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Old 01-31-2013, 08:43 PM   #1
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Hello all. My wife and I are wanting to buy a travel trailer, nothing too big, something that we can just go camping in and some traveling on vacations. We live here in Arkansas, and looking to buy an older trailer, we have a 2002 ford Expedition with a tow package, good vehicle. Our limit is around 4grand. I know it's not much, but we are just starting. From what we seen on this forum it will be much help with our adventure, with great advice. Any suggestions and guidance would be appreciated.


Thanks,

David and Katie
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:02 PM   #2
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You just have to start looking. Around here it's kinda hard to find anything for 4 grand. Most dealers don't like to have anything less then 6 on their lot. I look through my local Craig's List site quite often looking for reasonably priced TT, start your search there.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:43 PM   #3
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Yep, start looking. Craigslist, FleaBay, the local want ads and don't forget to check the bulletin boards at the local markets. Inspect them closely, ask questions and keep your mind open.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:15 AM   #4
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... we have a 2002 ford Expedition with a tow package, good vehicle.
Expeditions are extremely easy to overload. You can either tow a 6,000 pound trailer or haul a wagon full of passengers, but not both at the same time.

You limiter is probably the 7,000 pounds GVWR of the Expedition. The max payload is 1,532 pounds, which disappears in a hurry when you load you and Sweetheart and some stuff in the SUV.

Depending on engine, axle ratio, and whether 4x2 or 4x4, tow ratings on the 2002 Expedition ranged from 6,000 to 8,200. But the tow rating assumes nothing is in the SUV but a skinny driver. So your actual tow rating is probably closer to 5,000 pounds trailer without exceeding either the GVWR or GCWR of your tow vehicle.

Very few travel trailers (TTs) are available that gross only 5,000 pounds when wet and loaded for the road. Especially older TTs.

Load the SUV with everything that will be in it when towing - including driver and passenger(s) and pets and whatever Sweetheart insists must be in the SUV when on the road. Go to a truckstop that has a truck scale, fill up with gas, and weigh the SUV. Add 50 pounds to the scale weight for the shank and ball mount of the weight-distributing hitch you must have to tow a TT. Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded SUV from the GVWR and the answer is the max hitch weight you can have without being overloaded. Divide that hitch weight by 0.15 and the answer is the max GVWR of any TT you should consider.

For example, if you travel light so your wet and loaded SUV weighs 6,200 pounds, that leaves 800 pounds available for hitch weight. 800 divided by 0.15 = 5,333. There are some small TTs available that have a GVWR of around 5,000 pounds, but "small" is the key word. My Skyline Nomad Joey 196 (a so-called ultra light TT) has a GVWR of 5,600 pounds, and it's only 19' interior length. It's great for Sweetheart and I and our two dogs, but it's crowded - only one person can move around at a time.

Instead of a TT, consider a pop-up camper trailer. I drug one of those all over the USA while my two kids were growing up. We got along just fine. We had set-up down to a routine that took us maybe 5 minutes to be completely set up and inside the camper. It requires almost that long to set up our current TT. They now make very nice popup RV trailers with AC and kitchen and bathroom with hot and cold running water and optional furnace. What more could you ask? And the hitch weight is such that you could probably drag one of those without being overloaded. Here's an example:
Rockwood Tent Pop Up Camper by Forest River

Ignore that dry hitch weight in the specs. Nobody tows a dry trailer. Figure on a least 10% of GVWR, and probably 12% or 13%.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:38 PM   #5
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Golly, my 20 year old, 20 foot TT weighs 4460 fully loaded. And, with it's rear bath design it's plenty big for two people to go camping in. I wouldn't want to live in it or anything though. But, I agree check your tow rating and hitch weight to be sure.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:26 AM   #6
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Thank you all for the great information. I'll keep everything in mind.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:12 PM   #7
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I purchased a 2011 KZ Sportsmen Classic 19Bh (19 footer) from a dealer at the end of last season. It was a rental that had been used for two summers. There were a couple very minor problems that will be fixed before I pick it up this spring, but otherwise, it was in excellent shape. It has all the basics to include A/C, fridge, stove, sink, microwave, furnace, shower, toilet, propane tank, battery, etc... I got the whole thing for $7,000 out the door. I know that is over your budget, but it seems you are looking at something a bit older anyway and I would think you can find something just a few years older for your budget. It is only 2,600 pounds dry and I will be towing it with a 2004 Blazer which I think is similar to the Expedition if not even smaller. I expect it might be a bit underpowered for hilly terrain but I am confident that area, weekend trips will be just fine.

I would check your local dealers to see if they have anything and from there, I would go to craigslist as suggested earlier along with the local want ads in the paper or weekly shopper.
Good luck and I hope you find something soon.
Bruce
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:39 AM   #8
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Don't forget to consider replacing the tires on an older trailer. A trailer 5+ years old might have tires that need replaced. Factor that into you budget as well.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:12 PM   #9
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I will say that I bought my 20 foot TT at a local dealer for 3500. He took it in on trade in during late January, he first started advertising it during early February, I bought it in middle February. You can find these deals but, you have to be on it and look every couple of days. If you don't they will be gone in no time. And, yes I had to put tires on it!!! The rims were rusty and the hub caps were shot, and I had to replace them (for cosmetic reasons) I also had to do some work to the breaks and check/repack the bearings. It had no battery and the battery box was shot.

But,,, on the plus side there were no leaks and all the things like , AC, Furnace, Power Center, and Refrigerator worked.

You have to learn what to look for and how to repair things if you want to run a affordable TT.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:37 AM   #10
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I have a 2007 expy with the tow package and have a 27' keystone hideout that weighs 6320 dry. No problems, pulls great and no problems on hills. I will say though I do not travel more them hour from my house usually. A thruway trip was scary once with high winds on a 3 hr trip. I have 3 daughters, wife and lab in haul too. All in all love it though!
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:56 AM   #11
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I have a 2007 expy with the tow package and have a 27' keystone hideout that weighs 6320 dry. No problems, pulls great and no problems on hills.
What does the CAT scale say? Compare the wet and loaded weight on the 4 tires of the SUV to the GVWR of the SUV.
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:56 PM   #12
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$4,000

Best of luck, maybe you could find a TT rental, and rent what model you might like for a weekend and get some experience.
I know we have a local rental, but I'm in Pa.
I don't know of any TT at that price range but I'm sure you can find a pop up.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:24 PM   #13
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Chris How do you like your Hideout? I just got a 26 RL last Friday. I have not had it out camping yet but am looking forward to it. This is my first camper. As a kid my parents had a pop up
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:42 PM   #14
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Hey Mark, we love our hideout so far. We live in western New York and bought ours in July. Being that, we have only been out 3 times ourselves. We have already booked a couple of trips for Memorial Day and a long weekend in June. Also to smokey wren.. I'm all set.. Thanks!
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