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Tips for Buying a Second Hand Jayco Expanda

Tuesday 25th October 2016
By Cam Donovan
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By Cam Donovan
We're guessing that you don't have a spare $60,000+ ready to splurge on a brand-new Jayco Expanda? Don't worry, most people don't! Thankfully, we live in a world where buying and selling a quality second-hand Jayco Expanda is more possible than ever before. There is a plethora of caravan information available on the Internet, in books, magazines, and even from caravan-specific events. With so many people opting to buy second hand Jayco Expanda's, we saw the need to offer a good starting point for those without much of an idea of what to look for in a second hand Expanda and, most importantly, what to pay for one.

You'll be amazed at the variety of options in the Jayco Expanda range to choose from - far too many for us to mention in this article, that’s for sure! Over the years however, we’ve managed to compile a wealth of knowledge through our experiences with the Jayco brand, attention to classifieds, trolling through the Jayco Expandas Downunder forum (highly recommend checking it out), attending numerous caravan and camping shows and, perhaps most importantly, from many of our expert Jayco Expanda owners listed on Camplify.

With Jayco Expandas (of all ages) well and truly our most in-demand caravan to ‘try before you buy’ on Camplify, we couldn't help but think - how do people know which Expanda to buy? This is what we think you should know:

Checklist for buying a used Jayco Expanda caravan:


  • Note the Expanda’s age and bear this in mind throughout your inspection.
  • What is the ownership history?
  • Where has it been stored?
  • Where has it been on holidays?
  • What sort of vehicle has been towing it?
  • How much money can you make from it by hiring it out privately?
  • Are spare parts for this caravan still readily available?
  • What documentation is provided with the caravan? (service history, weighbridge certificate, gas bottle certificate, plumbing certificate, warranty receipts, electrical certificates, instruction manuals etc.
  • What are the core materials? Wood, aluminium or fibreglass?
  • Is the overall condition consistent with other Expandas its age? 
  • Does the owner seem trustworthy and experienced?
  • What extras have been fitted to the van, and how much are they worth?


  • Is there any indication of repairs, scratches, chips, dents, hail damage, bowing, repainting?
  • Is any sealant around windows, doors and ventilation hatches damaged? Leaks are your worst enemy.
  • Check the condition of windows and make sure they open and close properly
  • Axle/suspension: check for stone damage, rust, cracks and general deformation.
  • Under the caravan: check water tanks, wiring, piping and general underfloor condition. Does the caravan look as though it has been off road when it isn't supposed to be? Has it been through sand, water or muddy areas? Is the chassis in good condition?
  • Tyres: what sort of tread is on the tyres? How old are they? Are the correct tyres fitted? Is there a spare tyre included?
  • A-Frame: Is the tow hitch in good condition? All wiring present and in good condition? Handbrake, chains, jockey wheel present and working?
  • Roof: If possible and safe, conduct roof inspection checking for damage, leaks, tree/branch damage, solar panel and TV aerial damage. It's a good idea to bring a ladder for this.
  • Electrics: check battery condition, charger, lights and all appliances.
  • Gas: check the condition of gas bottles, regulator and piping.


  • Smell: are there any signs of bad smells induced from smoking, pets, food/drink spillages, mould or use of chemicals to disguise bad smells? 
  • Is there any sign of dampness within wooden areas?
  • Insect test: are there any signs of ants or other insects inside the caravan?
  • Check all areas for things that need, or will soon need, repairing such as discolouration, bulges, scratches, indents, holes and even evidence of previous repainting or repair as it might be a dodgey job.
  • Cupboards: check for broken latches on all Expandas - it is quite common.
  • Beds: check for any damage to the Expanding bed when both expanded and stowed away. Moisture within the mattress is a sign of leaking canvas - a common problem with pre-2009 Expandas.
  • Kitchen: is the hob/grill/oven/microwave/fridge clean and working?
  • Ensuite: Is the toilet/shower/hot water working well? Any signs of leaking, rust or mould?
  • Pop top and expanding ends: check the roof can be raised and lowered easily, struts are in good condition, canvas is not damaged or discoloured. Same check applies to expanding bed ends. 
  • Door: does it open and close and lock? How many keys are provided with the sale?
  • Awning: check that awning opens and closes properly and check the canvas condition. The canvas and awning is prone to damage from heavy wind, falling branches and embers from nearby campfires. 
  • Is there a smoke alarm and fire extinguisher fitted? Do they both work?
It is important to be realistic about the wear and tear of a second-hand caravan, however what is more important is that you ask questions. Someone who knows their caravan well is more likely to have maintained it up to standard. If they can't answer your questions about certain problems, look elsewhere.

The final factor to consider in your purchase of a second hand Expanda is the money you will be able to make from it when it isn't being used.







What is a Jayco Expanda?

Jayco Expandas are known as a ‘hybrid’ caravan. The signature feature of an Expanda is its ability to expand internal living space by having fold-out beds at the front and rear of the van. A favourite with families, this innovative caravan is compact when towing and amazingly spacious when set up. Depending on the layout and sizing option, the larger models will comfortably sleep up to eight people. Expandas come in a number of different variations, but can be broadly categorised within the following combinations:

  • Expanda Touring Pop-Top 
  • Expanda Touring Full Height
  • Expanda Outback Pop-Top
  • Expanda Outback Full Height

What's the difference between each model?

Pop-top Expanda

A pop-top Expanda has a reduced-height body for easier towing and storage. When setting up pop-top Expanda's, the roof is extended to its full height using special hydraulic arms, and has strong canvas walls.


  • Easier to store in garages or covered driveways
  • Less drag (more fuel efficient)
  • Cheaper to buy
  • Light weight
  • Easier to tow than full-body vans
  • Good ventilation
  • More of a camping/outdoors feel

  • Weaker structure
  • Pop-top is susceptible to leaks
  • Longer set-up time
  • Reduced internal storage due to a lack of cupboards at eye level
  • Less insulation (hot in summer and cold in winter)
  • More parts that can get broken
  • Can’t fit roof-top aircon
  • Can be quite noisy. Not suitable for light sleepers.
  • Struts on pop-top will need replacing over time
  • Less security
  • Lower resale value

Full-body Expanda

Full-body Expandas are taller and heavier than pop-tops, but offer better insulation (temperature and sound) as well as better internal storage.


  • More internal storage
  • Faster setup and pack-down time
  • Less susceptible to leaks
  • Stronger build
  • Better for longer trips
  • Larger range of layouts
  • Rooftop aircon
  • Quieter
  • Better insulation
  • More security
  • Higher resale value

  • Harder to store
  • More expensive to buy
  • Less fuel efficient than pop-tops
  • Require powerful tow-vehicle due to weight
  • Harder to tow and reverse

Standard (Touring) vs Outback model

 Standard (Touring)


A standard, or ‘touring’, Jayco Expanda model is built for use on regular sealed roads. It comes with basic specifications that are suited to camping in holiday parks and other areas that don't require driving over unstable surfaces. 


  • Cheaper to buy
  • Lighter to tow
  • Good value
  • Easier to tow
  • Has everything a young family needs

  • Less ground clearance
  • Lower resale value
  • Can't handle bumpy roads well
  • Not as tough as Outback models


The Jayco Expanda Outback model is an upgraded version of the Touring model, and is built for unsealed roads. The extra clearance offers more peace of mind when towing the caravan up and down steep embankments, over branches and even through water. The Outback model does have its off-road limitations, though.


  • Higher ground clearance
  • Higher resale value
  • Checker Plate provides extra protection
  • Bigger wheels
  • Off-road hitch
  • Off-road wheels and tyres
  • Independent suspension
  • Bigger, stronger chassis
  • Usually come set-up with solar power

  • Heavier
  • More expensive

How much does it cost to buy one?

2002 - 2005 models

Key aspects to consider:

  • Considerably cheaper to buy
  • Second hand parts may be harder to source
  • No cover/lid over the bed ends
  • More susceptible to leaks
  • Cheaper to insure
  • Lighter
  • More wear and tear
  • Fibreglass walls (from 2005)
  • Less luxury features
  • Lower resale value
  • May be harder to sell considering the growing demands for comfort among customers.

Looking to buy a 2002, 2003, 2004 or 2005 model Expanda?

Average price range:

Pop-top Outback = $18,000 - $25,000

Full Body Outback = $25,000 - $30,000

Pop-top Touring = $16,000 - $22,000

Full body Touring = $20,000 - $27,000

2006 - 2009 models


 Key aspects to consider:

  • Fibreglass walls
  • Only have hard lid over bed ends from 2009 onwards. 
  • Fairly decent resale value
  • Jayco Millenium Chassis and Tough-frame

Looking to buy a 2006, 2007, 2008 or 2009 model Expanda?

Average price range:

Pop-top Outback = $25,000 - $35,000
 Full Body Outback = $28,000 - $38,000
 Pop-top Touring = $23,000 - $33,000
 Full body Touring = $25,000 - $35,000

2010 - 2013 models


Key aspects to consider:

  • All have hard lids over bed ends
  • Modernised technology
  • More expensive
  • New layout options
  • Higher resale value

 Looking to buy a 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013 model Expanda?

Average price range:

Pop-top Outback = $34,000 - $39,000
 Full Body Outback = $38,000 - $45,000
 Pop-top Touring = $31,000 - $36,000
 Full body Touring = $35,000 - $40,000

2014 - 2016 models


Key aspects to consider:

  • All the latest features
  • Hard lid over the top of beds
  • More expensive
  • More sturdy
  • New layout options
  • Heavier
  • Not much difference between 2014 and 2016 versions
  • High resale value
  • May be still covered under warranty

 Looking to buy a 2014, 2015 or 2016 model Expanda?

Average price range:

Pop-top Outback = $43,000 - $51,000
 Full Body Outback = $48,000 - $58,000
 Pop-top Touring = $41,000 - $47,000
 Full body Touring = $45,000 - $50,000

In conclusion...

There is a lot to weigh up when deciding to buy a used Jayco Expanda. Everyone has their own budget and particular set of needs when buying a caravan, which makes it near impossible to create the ultimate guide to buying the perfect van. That's why it's up to you to as a wise consumer to think hard before you buy. Outside of buying a house, caravans are one of the most expensive purchases people will make.

What if you want to try a caravan before you buy? It's easy to try on clothes at the store or test drive a car, but what about caravans? Camplify has made that easy, too. We have over 50 different Jayco Expandas available for hire on our site, meaning more and more people are looking to try before they buy on Camplify. Check out 30 of the best Jayco Expanda caravans for hire on Camplify for a quick solution. 

Still feeling stressed out about finding your perfect Expanda? Try not to be. With the depreciation rates of Jayco Expanda's being so low, it certainly isn't the end of the world if you end up choosing a van that isn't quite suited to your needs.

Something else to consider: for the times you aren't using your Jayco Expanda, you can be making thousands of dollars from it by hiring it out on Camplify. They are by far the most popular RVs amongst hirers.

At the end of the day, remember that the most important thing is that you buy a caravan that is safe and reliable for you and your family. 


Do you own an RV? Interested in learning how Camplify can help you turn your caravan, camper or motorhome into $5000 - $35,000 per year? Learn more about how Camplify works for owners



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