a punter that resale was fantastic and they wouldnt have it on the market for a week before it sold. My friends had an outback hawk with lots of excellent mods in immaculate condition, heaps of extras and it took them 6 months to sell it and best price was $12,500. So dont be fooled by all the sales hype, it is a buyers market out there...and there are lots for sale. I sold mine last week for $15,500 but with a LOT of extras including custom Annexe, with walls etc (Excellent materials used), small generator, Coleman hot water system and lots more...I did well...but was very patient.

The Goldstream units I thought were similar to Jayco's but much better quality. Whether that justifies the 25% difference in price is up to the buyer to decide...but they are a nice van!

Good luck



AnswerID: 360795

Reply By: Blaze (Berri) - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 01:09

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 01:09
Gday Broe,

I think by the answers you already have most is covered. We have a Jayco Eagle OFFROAD. I have towed it into the Flinders, Pyrenees, Hi Country and the Anne Beadell Hwy. Haven't had any problems yet other than width restraints compared to campers like Kimberleys etc.

I have to add that I spent 2 weekends removing rivets from bed end bars, seat cupboard covers etc. and putting in bolts with nylocks, I worked out compared to the dearer Off Road Campers, I earned over $5,000 a day doing this to make mine reliable offroad, with the difference in price between others. On the Anne Beadell, 2 OFFROAD Campers that went with us both had minor problems an d we had none.

Lastly, if you buy a Jayco and are doing corrigations, take off the shockers and put them in the rubbish bin. I have heavier quality once to replace mine with but with low tyre pressures it runs fine without shocks.

Hope I have assisted in a small way.
AnswerID: 360807

Reply By: Member - Broe (WA) - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 11:33

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 11:33
Many thanks all for your advice and sharing of experiences.

It would seem for that for a long term investment and something that is going to be trouble free, able to go anywhere, for the sake of a couple of minutes setup time and losing a couch etc, plus getting the extra storage space etc etc etc I could go on, I need to delve out and get a good hard floor camper trailer.

I might chuck a post up and see what the feedback is on these as I am looking at a Pioneer purely for the reason that they are here in Perth.

Once again many thanks for all your advice.

AnswerID: 360861

Reply By: ajd - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 16:30

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 16:30
Most of the replies on this thread relate to off road as being dirt roads. Most mention tracks such as Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks which can be like highways after they have been graded and you could get away with towing anything.

If it's proper off road, as in low range stuff and serious corrugations, you need a camper that's made for it. I have a pioneer and have dragged it through the Vic high country and Flinders Ranges. You can't take a jayco type poptop here.

Just my 2 cents.


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AnswerID: 360888

Follow Up By: Member - Broe (WA) - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 17:11

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 17:11

Does you Pioneer have independent suspension? I have been looking at the Cavalier range of camper trailers and for about $11000 I can get solid axle (which is easier to fix) which I think is fine for something that weighs about 600-700kg packed, or for about $16,000 I can get the same with independent, you get a few extras like bigger storage, enclosed on the sides (again storage boxes) but nothing really too much barr the suspension.

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Reply By: meerkat - Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 21:50

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2009 at 21:50
Hi there Broe. the Jayco campers do cop some flack from time to time but I have been pleased with mine so far - it's a 2007 Outback Eagle. I haven't made any mods to the standard suspension but do have the trigg hitch, onboard battery, have installed a water level indicator and a fridgeswitch. Spend quite a bit of time bush camping so thinking of installing an inverter and 2nd battery.
Did a 3 week trip to the Eye Peninsula and inland on dusty corrugated roads. Eagle pulled up pretty well and my only disappointment was the fixings. Some screws needed replacing because they had pulled away. I too looked at the Coromal but if you read the fineprint, the warranty doesn't cover you for damage sustained if you take the camper offroad (basically off the blacktop). Goldstream I have praise for based on my own research and feedback from others but wasn't willing to fork out the extra $15k to basically get a similar style camper. Jayco have to have something going for them if you still see versions from the 1980's still travelling well out there.
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