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  #1  
Old 09-24-2006, 02:09 AM
smile711
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Default Future TM Owner questions

Hello.

We've seen several Trailmanors at RV shows, but have been by Lake City, TN many, many times without even knowing a plant was there!

My wife and I anticipate taking frequent short 2-3 day vacations and two or three 1 week camping trips per year and want to get into the TM 2720SL. My questions may seem lame since I'm not an experienced camper, but I need to start somewhere.

1. We'll be towing with a 3.3L Toyota Sienna. Anyone else using one like that to tow a TM? What is it like? We ave. about 22-23 mpg hwy right now, no trailer.

2. I noticed it comes with a Gas furnace. If you camp at camprgrounds that have AC available, it would seem more cost effective to have a furnace that could go AC OR propane. Do they make one that fits this TM, and can the factory put one in when it's ordered?

3. I noticed from pictures that there aren't too many shelves or cabinets. That's no doubt because the unit collapses. But here are my 2 biggest cabinet/shelf questions:

* Is there a way to install a bracket on one of the walls where I can mount a swivel LCD flat-panel TV? No sense in lugging a CRT television around anymore! But I don't want to put it on my eating table either. Anyone have ideas here?

* My wife would like a regular oven, PLUS a separate 3rd party microwave (we already have a nice one we could use). Is there somewhere it could be MOUNTED as opposed to set on a countertop and put up/down/up/down every time you set up or collapse the TM to travel? I'm not sure I see a lot of wall space to put one. She'd give up overhead storage to mount a microwave if it comes to that.

I read in the "features" that TM uses a laminated floor. Is that the same type material as the laminate floors you see being put in lots of new homes with the "wood look?" They're supposed to wear better than the Congoleum floors I've seen in other RVs. Anyone know more details on this?

Finally, we want to store it under some sort of cover, preferably metal. Most are super TALL (about 8-9ft.), so I can see lots of wind, debris, and rain kicking up in there. That's why I think a nice short metal cover would be best. Does anyone know of a DIY kit for a cover that is suitable for a collapsed TM camper?

I look forward to hearing from experienced campers, especially TrailManor owners! Thanks so much.
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2006, 06:57 AM
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Bill Bill is offline
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I'll toss in a couple answers, and let others handle the rest.

2) Re heat - most of us carry a small electric cube heater (1500 watts) for use when AC power is available. It doesn't have to be big or fancy or elaborate or expensive, but it should have a built-in fan to circulate the air, and it ought to have an auto shutoff if it tips over. Something like this ought to do it.
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...105&lpage=none
I'm not aware of any factory options on the furnace.

3a) LCD TV - We carried a small CRT TV for a few years, and set it up on the counter, above the refrig. It took up too much space, so we got an LCD flat panel TV, and set it up in the same place. It is better, but still takes up too much space. To put a bracket on the wall, you would have to use one of the same flat brackets that are used to hang the over-sink cabinet. You can get the brackets from the factory, but you would have to cobble up an adapter to attach the bracket to the back of the TV. Finally, I am in the process of making up a simple bracket that will hang the TV from the edge of the over-sink cabinet, facing the sofa. If it works out, I'll post pictures.

3b) I can't think of any place where you could permanently mount a microwave, unless you gave up one of the cabinets to the right of the oven, and then squatted down to use it. I'm not sure the cabinetry is strong enough to hold it - you would probably have to add some bracing.

By the way, the optional over-sink cabinet is quite handy for lightweight items. There is also an optional cabinet over the stove, now. These should help alleviate your concerns considerably.

Bill
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  #3  
Old 09-24-2006, 06:58 AM
Catawbalea
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Name:	Carport for TM.JPG
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ID:	1495Late this summer we got a carport for our TM. The purpose was to shade it in the summer and keep heavy snow off the roof in the winter. We can't tell you how well it works yet. The picture of it should show you how a single carport fits with the TM.
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  #4  
Old 09-24-2006, 09:13 AM
RockyMtnRay RockyMtnRay is offline
 
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Addressing a couple of questions others haven't yet touched:
Quote:
Originally Posted by smile711 View Post
Hello.

We've seen several Trailmanors at RV shows, but have been by Lake City, TN many, many times without even knowing a plant was there!

My wife and I anticipate taking frequent short 2-3 day vacations and two or three 1 week camping trips per year and want to get into the TM 2720SL. My questions may seem lame since I'm not an experienced camper, but I need to start somewhere.

1. We'll be towing with a 3.3L Toyota Sienna. Anyone else using one like that to tow a TM? What is it like? We ave. about 22-23 mpg hwy right now, no trailer.
You are guaranteed to be overloading the van and it will struggle badly on all mountain roads. The problem is the tow rating is only 3500 lbs...and that rating is measured with only the driver in the van...no passengers, no cargo, no gas, no nothing. Add gas, passengers, & cargo and your real tow rating is around 2800 lbs. A ready for camping 2720SL will weigh around 3700 lbs when equipped with typical options like AC and awning. So, right from the beginning you'll be around 900 lbs (almost half a ton) over the van's rated capabilities. If you take out both rear seats in the van, carry no passengers or cargo and put only the basic necessities in the trailer (a Microwave is not a basic necessity), you might come close to staying within the van's capabilities. But it will still be very sluggish on hills and you'll be prematurely wearing out the engine and transmission. Definitely plan on trading up to a V8 powered vehicle (or a V6 with at least a 5000 lb tow rating) within a year or so after you buy the trailer.
Quote:

I read in the "features" that TM uses a laminated floor. Is that the same type material as the laminate floors you see being put in lots of new homes with the "wood look?" They're supposed to wear better than the Congoleum floors I've seen in other RVs. Anyone know more details on this?
The "laminated floor" refers to it's basic construction...a lamination of aluminum skin, foam core, alumninum skin and very thin wood...as compared to typical (and much heavier) RV floor construction of plywood or oriented strand board. It does not refer to residential style "laminate floors" with a wood look. TM uses the same surface flooring as all other RV makers...either all linoleum (perhaps Congoleum) or a mix of linoleum and carpet. The problem with residential style wood look laminate floors is they are very heavy (a laminate floor in a TM would weigh around 200 lbs more than a linoleum floor) and every ounce...much less every pound...counts, especially in a trailer that's designed to be as lightweight as possible.

A few TM owners have retrofitted their trailers with residential laminate...I personally think they exercised extremely bad judgment in doing so because of the large increase in weight that they inadvertently caused. That extra weight greatly increases the chances of a catastrophic tire blowout (a normally loaded 2720SL almost maxes out its tires' load carrrying capacity) and makes the trailer much harder to tow, especially on anything other than flat roads.
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I use my TM as a base camp for hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and climbing Colorado's 14ers


The Trailer: 2002 TM Model 2720SL ( Mods: Solar Panels (170 Watts), Dual T-105 Batteries, Electric Tongue Jack, Side AC, Programmable Thermostat, Doran TP Monitor System)

The Tow Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Tundra V8 SR5 4X4 w/Tow Package (Towing & Performance Mods: JBA Headers, Gibson Muffler, 4.30 gears, Michelin LTX M/S Tires, Prodigy Brake Controller, Transmission Temperature Gauge)


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  #5  
Old 09-24-2006, 10:26 AM
pbuck1
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Smile,
Do a forum search on "Sienna" and read not just the Sienna posts but also the posts about towing with a minivan. You can also find posts about towing with 3500lb tow limit crossover SUVs such as the Highlander or Pilot which is similar. People do it but with mixed results. I towed with my lexus rx300 for a while before I traded up to a 5000lb vehicle. With the RX300, my mileage changed from 22-23mpg without to 16mpg with the TM.
At the moment (on my 2720SL) I have a shelf which hinges up on the side of the fridge cabinet and I put my lcd tv on that so it doesn't take up counter space.
I don't find the 3rd party microwave any trouble. I picked one which is lighter in weight than most. It sits on the floor in front of the wardrobe during travel and takes all of 5 secs to unplug and put there ( or vice versa)- a very small addition to the checklist of things to do when setting up camp or and tearing it down.
Trailmanor use sheet vinyl floors ( I replaced ours with vinyl tile but for looks, not wear - vinyl tile is only a little heavier than the sheet stuff). In my mind, wear is not an issue for the comparatively little time we spend in the camper. You can get vinyl tiles these days which mimic hardwood floors pretty well if its the wood look you're after, and they're a lot lighter than laminate.
Here's a link to an example DIY carport site:
http://www.coverquest.com/covers/carports/index.php
They do 7' tall metal carports. My local Lowes also sells something similar and I think may go down to 6 ft high. However, since a closed TM is between 79" and 82" with roof a/c and no lift kit you probably don't want to go lower than 7 ft.

-Paul
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  #6  
Old 09-24-2006, 02:14 PM
PopBeavers
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In 14 trips and 4700 miles over the last 18 months there was one occasion where I wish I had a microwave. My son's bowl of chili got cold and it would have been handy to warm it back up. However, I'm not sure it would be worth the effort to set up the generator so that we could run the microwave to warm up a single bowl of chili. I have only had hookups on two of the trips.

Between May and October we have never had a reason to run the heater except for a few minutes in the morning to take the chill out. Again, without hookups I have no use for an electric heater. You would not be able to run any electric heater from batteries and running a generator would be ineffieient.

The most common complaint of the furnace is that it is noisey when the fan is blowing.

We did use a ceramic electric heater for 2 days last November when we had hookups. I had the furnace on the lowest possible setting, just in case the electric heater was not enough. I never heard the furnace come on.

I weighed our rig once. The weight on the TM axle was 3380 pounds. I did not weigh the tongue, but would guess it was around 400-450 pounds. So the total weight was around 3800 pounds, fully loaded with foor, water, etc. Plus I had stuff in the back of the truck.

On one occasion I had to make a panic stop. It felt like I was able to stop in the same distance with the TM as I would have without it. I agree with others that having sufficient power to pull the TM is not the biggest safety issue. In a panic stop, going down hill, in a turn, along side a guard rail with a cliff next to you, I don't like feeling marginal.
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Old 09-24-2006, 04:27 PM
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Bill Bill is offline
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pbuck1 (Paul) wrote
Quote:
At the moment (on my 2720SL) I have a shelf which hinges up on the side of the fridge cabinet and I put my lcd tv on that so it doesn't take up counter space.
Hey, that's a nice idea! I would imagine that you mounted it just below the outlets? Or is there space above? You must have used those folding shelf supports (lid supports) to support it? Did you have to reinforce the back of the cabinet, where the shelf hinge is screwed in? How big is the shelf? How far off the floor? Did you keep the easy chair, and does the shelf interfere with it? A little more detail, please!

Bill
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  #8  
Old 09-24-2006, 09:47 PM
Bill & Lisa
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Attached are some photos of some of the mods I have made. The toaster oven is mounted above the Stove but the shelf could easily hold a micro wave instead.

THe TV stand reduces the amount of counter top the TV alone would take up and provides a place for the Direct TV reciever when we bring along a sattelite dish.

We have 3 shelving units from shelf expressions. two are "corner units" that fit in the corners of the rear shell above the bed. They mount with heavy duty velcro from McMaster Carr. The other is a flat unit with 3 adjustable shelves that we have on the wall near the front bed. I will try and get pictures.

Last edited by Bill & Lisa; 03-01-2007 at 11:43 PM.
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  #9  
Old 09-25-2006, 06:22 AM
Catawbalea
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Remember the carport varies in height depending on where you measure. Ours is 5 foot at the edges, high enough to easily clear the ac at the center. We got a carport one sees everywhere along the road but it seems to be made well.
www.americansteelinc.com/
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