Jayco outback vans - hardly. What poor quality!!!

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 21:24
ThreadID: 92929 Views:26443 Replies:13 FollowUps:5
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Hi all,

Obviously this might upset some but if you are looking at a new van please shop around.

I went with a friend to see the Jayco outback range and was seriously disappointed and quite concerned really about the poor quality of the build. I'm not talking about inside because quite frankly I didn't go beyond a look through the door. I'm not interested in a van, as have a KK so have no reason to see the so called comforts of vans living. However, as these friends are hoping to come away on a trip with us I was very interested in the frame and the underside.

OMG how are they allowed to get away with such poor quality control. I saw tech screws shooting straight through the floor from the cabinets inside. And the underside finish. Blimey it was shocking. No protection on wires, gaps unsealed for pipe supplies, weak (did I say WEAK) flimsy so called guards and the suspension....please!!!!

The brochure says outback off road (but then carefully says not if its signed 4WD). Honestly, there are more gazetted dirt roads capable of killing that rubbish build.

Seriously though, if people are looking at a van please crawl under it and spend a long time looking at the build, from the bottom up.

They charge over $30K for these things. How can they get away with it.

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Reply By: achjimmy - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 21:51

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 21:51
On my 2nd outback the first one has done the lap twice including some ordinary roads with no problems, now of some others that have done the Kimberly's more remote spots. Yep the wiring and plumbing need some protection and tidying up. But the chassis and suspension are fine. If your sensible and drive to conditions they are fine.
AnswerID: 482004

Follow Up By: pmk03 - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 22:23

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 22:23
X2 for us also on our 2nd Jayco Outback & had it on many of the outback tracks of Qld, SA & NT with no problems.
Value for money cant beat them IMHO. Resale of my first 5 years later.... got my money back.....
Our new one is definitely an improvement on the previous also so I think they are lifting their game.. & if you have a wannanty claim they are more than happy to look after you.
As Achjimmy said drive to the conditions & sensibly...... we love it..
Just my "first hand" experiences.....
FollowupID: 757304

Reply By: johno59 - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 21:52

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 21:52
Its bloody appalling how they can get away with it!!! Every Jayco outlet I have been to enveriably has a massive workshop with overpriced parts and a team of workers carrying out repairs or flogging parts .....its an industry of its own. They should give you a tool kit and an instruction manual on how to repair things when you take delivery of the van!!
AnswerID: 482005

Reply By: Axle - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 22:24

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 22:24
Thats the way i feel about it to mate!!!,... Its a industry gone mad with no regulation on build quality what so ever!... The top of the range vans in all models seem to be ok, But man!! are you paying for them...Are they worth it?...Work out the cost of material,suspension, interior,etc,..Theres a big ..big margin there, My brother just built his own camper van, off road specs,..Ok not as refined in detail, but less than half the cost of a dealer equiverlent!.

Cheers Axle
AnswerID: 482011

Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 23:02

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 23:02
Did he take labour costs in to account??

FollowupID: 757309

Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 07:38

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 07:38
Hi Axle,

It is true that top of the range vans are very pricey – e.g. Bushtracker, Sunland, Kedron, Spinifex etc all make some models that exceed $100,000. But in economic terms are the manufacturers making excess profits? Economic theory would suggest they are not – caravan manufacturing is an industry where there is freedom of entry and exit (only barrier to entry is capital cost of setting up a manufacturing facility). If one manufacturer was making excessive profits – others would be attracted to enter the industry to share in those excess profits. Looking at the internet “make” dropdown menu on some of the sales sites – there are listed about 195 brands of RV’s for sale in Australia. A massive number of competitors - almost perfect competition to an economist. So it’s hard to believe that all 195 are in collusion to charge excessive prices.

Maybe the fact is we have relatively high labour costs and high input costs for those who use Australian components. Are these top vans worth the money? My belief is they are – they have a high resale value, will give you peace of mind in travelling in off road conditions, and are usually fitted with all the necessary features to “free camp” thus making travelling a lot cheaper.

According to Jayco’s website they manufacture 90 vans a week – so a new van is coming off their production lines about every 20 minutes. Other smaller niche manufacturers only make 4 or 5 per year! RV manufacturer is a very fractured industry where small operators can successfully compete in a highly competitive market. It will be interesting to see how the industry evolves in the future, especially when the current wave of “baby boomers” retirees subsides and overall demand decreases.

FollowupID: 757325

Reply By: Ross M - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 22:45

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 22:45
G'day zigdog
I agree with you regarding the lack of quality on the Just Another Yeti Caravan Offerings. Yeti = Abominable/Detestable/Unpleasant.
There appears to be little pride in the product and everything is aimed at deceiving the public with flashy outside/externals and they know not many will look under the van to see the potential disasters. With the screws through the floor, tooooo looooong and sealing not suitable they will only have to fix the ones people pressure them to repair. Big cost saving here as most won't know and few will complain. Jayco in front $$$$$$$$.
They display little regard for their fellow Aussies.
It is confusing for the few who see the "outback and offroad" and then read the NO clause for roads labelled 4wd, cos they are the roads the labelling is indicating.

I have helped travellers repair a Jayco campervan which broke the axle and wheel off. Terrible suspension design, no compliance in the suspension action. Who ever OK'd this stuff for production either doesn't know about suspension theory or don't care about the effects they cause to the end user.
Because of what you have found I might go and do an appraisal of the current crop of Yeti's.
AnswerID: 482013

Follow Up By: Off-track - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 08:45

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 08:45
OMG! Screws too long and poor sealing! Sound the alarm!

Poor suspension design from people that have no idea? Dont they fit Alko eye to eye leaf springs? Hmm, maybe you should offer your services to Jayco and Alko as it would appear that you know more than they.

With all the Jayco's around the country I am a bit puzzled now as to why I havent seen them broken and littering the countryside.

BTW, what brand camper do you have?
FollowupID: 757331

Reply By: Shaker - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 23:06

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 23:06
I think you "knockers" are in the minority, there are a he'll of a lot of Jaycos out there with happy owners!

Didn't Kimberley Karavans have suspension problems & things falling off?
AnswerID: 482016

Reply By: Member - There Yet - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 23:13

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 23:13
Hi Zigdog,

We have a Jayco Outback Expander and couldn't be more happier.

The local steel manufacturer commented on how well the chasis structure was and there's nothing wrong with the suspension either. Yes, we did a few minor adjustments to protect wiring, plumbing and water tank. Decided we would also tar underneath for more protection. So in some regards your statement may be true.

In regards to 4WD signage, Jayco have always admitted that the outbacks are not meant for going totally of road. Planning to do the GRR this year and have no concerns at all.

Cheers Steven and Kerry
AnswerID: 482017

Reply By: Crackles - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 23:36

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 23:36
It's a bit unfair to be comparing their build quality with your Kimberly Ziggy as they're neither in the same price range nor aimed at the same market. Jayco make an avearge product to suit the mass's which is good enough for the average user.
It does irk me the use of the name "Outback" as they're really not that well built for those sort of conditions even though plenty do take them there. You're right, the underside is lacking many real offroad features & the camper is pretty much just a road going van sat on top. In the end no-one holds a gun to peoples heads when they buy the things & just like we go to the $2 shop many are buying on price as that's all they can afford.
Cheers Craig...............
AnswerID: 482020

Reply By: Rockape - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 07:56

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 07:56
What I have found looking under vans is they seem to be built by contract gangs. I maybe wrong but I have looked at vans from the same manufacturer in the same yards and the workmanship underneath is like chalk and cheese.

I have noticed this a few times and from different makers.

What it does come down to is quality control by the manufacturer. It costs slightly more to do it once and right, as you just take longer to do the job.

Jayco put out a lot of vans and I am led to believe they have good warranty and service.

I have a Coromal and it is a budget priced van. So far I have had few problems.

Mainly just the door locks sticking and their screws have been installed with screw guns causing the screw to strip the thread in the timber.

AnswerID: 482027

Reply By: skulldug - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 07:59

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 07:59
Zig dog,

Ive had my Jayco Outback for eight years. On delivery, the dealer fixed two or three minor problems and it hasn't needed anything other than routine service ever since. It was significantly cheaper to buy than other vans I looked at but was much lighter, primarily because of the metal frame.

Perhaps you should tell your mate to look for one of the true off road vans. That will keep him saving for another couple of years. Then because of weight issues, he will probably need a bigger tug.

Most Jayco owners I have met (almost 50 per cent of van owners) are happy to save some money on purchase price and buy some camping toys. They are generally happy to see the country without trashing their vehicle and van on corrugated roads.

AnswerID: 482028

Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 11:57

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 11:57

I too have a KK but feel you are being a bit harsh on Jayco regard build quality. Our neighbour has one and this post got me curious so I just went and had a crawl under theirs.
What I will agree with you though is the appalling lack of thought put into the routing and positioning of their gas & water lines/ hoses. No way you could take that straight from factory floor and expect to do any sort of gravel roads and expect the lines to be intact. A stone on a gravel road once managed to split a 5cm rubber joiner on my Commodore wagon fuel line, there is metres of plastic under the Jayco to be hit. The plastic shroud over the shockies upper likewise wouldn't last long.
Disappointing thing is it would hardly cost much or any money for Jayco to have done a much better job from the start, they clearly just didn't think or do any product testing on gravel.
The good thing though is it's no too big a task to make it gravel road ready in a day though, just a shame Jayco couldn't have thought of it. I know our neighbours are very happy with theirs.

AnswerID: 482065

Reply By: zigdog - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 12:28

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 12:28
Hi all,

Look, I said it would probably upset some and for the majority it holds that you would defend your brand. I know I do.

However, let me apologies for not being specific with the range. We were looking at the entry level camper vans. I think they're called pop top / expanda? The ones that the roof line lifts and the beds slide out front and back. There were probably about 5 / 6 sizes and they all shared the same frame and underside components.
(I'm not commenting on the bigger caravans as I didn't look) But for over $30k you'd expect better?

Anyway, at no time did I mention I was comparing them to my KKamper. I know they are different qualities. My point was that for a product that brands itself to a function these things have some quite obvious flaws. Which, I'll say tongue in cheek, is being acknowledged by the very same owners who jumped in to defend and suggest I'm being harsh!

And the sales people even admitted that there are some necessary modifications that should be done if we were planning on taking it down long distance dirt roads. "But it is an off-road van as look, the ground clearance is great and it has guard plates in front of the shocks" were just a few of the plus points mentioned.
AnswerID: 482066

Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 13:31

Sunday, Apr 01, 2012 at 13:31
looks like you achieved your objective ;- )

Can you find a new van that is "well made" for under 30K? I'd agree that the "outback" tag is a bit misleading, although not altogether so - just as Coromal's "Pioneer" range is too. They both market their product, as do others, as a tough bushproof van with a disclaimer but if you want a real rough-roader you're looking to at least double that. We have been down some major dirt roads in ours and the brake wiring took a bit of a battering from flying stones but that was easily fixed. Of course, you can pick holes in the build but even our local van repairer thinks they are a good product at the price. Yes, mine has tek screws showing through here and there but if that bothers you so much I think you're looking for faults.

Personally, I think the caravan market as a whole in Oz is a licence to print money, especially when compared with vans in the US and Europe. Although there is a need to build more robust vans for long corrugated roads, that is only one section of the market and the vast majority are not meant to be taken offroad, yet are still nearly double the price of overseas vans. So yes, in view of all that you could say Jayco are overpriced, as are just about every other brand.
FollowupID: 757359

Reply By: Member - Richard H - West NSW - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 09:05

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 09:05
I picked up my latest van about 10 days ago.

It is a Jayco Starcraft Outback, single axle job. This is my third Jayco, and since 1990 I have had five vans, two of them Roadstars, and the remainder Jayco.

I had more strife with my second Roadstar than ever any of the Jayco's, and both previous Jaycos have circumnavigated Australia, and did a lot of trips up & down the the centre. I never ever had any issues.

The second Roadstar, well on the first day of ownership, a gas leak dumped LPG from the stove into the cupboards under the sink. It ignited and though it only blew the doors open and the shifted the drawers, and frightened the hell out of us, nothing worse happened. Second, the door to the shower fell off whilst on the Nullabor. Roadstar quibbled about a $36.00 repair, and the thing was still under warranty. Third, the A/C leaked, and after towing the van to Adelaide to get it repaired I found that the A/C hadn't been installed properly.

These things never occurred to any of my Jayco's, and what little warranty work was required, eg. a piece of the roofing plastic cracked, they did the repair without a murmur.


I'm yet to test the new one, and other than dragging it home from Mildura, without a problem, I'll reserve my comments. But I'm quite ceretain that it perform just as well as the previous Jayco vans.
AnswerID: 482142

Reply By: peteC - Tuesday, Apr 03, 2012 at 10:18

Tuesday, Apr 03, 2012 at 10:18

What 4WD do you have. I am sure it was not outback ready when you drove out out of the showroom so why did you buy it?
AnswerID: 482227

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