18' Series Essential Upgrades to Expanda Outback 18.58-2

pjulian

New Member
Oct 21, 2018
7
1
3
Sydney
#1
Hi All, we have just bought our first Expanda and are keen to get on the road for some shakedown trips before we start some extended trips in a year or two.
We decided to purchase an 18.58-2 Outback after much deliberation, the small amount of extra length compared to a 17ft van really adds a lot of benefits for us with extra room and what we consider to be a better layout.

Our van is just under 2 years old and has been well looked after, but I am just looking for suggestions on what essential modifications or changes I should consider making before doing the things I "want" to do.

So far I think the following should be essentials:
- Greywater tank
- Extra solar and battery storage
- Extra spare wheel and tyre (we plan on doing a lot of dirt road driving)

Nice to haves would be:
- Diesel heater
- Longer drawer bar would be nice, but not exaclty easy to do....I have a very long driveway to reverse down.
- Extra water tank
- Reverse camera

I am VERY conscious of weight and am going to contact Jayco to see if they will issue a new compliance plate with a bit more payload just to be safe, hopefully they will come to the party, I don't want to drag a house around with us but would like to do some basic improvements where possible.

Any other suggestions on modifications would be appreciated.

Thanks
Paul
 

Glen Bundesen

Active Member
Jan 12, 2014
288
184
43
Perth WA
#2
Grey Water Tank shouldn't add much weight as all you are doing is relocating water from tank to tank!

I'd suggest adding a heater if you are intending to use the van during winter.
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
7,463
13,597
113
Cooloola Coast, QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
#3
If free camping a grey water tank is useful but mine gets little use really, while extra solar and storage is good but if van parking it then neither are needed....a rear cam is very useful and inexpensive if you DIY, getting one with a 60 deg view rather than a 90 deg view will allow you to use it as a rear view and way better than a reverse cam.................If you do good tyre maintenance and know how to fix tyres you may not really need an extra spare, they are very heavy, expensive when you add on over priced tyre racks all for what amounts to little use, if traversing a lot of outback roads for a few months or more then a set of tyre levers, and a spare case is less hassle along with some tyre plugs this assumes you carry a decent compressor, I've had more blow outs on the tarred roads than out bush over the years.................just stay away from cattle grids.....lol.......

More info on what sort of camping you will be doing free or van park and what going to be dragging your rig around, then we all can work out how best to spend your money on excellant modifications ...............

PS: If you need a longer draw bar then sell the van and get another, quicker, cheaper all round........lol,lol.......as for changing the compliance plate get your van weighed with just the basics loaded in it say full gas bottles, one water tank that will give you a real world figure on what you have left to play with from the ATM on the plate, the other weights on the plate may not be accurate, it seems the regs require them to have the ATM figure and a tare ball weight all the rest is builders bling to make it look good.....................ignore the tare figure.
 
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pjulian

New Member
Oct 21, 2018
7
1
3
Sydney
#4
Thanks for the replies.

I agree about the greywater, just moving the water around so no extra weight really, but a must have for national parks now unfortunately, not that I want to give them any of my money anyway :)

I will be towing with my 4.2TD Patrol and hoping to camp at some of the more "out of the way" locations, I know the van isn't really an offroad van but taken easy most tracks should be perfectly fine I think.

I have a tyre repair kit and compressor, not overly keen on replacing a case on the side of the road but you raise a good point Drover, it's definitely something to consider for weight saving.

My next step is to empty the van of everything not needed and get it weighed, then I will know what I have to work from and I can weigh things that I want to put in it and go from there.

That is a good suggestion about the reverse camera, are there any that come with that angle view or do you need to get a different camera like a small security camera or something to get that angle ?

Funnily enough my van actually has nothing stamped on the compliance plate for a tare weight.....strange.
It does have the ATM listed as 2710kg though and ball weight at 201kg, I will find out the correct weights for all of them when I go to the weigh station I suppose.
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
7,463
13,597
113
Cooloola Coast, QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
#5
Don't worry about tare then, an ATM of 2710 is your baseline, sounds like the 201 ball is a loaded weight so take the ball from the ATM and that gives you the weight on the wheels, GTM, all good in theory..............http://www.withoutahitch.com.au/caravan/weigh-caravan-camper/

I stuffed up on my camera angle figures the reversing cams are usually 120 deg so you see wide but not far the 90 deg cam are okay for reversing but you can also see the Kenworth coming up behind while its still half a Km away where with the reversing cam you notice it at 30 foot............I bought my monitor and cam from Brash Imports, http://www.brashimports.com.au/Caravaners1.htm
good web site, not expensive and the gear is okay, been using it for quite a few years now with no problems but go the CCD cams they give a better picture, since I have a alloy shed on the back of ute I have a cam on the back which does the job of rear view mirror and with van hooked up I just push a button and the van cam is shown on a screen where the rear view mirror usually lives, a 7" screen so no squinting.

Folks have been dragging touring type vans over tracks worse than the modern adventurer travels for years, it all depends on the nut behind the wheel how it all travels so I wouldn't worry too much about that, depending on the axle it can be easy to get a bit of lift so the bum doesn't drag on driveways at some garages.

I have changed a few tyres on the road but it was work time, most flats Ive just plugged and pumped up while still on the vehicle, rarely needed to actually fit the spare, travel with levers and compressor but don't want to use them, I'm too old for that stuff now, but it is handy to know how. Oh and a bottle of Slime in the wheels saves a lot of sweat..................the story about it throws the balance out is BS.............if you intend running the Gun Barrel or Strezleki sort of thing then an extra spare or 2 is a good idea but otherwise its just extra weight.

I built my own GWT, works a treat.........we only free camp now can't afford fuel and camp fee's anyway........sounds like your heading in the right direction anyway, you will find some cluey folks on here, especially some more articulate than I, either way just look at what you would like to do, think will i use it, do I really need it or will it just be bling, a lot of stuff folks add is just not needed and hardly used, try for gear that has a couple of jobs not just one, they take up space.....

Links to my builds which among the banter and laughter are some reasonable ideas, some original some borrowed............Big Mal is my 22ft Coromal and The Tardis is my old 14.44.3 Expanda which was an amazing rig..............

https://www.expandasdownunder.com/threads/drovers-14-44-3.4502/

https://www.expandasdownunder.com/threads/drovers-new-rig-big-mal.8414/