View Full Version : Thinking about buying a Trailmanor, concerned about lift system

12-06-2007, 07:54 AM
Dear forum members,

I am new to the fourm and am considering a Trailmanor. I currently have a coleman pop up camper. I have had it for 20 years. It has been a great little camper, but at some point I want to upgrade, and get away for the canvas issue.

I have looked at new Trailmanors and they seem to meet most of my needs. What I don't know if how well they hold up over time. I have seen a few Trailmanors in the used lots at dealerships, and the entire lift system seems worn out. The models I have looked were 5 to 7 years old. Of course, I do not now how the previous owners treated their Trailmanors, but if they rattle apart after 5 or 6 years use, they would not serve my needs well at all. Some of the units I have looked at on used rv lots were so hard to set up and take down, the dealership would not even show me how it worked. I can live with a cabinent working it's way lose or a trim piece coming unglued, but I need a camper, whose main structure holds together well.

I plan on rv'ing more often in the future. Most of my trips are under 200 miles, and are for 2 or 3 days from my home port. I would like to take a trip across country. This would require a lot of set up, and take downs. Do you think a Trailmanor could handle this? I would also like to drive to Alaska. Do any of you think a Trailmanor could make that trip?

I appreciate any comments. I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season!


12-06-2007, 09:00 AM
Scott, I don't know how typical our experience has been, but we've owned a 2619 for three years, have used it pretty hard, and have never been back to the dealer for service. Trail Blazer friends Jim and Mary Grant of Romeoville, IL, did the Alaska highway thing a few years back and are still camping in the same TM so that certainly seems within the capability of a TM. I could see a non TM dealer being a little apprehensive about the TM process but both of the dealerships we visited before purchase were happy to demonstrate the set up and take down procedure and even let my wife do it by herself. I never wanted to deal with wet canvas and she wanted a bathroom so the TM seemed a pretty good choice. Hope this helps. - camp2canoe

Leslie & Nick
12-06-2007, 09:32 AM
It could well be that the RV dealership personnel didn't want to demonstrate the TM, because they didn't know how to open/close it, and they didn't want to look unfamiliar with the product they're trying to sell, especially if this was not an authorized TM dealer. While not particularly difficult, it takes some familiarization with the setting up/taking down process. As you've no doubt determined by now, TrailManors are a bit different than popups, or other travel trailers.

We bought our 2002 2619 TM about 2 1/2 years ago, so it's about 5-6 years old now. Granted this is the first trailer we have actually owned, but not the first RV type vehicle we've used. We're not particularly rough on the TM, and I try to keep up with the 'little things' that need fixing. But in my opinion, the TM has held up well - certainly no worse than other trailers I've seen. As you mentioned, there are going to be things that need repair - it's the just the 'nature of the beast'. The torsion bars that raise/lower the shells can go out of adjustment, but they can be re-adjusted as long as they're not damaged.

I would think, your best bet is to learn as much as you can (like you're doing here) about TrailManors to make sure it's right for you. If you happen to see someone with a TrailManor on one of your camping trips, just ask them about it. They'll no doubt be more than happy to tell you all about it! :)


Virginia Deacon
12-06-2007, 09:43 AM
Hi Scott!

We had two Coleman popup campers, before we bought our TrailManor. The lift system on the TrailManor was one of my reasons for buying it. It took about 40 turns on the crank to lift the popup; the TrailManor lift system is remarkably easy to use with minimum effort (just pull each section toward you and the lift system does the work). And, unlike your popup camper, the lift system doesn't use cables, pullies, and lift channels made of aluminum.

We haven't done any travel on bad roads for any distance, so I can't speak about long-distance travel on poor roads. But, we haven't had the recurring problems (leaking sink, problems caused by cheap construction materials) we had with our Coleman campers. Also, no hot end bunks caused by sun beating down on canvas (or cold end bunks in fall season). ;)

Happy Camping!

12-06-2007, 09:44 AM
We have a 2000 2619 TM and the set up and take down works fine. I did have to replace the tub, but that was because previous owners poked a hole in it, not because of defect. I've had to do maintenance type things, but as far as the lift system, I believe that has a life-time warranty. We took a 9500+ mile trip last year -from Washington to NJ, to SC to TN and back - four weeks with many set ups and take downs and it still works the same as when we got it. I like the fact that for an over-nighter I don't even have to disconnect from the Jimmy. We would like to go to Alaska at some point in time and wouldn't think twice about taking the TM. We probably have over 20K towing miles on the TM since we bought it and have had less trouble with it than any of the tent trailers we have had, or the regular Travel Trailers -for that matter. I have one friend coming over to look at our TM because he wants to buy one - he's selling his motor home!

12-06-2007, 11:07 AM

I have a couple of comments that might be helpful.

1) The worst thing you can do is pull your TM without balancing the tires. I think it is tragic that the factory does not do this. But that will beat up and wear out your TM more than anything else. Don't overlook this.

2) A non TM dealer may mean a bonanza for you. I was able to make an awesome deal on a 1 year old. I drove 2000 miles to get it. It was in immaculate condition, but the dealers were completely unfamiliar with it. They needed 3 people to open it for me! I made them an offer on the phone and they took it, so off I went. If you do this, you will have to evaluate the unit mechanism yourself, so it is good if you can open a properly adjusted one before you look at the one you are considering. Also, there are some wonderful checklists on this site for evaluating a prospective new TM.

Best wishes. I think your other questions have been answered.

12-06-2007, 11:45 AM
We have a 1997 2720 that opens & closes without a problem. We bought it 4 years ago from a dealer who was not knowledgable about TM's; I had to stop them from closing the bathroom wall - they tried to fold it down without removing the pin.

For us, the setup time of the actual TM itself isn't much of an issue. It's the extra stuff that we carry inside the trailer that we have to rearrange when we get to the campsite (bulky bedding, TV, food in baskets, etc.).

12-06-2007, 12:50 PM
Tomorrow, we take delivery our new 2008 3326 King. We've never owned any kind of RV.

This is one of the most positive series of posts we've seen on this forum and look forward to the delivery process.

We bought this TM site unseen. We don't even know if we have the strength to open/close it, although our dealer is confident we will.

Should you make a TM purchase, we sincerely hope ours and your experience will be similar to those posted on this thread.

12-06-2007, 01:05 PM
Scott2190 wroteI have looked at new Trailmanors and they seem to meet most of my needs. What I don't know if how well they hold up over time. I have seen a few Trailmanors in the used lots at dealerships, and the entire lift system seems worn out.Scott -

Regarding the lift system on a TM, there really isn't much that can wear out. I tend to think of the lift system as being kind of like the bumper on a car. It is made of heavy steel, and it just sits there. There is nothing to "wear out" on either of them. It really is almost that simple. That's why TM guarantees them for life.

As Nick mentioned, they can go out of adjustment, but they can be readjusted as long as they haven't been damaged in a crash or something. If you were looking at TMs on a used RV lot, this is probably what you saw. The dealer didn't know how to adjust them, and on top of that, didn't know how to open the unit. As Bob mentioned, you may be able to use that to your advantage.

As Virginia pointed out, there are no lift cables, pulleys, or channels, as there are on a pop-up. And there are also no hydraulic pumps, hoses, wiring, or hydraulic lift cylinders involved in the lifting.


12-06-2007, 05:08 PM
We're original owners of a 2001 2619. We have spent at least 30 nights a year in the unit since purchase. We have many weekend trips as well as long ones on the unit (Tx-Minnesota, Tx-Wisconsin, Tx-Pennsylvania, Tx-western Colorado, Tx-Florida, I'm forgetting some, I'm sure).

We have never had any problem with the lift system and in fact, have never had to adjust it except for moving the bolts near one of the "pull-handle" latches to ensure a snug fit of the front shell when closed down, an adjustment I easily did myself.

12-06-2007, 06:42 PM
Shandysplace! Good luck, and welcome. Our 3326 has been splendid. Our 2720SD was great. 2720SD came from a dealer who was not familiar with TM, but they had "learned," and presented/demonstrated it very well. We're anxious to hear your reactions after tomorrow.

The Forum has an answer to almost every concern, and all members are ready and eager to help.

12-06-2007, 07:50 PM
In the "Frequently Asked Questions" of the TM website:

- What kind of warranty to I get with my Trailmanor? Trailmanor offers a limited lifetime warranty on our torsion bar lifting mechanism springs.

12-06-2007, 08:25 PM
My Winnebago dealer had no clue about the TM on their lot. I had to put it up for them so we could check it out. Once you figure it out it is quick for just one person to operate. It's faster than any tent trailer I've seen but more work than a travel trailer because you have to put all personal items away to fold it. A TT is always a box that doesn't need cleaning to move it.

12-06-2007, 10:03 PM
I've been out in our TM for the last hour just lounging in the front bed, listening to a CD, listening to the rain gently falling on the roof, and anticipating our next trip. :p I can't wait!

I took a look around. I noticed a couple of dirty spots, used a scrub-brite pad along with a little Lava soap, and cleaned off what little dirt had accumulated on the inside from our last long camping trip during the summer. If you keep your TM clean and well-maintained, it will look and perform like new for a long, long time.

Scott O
12-07-2007, 09:59 AM
Hi Scott:
Our TM is relatively new, so I can't really comment on it's longevity. Seems very stout and I don't anticipate any problems. We moved to our TM from a Starcraft popup and I can assure you it is night and day. The Starcraft wasn't that big a deal to set up (if you don't mind bending over and cranking for awhile) but the take down was a massive pain. Wife and I got very good at it and it still took a half hour. The TM is much faster and easier, and it doesn't really matter if it is raining or not. Should you decide to get one I can't imagine you would be sorry!

On an unrelated note, I am jealous of B and D...Our TM is kept in the garage so we can't go out and lounge in it and listen to the rain on the roof. I would imagine that it would be significantly fun! I need a taller garage!

12-11-2007, 08:09 AM
I agree with all the above positive posts. I moved from a Jayco 18 foot tent type trailer to the Trailmanor 2720SL. The Jayco was really okay and I took many trips in it but set up and particularly take down was a pain. The Trailmanor lift system is sort of like the way the trunk of a car (now a days) is counterbalanced. There really is nothing much that can go wrong. I have some issues with sliding out the front sofa area as that is kinda hard (probably need to lube the rails) but the shells always go up and down quite smoothly.

Pat Stafford
12-21-2007, 05:34 PM
My wife and I have a 2000 3124 KS we bought used and I can tell you it had some rough use. The torsion bar bracket on the left front was bent and it suffered from at least 6" of solid ice on it's roof the first year we had it. Unfortunately, it was set up and the roof flexed quite a bit. We had a slight water leak around the front vent when the snow and ice thawed and refroze. This caused the ice to be pushed up under the overlap when it refroze then it melted again. All I can say is that it was the hell of a winter and the TM survived admirably.

Now for your question of the lift system. It survived the bent bracket incident and I don't know how much weight was on it with the ice but it was significant. Afterwards, it operated just fine and the two shells popped back up to normal without any further maintenance.

The bent front bracket however was another issue. Apparently the previous owner hit something with it like an curb and hit it pretty hard. There was slight damage on the two inside rear panels just over the bed by the rear windows likely caused by the jolt it received. We straightened the bracket out after we bought it and set about re-leveling the two shells. It took some effort and calculations to get it right but, everything came together and we can now open and close it without any problems. The TM support staff helped us over the phone and did a great job. This happened before the ice storm hit us and the settings remained good even after the storm.

All in all,the TM has served us very well and we continue to use it with trips planned from Missouri to Atlanta and Florida next year. Perhaps someday, we will consider fixing the two rear panels but since you can barely notice the damage, the simple solution was to just cover the area with a nice wall fabric and forget about it.

And no, there were never any other leaks plus, the heater worked great is 10 degree weather and once we were able to get back to the campground and fire it up, it melted the ice on the roof.

One thing though, it is noisy inside in heavy rain. We like it but you might not. LOL