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Post Info TOPIC: Looking at purchasing my first travel trailer


RV-Dreams Community Member

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Looking at purchasing my first travel trailer


I am looking at a new trailer purchase with a bunkhouse and queen bed, there is a lot of units out there and I am trying to get some good input on a good entry unit. I don't want anything too long thinking between 20-25', I didn't want to go that long but the family thinks anything smaller is too tight. A concern I have is access to various parks, what is too long or is 25' a good size to visit a majority of parks. I don't expect to do any off road isolated areas? 

 

Also looking for any advice as a new buyer.

 

thanks,

 

EJ



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While a “new” RV looks good, I would suggest starting out with a pre-owned one. Let someone else take the big hit of depreciation. I believe I read that most people go through 3-4 units to find the one that works the best for their situation/needs. Find the lay out/floor plan you think works, then have a qualified RV service person look it over. The money will be well spent. (Keep in mind, buying “new” doesn’t eliminate issues, in fact, I would suggest you’d end up with more then a pre-owned in many instances)

As to the length, you could comfortably stretch the length out to 30’ to access the vast majority of parks, be it state or national.

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Thank you, very helpful.

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Most campgrounds can handle a 25 foot (box) TT. Do you have the tow vehicle? Good rule is buy or select the TT first then match a TV to it. Think both max trailer weight and payload for the TV.

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Winnebago TT 2101DS & 2020 Silverado LTZ Z71. 300 watts WindyNation solar w/MPPT, 2 Trojan T-125s. TALL flag pole. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, USF&WS, NPS, TVA, state/county camps. 14 year Army vet-11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.



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I have a 2014 F150 super crew cab which is about 18' in length, I am looking into a dry weight trailer of around 3500# with a tongue weight of ~500 lbs. I think a single axle is more maneuverable but would appreciate any feed back on single or double axle preference.

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Welcome
A 20 to 25ft trailer is a great place to start and should work at pretty much any campground private or public that you want to stay at. I would agree with the other posters don't rule out a good used unit. I would stick with a twin axle as you will find it will tow nicer and in most cases handle better. I wouldn't get hung up on brands but shop around until you find the lay out that suites your family. Lastly a F150 should be enough truck for what you are wanting to do.

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I will have to mirror another comment.  Choose an RV that can be handled safely by your pickup, if you don't plan on buying a different tow vehicle.  When we first got back into buying RV's in 2003, we were told that our Ford F150 was NOT heavy enough to tow the 26' RV we had chosen.  Thus, we purchased a fairly new but used F250 and was very glad we did.  Even with the F250, it seemed that the engine was always working hard.

Safely handling the RV means more than just having the capacity of towing the weight of the RV.  It also needs to be able to handle it in crosswinds and braking.  Do not go by the vehicle manufacturer's "tow rating," as that rating is only a ballpark figure.  Look at the rear axle weight capacity of the pickup and the GCVW (Gross Combined Vehicular Weight) rating, and keep the total weight of the truck and trailer (both loaded as you would use them) under the GCVW.

Good luck, and welcome to the forums.

Terry



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Terry, so if I do the math right the rear axle GAWR is 4050# and the GVCW is 1237# which means I need to keep the trailer and other items I carry including passengers below 5300#? If that's correct i should look for a trailer around 3500#. I want to make sure i'm in the right ballpark.

thanks,

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Double axles carry more weight with a safety margin. Easier to change a tire too.

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Winnebago TT 2101DS & 2020 Silverado LTZ Z71. 300 watts WindyNation solar w/MPPT, 2 Trojan T-125s. TALL flag pole. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, USF&WS, NPS, TVA, state/county camps. 14 year Army vet-11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.



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Just to add on to the suggestion about not buying new.  I have bought two new RVs; one a pop-up and the other a 26’ travel trailer(TT).  The pop-up I had no warranty issues with but the TT was a mess.  Several items I fixed myself but there were two items that were major enough that I had the dealer take care of.  After two months sitting on their lot I was told the problems were fixed and to come pick-up the RV.  I won’t go into detail about what the problems were, but they were not fixed.  I was so furious with the service manager that he finally agreed to have a service tech come out to my house and make the repairs

To me, it is not worth the aggravation of dealing with incompetent dealer service departments to justify buying new.   

Steve



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Once in a while you can get lucky with a new trailer, but don't count on it.

Our "learner" was a brand-new Heartland mpg. We saw it at a dealer's showroom and liked it. The dealer gave us a decent deal on it, so we took it. Used it for about a year and a half and decided that we really did want to go full-time when I retired. The dealer took it on consignment, and sold it for the asking price. He set the price - quite a bit over what I would have asked. At any rate, we got back more than 90% of what we paid for the trailer.

Questions for you to think about: how much camping experience do you have? How much RV experience? How much trailer towing (of any size) have you done? What sort of tow vehicle do you have? Is this going to be used for a two-week vacation once a year, traveling for a couple of months during the summer, full-timing? What will the family do when you wake up and it is raining cats and dogs and the forecast is for that to continue all day and into the night? Is there enough room for everyone to do something without getting in each other's way? Is this going to be a "learner" like our mpg, and will be replaced fairly soon with something more appropriate to your situation should everyone agree that the rv life is what they want? What activities will you be doing while in the rv?

There are no right or wrong answers to those questions. They are simply points for discussion. The whole family should be involved in that discussion, with the exception of children who are too young to be involved (not old enough to talk). The discussion you have will shape what you ought to look at.

In the meantime, go to every dealer and show within 200 miles and go into every rv on the lot. It doesn't matter the price or condition. You are looking at two things: floor plan and quality. BTW, when I said "every rv" I meant every one, not just travel trailers. Looking at others will give you ideas of things that you may not have thought of.

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ejshalaby wrote:

Terry, so if I do the math right the rear axle GAWR is 4050# and the GVCW is 1237# which means I need to keep the trailer and other items I carry including passengers below 5300#? If that's correct i should look for a trailer around 3500#. I want to make sure i'm in the right ballpark.

thanks,


 Eddy,

Sorry, but I didn't explain that quite right.  We are dealing with two different weights.  The GAWR for the rear axle is the maximum weight that should be on that axle with the trailer hooked to the truck and the truck loaded as you would be traveling.  For instance, the truck's weight should include a full tank of fuel, passengers and driver that will be in the tow vehicle and any cargo and supplies that one will be taking along.  That includes tools and such.

With the GCVW (and I'm assuming there is a number missing from your "1237#" above), you want the weight of the truck as mentioned in the paragraph above and the weight of the trailer with all of its contents (water, LPG, food, clothes, etc.) combined to not exceed the GCVW rating for the truck.

Let's say the truck's GCVW is 12370#.  Then let's say the truck with all the above stuff included weighs 8000 pounds.  You would then want to subtract the truck's actual weight from the GCVW rating, which would give you the GVWR (Gross Vehicular Weight Rating) that your trailer could be.  In this case, 8000 from 12370 would be 4370 pounds loaded.

Most RV'ers that I know would NOT want to max out on the GCVW nor the GAWR.  You might want to take your current pickup to a dealer and ask them to look at the data plate on the vehicle and tell you what the GCVW would be.  Information like engine size, transmission, and rear axle ratio are factored in to determine the GCVW.

Terry



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Stay away from any and all Forrest River products. You would not believe the things I see that they put out. Dual axle is far better when it comes to pulling, make sure you are set up with sway bars.

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Thanks, I have been looking at a lot of Forrest River products and they seem really good but not having any experience with them it's surprising to hear that. So many Rv's out there. I saw a No Boundaries (No Bo) that looks impressive but didn't see a lot of reviews that said good things. I hate to think that I have to make a ~$25k invest on trial and error. all this information has been helpful. thank you all. I will keep doing my homework and asking q's.

EJ

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Eddy,

What might help you is to search out forums that are specifically for any brand that you are concerned about.  One can always go in and read without registering on the forums, but if one wants to ask their own questions, usually all one has to do is register and ask the questions.

Keep in mind, though, that with most forums like that, one will see a lhot of "problems" talked about.  However, that doesn't mean a lot as there are generally a LOT of satisfied owners that never even get on the forums.  Should you register to ask questions, one that you could ask is this: "If you were to invest in another RV, would you invest in the same brand, and if not, why not."  You could be surprised in the number of folks that would invest in the same brand.  A lot of the problems with RV's actually are the components that are NOT build by the manufacturer.  Things like furnaces, A/C units, refrigerators, etc.

When looking at RV's, it was my policy to crawl under them to some degree and see what kind of "foundation" they had.  The foundation that I refer to is the frame, suspension system, tires, and wheels.  Those and researching any problems with de-lamination of the side walls of the RV are pretty important.

Terry



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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2019 Ford Expedition Max as Tag-along or Scout

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Since you're in California, according to your bio info, a trip to Elkhart IN may be out of the question. That said, I highly recommend taking a factory tour to see how the stuff is built. It opened my eyes to the structure of motor homes and some of the differences. For instance one of the coaches I was looking at used marine grade OSB for the floors, their competitors didn't. I also looked for construction quality, how many misplaced screws or staples did I see. Hang back and look for yourself, the "tour guides" are just sales people at the factory. One more thing, Elkhart is not to far from Shipshewana so that may be an added attraction. If you can't make it to the factory put on your grubbies when you go to look at trailers and look in all of the nooks and crannies and underneath to see how they are built. You might be surprised at what you see. Best of luck.

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your recommendation to visit the factory is a great idea, we have family outside of Indianapolis that we are visiting this summer so it's not out of the question to do a road trip around to visit the factory. I will look up some factories to get some additional information. I did hear that there are only a few places that manufacture and Indiana is the hub.

thanks for the recommendation.

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Some good advice here. No matter what type of RV one is considering, getting on the brand-specific forum is a good idea. Sometimes that forum is a little hidden, but it is usually there. For example, our learner was a Heartland mpg. We joined the Heartland owners' forum, then went to the mpg section. Ask the group whether the RV you are considering would be good for your purpose. As was mentioned above, most owners are happy with what they have and don't want it to get a bad reputation because someone bought the wrong RV. If you are looking at something intended for use only a few weekends a year and maybe a week-long trip during the summer and you are thinking of full-timing, you may not have a good fit. The owners will tell you that.

Factory tours are always a good learning experience. If you can, visit the factory before making any decisions on purchase. If you can't, try to make a factory visit as soon as possible afterward. The factory will usually have a service center and you should schedule your rig for at least a once-over.

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David, kb0zke

1993 Foretravel U300 40'

Build number 4371

For sale

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