Decisions, decisions...

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momma22smallbears

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 25, 2006
Posts
59
Location
Kitchener, Ontario
Hello,

I'm new to the forum although i've been reading furiously over the past few days and have found this to be a very helpful site.

I am driving an '04 Nissan Armada with tow package.  According to the formula so helpfully posted in the FAQ it looks like i could pull a Jayco Jayflight 27' trailer and assuming the cargo is 500 pounds, plus travelling with full tanks of water and propane, etc. we would be at 78% of GCWR.  Frankly, it would make me a lot happier to start with a small trailer but my DH thinks if we do this we should do it right.  I expect, initially to go out with another adult, but there will be times when i would be on my own with the kids.  I can get a rear cam system to help with backing up and i am willing to get whatever additonal items will make the whole process as easy as possible.  So, am i nuts here?  Can a single adult do this?  And will i be pulling to much of a load for mountains?

I chose Jayco because it seems to be held in high regard on the many sites and forums i have visited online.  The 25 and 26 foot trailers have slideouts so are much heavier than the 27 foot and my DH doesn't like the 20 foot because it's too cramped.

I've never pulled anything before and was hoping to start small but when we were on the lot this weekend and i realized i no longer had to persuade DH that we should buy an RV i decided to agree with him in general on the 27 foot.  In general i feel a little nervous about pulling something.  The dealer is willing to let me take one for a test drive but i have to spend $150ish dollars to put on something to control the brakes on the trailer (i forgot the name), however...

There is a second-hand class A on the lot, it's a 1991 Coachman Catalina with a 454 Chevy Engine.  It's got 75 thousand miles on it.  I've got the number of the previous owner and will phone him to ask more about it.  It would have a 30 day warranty from the dealer so everything will have to be in working order when it sells.  Of course, there are issues with an older vehicle, plus i suspect insurance will be much higher than with a trailer.  My idea is to use it for 6-12 months and then sell it.  If we love it, we will upgrade and if we don't we could still move to a trailer. 

We are picking up a copy of the RVers Bible from the library today.

thanks for your input...






 

Karl

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Posts
5,154
Location
Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
Welcome to the forum, and we're glad you found the information useful!

There's no reason a single person can't handle the towing, setup, and teardown of a TT. If you've done your calculations correctly for GCWR, you should be well withing the towing range of the Armada; even in the mountains. Others here are much more familiar with tow ratings and will probably be able to give you specifics. The $150 unit you mentioned is the brake controller for the electric brakes on the TT. Yes, you will need it to be safe, but learning how to tow and back up into a camping space should come easily with some practice in a nice, large, empty parking lot.

I would be wary of purchasing a '91 class A with only a 30-day warranty. I could take you that long just to figure out what is and isn't working properly, and having to go back the the same dealer for repairs could be a hassle. According to Murphy's Law, if anything is going to break, it will happen at least 1000 miles from the nearest repair facility. Having the previous owner's phone number probably won't do you much good. If it's on consignment with the dealer, what's he going to say - "That rig is a dog"? Probably not. Even if everything IS working properly, it's still 15+ years old and things are likely to need repair or replacement in the near future. A good example is tires. If they're 6 years old or more, they need replacement NOW, regardless of how much tread is left. Furnaces, water heaters, a/c's, refrigerators, etc. can all fail without warning. I'm not trying to be a doomsayer, but forewarned is forearmed.

Good luck, whatever your decision.  :) 








 

momma22smallbears

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 25, 2006
Posts
59
Location
Kitchener, Ontario
Thanks for your input, Karl!  I have some of the same feelings about a secondhand Class A but can't afford the new ones!  It was a trade-in, i am not going near a consignment for something like this.

I'm pretty sure we'll end up with the trailer if i can get over my concerns.  I think a lot of people around here park trailers in a park for a season and go up weekends but my hope is to go exploring all summer, if setting up and breaking camp are difficult with a trailer then we'd be better off in hotels. 

 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,650
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Steer away from that 91 Catalina - it's pretty much lived out its useful life and a I would hate to think of a lady & kids alone with a rig that is ready for all sorts of serious breakdowns.  Rvs work hard and back in the early 90's most gas motorhomes were lucky to get 75,000 miles on an engine and transmission.  If you think a motorhome would be more comfortable for you (and I agree it would), shop around some more. there ae los of excelent used motorhomes available and you should be able to get a nice 1996-1998 model for a reasonable price. If you look at models without a slide out, there are some outstanding bargains. Some will have less tan 50,000 miles on them.  But you are correct - insurance will be subtantially more than for  a trailer - probably 5-10 times as much. In round numbers, assume that motorhome insurance wouldl be about the same cost as the insurancefor your family car, whereas trailer insurance is ofetn just a rider on your car policy for under $100 or so.

You should be able to handle the traler fine, unless you are one of those unfortunates who just can't get the hang of backing a trailer. Most can do so, especially with a bit of coaching, but a few always struggle. Going forward is no problem - you just have to delay turnig a bit to allow for the extra length beind you.
 

michaelsop

New member
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Posts
1
As a truck driver the best advice I can give to someone just learming to back up a trailer is to remember that if the back of the trailer is moving to the left turn the steering wheel to the left also,this will straighten out the trailer,just remember steer the way the trailer is going to correct.
Practice going straight back at first using just your mirrors when you can see more of the trailer in your mirror you just steer to that side.
 

momma22smallbears

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 25, 2006
Posts
59
Location
Kitchener, Ontario
Thanks for the backing up advice!  I will definitely try to remember it. 

I'm pretty sure we'll go for the trailer, now the trick is to persuade my DH that we need it now, not some vague time in the future. 

One more question that's bugging me, i keep reading about the "western mountains" and that i need to have a bit of extra room weight-wise if i were to try driving on them, is that 78% of GCWR going to be okay? 

I don't want to go for the Jayfeather because it's low and there was even one in for service at the rv lot that had serious damage as a result.  They were hoping to redo the axle to raise it somehow.  Are there any other good quality lighter weight trailers that can be taken off the highways?



 

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