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  #11  
Old 06-23-2007, 12:29 PM
Rich_in_Tampa
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Just got back from hours of poking around a large selection of TMs at Sun Coast RV here in St. Pete. Great selection, decent and knowledgeable salesman. The more I learned and poked around the more I became impressed with the ingenuity of the thing. So here are some questions I would love to have answered by my fellow consumers rather than a salesman:

1. Nothing but a vinyl flap separating me from the outside world. Any issues relating to wind, rain, security, insulation, tearing over time, snagging during setup, etc.?

2. We had no room to actually open and collapse the unit, something I intend to insist upon prior to possible purchase.

Seems to me that access to the interior (fridge, cabinets, etc. ) is impossible when the thing is collapsed, true? If so, it seems that pre-trip stocking involves opening the stored unit, loading it up, then closing it again before departure and the, of course, opening it at destination, closing it for the trip home, opening it again for cleanout and unstocking, then closing it for storage.

Since we plan lots of shorter trips until my retirement is this a legitimate concern? Or is opening and closing it that easy and quick? Or can you sneak in while it's collapsed to stick a few items in the cabinets?

3. Outside storage seems rather limited. Camping recliner chairs, bikes, and so on need a place in our lives. Are there sensible and not ridiculously priced options here? I have a cargo carrier but hope not to need it off the back of the TM.

4. How is side-to-side leveling and stabilizing handled: wheel chocks? Or are the built-in jacks adequate for most reasonabe campsites?

5. The infamous recycling toilet. In a real world setting, how many flushes, days, etc. can you expect before things get really unpleasant? I don't see a problem if you have a sewer dump station at your campsite, but I'd hate to have to hitch up and travel to the communal sewer dump every 2-3 days while staying at a state park. I realize this is subjective, dependent on your usage pattern, etc. but am looking for some kind of ballpark input.

6. In a pinch, could my 122 lb fit but slight wife open and shut this thing? We couldn't try it out at the dealer due to space constraints on the lot.

Overall, we were impressed with the space, ease of use, towability. The quality seemed decent, and the unit was bright with two skylights, a fan, lots of windows. If the trade-in price is right, we may go for it.

Thanks in advance for your help and advice.
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  #12  
Old 06-23-2007, 12:56 PM
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Bill Bill is offline
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Good questions, Rich -

Others will chime in, but here are my feelings.
Quote:
1. Nothing but a vinyl flap separating me from the outside world. Any issues relating to wind, rain, security, insulation, tearing over time, snagging during setup, etc.?
The vinyl flap has a core, and so is heavier than it looks. So no problems with wind, rain, insulation, tearing, etc. Some people have said that with the right number of two-elbowed arms, a thief could reach in through an un-velcroed area, and either climb in or unlock a lock. I've never heard of it happening, though - it would take a rather knowledgable thief to even know this could be attempted. Before going to this trouble, most thieves would simply bash in a window.
Quote:
2. We had no room to actually open and collapse the unit, something I intend to insist upon prior to possible purchase.
A very wise idea. You want to know exactly how to work this thing. I would not consider buying without opening/closing one in the parking lot.
Quote:
Seems to me that access to the interior (fridge, cabinets, etc. ) is impossible when the thing is collapsed, true? If so, it seems that pre-trip stocking involves opening the stored unit, loading it up, then closing it again before departure. And then, of course, opening it at destination, closing it for the trip home. And then opening it again for cleanout and unstocking and storage.
Correct all around. That is the proper description of a collapsible trailer. And that is why it is so important that the thing open and close easily and reliably, and that you know how to do it.
Quote:
Since we plan lots of shorter trips until my retirement ... is opening and closing it that easy and quick?
Yes. Admittedly it is not as easy as simply opening the door of a full-size TT and walking in - but it isn't hard. And it improves your planning skills!
Quote:
Or can you sneak in while it's collapsed to stick a few items in the cabinets?
Depends on the model. On my 2720SL (slideout model) I have been known to open the front shell a bit, jump up on the hitch, and climb in over the couch. This probably works for the non-slideout models as well. This gives access to the refrig, as well as the ability to close the forgotten vents, and lower the antenna that mysteriously raised itself while we were closing. I can also dump an armload of forgotten clothes on the couch, and properly stow them when we arrive at our destination.
Quote:
3. Outside storage seems rather limited. Camping recliner chairs, bikes, and so on need a place in our lives. Are there sensible and not ridiculously priced options here? I have a cargo carrier but hope not to need it off the back of the TM.
Here you are correct, and it is one of the limitations of ANY folding camper. You'll want to carry as much of this stuff as possible in the wayback of your tow vehicle, or on the tow vehicle's roof. You will also learn to do without a lot of it, I'm sure. We gave up on big folding recliner chairs (though we still carry standard canvas non-recliners), big outdoor rugs, and other "amenities" very quickly. On the other hand, bikes are easily carried on a rack on the back of the tow vehicle. Check out Allen Racks to find ones that don't involve the hitch. There are also hitch-mounted racks, of course.
Quote:
4. How is side-to-side leveling and stabilizing handled ... are the built-in jacks adequate for most reasonable campsites?
Differing opinions have been expressed on this group. Use the Search tool. Many of us carry short lengths of plank (blocks) or Lynx levelers, and simply drive the low side of the TM up onto them. Others prefer to crank the jacks - which are plenty strong enough.
Quote:
5. The infamous recycling toilet. In a real world setting, how many flushes, days, etc. can you expect before things get really unpleasant?
In my experience, things don't get unpleasant if you use the right deodorant, and the recommended dose of it. Use the Search tool for discussions of this topic.
Quote:
I'd hate to have to hitch up and travel to the communal sewer dump every 2-3 days while staying at a state park.
You don't have to do this! If you camp in this situation, you would bring along a "Blue Boy" or "Blue Tote" - a heavy plastic container into which you dump the contents of your tanks. See them at CampingWorld.com. Then you roll the tote to the dump location. Again, use the Search tool - there has been lots of discussion.
Quote:
I realize this is subjective, dependent on your usage pattern, etc. but am looking for some kind of ballpark input.
Most people realize about 3 days between dumps. Some are able to go longer - depends on how much you are willing to use the campground restrooms.
Quote:
6. In a pinch, could my 122 lb fit but slight wife open and shut this thing?
Yes. In fact, there are some tricks that help in the opening and closing of the unit, especially if you get an electric tongue jack.

Hope this helps

Bill
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  #13  
Old 06-23-2007, 11:16 PM
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Bill & Leon pretty much covered it. Here's a bit more on your 2)

For anything other than an overnighter you will probably want to open the trailer the day before, if for no other reason than to turn on the fridge and get it cooled down. Again there are many posts on this topic on the forums.

With a little planning we can usually stow everything in the TV the last day and avoid the necessity of opening it before garaging it...but not always, especially if we've acquired a lot of bulky stuff on the trip...for example, the 55 gallon plastic drum I brought back on the last trip for use in expanding my rainwater harvesting system...and an antique china cabinet!

Another reason for opening the trailer before garaging it is that we don't "put it away wet" due to mildew concerns...so if we folded it down in the rain, we open it up again at home to get everything nice and dry.

There are lots of RVs out there and the TM isn't for everyone...but it's definitely for us.
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  #14  
Old 06-24-2007, 07:17 AM
lnussbau
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Bill, Leon and Bill have pretty much covered it, but one more thing about your item 2: When we picked our TM up at The Car Show in Colorado Springs, they insisted on showing us everything before we towed it away. It actually took about two hours for them to go over opening, closing, setup tricks, practice for us in setting up and taking down, and question-and-answer, along with checking that everything works, from pressing the button on the TV antenna amplifiers to all the latches. The lady doing the instruction was perhaps a little more than 122 lbs, but not a lot, and she could set up the whole thing in short order (watched her doing it at an RV show in high heels, too).

I'd strongly suggest you insist on a similar session, if they don't offer it themselves.

Also, opening and closing the shells, along with swinging the door out to let yourself in only takes a minute or two, once you've practiced. You don't have to do a FULL setup (walls up, cabinet placed, etc.) to get in and add last minute food or clothing.

On item 4, at most campsites we've been to, the scissor jacks are more than adequate for leveling, though we carry along some blocks of wood for times when the site is more of a problem.

And, my 2720SL with the swingaway hitch and low profile air conditioner fits in my garage for storage.
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  #15  
Old 06-25-2007, 10:45 AM
Bill & Lisa
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A couple of additional comments.
1. Vinyl flaps have only been an issue for us when we camped in below freezing temps. We added swim noodles in the tracks alongside the bed (from outside) and that helps on the cold draft that can result otherwise.

There have been many trips where we either took food in a dc coleman cooler and then loaded once we got to the campground (not real good since it still takes a while to cool down the fridge. More reasonable and feasible is empty what little food is left into a cooler when breaking down at the camp site and transport in the tow vehicle. We also move the dirty clothes to the TV and any thing else we want to "take home". We then are able to stop and drop our TM at the storage site without having to swing by the house first.

Potty stops on the road are tougher. They can be done but most times by the time you find a safe place, far enough off of the road to open the shells, there is normally a public restroom available there as well. Since your gas milage will only drop 1-2 MPG while towing the TM you could have to stop more often than just fuel stops but in my book that is a good thing.

Bill
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  #16  
Old 06-27-2007, 01:54 PM
Rich_in_Tampa
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Well, my saga continues. The dealer finally got back to me, and made a low but credible trade-in offer. I plan to return there this weekend to open and shut the thing, see if he's good to his word, and possibly do the deal. I'm starting to get excited but have been around long enough to know it ain't over til it's over.

There are two TMs to consider: a 3124KS and a 2720SL. Wish there was a a "2821KS" but no dice.

Anyhow, I really like the big king bed and ability to sleep north-south, and the nice playpen it makes for lounging around on a rainy day (no wisecracks necessary ), so we may go that route. We'll try them out and see.

So, if you would indulge me a few more specific questions:

Driveway storage: just how close to the house can I snug this thing up during storage (boy am I going to need parking lot practice!). First, I want to be able to drive off easily without cutting the corner against the house. Second, will I need access to the port side of the trailer when opening it, or is it all done from the starboard side (other than unstrapping the thing)? Should be plenty of room fore and aft.

Towability and Driveability: recognizing that this would be my first towable RV, would you expect a noticeable difference between the 20 and 24 foot models? There is a 320# weight difference but I'm not sure how that translates to the road.

Tow Vehicle: I've scoured the boards and it looks like we will be buying a 4Runner. The 6 cylinder would be our choice for the 27 footer, but I'd tip toward the 8 cylinder for the 31 footer; both are rated at 5000 lbs. I know what a complicated topic this is, but does this sound reasonable and safe? Either would be with a WDH.

Stay tuned, and thank you for all your advice so far.
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  #17  
Old 06-27-2007, 04:53 PM
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I'll take a stab at your three inquiries - we're in our third year with a 2619.

1) Storage - You'll want to leave room to squeeze between the garage and the TM. If setting up for loading, cleaning, using as a guest room, etc. you'll want to be able to easily reach the locking bars to secure the shells. Also, as you have pointed out, you'll probably want some maneuvering room. Remember also that the electric, water and waste connections are portside.

2) Towability - There probably won't be too much difference between the models you've identified. You may actually find the longer unit easier to back. Remember to keep some weight on the hitch - don't load all the weight in back of the axle.

3) I'm not sure of the mileage difference between the two engines, but I personally would opt for the larger engine. It provides a margin of safety when fully loaded, passing or in hills or headwinds. The WDH is always smart although I've never missed one with my F-150 SuperCab. - Camp2Canoe
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  #18  
Old 06-27-2007, 05:02 PM
Rich_in_Tampa
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[QUOTE=camp2canoe;38769]
2) Towability - ... You may actually find the longer unit easier to back.
/QUOTE]

Thanks. That's interesting. Is it because you can see the tail better?

Re: snug to wall: is 18" enough clearance from the house to allow me to sneak back there, plug stuff in, etc.? No worries about projecting hardware while setting up or breaking down, I gather?
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  #19  
Old 06-29-2007, 06:20 AM
lnussbau
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Actually, a shorter trailer is a bit "twitchier" than a longer one, that is, it responds more quickly to even the slightest turn -- it's due to the length of the lever arm when turning during backing (that's almost constant -- small corrections).

An 18" clearance would be awfully snug -- I know I wouldn't even fit in that space, let alone be able to bend over to get at the shell release levers. And it'd be tough to get at the water connection and maintenance panels on the port side, and it'd be difficult to tighten the lug nuts and check the tire pressure there, too.

However, if you're willing to pull the trailer out (and have a place to do so) when ready to prepare it for the road, it might work. Personally, I'd want at least 2 1/2 or 3 feet.

One thing I'd note: DW and I manually push our 2720SL into the garage for winter storage (or any other time we need it in there). With the wheel on the tongue lift, if your location is almost level, it's easy for two people to move it around -- almost as easy as with a light aircraft. Once we get it moving, DW stands by with the chocks and checks clearances while I do the remainder of the moving. But if there's much of a slope, it could easily get away from you. Come to think of it, if my driveway were perfectly level, I'd have no trouble moving it alone.
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  #20  
Old 07-01-2007, 10:08 PM
Rich_in_Tampa
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Well, we visited the dealer and decided on a new 2007 3124KS. They had one on the lot which I would have bought. However, my DW rightly pointed out that it was in bad shape for a new TT: buckling velcro, dirty window treatments, stains on the vinyl gap-flaps, etc. After politely but firmly putting them on notice that we expected it to be spanking new when we came back for it, the dealer suggested that maybe she'd be happier with a new one ordered fresh from the factory (either a 2007 or a 2008 model at 3% higher price).

We agreed on a trade-in price for my Class B and are ready to sign the deal. He said he would call us back on Monday after attempts to locate a unit nearby or ready to ship from the factory. My gut is telling me there's about a 50% probability he will come through (they have already failed to return calls x 2). We'll see.

If no dice, we'll continue to try and sell or consign our 2006 Great West Sprinter Legent Class B and ultimately buy the TM from the lowest bidder wherever that may be.
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