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hpydawg

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2005
Posts
21
My name is Deb.? My husband and I are just starting to look at trailers.? Gosh.? Scary business.? We have a V8 4-runner.? We live in the NW and I have always assumed that the pop-up soft side type trailers would not be a wise choice in a damp environment.? I also guess I would feel more vulnerable in those types.? I used to love to tent camp as a child but times have changed and I doubt I would feel very safe doing that anymore......so.......we're looking at trailers.? Basically we are clueless.? Initially the Hi-Lo types looked less scary to us because of the low profile........but we're wondering if they don't have more problems then a conventional type.? Yesterday I kind of fell in love with the floor plan of the Keystone Zeppelin 24l.? It just scares me to death to think of towing something that long though.? Actually......towing anything seems scary to me.? Anyway......I wanted to join here to read and to ask questions as we go along.? Like I said we're just starting to look.? ?It's been fun so far and some of the salesmen were very nice and seemed genuine.? I don't like the pushy/smarmy types.? I walk away the second one like that shows up.? We currently have an RV show going on in the area.......so maybe all the hard sell guys were away at the show and we met the nice ones.? :)
 

Jim Dick

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Feb 11, 2005
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Titusville, FL
Hi Deb,

Welcome to the forum. I'm sure you'll have all your questions answered.

Yes, it can be scary when venturing out in a new direction. Towing will seem daunting but, over time, you will get comfortable as long as you have the correct setup. Weight stabilization and anti sway devices are almost a must with most trailers. I'm not an expert at it but others are and will provide you with good advice.

You are smart to walk away from any salesman that makes you uncomfortable. There are too many that only want to make a sale. I work part time at a dealership, not sales, and there are some I would buy from and some I wouldn't. We used to have one that sold an $800 tow package to a customer that was only going to tow once to a seasonal campground. He only did it to make extra money. I wrote him off immediately. He finally was fired for some of his antics. If you can talk to others who bought from a dealership in which you are interested you might find out who is good and who isn't.





 

hpydawg

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2005
Posts
21
Thanks for the welcome Jim.? ?Yes, I sure have become aware that the anti-sway and weight distribution things are going to be a must for proper towing.? It's all pretty overwhelming to me right now.? ?One nice salesman told me that the best thing to do once we find our trailer is to take it to an empty parking lot and practice manuvering it.? I guess doing that until I felt comfortable would be a good idea.?
 

Jim Dick

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Posts
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Titusville, FL
hpydawg said:
Thanks for the welcome Jim.  Yes, I sure have become aware that the anti-sway and weight distribution things are going to be a must for proper towing.  It's all pretty overwhelming to me right now.  One nice salesman told me that the best thing to do once we find our trailer is to take it to an empty parking lot and practice manuvering it.  I guess doing that until I felt comfortable would be a good idea. 

Deb,

That salesman does have the right idea. Manuvering in a vacant parking lot will allay many of your fears. You will have to get used to driving on the roads and what visibility you have in your mirrors but that will come with time. Just take it easy and enjoy. It IS worth it !!! :)
 

Carl L

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Mar 14, 2005
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7,239
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west Los Angeles
Basically we are clueless.? Initially the Hi-Lo types looked less scary to us because of the low profile........but we're wondering if they don't have more problems then a conventional type.? Yesterday I kind of fell in love with the floor plan of the Keystone Zeppelin 24l.? It just scares me to death to think of towing something that long though.? Actually......towing anything seems scary to me.

Well, your 2005 4-Runner V8 has a tow rating of 7300 lbs (7000 if 4WD).? ?If you keep the trailer to 80% of that you can easily pull a 5800 lb trailer.? ?That is a pretty good sized box for two people -- say 24' long.? ?

Pulling a trailer is a lot easier than it looks.? My wife has no problems with our 23 footer.? ?The trick is to get the trailer and tow vehicle well set up with a good weight equalizing and anti-sway system.? This is probably more technical than you want to get, but put you husband on the forum and we will give him an earful.

I would recommend what is called a travel trailer.? ?No slideouts, no pop tops, just a box on wheels.? ?All you have to do to use it, is park someplace, open the door and step in.? You can have a lunch in a rest area.? ?You can use the toilet facilities on the road -- no more foul gas station rest rooms.? ? If you arrive at camp in a rain storm or late at night, you can pull in, go back to the trailer open the door and you are set for the night.? No messing around in the dark and wet.? ?

If it is too hot, you have airconditioning that works -- at least in campground with electrical services.? ?Too cold and you have a neat little forced air gas furnace that works anywhere.? You have an indoors galley with a fridge, stove, kitchen sink and cabinets.? ?You have a bathroom with a throne, a lavatory, a teeny but usable shower AND you have hot and cold running water (if you light the water heater).

A trailer is a simple box.? Not much that is mysterious and not much to maintain.? ?Pick a floor plan that you like and a few amenities to make you live easier -- microwave, and porch awning for example.? ?

We have had a 23' Prowler travel trailer for going on 10 years now.? Still works just fine after some 50-60,000 miles on it.? ?I get the wheel bearings lubed once a year, and at least one of the major systems checked over.? ?This year I have had the first major system fail -- the furnace.? I am taking it in for service next week so I do not know whether the problem is major.

Don't worry, you will learn how to tow it and will think it is a ball to use.? ?;D
 

edjunior

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
2,507
Location
Roman Forest, TX.
Hi Deb and welcome,

I just wanted to kinda piggyback on what Carl said.  The TT (Travel Trailer) is definitely a much better way to go.  The Hi-Lo's are really nice, and I've heard of no major problems with them from anyone, and have seen many older ones still being used.  But they can be a lot more expensive than a standard TT.  The Zeppelin (or one similar to it, referred to as an "lightweight or ultra-lightweight) you're looking at is a great choice, especially as a "starter" camper.  It is lightweight enough for your 4-runner to tow easily and gives you the room you will definitely crave if you tried anything else.  It also has a small slide that gives you an amazing amount of extra space.  That particular model is somewhat similar to mine, but I would seriously look at the Z281 also.  It is only about 300 pounds more, an identical toungue weight, but gives you a lot more room, plus a dedicated sofa in the slide.  We actually looked at the Zeppelins before purchasing this Skamper (we kinda liked the two doors on this one, and some other things).  We initially pulled it with a Montero Sport (little 3.0L six-cylinder) and while it pulled it, it didn't do so nicely, so I got a good truck to pull with.  But with your 4-runner V-8, you should have no problem with either of those trailers.

When we decided to get this one, we definitely look back now and realize this was a good choice.  We were looking at the pop-ups, and the "hybrids" (the solid body trailers with pop-out beds), and while those are good for some people, we are definitely glad we chose the regular trailer.  Of course now that we have decided that we really like this RVing thing, and have a truck that can handle more, we kinda got the itch to get bigger and better.  But we'll take it slow and easy, see what the RV show here in San Antonio has to offer in January, and take it from there.  Any way about it, you will enjoy what you get once you get going.  Just be sure you look at some different models other than the Zeppelin and even different model Zeppelins to make sure it will work for you.
 

hpydawg

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2005
Posts
21
Wow.  Thank you all so much for your replies and information.  We just got back from another day of "looking".  I'm still liking the Zeppelin 24l the most I think.  Of course we haven't even peeked into anything longer than a 24 footer.  I guess the thing I'm liking about it is there seems to be so much more open floor space in it than any of the other ones in that size that we've looked at.  I am a little concerned about having that slide out and the problems that it may bring someday......but on the other hand.....it and the floor plan are what gives us more open floor space.  I have MS and I'm still walking but I really have no idea how long that will be the case.  With so many of the floor plans there is just a narrow pass-through walkway.......which would be a problem if I ever had to be in a wheelchair.  The floor plan of the Z24l is so open, I can imagine being able to maneuver easily in one of those sport type mini wheel chairs.  I don't know.  Gosh......today we heard so many conflicting tall tales from salesmen that it really wore us out.  We just don't know who to believe anymore.  One guy said "make sure the floor is made out of marine plywood."  Another guy said "I've worked in this business 40 years and have never heard of ANY trailer with marine plywood flooring."  Sigh.  Good grief.  I wish the Pinocchio story held true for all salesmen and their noses grew if they told a lie.  lol
 

Jim Dick

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Posts
7,651
Location
Titusville, FL
Hi Deb,

Most slide outs today are of good quality and, even though some leak, most are fairly trouble free. How you feel about the layout and features is the most important thing in your decision. We can all give you a lot of information but you have to feel good about what you are purchasing.

If noses grew according to lies many of us would be ducking a lot!!!! :)
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
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Feb 2, 2005
Posts
72,655
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
I suspect neither salesman even knows what marine plywood actually is, but the second one is right - it would be rare indeed to find an RV with a marine plywood subfloor.  Cost is the primary reason, but there is no reason to use marine plywood in the floor either.

I think you are wise to stick with a length around 24 feet to tow with your 4 Runner, though weight (not length) is the critical factor.

And you are smart to think ahead about the possibility of a wheel chair. An open floor plan can accomodate a lot of different things and is always a good choice because you can add things much easier than removing built-in components.
 

Trudy

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2006
Posts
21
Hi Deb, I am new here also. I just had to respond to your post because the first trailer we looked at (several days ago) was a 2005 Zepplin 261 and we really liked it. We will definitely have to go with a lighter weight trailer because we have a Ford F-150 Heritage 1/2 ton pick-up truck. It's 4.2L, V6 engine, but it has the trailer towing group, class III. The papers say it can tow 5500#, but we're still concerned. I'm wondering if anyone here has any thoughts about that. I've been doing a lot of internet research and discovered the Hi-Lo. Something like that sounds good too, but I think a good used one might be difficult to find. Anyway, back to the Zepplin - We did really like it, but weren't sure we wanted to start with one as big as a 26'. It was on a lot and they were asking $11,900. It seemed to be in good shape, but we didn't get into seeing if they would come down on the price.

Good luck with your search Deb. I have a feeling we're both gonna need it!? LOL

Trudy

 

Carl L

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Mar 14, 2005
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west Los Angeles
Trudy said:
Hi Deb, I am new here also. I just had to respond to your post because the first trailer we looked at (several days ago) was a 2005? 261 and we really liked it. We will definitely have to go with a lighter weight trailer because we have a Ford F-150 Heritage 1/2 ton pick-up truck. It's 4.2L, V6 engine, but it has the trailer towing group, class III. The papers say it can tow 5500#, but we're still concerned. I'm wondering if anyone here has any thoughts about that. I've been doing a lot of internet research and discovered the Hi-Lo. Something like that sounds good too, but I think a good used one might be difficult to find. Anyway, back to the Zepplin - We did really like it, but weren't sure we wanted to start with one as big as a 26'. It was on a lot and they were asking $11,900. It seemed to be in good shape, but we didn't get into seeing if they would come down on the price.

Good luck with your search Deb. I have a feeling we're both gonna need it!? LOL

Your F-150 truck is a lightweight truck.? Your 4.2L engine in it puts in the lightweight end of a lightweight series.? There is no way you should be pulling anything as big as that 26 footer.

Lets start with tow rating you give, 5500 lbs.? ?We like to allow a bit of a safety factor on that, 10%.? ?Taking that factor, the biggest trailer you should pull is one weighing 4950 lbs.? ?HOWEVER, if you are planning to tow in the mountain or Pacific coast west, make that safety factor 20% so the biggest trailer you should tow would weigh no more than 4,400 lbs..? (Altitude and long steep grades make the 20% particularly needful.)? Remember that tow ratings include other things besides engine size.? It includes transmission, frame, wheels and tires, axle ratios, and, in particular, brakes.

What trailer weight should you use for the comparison?? ?We recommend using the Gross Vehicle Weight rating (GVWR) -- the empty/dry weight plus carrying capacity.? ?The empty weight that manufacturers use is a calculated weight of the trailer without options like awnings, A/C units, water, propane, kitchen and table untensils, food, personal gear, etc., etc..? ? Do not think that you will "travel light".? ?You won't.? ?No body does.? 'Stuff' just accumulates.? ?;D

So what does all this translate to?? ?Trailers over 20 feet are not where you should be.? If any TT will work it should be in the 18-19 foot range.? ?Tent trailers may be a way to go also.? ?Or hybrids, trailers with pullout beds.
 

Trudy

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Sep 12, 2006
Posts
21
Thanks Carl and I'm sure you are correct. We were told the 2005 Zeppelin (which by the way I just discovered by looking at their website, is a 2004) weighed 3200#. I have no idea if this is right because I couldn't find that info on their site. Actually 26' was bigger than we wanted to go so we didn't get into a lot of specifics when talking to the dealer about it. It seemed like an awful lot of trailer to weigh no more than that. We are wanting to keep our GVWR no more than 4845# so I know we need a small, lightweight trailer. I've been researching online and have found a list I've been checking out, but actually know nothing about any of them. If anyone out there has any suggestions on a good quality light weight trailer I'm all ears!!

THANKS!!
 
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