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Old 07-24-2011, 10:53 AM   #1
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First timer looking for advice

Just bought my first 23 foot travel trailer. Dry weight is 3500 lbs. I am towing it with a 2011 chevy silverado extended cab 4x4. Should I purchase one of those $400 special hitches that help control sway? What are some tools that you always have with you that you always use? Can you offer me any advice you wish that someone had told you at the beginning?
Thanks for your help!
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:01 AM   #2
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First things first ----->

I'm assuming your gross weight is 1000 to 1500 lbs higher than your dry weight? Regardless, you'll want a weight distributing hitch set up. It helps distribute some of the tonque weight of your trailer to the front of your truck helping to level the truck and trailer and will help tremendously with handling and brake performance. In addition, I'd also recommend a sway control. Most RV dealers will sell and set up the hitch and sway control as a package for you.

By the way, about 1/2 of Rhode Island is related to me, on my mother's side. She was born and raised in East Providence where my great grandparents owned a neighborhood grocery store. My grandfather worked 45 years for the Providence newspaper.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:25 AM   #3
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Hello Wanderson!Welcome to the extended family of irv2.com.
Yes, an equalizing hitch and sway control is highly recommended for your rig. It brings much better control and handling with the price tag.. There are basic models and very sophisticated trailer hitchs sold today. The prices range from buying a used basic model for !$100, mid-range at $600-$1,000, to a new Hensley Hitch at over $2,000. You really do get what you pay for in this area.
The basic tools question is different for each of us, but rather than attempt to compile my own list I refer you to the RV Basics page.
Almost every major beginners question is addressed there. After decades of RVing and camping I still use it for reference.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:43 AM   #4
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Welcome. I agree with Jay on the hitch/sway control. If you can’t get a good package deal – try the weight distributing hitch first and see if you need the other. As far as tools, just the basics -vice grips, screwdriver set, etc. You need to be able to safely change a tire and fix little things (the car's jack may work). I kept an extra wheel bearing (greased up) handy and had to swap it once during a long x-country trip (all 4 wheel bearings were identical in my old trailer). I touch the hubs when I stop and one felt hot.
General info (opinions vary on these). Septic tank dump - keep it simple. I like to dump at about tank and use something to support the stinky slinky while dumping. YouTube has good videos on how to do this. Keep lots of water in the black tank (add several gals when 'emptying'. Only use 1 ply toilet paper to keep sensors working (search this site for info). A little Calgon water softener and laundry/dish soap work well to keep the tank clean.
My method for Drinking water - I carry dinking water in 2 clear 1/2 gal jugs so I can see what I have (I learned this the hard way). I use the onboard water system for washing, toilet, shower (but not drinking). I fill the onboard water tank with campground water and run the onboard water pump for pressure, but I do not hook-up to the campground water to pressurize the water system. I find this keeps things simpler. Have fun and learn all you can.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:52 AM   #5
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One more recommendation - make a check list and add to it as you go. It is easy to forget thinks while packing up. I had a simple pop-up and prior to using a check list I forgot to fold the steps in once and I neglected to lock the door once and it poped open (or someone opened it) - I saw it in my mirror flapping in the breeze.
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:21 PM   #6
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We had a 23' TT we pulled with a 1/2 ton Tahoe before our current setup. Weight distribution hitch with a sway bar made all the difference in the world. Also recommend the best sewer hose you can buy. (Refer to Robin Williams' RV for clarification of why). Can't help with the tools much. Still realize something I need and don't have every trip out.

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Old 07-24-2011, 05:03 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the welcome and advice! As I said before I will be doing this for the first time and alone, so I'm a tad bit nervous. I'm sure everything will work out fine as long as I take it slow and easy and use check lists! I only need to get my trailer from point A to point B (9 hours away) and then I stay there for 3 months before I head to another location. I am going to have the dealership install the weight distribution hitch before I leave. If I have other questions and I am sure I will I will post again!
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