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Discussion Starter #1
The wife and I are thinking we want to buy a travel trailer for camping with the kids. What do we need to know on buying them? I'm guessing Used is the way to go....but what to look out for?

On new, how obscene is the markup? We found one at Freds that was great...but pricey too.

Any pearls of wisdom on the topic?
 

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Bumper pull or fifth wheel? The markup is crazy so make your best deal then demand more. Aluminum frame is the only way to go. We have a 2 yr old fifth wheel we are selling for over 10k off a new one........?
 

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If you're buying used, check all the exterior seams. Make sure the caulking/sealent fills the seams and is flexible. Check all the interior corners and out-of-the-way places for brownish water stains. You DON'T want a trailer that has leaked!!!

There's a ton of great barely used trailers out there, but be careful; it's fairly easy to cover up some leak problems. Remember to that things like furnaces, a/c units, and refrigerators for these things are EXPENSIVE!! Make sure all the different things work; not just turn them on, but let them run, for a long period of time. If you buy used from a dealer, insist on some sort of guarantee (short term) so you can get it home and go through it, making sure everything is exactly how it should be. If you buy from a private party, I would ask that they turn on the fridge/water heater/oven/A-C/heater overnight to make sure it works for longer than just your quick inspection. Even better take the next step and have a pro go through it, and your purchase is contingent upon everything being OK.

Seems like there's better deals on used 5-ers out there, but there generally more expensive to begin with. I wouldn't own one, but I use the back of my F350 for a lot of things, I don't need to be taking my canopy on and off to go camping.

We're on our 3rd TT now. It's been horrible having it sit all summer while the tow rig and I have been down in Reno. Oh, and that's the other point. I can guarantee you that the vast majority of the salesmen out there will be happy to sell you a TT that's just too much for your tow rig (if you have a 1/2 ton, SUV, etc.). Give yourself a big cushion, it's easy to put an extra 300 to 500 lbs over the dry weight in a TT before you even go for your first camping trip. Heck 1000 lbs over isn't that uncommon depending on what you load up.

The Open Roads Forum on www.rv.net is a great resource!!

Have fun, it really is neat to pull in somewhere, unhook, and be camping!!!

TR
 

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I agree with TheRouge he makes a lot of sense. I would say make sure it has everything that is needed, like a spare tire, chocks, hose's, etc. This stuff can nickle and dime ya to death. I would go used, you may find that as the kids get older you will want to tent camp more than trailer, or vice versa. Jon
 

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1) Learn your vehicle's tow capacity?

2) Search for one that your vehicle ca safely handle?

3)5th wheels tow much better than hitch models and weight is distributed more evenly.

4) Furniture tends towards gawdy and poor quality on lower end models? Breakfast nooks sleep terrible on older models? Check mattress for firmness and comfort? Songe rubber pad?

5) Storage? Realistic for your minumum needs?

6) Good working refrigerator? (very important!!!)

7) Carpet is pretty but not practical for the forest or beach?

8) Holding tank and water tank capacity is very important?

9) Generator? Capacity? (Think Micro, toaster, TV, hair dryers, lights, etc. at one time?)

10) A/C? Furnace BTU?

11) Leveling devices?

12) Length? Some campgrounds have rather short spaces?

13) Toy space?

14) Elbow room OK?

15) Shower and toilet space reasonable?

16) Price versus budget? Aminities versus budget? Family harmony in restricted spaces? Pets?

17) Roof leaks or seam leaks?

18) Tires weather checked?

There are more, but these thoughts should get you started? I would shop for a nice, seldon used one and have it inspected by a pro before buying? Try everything out for yourself! Refrigerators tend to have short life spans. Spendy to repair and replace.

Oh yeah! Have fun folks! You only live once.:dancingman:

Linda:flowered:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It will be a bumper tow, not a 5th wheel...and we'd be pulling it with a Dodge Durango with the towing package (not the HEMI though). From what I can tell we're good for up to around 7,500 pounds. The one that we liked was 5,500 pounds empty, plus 300 if we filled the water up, plus stuff...so we should be good with that. But $26k for it. OUCH. But the front of it was a 4 person bunk style arrangement (perfect for kids) with a solid door to close off the area (great for noise buffering)...plus the queen bed, dining area (that converts) plus couch that pulls out. Would love to find it used though.
 

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If you're buying used, check all the exterior seams. Make sure the caulking/sealent fills the seams and is flexible. Check all the interior corners and out-of-the-way places for brownish water stains. You DON'T want a trailer that has leaked!!!

There's a ton of great barely used trailers out there, but be careful; it's fairly easy to cover up some leak problems. Remember to that things like furnaces, a/c units, and refrigerators for these things are EXPENSIVE!! Make sure all the different things work; not just turn them on, but let them run, for a long period of time. If you buy used from a dealer, insist on some sort of guarantee (short term) so you can get it home and go through it, making sure everything is exactly how it should be. If you buy from a private party, I would ask that they turn on the fridge/water heater/oven/A-C/heater overnight to make sure it works for longer than just your quick inspection. Even better take the next step and have a pro go through it, and your purchase is contingent upon everything being OK.

Seems like there's better deals on used 5-ers out there, but there generally more expensive to begin with. I wouldn't own one, but I use the back of my F350 for a lot of things, I don't need to be taking my canopy on and off to go camping.

We're on our 3rd TT now. It's been horrible having it sit all summer while the tow rig and I have been down in Reno. Oh, and that's the other point. I can guarantee you that the vast majority of the salesmen out there will be happy to sell you a TT that's just too much for your tow rig (if you have a 1/2 ton, SUV, etc.). Give yourself a big cushion, it's easy to put an extra 300 to 500 lbs over the dry weight in a TT before you even go for your first camping trip. Heck 1000 lbs over isn't that uncommon depending on what you load up.

The Open Roads Forum on www.rv.net is a great resource!!

Have fun, it really is neat to pull in somewhere, unhook, and be camping!!!

TR
:agree:
Linda
 

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How much "stuff" will you put in your vehicle, and trailer on top of base weight? Water in tanks, gas, food, clothes, toys, appliances, etc?:shrug:
 

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From what I can tell we're good for up to around 7,500 pounds. The one that we liked was 5,500 pounds empty, plus 300 if we filled the water up, plus stuff...so we should be good with that.
I can guarantee you won't like towing that much trailer with a Durango. The Durango has a short wheelbase and they don't have a ton of power.

Whatever you do,get a quality sway control (Reese dual cam,or Equalizer) Do NOT get a simple sway bar. They don't work worth a darn with any decent sized trailer.

I can also guarantee that 5500 empty will end up 6500 when you finally hit the road.

I got tired of being the bad guy when telling my wife and kids we couldn't take something while trying to keep the weight down.

If you don't get somewhere in the neighborhood of at least 25% MSRP you aren't getting a very good deal. If the dealer doesn't like your offer,hit the road,theres a dealer out there that will.
 

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If you have kids and do a lot of outdoorsy stuff I'd take a look at some of the "lite" models of toy haulers. They are very accommodating for people and tons of room for stuff, lots more water and holding tank capacity (you'll need it if you have kids). They have the bunks that power lower from the ceiling when you want them and go up when you need the space. A friend of mine has one and tows it with a half ton pickup and does great, he totally loves it. His wife loves it for camping and when it comes hunting season he loads it up with ATV and hunting gear and off he goes. There is an RV show this Thursday through Sunday at the expo center in Portland probably worth you time to go look at all the different types and models, look at toy haulers vs regular trailers, look at size and weights, tank capacities, You'll want a good size fridge with kids as well. generator friendly if you plan to dry camp.......just look at lots of different things before you buy...good luck to you and Happy Camping!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I can also guarantee that 5500 empty will end up 6500 when you finally hit the road.
Right...but in terms of towing capacity, we're still ok (right??)...though yes, the uphills may slow us down a bit.

As for how much stuff, who knows...we've never had one of these before, so we're clueless. Our kids are little (3 and 1), so we wont have anything crazy packed up.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If you have kids and do a lot of outdoorsy stuff I'd take a look at some of the "lite" models of toy haulers. They are very accommodating for people and tons of room for stuff, lots more water and holding tank capacity (you'll need it if you have kids). They have the bunks that power lower from the ceiling when you want them and go up when you need the space. A friend of mine has one and tows it with a half ton pickup and does great, he totally loves it. His wife loves it for camping and when it comes hunting season he loads it up with ATV and hunting gear and off he goes. There is an RV show this Thursday through Sunday at the expo center in Portland probably worth you time to go look at all the different types and models, look at toy haulers vs regular trailers, look at size and weights, tank capacities, You'll want a good size fridge with kids as well. generator friendly if you plan to dry camp.......just look at lots of different things before you buy...good luck to you and Happy Camping!
Helpful...thank you! We want something to sleep at least 6 so that we can have friends come with us, bring all the kids, and give them all a bed inside (adults can sleep outside in tents). Definatley dont need a toy hauler since we have no toys...would just be a hard sided tent for kids to be comfortable.

Thanks for the heads up on the show...we'll have to try to check it out.
 

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Am I missing the joke?? Owners manual says 7,350 pounds with a 150 pound allowance for the driver. So take a driver out, and its 7,500 pounds.

:shrug:
The number you need to be concerned with is the GVWR of the Durango. The GVWR is the most the Durango can weigh. The GVWR sticker is usually located on the door pillar.

Lets say the GVWR of the Durango is 7000lbs. You need to take it across the scales with your wife,kids and anything else that will be in it while towing the trailer. If you come across at 6000 lbs that means you have 1000 lbs of payload. A 7500lb trailer will have about 750lbs of tongue weight. Add that to the 6000lbs and you're at 6750lbs. You only have 250lbs of payload left. If you add much else to the Durango you'll be on the verge of overloaded. An overloaded axle or set of tires will put a damper on your weekend.

The problem with 1/2 ton rigs is that they don't have alot of payload. They almost always run out of GVWR before tow rating.

I'd be amazed if you could truly pull a trailer at the 7500lb tow rating without being over the GVWR.
 

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Right...but in terms of towing capacity, we're still ok (right??)...though yes, the uphills may slow us down a bit.

As for how much stuff, who knows...we've never had one of these before, so we're clueless. Our kids are little (3 and 1), so we wont have anything crazy packed up.

All the little things add up in a hurry. Most RVs figure somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000lbs of stuff in the trailer.

You'll have

300lbs of water
2 full propane tanks
2 deep cycle batteries

You're at 500lbs right there.

You'll also have food,beer,lawn chairs,BBQ,etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The number you need to be concerned with is the GVWR of the Durango. The GVWR is the most the Durango can weigh. The GVWR sticker is usually located on the door pillar.

Lets say the GVWR of the Durango is 7000lbs. You need to take it across the scales with your wife,kids and anything else that will be in it while towing the trailer. If you come across at 6000 lbs that means you have 1000 lbs of payload. A 7500lb trailer will have about 750lbs of tongue weight. Add that to the 6000lbs and you're at 6750lbs. You only have 250lbs of payload left. If you add much else to the Durango you'll be on the verge of overloaded. An overloaded axle or set of tires will put a damper on your weekend.

The problem with 1/2 ton rigs is that they don't have alot of payload. They almost always run out of GVWR before tow rating.

I'd be amazed if you could truly pull a trailer at the 7500lb tow rating without being over the GVWR.
Great information....apparently I have a lot to learn here. Thank you for taking the time to explain this instead of just posting a useless reply like "good luck with that".
 

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i know my wife and i bought one too small. we should have taken our kiddo and a friend or two and given it a practical test walking around inside, just like you will once evening hits and you want to put kids in bed and play a card game. but closeness makes the heart grow fonder! right?! :smile: :passout:
 

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I bought a brand new 2007 the end of last year. I was actually headed to Portland to look at a used one (2004) I found on Craigslist. I swung into the local dealer, just to look at the floorplan on the same model trailer. I told the sales guy I was headed to buy the same trailer used, I just wanted to look in one. To make a long story short, they knocked 1/3 off the sticker price. I had the money in hand though, didn't need financing. That may have played a small part.
If you do get used, make sure the fridge works. They are very expensive to replace.

RF
 

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also, look at the toy haulers. Even if you don't have "toys" to haul, they have a ton of room, lots of sleeping, and are usually a pretty open floorplan.

RF
 
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