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  #1  
Old 09-16-2004, 10:43 PM
RUSH2112
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Hello Everyone.

I am new to the forum and look forward to all your comments and suggestions. Let me start by telling you about myself and my plans.
I'll try not to be a windbag..

My wife and I are very serious about getting 'something' to go camping with.
We have looked at traditional pop-ups, trailers, and most recently the trailmanor - TM (I'll have to get used the lingo jargon and abbreviations on this site, so forgive).

Anyway, we are seriously considering the TM 3023, but not a brand new one - maybe 5 or so years old??

We have done the traditional camping thing in tents, and being with her aunt and uncle in the 5th wheel has really made us change our mind out tents. By no means am I ready for a 5th wheel, nor do I think I would want one.
This is our first 'camper' so I feel that a pop-up would be outgrown very quickly. For the most part it will be just us and our 2 year old golden retriever and soon to be golden puppy (so you can say it will be 2 adult dogs in a year.) I live in Pittsburgh and there are a couple different places we can 'escape' to within a couple hours for a nice long extended weekend. My wife likes the idea of a self-contained unit, but it wouldnt affect me either way. I am looking for room and comfort. I want to get a 'bigger' RV, but don't want to tow something TOO big. (I have NO experience towing, but probably will have to learn VERY fast. LOL).

There is an RV show coming to Pittsburgh in January that we are going to attend to get some ideas and we have a couple 'RV Lots' we can browse through also to get an idea.

Currently, we have a 1999 Dodge Durango SLT with a 5.2L V8 and a tow package (i dont know what kind, it was already installed). So here are my questions:

1) Is my vehicle 'good' enough to tow? What is the 'max' size can I tow?

2) What do you recommend as 'first time' RV'ers?

3) Would I need to have anything installed on my Durango to tow an RV?


I would appreciate anyone's comments or questions very much and thank you in advance. Looking forward to your experience and knowledge.
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2004, 08:51 AM
RockyMtnRay RockyMtnRay is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 823
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RUSH2112
Hello Everyone.

I am new to the forum and look forward to all your comments and suggestions. Let me start by telling you about myself and my plans.
I'll try not to be a windbag..

My wife and I are very serious about getting 'something' to go camping with.
We have looked at traditional pop-ups, trailers, and most recently the trailmanor - TM (I'll have to get used the lingo jargon and abbreviations on this site, so forgive).

Anyway, we are seriously considering the TM 3023, but not a brand new one - maybe 5 or so years old??

We have done the traditional camping thing in tents, and being with her aunt and uncle in the 5th wheel has really made us change our mind out tents. By no means am I ready for a 5th wheel, nor do I think I would want one.
This is our first 'camper' so I feel that a pop-up would be outgrown very quickly. For the most part it will be just us and our 2 year old golden retriever and soon to be golden puppy (so you can say it will be 2 adult dogs in a year.) I live in Pittsburgh and there are a couple different places we can 'escape' to within a couple hours for a nice long extended weekend. My wife likes the idea of a self-contained unit, but it wouldnt affect me either way. I am looking for room and comfort. I want to get a 'bigger' RV, but don't want to tow something TOO big. (I have NO experience towing, but probably will have to learn VERY fast. LOL).

There is an RV show coming to Pittsburgh in January that we are going to attend to get some ideas and we have a couple 'RV Lots' we can browse through also to get an idea.

Currently, we have a 1999 Dodge Durango SLT with a 5.2L V8 and a tow package (i dont know what kind, it was already installed). So here are my questions:
Welcome to our online community! Yes, it sounds like a TM would be a great choice for you. WRT questions:
Quote:
1) Is my vehicle 'good' enough to tow? What is the 'max' size can I tow?
Your Durango is easily capable of towing any size TM...even the largest 3326KS. No worries here.
Quote:

2) What do you recommend as 'first time' RV'ers?
Not sure exactly what you're asking for?
Quote:
3) Would I need to have anything installed on my Durango to tow an RV?
Make sure your "towing package" included a transmission cooler.

Beyond that you will need a trailer brake controller (hopefully there is a factory wiring harness already installed as part of the towing package that will make hooking up the controller a piece of cake). I strongly recommend either the Tekonsha Prodigy or the Jordan controllers...both provide trailer braking that's truly proportional to the amount of braking force you are applying to the tow vehicle's brakes. Other "inertia" controllers (e.g. Tekonsha Voyager) are fine on flat land but don't work very well in hilly/mountainous terrain (like around western PA). Do NOT install any of the low-cost "time delay" controllers.

A weight distributing hitch (WDH) will greatly improve the handling and attitude of your tow vehicle, especially if you are going to get one of the heavier TMs (e.g. 3023). By comparison to other TTs, TMs have a very high hitch weight relative to their total weight and, IMO, a WDH is mandatory. I even use a WDH with my half-ton truck. You will NOT need a sway control device, however.
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Ray

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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  #3  
Old 09-19-2004, 03:34 PM
fcatwo fcatwo is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Anacortes. Wa
Posts: 396
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RUSH2112

Hello and welcome to the TM site. Although not new to RVing, I am relatively new to this site and would like to pass on my assessment of the information you'll get here. Simply stated, It's the best you'll find anywhere. There are people who post to this forum who really know what they are talking about. You've already heard from two of them and Denny-A and the others will chime in as needed. One really pleasant aspect is that they respect each others opinion even if they don't fully agree on a point. I think you'll enjoy your stay here. Frank
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  #4  
Old 09-19-2004, 08:11 PM
G-V_Driver G-V_Driver is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Dallas
Posts: 249
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When you ask TM owners what they would recommend for a first time RV'er, most of us are probably going to recommend a TM of some kind. You would probably get the same advice from any owner group, i. e. they like their units and think you would be happy if you bought one. All will offer rationale to justify their choice.

In our case, we wanted a RV that we felt we owned, not one that we felt owned us. We didn't want the financial commitment, both in purchase price and operating, maintenance and storage costs (especially with today's fuel prices) that a motor home entails. I didn't want to drag a SUV around behind a RV when I already had a SUV I could use to drag a trailer. A motor home of any size was therefore eliminated from consideration.

We wanted a trailer that was easy to pull at the same highway speeds we would normally drive without a trailer, but without the inherent sway/control problems found in some. We wanted to achieve reasonable gas mileage while doing so. We wanted to be able to travel through the mountains at reasonable speeds, without burning up the transmission or overheating the TV (tow vehicle in our vernacular). We prefer SUV's to pickups for daily use. 5th wheels were therefore eliminated from consideration.

We wanted solid walls and a fully-functional bathroom, so that we can camp comfortably in most weather and in campgrounds where tents (or tenting) is not permitted. We did not want the problems associated with taking down a tent camper in wet weather. Conventional pop-up Campers were therefore eliminated.

We wanted simple and reliable systems; those that work most of the time and are easy to access and repair when they don't. We wanted construction quality and amenities that made camping fun rather than work.

This process of elimination limited the field to two manufacturers; the HI-LO and the TM. Each has its advantages, but we opted for the TM because it is much lighter and easier to tow and because it has a king-size bed (in our 3124KS.)

Without knowing your "living style" but based on the description of some of your potential trips, I think you might find one of the TM units with a bed on one end and a living room on the other very comfortable for you, the missus and the pooches. If you don't need the extra bed, there isn't much reason to have it other than that the 3023 is (I think) TM's most popular model and resale might be easier.

The reason we have the 3124 slide-out vs the 2720 slide-out is because of the king-size bed. We find the unit roomy and comfortable, and we don't own enough "stuff" to fill all the storage space. We have been camping for more than 30 years and I don't think we've ever thrown anything away, so you can figure out how much camping stuff we have accumulated. All the stuff we need to take fits in the unit with room to spare. Part of the reason is that the TM has features and conveniences that eliminated the need for some of the stuff we used to take.

There are trade-offs, no matter which unit you choose. A bigger bathroom and shower would be nice for me, but I'm a XXL. The air conditioners aren't the quietest. We enjoy camping in the mountains where they aren't needed. The furnace is also a bit noisy, but quite effective. We have learned that a small ceramic heater works as well, and much quieter. The Thetford recirculating toilet isn't what I would choose in a perfect world, but it works fine especially if you don't stay more than a few days or have a sewer hook-up. Adding central heat and air and a full sewer system would add so much weight and complexity to the units that we probably couldn't (or wouldn't want to) pull them. Go figure.

My advice is to read as much as you can tolerate on this site, including the old archived material. It's probably easier when you're all enthused about possibly buying one than if you're not. If you do, you will get a pretty good idea of the units "warts and all." Then you'll have a better idea about how this brand might fit into your needs and plans.

I also think you will be impressed by how well the units retain their residual value upon resale. They admittedly cost a bit more than some other units, but on a dollars-in-dollars-out anaysis they perform better than most.

Good luck.
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Wayne

2003 3124KS drug by 2001 1500 2WD Suburban
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