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Old 12-28-2007, 09:00 AM   #1
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I'm in the market for a toyhauler trailer but have no toys, nor am I an RV'er. I currently drive my long-tall Sprinter around the country teaching pro-audio classes to church sound system teams. So last year alone I drove 50,000+ miles and spent over 100 nights in hotel rooms. This year I've gained so many sponsors that there's no room for the gear in my Sprinter, and I'm getting tired of paying big bucks for hotel rooms where I only spend 8 hours a night. Plus I can never find a room when I'm driving at 11 PM and need some sleep. My normal weekend is to drive 400 to 800 miles on a Friday, teach my workshop on a Saturday, then drive back those same 400 to 800 miles on a Sunday. Not exactly a restful camping trip, but exactly what I did for 36 weekends last year. In short, it's my road gig.

So I'm considering a toyhauler style FW trailer pulled by a Sportchassis or Intl 4400LP. I think a short (34' to 36') FW trailer with a 12+8' LQ and 13' cargo area would give me plenty of room for my gear and plenty of living space considering this is a solo operation.

I've gotten info on trailers such as the Campmaster, Work & Play, and Play-Mor, as well as Optima and Vintage. As I'm sure you're aware, Optima and Vintage want me to build a 40' to 48' race-hauler, while Campmaster, Work & Play, and Play-Mor tend to build the smaller tag trailers for guys who want to play in the desert. I've also drooled over MURT designs from Featherlite and Sundowner, but those are probably out of my budget range. I'm trying to keep the trailer build under $30K, which is possible from Vintage, Campmaster, and Work & Play.

I want something short enough to get into tight church parking lots, but heavy enough to haul my 4,000 lbs. of sound gear. Total trailer weight will probably be around 15,000 lbs so I'm not going the pickup truck gooseneck route. It's a bit of a balancing act between tandem 7,000 axles on a 34' FW trailer with perhaps 3,500 cargo capacity and triple 5,200 axles on a 40' Vintage Outlaw trailer with 5,000+ lb. cargo capacity. Also, the race trailer boys want to sell me a gooseneck hitch and suggest a 3/4 ton pickup will "pull the guts outta this trailer", while I insist that a FW hitch hooked to a TrailerSaver 32K on a ranch hauler SC or Intl LP with a 300+ HP diesel has got to be safer for my coast-to-coast trips. Also while most of these race-car style goosenecks are aluminum over steel frams, the Work & Play construction is a fiberglass-plywood exterior on a steel frame, which scares me a bit. I think that .030 or .040 Aluminum skin on a steel frame will be stronger, and Aluminum skin on a Aluminum frame (Featherlite or Sundowner design) the best construction of all, but a bit $pendy.

So the question is, which trailer builder makes a product that will give me the least problems for 50,000 miles a year on the road in every kind of weather and not break the bank? Should I even consider a Work & Play plywood-fiberglass trailer? Will triple 5,200 axles running at perhaps 75 percent load capacity be less problems than a tandem axle trailer at 95 percent load capacity? Is a triple-axle any better or worse than a tandem in terms of highway ride and parking in tight spots? You'll note that I've not considered RV type trailers with a cargo box in the rear since I don't think they'll survive my style of "RV-ing" and I really don't want or need the highway bling, but is there anything else out there I haven't mentioned? Any other suggestions of what to look out for in this build? I note that cold-proofing the water tanks is an issue, but I need to run this thing winter and summer, so perhaps tank heaters and heat-tape on the plumbing is a possible solution. Any other ways to do this?

Thanks for any suggestions or musings you can provide.
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:00 AM   #2
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I'm in the market for a toyhauler trailer but have no toys, nor am I an RV'er. I currently drive my long-tall Sprinter around the country teaching pro-audio classes to church sound system teams. So last year alone I drove 50,000+ miles and spent over 100 nights in hotel rooms. This year I've gained so many sponsors that there's no room for the gear in my Sprinter, and I'm getting tired of paying big bucks for hotel rooms where I only spend 8 hours a night. Plus I can never find a room when I'm driving at 11 PM and need some sleep. My normal weekend is to drive 400 to 800 miles on a Friday, teach my workshop on a Saturday, then drive back those same 400 to 800 miles on a Sunday. Not exactly a restful camping trip, but exactly what I did for 36 weekends last year. In short, it's my road gig.

So I'm considering a toyhauler style FW trailer pulled by a Sportchassis or Intl 4400LP. I think a short (34' to 36') FW trailer with a 12+8' LQ and 13' cargo area would give me plenty of room for my gear and plenty of living space considering this is a solo operation.

I've gotten info on trailers such as the Campmaster, Work & Play, and Play-Mor, as well as Optima and Vintage. As I'm sure you're aware, Optima and Vintage want me to build a 40' to 48' race-hauler, while Campmaster, Work & Play, and Play-Mor tend to build the smaller tag trailers for guys who want to play in the desert. I've also drooled over MURT designs from Featherlite and Sundowner, but those are probably out of my budget range. I'm trying to keep the trailer build under $30K, which is possible from Vintage, Campmaster, and Work & Play.

I want something short enough to get into tight church parking lots, but heavy enough to haul my 4,000 lbs. of sound gear. Total trailer weight will probably be around 15,000 lbs so I'm not going the pickup truck gooseneck route. It's a bit of a balancing act between tandem 7,000 axles on a 34' FW trailer with perhaps 3,500 cargo capacity and triple 5,200 axles on a 40' Vintage Outlaw trailer with 5,000+ lb. cargo capacity. Also, the race trailer boys want to sell me a gooseneck hitch and suggest a 3/4 ton pickup will "pull the guts outta this trailer", while I insist that a FW hitch hooked to a TrailerSaver 32K on a ranch hauler SC or Intl LP with a 300+ HP diesel has got to be safer for my coast-to-coast trips. Also while most of these race-car style goosenecks are aluminum over steel frams, the Work & Play construction is a fiberglass-plywood exterior on a steel frame, which scares me a bit. I think that .030 or .040 Aluminum skin on a steel frame will be stronger, and Aluminum skin on a Aluminum frame (Featherlite or Sundowner design) the best construction of all, but a bit $pendy.

So the question is, which trailer builder makes a product that will give me the least problems for 50,000 miles a year on the road in every kind of weather and not break the bank? Should I even consider a Work & Play plywood-fiberglass trailer? Will triple 5,200 axles running at perhaps 75 percent load capacity be less problems than a tandem axle trailer at 95 percent load capacity? Is a triple-axle any better or worse than a tandem in terms of highway ride and parking in tight spots? You'll note that I've not considered RV type trailers with a cargo box in the rear since I don't think they'll survive my style of "RV-ing" and I really don't want or need the highway bling, but is there anything else out there I haven't mentioned? Any other suggestions of what to look out for in this build? I note that cold-proofing the water tanks is an issue, but I need to run this thing winter and summer, so perhaps tank heaters and heat-tape on the plumbing is a possible solution. Any other ways to do this?

Thanks for any suggestions or musings you can provide.
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Old 12-28-2007, 03:59 PM   #3
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It looks like you know what you want, the only thing you need to do is decide on what kind. The best place to see whats out there is at a RV show you get several different makes and models and dealers and most times they run show specials. The big thing is you see what there is how they compare on the extra care in building and cosmetics so you can keep going back and forth and save on gas.
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Old 12-28-2007, 04:37 PM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Kablewizard:
The best place to see whats out there is at a RV show you get several different makes and models and dealers and most times they run show specials. </div></BLOCKQUOTE> Possibly so, but where can I find an RV show with toyhaulers? I do travel around a good bit alreaday (I'll be in Florida on all four weekends in February) so the plan was to visit a few of the big RV dealers to start getting the idea of these toyhaulers. But of course, whatever trailer or truck happens to be on the lot is pitched by the salesperson as my "perfect fit". Any RV shows with toyhaulers happening in the winter, or do I have to wait for summer?
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Old 12-28-2007, 05:57 PM   #5
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Florida just had it big show, but there are always shows going on someplace. You need to pick at least 3 / 4 differt brands and then go and look at them find your favorite floor plan then you can compare all on your favorite plan. We have a garage in ours and thats what we really needed because of gas in the Motorcycle. You might find a garage will work too because you can close the door and still have lots of room.

I don't like telling you what to get, but rigs to look at would be the Attitude, Weekend Worrior, Dune Chaser and Desert Fox just to name a few, We have a Dune Chaser. Our first was a Desert Fox, and our kids have a Weekend Worrior, all are very good and I like the floor plans on the Attitude. So start there. I am not sure where you will be, but Lazey Days is a big dealer between Tampa and Orlando to start with I am sure someone will add more.
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:21 PM   #6
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Hi, I've owned two toy haulers in recent years, a Continental by Forrest River and a Campmaster. I had few (if any) problems with the Continental. The Campmaster had a couple of issues (plumbing leak, loose hardware, etc,) but nothing major.
I would agree with your thinking, stay with a steel framed structure and .040 aluminum skins. The triple axle setup would give you a higher safety factor, better stability (think cross winds) and as you mentioned, more load capacity.
The big negative(s) with FRP sided units - most are poorly insulated, repairability (if damaged) is near impossible without replacing complete sides, front panels, etc.
Also IMO, the fifth wheel config and a MDT would be my choice for long hauls,...again - think safety, stability, manuverability, and stopping!
PS: A buddy here in OKC bought a Continental/Forrest River 5th wheel (32') a couple of years ago for around $24K and has been quite happy with it.
You might consider a visit to Elkhart, Indiana & visit a couple of manufacturers before making a decision. (pay attention to how well they insulate their products)
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Old 12-29-2007, 04:17 AM   #7
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Hitting a big RV show, and taking your digital camera makes a whole lot of sense. Start photos of whatever unit you are looking at with a shot of the poster of what it is, who carries it and how much. Things will tend to run together.

With the miles you plan to put on, an International or Freightliner M2 and air ride hitch would also make a lot of sense to me.

In toyhaulers I would think with the kind of miles you are looking to put on I'd look at the better built, higher end stuff. Maybe you could search around for a used featherlite, or I like the XLR by forest river... Komfort used to build a Karry-All in 36 and 38' that struck me as well constructed, but I believe they have been discontinued.
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Old 12-29-2007, 05:46 AM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by BOB E:
Also IMO, the fifth wheel config and a MDT would be my choice for long hauls,...again - think safety, stability, manuverability, and stopping! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes to all of the above, that's why I'm seriously looking at a Freightliner or International MDT with a TrailerSaver FW Hitch. After a 700 mile drive I have to drag that 4,000 lbs. of gear into a classroom and set it all up for my workshop the next morning. Anything I can do to reduce my driving fatigue and save my back is a big plus. And since I often have to drive in less than perfect weather, stability in crosswinds in a big concern.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">You might consider a visit to Elkhart, Indiana & visit a couple of manufacturers before making a decision. (pay attention to how well they insulate their products) </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I've thought about taking a road trip to Indiana (I was born in Gary, but don't tell anyone) since a number of trailer manufacturers are located around Elkhart.

I have not considered insulation, but that's a good point since we had a gig in northern Indiana two years ago where it was 9 degrees in the morning. I'm going to eliminate any dark trailer colors, especially black. I know the race-car boys like the looks of a black trailer, but since I was teaching in Phoenix last summer in 105+ temp, I don't want the additional heat load from the sun. It also appears that the 15K BTU air conditioners are available as heat pumps, which a few salesman say work better than a heat strip. So a 15K BTU heat pump is being considered since I'll often have "free" shore power and can save the propane furnace.
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Old 12-29-2007, 08:30 PM   #9
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Hey Soundguy, I'll throw you another curve. With all the driving and sleeping at rest stops and such, how about thinking about a class C pulling a cargo trailer. With this combo you could sleep, eat, and drink, without getting out of the coach, have a genset for power and to me, makes more sense than a trailer. Since this is a toyhauler forum I guess I'm remiss in suggesting a toyhauler but if I was in your place, I'd think twice about your suggestions.
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Old 12-30-2007, 05:45 AM   #10
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Yeah, I'm looking at it that way as well. I've also been pricing a toterhome which could pull a short gooseneck trailer for the gear. And of course, I've seen class-7 or class-8 trucks stretched to an RV in front with a toyhauler garage in back. However, in all these scenarios the one detail I've left out is than while on my westcoast flying tours I need to park this rig somewhere on Sundays after my gig and get to an airport to fly home to Maryland for the week. The thought was that I could drop the toyhauler trailer at a Pilot truck stop near the airport, drive the Sportchassis of 4400LP to the airport parking lot, then fly home for the week. When I return I just pick up the truck at the airport, drive back to the truck stop to pick up my trailer, then be on my way. With a toterhome or RV with garage I'll still need to park it at a truck stop, but then I have to get cabs back and forth from the airport to the truck stop. Still an option, but I've spent an hour or more waiting for a cab to show up at a truck stop. Another way to do thi is to have enough room and weight capacity in the garage or trailer to keep a small car for short trips back to home or the airport (Smart or Beetle?). Either a ranch-hauler or Smart/Beetle gives me the option of going somewhere for diner without dragging the entire rig with me. That's why I like the idea of a FW trailer rather than a gooseneck hitch. The FW is easier to drop and hookup while solo. I almost never have any assistants when I most need them, so I need a way to do these things solo. More to consider though.

One more thing. I did indeed drive 50,000 miles last year (and flew another 100,000 miles) so I need a truck-trailer or RV-garage that can go a quarter-million miles without falling apart (my 5-year plan). A separate trailer gives me the option of leasing a pull vehicle for a month if my own truck needs a rebuild. I'm basically "on" for 11 months out of the year, so I can't afford the downtime if a tradional RV has a major issue. How many of you drive your toyhaulers 50,000+ a year, and what sort of problems have you had with them?
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Old 12-30-2007, 06:58 AM   #11
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SoundGuy

Try this link for RV Shows. I can't guaranty there will be Toy Haulers there, SURV's are taking the industry by storm, so there is bound to be a few. No need to enter the event name, just pick the month and state.
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Old 12-30-2007, 08:17 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by K-Star:
SoundGuy

Try this link for RV Shows. \ </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Thanks for the link. I see there's an RV show in West Palm Beach, FL on Feb 7th thru the 10th, and I'm going to be teaching a class at a church in West Palm beach on Feb 9th. So I can easily carve out some extra time and visit that show. I like the month/state search since I can swing by an RV show or trailer manufacturer if I know about it a bit in advance. Great link!!!
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Old 12-30-2007, 09:15 AM   #13
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I like your idea of a toyhauler. It would be much easier to get equipment in and out of than a stock trailer. Why not consider the new 2008 F450? You will have plenty of power and safety. In addition you will have a pickup truck which will handle well. We have a KZ toyhauler, they have a number of them in their line to fit needs and budget. The company stands behind the product and the quality is good. They are worth taking a look at to see if they will fit your need.
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Old 12-30-2007, 11:36 AM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Dieselgem:
Why not consider the new 2008 F450? You will have plenty of power and safety. We have a KZ toyhauler, they have a number of them in their line to fit needs and budget. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I've just looked at the KZ haulers, and they sure do make some pretty trailers. But I'm thinking more along the lines of a short race-car trailer or horse-trailer with a steel frame and (possibly) rivited AL skin. See http://www.trailersforsale.com/Campmaster_21.html for one possible. Since I'm a solo driver I don't need a lot of LQ space other than a nice bed, restroom, and couch/table to kick back and listen to music and watch DVDs. I do need something that will take the grind of 1,000 mile trips every weekend without shaking apart. I've even considered getting a expeditor/hotshot truck such as http://www.truckpaper.com/listings/detail.aspx?OHID=109...4A31B91C8C352F9B439D and adding a full bathroom and extended LQ in the front 10 ft of the box. These type of trucks already have Air-ride, cruise, heated mirrors, inverters, and possibly an APU. If I could find an RV installer who could put in an extended LQ with a sink and shower in a box truck I could make it work. Does anyone know of a truck upgrader that does that sort of work?

Added: Here's another hotshot "toyhauler" if I added a living-quarters with shower. http://www.truckpaper.com/listings/detail.aspx?OHID=160...4A31B91C8C352F9B439D And being under CDL weight would simplify things on the license side a good bit. Has anyone on this forum converted something this this into an RV-Toyhauler with full living quarters?
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