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Old 06-11-2005, 11:12 PM   #1
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Post Assistance with Buying Decision

We are comtemplating buying a TM for our family. My wife and have two children and one on the way (due 11/05). We love camping and the outdoors, but tent camping has proven a bit too taxing with all the setup and take down etc. The last straw was our May trip to Cades Cove in GSMNP when it rained the entire weekend. Not cool to be in a tent all weekend with two boys (7,3), an Airdale and a pregnant wife. She was a trooper, but I think we're ready for a change.

We made a trip today to the largest RV dealer in Charlotte to look at PU campers. Wow, what a disappontment. They only sell Fleetwood and while they did have quite a few models, just trying getting a salesperson worth a darn proved to be our first challenge. Secondly, we never really received a demonstration of the Fleetwood's features and benefits. So much for sales 101. Finally, our own investigation was very disappointing. I had done some research over the internet and narrowed it down to a few models. We had thought maybe we could settle for something a little less expensive than a TM. After this visit, I'm leaning more toward a TM. But before I make a $$ commitment of that magnitude, I have a few questions for anyone kind enough to share your knowledge and experience.

1. Can you speak to TM's resale value?
2. Any trouble with TM leaking etc? (I mentiond the TM today to the salesperson and he said he would not recommend one. Resale poor on it and the HiLo. He also mentioned leakage issues).
3. We will be storing camper away from home on an RV storage lot without overhead cover. Does this damage or weather the TM? I would hate to pay this kind of money and have seals etc going bad after a few years.
4. Have a Toyota Tacoma PreRunner (4cyl). Contemplating buying a new truck, but awaiting the arrival of the 2006 Toyota Tundra (8/06). My Tacoma owners manual quotes a Gross Trailer Weight of 3,500 lbs. Dry weight of TM model 3023 is 2,915 lbs plus a some limited gear and I'm at 3,250 lbs. Horsepower wise, I think I'm OK there also as the PreRunner is geared pretty low. Not optimum, but workable until 8/06. Any thoughts?
5. The only dealer that pops up on TM webiste here for my zip is RV's 4 less in Greer SC. My first impression over the phone was a bit iffy? I would like to speak to a couple of other dealers as well. Saw where someone was kind enought to post a dealer list, but could not find out how to access the PDF file.
6. What's the average discont one can expect to negotiate off of MSRP?

Thanks for your time and assistance as we make this important decision.

Jeff and Sissy
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Old 06-12-2005, 04:53 AM   #2
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Being a fairly new owner of a TM, I can only speak to a few of your quetions. We were surprised when a non-Tm dealer told us all negatives about TMs and Hi-Lo also. THat happened in PA. We had a great dealer in MA and have been very, very pleased with the TM 3124KS -- we did not need the extra beds. We like the ease of opening and closing while being able to tow something low-profile.

We bought a good cover (from the dealer) and will leave it covered and out back all winter. We do not cover it now. Do not tarp it -- it needs to breathe.

You can go to and should be able to find dealers. Also, asking on this forum is a good first step. Everyone is quite helpful.

Regarding the weight -- you are too close, I think. You will add 500 pounds minimum if you put clo9thes, foods, and bedidng, etc. in the camper. Also, you need to consider wheelbase, etc. Maybe someone can help with the formula for safety. Do not ignore the length, etc.

According to all that I have followed on here, the resale value is quite good. Someone observed on either her or RV-Net that the depreciation of any motor home or TT or camper is dramatic as you leave the lot. THus, you might consider buying a gently used TM (three years old or younger, perhaps). Our dealer had several that would have been worthy candidates had we not wanted a new one. Keep hunting -- I think you will find it worthwhile. THey are well put together and safe. I will let someone else answer the rest. Hope you find the right one for you and your family! Queeniereads aka Judi
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Old 06-12-2005, 10:09 AM   #3
TrailManor Master
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 816
Default Tacoma is very marginal for a 3023

Originally Posted by MissingTheNW2001
4. Have a Toyota Tacoma PreRunner (4cyl). Contemplating buying a new truck, but awaiting the arrival of the 2006 Toyota Tundra (8/06). My Tacoma owners manual quotes a Gross Trailer Weight of 3,500 lbs. Dry weight of TM model 3023 is 2,915 lbs plus a some limited gear and I'm at 3,250 lbs. Horsepower wise, I think I'm OK there also as the PreRunner is geared pretty low. Not optimum, but workable until 8/06. Any thoughts?
I assume you have the 2.7L engine...rating is 177 ft-lbs of maximum torque at a fairly high 4000 RPM. Forget Horsepower BTW; horsepower is measured at/near redline RPM and is a completly useless number for determining towing ability. Instead focus solely on torque/RPM values.

If you have the automatic, your axles are indeed geared fairly low (4.30); the manual transmission likely has 4.10 gears. Few people drive with their engine turning at 4000 RPM so your torque at a more realistic 2500 to 3400 RPM is going to be more like about 150 ft-lbs. Even with 4.30 gears, that means the truck is going to be severely straining to pull even a lightly loaded 3023 on anything but level roads once you load the truck with family and "stuff" and also load a 3023 with normal options as well as stuff (food, water, gear). And anytime you start up the grades into the southern Appalachians (I note you were camping in GSMNP), you can expect to be down around 25 mph most of the time.

The ugly little fact about all trailer "dry weights" is that not only do they not include water, propane, food, etc., but they also do not include any factory or dealer options, not even the weight of a spare tire as that is also an "option" for most RV manufacturers. So, the realistic empty weight of a 3023 optioned with usual AC, awning, spare tire, overhead cabinet, battery, etc. is more like 3400 lbs instead of 2915 lbs. Food, water, clothing, pots/pans, dishes, glassware, other gear, etc. will indeed add an additional 300 to 800 lbs, in part because a 3023 is quite spacious and has gobs of convenient storage that just cries to be filled with all kinds of useful "stuff". The bottom line is a realistic weight of a "lightly loaded" but typically optioned 3023 is around 3800 to 4000 lbs and if you get even slightly carried away with equipping the trailer, your trailer's weight could easily get up to around 4500 to 4800 lbs!

Obviously that's many hundreds, maybe even more than a thousand pounds more than the Taco is built to tow. You're going to need a Weight Distributing Hitch because of the 700 lb or so tongue weight of a typically loaded/optioned 3023. But you need to pay close attention to your hitch and frame because use of WDHs has been known to cause frame cracking on earlier model Tacomas (mid 90 and before is my info). Check your owners manual for what it says about using a WDH with your model truck.

Another consideration with smaller tow vehicles is the wheelbase relative to the length of the trailer. However, assuming you have the XtraCab model (121 inch WB), that would be enough to nicely control a 3023.

If you didn't already have firm plans to buy a Tundra later this year, I'd say that your plans to use a Taco as a tow vehicle for a 3023 were infeasible, especially in a family situation with 2 little kids (and all the stuff that implies you must bring along). There are quite a few folks on this board who tow TrailManors with Tundras (myself included) and can testify that the Tundra is a truck that's ideal for TrailManors of all sizes.

Soooo, in my experienced opinion (I'm also the Towing Moderator at TundraSolutions.COM), I'd say your Taco might suffice (just barely) as a tow vehicle for a 3023 for this summer and only for this summer. The big issue is whether or not you can use a WDH with your model truck. If you can use a WDH, you need to constantly be aware you'll be grossly overloading the truck and depending solely on the substantial safety margin that Toyota's engineers built into the truck. Tow slowly and carefully...and trade up to a Tundra ASAP.

P.S. TrailManors do not leak and they retain their value better than almost any other RV brand. Salesmen of other brands of trailers are (a) typically idiots and (b) will say anything to bad-mouth a competing brand so they can make a sale of the brand they are selling. As the old saying goes...."How do you know when a salesman is lying?"...Answer: "Anytime his mouth is moving".

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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Old 06-13-2005, 07:59 PM   #4
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Default Thank you Ray

Ray, Thanks to you and everyone else for your insight and advice.

I look forward to continuing our conversations, hopefully as a TM owner.

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