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Old 09-13-2011, 09:30 PM   #1
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Want a trailer but

Greetings, Escapers! This is truly an informative forum.
After considering trailers, it soon became obvious that the Escape is a quality product. Thank you, Eric and Mary, for showing us your "Blue" a while ago. Very impressive.

As much as I would like to snap up a 19', we don't have a tow vehicle yet. We are looking at the 4Runner. I see some lucky dogs in our region in Three Oaks and Omaha and Lincoln will be getting new Escapes shortly.

My reservations on the whole thing are on the towing deal: How much trouble it is to hitch up (There is something electric for that---- I'll take it!),
Having the trailer brakes adjusted correctly (Can you do that yourself?),
The weight distribution,
And, oh yes, the backing it up part (or always finding a pull- through spot!)

Do you actually need much physical strength? I am pretty sure we don't have anywhere near Eric's and we won't be wheeling around any trailer.

I love camping. We have been using a big two-room tent with a "screen porch" but that doesn't quite work when there are bears and mountain lions lurking about.

Considering Cathy
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:43 PM   #2
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Re: Want a trailer but

Hitching up is easy if you have a mirror lookig at the hitch or someone guiding you. Otherwise it takes a little care and getting out to check. There are other ways of getting it done easy that I am sure others will pass along.

Weight distribution hitches are a bit of a pain to use and weight distribution in the trailer is easy, just put stuff evenly around and you should be OK.

Backing up a 19 footer should be easier than a 17 footer, the dual axles make it more stable. Put you hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and move you hand in the direction you want the trailer to go. Don't oversteer and take it easy.

You don't need much strength. I use a power drill to lower the stabilizers when parked and hooking up the trailer shouldn't be hard. If it is you're doing something wrong.

Go for it.
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:48 PM   #3
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Re: Want a trailer but

Hi Cathy, and welcome aboard.

A 4Runner would do good as a tow vehicle.

All the reservations you have can be cast aside with practice. And I would recommend lots and lots of practice if you guys are green at towing a trailer. An empty parking lot is a perfect place. You can even use the lines to practice reversing. If you plan you look for pull through sites, you will have to pass up most of the good ones. The pull throughs are out in the middle, and usually more open.

I am a huge advocate of learning to reverse properly, and not relying too much on tricks and gimmicks. Use your mirrors and don't turn your head. To move the trailer in a certain direction picture how you would move the tongue to achieve this, and turn the back end of the tow in that direction. There are lots of good instructors out there, and a brief lesson would help a lot.

Bottom line, don't feel daunted. Everyone had to start at some time.
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:48 AM   #4
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Re: Want a trailer but

Thank you, Thane and Jim.
I just assumed that we would need a WDH. I think I read that one is necessary if the trailer weight is more than half that of the vehicle. I wonder how Reace determines when a WDH is used.

I guess an extended mirror is a good idea. I will be prepared for practice, practice on backing and will look for the latest replacement for tennis balls.

I don't suppose my cordless Makita would be sufficient but we do have another drill we can plug in.

It's a good point that the 19' is more stable due to the dual axles. I have noted that a 19' Airstream has a single axle.

I'll try not to worry too much about the above and instead spend my time coming up with a name for a new trailer! And I am going to order a book or DVD or the like, from RV Dr. or somebody, to study up.




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Old 09-14-2011, 04:16 AM   #5
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Re: Want a trailer but

Hi Cathy,
Learning to deal with a trailer can seem very daunting at first, but once you develop a system, it is really very manageable. I know because this is our first summer with a trailer, and I have had to learn how to do most things myself as my husband is visually impaired. The best advice I received was to have checklists that you keep with the trailer, and use when hooking up. That way it is not so overwhelming trying to remember everything that needs to be done. It is not strength that is needed so much as being methodical so that the trailer is ready to go, and all the bits get connected properly, and nothing is forgotten. I have a checklist I use to remind me what I need to do inside the trailer (eg close roof vents, secure fridge door etc), one for the outside (eg. disconnect electrical, lock hatch etc), and one for the actual hooking up (eg connect safety chains, then electrical, then equalizer bars etc).

Backing up is something that gets easier with practice... or so I'm told!! I'm still working on that. You have to be patient with yourself, and recognize that it is going to take time. It helps if the person sitting next to you in your tow vehicle is also patient. :

The rewards of being in a comfortable, secure 'home on wheels' surrounded by fresh air and beautiful vistas more than make up for any challenges in the learning process... It also helps to keep telling yourself that learning new skills is good for the brain!!

Pam
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:57 AM   #6
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Re: Want a trailer but

All the above were excellent suggestions. If I can elaborate on some of them it may add some insight. We tow a 19 without a weight distribution hitch. Our 4Runner came equiped with a towing package, a very worthwhile option. I have seen, but not used, the WDH hitches and they are cumbersome but certainly managable. After a year I have not seen a need for the WDH but I am certain it adds a margin of safety.

The cordless drill works great on lowering the jacks, we were fortunate to have the scissors jack, not sure they are standard, but my >10 amp drill did not cut it. As a holiday gift I received a 16 amp and it is more than enough to handle the jacks.
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:04 AM   #7
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Re: Want a trailer but

Cathy:

Liana & I were as 'green' as they come.. we never towed anything or had a camper experience.. Tammy & Reace we're so nice in taking the time to show us everything.. Reace actually helped me dial in the brake controller and took a test drive with me to see how everything reacted.. Really over and beyond..

I agree w/Jim as I being a 'greenie' it's good to pattern yourself after smart people..

I would say that that practicing in a parking lot will help you get your confidence going..and just allow yourself to do everything 'slow'.. We had a 17ft and my guess that the dual axle will be easier to manage as it probably reacts slower to 'backing' up..

Also the checklist is another great idea as sometimes you're in a hurry and forget something.. again it's the 'in a hurry' thing that tends to create more trouble than it's worth..

I would venture to guess in less than month you'll laugh at how 'stressed' you were about the whole hitching, parking, towing an dumping thing..

I think you'll be amazed how easy it is once you have a trip or two under your belt..

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Old 09-14-2011, 11:33 AM   #8
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Re: Want a trailer but

I agree with all the posts above. Its easy and doesn't require a lot of strength - just practice and technique (and some patience). I like the expression "90% of the things you fear never come to pass."

Your cordless drill will suit for the jacks, but they really don't take much strength when you do it manually either.

I am a firm believer in a WDH and anti-sway bar. Anything you can do to make your rig more stable (and safer) is to the good. I blew a tire at 70 mph (I know, I know!) in our Casita and literally never felt a thing. The explosive "BLAM!" and a leaning trailer were all the clues I had - the trailer tracked straight and true. They are a bit of a hassle, but I wouldn't tow without one. YMMV.

Dave
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:35 AM   #9
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Re: Want a trailer but

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffZ
.. again it's the 'in a hurry' thing that tends to create more trouble than it's worth..
Ain't that the truth. In many other areas of life too.
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:47 PM   #10
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Re: Want a trailer but

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garand
I am a firm believer in a WDH and anti-sway bar. Anything you can do to make your rig more stable (and safer) is to the good. I blew a tire at 70 mph (I know, I know!) in our Casita and literally never felt a thing. The explosive "BLAM!" and a leaning trailer were all the clues I had - the trailer tracked straight and true. They are a bit of a hassle, but I wouldn't tow without one. YMMV.
Dave
Totally agree with Dave...it's a hassle, but the safety margin is worth it! I had the exact thing happen to me outside of Hershey, PA....Interstate..65+mph...Casita...and nothing but a "bammmm" and flying rubber. Don't think that would be the case without the WDH. It's not difficult, it's just a pain. Maybe one of the reasons both Dave and I have 5.0's
Everything else will fall into place as everyone has said, and is a fun (and sometimes..funny) learn : - ) I'm still learning, and backing up slowly..the 5.0!
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