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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Travel Trailer - Need help

We are thinking of purchasing a used travel trailer. Something small for the 4 of us and the dog, a kitchen and a bathroom. I want to keep it under 24-27 feet long, probably low 20s or 19'. I have looked at the pop up trailers and hate them. I want either a fully enclosed or a hybrid.

Is there anything I should avoid?
Any brand to stay away from?
Something specific I need to ask and know about?
Best place to buy them?

We have never had one, so I am totally new to this and have no clue what to do with one. Of course, I am sure my husband would know, he always knows everything

Thanks!

Zury

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Carefulove View Post
We are thinking of purchasing a used travel trailer. Something small for the 4 of us and the dog, a kitchen and a bathroom. I want to keep it under 24-27 feet long, probably low 20s or 19'. I have looked at the pop up trailers and hate them. I want either a fully enclosed or a hybrid.

Is there anything I should avoid?
Any brand to stay away from?
Something specific I need to ask and know about?
Best place to buy them?

We have never had one, so I am totally new to this and have no clue what to do with one. Of course, I am sure my husband would know, he always knows everything

Thanks!
Hi Zuri,

We've had travel trailers since our kids were small. The only "hybrids I know of (I agree with you, I would hate a pop-up… too much like tent camping!) are the Trail Manor:

http://trailmanor.com

Which is sort of a hard sided "pop-up", and the Outback, sorry, couldn't find the site for that one, which is a hard side trailer, but has an extended sleeping area made of canvas, like a tent trailer. (although I've seen some new Outbacks that have solid slide-outs)

Trail Manor has been around for as long as we've been camping, but I don't know anyone who has one, nor do you see many out in campgrounds. So I can't tell you how they hold up or anything about pricing.

One thing I CAN tell you is that, in general, newer trailers have been made our of better, lighter materials, so that they can be towed easily behind smaller vehicles than even a few years back. So don't rule out something a bit bigger, if you have the vehicle to tow it. you'll appreciate the space on a rainy day.

I suggest that you take a few weekends and visit every dealer within easy driving distance of you, just to see what's out there, what features are important to you and what your vehicle will tow. RV dealerships are dog friendly places, so feel free to bring Bumi and the kids along. You'll want to get a feel for how you'll all fit in there together.

BUT… once you have an idea what you're looking for, I strongly suggest that you look through local ads for used trailers. We got a great deal on our first trailer used. it needed a new refrigerator, and those are expensive, but we knew that when we bought it, and it was worked into the purchase price. That way we put a lot less money into it than a new one, and we had a chance to try it for a few years before deciding this was something we wanted to continue doing.

If you do decide to look at used, one very important thing to do is use your nose. If there is ANY musty smell AT ALL, it means there are leaks. It is almost impossible to repair water damage completely in a trailer, and sometimes it is even difficult to find the source. Also ask if you can have the trailer "vetted" by a knowledgable 3rd party, just as you would with a used car.

Hope that helps, and feel free to ask more if you have specific questions. We've been RV'ing for close to 20 years now, and really enjoy it. When the kids were with us, we mostly went to a favorite campground and stayed there for a week (or at least a long weekend) at a time. Now that it's just Dave and me and Kodi, we do more long distance traveling, so we set up just for a night or two and then move on. Both are fun, but different ways to use an RV!


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Karen.

I am going to check out the dealers around here. I know up by Hartford they have a huge place, I see it when we go to the Big E every year. Maybe we'll take a ride there.

I found one with a great price 2005 shamrock something something (23'). It has pop up/out beds on both ends (queen beds), but one of the doors to the push out/pop out beds had a leak and the guy says it was replaced and re-sealed. I am not convinced I want it. He also said the floor got some damage, which can be replaced with a sheet of plywood. But once it took on water, I am not sure I can get the smell out.

We have a boat (got it brand new from a boat show a few years back) and I hate the smell of wet/musty things. Some of the cushions got wet once and I have never been able to get rid of the smell.

I have found a few other used ones and we are planning to go visit them this weekend. I have check with the owners about leaks, etc and they have agreed to let me inspect it form top to bottom, take them for a test drive and try all the systems before agreeing to anything. But I'll be asking for a third party inspection and see if they agree.

We both have trucks, My husband has a Chevy Silverado, I have a Chevy Suburban. Both of our trucks can pull pretty much anything. Is the driveway that I am more concerned about. I don't want to buy a trailer and then have a few inches sticking out on the street. We have space next to the driveway but is the same length so it has to fit there.

Is there anything specific to ask about sewer/water lines, etc?

Zury

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Across the Rainbow Bridge - Starborn Mi Pequeño Tesoro (Toby) - Miss you my sweet boy.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 01:26 PM
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find somewhere close that has a good maintenance facility. I t's a royal pain in the butt to take these things in when things need repairs. My central air and furnace screwed up twice and it was only a couple of years old.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Carefulove View Post
Thanks Karen.

I am going to check out the dealers around here. I know up by Hartford they have a huge place, I see it when we go to the Big E every year. Maybe we'll take a ride there.

I found one with a great price 2005 shamrock something something (23'). It has pop up/out beds on both ends (queen beds), but one of the doors to the push out/pop out beds had a leak and the guy says it was replaced and re-sealed. I am not convinced I want it. He also said the floor got some damage, which can be replaced with a sheet of plywood. But once it took on water, I am not sure I can get the smell out.

We have a boat (got it brand new from a boat show a few years back) and I hate the smell of wet/musty things. Some of the cushions got wet once and I have never been able to get rid of the smell.

I have found a few other used ones and we are planning to go visit them this weekend. I have check with the owners about leaks, etc and they have agreed to let me inspect it form top to bottom, take them for a test drive and try all the systems before agreeing to anything. But I'll be asking for a third party inspection and see if they agree.

We both have trucks, My husband has a Chevy Silverado, I have a Chevy Suburban. Both of our trucks can pull pretty much anything. Is the driveway that I am more concerned about. I don't want to buy a trailer and then have a few inches sticking out on the street. We have space next to the driveway but is the same length so it has to fit there.

Is there anything specific to ask about sewer/water lines, etc?
The inside plumbing is PVC, and of course you want the person to have properly winterized it, so that nothing has gotten broken. It's easy enough to ask them to hook it up to water, run it, and make sure there are no leaks. No trailer can take city water pressure, so you need to use a pressure reducer in the hose. the connection from the trailer to the water outlet on the campsite is just a white and blue striped potable water hose, just like you'd use for a boat. The hot water heater is especially susceptible to damage if it isn't properly winterized, and that is expensive to replace. SO make sure you see that working, on both electricity AND gas.

Sewer hoses do get worn, and the little flanges that attach them to the trailer can snap off, but the hoses aren't expensive to replace. Often, the one that comes with the trailer new is too short for some sites,so you often end up having to buy a longer one anyway.

Most RV dealers will have general books on travel trailers, and all the major brands have the same major systems. It is also useful to subscribe to Trailer Life for your first few years with the trailer. There are a lot of good tips in the magazine.


Karen, Kodi, Pixel and Panda
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 04:45 PM
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find somewhere close that has a good maintenance facility. I t's a royal pain in the butt to take these things in when things need repairs. My central air and furnace screwed up twice and it was only a couple of years old.
That's for sure! Our trailer is one that isn't often sold in this area (Open Range) and a relatively new company. But we fell in love with the trailer, and bought it from a dealer in another state. We had to go back to them for all the warranty work. Nothing major, but "nothing major" turned out to be a "royal PITA" when we had to drive an hour and a half each way to drop it off and pick it up.

Now that it's not under warranty, we're back to using a nice little no-name place, 20 minutes away, that we've used for years for all three of our trailers.


Karen, Kodi, Pixel and Panda
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 06:40 PM
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We have some neighbors that spend Winters in Florida in one. This year they bought a new one just before they left, and left the other one sitting in their driveway. The "old" one wasn't that old. It has slideouts, is new enough to be one of the lightweight ones, and is pretty nice. I don't know if they have sold it yet or not. If they haven't sold it, it might be worth checking out. Call Pam and ask her to check to see if Roger and Virginia have sold their "old" RV (I'm in Maryland). Roger takes great care of everything, and I would bet it's still as good as a new one.
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