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Old 06-05-2013, 04:07 PM   #1
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new to camping/RV best travel trailer

I am ready to buy my first TT and am looking for top 5 brand recommendations. I have a family of 5, 3 are trips boys age 8. I drive a Toyota Tundra V8 2003. Please assist.

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Old 06-05-2013, 09:02 PM   #2
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:05 PM   #3
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Before you zero in on a TT make sure you know your TV tow rating. Minus your gear and family. That leaves you with your tow rating ability of your TV. Then use the GVWR of the TT that you want. I don't brand is as important as layout. Also you can save thousands by going 2-3 years old.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:07 AM   #4
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Thank you for the towing advice...
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:40 AM   #5
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We bought a new Salem RSS27, 33' long and love it, plenty of space. One slideout.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:05 PM   #6
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Northwood Nash 23B would be perfect for your family size. The dinnette turns into a huge bed. Northwood is also known to be one of the more respected quality manufacturers and pride themselves on having good insulation. This helps keep the trailer warm in the winter and cool in the summer. You can tell northwood is owned and operated by campers. They build stout frames in house and even come with shock absorbers stock. Figure 4300lbs advertised dry weight, should be under your trucks specs and tow decently with that engine.

Lance 2185 is also around 4000lbs and has triple bunks and a slideout. Plenty of room in that trailer. Lance is very well known for truck camper quality, their travel trailers also have a pretty good reputation other than the automotive style stamped frames. However, most light weights are using this style of frame and they should be fine on road, i would just be careful venturing off road.

Make sure you get a weight distribution hitch, and install airbags. Personally i wouldn't try to tow anything more than 5000lbs wet and loaded with gear for long distances with your truck. You may have a V8, but it's a 4.7L. Also, ratings for trucks should be taken with a grain of salt, i would never tow long distances at or near the rating of a truck. Those ratings are good for a quick around town tow to pick something up, but it's usually white knuckle tight the whole way, and the engine struggles to go up any kind of hill. If your actual weight is a good margin below the max tow rating, it's usually a far more enjoyable and comfortable tow.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:49 PM   #7
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Yes! Good suggestion, gggplaya. We've been scrutinizing that floor plan for our washer/dryer retrofit for some time now (see our thread here) and that Nash 23B would work out nicely for you, I would think.

Northwood Nash 23B

You'd have two bunks for two of the boys and the other could sleep on the converted dinette sleep area. Lucky kid that gets that as there is much more room but not as fun as a bunk, I suppose. However, they can switch off every night especially if they're using sleeping bags (recommended, of course).

As gggplaya has stated, they are well made units and built for 4-seasons. They're made in La Grande Oregon and are popular with hunters in the northwest. One nice advantage is that a 10-gallon water heater is standard. You still will have to very carefully ration hot water but it will still be better for your situation than the standard 6-gallon tank.

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Old 06-07-2013, 06:27 AM   #8
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Wow, lots of good info...thank you all very much!
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:31 AM   #9
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What is a weight distro hitch? I have the towing package on my Toyota Tundra...
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Old 06-07-2013, 08:35 AM   #10
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The best advice maybe anyone can ever give you:

We bought a new TT 2 months ago. The day after we had it, we found that the suspension spring hanger brackets were bent. They are over 1/2" out. These are the vertical pieces of metal that the leaf springs hang from. Lippert eventually said that they were within spec. Oh really?? It's perfectly okay??

We had the trailer at a government certified inspection facility yesterday. The I-beam is simply 3 pieces of sheet metal welded together to resemble an I-beam. When they lifted it up on a hoist, the hanger brackets bent one way, and when they put it back on the ground, they bent the other way. And when they pushed on the side of the trailer, the wheels went all cockeyed. The bottom of the I-beam flange is bent and distorted from the movement of the spring hangers.

This is on a brand new trailer!! It's pretty disgusting and that's putting it nicely. If you google or look on various RV forums, you will find many owners that have had cracked frames. Lippert then simply says that they overloaded their trailers. I can now tell you that the problem is that the frames are poorly designed and built. The harder and faster you turn a corner, the more your frame will flex. And when you change lanes at speed, your frame will be flexing. There is nothing you can do except to try and reinforce the frame. We are looking at $1,000 or more to try and beef up ours - and it's a flippin' new trailer...

Don't become a victim.. Take a look at frames under a trailer very closely. If the I-beam metal looks thin, walk away from it. Unfortunately, Lippert makes over 90% of the frames out there and they get away with what they want to. The industry is not regulated to control this. I know Lance makes their own frames and some others must too or use other suppliers.

While at the frame shop, there was a Keystone trailer next door getting some body work done. It has a one-piece I-beam made from heavy metal. It'd never crack or fail like the Lippert ones.

We would never have bought our TT if we had known the frame was this bad. Unfortunately, it looked really nice at the RV show....

We are understandably very upset right now. I will start a thread on this after we hear back from the dealer.
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:11 AM   #11
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A 2003 Tundra is a 3/4 sized car like toy truck F-150, Chevy 1500, Ram 1500 wanna be.

I looked at these truck and loved the way it drove. So it is great in that respect.

Stay around the 5, 000 lb wet limit with a weight distribution hitch. Any heavier and a few white knuckle trips will have you looking for the big Tundra, F-150 etc.

Good luck
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Alphaco1997 View Post
What is a weight distro hitch? I have the towing package on my Toyota Tundra...
You will still need a weight distribution hitch. It's a hitch that goes into your normal receiver and attaches a few feet down your tongue frame on your trailer. It's like using leverage to control the trailer instead of the trailer just holding onto the ball at the tongue. This gives you much better sway control on windy days and when passed by big semi's, as well as at higher speeds.

For anything boxy and large like a travel trailer, i'd use a weight distribution hitch regardless if you have a 1/2 ton truck or a 1 ton truck.

Usually with the tow package of that era, it was just a tranny cooler, beefed up alternator, maybe an engine oil cooler, hitch and wiring. Today many trucks are including an air level suspension as an option.

For sure i would add airbags anyways, they can be as cheap as $200, and simply use a car tire air compressor which plugs into your cigarette lighter socket to inflate them. You simply deflate when you unhitch, and inflate again when you hitch up. My slime compressor has a dial which i set the pressure and it automatically stops once my set pressure is reached. They also make more expensive air bag kits which have compressors you mount to the truck and control from the cabin.
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:29 AM   #13
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I have a used (2005) Keystone Zeppelin. I love the layout but it is poorly built, My frame is spliced 4 times per side. I never thought to look at the frame. Do yourself a favor and check underneath as well as the outside.
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:16 PM   #14
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This is all very helpful!

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