Jayco Dove Camper: Improvements You Need to See

Do you own a Jayco Dove Camper or something similar?

Would you like to do some improvements on your Jayco Dove?

Check out this video and see what we did!

The Needs

We were working on a Jayco Dove, which is like the Swan but slightly smaller. The owner wanted to put a hot water system on, those portable ones, to have a bit of hot water in the kitchen sink, and for a hot shower when he’s out and about. He’d also like a bayonet for a barbecue and a bayonet for the hot water system. It’s just to make things a little bit simpler. We’ve got a few issues with it first off, but we’ll show you some of the regulations stuff that we need to sort out first.

The Regulations

This Jayco Dove has got the LPG bottle up the front and you need tools to disconnect it. We want to replace this anyway. And we show you where the gas regulator is. The top of it needed to be higher. Also, the test nipple wasn’t easy to reach. This is where we have to test to make sure it’s the right pressure, which is 2.75 kPa. And also to test if it’s leaking. We didn’t know how they even get to the test nipple, or if it’s ever been tested. So we’ll put a new one in a better location. They only last about five years.

Note he’s got an awesome bike rack out the front. We asked him, I said, “Are you thinking about a second bottle?” He said, “Oh yeah, I’ve got a second bottle.” He just stored it in a compartment at the front. It wasn’t a great idea because you can imagine if that bottle ever leaks a little bit from the valve, the whole compartment is going to fill up with gas. Because LPG is heavier than air, it will sit there in buckets. And if you have a torch or a battery drill or something, there’s a source of ignition and that whole thing’s going to blow.

Another thing is, there needs to be a red reflective sticker on a LPG locker. That tells the firemen if something’s going down with this camper, like a fire or something, they can shine a torch in there and say, “Okay, we’ve got some LPG bottles in that locker.” Normally a LPG locker also needs to have fully partitioned off with a vent in the bottom.

The Solutions

So we suggested to cut out the water jerry can at the front and put a cradle in there for the 4-kilogram bottle. And we can also install a really nice mount for the new regulator with a new hose. And that’ll get that LPG bottle out of the compartment and into the front. He agreed with that idea.

He also has a KickAss hot water system. We want to hang that on the side on his Jayco Dove. Not permanently, of course, as you can’t hang it permanently. We will put a gas bayonet down there somewhere to hook that on. And also have a water feed that comes from the pump from the camper into the hot water system. So it can supply hot water to the kitchen sink or even a shower. He’s bought the KickAss pump as well. So we can suck it from another water source that might not be portable, but fine for shower.

Also, he’s putting a barbecue around the other side at the same time. It’s very easy. It takes another 30-45 minutes to put another barbecue bayonet in at the time and that’d be on the other side.

The Results

On a job like this, you have to figure out what the customer has on the van already. And does it need to be replaced? If so, what part of the build we can use again, like some of the water pipes or the water pump. Then we’ve got to figure out what’s the best way to run it.

Is it going to interfere with anything else, like crossing over a pipe or hit something else? So, if we need to put another pump in, where does it go? Where’s the best location where it’s not going to stuff up something else? Are we going to be at fuses? Is the switch in the right spot? Where would the bayonets go? We need to make sure they’re not going to get hit with mud or rocks. Where can the water that charges a new hot water system going to be? All these different things that we’ve got to try figure out for this Jayco Dove.

The Kitchen Tap

We show you inside where the kitchen tap is and how it can be pushed aside. Because next to it, there’s a bed that slides towards it. So we had to make sure that the bed doesn’t hit that tap and it could still be used. It’s a standard Aussie-made mixer that we use in all the houses we work in.

You can see inside the cupboard where we’ve got a new hot and cold water mains. There’s a line that is a new suction. They used this other stuff before. We’ve got a piece of it. It was just collapsing on itself. And that’s probably why the pump wasn’t sucking that well. We also got the lines going down through the floor.

The Pump & Valves

We’ve installed the pump just underneath a screwed on lid next to the kitchen sink. They don’t really need access to it. We show you the inline that comes into a filter that sucks it from the tank. It goes into the Shurflo pump. These are very quiet. We really like them because they’re very strong pumps. Most of the Jayco campers have them.

It’s very important that you have a check valve. So when you do connect it to the existing mains, like if you’re at a caravan park or something, the check valve makes sure that the pressure can’t come back and interfere with this pump at all. And then that goes around and then hooks onto the water main. And also goes out outside to the hot water system.

We show you the other side and where it comes off the mains. If you plug in at the caravan park, and it didn’t have a pressure limiting valve, it could cause some damage. That’s because you could have really high pressure coming into your caravan, say 500 or 6,000-7,000 kPa. That’s why we put the pressure limiting valve in. We’ve screwed that onto the side and then put the check valve in again. So it can run when it’s on mains or off the pump and it won’t interfere. So that’s gone through the floor as well.

The Pump Switch

The switch for the pump was originally up next to the kitchen sink. Now you can imagine when you pull over on the side of the road, you need to pop the lid slightly up before you can open the door. So if the lid’s open and you just want to pop the door open a bit, you’d want to be able to turn the pump on without going in. If the pump switch is all the way in there, it’s really hard to get to.

So what we’ve done is we went to Forrestfield Auto Electrics and he put the switch in here for us. It lits up when it’s working, so you can always see when it’s on. It’s also really easy just to reach in. And then you can use the water if you need to. So much better location. It’s also more visible.

The Front Tap

We also put in a little tap at the front to wash your hands. This is a quick-release fitting, so you can just pop that tap off and it’ll come out easily. So you can put it on the other one. We did this so that later on down the track, he can run a kitchen sink or something off it.

The Gas Bottles & Hot Water System

This Jayco Dove now got the little 4 kg holder. New regulator and everything up there at the correct location. Test nipple is way easier to get to now. And when you open the locker up, there’s plenty of room. So he’s going to have no issues with that anymore. On the other side, we installed the bayonet for the barbecue in the future.

We also show you where we hung the KickAss hot water system with the bayonet. It has a 1.2-meter hose that’s pretty short. And then that just clips onto the gas with quick-release fitting. Quick-release for the water, for both hot and cold. So now when they turn the hot water on in the kitchen sink, the hot water system fires up and you’ll have hot water at the kitchen sink.

All the lines run underneath. You can see that wherever there’s going to be some issues with chafing, or wear and tear, we sleeve it. All the gas pipes have been sleeved. Looks beautiful under there.

The Old vs The New

This was the original pump that they used. So you see why it probably wasn’t working that well. The hose that they used was the normal clear stuff. And you can see how flat it’s gotten. This is not the best stuff. You should really have the reinforced suction hose. So when it does start sucking, it doesn’t collapse in on itself. It would totally reduce the flow. So all that needed to be cut out and replaced. We show you what we’ve used. You can see that’s not going to suck down at all. Nice new hose. And that’ll work well for years and years to come.

To Connect The Hot Water System

We show you how to hook up the hot water system to the actual kitchen sink and get the hot water running. Hang the KickAss hot water system onto the purpose-made bracket. Grab the gas hose. Plug that into the gas underneath.

Now hook the cold hose onto the hot water system, and then hook the hot on over the other side. You can chuck the hot hose into the main first. It’s a matter of just taking off the dust plug and plug it in. Boom, she’s connected. Okay. And also take the dust plug to the cold main off. The quick-connect just plugs in. It’s now all hooked up to the camper. So we just got to go inside and turn on the hot water tap. Then the hot water system starts lighting up. It’s adjusting the temperature. You see the hot water coming down from the kitchen sink waste.

If you wanted to have a shower later on down the track, all you need to do is unplug the cold line. The water will stop. Unplug the hot hose from both the line and hot water system. And then you just plug your shower straight onto the hot water side of the hot water system. Then you can plug the cold line back into the camper to get it started. The hot water will then come out your shower. As you can see, it’s really easy to hook up. Even your kids could do it for you.

To Disconnect The Hot Water System

You just need to unplug both the cold and hot lines. And put the dust plugs back on. Undo the gas hose. Then you can lift your hot water system off the nice bracket. And it’s ready to be packed away.

It’s Done

It’s a Jayco Dove with new gas bottle holder, new regulator, and a couple of new bayonets. And then there’s the water side thing with the new pump. Now for the water side of thing, you can go nuts sorting that stuff yourself. If you’re handy enough, you can try to figure it out and do it. That’s fine. But it is very time-consuming.

But with the gas side of things, you need to be licensed to muck around with that so that you’re covered by insurance. And that also means that the gas plumber takes the risk if anything goes wrong. It’s his issue if something is leaking. So make sure you get a gas plumber to do all that sort of stuff.

If you like what we’ve done, taking the pain points out of camping, check out our Camper/Caravan Gas Installation section. And if you’re living in Perth or over in WA, give us a call if you need a hand with anything.