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RV Camper accessories

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by seaone, May 24, 2013.

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  1. seaone

    seaone TS Member

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    Guys,
    Have recently put a deposit on a 17' dual axle camper that will allow me the convenience of staying put for multi-day shoots. I do not have much RV experience. My question, the camper does not have electronic brakes, and my F150 does'nt either. The previous owner didn't think they were necessary, but the dealer wants to put them into a "road ready package" for an additional $800.00. Also included are front tongue "sway bars"(?). I was thinking that the only thing that I would need to buy would be a new pump out hose. Can anyone explain why these additional items would be beneficial to this purchase? BTW, the trailer is a 2009 17' Coachman "special edition". It's in excellent shape and asking price is $9,999.00. Grateful for any help/info.
     
  2. funclays

    funclays Member

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    If you can have a dealer install the brakes and sway bars see if they would check the wheel bearings and repack them with grease. Brakes, sway bars and good tires a must for a ½ ton truck for towing something that heavy IMO
     
  3. shoot em all

    shoot em all Member

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    A short camper will NEED the sway bars. You will need a controller for elec brakes. If he installs a good equilizer hitch the money will be well spent. jim w.
     
  4. RLC323

    RLC323 Member

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    I expect that your axles have brakes, you are in need of the brake controller that goes in the cab. Some of the newer model trucks are actually already equipped with these as a part of the towing package, check your owners manual.

    The "sway bars" that the dealer is trying to sell you should be an equalizer hitch that works like a big spring to move the weight to the front of your tow vehicle so you do not go down the road with the rear down. Many have the anti-sway feature built into them with a cam system. The friction type sway bars that bolt on are not anything great, but with a 17 footer they should work if adjusted right.

    $800 sounds a little high, but then I am not sure exactly what you are getting for your money. A high quality brake controller, name brand cam operated anti- sway/equalizer and hitch installed would be right at $800. Especially if they take the time to show you how to hook it up and set it all up for you. A cheapy friction sway bar and cheap Chinese hitch and equalizer bars bolted on and out the door, good luck pal...probably not.

    My guess is the previous owner pulled it with a big truck (3/4 or 1 ton)that already had brake control. No need for weight bars since he had plenty of hitch weight. A 17 foot camper behind a ton truck..you would barely know it was there.
     
  5. eolstrom

    eolstrom TS Member

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    As a dealer we would not sell you aproduc that you could not safley tow behind your 1/3 ton truck.
    YOU NEED the brakes to stop the rig.
    you are really at the maxed at what you can tow, just because you can get it rolling doesnt mean anything everythig is can you get it stopped.
     
  6. Bob Schultz

    Bob Schultz Well-Known Member Supporting Vendor

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    We have logged over 200,000 miles towing our display trailers over the years. Trailer brakes and equalizing hitches are the BEST money you'll ever spend on an RV. Get an anti-sway bar installed while you're at it, not expensive and well worth the cost.

    Bob Schultz Target Shotguns, Inc.
     
  7. trim tab

    trim tab Active Member

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    You always hear people talk about pulling a trailer, but hardly ever about stopping a trailer safely. Heed what people say above. Safe Travels
     
  8. lbshootin

    lbshootin Active Member

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    Just be sure the tow vehicle is rated to tow the weight..it ain't the pulling that is the problem, it is the stopping!!!
     
  9. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    ExFedEx brought up a very important aspect and that's being in control of your trailer. If you have ever had your trailer pass you in the lanes beside you on wet roads, you would not question the need for proper braking systems. As a truck driver I have had this pleasure numerous times and thankfully never had an accident. The old trailer brake systems when the trailer was empty and driving on wet roads were a real butt puckering experience. Then later came the antilock trailer brakes that were the cats meow. They would keep the whole setup straight as an arrow and more importantly in your lane. While admittedly I've never pulled a camper, its still a truck and trailer. Invest in the best brake system you can afford. It's money well spent.
     
  10. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

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    This is a semi-hi jack of this thread, but I'd recommend NOT getting any kind of pop-up camper unless: No fabric is used in the top. Camper/rv places won't repair those...and that the wheels are at least 13 inch in diameter.

    See if you can find a smaller lightweight travel trailer...e.g. a Casita or Scamp or Bigfoot 17. Those trailers come with electric brakes anyway.

    Trailers are hard on bearings and tires. Tires don't last a long time due to generally poor quality available and infrquent use. Time "kills" trailer tires. Don't use truck or passenger vehicle tires on a trailer, different characteristics are needed. I believe all trailer tires available now are sadly made in China.

    Sway bars (equalizing hitch) is a good thing and important. Avoid some of those very expensive hitches that work with "whistles and bells and mirrors" such as Hensley. Get an AMERICAN made hitch ball, insist on that for safety.

    Always check wheel torque and tire inflation on the trailer. (And on the tow vehicle, but the trailer is even more critical.) Remember, trailer tires don't steer, so the wheels receive big side loads and have he potential to loosen lug nuts, particularly on steel wheels. Aluminium wheels, not so bad at all...(due to steel's flexing when turning.) Check the tongue weight too.

    Unhook electrical from truck to trailer if stopped for a long period of time, e.g., overnight, unless you have a battery isolator. Otherwise, you may run down your truck's battery and not get to the shoot in the am!

    Of course a brake equalizer must be installed on the truck unless it is really an old school trailer with surge brakes.

    Keep he weight in the trailer on and forward of the axles. A two axle four wheel trailer handles better than a 2 wheel set up and has a much greater margin of safety.

    Tow with as little water as is practical for your needs.
     
  11. RAScott

    RAScott Member

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    Chango good advice. i have a 21foot hybred have been to the grand a few times. tires take a beating and must be checked. Electric brakes a must have, there are idiots out there that you will need to avoid. loaded with supplies and ammo for a multiday shoot as you described, you will need all the stopping power you can muster up.

    Bob S
     
  12. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

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    Well if you can afford it, a diesel truck with exhaust brake is the way to go.

    For example, I'd rather purchase a clean used Cummins powered Dodge or Chevy/GMC Duramax and add an exhaust brake vs. buying a new 1/2 ton of any brand. I'd avoid a Ford 6.0 or 6.4 diesel truck entirely.

    Diesel 3/4 or 1 ton truck with exhaust brake can be the ticket. I hardly have to use the service brake using my Duramax that has a factory exhaust brake. And I'm towing a 7000 lb. trailer plus 500 lbs. of gear in the bed.

    So used clean diesel truck over new 1/2 ton truck any day. Best of all worlds: New diesel truck.
     
  13. trapwife

    trapwife Well-Known Member

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    I'll pass along to you what Leo tells before every trip. Don't over load the trailer! It really doesn't take much to put it over weight, be selective about what you take along. This is a "do as I say, and not as I do" situation.
     
  14. RAScott

    RAScott Member

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    Karla I hear you totaly HAHA so true. Its amazing how much shells weigh. I am sure during construction of a camper they are not figuring carring heavy cases of shells,especaily for a few shooters
     
  15. trapwife

    trapwife Well-Known Member

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    I don't figure in the weight of shells, they ride in the truck with us. I am trying to limit things like shoes, clothes, shopping bags, etc...
     
  16. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

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    Karla, I hear ya and had a chuckle! This is indeed a "do as I say" situation. We come in 500 lbs. under max gvw for our relatively small trailer at 25 plus feet. Clothing and extra kitchen/bathroom/ food stuffs load up the trailer pretty heavily.

    I keep telling my wife that one of these days, to save weight, I'll dump the holding tanks in front of the home of a neighbor that we don't like!

    Water, btw, adds up quickly re. weight. Some recommend not dumping the fresh water since that is wasteful and can be useful in emergencies at home. That's what I do, but try and empty the waste tanks as close to home as possible.
     
  17. motordoctor

    motordoctor Shoji Tabuchi in Branson

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    to keep the holding tanks clean use one cup of calgon and 2 tablespoons of dish washing detergent in each tank---black and gray. Keeps the solids from sticking to the sides and no smell. Works great and inexpensive. No need for the chemicals that smell.
     
  18. JT 27

    JT 27 Member

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    I tow a 17,000(empty) 5th wheel. Have 160,000 on Ford F-350 6 liter. It has had a couple of reliability modifications. I rely on the trailer brake to stop more than the truck brakes. I would check with the trailer mfg. regarding it having brakes on the rig. I agree with Bob S., anti sway bars, quality trailer tires & quality brake controller are key.
     
  19. seaone

    seaone TS Member

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    Folks,
    I wanted to thank each and everyone of you who posted to my inquiry. I'm sure that all of you who RV have some great stories to tell!
    To clarify my original post, the camper did come equipped with brakes, so it was just a matter of connecting my F150 with a controller. Price for the "road ready package" was re-adjusted accordingly. Boy, the brakes work great on the way home from dealer, absolutely amazing.
    I promise to try and not overload either vehicle. Our first trip will be to the NC State Shoot, next week. I'll be bringing our two Labs as companions. Anyone who offered advice of any kind is guaranteed a cold beverage with my thanks.
    Thanks again. Your selfless suggestions and recommendations are the reason TS.com is the best web-site on the net.

    Ken Flanagan
    Saluda, North Carolina
     
  20. RLC323

    RLC323 Member

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    One more tip, and it is one that saved my bacon. If you are towing and get a big unexpected side wind that puts the trailer into a sway behind you. Use the manual control on your brake controller to get the trailer back in line. Just a bit of pressure on the handle activates the trailer brakes only, and should put you straight.

    You may want to practice that move in good conditions it so you have a feel for how much to move the handle to get the right braking.

    I was coming downhill about 60 in a thunderstorm, but had a tailwind so the trailer was doing fine. When I got near the bottom of the bluff the wind was suddenly coming from the drivers side and it was all I could do to stay in my lane. Tapped the vehicle brakes first then got the trailer under control with the handle on the controller.
     
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