Our Expanda- from mild to WILD

Moto Mech

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2012
566
1,048
93
Mole Creek, Tasmania
#1
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So, having put in last year touring Australia in our 17 1/2' Jayco Discovery, a few thing ran through my mind of what Id like more in a van.
Firstly, we wanted more room.
Secondly, I wanted a lighter van. Sure, 2T isnt by any means heavy but after 12mths, I was sick of towing and wanted something lighter.
Thirdly, I wanted a new project, along similar lines of our Discovery as I knew it could do the job.
We looked at camper trailers but ruled them out as the only way to get more room was to put up the awning/annexe every night.
Bigger van, be nice but I wanted lighter.
Then I looked at a Expanda and 'saw the light'. Wow, they certainly have some room(and everyone said the same looking at it).
We found a 2004 16 footer for sale close by and checked it out and within a week were towing it home.
No, its not a offroader but it will be soon enough. One thing I did notice though, the interior definitely isnt as well built/strong as our 1997 Discovery was, nothing I cant sort out but alittle disappointing.
Big list of mods to come, briefly- internal shower, LED lighting upgrade, new suspension, new larger wheels, second water tank/pump, hot water system, checker plate protection, fold out step, drop down rear wheel carrier, full solar set up, ditch the 3way fridge and fit a compressor fridge. Amoung lots more.
Biggest thing Ill be trying to do with all mods is to keep weight to a minumen.
 

Moto Mech

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2012
566
1,048
93
Mole Creek, Tasmania
#2
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So picked her up last Tuesday, parked it in the yard and started the mods
First up, ball coupling came off and a Treg coupling was fitted.
Next morning, drums off, axle out and a spring over with flipped axle were preformed, gaining 200mm of clearance.
Then we packed her up and headed to the East Coast of Tassie for 7 days, didnt know what worked, what didnt but didnt care.
So after our week, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it towed, even with big lift and tiny tiny skinny wheels it towed perfectly(and easily). So, we now had a much easier/nicer towing van and near twice the internal room.
Happy happy.
 

Moto Mech

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2012
566
1,048
93
Mole Creek, Tasmania
#4
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Pic 1 two draws will fit into here
Pic 2 additional steek brackets
Pic 3 reusing factory plastic brackets
Pic 4 disassembling our new van
Ok, away I go
Pulled the side out of the seat frame, due to damage but had a change of plan once it was out. Decided to scrap the draw that pulls out over the door entrance and fit 2 draws that pull out to middle of van. These will be our clothes draws as the wardrobe will be a bathroom. Ok, got that.
As mentioned above, found the build quality of the seats/cabinetry etc very poor, thin veneer that most screws had pulled out of, plastic brackets that were busted(most likely from factory) and no where near enough of them.
So, refitted the good plastic brackets with new, slightly longer screws, fitted them closer together and once they ran out I used steel brackets. I also added these steel brackets to every draw in caravan.
The side of the seat frame will be replaced with slightly thicker veneer(minus the draw cutout) and stained to match.
 

Moto Mech

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2012
566
1,048
93
Mole Creek, Tasmania
#5
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This arvo was wet and crappy so decided it was a good time to 'dissasemble' the wardrobe so I could measure up the shower base and have made. Still deciding on stainless steel or polished aluminium for a shower base, this being a shower base with a difference. Im going to have high sides on the base, probably around 300mm and it will have a pluggable drain. This will serve as two purposes, one, kids can near have a bath in it when water is plentiful and secondly, we can drop a 12v shower into the shower base, fill it with a few inches of water and shower till our hearts content(recycling water). Shower size will be 600x800, Ill be fitting a hand basin in there too, undecided yet wether to fit a drop down one, corner basin or just a slim one. Toilet duties will be catered for by a portable toilet, that way it can be used outdoors in a toilet tent freeing up inside but placed in the shower of a night or short term stays. Will also save alot of weight by going the portable option.
 

Moto Mech

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2012
566
1,048
93
Mole Creek, Tasmania
#6
Also tried a set of 31" tyres to see if they'll fit. They do but I will gain near 2 more inches of height, which I dont want and if I rotate axle back down Im not sure if 31's will fit.
Last van I went up to 30's with same suspension setup so time will tell which way I go.
 
Likes: bigcol

Moto Mech

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2012
566
1,048
93
Mole Creek, Tasmania
#8
what is the problem with the extra 2 inches........... the annex.....?

of just general height?
Just to high, it would be over 10" higher if I fit 31's but Ill wait till new suspension goes in to decide as new springs may not give same lift as current ones.
Annexe walls will need lengthening whatever way I go.
 

Moto Mech

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2012
566
1,048
93
Mole Creek, Tasmania
#11
Find the Expanda very dark inside and even darker in the under bench cupboards. Didnt want battery operated lights so decided Id fit up some automatic on lights in them.
Fitted a LED strip from top to bottom of cupboard and mounted a limit switch to door frame.
Works a treat.

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Moto Mech

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2012
566
1,048
93
Mole Creek, Tasmania
#16
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First 3 pics, tapping into exterior light for LED strip.
Next two, wiring in short strip of LED to door handle switch
LED day today, fitted about 6mts all up.
First up ran a strip above sink and bench, tapped into wires at small single down light above sink(guess its a factory light), disconected wires to globe but used switch.
Next up, strip above bench top stove. The range hood had two switches but only one done anything(fan and lights), so I used the spare switch for the LED strip. I also disconected the wires to the down lights, not needed with strip light.
Then outside the van. The door handle light was pretty useless so I rewired that to a short section of strip light, above left of the door. This is yet to be finished as the switch is dicky so have ordered more.
Next up was a long strip under the awning, again tapped into exterior wiring on outside light.
Back in van I fitted another 2 cupboard lights with auto on switching. Fitted our gas detector and a 10 way fuse box to wire everything through.
Far out there is some shonky wiring in the van, some twitched together joins covered in 'sticky' tape
 

Dingo193

Active Member
Feb 17, 2017
133
117
43
sunshine coast
#18
Hi moto mech, was your axle one with a stub axle welded on the end.Did you flip it and if so did you cut brake wires etc to keep the brake wire protector at the back of axle?? Or did you weld in a spacer block above hangers.
By the way it looks great.
Thnx Dingo
 

Moto Mech

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2012
566
1,048
93
Mole Creek, Tasmania
#19
Hi moto mech, was your axle one with a stub axle welded on the end.Did you flip it and if so did you cut brake wires etc to keep the brake wire protector at the back of axle?? Or did you weld in a spacer block above hangers.
By the way it looks great.
Thnx Dingo
Hey mate, brake wires actually had elec connectors on them so simply undone connectors, removed axle flipped and rotated(so brake wire protector was on back of axle still), then re ran wires, CUT OFF elec connectors and soldered wires.
 
Likes: bigcol

Dingo193

Active Member
Feb 17, 2017
133
117
43
sunshine coast
#20
Appreciated Moto Mech, Not sure what to think with all the negativity with flipping axles on the net. Yet some many have done it. Where your spring slippered or eye to eye? Hope fully mine looks like yours when finished. Does your spare tyre still fit in the draw bar location or have you sorted some other solution? Thnx Again
 
Likes: bigcol