View Full Version : trailmanors worth the $ and are there problems?

03-04-2006, 10:25 PM
After doing quite a bit of reserach into different trailers I have basically come to the decision that the trailmanors would fit our lifestyle the best but I'm starting to have some second thoughts. Noticed that many owners sell theirs after a few years yet there are others on this forum who seem to keep them for years. The web address below has some interesting reading from expereinced trailer owners who are providing some advice to one who is wondering to buy hi-low or trailmanor.


They trashed the quality of trailmanor and also weren't too high on the h-low either. Are there realy so many problems with b roken latches, door problems etc with the trailmanors? Are the newer models less prone to problems with latches etc? I've read several threads here and other places talking about door and latch problems along with other repair issues but thought they were isolated. As an ex fifth wheel owner I'm aware fo the minor day to day upkeep required by trailers but these other trailer owners really seem to think that trailmanor has more than their fair share of systemic repair issues. omments such as "Worst trailer they have ever owned" is pretty strong. Also in my continuual search for a good used trailmanor I often read many ads where 2-3 year old units have had to have many things replaced such as water pumps, airconditioners, etc. Seems strange to me.

Also since I live in the wonderful west and we have many dirt roadsthat I'll be traveling on to get to the out-of-the-way places that we want to buy the trailer for.... is the road dirt/dust an issue with trailmanors? Never occurred to me that this would be an issue with a hardsided pop-up but I guess it seems plausable since there must be openings to allow the trailer to be setup and down.

Any thoughts and guidance from any of you out there. When you answer can you tell me how many years you have owned your trailmanor and experience compared to toher types of trailers you have owned. It would be much appreciated!
Irealy like the idea of ha ing a low profile trailer so we don't have to fith the wind and I don't think we will care about the extra effort and little inconveniences that come with a pop-up. Better than using our tent for base camps for our Rocky Mountian hikes.... but I would not be please if we found many quality issues with the trailmanors that required continuos and periodic repairs.

03-05-2006, 04:57 AM
I too am a potential TM buyer. Looked at the thread. Negative TM comments came primarily from non TM owners who really didn't seem to know what they were talking about ... ie heavy trailer. Former TM owners have valid points, but then again the guy with a sway problem I would probably take with a grain of salt. I also noticed that the original poster was not turned off TM by the posts and in fact was headed to a show to look at them.

I've been scouring the threads in this forum for awhile now. At first it seems that there must be many problems with the TM. However, this is such a wonderful forum that TM owners seem to discuss anything and everything. My take, for what it's worth, is that the problems are isolated incidents. However, that being said, I would also say that it appears that there more issues with the older units either due to age or quality of construction. Haven't figured out which yet.

I'll let the TM owners come to the brand rescue ... but rest assured .. you will get straight answers from this crowd!

03-05-2006, 06:38 AM
I agree that you need to take the negative comments with a grain of salt. One poster suggested that it was difficult to back up because it only had one axle. That doesn't make any sense.

We have had ours for one year. We have taken 9 trips for 3000 miles total. 3 to 5 days each.

I took it back to the dealer in December (off season) for about 8 items to be repaired, mostly small cosmetic issues. The dealer turned it around as fast as they could get the parts for the Fridge (service bulletin issue).

The bathroom is small. However DW is accustomed to backpacking so this is a significant step up. She really appreciates it in the middle of the night. We are rarely inside the TM during the day, we are out and about exploring.

My brother just bought a new 32 foot Montana 5th wheel. It is a gorgeous trailer. Very elegant and spacious. I don't anticipate that we will go camping together very often as he can't go where I go (too big) and I won't go where he can go (too crowded).

I save around 6000 dollars per year in NOT paying for storage. I park the TM in the garage. That is the only space I have access to. If you have a side yard or a motorhome sized garage then you don't have the same problem to solve.

The first thing you need to do is understand the problem that you are trying to solve. For us the issues were:

1. We wanted a bed with a matress.
2. We wanted a toilet for night time use.
3. We wanted a sink for dishes instead of a bucket.
4. We wanted a fridge instead of a box of ice.
5. We wanted a heater to extend the season.
6. Most important, it had to fit in the garage.

03-05-2006, 06:40 AM

{Also since I live in the wonderful west and we have many dirt roadsthat I'll be traveling on to get to the out-of-the-way places that we want to buy the trailer for.... is the road dirt/dust an issue with trailmanors? Never occurred to me that this would be an issue with a hardsided pop-up but I guess it seems plausable since there must be openings to allow the trailer to be setup and down.}

I'll comment on this part of your question. Although I am very happy with my TM, I believe it is not very robust in this area. My Coleman was much more at home in of-road and rough road situations. When I drive the TM on gravel, I go very slow to avoid getting the shells bouncing. There are a lot of examples on the forum of corner latches pulling out and much worse, the middle latches pulling the square tubing out of the shell. And you are right about dust. A layer will be found all over counters of the front half if you go very far in dusty conditions. It has been hypothesized that the shells bouncing actually suck dust in along with displaced air.

That being said, my son has a Weekend Warrior Toy Hauler and we drive about the same speed when off the pavement. Its just not a good idea to bounce these big boxes around. You will find screws on the floor as well as appliances and other things moving around. You will find all campers have limitations and they are not built like autos or off road vehicles.

So you search around and select a unit that provides the ammentities you consider required and that you can afford. Personally, I find the fuel ecomomy, small TV, no-sway safe towing, and easy storage to be very attractive and I am putting up with the detrimental factors that come with this set of features. I have seen full size trailers and trucks inverted along the freeway with big swerve marks leading to the pile-up and I don't find the consequences of such a mishap very appealing at all. Even if you survive such a mishap unharmed, it will negatively affect your desire to pull a trailer again for a lifetime.

All that being said, I find the TM to be an excellent compromise.

03-05-2006, 07:51 AM
I have owned both the TM and the HiLo. If you e-mail me privately, I'll give you my opinion.
[email protected]

03-05-2006, 03:27 PM
Everyone wants something different.

I have owned ..
1 Tent trailer, 2 trailers, 1 gas motorhome, 1 Diesel motorhome, 5 5th wheels and 2 Trailmanors.
I just purchased a new 3124KS, I had a 2720SD, I certainly would not have purchased another if there were any major problems. There a draw backs with any RV you purchase. At this point in my life the Trailmanor is working out perfectly. I love it.
I really hate to hear people put down the TM when they have NO real experiance with them.

Good Luck and enjoy what ever you buy.


03-05-2006, 03:37 PM
Thanks for all the info so far. We're pretty sure that the configuration and trailer type is right for us. We're back packers and tenters and also have owned full size fifth wheels, and lived in class A rvs for several weeks... so we've experienced the full spectrum of camping. We've looked over TMS very closely at dealers etc. I think we've basically decided that the TM has all the features we want weighing gas mileage and ease of towing, really don't know any other that would fit the bill. We want some thing more than tents to set up now that we're older and don't need something very fancy nor one thatprovides the most modern conveniences. Want something light for our liberty jeep diesel to pull with good gas mileage. We'd get a regular pop up except for two things..... we camp in some chilly weather and in places that require hard sided campers for bears. As a bear attack victim... this is a major concern of mine. Guess we're just getting some cold feet about putting this much money down. So... mainly interested in whether the TM has some systemic problems related to maintenance and break down. Since they hold value so well and I read so many good things from owners, I doubt this but seem to come across the door and latch problems pretty frequently on the web.
On the hi-low verses trailmanor, I'll drop you and email as I'm curious and want to talk to as many epxereinced owners as possible but we have discounted the hi-low due to the weight. We have some friends who have a hi-low and are very pleased with it but don't think it's for us (they pull it with a full size truck.)

Thanks for all your words of wisdom. so far.. . keep it coming. This forum really has a lot of good info!

03-05-2006, 03:59 PM
Everyone wants something different.

I have owned ..
1 Tent trailer, 2 trailers, 1 gas motorhome, 1 Diesel motorhome, 5 5th wheels and 2 Trailmanors.
I just purchased a new 3124KS, I had a 2720SD, I certainly would not have purchased another if there were any major problems. There a draw backs with any RV you purchase. At this point in my life the Trailmanor is working out perfectly. I love it.
I really hate to hear people put down the TM when they have NO real experiance with them.

Good Luck and enjoy what ever you buy.


Thanks Jack. Your past experince with such a wide spectrum of campers and your decision to go wiht your 2nd TM alleviates much of my concern about the quality and potential maintenance/system flaws.
Much appreciated.

03-05-2006, 08:40 PM
It's coming to one year soon....we own our Camper. It's a TM. The reason we paid three times more for this model is this. Our van can pull it. If I had a larger TV I would have looked at other campers. It's lite wieght. It's not tough. But it is weather resistant. Rain, 12 degree and snow .....passed. This summer I look forward to 100 degree weather. I'll be reporting on her grades the fall.
I instaled an add on transmission cooler coil on the van this weekend. I found it at a pawn shop. My son and I progressed through this project with excellent results. Seems to work O.K.
We will go over the Blue Ridge this summer as we visit Washington D.C.
We will go to California in 2007. I'm sure the van will do fine. I haven't read anyone busting down trying long trips through the country. I drive slow and stop alot.
All my repairs to the TM have been normal material degradation.
I had a Great Uncle once told me a man will find a hole to through his money.
Uncle Paul went on to say a boat would be a bad hole. He said a wife and kids would be the most pleasent hole to find. I wonder what he would say of this RV the TM.
What I really want to talk about is manly things like Bears and Thunder Storms. Say what is the inside shoup on bears trying to get in side of TM's? Is there a group going to Alaska?
What about spell check?

03-05-2006, 09:54 PM

We, too, wrestled with the decision to buy a TM, but finally ordered a 3023 on the following grounds:

The safety of towing v. interior space. While other products offered more interior space, none offered more per pound or more with less "winded" surface area. The fact is a lighter weight unit with a lower center of gravity, with less lateral surface area to be affected by wind, is safer to tow (given proper hitch weights). Period. Anyone who disputes that should re-take high school physics.

While many owners seem pleased with the performance of "smaller" TVs on flat land, the ability to tow the TM under ideal conditions was of little concern to us. Having towed something as small as an old pop-up, to a large (25 ft, 8000 lb) sailboat, what matters to me is the ability to control the rig during accident-avoidance steering, braking and accelerating. Again, the TM's lower CG and compact size during towing provides me with the best chance of keeping the pointy-end facing front should I have to swerve or break in order to avoid an accident.

Safety of towing issues aside, I, too, can store the unit in our garage. Despite the TM's high resale values, it, (and most other RV's) is still a depreciating asset and the idea of spending $300 or more a month for a large storage unit for an RV that is going down in value makes no sense to us.

Good luck!


03-06-2006, 10:23 AM
Hi, I have owned my TM now for about a year and I am just amazed at how much I love it. Do you give up somethings of a regular TT sure you do. Yes I have more truck then I will ever need for a TM but when I talk to the people with a regular TT getting 8mpg with a diesel and I am getting 16 I just smile.
I checked them all out and kept coming back to TM. After I retire from the Navy in 5 years I plan on going full timing for 1 year in my TM. Another thing is enough can't be said about the service from the factory or my dealer!

03-06-2006, 11:49 AM
We are very happy with our TM, purchased after we had a terrible accident with a travel trailer in Idaho when we met a gust of wind. So, being "gunshy" , we bought a TM becuase we could tow low and live high. We like the quality, gas efficiency, quirkiness, toilet, storage, and more. We do not even mind the brief set up time and moving the micrwave and stuff when we pull in. We do wish it could have a higher/larger fridge, but we bought a plug-in cooler to hold all the drinks and snacks. We do wish we could use the potti and fridge on the road, but we bought a book of truck stops, and we use them. We do occasionally get dust inside when we tow on dirt roads, but it wipes up fast, and we give the TM a good cleaning when we get home anyway. We do wish we had a more comfortable bed becuase we like our Select Comfort air bed at home, but we may figure out how to use our home bed in the TM, and we have never found any bed in an RV to be as nice as we have at home. So, was it worth it -- in our circumstances, YES. We could not have towed a trailer right away again after our accident, but we did not want to give up RV-ing. So, we found the luxury of a TT in the body of a PUP. We like it just fine!

Bill & Lisa
03-06-2006, 12:43 PM
We were out 3 weeks ago in a winter storm--rain, thunder, winds of 30 mph+, snow, and a temp of 17 F before factoring in wind chill. The TM shook a little but we were as snug as can be. As for bear attack, I don't know that the factory tests for such things! That would be a good question for the reps. Just how much pinpoint pressure does aircraft aluminum withstand in TM applications? What is the tip factor of the trailer should a bear get it's paws under it? I've been wondering what we should do in case of cyclone or hurricane. Would lawn shed tie downs work to keep our trailer pinned to the ground while in storage?

03-06-2006, 02:06 PM
I've had a hard time convincing my husband that our very used TM that we bought last summer was worth the $$. We've had all the usual problems, most relating to things that come apart when towing on bumpy roads...which is nearly all roads here in CA these days. Especially I-5, aka "pot hole central", where fellow motorists want to run you down if you do less than 70mph. :new_Eyecr
This 10 year old small TM cost $3000 more than our small Coleman tent trailer brand new. Nothing ever went wrong with the Coleman. However the Coleman had zero comfort features outside of a stove and a furnace. The comfort in the TM was important to me. The hard walls, the bathroom and shower. DH is not as easily swayed. While he loves the comfort of the TM, he gets angry at the design flaws especially in light of the cost of the TM. He would have been happier with the no hassel tent trailer where all we had to worry about was tires. Having said all this, we were recently hashing over what we would do if we didn't have the TM. We agreed that we would always have SOMETHING to camp in. With that in mind, and the knowledge that I would not be willing to go back to a tent trailer, our conclusion was that it would have to be a TM or something like it that didn't sacrifice gas mileage and was easy to tow with a moderate TV. So far I have not seen a TT that fits the criteria. Since I doubt we will be paying $20,000+ for another TM, we had better make this one last. Truth be told, I probably wouldn't have purchased mine if I had known more about it, yet ultimately, I'm glad I did. I really enjoy camping in it. We both do. Do I sound conflicted?...I am!

Bottom line: They cost too much and have some design flaws that desperately need attention but they do fill a niche in the TT world that others, so far have not.

03-06-2006, 02:31 PM
On bears: I've read that some Natl Park bears that have become accustomed to road-side handouts have ripped the doors of locked cars open to get at food they smell inside. It's unlikely that a TM or any other RV would prevent them from getting in if they are motivated enough -- they are extremely powerful animals. If they learn to associate RVs' in campgrounds with food handouts you can be sure that (like your kids) they will come calling. However, the people who run public parks will know if they are hanging around and will close the parks to camping if necessary.

We lived in Alaska for 30yrs, spent a lot of time tent and RV camping and found raccoons and other small animals to be much more of a problem than bears. We even had a small black bear bed down in a wooded corner of our yard for a year or so and he caused no problems. He was shy, avoided eye contact and minded his own business which was garbage cans, bird feed and pet food left outside around the neighborhood.

Debian Dog
03-06-2006, 03:56 PM
Yes I believe the recommended way of stopping bears is a LARGE caliber gun (.357 or better) and then you have to be a GOOD shot. Pepper spray is better... so they say. (http://www.geo-outdoors.info/bears.htm)

I have never met a bear nor do I want to. I would probably just start :new_all_c

03-06-2006, 05:56 PM
A couple pieces of good news on the bear front.

1. If you are in a TM, and your neighbors are in a tent, the bear will almost certainly go for the tent. I was surprised to see the number of tent campers in Yosemite. There are steel bear boxes for your food, cosmetics, etc, and we were modestly worried about bears - but if I had been in a tent, I would have been closer to paralyzed with fear. The rangers assured us that a TM was "pretty good protection compared to the canvas pop-ups and the tenters". I guess I felt better.

2. We were told that, when walking in the woods, the important thing to do is make noise. Doesn't have to be loud, but continuous. Talk, sing, whistle. In the gift shops they sell "bear bells". Years ago, we knew them as sleigh bells, but sleigh bells are cheaper. Anyway, you are supposed to buy a couple for a truly exorbitant price, clip them to your belt, and they jingle as you move. A ranger pointed out to us that a just-as-good solution is to put a few pebbles in an empty 1/2 liter water/soda bottle, and hold it in your hand so it moves as you walk. Makes a good rattle, and it's free.

Just FYI ...


03-06-2006, 08:35 PM
Bill makes a good point. Bears are very territorial in the wild and going into their front yard can be an entirely different situation than when they come into yours looking for a meal. The likelyhood of your kids being mauled by a neighbors dog is still much greater than a bear attack however.

03-06-2006, 09:56 PM
Some good honest info here. Much appreciated.
2bcs1jrt... think I've come down to the same conclusion as you did after owning but mine is based upon research only. Seems like there is no other option that will meet our needs except the niche that TM fills but will buy one even if there are some potential issues that I need to live with. Need a hard sided camper with relatively a lot of room that our small TV can pull. I'm not willing to go back to hauling with a full size truck and getting only 3-5 miles per gallon again. After all the good input from all, I'm not as concerned now with the maintenance issues being too bad and quality seems relatively good.

many apologies magdefrau!
not sure what "find a hole to through his money'" means but I think I still get your drift. Life is too short to spend time on ....or worry about ....small things like spell check. Being new to this forum I couldn't find the spell check with a quick scan of the tools. Still hhhhhaven'tttttt and still typing faster than I should. Oh well, C'est la vie! :rolleyes:

Bears?? Wow, really didn't want to get everyone off on this tangent. ;) Don't think any trailer is bear proof nor needs to be. Just looking for a hardsided because many of the places we camp at here in the west require them now. No canvas sided popups or tents allowed. I have read many cases of people being pulled out of tents by bears but don't think I've ever read about anyone being pulled out of a hard sided trailer.

Thanks all. Hope to be a proud owner of a TM within the month. Since they are hard to find here locally, I have some questions related to buying from long distance in other sections of this forum that you might be able to help me on.

Doug W.
03-07-2006, 05:59 AM
I am also in the market for a TrailManor. Either as a kid or as an adult, we have had a large TT, several tent trailers, various other trailers and tents. Here are some observations.

Any trailer will sway if loaded wrong. Many people pulling to large a trailer try to compensate by making the tongue weight to light and that will make any trailer sway. Some people don't pay attention when packing. I have made that mistake with my small tent trailer. It will sway if packed wrong. Al I did both time was open it up and redistribute the load. The larger profile TT have more problems with sway the low profile ones, because of wind and semis so packing correctly is not always the solution.

Hi-Lo are a great trailer, but there are two reason I would not get one. First, I do not like the fabic walls for the top half of the bathroom. Second unless you get a real large one, there is no seperate bed. My wife prefers to go to bed early and I do not, so I like TM permanet beds. I know there would be quite a fights if we had a Hi-Lo, because she would want to go to bed and I was not ready yet.