Travel Trailer Suggestions

dieselman4224

New member
Jul 7, 2011
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NoVA
We’re looking to buy our first travel trailer. Budget will be limited and will need room for 3 kids under 10yo. I’m looking for any suggestions on what to look for specifically when kicking tires, lessons learned, general tips when buying used, etc. Just trying to not make a relatively large financial mistake by buying a polished piece of junk. Thanks in advance. And mods please let me know if this is in the wrong place.
 

Chevy1925

don't know sh!t about IFS
Staff member
Oct 21, 2009
17,149
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Phoenix Az
Used or new?

Biggest thing to remember about these things is they are rolling earthquakes. There is always something needing fixed on them. Doesn’t help some of the parts used are the cheapest pos parts I’ve ever seen and those are the “good ones”.

Tires/bearings/brakes are usually my #1 check. If your rolling on 3-4 years are “eh” as far as if the tire is still good. Depends on your location and how it was stored. Older than that and your asking for a blow out. Don’t use the grease zerk at the end of the spindle, it will blow grease into the brake drum (if it has bearing buddies, different deal). Make sure brake magnet, shoes and drum is free of grease.

Depending on age and mileage, spring shackles and bolts should be checked. They ride metal on metal (no getting around it) and eventually start to oblong the hole in the shackles or cut through the bolts. Cheap and easy to fix those.

Any delamination on the outside of a fiberglass sided rig (mainly front corners do this) is NOT from heat. It’s almost always water damage from the roof leaking around the edges. Walk ALL the floor around the edges for real soft spots, again, water damage from leaks. Number one damage issue is water damage in these things from improper care of the roof or anything attached to the side that was not sealed to the body. Get up on the roof and look for any cracks or tears. Even just cracks in the sealer is bad.

The older they are, the more work they require. Sun is killer on plastic parts.

If it has a genny, start it and let it run for a while while you walk around it. Then turn the a/c on and the microwave on and see if it surges. Means carb needs cleaning or replacement.

Propane tank age also, after 12 years they need recertification.

Larger the water tank, the better. Specially for first time camping moms and kids. Lay down the rules on just enough water to get wet, off, rinse, off lol. Even with 160 gal of water in my trailer, we can burn through that at the dunes in 6 days
 

dieselman4224

New member
Jul 7, 2011
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NoVA
Thanks for the replies fellas.

Definitely buying used with the intent of updating the interior. I don’t foresee us using it every weekend, nor for major/long trips. Probably just stick to VA for now.

I’m not opposed to something that might need a little more than cosmetic work. But would like to avoid getting one that needs major work done.

James - thanks for the punch list! Anything to look for on the plumbing side of things?

2004LB7 - any particular reason to avoid Jayco? Any other brands to avoid?

Thanks again!
 

Chevy1925

don't know sh!t about IFS
Staff member
Oct 21, 2009
17,149
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38
Phoenix Az
Thanks for the replies fellas.

Definitely buying used with the intent of updating the interior. I don’t foresee us using it every weekend, nor for major/long trips. Probably just stick to VA for now.

I’m not opposed to something that might need a little more than cosmetic work. But would like to avoid getting one that needs major work done.

James - thanks for the punch list! Anything to look for on the plumbing side of things?

2004LB7 - any particular reason to avoid Jayco? Any other brands to avoid?

Thanks again!
Make sure the shitter plumbing is as straight to the black tank as it can be lol. We had a weekend warrior that had a 90* in it and I swear that thing plugged up every trip. I blame my brothers . Usually the rest of the plumbing is decent pex type stuff for water lines. Always winterize that sucker if you live in freezing temps.

Oh, no feminine products down the black tank. They can block things up in a hurry.
 

2004LB7

Active member
Dec 15, 2010
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Norcal
2004LB7 - any particular reason to avoid Jayco?
Did you watch the video? If that is how it is on camera, I don't want to know what they do off camera. They look like a nightmare waiting to happen. Other brands may be the same but I don't have enough experience to recommend any others
 

dieselman4224

New member
Jul 7, 2011
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NoVA
Yeah I did watch it. Just wasn’t sure if that’s typical for the industry or when that video was made. Definitely seemed to emphasize speed over quality (but hopefully they were just showing off...:unsure:).
 

THEFERMANATOR

LEGALLY INSANE
Feb 16, 2009
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ZEPHYRHILLS, FL
I looked for months when I bought our 2nd one. Our 1st one was an off brand company called Hy-Line. It was an OK trailer, but it was a stick built unit, had middle of the road equipment, sat way up iff the ground for a 25 footer, and towed like crap because the axles were almost dead in the middle of it. Had many a scary moment hauling that trailer through cross winds and going past semi's.

Sold it and bought a 97 Holiday Rambler(last of the Harley Davidson built units). It sets a good foot lower, is 32 foot(35' overall), all aluminum structure, high end equipment, and tows 10x better. After buying a Pro Pride hitch, we routinely run 70+ towing it with no issues. I would strongly recommend holding out for a good high end unit instead of starting with a cheap one.
 

68ss

New member
Dec 30, 2019
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I have a Forrest River Salem 27DBK. It is a nice trailer bu a lot of cheap stuff in it. It gets the job done but I am saving my money for a heartland fuel toy hauler. They seem to do a better job of fit and finish.
 

dieselman4224

New member
Jul 7, 2011
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1
NoVA
Thanks for all the replies guys. What are your thoughts on a bumper pull vs 5th wheel? We’ll prob end up with something in the 28-32 ft. range to get the features we want.

Also we don’t necessarily want a cheap quality trailer. Just that our budget is limited. So a little older trailer from a quality manufacturer is prob where we will end up.
 

2004LB7

Active member
Dec 15, 2010
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5th wheel for sure. There are a ton of threads on the pros and cons between the two. 5th wheel has way more pros then cons over a bumper pull in that size range
 

duramaxzak

Wanna be puller!
Nov 22, 2008
2,413
2
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Minnesota
I would definitely get a fifth wheel, they pull so much better and you can pull another trailer behind it, like a boat or ATV. Also with kids the bunch house models work best for giving the kids them there own bunch beds and space.
 

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