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Old 06-06-2021, 04:44 AM   #1
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Looking to buy first TT, seeking advice

Hi guys, this is my first post here. Glad I found this forum. I had read many posts here before registering an account.

A brief background.....we are a family with three kids, age 11, 9 and 7. We love camping and camp a lot. We bought a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 Van in January this year and made it road ready. Since then we took it out a few times and slept in it for about a total of 10 nights. While we somehow managed to sleep 5 persons in it, it wasn't fun. The three kids were able to sleep on the fold down bench seat, but my wife and I had to sleep on the floor. Though we had new carpet installed, but the fact that we had to move a lot of stuffs to make room each night before lying down is nothing fun. And it's very time consuming. We had to spent about an hour to make room and move things around before sleeping, then another hour after waking up. You can easily tell we are so fed up with this already. It just takes away the joy of traveling.

Now, we have decided to sell the van and get something real, a TT. I've read lots of recommendations and reviews and basically decided to get a 20-21 inch TT with capacity to sleep 5. We want it short but can sleep 5 comfortably. The towing vehicle will be our 2017 Audi Q7. I'm located in Southern California, greater Los Angels area.

From all over the web, I found many different brands with very similar design and spec, if not identical, to Coachmen Clipper Ultra-Lite 17BH. Provided the similarity, would one brand's quality better than the other? I guess they might be using the same parts from the same suppliers but in different names. Or am I wrong? What are the brands known for good quality, and which brands should I avoid?

The other question is, many of the TT mentioned above were claimed to be around $12k in some reviews/articles, however when I looked up those models on RV dealers, they are usually priced at $20k-25k, some even close to $30k. I know the water is deep, but what's the actual buying price should I expect? Is buying out of state an option as well? I see listing price is thousands lower in some of the mid states, may worth the driving I guess? Would paying cash help lower the price and make negotiation easier?
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Old 06-06-2021, 06:24 AM   #2
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In the past 35% off was my goal and twice I got 40% off MSRP if there is such a thing.
I think it is still easy to get 25% to 30% off.

Now at the end of a pandemic all bets are off IMHO.

In the looking I have done I have been impressed with all the newer trailers. I currently have a 2013 Keystone Vantage 25 RBS but want something new(newer).

I like the Rockwood/Flagstaff twins. They seem to be put together pretty well but so are the Winnebago and Grand Design trailers. Just about all the trailers I look at seem to be built better than my 2013.

Have you thought about a big pop-up with 2 big sleeping areas on the ends. Or a hybrid with fold out sleeping areas? Something easy to tow and store.
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Old 06-06-2021, 08:28 AM   #3
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I believe the ratings for the Q7 will determine what you can pull. With a towing capacity of 4400 pounds (max tongue weight 440 pounds) and a total payload of 1367 pounds you will probably be in popup or small hybrid territory as you will also be carrying gear and supplies for five. A popup will offer you more options as a hybrid coach will add weight but not much functionality.
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Old 06-06-2021, 08:43 AM   #4
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Doesn’t matter whether you finance or pay cash. Won’t affect purchase price. We drove over 500 miles to get the deal we wanted; $5k less than any other dealer. Paid $22,500 versus $33,200 MSRP. Takes a lot of time to research and negotiate. Be patient. If you’re in SoCal, look in Arizona for a better deal.

Your Q7 can either tow 4,400 or 7,700 depending on engine size. Which is it, as this will determine what TTS you can look at. If you have the smaller engine, you don’t have much to look at that will be comfortable for 5, except the hybrids Tuffr2 mentioned. If you have the big motor, you’re in business.

Expect to pay about $25k or more (with a lot of negotiating) for a high build quality brand. We love our Winnebago Micro Mini. Very spacious, yet lightweight. And one of the biggest design benefits is that it’s only 7ft wide, and it’s got dual axles. Not many brands (if any) have that. Makes it extremely easy to tow versus an 8ft wide TT. The Micro Mini line has 3 bunkhouse models. Take a look at the 2100BH. It will sleep 5 comfortably. You should be able to tow it comfortably with the big engine Q7. Disclaimer: you must check with Audi before deciding on any trailer/hitch. Unibody design SUVs may not permit the use of a weight distribution hitch.

Grand Design ( now a Winnebago brand) is very nice, but probably not towable for you in 22ft or longer. There are some other 7 wides, but none we looked at had dual axles. Dual axles much safer.

Happy hunting.
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Old 06-06-2021, 10:05 AM   #5
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Here is a big pop-up. Dual axles and high wall.

https://youtu.be/83rDJoawaWA
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Old 06-06-2021, 12:09 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info. Yes we had carefully thought about those pop out ones, but since we don’t have enough space at home, it will be stored in RV storage any way. And since we still have to tow it, we’d like something easy without the need to mess around before getting a sleep.
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Old 06-06-2021, 12:14 PM   #7
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Thanks for checking up the specs. That’s why we are looking at these smaller TT. Some of them are rated less than 4000 GVWR, I know it’s a bit pushing, but could that still be possible? Or maybe we can replace the other sedan we have and get a truck. Really want something that can just get in and sleep without too much operation.
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Old 06-06-2021, 12:25 PM   #8
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Great thanks for point out the dual axles on Winnebago Minnie. Just took a look and they are really nice. Now I’m not interested in this model, for the dual axles. From yours and the replies above, I’m considering maybe getting a truck as a towing vehicle is a better idea.
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Old 06-06-2021, 12:29 PM   #9
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Thank you. This one is really big and nice. But we still prefer to get one without popping up or sliding out. Well, but then we may better getting a truck to tow. That’s another expense, will surely take time and plan it out.
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Old 06-06-2021, 01:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BigBellyDude View Post
Thanks for checking up the specs. Thatís why we are looking at these smaller TT. Some of them are rated less than 4000 GVWR, I know itís a bit pushing, but could that still be possible? Or maybe we can replace the other sedan we have and get a truck. Really want something that can just get in and sleep without too much operation.
Tongue weight will likely be the first limit you hit. Car manufacturers often rate the tongue weight at 10% of the trailer weight limit, but most TT tongue weights are more than 10%, especially when loaded. With a 440 tongue weight rating, you're probably looking at trailers under 3,500 GVWR.
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Old 06-06-2021, 01:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBellyDude View Post
From yours and the replies above, Iím considering maybe getting a truck as a towing vehicle is a better idea.
You donít have to get a truck, although I find camping much easier with one. You can trade your Q7 for a late model full size SUV, which may be more comfortable traveling with 5. Just make sure the SUV is body on frame construction, not unibody. Body on frame is just like a truck. You can put a weight distributing anti-sway hitch on it. And that is the key to relaxed and safe towing. Tahoe, Suburban, Expedition, and Armada come to mind, or their upmarket brands that share the same chassis. I know some people tow with unibody, and they can be happy with it.
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Old 06-06-2021, 05:30 PM   #12
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I am not a fan of towing with a SUV. Why you ask? Trucks are just as comfortable, have all the fancy features and are more capable. They can carry 5 passengers in comfort the same as most SUV's. Trucks will have a longer wheelbase to control a travel trailer better.

But that being said the OP probably needs a long heavy trailer with a bunk room, yes bunk room in the back. The nicest bunk rooms will have 2 opposing slides, maybe a 1/2 bath and can sleep 3 or 4 people. I looked at these to turn the bunk room into an office. These trailers are best towed with a 250/2500 series truck because they are 35' long.

This opens up a can of worms because the most comfortable set-up would be a 5th wheel with a mid bunk house set-up with a loft above the bunk room.

I have friends with a 9 year old grandson. They bought a Winnebago Mini bunk house. The 9 year old boy preferred to sleep on the dinnett and not in the coffin like bunk.
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Old 06-06-2021, 06:40 PM   #13
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Correction the Winnebago Mini was not a bunk house but had small bunks in the back...sorry.
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Old 06-06-2021, 09:54 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone for providing very valuable information above. Iím now onto the research of getting a truck, lol. While itís not absolute necessary to get a truck for towing, but I admit that a truck is more convenient for going vacation, especially when bringing bikes along.
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