So new, its scary!!

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.
M

Merrie

Guest
We are in the process of selling our home and have decided to take the plunge to live in a Travel Trailer while working in Texas and building our retirement home in Missouri.?

We have tent camped for years with parents and kids for extended periods of time in all weather, so we know the basic ins and outs.?

We have two vehicles that can tow.? One is a 2000 Toyota 4Runner V6 with maximum tow weight of 5,000 lbs. and the other is a 1997 Toyota Tacoma extended cab 4 wheel drive with maximum tow weight of 5100 lbs.? If there is a modification that can be made to the hitch to increase tow weight, we would consider that a big plus.?

The TTs that seem to be available for our tow weights are the ultra-lites - the Gulfstream Amerilite and the Gulfstream Streamlite.? We do not want the pop-outs (I think - the pictures show a hard-side pop-out that husband MIGHT consider if it meets tow weight).

Are there any others??

I'd also like to do a little customising - possibly take out the heavy dinette sets and put in small folding table and 2 chairs, get rid of excess bunk units and put in a desk for the computer.

We are planning to be excessively light-weight - basically clothes, food, camera and computer - the rest is going into our garage that is already being built on the property.?

The dogs will be living with us in the trailer - we're thinking of extending space with an enclosed screen room under the awning when parked or perhaps, as we saw at the RV campground we're considering, a large collapsible cage (only during the day and only when we are home - no dogs will be left out while we are gone).?

The TT will be parked for the most part, but we still want to be able to move it if we need to - we are situated in the Gulf Coast of Texas and Hurricane Katrina was quite the wake up call.? ?

Suggestions, advice, opinions and information is VERY welcome - we're REALLY new at this.

Merry & Richard
& dogs:? Echo - 42 lbs, Flint - 45 lbs.?

?
 

Ron

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Posts
18,082
Location
Home is where we park it
Hi Merry & Richard,

Welcome to the RV Forum.  I'm sure you will get the answers to your questions.  Glad you found us.
 
M

Merrie

Guest
Thanks, Ron!

I already visited your Internet Solutions page last night.  I'm afraid I'm an Internet junkie, so am looking at the options I have there, too.  Currently we have 3 computers in the house - mine, hubby's and the laptop!  I am assuming we'll only have 1 in the TT.  Which one will be the question...the laptop is very old and doesn't have certain features...the other two are brand-new, and do.  Sigh. 

And then again, we may do without full-time access because I'm supposed to be writing anyway!  (I am a writer...not for a living, yet, but working on getting there!)

Merry
 

Ron

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Posts
18,082
Location
Home is where we park it
Quite a few members use their cell phones to connect to the internet when other access is not available.  At our rallies there are many of us that have satellite internet and we set up wireless access so is is available to anybody in the framily that wants it.
 
M

Merrie

Guest
Ron,

I've been reading up on that, but never having owned a cell-phone didn't understand some of the terminology.  Therefore, I will research that. 

And oh, yeah - I've been reading about weight-distribution hitches - it looks like that is a modification that can be disastrous if not done right.  Since it is a mod and one can't be too sure of consequences, it looks like we may not be doing that after all. 

Back to looking at the smaller ultra-lites.

Merry (so much information...!)
 
M

Merrie

Guest
We have been looking at TTs on and off for several years, from small to large.  We've gone into the occasional motorhome and ohhhed and ahhhhed over the features, but the prices scared us off (new). 

We've hit home shows, the big RV show in Harrisburg, PA and visited a lot of dealers. 

We've been semi-seriously investigating this for some time. 

We got SERIOUS in the last couple weeks. 

And looking at what's out there as far as TTs and what our vehicle can tow...well, it seems a little daunting considering we're discussing living in the RV for about 4 years parked, with the occasional jaunt off to see new sights, visit relatives and go touring/camping.

So, we went looking online at the used motorhomes.  The prices on used ones seem within reason. 

Tomorrow we will be hitting some dealerships and looking at what's out there.  However, the TT idea may be nixed and we may opt for a full-fledged motorhome instead and towing the vehicle. 

Hubby is looking at diesel.  We need a/c and heat.  We'd like computer linkup.  I'd like a tub rather than a shower and some kind of closet.  I'd also like storage for the aforementioned portable dog cage. 

Any suggestions? 

Merry & Richard
& dogs:  Echo - 42 lbs, Flint - 45 lbs.
 

Ron

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Posts
18,082
Location
Home is where we park it
Good idea to look at used motorhomes too.  We have a diesel pusher and really have enjoyed it.  Look and research and please come here and ask any questions you might have.  There is a lot of experience here in the framily and we are willing to share this knowledge.
 
M

Merrie

Guest
Thanks, Ron!

I'll be back with questions, lots and lots of questions. 

I've had the Hofmeisters' book for years, but I suspect I'll be delving into more research, too. 

In the meantime, I did something I AM capable of...I fixed my profile, picture and sig.  Wonder if it looks okay?  LOL

Merry
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
The TTs that seem to be available for our tow weights are the ultra-lites - the Gulfstream Amerilite and the Gulfstream Streamlite.  We do not want the pop-outs (I think - the pictures show a hard-side pop-out that husband MIGHT consider if it meets tow weight).

Reading between the lines, it would seem that you are buying a trailer to live in full time for a year or so.  If so, you are buying an ultralite to serve a purpose that such trailers are not intended to serve.  I have a lightweight myself and have used it for 9 years -- but as a vacation trailer lived in maybe 4-6 weeks a year.
You are going to suffer issues of storage, wear and tear on lightly constructed fittings and furnishings.  You are going to be cramped fairly quickly.

Your trucks are barely adequate to tow even an LW TT.  Mine weighs 4600 scaled and is pulled by a truck with a 6600 lbs tow rating.  I would not want truck any lighter to pull it.

Given your purpose and usage, you might want to go for a heavier TT suitable for full time use and initially have the dealer spot it at the park or location you want to use it at.  That done you have until August to come up with a better tow vehicle.
 

Merry

Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Posts
14
Hmmm...Carl,

You have very good points.  We know both vehicles are light tow - we also have a utility trailer that we've used to cart stuff around for years. 

We're checking out TTs, motor homes and options today. 

The idea of having the dealer place the TT (if we go that route), is a good one. 

There's so much information out there!  Both of us spent hours last night just reading different RV bulletin boards about towing and other things!  But mostly towing, since that is the major concern right now. 

Oh, and we are potentially talking about living in it for up to 4 years...or more.  A couple years here in Texas, and a couple years while we build the house of our dreams in Missouri (we will be building it ourselves). 
 

Merry

Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Posts
14
Don't be confused - RVAdmin accepted my AOL addy last night finally! and I'm now signed in under the proper spelling of my name. 

Merrie and Merry are the same person! 

THANKS!
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
Oh, and we are potentially talking about living in it for up to 4 years...or more.  A couple years here in Texas, and a couple years while we build the house of our dreams in Missouri (we will be building it ourselves). 

OK, you are definitely talking full-time use.  I would say that it is the governing use.  You will turn a lightweight trailer into a piece of uncomfortable junk over that period.    Towing sounds to be a very occasional use.  There are transport services out there to handle infrequent moves --- run a Google search on trailer transport and have fun.  If you decide that you will frequently tow, then you need something better than your current vehicles.  That something could be a second purchase.

Out here in California there are a group of trailerites that winter over in sea level RV resorts in the Palm Springs area in 'park model' trailers.  When the summer 110-120? temps hit the Palms Springs area, they have their trailers hauled up 8000 feet and 50 miles into the adjacent San Bernardino Mts. for the cool lakeside resorts there.  The hauling is done by good ol' boys in medium duty trucks.  Hiring them twice a year makes more sense than springing for one's own medium duty truck...and  sweating out mountain roads.




 

Merry

Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Posts
14
Okay - we've turned a complete 360 degrees here.  Motorhomes look WAY more attractive, seem better built, have more storage and space.

We checked out the big and small travel trailers - the salesperson knew his tow information and said the same thing as Carl - our vehicles are really too light but they CAN do it...he just didn't recommend it - he felt we should think about a bigger truck. He showed us a variety of models and makes, gave pros and cons on each, and was able to tell us disadvantages as well as advantages.  We gave NO INDICATION that we wanted to look at motorhomes at all, but towards the end of our looking, we casually mentioned peeking just to see what they looked like.  (Didn't want the salesperson to go all gung-ho thinking he'd talk us into one).   

They have an 2004 Itasca Sunova 33' with two a/cs, backup camera, automatic hyraulic jacks, specialized hitch for towing and 15,000 miles.  Lots of other little extras that amount to about $2,000.  The warranty is still in effect and an extended warranty is a little over $2,000.  The inside is really clean (one owner who only used it for two trips) and in fact, the oven looked like it had never been used at all.  For that matter, nothing looks like its been used.  The slighly rumpled look makes me think they only used the bed and the couch! 

The factors that went into the decision of living full-time in the RV still apply.  We've gone over money spent being stationary and approximate costs being mobile including an estimation of what this RV will cost per month (downpayment, loan, park fees, distance of conveniences in surrounding area, job distance, etc). 

Out the door price is $68,000.  Taxes, VAT, dock fee and the extended warranty brought it up to $74,000. 

I've been cruising the Internet looking at others for sale and people talking about them.  Seems the price is about right, maybe even a little low. 

We've not committed to anything, but we're seriously considering.  I have to let the dealer know by Monday. 

Any comments? 



   
 

Merry

Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Posts
14
I forgot the mention that the 2004 Itasca Sunova 33' has a slide, too. 
 

Ron

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Posts
18,082
Location
Home is where we park it
You may be able to get a better extended warranty at a better price.  Call Dave at Warranty Experts 1-877-673-1880 just for comparison. Sounds like you may have found the perfect outfit.
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
Sounds like that you have gotten on to a better path.  Since my guru ticket does not extend to motor home, I shall bow out.  One thought tho, that 4Runner might make a decent little toad.
 

Jim Dick

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

I think you will enjoy the motorhome more than the small trailer. We have full timed in a motorhome for 9 years and it's a great way to go. I can't comment on your particular find but I'm sure others will jump in. Be sure you get a complete walk through and ask questions if they don't explain something to you. Some dealers will try to do a quick tour and leave out a lot of information. Just tell the tech you don't understand something and have it explained. A video camera can be used so you can refer to it later. I do walk throughs part time and, though I don't like being filmed, it is good for the new owner. :)

A slide will certainly add to the enjoyment of living in the coach as it opens up the inside nicely. Be sure to check all around the slide inside to be sure there hasn't been a leak. Most slides today are very good and leaks are much less than they used to be. We have not had any problems with ours.

 

Merry

Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Posts
14
Thanks for all the advice - We did walk around the slide outside, the salesguy was good about showing us EVERY storage area and opening all the outside openings.  There was a dime size spot of rust on one opening on the passenger side and he said they'd touch that up.  He pushed all the buttons and turned all the levers, showing us how everything worked. 

When we came in, the detail person was actually in the trailer, cleaning.  She was watching the TV and had the generator on because it was cold and she was running the heat.  All the lights were on, too.  I pulled out every drawer to check if they were on track.  Like a little kid, I was into everything. 

Now, all that said, we decided to sleep on it before making the decision. 

Thank God we did.  We came back home and the realtor called.  Seems the buyer for our house has backed out. 

Our new RV lifestyle is now on hold. 

However, this now gives us time to rent a rig on the weekends and try it out so we can learn what to do. 

And yes, we were thinking the 4Runner would be the toad.  Great minds think alike!

I'm very disappointed that we're not getting this vehicle, of course, but there ARE others out there, and we will find the right rig.  And I now have all you kind people around so I can ask questions!

The good news is that DH is really sold on a motorhome versus the TT. 

 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,959
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
I think you were wise to abandon the idea of towing with either of your current vehicles. The motorhome sounds nice - and about the going price, not low - but consider how much you will travel versus how much it will be parked. There is no point in paying for an engine & drivetrain in an RV if it s is parked 98% of the time.  We have had both trailers and motorhomes and love the MH, but we put a lot of miles on it too. It sounds to me as though you are looking mostly for living quarters and only occasional travel. To my way of thinking, a large trailer makes more sense, even though you would have to trade one of your vehicles for a substantial tow vehicle.

One more thing: neither of your Toyotas can be towed without modifications if they have automatic transmissions.  Check with Remco Towing (www.remcotowing.com) to see what they have available to convert those models for towing with all four wheels on the ground.

Last, don't run off and buy the first motorhome you see. There are lots of them available and many of them will be in great condition with low miles. And bargain HARD on the price - even on a used one, offer 20% below the asking price and be firm. You should be able to get 10-15% off with no difficulty at all.  See www.nadaguides.com for retail prices in your area and do not  pay anywhere near the high retail book value.

Hope another buyer for the house appears soon!!!
 
Top Bottom