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Old 03-08-2015, 12:01 AM   #1
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First time TT buyer, looking for advice.

I've completely new to this stuff and this is my first travel trailer. I've been shopping for a little while but am afraid I'm missing out on some trailer/brand options. There are very few dealers near me, all are a bit of a drive. I've been to a few and they have limited selection. I'm in Los Angeles and everything is an hour away.

My tow vehicle is a 2004 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 V6. The truck has been heavily modified. Some of those modifications help with towing, some hurt. I have taken that into account and am trying to go as small as I can stand with the trailer. Truck is rated at 5000 stock, I'm looking for a trailer that is around 4000 pounds loaded or less.

My truck has all the requisite equipment to tow (brake controller, aux trans cooler, HD suspension, low gears, etc. etc.) so I don't want to get too far afield. I plan on getting a weight distributing hitch.

So if you don't mind helping me, could you point me in the direction of a few trailers that would suit my needs? I plan to buy new.

I would like:
1.) 3 beds - We are a family of 4 with 2 kids. I don't want the kids sharing a bed. I also would like to avoid having to use the dinette bed for the kids.
2.)4000 pounds loaded, or thereabouts
3.)Under $20,000
4.)As narrow as possible. My trailer parking space has width as the limiting factor. It is about 102" at it's narrowest point. I would like as much wiggle room as I can get.

I have looked the Pacific Coachworks line. I like their Mighty Lite 20BBS, it has a UVW of 3335, then add in water/gear... I think that might be as big as I can go, but that may be pushing it loaded. Their smaller 16BB model would be ok, but I was hoping for a little more room if I can get it.

Any help you can give is appreciated.
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Old 03-08-2015, 12:36 AM   #2
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Is your truck lifted? If so I don't think I would tow a travel trailor. Many very well set up pop ups or tent trailors are out there that would fit your needs. Good friends and camping buddies have a 17' tent with full bath and two king beds in the pop outs.
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:47 AM   #3
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Is your truck lifted? If so I don't think I would tow a travel trailor. Many very well set up pop ups or tent trailors are out there that would fit your needs. Good friends and camping buddies have a 17' tent with full bath and two king beds in the pop outs.
The modifications started, in part to address issues with the truck as delivered by Toyota. This is a long conversation. I really wanted to avoid this discussion at this time.

I rented a small tent trailer for Thanksgiving week so the family could try it out. We stayed at 2 camp grounds on the coast of California. I wanted to see if the wife would like it enough to justify buying something. The tent trailer was chosen because it was cheaper. Trailers are expensive to rent. I figured if they hated it, no big deal. But it cost me $600 for 5 days and 4 nights for the rental.

We decided we don't want a tent trailer for several reasons.

1. Set up - I set it up once in the dark while the wife and two kids sat in the truck because it was too cold/dark to get out. Everyone was ready for bed and they had to wait. That pretty much sealed the deal as far as the wife was concerned.

2. Limited storage, everything had to go in the truck (fortunately my truck has a shell).

3. Camping when windy, this is fairly common where I go. During our trip, we had to listen to the tent sides flapping in the wind all night.

4. It was also very cold. We can camp year round here, but nights can still get cold.

4. All the moving and soft parts seem flimsy and get beat up easy. canvas, folding door, velcro seals

5. Security, close to nonexistent with tent sides.

6. Shower/Bath setup is seriously lacking on tent trailers. Big deal for the wife.

I regularly pull a 6x10 utility trailer that I estimate weighs 2000-2500# loaded with up to 3 motorcycles. No brakes on the trailer. Truck handles it great, very stable. The power and brakes are fine even on grades. I know the travel trailer will be much heavier and have more wind resistance. I looked it up and the tent trailer was 1500# unloaded, pretty light. Truck handled that well too. I just want more
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:27 AM   #4
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We are also looking for our first TT. We are seriously considering the Coachmen Viking/Clipper series.. They are very lightweight ... The 17FQ looks good to us but there are other models that have bunks since you have kids...

Joe
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:47 PM   #5
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Given your tow vehicle and the requirements of the trailer, I don't think you are going to be getting a travel trailer. Maybe a hybrid/large pop-up.

I would love to tell you that there is an answer, but in reality, your truck will be dangerously overloaded with the travel trailer you want, or you will buy a trailer that's barely ok for your truck, but too small for your needs.

You're better off replacing the truck than buying a trailer you'll be disappointed with or outgrow quickly.
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Old 03-08-2015, 09:23 PM   #6
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I suggest you look at the Trailmanor line of hard-sided popups. Most of their models are well within the weight limits you are after, and they are easy setup.

At the Hershey RV show, they had a demo and got old ladies from the crowd to come forward and try the setup. They could do it in a couple minutes.
2720 Series | TrailManor Website
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Old 03-08-2015, 09:55 PM   #7
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Tiger -


I am currently looking at various smaller TT's also. A couple of ideas:


If you will be staying at campgrounds that have toilets & showers, you can do without having those items in the trailer. If so, a hardside "A" frame pop-up may be adequate. I am seriously looking at the Flagstaff line - lots of floorplans available, including one with a very basic toilet& shower. Much lighter than a full sized TT, and none of the downside of a soft side pop-up.


LINK: http://www.forestriverinc.com/popupc...t/default.aspx


Keep in mind the weight of 4 passengers in the truck when computing the total weight of truck & trailer.
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:16 PM   #8
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Given your tow vehicle and the requirements of the trailer, I don't think you are going to be getting a travel trailer. Maybe a hybrid/large pop-up.

I would love to tell you that there is an answer, but in reality, your truck will be dangerously overloaded with the travel trailer you want, or you will buy a trailer that's barely ok for your truck, but too small for your needs.

You're better off replacing the truck than buying a trailer you'll be disappointed with or outgrow quickly.
What would you consider overloaded? And what would you consider an appropriate load?

I'm curious because one of the models I listed above, the pacific coach works 16BB, is 2200 pounds unloaded.
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:25 PM   #9
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Keep in mind it's not how much you can pull....it's how much you can STOP in an emergency maneuver.

And you will have an emergency maneuver some day.
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:29 PM   #10
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How are you going to use the trailer? In local camp grounds? Will you be driving on back roads or freeways?

For local, non-freeway camping a 4,000 lb. trailer could work. The small trucks tow ok at 50mph or less as aerodynamics do not affect the trailer as much as going 65mph.

If you want to take long freeway trips then you will need a bigger truck. Small trucks towing hard shell camping trailers have trouble with aerodynamics and need a lot of steering corrections as you drive white knuckled.
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:31 PM   #11
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We are also looking for our first TT. We are seriously considering the Coachmen Viking/Clipper series.. They are very lightweight ... The 17FQ looks good to us but there are other models that have bunks since you have kids...

Joe
Thanks for the suggestion. The Clipper 17BH is essential the same floor plan as the Pacific Coachworks 16BB I was looking at. Very similar specs and price. The pictures make it look nice. Looks like they have them in California on RV Trader, I will try an locate one near me.
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:46 AM   #12
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What would you consider overloaded? And what would you consider an appropriate load?

I'm curious because one of the models I listed above, the pacific coach works 16BB, is 2200 pounds unloaded.
My point was, you could find a tiny trailer to cram in
to, but given that you have a family and want 3 beds, you will not be happy after half a season.
That GVWR is 3850lbs., so go by that. It's a single axle, which are inherently unstable. That, in combination with a small, lifted truck and drop hitch will be unstable and difficult to set up well.
Your time on the highway will not be fun.

On a side note, that 16BB only has a 10 gallon black tank. You might get 2 days before you're full.
I do like the floorplan... almost identical to mine.
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Old 03-09-2015, 02:04 PM   #13
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Keep in mind it's not how much you can pull....it's how much you can STOP in an emergency maneuver.

And you will have an emergency maneuver some day.
I am well aware of this. I have upgraded my brakes. I have rotors and calipers from a 06 Tundra. Bigger diameter and thicker rotor and a much larger pad and caliper. So if you think a 05-06 Tundra has adequate brakes for a given size trailer, I should be the same or better with the same brakes on a lighter truck.

I was trying to avoid discussion on my vehicle. Maybe that was wishful thinking on my part. I appreciate your concern but I really needed help locating trailers that meet my needs.

My truck is setup well. Far better than average.
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Old 03-09-2015, 02:32 PM   #14
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My point was, you could find a tiny trailer to cram in
to, but given that you have a family and want 3 beds, you will not be happy after half a season.
That GVWR is 3850lbs., so go by that. It's a single axle, which are inherently unstable. That, in combination with a small, lifted truck and drop hitch will be unstable and difficult to set up well.
Your time on the highway will not be fun.

On a side note, that 16BB only has a 10 gallon black tank. You might get 2 days before you're full.
I do like the floorplan... almost identical to mine.

I know my choices are limited but are there any other companies making small trailers with 3 beds.

I've looked at:

1.Forest River's website - the site is confusing
2. Chalet's website - seems they have mixed reviews
3. Winnebago
4. Jayco
5. Coachman

Am I missing some manufacturers?

Also, I wouldn't consider my truck lifted. I have changed the suspension to fix the OEM suspension that functioned quite poorly. Yes it sits higher but considering the stock truck was practically lowered due to springs that were sagging since new, I would say it is as it should be. It handles heavy loads with ease and rides well loaded or unloaded. It wasn't cheap.
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