Texpat's 2013 Expanda 14.44-4

Texpat

New Member
Nov 7, 2021
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Melbourne, VIC
Hey folks, thought I'd finally get the "howdy" post up... We've not long had our new-to-us 2013 Expanda 14.44-4 with the bunks, and getting ready for our first trip away in it over Christmas! Our first van, so we're pretty excited! We picked the 14.44 because the bunks are great for our kids (who would never stop complaining about sharing a bed!), and we wanted to start with something a bit smaller as we get our "towing legs".

Got a couple weeks to get it all stocked up, familiarise ourselves with doing all the "stuff" - opening the bed & awning, setting up the annex, etc.

Pretty stock van...has a 100ah battery, external gas bayonet & water tap, 12v TV w/ antenna, etc; but really well looked after. No solar or anything, although we may look into this at some point; and will probably look at getting a cover since it's stored outside. Just want to get started using it first!

Staying pretty close to home for the first trip, but can't wait to get out. Wish us luck! :)

Nowhere to park out front, so we put in a new driveway to give 'er a home:
ourexpanda_1.jpg


All hooked up to the tug:
ourexpanda_3.jpg

ourexpanda_2.jpg
 

Hylux

Member
Sep 1, 2017
58
61
18
Newcastle
Welcome to the 14.44 club, they are great having kids. I have the outback and we love it. It will tow great behind the prado, i have a hilux.
A couple of suggestions next visit to bunnings
1. Get a couple of cheap plastic painters drop sheets. Great for packing up in the rain to throw over the front mattressto keep dry.
2. Get one of those plastic
 

Hylux

Member
Sep 1, 2017
58
61
18
Newcastle
Welcome to the 14.44 club, they are great having kids. I have the outback and we love it. It will tow great behind the prado, i have a hilux.
A couple of suggestions4
1. Get a couple of cheap plastic painters drop sheets. Great for packing up in the rain to throw over the front mattressto keep dry.
2. Get one of those plastic mould fold up tables great for outside ond they fit between the mattress and lounge backboard.
3. A wire fold up clothes hanger/airer, can stowe same as table.
4. A collapsing dirty clothes bin. The barrel shape made of mesh with wire top pop them open. Great for keeping the van tidy, carrying to the laundry too wash or throw in van/car to take home.

Im sure plenty of others can offer more suggestions
 
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MartyB

New Member
Dec 5, 2021
6
0
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Victoria
Hey folks, thought I'd finally get the "howdy" post up... We've not long had our new-to-us 2013 Expanda 14.44-4 with the bunks, and getting ready for our first trip away in it over Christmas! Our first van, so we're pretty excited! We picked the 14.44 because the bunks are great for our kids (who would never stop complaining about sharing a bed!), and we wanted to start with something a bit smaller as we get our "towing legs".

Got a couple weeks to get it all stocked up, familiarise ourselves with doing all the "stuff" - opening the bed & awning, setting up the annex, etc.

Pretty stock van...has a 100ah battery, external gas bayonet & water tap, 12v TV w/ antenna, etc; but really well looked after. No solar or anything, although we may look into this at some point; and will probably look at getting a cover since it's stored outside. Just want to get started using it first!

Staying pretty close to home for the first trip, but can't wait to get out. Wish us luck! :)

Nowhere to park out front, so we put in a new driveway to give 'er a home:
View attachment 67874

All hooked up to the tug:
View attachment 67875
View attachment 67876
Ooohhhh now Im jealous!! We have our eyes peeled for a 14.44-4 . Seem to be hard to find!!! Awesome layout, we have a 9 and 7 yr old and Im thinking it’ll suit perfect upgrading from our camper trailer.
Wondered if I could bother you to get some measurements ; namely the rear overhang length fron centre of wheel, and the height of the overhang at the rear. Im trying to work out if I may have trouble reversing up our drive that has some slope!! Thanks, set up looks great! Cheers Marty
 

Texpat

New Member
Nov 7, 2021
14
12
3
Melbourne, VIC
Wondered if I could bother you to get some measurements ; namely the rear overhang length fron centre of wheel, and the height of the overhang at the rear. Im trying to work out if I may have trouble reversing up our drive that has some slope!!

Sure, I'll be happy to. Will try to grab these measurements tomorrow. Keep in mind ours is the standard (not Outback), FYI.

We have a small slope up to our gravel driveway, and it's actually the bottom of the spare tyre holder that scrapes the driveway. It'd be nice if that was just a bit higher up.

Yeah, we locked in on the 14.44-4's pretty quickly, although we were also looking at some other full vans with a fixed bed and pull-out bunks. I did think having to pull out the bunks and put them away during the day could get a bit old, though; whereas I like that the kids can "retreat" to their bunks whenever they want in our Expanda. Nice quick set-up, too, as there's only one side to pull out...although we're finding the bed is super easy to set up, so doing it twice wouldn't have been too much of an issue.
 

MartyB

New Member
Dec 5, 2021
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Victoria
Sure, I'll be happy to. Will try to grab these measurements tomorrow. Keep in mind ours is the standard (not Outback), FYI.

We have a small slope up to our gravel driveway, and it's actually the bottom of the spare tyre holder that scrapes the driveway. It'd be nice if that was just a bit higher up.

Yeah, we locked in on the 14.44-4's pretty quickly, although we were also looking at some other full vans with a fixed bed and pull-out bunks. I did think having to pull out the bunks and put them away during the day could get a bit old, though; whereas I like that the kids can "retreat" to their bunks whenever they want in our Expanda. Nice quick set-up, too, as there's only one side to pull out...although we're finding the bed is super easy to set up, so doing it twice wouldn't have been too much of an issue.
Thanks for that, really aprreciate you taking the time to take those measurements for me!! Yes, we are upgrading from soft floor camper which is relatively easy to set up (given some of the other camper trailer set ups Ive seen) but with a large trip planned next year, just cant see us not getting a divorce over set up/pack up!!! The 14.44-4 will be absolutely perfect for us, kids 9 and 7 yrs old and our big trip will be slightly limited for time so need an easy set up/pack up. Im also looking at expanda vans with bunks that need ‘set up’ as an option,, I do like the idea of only towing 14ft worth of van though!! Thanks again on those measurements, let me know when you’ve had a chance, and if you hear of anything coming up for sale in the 14.44-4 … let me know!!! Cheers Marty
 

Boots in Action

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Mar 13, 2017
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Ferny Grove, Queensland
Sure, I'll be happy to. Will try to grab these measurements tomorrow. Keep in mind ours is the standard (not Outback), FYI.

We have a small slope up to our gravel driveway, and it's actually the bottom of the spare tyre holder that scrapes the driveway. It'd be nice if that was just a bit higher up.

Yeah, we locked in on the 14.44-4's pretty quickly, although we were also looking at some other full vans with a fixed bed and pull-out bunks. I did think having to pull out the bunks and put them away during the day could get a bit old, though; whereas I like that the kids can "retreat" to their bunks whenever they want in our Expanda. Nice quick set-up, too, as there's only one side to pull out...although we're finding the bed is super easy to set up, so doing it twice wouldn't have been too much of an issue.
Hi there @Texpat , here is another suggestion to help you with your new van behind the Prado. When I saw the first pictures of your new setup, I could see that you would have problems negotiating humps and dips as the van is very low. An easy and relatively inexpensive mod is to have the axle places UNDER the springs, not above it. This does not involve anything technical regarding brakes etc and will give you at least 100mm of extra height and much better clearance. I have done this on my Penguin and have had no problems at all. Best thing I ever did and cost was approx $300.00 at a caravan shop. There is a post on here back somewhere where discussion took place which you might find useful. Attached are some shots to give you the picture. Note: you may need to have a small additional step to make it easier to get in and out of van, and also a slight change in the height of the ball coupling. I was able to just reverse the ball and absolutely perfectly level for towing too.
 

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chartrock

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Sep 26, 2010
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As @Boots in Action has said, underslinging the axle is the way to go, having done it to my previous 14” Expanda. I notice that you have the guides on the side of the van for an annexe so be aware that raising the van may affect your annexe reaching the ground. Good luck with you future adventures and keep us posted ( with photos) of your modifications and travels.
 
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Texpat

New Member
Nov 7, 2021
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Melbourne, VIC
An easy and relatively inexpensive mod is to have the axle places UNDER the springs, not above it.

I notice that you have the guides on the side of the van for an annexe so be aware that raising the van may affect your annexe reaching the ground.

Thanks for the suggestion @Boots in Action. I've heard of this before, and could definitely help sort the driveway.

@chartrock raises a good point, though (and has a keen eye!)...I'd definitely like to be able to use the annex without too much drama. Does it mean the poles are too short, or there's a gap at the ground, etc?
 

Boots in Action

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@Boots in Action , how did you go with changing the axle to underslung affecting your annexe walls not reaching the ground? (assuming you use/have annexe walls) Cheers Marty
@MartyB and @Texpat .
As it turns out, I never even gave the matter a thought!! However, when I bought the 2013 Penguin Tourer, (second hand and 18 month's old) it came with a GENUINE Jayco bagged awning and a full annex also Jayco. The awning is not affected as the support poles are all are adjustable for height, so there was never a problem there. There should also not be any problem for those with a roll out awning either.
Now the Gods must have been smiling regarding the awning! We have only used the awning about 8 times when in caravan parks - not used when off grid in State Forests or National Parks as too much hassle, especially if wet or muddy. When used, we found there were no problems at all. Perhaps it was because the awning was slightly lower, and as the walls for the annex are attached to the awning, the walls reached to the ground perfectly and there was no gap.
My Daughter advised me to have the axle underslung as we do a fair bit of creek crossings and over dips and gutters . She had her 2010 Journey modified at the factory before delivery and has no problems either all the time they have had it. Just make sure that you have an extra step in place when getting in and out as the extra height makes a fair difference to those who are "vertically challenged" as my other half is!! Definitely a good arrangement but always remember that the Axle is still low, it is the body that has greater clearance. Any good van place can do this simple axle change.
 

Drover

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www.expandasdownunder.com

I did this how to thread so it should help.
 
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Boots in Action

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I did this how to thread so it should help.
Thanks @Drover for providing that extra info. I was hoping you would enter into this thread.
 

Texpat

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Nov 7, 2021
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Melbourne, VIC
Wondered if I could bother you to get some measurements ; namely the rear overhang length fron centre of wheel, and the height of the overhang at the rear.

Hey @MartyB , my apologies for taking so long to get back to you!

From the centre of the wheel to the rear bumper is approx 220cm, and from the rear bumper to the ground is approx 40cm. Let me know if you'd like any other measures. Cheers
 

Boots in Action

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Hey @MartyB , my apologies for taking so long to get back to you!

From the centre of the wheel to the rear bumper is approx 220cm, and from the rear bumper to the ground is approx 40cm. Let me know if you'd like any other measures. Cheers
@MartyB and @Texpat , a similar measurement on my 2013 Penguin is only for comparison purposes.
Centre of wheel to rear of van is 1300 cms approx. Rear bumper to ground when van level is 503cms. Approx 10 cms plus higher because of axle underslung.
 

Drover

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If you want a reasonable estimate of the lift you will achieve from underslinging your axle then measure your axle width and your spring pack add them together then minus 20mm and you should be close to the lift you will get....thats with a straight axle not an offset.
 
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MartyB

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Dec 5, 2021
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Hey @MartyB , my apologies for taking so long to get back to you!

From the centre of the wheel to the rear bumper is approx 220cm, and from the rear bumper to the ground is approx 40cm. Let me know if you'd like any other measures. Cheers
No probs at all!! And thank you so much for taking the time to take those measurements, much appreciated! Cheers Marty