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Old 07-09-2020, 08:34 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2020
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First camper...2021 Gulfstream 199DD

First post! And first time TT owner. A little about me...im a very hands on person with my hobbies and a bit OCD about details. My tow rig is a 2020 Honda Odyssey EX-L and my TT is a 2021 Gulfstream Ameri Lite 199DD. Trips will stay within 200 miles of my home base till I upgrade vehicles but Ohio has lots of parks.. so not a bad thing. Most important is I'm getting out and having fun. First planned trip is this Saturday. We have been weighing everything so we will be right at the GCWR of 8565 once all ready to hit the road. Also got a new shank for the weight distribution hitch so I can make my van more level...the one that came with the kit hit my bumper so I had to back it off a link. So onto the details about the TT...or should I say fixes and upgrades since getting it home...

To date ive had to redo every single wire connection...it started with a radio/booster that had no power and snowballed. Found that antenna was also wired backwards during that and the fresh water tank levels weren't registering. What was found was that the neutral block had loose connections and the tank levels not registering was because of a bad crimp. All redone now with insulated connectors. Oh and not to forget...once the radio finally had power I had to rewire it because the speakers in each zone were wired in parallel and only hooked up to the left channel...it sounded terrible...now it sounds less terrible. Took about 3 hours.

The non electrical fixes included patching holes in the drawer because they drilled four holes to install a handle with two holes...still trying to get the color to match. Which I did get the color closer on subsequent projects so ill be revisiting the drawer color. The drawer under the bench came out on the way home because the screws didn't bite into anything so I reinforced where the drawer slides mount. And lastly...have a few underbelly tears to fix and I did replace the tongue jack bolts because they didn't have washers.

The new stuff...which was slightly more fun...includes mounting a TV, making a bunk ladder out of birch, matching birch bunk trim and a cover to go over the stove which my 4 and 7 year old helped me make. Thinking about making bunk shelves out of some scrap baltic birch too...TBD on that. Also upgrading interior speakers with some white Kickers today and the stereo over the next week.

Overall...its awesome. I expected some issues and to be honest...think this is all quite common.
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Old 07-09-2020, 02:33 PM   #2
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In before the weight police.

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Old 07-09-2020, 03:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mtn. Lion View Post
In before the weight police.
All right pull it over . ( Siren wailing)
Why do you want to be so close to the exact GCWR limit? With a Honda minivan to boot?
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:05 PM   #4
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Because its what I have and its a lease...going to drive about 1k miles a year with the trailer...so not too worried. Already drove 350 miles with it from the dealer from Charlestown, IN to Akron, OH was averaging 12-13 mpg, no sway and way able to go between 60-70 with the engine maybe sitting around 2500 rpms. Next vehicle will be a Tundra or similar but for now its what I have. At least I know what the GCWR is and am weighing everything...judging what I've seen on the road most buy a pickup and think they can tow a house.
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:42 PM   #5
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Congrats on the new camper. The things you fixed should have been taken care of by the dealer before delivery. However I have done the same as you and fixed things myself after purchasing,mostly because I don’t like the way other do things so I do them my way. I don’t know what the deal is with the Antena and radio wiring. My last camper was all hooked up wrong and I had to fix it. You would think the manufactures would have someone who knew what they were doing hook these up.
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:52 PM   #6
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Thanks! When your traveling to pickup your kinda stuck. But honestly...feel better about fixing things myself. Sense of pride and knowing its done right makes me feel better. Also got a chance to become super familiar with all the systems which is invaluable once your away from home! I've though about calling the gulfstream rep to just mention the craziness but what is it going to change...
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Old 07-10-2020, 07:52 AM   #7
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Unlimited Energy

Congrats on your new TT!

Your experience sound similar to mine. You seem to have unlimited energy. For me, not so much. It has taken me 2 1/2 years and I am still not finished.

Here is one more improvement you may consider. Before all that shiny black paint gets dirty, paint over it with a high quality gloss enamel. Within two years the factory paint will be weathered and rust will start to appear. Soon after, large patches will start to flake off. Almost all the plated hardware will be corroded.

I did not have the energy to paint my new TT undercarriage. I did paint almost all the plated hardware. Later I painted the front "A" frame and about halfway to the back. Of course a lot of prep work was required because I procrastinated.

I noticed yesterday that some patches of black paint were shedding from the rear stabilizer jacks. Now, major prep in extremely difficult to access places is required.

A surface protectent like Polyglow on all the outside plastic fittings and roof top covers will keep them shiny. Otherwise they will be dull and starting to become brittle within two years.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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Old 07-10-2020, 10:57 AM   #8
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I didnt think to put clear on it. I have most of the frame covered in Fluid Film and that does not wash off quickly on a trailer that doesn't move much. Maybe next year I can revisit that idea. As far as the outside rubbers i do have 303 Aerospace protectant...ill have to look at what you recommended too. And to seal the finish on the aluminum i have Meguiars Ultimate Fast Finish...which is great to work with.

As a side I did get the new speakers installed. Nice and clean and sounds very good. Easy to listen to at a low volume or high when its sitting in my driveway.
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Old 07-10-2020, 12:06 PM   #9
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At least one trooper is true to his badge. But only one? No questions about payload, axle weight ratings, lectures, stories.
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Old 07-10-2020, 09:51 PM   #10
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First camper...2021 Gulfstream 199DD

Ok, ok, Mtn. Lion, just for you here goes...

Mr. Plaid, I trust your Honda has the towing package and a 3,500-lb tow rating. In your picture it seems to be riding pretty low. Go to a scale and check your rear axle load versus its Gross Axle Weight Rating. That will normally be your limiter in towing and not your GCWR. Also note, you cannot load up your minivan with all your passengers and cargo AND tow a TT at your max tow capacity. At the beginning of the Towing forum, there is a “sticky” with towing calculators. Suggest you download and play around with some of those. Make sure to use TT gross weight (loaded weight), not the ficticious “dry” weight. For TT towing stability, you want 10% absolute minimum, and 12%-15% is better, of total TT weight on the tongue, which loads your hitch and rear axle of your TV. Load safe, drive safe, enjoy the journey and not rush to get there, and be a Happy Camper. Enjoy!!!
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Old 07-11-2020, 12:14 AM   #11
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I appreciate the advice. We've done all the calculations over and over again and right now we are sitting at just over 3300 lbs with 12% on the tongue. But in the end I decided to make it more enjoyable for the kids...bring more stuff that is...so my wife and kids will just drive separate so we don't have to cut it so close. Soon enough we will upgrade vehicles but this is the best compromise we could come up with. That aside we were only going to be traveling within 100 miles maybe 150 at most from home base for all trips with this setup. Obviously we would like to do more but this van and this much weight...dont really want to go much further than that.

Lastly...we will be sitting level tomorrow. The weight distribution hitch was not set up correctly at all and the shank was too short to fully utilize the springs. But the dealer insisted on doing it their way and after I left I had no tools so I was stuck.
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:04 AM   #12
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Finally had our first outing! All went well and aside from water coming over the tub curb all was great! I am currently coming up with a creative but nice way to add a curb to the bathtub that isnt just plastic. Thinking angled aluminum stock with a rounded edge thats nicely integrates with the trim. Since the trim is off I will also add butyl tape to seal the seam between the tub and wall under the trim so water sealing isn't just reliant upon silicone on top of the trim. TBD on that...but next trip is in a week. Also sitting nearly level with all cargo except two totes loaded. Having the kids and wife drive separate took stress off the trip...not only because it saved weight but because it was quiet haha. I measured drop and its down 1/4" when hooked up so I think it worked out well. Also worked really hard to get the camper completely level. When driving down the highway and backroads it was completely stable all the way up to my self imposed limit of 65 and engine stayed under 2700 pretty much the entire drive. While the van is not the most ideal tow vehicle it is surprising how stable it is. Even when it was windy going out, I hardly felt the trailer move all that much. But counting down till I can get something more tow capable.
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:55 AM   #13
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Congrats on the new camper. It sounds like you will enjoy it!

We have a great toyhauler right now. But I know campers only last so long when towed down the road. So I am dreading buying a new one for the reason stated by you.

But is is nothing new to me. I consider Harley-Davidson and Moto Guzzi motorcycles to be 80-90% from the dealer. The rest is up to the buyer to complete. But once that is completed, it is better than from the factory.

Best of luck with the new camper!! Enjoy teaching your kids about glamping and exploring.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:19 AM   #14
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My 1st camper was a Gulfstream Streamlite 22SLB. I had that camper for 4 years that I used it alot without any issues. I got lucky I think.

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