There is no doubt about it, a Jayco Camper is a popular choice for many camping enthusiasts, particularly families due to their generous size and sleeping room and their easy-to-tow design. Due to their popularity, trying to find a Jayco Camper for sale is easy, however they do hold their value really well, so getting a ‘bargain’ maybe a little harder than you think.
If you are in the market for a secondhand Jayco Camper, such as the Jayco Penguin, Jayco Eagle, Jayco Swan and Jayco Flamingos then before you hit up Gumtree, Ebay and the local classifieds, take a read of our top tips to look out for when checking out your new investment and handing over your $$$.
How would we know what to look for? What are our qualifications?
Glad you asked, we have lived and travelled FULL TIME with 3 kids in our Jayco Eagle Outback around Australia (including to plenty of offroad spots and 4×4 tracks) for over 4 years. We purchased our camper brand new in 2012 and have seen over time, where the issues can arise and what to look out for in our own camper. And really, with proper maintenance these are great campers- but wear and tear is normal and for anyone not familiar with these campers, we thought we would point out some areas to pay attention to.
Before I start, I just want to point out that when you start looking around for a Jayco Camper to buy, you may see a few fairly NEWISH models for sale. This may make you wonder WHY?? Why is the person selling it when its only a few months old? What’s wrong with it?? Don’t be too suspicious of these sales. Jayco Campers don’t suit everyone, there is still an element of set up, pack down involved which some people may simply not appreciate but only realise after they have used it a few times. Those people may be wanting to simply change to full sized van or something easier to set up. Take advantage of these sales as you may save some serious $$$ over buying new. Their loss is your gain!
Things to check over on a Jayco Camper before buying USED.
Wind the camper up and down a few times. Listen for any suspicious ‘clunks’ in the mechanism or winch. Does the roof raise and lower evenly? Do the cables seem in good condition?
Ask to see the winch mechanism (usually under the lounge area but differs between models). Sometimes the winch, mounting plate and fixtures can become rusty. Ensure that this mechanism is in good condition and well lubricated.
Ask to have the camper setup entirely and confirm all the necessary accessories are included. Such as the any wheel nut locks, jockey wheel, winder, keys, jack and wheel brace etc.
Inspect the canvas well. Look for any signs of mould, especially around the bed ends where the pillows or blankets may rest. Ensure all the stitching is intact and the zippers work. The canvas is pretty heavy duty but tears can happen easily- take a few minutes to really check this out.
The mesh on a Jayco Camper is a little weak and can fatigue easily. They are also very vulnerable to ripping or being torn. These are a pain to repair so make sure you know what needs doing and use any issues as bargaining power.
The 4 lifter arms (one in each corner) lift the roof up and support the roof. When its windy, the roof can sway a little and these arms take the impact. Make sure there is no major bends or cracks in the arms or severe rust.
Obviously you would want to ensure there is no damage to the roof. Things like cracks, splits or loose fittings. Mould or dirt can usually be easily cleaned off but structural damage is something to steer clear of. The 4 plastic corner sections in some models are known for cracking. Jayco is aware of this issue. They aren’t hard to replace but be aware and check them out before making your purchase. Perhaps contact Jayco service to see if they will replace them or at least get a quote for the repair so you know what you are getting yourself into.
A mattress can easily be upgraded or replaced, but the plywood base should be in good condition. No rot, mould or cracks. It is normal for slight bowing to occur but as long as it does NOT affect the bed going in and out easily, it shouldn’t be a problem. Make sure the rollers do run smooth and the camper includes the 2 steel bed supports for each bed.
Cupboards and Flooring
Check under the lounge and in all the cupboards for any water damage and under the sink for obvious signs of leaks. Pay extra attention to the walls and floor near each corner as it’s not unusual to have water run down the lifter arms, inside the frame and down the walls or over the flooring. Check for water marks. This usually occurs when the external canvas flaps aren’t velcroed around the arms correctly and it rains. Easy to prevent and usually only occurs due to ‘operator error’.
The drawer runners used in Jayco campers aren’t known for being great, they do the job- just not great. You may need to tighten them up or reinforce them after a while. Especially if the camper has travelled some rough roads or corrugations.
Crawl under the caravan and inspect the floor for any damage. Whilst you are there check the water hoses and any exposed electrical wires.
Check to see if the backing on the curtains are still in great condition and make sure the cushions aren’t mouldy or the covers aren’t starting to fray. Most of these items are custom to fit your model camper and replacing them through Jayco may not be cheap.
Take some time to test all the electrical items. Lights (in and out), TV points, water pump, plug your trailer plug in and test brake lights, clearance lights and blinkers. Check fuse box and behind the battery and Setec unit. Look for any dodgy ‘home made’ wiring or ‘less than safe’ looking aftermarket accessories that have been fitted. A dodgy connection can be a fire risk. Speaking of which, ensure you have a smoke alarm fitted and a fire extinguisher included (that’s in date).
If it opens and closes, goes up or down, turns on or off, pulls in or out or flips over- then make sure it does it they way it should. Your money is hard earnt so don’t think you are being fussy for being a little ‘anal’ about your new pending purchase. If you find any issues, use it to your advantage and try to get a better deal- especially if its only superficial.
Jayco campers are generally very solid units. Their frames are tough and their chassis are impressive (particularly on the Jayco Outback models). Ask to see/test the brakes, check tyre condition and inspect the wheel bearings for any play. As far as safety (particularly for the brakes, tyres, suspension, chassis and LPG) goes, it is HIGHLY advisable to have any caravan inspected by someone who can issue a certificate of safety or roadworthy. It may add to your costs but is well worth it, especially as you wont receive any warranty from the seller (unless it’s a dealer, then you might be lucky)
Once you have found the perfect camper and get it home. Consider doing a complete service on it (or get your mechanic to give it the once over). Grease suspension shackles, adjust brakes (including handbrake), lubricate winch and lifter arms, replace battery (if its old), replace wheel bearings and give the canvas a good clean (don’t use anything that will strip the waterproofing).
Enjoy you new ‘secondhand’ Jayco Camper
Applicable to :Jayco Eagle, Jayco Swan, Jayco Flamingo, Jayco Penguin, Jayco Finch, Jayco Hawk, Jayco Outback, Jayco Touring, Jayco Expanda, Jayco Camper Trailer, Wind Up Campers