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Old 08-02-2014, 06:10 PM   #1
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First real RV, long time campers

My wife Sharon and I have been together for 31 years, and have run the gamut from backpack campers to truck camping during that time. We started out with sacks with straps hiking the mountains around Red River, NM where we have a small summer home. We hooked up witha a group of 4x4 campers that liked to find abandoned mines and camped from their full size 4x4 trucks, we learned from them and have a GMC Sierra 4x4 with a camper shell and all our stuff "stuffed" into it. Here is a picture of a typical campsite behind our truck:

T]

I built a platform in the back of the truck over the wheel wells that supports a queen size mattress. It folds up and everything you see fits in with it. The tent is an all steel framed pop up that is 8x12 ft. We did this for years, camping anywhere we wanted. When we got a Jeep we flat towed it behind and carried more stuff. After a while, we added a flat bed trailer to put the Jeep and other stuff on it, to the point it took us hours to unpack and set up.
I recently damaged a shoulder joint and couldn't load and unload it all, or crawl up into the bed. We had a big trip planned to Argonia, KS for a high power rocket launch, (another hobby we are involved in) and I couldn't figure out a way to load all our stuff, drive 1000 miles from Goodyear, AZ to Argonia, KS and be in any kind of condition to fly rockets. Enter the Toy Hauler:



Sharon found a used Forest River Stealth 27ft. toy hauler. Since our GMC Sierra is a 1998 model, it can only haul 10k lbs. The trailer doesn't have any sliders, but is set up for boon-docking. 100 gal. freshwater, 40 gal. gas tank with fuel station, 40 gal. gray water and blackwater, 155w solar and two deep cycle batteries. One of the best features is the bunk beds in the back. Plenty of room to store all our HPR rockets.
We bought it yesterday and spent today going over all the features and making sure everything is in working order. I know, we should have done that before we bought it, but Sharon saw it, liked it, and bought it in about an hour while I was crawling all over it to find any problems. I did get a good look at the undercarriage and roof before she wrote a check to hold it.
It's a 2014 with about 100 miles on it, so it's in really good shape. I couldn't find anything wrong in the short time I had to inspect. After today, I know that our first impression was correct. All systems function properly, the refrigerator cools down, the AC and generator work together and cool down the trailer despite the outside temp. being over 90* today. All the lights work with or without the generator running. I don't think it has an inverter, because none of the 110vac plugs work unless the generator is running. We don't have a plug at our home to plug the cord into, so I couldn't check to see if that works too. The refrigerator works with the generator on, and seems to be working on LP gas also, but I'm not sure about that, we didn't have time to run it without the generator running.
We are jumping in the deep end over Labor day weekend, driving 1000 miles in two days with an overnight in Dalhart, TX. Then spending four days boondocking in a field with no hookups while we fly rockets.
If you have any advise, suggestions or comments please feel free to do so. I'm all ears....
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Old 08-02-2014, 06:18 PM   #2
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Glad you're aboard. Congrats on the new to you rig. Enjoy your adventures and be safe.
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Old 08-02-2014, 06:27 PM   #3
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First real RV, long time campers

Check that the solar is indeed charging the batteries. Take the batteries to someplace and have them load tested....

Granted if the solar controller seems to check out and you measure charging current going in, the odds are good the batteries are too. Just worried that if the batteries are sulfated from being discharged too severely, they won't recover....and would be a pain to run the generator all the time to compensate.

Keep the fridge on LP and running for at least 24 hours before you put food in it. Only put cold food into it.

Did you check the hot water heater? Let it heat up fully as well to test it. For traveling to keep the weight down, only put in about 1/4 tank of fresh water. Find a place to top off the tank just before you arrive at your camping spot.

Enjoy!
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Old 08-02-2014, 06:30 PM   #4
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Hi folks! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang here!

Congrats on the new rig! Enjoy the forum!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 08-02-2014, 06:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselTech39 View Post


Glad you're aboard. Congrats on the new to you rig. Enjoy your adventures and be safe.
Thanks, being safe is always a high priority with us. I'm taking the trailer down to the public scales and getting it weighed. I have a tongue scale and plan to use it when we load it for our first trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pasdad1 View Post
Check that the solar is indeed charging the batteries. Take the batteries to someplace and have them load tested....

Granted if the solar controller seems to check out and you measure charging current going in, the odds are good the batteries are too. Just worried that if the batteries are sulfated from being discharged too severely, they won't recover....and would be a pain to run the generator all the time to compensate.
I have a battery charger that will load test the batteries, although I will have to take off all the connections to do so. I did inspect the batteries, all connectors are clean, water/acid levels are normal and the fluid is clear.
I started another thread about adding an inverter to run the microwave oven and have gotten some replies there too. Apparently this is a very active forum with lots of folks eager to help. Good news!
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Old 08-02-2014, 06:42 PM   #6
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Seems like you have a handle on what you want.
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Old 08-02-2014, 06:48 PM   #7
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Welcome aboard. Your first problem will be what to do with all the setup time you used to need. I recommend a good chair and appropriate beverage of choice. ;-)

FWIW ever once in a while I long for setting up a really nice camp with the tents. Then I think about the work involved and time spent... ;-))
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Old 08-02-2014, 08:07 PM   #8
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Welcome to the Forum and we hope you have many great camping adventures. Best of luck.

Happy RV'ing
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Old 08-02-2014, 09:47 PM   #9
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Welcome....abandoned mines and rockets? Find any Gold?

Good luck with your new rig.....you folks seem to know exactly what you need.

Safe and Happy Travels.
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:58 AM   #10
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:36 AM   #11
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:43 AM   #12
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Welcome and glad to meet you!
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Old 08-03-2014, 03:44 PM   #13
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Glad to have you here with us. Best of luck with your new rig and Happy Trails!!
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Old 08-03-2014, 09:55 PM   #14
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Welcome to the irv2 gang and congrats on your new wheels! Glad you joined...you bring a lot of experience to share!
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