View Full Version : Have Question About Purchasing TrailManor

06-28-2009, 12:50 PM
Hello TrailManor Owners: I just found this wonderful website this morning while searching the Internet for used TrailManors. So I would like to take advantage of all your knowledge about TrailManors if you don't mind. We have a bid in ebay on a 1997 23/30 TrailManor and I was wondering if we have bid too high and if we should we go any higher if outbid? It is suppose to be in very good condition only needing a jack installed that owner never got around to replacing but he has the jack, just needs installed. From pictures it looks very clean and only a few minor bumbs and scratches on the outside but pictures never tell the true story, we found that out when we purchased a boat thru ebay. I looked up NADA but not knowing exactly what the TM comes with I had to guess on some items, tried to go with lowest to keep quote low instead of too high. It said the low value was $3700 and the average value would be around $4500. We have already put a bid in for $4675 but will not go any higher if you all tell me that's too high. I have another question too. I have looked at TrailManor website and it says our 6cyl 2005 Chry Town and Country can pull this size TM but those who have acutally pulled this size TM with our type vehicle can tell me better if this is true. We want to travel from FL to Alaska, we have pulled pop up before but never a trailer of this size. We would like to stop at Grand Cayon along the way and maybe take the Pacific highway for awhile, but I am nervous about our T&C pulling this size trailer up any mountains or steep hills. We have seen some campgrounds that have pretty scary inclines and I was wondering if we should totally avoid those? Well, I hope next time I post on this website I will be able to say we have joined the TrailManor family. Thanks for any help and suggestions you can provide. RJ

06-28-2009, 01:31 PM
I would not buy a TM of that age off eBay (unless it was really cheap, which that isn't)....maybe that's just me but I feel that way too much can go wrong on a 13-year-old camper to buy it sight unseen. BTW....I looked up the ad on eBay. I wouldn't pay more than $2500 for that trailer. For one thing, it has no title. He says that no title is required in SC but I doubt that is true. The general look of that trailer looks worn-out. One other thing, a 3023 is 27' fully opened (not that it matters). He states that it is under 3000#....not true, the manuf wt may be under 3000# but the cabinets, stove, fridge, AC, furnace, propane etc all add weight. You will find that it is closer to 3500-4000#. My 1998 2720 ways 4000# (on the scales) and it's a lot smaller than that trailer.

Now, for your 2005 T&C....... Here are the specs that I found on your vehicle. Check your Owner's Manual for your actual specs but I think they will be close:

Curb weight 4,331 lbs.
GVWR 5,600 lbs.
Payload 1,513 lbs.
Towing capacity 3,700 lbs.
GCWR 8,600 lbs.

The most critical # that you have to work with is the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating). That tells you the total amount of weight that your vehicle is rated for including, trailer, passengers, cargo and fuel.

If you take your GCWR of 8600# and subtract the vehicle curb weight, of 4331#, you find that your vehicle's total capacity is 4269# (including all cargo, trailer, passengers and fuel).

You'll need to check the actual weight of the TM but I think that you may find that it exceeds 4000# (including all optional equip). That leaves you less than 269# for passengers, all cargo (incl trailer cargo) and fuel.

What must be kept in mind is the fact that even a VW Beetle can pull one of these trailers at hwy speeds (not on hills of course), the issue is more stopping than pulling. Of course, other factors come into play in the GCWR of a vehicle like suspension, steering, tires, brakes and a whole host of other details. The bottom line is the bottom line though and that is that you should not exceed any single rating that your vehicle is designed for. This is particularly critical when towing. The biggy though is your GCWR. If you exceed that, chances are, you are exceeding all of the other ratings on the vehicle. Very dangerous thing to do.

You will have many people tell you, "I tow with my xxxxxx and have never had a problem". If you are looking for approval only, you'll be sure to find it. If your looking for facts.......check the facts yourself. It's as simple as looking in your Owner's Manual and doing a little math.

06-28-2009, 01:57 PM
Thank you for your reply. Guess we will have to wait and see if we get outbidded and then walk away from this one. Was more in our price range but don't want to pay too much for a defective TM either. Thank you as well for the info on towing, we really would like a 19/26 TM, just the two of us and two small dogs so don't need a whole lot of room. We have a 1992 19' Sunlite that was remodeled by previous owner and we love it but gets a little crowded in there. haha Thanks again, RJ

Scott O
06-28-2009, 02:41 PM
I completely agree with Wayne. No way I would ever purchase a TM without being able to examine it. And to do this successfully requires some education on your part. TMs are unlike any other RV. They have strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. You need to know what to look for so you can avoid making a big mistake. And welcome...you have come to the right place for information. Join so you have full access, and then start with the questions on anything you can't find.

06-28-2009, 03:01 PM
You definitely should be able to inspect it before purchase. I sympathize, though, because I was very excited to get into a TM and saw one on eBay that looked so good. DH set his foot down and said no way was he buying anything he couldn't see and run systems in first. :( It took a few months, but we finally found exactly what we wanted in our state, and even though we had to make a couple trips, we scored big! We got a lot of help from experienced owners here on the forum and got a good deal on a great trailer. Turns out DH was right, there is a lot to look at before you buy.

You ought to let us on this forum know where you are looking, and we could let you know if we see any advertised in that area. This site is such a great resource for owners (and future owners) of the wonderful TrailManor -- and we're all pretty friendly and helpful, if I do say so myself. ;)

06-28-2009, 05:12 PM
All your replies have been very much appreciated. We may have to accept a bad feedback on ebay if we end up winning this auction, our first ever, but don't want to buy something that we will regret later. Wish I had found this website first. Yes, everyone does seem pretty friendly and very helpful from other replies to questions asked by other new TM owners or those considering buying one. We don't even know what DWH or DHW means, whatever that was I was reading about on other helpful replies. All I could figure out is it is something you need on your towing vehicle. Haven't a clue what it is or where to get it or how much it cost. We live in central FL, just north of Tampa. There are some TM's posted around our area but all are too costly for our budget. We always thought we would like a TM but never could afford one, reason we jumped on the one listed on ebay. Oh well, another one of life's lessons learn the hard way. Thanks to all of you, will keep my fingers crossed now that someone outbids us. RJ

06-28-2009, 05:22 PM
Not being that familiar with Ebay, can't you just cancel your bid?

Mike Anderson

06-28-2009, 05:34 PM
I concur about buying a TM, or any trailer, on Ebay. There are just too many things you cannot see on Ebay that need to be evaluated in person.

We located our TM through Craig's List. If you find something on Ebay, e-mail the owner and inspect in person, then make the offer.

06-28-2009, 05:56 PM
Seems like I saw somewhere on the forum a list of abbreviations. It took me a while to figure everything out as well - there are still some that befuddle me. The ones you refer to are, I think -
DW - darling wife
DH - darling husband
WDH - weight distributing hitch
TV confused me for a while till I realized it was the tow vehicle and not a television!

Good luck (or bad luck I guess!) with the eBAY auction.

06-28-2009, 06:18 PM
Not being that familiar with Ebay, can't you just cancel your bid?

Mike Anderson

Yes you can with a good reason or at least you used to be able to when I was a Power Seller. The way I remember it you can cancel within a certain time limit to the ending time.I would do everything I could to get out of that bid there are just to many things you need to look at on a TM especially one that old before purchasing.

Also that TM isn't worth anything close to what a NADA would estimate with no title IMO. I have seen people get stuck with items because they thought they could get a title after purchasing. Not to mention what if there really is a title & after you fix it up someone shows up to claim it.

One more thing I noticed you are not really dealing with the owner on this so that would be another Red Flag.

Also try to think about the possible resale value for you someday.

Sorry for being on the soap box I just hate to see people make mistakes. I am very untrusting of strangers as you can tell.

Good Luck & remember there is always another good deal but in this case it just doesn't seem like a good deal.

06-28-2009, 07:41 PM
Thanks again to everyone of you who replied to my questions. Some of Al-n-Sue's answers made me laugh but most sent up red flags. I am going to try and cancel our bid in ebay and get out of this mess. I would like to know the things to look for now when checking out older TM's for sale, is there a check list on this website that tells us novices what to check for before purchasing a used TM? Do most trailer hitch installers carry the WDH? Thanks again for all the information, really has been a big help. RJ

06-28-2009, 08:25 PM
When we were looking at an older TM, the nice folks here answered our questions on this thread: http://www.trailmanorowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8283&highlight=inspecting

Hope it helps you as much as it helped us! Good Luck!

06-29-2009, 06:50 AM
Thank you again to all who replied to my questions. I am trying to get our bid retracted but seems I might have some problems doing that unless the seller will agree to cancel my bid. Will contact him this morning and see what he has to say. If we can get out of this mess then next time we see a TM for sale in our price range we will eductate ourselves on what to look for and be sure we see the TM in person before purchashing. Happy camping to all. RJ

06-29-2009, 09:03 AM
Just to throw another ingredient into the mix ...

Regarding a trailer title, harveyrv postedHe [the seller] says that no title is required in SC but I doubt that is true. And that certainly sounds reasonable. But several years ago, I found that Maine does not require a title for a camper-trailer under 3000 pounds net weight. The term "net weight" is not defined, but I imagine that the folks at the registry will use the dry weight specified on TM's web site. By this measure, TMs up through and including the 3023 are under 3000 pounds.
Reference: http://www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/registration/pstlcfrd.htm

Although Maine does not require a title, an owner can get one by asking for it and paying the standard fee. First, though, you have to get through the helpful folks at the Registry who don't want to do it because "you don't need a title".

In looking this up, I ran across a web site called dmv.org that tries to summarize motor vehicle laws in all 50 states. On the question of title, enter the following URL, substituting yoiur state name for "maine".


06-29-2009, 09:16 AM
Based on your TV and the model TM and the trip you have planned, I would highly discourage you doing this with either this unit or even a similar newer unit. I am not trying to spoil your excitement, but I do not believe you will enjoy the trip with this combination.

06-29-2009, 11:56 AM
Hi to All: We can't thank each and every one of you enough for all the information you have given us. Not sure if you even care to read what I am about to type next so stop reading if you have already said "Ughhhhhh! What an idiot!" haha My DH and I had a very long, very nice conversation with the fellow who posted the ebay auction. No, David is not the owner but the owner is his neighbor and a very good friend. He said we would be meeting the owner if we win and come to pick up the TM. The owner is in his 70's and didn't want to bother signing up for ebay so reason he asked David to help, David has sold over 1600 items on ebay, one of which was an airplane, and has 100% feedback. But the most important information we got today is that David and the owner had already made an appt to get a title for the TM this morning, someone else he knows told him yesterday that SC law now requires a title. He said once he has the title he will put in the ebay listing that a title is now available, so we will see. And David told us that he and the owner took the TM camping for two days a couple weeks ago to test everything, it hadn't been used for awhile because owner and his wife are in their 70's and do not like camping anymore, David said everything worked good. And David told us that he would be more than happy to cancel our bid in ebay if that's what we decide to do or we could come check the TM out and if we don't like it we don't have to pay for it. Will get this printed in an email of course, not going to show up with verbal promise only. We are headed to the area where TM is located in a few weeks anyway so not going to be a wasted trip even if we don't get it. We may be making the biggest mistake of our lives by staying with our bid but David seemed to be trying to work with us and again, he will cancel our bid if we chicken out before Wednesday and we don't have to pay for it if we don't like it when we go to pick it up. Now just have to figure out the towing issues. The owner's manual with our T&C says we can pull it, so will have to get a set of the bars David was telling us about to attach to our hitch for better weight distribution. He use to pull race cars all over the country so he knows exactly what everyone was talking about on this forum about WDH and did recommend we get them. So glad I found this website and I will definetly be checking back in the TrailManor Owner's Forum in the future for help one way or another because someday we want to be part of the TM family. Happy Camping to all. Rj

06-29-2009, 12:19 PM
I am not sure about the statement that you don't need a title in SC. You don't need a license tag for a small yard trailer or boat trailer (although you pay taxes on the boat and motor ), but you do need a tag for a camper trailer. We needed a title and a bill of sale to get a license tag for our TM last year in SC. We pay taxes on the camper like we do on a car. How can you even move it in SC or to Fla. which also requires a license tag without a tag? If ebay doesn't understand that you can't move it legally then I wouldn't worry about being on their bad list.

06-29-2009, 01:44 PM

What do you mean by, "The owner's manual with our T&C says we can pull it"??????

If you are going by the "Towing capacity" of the vehicle, you are missing the whole point of my previous post.

The Max tow rating tells you what the maximum weight that the vehicle can safely tow with no cargo and no passengers.

The other issue is that the weight you are being quoted (3000#) is NOT what the trailer currently weighs. You would do well to stop at a weigh station on your way home with the trailer. Like I mentioned before, my '98 2720 weighs over 4000# (on the scales) and the trailer you are looking at is a much larger trailer.

You can probably get away with towing that trailer home over flatlands but you were originally asking advice about a much more radical trip that involved some pretty extreme mountain driving. IMO....that T&C is not up to the task and you would be putting your family and others in danger. Not to mention the fact that the vehicle itself would probably not survive that trip.

06-29-2009, 01:51 PM
FWIW, when I weighed my 2005 TM 2720 it was 3380 pounds on the TM axle. I did not weigh the tongue. I estimate that the total weight of my loaded ready for camping TM is 4,100 pounds.

Most people carry about 1,000 pounds of stuff.

06-29-2009, 02:44 PM
I will again second the other towing comments. My 2720SL ( smaller model than one you are considering) is over 4000 lbs with just the basic options AC, battery,propane, awning and some kitchen wares, Add in 300 Lbs conservative for two passengers, 100 lbs for auto fuel, 200 lbs for personal items, 100lbs for basic trailer needs ( tools, jack, lug wrench) 100 lbs for food and drinks.

With a CGVW of 8600 lbs a TV weight of 4331lbs and a trailer weight of 4000lbs ( for the smaller 2720) you have less than 300 lbs left for all the stuff above. Assuming you use this up with two very small passengers, you can't safely take food, clothing, or any basic supplies.

I think everyone on this forum would love to have you as a new TM owner, but not at the risk of your safety and enjoyment. You WILL NOT be happy with this set up.

FYI look at my equipment below. TV capacity is >9600 lbs and there still been a few times when it was uncomfortable.

06-30-2009, 08:07 AM
Thanks to everyone who responded on the towing issue. I finally got it figured out and see now that we shouldn't even be towing our Sunlite without getting the Heavy Duty Towing package installed on our T&C. We have only camped twice since buying it and didn't tow it very far from home. Might have been different outcome if we had gone to Smokey Mountains! So many thanks to all of you who responded, you probably saved us from alot of grief. Heard back from David, no problem with getting the title but he was told by someone that they plan to bid more than us, so probaby won't be getting this TM, no problem with that since we really want a 20/27 anyway. Happy Camping, RJ

07-01-2009, 09:55 AM
Hi Again, this will probably be my last question as a prospective TM owner and I thank everyone for getting us this far with our TM purchasing experience. We ended up at Chrysler/Dodge to get tow pacakge on our Town and Country but was told it can't be added, had to be installed when van was built. I joked to my DH that we needed a new truck now. Well, six hours later we became the proud owner's of a 2008 Dodge Dakota. Probaby won't win the 1998 23/30 TM on ebay and that won't be a big deal but there is a local TM for sale in our town that is owned free and clear, the senior owner bought himself a deisel motor home so the consigment fellow said the owner is open to all offers. We don't have much money, DH was recently forced to retire, but if we think we can swing this I want to know how much you think we could offer the seller and still not offend him? It's been sitting on the sales lot for about two months. TM is 2005 19/26 TM the owner bought new and only camped in it a couple times before buying the RV. It has the basic standard equipment that comes with most TMs but has electric jack in front and an awing, don't know if that's standard or not. DH and I already have been inside and it looks brand new, would test everything though before paying if he were to accept our offer. He is asking $12,000 but as mentioned, we are being encouraged to offer less and see what he says. We were thinking $8500 but that might be going too low and don't want to offend. What do you all think? Thanks, RJ

07-01-2009, 10:34 AM
Check out the for sale section of the forum Here is one very close http://www.trailmanorowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8867

Not sure you should worry about offending the seller if that is what you can afford. Most they can do is say no but most likely come back with a counter.

07-01-2009, 11:42 AM
Thanks Bob, have been checking in here every day. Have eye on one in Ohio but Denver a little too far to drive from FL and then find we do not like it. Waiting to see what happens with the TM on ebay and also have a house for sale we need to bring money to the closing because of today's economy, just trying to get rid of it. So have to be very careful right now with spending money but I know someday we will get the TailManor of our dreams at a price we can afford. Thanks for all your suggestions, has been a really big help. RJ

07-02-2009, 06:43 PM
I'd offer my lowest bid first, you can always go up from there. If the seller doesn't like the offer, he will probably counter offer. DH always says he can talk for his money easier than he can work for it! You never know what they will take until you try!

09-30-2009, 01:08 PM
I completely agree that buying from Ebay is probably not the best way to purchase a TrailManor. We just made a new purchase of a 2009 Model in the Dallas area and feel like we got a great buy. With 2 year warranty. We looked on Craigslist too for a second hand model, but decided as much as we enjoy camping, and we wanted the best light weight camper on the market, that we owed it to ourselves to buy new. The Cleburne RV dealer in Texas has some really great deals on 2009 models. We did our homework before we made our purchase and in a five state area, no one could come close to their prices. Not even close.

We are first time RV buyers too so we have a lot to learn. I'm so glad I found this site. I might have been in a tent popup camper if I hadn't found out about TrailManors.

Glad your here.

09-30-2009, 01:48 PM
I would suggest every new owner download this user guide http://tmphotos.org/Mike%20and%20Kelly.pdf and have it with you when you pick up your TM. It has been our best friend on a number of occasions.