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Old 04-13-2019, 11:37 AM   #1
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"solo woman" question re general maintenance required for trailer vs class B

Hi all. I am cross-posting this on the fiberglassrv.com forum as well.

I'm a recent widow, 61 and fit, who loved RVing with my husband in our 31" Class A, mostly at our local beach campgrounds. I'm selling that for 2 main reasons: no way can I, or probably anyone else, back it into our side yard with literally 2 inches clearance on the roof eaves, and the level of routine maintenance required is just too much for me. He used to get up on the rubber roof at least twice a year to check seals, and often had to touch them up, especially the front cap seal (1995 Seabreeze).

I want to keep camping, and I've been going back and forth between wondering if I can manage a very small travel trailer, esp the hitching part (starting to feel better about that), or a class B type, but with approx a $20K RV budget would be looking at early to mid-90's Dodge or Fords with easily 100K miles on them. (I have a separate budget for a new vehicle, needed regardless, so I'm not worried about that for this purpose)

I'm beginning to realize that everything needs maintenance. Overall I think I would prefer a newer trailer over an older class B, but I'm not sure. In thinking about it, I guess the thing I'm most concerned about is leak prevention in general and the roof in particular. Apparently trailers also need bearings packed at intervals, but that doesn't sound too scary. I know I can seal windows occasionally; I guess it's visualizing and dealing with the roof that worries me. But both types of units have roofs. Is a fiberglass roof, like Scamp/Casita/etc easier to maintain? Do they require the same frequency of inspection around the A/C, vents, etc?

So here is my question: what sort of maintenance does either unit require on a regular basis in terms of roofs, windows, etc (apart from class B engine), is there really any major difference in what is required? For you men, if your wife were comfortable with driving, backing and hitching a trailer, , which would you recommend (very small trailer or older class b) if she were in my situation?

Thanks so much for any help you can give here.

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Old 04-13-2019, 05:27 PM   #2
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The trailer sounds like it may be what you need. Not all roofs require constant attention especially 1 piece fiberglass roof's. You still need to go up top on occasion but for the most part a caulking gun and a tube of self leveling sealer such as Dicor may be needed on occasion.

If you get a trailer, remember this, grip the the bottom center of the steering wheel and if you move the steering wheel to your right, (If your hand is at the bottom of the wheel the steering wheel will actually turn counter clock wise) the rear of the trailer turns right. If you grip the bottom center of the steering wheel and move the wheel to your left, (If you grip the wheel at the bottom and turn the wheel left it will actually turn clock wise) the rear of the trailer will turn to the left. That little trick makes it easy to back up the trailer.

Depending on your strength, hooking up a weight distributing hitch can be taxing. If and when you have to tighten the torsion bars, go to a steel supplier and buy and 3 foot long piece of heavy wall tubing to provide you leverage when tightening the torsion bars. The hitch will come with a bar but they're usually only about 12 to 18 inches long and don't provide much leverage.

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Old 04-13-2019, 05:53 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by LJowdy View Post

Depending on your strength, hooking up a weight distributing hitch can be taxing. If and when you have to tighten the torsion bars, go to a steel supplier and buy and 3 foot long piece of heavy wall tubing to provide you leverage when tightening the torsion bars. The hitch will come with a bar but they're usually only about 12 to 18 inches long and don't provide much leverage.
The easier and much safer way is to hitch the trailer to the tow vehicle, then use the power tongue jack to lift the TV/TT combo until the bars can be easily attached.
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Old 04-13-2019, 06:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by steve52 View Post
The easier and much safer way is to hitch the trailer to the tow vehicle, then use the power tongue jack to lift the TV/TT combo until the bars can be easily attached.
Good point Steve. Here's a video explaining the procedure.

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Old 04-13-2019, 06:49 PM   #5
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At your age a TT makes sense. How small you go is your decision. I travel alone and started my RV experience with a 19’ TT. Bad idea for me to small of a bathroom. The next TT was 22’. What a pleasure it was. But as I got closer to 70 it was to much work hitching and such. Things weigh more as you get older. Went to a Class A and just did not like it. Came down to two class Cs. The current 29’ C is just right.

I pay to have someone else go on the roof and inspect it every other year or so.

On the small TTs you mentioned. I think they are wet bathrooms. Not my cup of tea. Class B units I have seen do not have a bathroom I can accept. Plus they cost allot.

Find something that makes you comfortable living in it while traveling.
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Old 04-13-2019, 10:05 PM   #6
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A trailer will still require someone to go the roof and inspect at least once or twice a year. How about buying a newer class B instead of a new vehicle and a camper and just use it for all.
'13 Ram Laramie 3500, Aisin auto,4:10, Reese adapter and 20K hitch, '10 HitchHiker 36LKRSB
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Old 04-14-2019, 10:21 AM   #7
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I have owned a small fiberglass trailer and also an older class B and the roof maintenance was very similar. I would consider both to be pretty low maintenance. You'll still need to check the roof on occasion because each will still have vents, and possibly an air-conditioner and TV antenna. My 13' Lil Bigfoot trailer also had a few bolts from the upper cabinets that penetrated the roof.

Unless you aren't comfortable on a ladder, checking and touching up the caulking isn't difficult and would only take a few minutes. I can't imagine it would cost much to have it done every other year, either by an RV place, or paying a neighborhood kid to do the work.

The biggest drawback to any trailer is backing it up. Smaller trailer reacts faster so takes smaller steering wheel inputs to turn when backing up. That said, it's like anything new - patience and practice will make things easier over time. Obviously backing a class B is no different than backing a car, except for having to watch your roof height. Hitching and unhitching something that small isn't an issue.

You'll definitely get more for your money going with a trailer because you won't be paying for a motor and transmission, and your insurance and tabs will be cheaper too.

I have a friend that has a Casita and loves it. Tows it with a compact pickup. I loved my Lil Bigfoot because it was so easy to tow, was low maintenance, was easy to store, tabs were cheap and it was covered by my tow vehicle's insurance. The drawback to that small of a model was there was no bathroom. The larger 16' models did have the toilet shower combo.

One last thing about a trailer - you have the freedom that comes with the ability to unhook your tow vehicle to go sightseeing or to the store while camping.

Oh, regarding packing the wheel bearings . . . Pick up a set of Bearing Buddies and have them installed. After that, you just remove the cap, attach a grease gun, and give a couple pumps and you are done. Easy peasy.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:05 AM   #8
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DebiT, what do you currently have that might be able to pull a TT? If you don’t have a vehicle now, getting one that can pull a TT (safely) might end up costing more than your total budget!

I had a small 23’ 1989 Class C that I had totally kept up (tires, roof, generator, AC, etc) and I sold it for $8500. That rig was great because I could pull into the back of a McDonalds and park it! It was about 3’ longer than my old Suburban!

I guess the question is, what type of camping/RVing are you looking to do? Travel around a lot or go to a campsite and stay for 2 to 3 weeks?

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Old 04-14-2019, 11:23 AM   #9
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The budget is just to get me.camping again in something more manageable that our class A, including easier.to.park in our side yard. Need a new vehicle regardless, and although I know a truck would be ideal for towing, it won't be ideal for me on a daily basis, and I can't afford a truck and a new daily driver.

Will be picking smaller end of trailers with close attention to wet weight, and researching the ever shrinking list of possible tow vehicles.

Close by weekend camping, 60 miles away but with a freeway grade, perhaps once a year 150.miles away
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Old 04-14-2019, 12:14 PM   #10
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Bigfoot out of Canada make an all fiberglas trailer. There kind of rare, but it could be about as close to maintenance proof as you could find. Will they still need maintenance? Sure any RV will require upkeep. An all fiberglas trailer like that or Casita or one of a few others would be my choice. Saw a nice sized Bigfoot on one of RV for sale web sites in your price range.
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Old 04-14-2019, 12:25 PM   #11
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We've had molded fiberglass trailers since 04 and have been well satisfied with the type. Our current Scamp is approaching twenty years in age and maintenance has been minimal on both the shell and the frame. Be glad to answer any questions you might have and would suggest this group Fiberglass RV - Powered by vBulletin
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Old 04-14-2019, 12:29 PM   #12
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Just an idea to think about. I'm 71, diabetes for 45 years, so my feet feel unstable. I don't like climbing ladders and checking the roof on my fiver.

The neighborhood kids love going up and checking the seals for me. $20 and they are delighted. If there is a crack in the seal, I talk them through the repair.

Easy way to keep up the roof, and everyone wins.
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Old 04-14-2019, 02:56 PM   #13
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Here's a wonderful group for traveling SOLO. Look at the pics and you'll see that the majority travel in a motorhome or Class C & B.

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Old 04-15-2019, 05:00 AM   #14
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Having owned travel trailers for about 15 years before moving up to our Bay Star, I can make a few comments. If I were to be in the position of traveling solo, I would not go back to having a travel trailer. I would consider getting a smaller class C that would be suitable for traveling and avoid having any car being towed. With a smaller class c, you can find places to park when you need to get supplies or when sight seeing. You have the benefits of being self contained when you stop at a rest area or for fueling i.e. you can use the bathroom, access the refrigerator, have a bite to eat, etc. I would have a back up camera system to assist with backing up and not having to rely on a spotter. Overall, it can be fairly cost efficient although probably somewhat more expensive than running a travel trailer. And, there are some class c campers that have auto levelers if you have the budget to go with something that is only a few years old....or new.

With a class C, it would also be easy to have a bike rack on the back if you enjoy bike riding. I just can't see going from a class A and taking on the added work/time involved in a travel trailer and I enjoyed our years in a travel trailer, but wouldn't want to go back to one after having a motorhome.

But...just my thoughts! And, congratulations to you for keeping up the RV lifestyle!

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