Full Size Pull behind RV thread

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Tudelum48, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. Tudelum48

    Tudelum48 Been here awhile

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    Well im looking at retiring soon and think I have a need for a Travel Trailer. Tow vehicle will be a 2009 Chevy 1/2 ton extended 4x4. Looks like tow specs for a 373 gear put me in the sub 7500 lb range. I dont even want to get close to that so Im looking at 23-24 foot max on length and would like to have a slide and stay below 5000 lbs.
    I went to a dealer yesterday and to say the least im more confused than ever. There are so many models,makes and styles my poor mind went into overload.
    Heres how I plan to use it:
    1. Probably just the wife and I mostly with the occasional grand kids.
    2. Will do some hook up camping at the normal lake camp sites that have electric and water.
    3. Primitive camping in the LBL in KY. I'll be using a generator for charging camper and boat.
    4. Might get brave enough to drag it to Florida to check into the snowbird environment to see if we like it.
    5. Probably be a handme down unit to the kids.
    6. Got to keep it short for primitive sites.
    7. Dont want one with cloth extensions.

    Normally when I buy something I keep it a long time, so im looking for one that has a chance to last several years.

    With the chance of this turning into a Tire Thread argument. What are the brands I need to check out? I have already looked at the Coachman lines and would really like the looks of the Forest River. I have never owned a Travel Trailer so i'm in uncharted water. Any direction would be appreciated.
    #1
  2. Hardware02

    Hardware02 Long timer

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    We RV shopped ~3 years ago so I know what you're saying about being overwhelmed.

    Let me add to your quandary.

    Have you considered getting a toy hauler - do you want to bring a motorcycle or two along on the trips?

    Are you looking at a receiver hitch or fifth wheel? 5th wheels haul better but you loose bed space. There's also the option of loading a bike in the pick up if towing with a receiver hitch. Loading/unloading won't be as quick and convenient as with a toy hauler however.

    There are so many brands and models it's mind boggling. I would just ask the inmates if there's any specific ones to stay away from (and why)?
    #2
  3. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    Life long RV'r here, I'll start off by mentioning Jayco.

    good luck
    #3
  4. NICO

    NICO Long timer

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    Oil threads will have fewer opinions. I've spent a little time looking around here in the past. You may find it to be a decent start for researching owner opinions and experiences.

    My research has led me to believe that you will probably be able to find something decent to pull with your truck, but for long term durability (read: built very well), many of the trailers will be quite heavy for that truck. I have always loved the Airstreams, but that is big money and big weight. Sunnybrook have some nicely made models as well.

    Get into as many models as possible, preferably hitting a show, and check out how what you can see is put together. If the cabinets and walls are wafer thin, I would expect that theme to carry throughout the beast.

    Just my opinion, as usual.
    #4
  5. Motor31

    Motor31 Long timer

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    Welcome to the world of RVing. It is confusing at first but then so is any other kind of lifestyle change until you learn whart it's like.

    Hardware has some good questions for you to ponder and how you decide that will eliminate a significant portion of the units out there.

    If you go with a 5th wheel you will have a significant portion of the weight on the truck, figure about 15% to 20%. Make sure you are not overloading the axle / tire capacity by doing so.

    If you go with a "bumper pull" or travel trailer you still have a hitch weight to consider and since it is on the very back of the truck will jack up the front end. That lowers the weight on the steering axle, kicks your headlights way up and screws with the handling unless you get a weight distributing hitch. I'd also look at a sway control hitch as well as trailer sway is not fun o the road. (some of those hitches combine the functions)

    You list a half ton PU. You are already ahead of the curve in that you know you are pretty limited in what weight you can tow. Frankly speaking a half ton PU is not much to tow an RV with. Do not forget everything you put in the truck including passengers and payload reduces the towing capacity the same amount. If you have an automatic transmission make sure there is an oil cooler for it and one for the engine is not a bad idea either.

    I have had experience with Nash units. Also in the same family is Arctic Fox and Desert Fox. They build both 5th wheel and tracvel trailer style units in various lengths. I can say that they build a hell of a unit, light in weight and long on quality, far far above a jayco product. To me, jayco is at the bottom of the barrel.

    Here is an outstanding source of information for all kinds of RVing. If there is a question about the subject those folks do not know, there probably isn't an answer. This link takes you to the escapees RV club forum.

    http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?

    It costs nothing to register for the forum but you can read the threads without registering if you want.
    #5
  6. Manuel Garcia O'Kely

    Manuel Garcia O'Kely Back at last

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    Don't ignore aerodynamic drag with your tow vehicle - some of those 5th wheels now have 6'-6" headroom in the front bedroom - damn things look like a tractor trailer at 13'-6" tall! Imgaine the extra drag.

    The good news is that you should find some excellent deals either new or used, the RV market is terribly depressed right now.

    If you are really going to full-time it, I have to say I'd consider a bigger tow vehicle and a larger trailer, unless you and the wife are really used to close quarters for extended periods.
    #6
  7. Bubwheat

    Bubwheat Long timer

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    +1 I just bought a 2012 Arctic Fox 22H, after doing tons of research. My TV is a 2008 Tundra with just about the same limits as your 1/2 ton. Weight of the 22H is about 4700# with a hitch weight of 595#. The 22H is a 4 season TT, with excellent insulation and cold weather features (holding tanks heated by air ducts from central heater). The H model has a full coach, an almost queen size bed and with the dinette, sleeps 6. Really happy with it! Note: I also discounted a toy hauler, hitch weights were at or exceeded limits for my truck and they just don't have the comfort and amenities/comfort of a TT that was more important for me.
    #7
  8. dfwscotty

    dfwscotty Long timer

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    #8
  9. RedRocker

    RedRocker Native Texican

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    I will echo what O'Kely said about tow vehicles, you can't have too much truck. I wouldn't tow much more than a Casita type TT with a half ton truck.
    #9
  10. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv € Fl Keys Fishing Guide €

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  11. Tudelum48

    Tudelum48 Been here awhile

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    Should have added it to the original post but I really dont want a fifth wheel. I know that a fifth wheel is the prefered towing method. I figure to start out with what I have 1/2 ton 4x4. I plan for the Travel Trailer to be a every now and then type of thing so im planning small. I have a building with 10'x14 door way so would preffer one under 10' tall to store inside. Use my truck to pull a bass boat and haul bikes. The 1/2 ton does it fine.
    Been looking at a Forest River Surveyor, anyone got one?
    #11
  12. PaddedHat

    PaddedHat Been here awhile

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    I would have to disagree with this, based on a hell of a lot of personal experience. In the last dozen years I have had four 1/2 ton Chevys and towed extensively with each, often over 20K miles per year. I currently tow a 26' old style, sticks and tin travel trailer that runs about three tons, loaded. The tow rig is a 2003 Tahoe with a 5.3 and 3.73 rears. In well over 100k miles with various trailers behind GM half tons I have had ZERO towing related issues. It's not 1975 anymore. Half ton trucks today have performance and towing specs. that blow the doors off 3/4 T trucks from "back in the day". The OP would do well to spend time on rv.net with particular attention paid to the towing tutorials and searching various manufacturers. Unfortunately, so far this thread has a lot of "opinions" that could easily be misconstrued as facts. Comments like half tons only being suitable for fiberglass egg trailers, or "Jayco is bottom of the barrel" really make it clear that this is a bike forum, and that credible RV knowledge is best found elsewhere. A good start in the search for a quality trailer would include Jayco, K-Z, and Nash products.
    #12
  13. tommu56

    tommu56 Long timer

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    What ever you look at try the bathroom on for size and

    I'm not kidding!!!!


    We bough a hybrid because we wanted a bathroom and reasonable kitchen the fold out sides weren't an issue to us.

    We found a used one liked the lay out and has a screen room for the awning lots of extra stuff from the PO bough it.

    The first weekend we used it went in to the bath room for some buisness dropped my pants went then found I wasn't a contortionist to get the TP and I couldn't bend over to pick my pants off the floor (sink is in the way):cry
    #13
  14. Tudelum48

    Tudelum48 Been here awhile

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    Well they do advertise RVing as an Adventure.
    What about the towbars/antisway bars. How expensive are they?
    Brake controller,I hooked up some in the old days. Do they have better ways to connect now?
    #14
  15. KeithinSC

    KeithinSC Long timer

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    Summit has Curt brand weight distribution hitch $290 and sway control $60, you'll need a ball too, $10
    http://www.summitracing.com/parts/CHT-17302/?rtype=10
    http://www.summitracing.com/parts/CHT-17200/

    Brake controller. I bought a Tekonsha Prodigy $100. Easy to hook up, but my GMC had a wire harness pigtail installed already from the factory. part of the towing package. About 5 wires, easy if you have a little electrical skills.

    Ebay and craigslist also,just watch the shipping$$$$
    #15
  16. tommu56

    tommu56 Long timer

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    Weight distributing hitch trailer end ~$750 to 1000

    Truck end depends on vehicle from $200 to 500 + install

    I have Tekonsha Prodigy P2 Brake Controller - Proportional ~$130 and love them (in 2 vehicles)

    Wiring on tow vehicle if not wired ~$150 and install brake controller

    If buying new get them to throw it all in on the package



    Note some of the newer vehicles have issues tapping off the rear brake lights.

    I learned the hard way with my Ram 2500 no fuses in trailer turn signals it has some sort of "electronic protection" and it shut down while under warranty and the dealer had to reset the body control module the service tech said some times they don't reset and it is $750 to replace it.
    I added 10 amp fuses to the circuit so it doesn't shut down again now that I am out of warranty.

    tom
    #16
  17. RedRocker

    RedRocker Native Texican

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    We all have opinions, that was mine and this is yours, if you're happy with a half ton that's swell. Like I said, you can't have too much truck, I see folks pulling big ass fifth wheels with srw trucks all the time, but I wouldn't do it.
    #17
  18. KrustyKustom

    KrustyKustom Lets Go....

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    I have owned my Airstream for 6 years and it is my third travel trailer I have owned. Best towing and most solidly built unit I think you can buy.
    #18
  19. tony the tiger

    tony the tiger Long timer

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    I got one - it's not bad quality, but has a rear slider - don't really like that. If it's crappy outside, I don't want to push it out - because when you pack-up camp and slide it in you'll bring in moisture on top and sides (the rubber gaskets don't do too well at 'squeegeein' the water off the surfaces). If you don't push the slider out, you can't set-up the couch or dinette.

    If I had it to do over, I'd go for a slider on the side, with an awning over the top; and maybe a foot or two smaller (it's 25ft extended to 27ft). Probably go with a fifth-wheel to haul it too. :dunno they say you'll go through a few before you really figure out what you like.

    Good comments on the bathroom awareness - another nice option is a separate shower (my trailer has this, at least).

    Let's see - primitive camping... mine is able to get into/out of most sites; years of backing a duece & a-half with a little M101 trailer on the back makes for good experience. :D

    Generators - I have a pair of little Honda EU2000i - they are frikkin' awesome. ~65 pounds a piece, start on the first or second pull most of the time, and plenty of amperage to power the AC or furnace and coffee pot or microwave at the same time. :thumb ...and they're quiet. Just need to chain them to a tree or something, or they'll grow legs. Freakin' tweakers... :eatme
    #19
  20. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    The OP is looking at towing 5k. One doesn't need a 350 diesel to do that. A 1/2 ton will do fine. Just as srw 3/4 ton trucks can tow smaller 5th wheels.

    Just cause you wouldn`t does not make it wrong or unsafe.
    #20