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kirsy71

New member
Joined
Jan 31, 2007
Posts
3
Hello,

my name is Kerstin, my husband is Frank, we have seven children between 12 years and 2 months, live in Florida and we want to try the thing with the RV.
Being born and raised in Germany, I have some very limited RV experience, my parents took us girls to the Swiss alps, Italy, France and so on. My husband has no experience at all, but he came up with the idea to get us a travel trailer....at first I was a little bit reluctant, remembering the small European RVs and those rainy days, but then I saw a 30 feet trailer from the inside and it was not that bad anymore! Much more space than back in those old days!
And now we are really out to get a travel trailer, in fact, yesterday we looked at a 35 feet one, great floorplan with 2 bedrooms and a living area, but we are not 100% sure yet since it is a used unit and the folks owning it right now did not use it for quite a while.
Well, and I would need some encouragement, telling my folks back in Europe my plans they declared that I am a little bit insane... but I believe it is doable, and by the way are there families with more children out there RVing, I can not believe we are the only ones trying to do that kind of crazy thing?

thanks
kirsy
 

Karl

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Mar 3, 2005
Posts
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Location
Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
Hi Kirsy, and Welcome to the RV Forum. :)

RV'ing in the U.S. is somewhat different than anywhere else. Most roads are well maintained (I know I'll get some arguments on that one) and easily traveled, and most RV parks and places of interest are more than adequate to handle large rigs. There's no reason why you can't do it successfully and enjoyably with the proper planning. Selecting the right TT and truck for your needs will be a major concern, and getting 7 children to get along together in a close environment is essential.

There's nothing inherently wrong with buying a used rig; in fact, it may be better to do so, but you need to check all applianaces, plunbing, tires, etc to make sure you're not buying someone elses'  problems. We have pre-purchase checklists in our library to help you with this. You'll probably have many questions, so I would recommend you ask them here BEFORE laying down any hard-earned cash.

Good luck!
 

Carl L

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Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
Hi Kirsy and welcome to the RV Forum.  What do you all have to pull a trailer with?  That is going to tell you what trailer you can pull.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,622
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
You are going to need a serious size vehicle to tow a 35 foot trailer, so let's go over the trailer weights and tow vehicle requirements before you commit to buy.  And please, shop around for awhile before buying. There are  gorgeous and lightly used trailers available and one will be just right for you.  But there is no reason at all why you should not do what you plan.
 

kirsy71

New member
Joined
Jan 31, 2007
Posts
3
wow, this is a friendly place  :D

thanks a lot for your answers, well we plan to pull the trailer with my/ our family van, this is a Ford E 350, the one with the V10 engine, on the label it said that we could pull 9300lb with it, minus the 20% that would be around 7440lb, the van came with a class IV hitch, rated at 10000lb that is how far I figured it out (or at least I think I figured it out ;))

I had a look at the Nada appraisal guide, the trailer (a Dutchmen classic 93) is about $1000 "overpriced", even if I take the higher salesprice there. The condition itself is mint, not good but not bad either. Some things are broken, but fixable like some curtains and blinds, the handle on the fridge is missing, the keys to the doors are missing and so on, I am not sure if that is ok for that age or not and yes,the batterie was missing too...I know I am not getting a new trailer...
On the plusside, the floorplan is really good, it has a nice and roomy bathroom, but anyways, I think the sellers have to come down with the price a little bit...just my thoughts...

thanks a lot ::)
kirsy

 

Carl L

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Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
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Location
west Los Angeles
What is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of that trailer?  You should be able to find it on the DOT plate on the drivers side front side of the trailer.  Us that number to judge if your van can haul a given trailer.
 

kirsy71

New member
Joined
Jan 31, 2007
Posts
3
OK...that was 5600 and something lb, I should be able to pull the trailer with my van, or?
Although I am still wondering if the price($4900) is OK for the trailer, a 1993 Dutchman in mint condition with some parts missing and some cosmetic work to do...what is your opinion on that?

thanks again
kirsy
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,622
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
The condition itself is mint, not good but not bad either. Some things are broken, but fixable like some curtains and blinds, the handle on the fridge is missing, the keys to the doors are missing and so on, I am not sure if that is ok for that age or not and yes,the batterie was missing too...I know I am not getting a new trailer...

I would hardly call that "mint". Sounds more like well worn to me.  There really are used RVs in mint (showroom) condition out there, even 1993 models. Some of them you may think were never used at all. I would pass on that one unless the price came down SUBSTANTIALLY, at least a few thousand under the NADA book. Used RVs are generally in better condition than cars of the same vintage - many of them  get used a lot less.

5600 lbs sounds awful light for a 35 footer - is this the same trailer you mentioned in your initial post?  But a Dutchman Classic is a very light duty trailer and not what I would call a "good quality" brand. They are made to sell for a low price, so the structure, frame, etc. are all built to minimal standards. That doesn't mean you shouldn't buy it if you like it, but be aware you are buying at the low end of the scale.

 

Karl

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Posts
5,154
Location
Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
There a many things that must be taken into consideration when figuring weights, so it would be helpful to have all the specifications from the truck (engine size, rear end ratio, etc.) and the trailer, including water tank size, propane tank(s) - all in gallons, total weight of passengers, gear, accessories, clothing, etc. At this point, don't try to fully understand the various acronyms like GAWR, GCWR, etc; just list them and let Carl and/or Gary do their magic with them ;)

Many of the things you mentioned can be fixed easily. I'd be more concerned with signs of roof leakage (staining or water marks on inside walls, soft spots in the floor), window fogging (if double pane), Rust/corrosion, and the other things I mentioned before that are on the checklists. Unless you will be doing all your camping in full hookup sites, you'll want to consider deep cycle batteries, a generator, an inverter, or combinations of them. Even if you do plan on full hookups, it's unlikely that you'll always go directly from one to the next without spending a night or two 'on the road' away from those conveniences, and you'll want to be able to handle those times roughing it without it being too rough!

P.S. - I agree with Gary; Doesn't sound very mint.
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
kirsy71 said:
OK...that was 5600 and something lb, I should be able to pull the trailer with my van, or?
Although I am still wondering if the price($4900) is OK for the trailer, a 1993 Dutchman in mint condition with some parts missing and some cosmetic work to do...what is your opinion on that?

That is a suspicious number.  Look again.  The current 35ish foot Dutchmen have a GVWR of around 10,000 lbs.    It sounds like you read off a gross AXLE weight rating.  Look again for a GVWR, gross vehicle weight rating.

 
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