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Old 04-23-2009, 09:25 AM   #1
Pittsbrat
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Default Hmm, not impressed so far

After screening all kinds of trailers and motorhomes, the TM seemed the best for us -- on paper. However, on visiting the dealer and checking them out I must admit I was less than impressed. The finishings seemed cheap, the seals at the seams did not seem robust, and they were much smaller inside than I'd anticipated. At every turn, it seemed like it wouldn't stand up to much use. I was hoping it was a collapsing travel trailer, rather than a hard sided popup, if you get the difference.

Because this is an enthusiast forum, you guys know the good points and the bad points and how easy the compromises are to live with. So, please, convince me I'm wrong. Really. I'd kinda like to be wrong because it would save me about $50K.
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:31 AM   #2
ng2951
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Well first what is the mission you want your RV to fill? It may be that there are other trailers that fit your mission better.

As far as durability goes, go look at used TMs. For the most part I found that TMs held up rather well. I was very concerned with seals and leaks. The older units I looked at did not seem to have any problems. There were certainly lots of wear marks and color fades (UV does that) but everything operated perfectly.

In the folding trailer arena, TMs interior space are among the best. Until you get to the larger Hi-Los TM interior space and usage is a lot better. Even the largest TM is significantly lighter than modest size Hi-Lo.

The TM is built to be really light. TM uses composite construction. Real pluses there if you ask me. There is not lots of wood since wood is heavy. Exterior-wise I do not see lots of issues. Its no better or worse than most RV builders.

Interior-wise, TM still uses composite construction. This works fine and saves considerable weight, but it will not take the abuse wood would. You cannot put a hot pot on the table top and not risk problems. This type of construction has the same issues any laminated surfaces would, but not hugely so. If I could avoid clipping corners when I store our gun cart in the main aisle I wouldn't have chipped some molding. Also I have to convince Lady, one of our dogs, to stay off the couch ledge we be in tall cotton.

I really regard the Hi-Lo and TM as the near equivalent competitors. Frankly, the only Hi-Lo I really like is the largest Hi-Lo. Forgive me if I wrong, but that Hi-Lo weighs a lot more than the largest TM(3326). I don't see how you can drag that Hi-Lo with a V6, but you can drag 3326 with one.

All folding trailers do have an inherent problem: you have to stow everything before you close them. That gets to be a bit of a drag especially one one-day stays. But if you work from a checklist and stay organized this is less of a problem.

The TMs bathroom is really among the best. Despite people's fussing the recirculating toilet is a great concept. Once you learn how to charge it properly, it works just fine. Its big advantage is that it does not consume water and stores all its waste. If you are dry camping, you do not have to watch drinking water get consumed on every flush or watch the level in the black water tank. This again saves on weight. The downside is learning how to use the chemicals properly and tank charging.

The TM also has one of the better hotwater systems IMHO. It is both electric and gas. What is slick about that is that you can run them together. That greatly reduces recovery time. However, I think most users if they have electricity available run on it rather than gas. I usually preheat the HW before I leave on a trip. That tank is so insulated it will retain for a very long time.

Until you get to the larger Hi-Los, the TM's bathroom configuration is better. You don't have the "wet floor" bath like some trailers do.

One thing I did find out is that the smaller TMs set up better than the big ones. On the large ones the ends tend to sag some. Its a non-issue if you know that, but I didn't. I would have problems getting the rear door jam to align properly. When I started to realize what was happening and read some cryptic comments in forums, I realized that the rear of the trailer was sagging. I was going to install some levels on the rear shell, but I have a small bullet level that I use instead. Works fine, no problem.

I don't think this happens on the smaller trailers.

So if you want a hardside folding trailer, that is light, can be towed by a V6 or less a TM can be the right way to go.
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:32 AM   #3
fischnet52
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Default Not robust...

Well, I will be anxious to hear/see replies from long time owners, since we just got our 2720SD in October and have yet to get out in it - other than the driveway! Here is food for thought that we considered before joining this fine 'club' of owners.

My thoughts were similar to yours .. a bit mixed when we first looked at the TM at the dealership 4 yrs ago. We had first seen one in Olympic NP, being used by a retired couple who had traveled the US with it and loved it - a 3124 I think. The dealer also carried HiLos and several other 'standard' hardsides and we spent hours going from one into another, repeating a lot of "yeah, buts" to one another. I'm sure the salespeople all talked about the crazy couple! However, we have camped with a large Jayco popup for 12 years (with up to 4 kids) and it is still in very good shape. i.e. we really take care of things we use. Now that we are retired, our consideration was to have something with the shower and toilet, the oven and AC and a little more 'live in' space than with the Jayco, so we could be self-contained in RV parks near/in cities we want to visit, yet still be able to get into the same more remote camp areas we could with the PUP... we spend most of our time outside when we camp, under the awning or at the fire ring or picnic table. I've got a camp table and Coleman propane stove that we will continue to use outside as well. We also wanted to have the towability and mileage we got with the PUP if possible. A major consideration is that we could aways get the 16ft of PUP into a small site, then open it to it's 22 ft and have room ... in sites that you could not get a 24ft trailer into.

I know what you mean about interior size/room, seals and concern about 'standing up' to use, when compared to a full size trailer. My Dad had a 31ft 5th we used and there is no comparison in room, no seals to worry about, etc. But they are two different animals. It depends upon your overall desires and needs.

After discussing these issues and reading through the forum, we decided that it is obvious in many ways that folks with TMs have very similar expectations from their RV. It was also fairly obvious that, while some aspects seem to be not 'robust' enough for a lot of use, there are many folks who have used them extensively and do not see a lot of degradation in the units. My greatest concern is in making sure that I'm careful with the shower walls in takedown, as I see that as the weakest component. All other features are well designed for use and, based upon how our PUP has fared, should last many good years!

I have also talked to owners of older units I've seen in campgrounds who purchased used and new, and have had the same very positive comments from both regarding solid construction and durability of seals and components.

TMs are not for everyone ... This is the best place to help determine if it is a fit for your needs.
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:48 AM   #4
Wavery
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We bought our 2720 when it was 10-years-old. It's now over 11-years-old and we camp with is a LOT (usually every other weekend). It has held-up remarkably well. Durability really isn't an issue, unless an owner tows the thing off-road a lot. Ours doesn't leak a drop and we've had it out in some pretty nasty weather. The nice part is that it doesn't have to be stored outdoors, exposed to the aliments 24/7.

The real advantages to the TM is tow-ability and store-ability. If you have room to store a hard-sided trailer and a TV that can handle it, that would certainly be a better choice (IMHO). The $ difference would certainly make up for any fuel savings. You can buy a full sized travel trailer with slide-outs for the price of a TM.
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:31 AM   #5
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Based on your opening statement, I am not at all surprised by your conclusions/concerns. You are comparing apples and oranges. I guess the first question you need to ask yourself is " what do you want to do with your RV?" If it is tour the country with all one night stays at various types of facilities, a motor home may be a better choice,If you plan to have it delivered to a long term campsite and go there on weekends, maybe a travel trailer with push outs is right, If you want to get away for a few days or weeks at various places and plan to tow your RV with something less than a 3/4ton truck and still have many of the comforts of home, and not sleep on the ground or under canvas, then the TM is a great choice. There is no perfect RV, even a $500K top of the line motor home has disadvantages. You will not be happy with your choice unless you first determine how and when you plan to use it.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:37 PM   #6
Pittsbrat
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We plan to use it to go to dog shows. The vast majority have electric/water hoookups at each spot, and a central dump station area. The typical trip would be 3-4 nights, say Thurs-Sun or Fri-Sun around the southeast. We are not campers. My wife's idea of camping is a hotel without room service. And I say that only half jokingly. At the shows, what we're really interested in is an air conditioned living room, with sleeping space being secondary. The head is a primary consideration, as most of the sites have only porta potties and no showers. Cooking facilities are not important at all. We would like a bed for us (convertible OK), plus space for a couple of kids (beds or floor). If the kids come with us, we can put the dogs in the SUV for the night. If the kids stay home, the dogs can have the living room space. They don't need to be crated at night. The noise at dog shows can be annoying, so sound insulation is important.

One of our 3 garages is big enough to fit any size TM plus the kids' stuff and the motorcycle, so being able to store it inside at home is key to its appeal. Our neighborhood has deed restrictions that do not allow any trailer or RV to be parked outside for more than a day or two while staging for/from a trip. We have a tow vehicle for a TM, but it will not pull a big travel trailer. If we don't opt for a TM, we'd probably go with a motorhome rather than a "regular" trailer or 5th wheel plus a tow vehicle. The cost of the outside storage is not that great, but we'd like to avoid the weathering issues.
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Old 04-23-2009, 01:31 PM   #7
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We have the exact same issues you have about the neighborhood covenants. To be honest, that was the main reason we got our TM. Yes, those big RV's are nice, and roomy. But towing them and storing them, to me, are huge downsides. If you are planning on sitting in your camper most of the time, the TM is probably not for you. (unless you sleep alot)

My wife had never been camping before we got ours, (about 2 years ago) and now she can't wait to go. She loves it!
In any rate, if you do decide to go with TM, there is no doubt, that when you do run into problems (and you will) that the people on this board will help out in any way they can. They are great! Good luck hunting....and have fun
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Old 04-23-2009, 02:32 PM   #8
Scott O
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Your closing sentence told me all I need to know...if buying a TM will save you $50k then it really isn't a fair comparison! Going in, realize a TM is a compromise. It is light and easy to tow, at the expense of a little robustness. It is small and many fit in the garage, which may limit room on the inside. It is not a house on wheels, but a comfortable and very functional place to stay when away from home. What it is is what it is, and if you think it will replace a 35' fifth wheel or bus motorhome it isn't going to happen and you will be disappointed. Read the comments in this thread carefully. They are written by folks who, like me, love our TMs but realize the compromises involved in having one. As far as convincing you that you are wrong...there is no right or wrong here. You must analyze what your goals and needs are in purchasing an RV and act accordingly! And let us all know what you decide.
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Old 04-23-2009, 02:40 PM   #9
ragmopp
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My wife's idea of camping is a hotel without room service. And I say that only half jokingly.


Don't take this the wrong way but if what you stated is true, then I wonder if a TM or anything less than a motorhome will be adequate. You know that old adage: If momma ain't happy nobody's happy....

Mike Anderson
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Old 04-23-2009, 03:07 PM   #10
ng2951
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Sound may be a problem unless you have the AC running. If the AC is running its pretty loud.

One thing you might like to do is rent a trailer for a test. I do not know of any TMs available for rent anywhere, but you can rent some trailers that are pretty close to a TM.

A TM is fine for two and a couple of small dogs, but they do not have the room of TT with slideouts. Something like a 3124KB or KS would likely be a good idea since you would have better storage. Some of those trailers have the 40 gallon water tanks, which you might need with 4 on board.

We have the 3326 which is quite nice. We are able to store all our outfits, CAS firearms, gun cart, camera gear, generator (which we bring when we are dry camping), and other gear. The only limitation is that we have to move gun cart out of the trailer when we get set up. Still we could probably do most of this in a 3124KS.

When the kids start getting to be adults floor space might be a problem, but then the beds are pretty large. An average sized person can sleep on the sofa bed (I have), but it might be tight for some.

In many ways I think you might be happier with a motor home or TT. The one thing to consider is that with TT you can separate TT from the TV. If you have a problem with the motor home, everything goes to the service shop. Also, you can use your TV as transportation when are the shows. That's a heck of a nice thing to have.
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