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Old 02-18-2014, 11:49 PM   #1
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I'm having quite a tough time making executive decisions here.. my wife and I have 4 small kids. We recently got a Ford Excursion tow rig. A couple years ago I completely rebuilt a 98 star craft 33' tt, rebuilding water damaged walls and renovating the interior while replacing appliances and adding lots of upgrades along the way. I'm not new to camper construction repair or maintenance. Now we are looking for a new rig (sold that starcraft). We need plenty of room to sleep. Don't want to use couch or dinette for regular sleeping arrangements, only for extra guests. The ability to haul extra and larger cargo items would be nice. Have looked at bunk house trailers (strongly prefer quad bunk room which is kinda rare around here at least). Have looked at toy haulers which aren't common here in the bumper pull variety. I'm also not partial to the way campers are constructed they are so cheap and junky it's ridiculous. Like the older ones quality but don't want the 40 year old look and most require remodeling at least. Despite the durability of older appliances I really like convenience of modern ones with dsi and auto operation etc. We are looking to spend around $4k for one needing done work or up to $6k for one that needs little extra investment. I really don't have time or facility for a complete rebuild this time. I know it's asking a lot for the budget but we have looked at many even out of our price range and it seems impossible to find one without water damage. Most are of hideously poor quality as well, especially noticeable on interior furnishings trim fit and finish etc. Disgusting. Again they all seem to have water damage and I'm not completely scared of it but people don't seem to have a clue what that should do to the value of their rig. I've given serious thought to buying an enclosed trailer and converting it to a toy hauler. We don't need 4 season insulation but I would insulate it and outfit it as we need one to be setup. However I think it will be out of budget a good bit and definitely take more time than I can afford to invest right now. But at least it's walls won't rot off of the frame!

Otherwise we have a couple that really interest us somewhat locally. The first is a 1998 PlayMor Renegade toy hauler 26' with a basic kitchen, wet bath, ac but no furnace, I can add one. It has tons of cargo room which is great, I mean every bit of 18' of garage space basically. 4 fold down bunks. Raised rear ceiling but no upper bunk. I can add that. The floors are soft outside the frame rails we think from people coming inside soaking wet and the water running to the walls down into floor. Guy used it for motocross racing and it was a gathering place in storms at events. I think I can at least reinforce this area from the bottom side and buy some time. The owner wasn't even aware of the damage until I pointed it out. It has new tires. Talked him down to 3500 which gives me some room for improvements. As a camper it's very basic but being dual purpose as an enclosed trailer it gives added value there. I'm perfectly fine with the basics we are not going to be living in it full time or anything.

The other one would be perfect except for some of it's issues. It's a 2005 Dutchman (aka junkman imo) 32' quad rear bunks front master bedroom couch and dinette make extra beds. It has front and rear basement storage under the beds. No slide outs (loose space but less to go wrong or leak and less weight to lug around) It's nearly perfect for us. At a buy here pay here car lot. They were asking 6500 and I got all excited as it looked good on outside. They handed us the keys and the inspection began. The inside is not in bad shape cosmetically. Not perfect but pretty good for 9 years old. However the "junkman" lack of quality really stands out. It feels so cheap and junky compared to my old starcraft or our 1973 Amerigo truck camper (talk about durable quality and timeless beauty!) The real issue is that it has a half dozen soft spots in the floor scattered all over, most no bigger than 6" diameter or so. But a few the size of my size 13 boot. Some in wide open areas others along walls. The wood in the floor of one of the cargo bays is wet but not gone. There isn't really any signs of water damage in the walls or roof at all. This thing has tons of potential. It could be gorgeous. We aren't totally about having a status symbol but don't like to stick out too much and when we took the Amerigo to Gatlinburg we got a lot of looks like we were the Beverly hillbillies. We love that rig though. One guy with a newer lance with slides and generator was about ready to trade us campers though lol. Anyhow, this Dutchman.. I talked to the owner and told him exactly how I felt about it and how big of a deal the floor issues and water damage is to me. I told him what I thought I would have to do to fix it right. He was originally asking 6500 and supposedly had that much in it but was at 4500 by the time we left. Said he had another offer at 4500 so I told him to see if that offer still stands and let me know. However with it being at a buy here pay here and tax time upon us I'm afraid I might miss a deal trying to Jew him down a little more. I'm pretty sure this is about as much trailer as I want to comfortably pull with the Excursion but I know it would do fine with it as well. Am I being ridiculous by expecting too much from used trailers or would you agree that there's no excuse for such poor quality and neglect? I found another Dutchman like this one online for $8k but not many pics to determine quality and still wouldn't show damage like that. But I think I will have good value after repairing it. My wife loves it. I suppose after typing all this out, I've realized I know the answer but since it is typed out I'll go ahead and post it for more input.

Sorry it's so long winded. I'm really good at that. Any input much appreciated.

1988 SunLite Hideaway 9.5' TC project

1996 Ram 3500 Cummins dually highly modified
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:05 AM   #2
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welcome to irv2 and good luck on the hunt

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Old 02-19-2014, 07:42 AM   #3
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I'm not really new to irv2 but thanks
1988 SunLite Hideaway 9.5' TC project

1996 Ram 3500 Cummins dually highly modified
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:20 AM   #4
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Location: Midland County, Texas
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Originally Posted by Bigblue12v View Post
We recently got a Ford Excursion tow rig.

... It's a 2005 Dutchman (aka junkman imo) 32' ...
If the X-car is a diesel, you'll probably love it. If it's a V-10, then you'll probably cry about the MPG. The only problem with an X-Car, especially if it has the very heavy diesel drivetrain, is its limited GVWR - very easy to be overloaded over the GVWR when on the road with a family and towing a loaded RV trailer. Same problem as most full-size SUVs.

Dutchman is the bottom of the line "economy" RV from that company, but there are lots of them around here. And many of them are more than 10 years old and still going strong.

If the only real problem with that Dutchman is the soft spots in the floor and you can get it for less than $5000, then you can probably replace the sub-floor in the high-traffic areas without too much effort or time.

Building your own toy hauler starting with cargo trailer would be the best way to get what you want. But it will probably cost a lot more than you think, and it will require a lot of midnight oil.

An alternative might be to find an old race trailer with LQ. Most of those are goosenecks, but there are some "bumper pull" LQ race trailers available. Here's a link to a new one:
2014 Vintage 32' LQ Tag Race Trailer For Sale

On edit: Here's a link to a used one:
Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 3.5L EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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