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Old 12-28-2016, 11:03 PM   #1
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NEED HELP, trying to identify this older park model trailer

I am picking up this 34ft park model trailer next week or the week after, depending on when i get my 3/4 burb running. Its only $150, and if the inside is atleast 6ft tall and 6'8" wide inside then I am going to gut the rear 18ft of it and make it a "toy hauler" for our mud toy suburban. Its got 2 slide outs, not sure if they were factory or not, but the rear one would be turned into a fold down platform to sit on and grill out using hinges and a couple cables.

I would need to take off the rear panel of the trailer and either install a set of semi-trailer style doors, or make another fold down ramp like an enclosed 5x8 trailer that i could just drive up inside.

We would use the remaining ~14ft at the front of the camper with the long slideout for living quarters, just move the bed up that way and install a shower stall somewhere in that half of it.

The seller already measured the distance from the rear to the first axle at 16ft, so my engine/front clip of the mud toy would be right over the axles, which would help immensly with WD.

Its got 2 trailer house axles... no idea on wieght rating but ive seen camping trailers with identical axles rated as high as 8,000lbs but this one does not have the weight ratings on it anywhere he can see right now.

My truck is rated for 8,500lbs trailer and 8,600 GVWR if i go grab a WD hitch, it would be adog but it would do it.

The mud toy will weigh about 5,000lbs once stripped down and cleaned out, so that leaves me 3,500lbs for the frame and front end of the camper. i can fit 90% of the gear in the tow rig so the weight would not be on the hitch but rather on my frame.


Can anyone identify this camper? the only identifying information i can find is "Normandy" on the back of it. The title was lost long ago, and the vin is not found. I will have to apply for a salvage or abandoned title.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:19 AM   #2
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The Normandy line of trailers were made by the FAN Coach Company of Wakarusa, IN. FAN moved to LaGrange, IN and was eventually bought by Coachman in 1978 and closed shop in 1982. Coachman continued to use the FAN name for a few more years. Over 30,000 trailers were made by FAN, starting in 1954.

Most manufactured trailers have a VIN stamped on the tongue. Look on top, sides, and bottom for the VIN.

I see many issues with your plans. A trailer is usually not built on a frame or suspension or axles beefy enough to handle an additional 5,000 pounds payload. Putting all that weight over the rear half of the trailer will make it very tail heavy. A properly loaded trailer should have more weight in front of the axles rather than behind. A tail heavy trailer will exhibit extreme handling problems, sometimes suddenly, as it is pulled. Using a weight distributing hitch would only add issues, since they are designed to transfer weight to the ends of the tow vehicle and trailer.
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Old 12-29-2016, 12:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
The Normandy line of trailers were made by the FAN Coach Company of Wakarusa, IN. FAN moved to LaGrange, IN and was eventually bought by Coachman in 1978 and closed shop in 1982. Coachman continued to use the FAN name for a few more years. Over 30,000 trailers were made by FAN, starting in 1954.

Most manufactured trailers have a VIN stamped on the tongue. Look on top, sides, and bottom for the VIN.

I see many issues with your plans. A trailer is usually not built on a frame or suspension or axles beefy enough to handle an additional 5,000 pounds payload. Putting all that weight over the rear half of the trailer will make it very tail heavy. A properly loaded trailer should have more weight in front of the axles rather than behind. A tail heavy trailer will exhibit extreme handling problems, sometimes suddenly, as it is pulled. Using a weight distributing hitch would only add issues, since they are designed to transfer weight to the ends of the tow vehicle and trailer.


Thank you for the information, now i can start looking it up until i get out there to find the VIN. from what i have found so far the models with 1 rear and 1 front slide were the normandy 3000 and the normandy 1000 had the 1 rear and 1 front tip out. it appears this model has the tipouts because i can see the floors are hinged and then the "slide: slides out, or it had slides originally and the hinged floors are a hack job of a repair to compenstate for weak floors...

regardless i went on nada guides to get some ideas of the weights once i had the company name, and i found this on rvvalues.com:


Please choose the configuration that most closely matches your vehicle

Model Length Weight
1000FK 34'0" 5620
3000FK 34'0" 6350
1000FSD 34'0" 5640
1000FBR 34'0" 5620
1000FJJ 34'0" 5640
1000FBB 34'0" 5640
1000FKTB 34'0" 5630
1000GR 34'0" 5620
2000FK 34'0" 5620
2000FLR 34'0" 5620
2000FBR 34'0" 5620
2000FBB 34'0" 5640
2000FJJ 34'0" 5640
2000F4B 34'0" 5650
2000FKTB 34'0" 5630
2000FSD 34'0" 5640
2000GR 34'0" 5620
3000FLR 34'0" 6110
1000F4B 34'0" 5650

And see the attached screenshot for nada guides for a 1983 model, which the seller claims it is.


Now my only question is whether these weights are unloaded dry weights or if this was the GTW, i would assume it is dry weight beccause GTW or GVW are usually rounded to the combined axle capacity.e.g. 7,000lbs, or 6,000lbs, sometimes its an odd number but on all the old trailers ive had its always a simple number. e.g. 7,500 if its a 2 5/16 ball like this one.

I also punched in our old 1992 cobra 32ft camper we had before and it was rated at 7,500lbs GVW, but was about 4800 across the scale at work because the dinette and slide out had been removed. however nada guides lists the weight for that model at 5,550, and the kitchen was also partially removed.


i am fairly sure that the GVW on the trailer frame i will find is 7,500 oor i could upgrade the hitch with the newer style that is rated for 750lbs tongue and 10,500 Gross weight, but thats around $150 to have a shop weld that in.

So logic would say the axles are rated for atleast 3,000 each, but if the hitch shows a gross rating of 7,500lbs then they would be rated for 3,750 each.

I am also seriously considering upgrading both axles to the newer 8lug design as i can pick up a set of them for around $250 up here at the trailer shop, those are rated for either 5,000lbs each or 7,000lbs each depending on which ones i choose, and they bolt right in where the existing axles are.

Another option is to add a 3rd axle behind the 2 that are already there to give a little more support for the load.


@BFlinn181 you say that the trailer is not designed for an additional 5,000 lb load, but i am not putting an additional 5,000lb load on the frame, i am removing the rear slide/tip out, which im sure will weigh 500-700lbs, and i am also removing all cabinets, tanks,the old wood wall paneling (it would be repalced with lightweight 4x8 bathroom wall panels), basically everything except the light fixtures, so im sure i would drop 1,500lbs easily there, and so using the weights provided by nadaguides, 5650 as an average - 2,200lbs for everything i have removed that brings the new weight to around 3,400lbs and then add the vehicle in the back: 5,000lbs brings it to 8,400, which is still over my ideal 7,500lbs but still well within the 9,500 of my tow rating, and if i really need to drop that extra 1,000lbs i can leave the front slide out at home during trips and just use a canvas tarp +frame to replace that wall. which im quite sure weighs alteast 1,000lbs.

My wife and i have stripped down 2 campers one a 24ft RV, and another a 30ft bumper pull, the RV started out life at 9,000lbs, and ended weighing 6,300 with just the kitchen and bathroom left in it, and the camper trailer started at 5,800 and after just gutting the dining area, and the rear bedroom area it was already down to 4,900 on the scale.

I have a set of 8 bolt 10 ply tires already if i do the axle swap so thats not an issue either.


And i have a thread regarding the WD hitch theory here:

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f45/whats...ml#post3392459
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Old 12-29-2016, 12:27 PM   #4
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I don't ever say never when building these, but you will have to reinforce everything in the rear once you start to pull everything out and open the rear for a door, most of those trailers are 1.5X1.5 wood stringers stapled. it's strong as long as everything is still together as designed, then you will have to beef up the floor, (read heavy plywood) plus the floor joists believe me you will add as much as you take out. I have repurposed several of these for other uses so I speak from experience, (check out my thread Total Rebuild in the vintage section) the axles are most likely 3500lb Dexter axles, way under rated for what your asking of them, then there's the frame, is it channel or boxed the crossmembers I'll bet are just pressed sheet metal and not very many, not saying it can't be done just expect that you will be putting ALOT of work to make it SAFE. Also park models are not really designed to be pulled down the road on a daily bases ether.
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Old 12-29-2016, 01:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harley1994 View Post
I don't ever say never when building these, but you will have to reinforce everything in the rear once you start to pull everything out and open the rear for a door, most of those trailers are 1.5X1.5 wood stringers stapled. it's strong as long as everything is still together as designed, then you will have to beef up the floor, (read heavy plywood) plus the floor joists believe me you will add as much as you take out. I have repurposed several of these for other uses so I speak from experience, (check out my thread Total Rebuild in the vintage section) the axles are most likely 3500lb Dexter axles, way under rated for what your asking of them, then there's the frame, is it channel or boxed the crossmembers I'll bet are just pressed sheet metal and not very many, not saying it can't be done just expect that you will be putting ALOT of work to make it SAFE. Also park models are not really designed to be pulled down the road on a daily bases ether.

I will have to inspect the frame once there and figure that part out, but there is a place a few towns over tha literally builds trailers all day everyday, and they reinforce custom trailer or older trailer for people, it would be sorta expensive, but it would be done right... all of my travel trailers from 1948 up to 1992 all were nice sturdy C channel or I beams, an the beams were usually thicker than the ones holding my truck up lol

and i will have to find out if the walls are wood or metal, about 1/2 of the trailers we have owned were actually steel or aluminum "studs" if thats what they were called.

The axle limit is why i mentioned adding a 3rd axle behind the 2 existing so that the new 3,500lb axle would be holding almost all the weigh of the 5,000lb suburban. and it would add stability as well.


I wouldnt be using this on a daily basis, more like 3-5 road trips per year MAX, and the occasional 50 mile drive down to the marina/campground.

I have no issue whatsoever with going 50-55mph hauling it, and getting 10mpg while im at it. the last time i hauled a 9k RV on a 3K deckover trailer total weight was 18K and i average 7mpg over the 240 miles i kept track, and it was 13ft tall and it was very very very windy (30mph sustained winds)
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Old 12-29-2016, 03:05 PM   #6
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they were called tip outs and were made in the 1970 long before slideouts
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