Soon to join the club :) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-15-2009, 10:23 PM   #1
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Trailer: Northern Lite 16' FG Trailer
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Hi all! My wife and I have recently retired and purchased a Toyota Tacoma 4x4 with trailer towing package (6500 lbs max) and are planning to purchase a new Northern Lite 16' trailer. It weights approximately 1980 lbs dry, so it should be a good match for our truck. We have never towed before, so I am a bit nervous about what to expect. We had a truck and camper in the past, but never a trailer. The Northern Lite seemed like the best glass egg for us due to our penchant for cold temperatures and cross country skiing because it has good insulation (1" blue styrofoam sandwiched between the interior walls and the fiberglass shell).

I am going to get a weight distributing hitch and perhaps a friction anti-sway device to help keep the trailer under control (did I mention I'm nervous about pulling a trailer?). Does anyone know if a 16ft trailer would normally come with brakes? I sure hope so... .

Is there anything i'm forgetting? We will need to go to Vancouver Island to pick it up so I'm even more nervous about taking a trailer on a ferry with no experience to back me up. Ok, I guess i'm finished fretting about it. I have really enjoyed reading this forum and we are looking forward to many years of camping and sharing our experiences as others do.

Jeff & Maureen
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:35 PM   #2
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You really don't need a WDH with your rig, but if you are going to get one, I would recommend getting a Reese with the Dual Cam sway control -- Vastly superior to the friction bar sway controls for a number of reasons -- A close second best to that would be the Equalizer hitch with its internal friction sway control.

Your 16' should come with brakes, but if for some odd reason it didn't I would get them as an option up front -- It will likely be the least expensive way to add brakes, plus all the wiring would be done by the factory.

I would also recommend the Cequent-Tekonsha P3 Predator brake control.

**********************************

BTW, if anyone wants the VERY BEST in sway control, with price being no object, the Hensley Arrow Cub would be the hitch to get -- Besides being a WDH, through clever use of a leverage system it effectively moves the pivot point of the trailer connection to very close to the tow vehicle rear axle, essentially simulating a 5W/Gooseneck hitch.

http://www.hensleymfg.com/arrowcub.html

Just for the record, trailer sway is *always* there to some extent, depending on the trailer's geometry and how it is loaded. What we are really doing is reducing the *effects* of sway on the tow vehicle. The Hensley stuf says their hitch makes sway "impossible", but that's not true.


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Old 04-15-2009, 11:42 PM   #3
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Does anyone know if a 16ft trailer would normally come with brakes?
Although I have seen a 1st generation Fiber Stream that did not come with brakes from the factory; (later versions did have brakes) I believe that it is rare to not get brakes on a 16' trailer. It was more common for 13' trailers to omit brakes.
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:54 PM   #4
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The ferry is no problem- but make sure you aren't going to cross at an extreme low tide as that can make loading a trailer onto a ferry difficult or impossible (and they would make you wait for another tide.)
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Old 04-16-2009, 12:11 AM   #5
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Jeff, Congrats on your upcoming purchase. I just wanted to ease you mind about pulling. I grew up with all sorts of Rv's from Overhead campers, Bumperpull's. C class all the way thru to Class A rv's. We always had a boat that I guess cause I was the girly girl of the family they never taught me to back up. My Dad and brother both are masters so they always just said move over we will do it. Then I met and married my Dh and he was another master at it. So life continued with me never learning how. I have always been able to back any rv no matter how big, but once you put something on that little ball (hitch) I panicked at the thought. Anyway, Dh can't drive any more due to illness and since we had sold our Class A I wanted to get him back out camping and fishing and decided to buy a bumper pull versus another motorhome due to the fact that I am not mechanical so figured a bumper pull was easier for me to care for. Long story shortish, I found the wonderful world of fiberglass and ended up buying a 17 ft Casita. Well actually I bought an older 16 first but a week later purchased the 2007. Anyhow, I was scared to death the minute I hitched it up, wasn't concerned with the going straight part of the drive, cause I have done that before. But found that the fiberglass trailers are a brezzzzzzzzzzzzze to pull. They are so comfortable to pull that you actually forget that they are behind you. Thankfully I didn't have to back up on the ride home, making sure to pull into positions that I wouldn't get myself in a pickle until I could practice. I did my first little test back up in a parking lot. Then came the big test. Get the thing into my Mom's barn without destroying anything. . Thankfully my Mom was able to talk me thru it, which helps if someone is calm and precise with their directions. I can honestly say, it's really very easy! If you take your time, don't get in a hurry. So easy in fact our 3rd or 4th trip after buying the Casita I backed it into a campsite in the middle of the night with no help, Pitch Dark! Mountain campground. I just got out with a flash light and checked the area out before starting. One thing I heard here is to put your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel. I haven't prefected that maneuver yet, but I have heard it works for others. Just take it slow. Go out and practice in a empty parking lot. The lines of the parking spaces helps you get used to keeping it straight. But really if I can do it anyone can. So hang in there you will get it.

Dh and I owned a resort and backing up could be the entertainment of the day. Dh always said why so many people get screw'ed up to start with was they didn't pull up/ approach the site correctly in the first place. So learning to get your rig past the site driveway then ease into it rather than just starting turning the minute your near the site. Having someone to help guide is wonderful, unfortunately my Dh can't do that anymore so I am on my own. And frankly if I ever feel I couldn't get it in somewhere I would not hesitate to ask a stranger for help. I figure its better to ask for help then destroy something.



I just bought a Tacoma 4 wheel to pull with as well. Haven't been able to pull with it yet though cause I haven't got enough miles built up yet. Soon, then its off on our summer adventures. Again, Congrats! You will be fine, just take it slow, most of all ENJOY! Robin
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Old 04-17-2009, 03:34 AM   #6
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Trailer: Bigfoot Rear Queen 25 ft
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Quote:
Hi all! My wife and I have recently retired and purchased a Toyota Tacoma 4x4 with trailer towing package (6500 lbs max) and are planning to purchase a new Northern Lite 16' trailer. It weights approximately 1980 lbs dry, so it should be a good match for our truck. We have never towed before, so I am a bit nervous about what to expect. We had a truck and camper in the past, but never a trailer. The Northern Lite seemed like the best glass egg for us due to our penchant for cold temperatures and cross country skiing because it has good insulation (1" blue styrofoam sandwiched between the interior walls and the fiberglass shell).

I am going to get a weight distributing hitch and perhaps a friction anti-sway device to help keep the trailer under control (did I mention I'm nervous about pulling a trailer?). Does anyone know if a 16ft trailer would normally come with brakes? I sure hope so... .

Is there anything i'm forgetting? We will need to go to Vancouver Island to pick it up so I'm even more nervous about taking a trailer on a ferry with no experience to back me up. Ok, I guess i'm finished fretting about it. I have really enjoyed reading this forum and we are looking forward to many years of camping and sharing our experiences as others do.

Jeff & Maureen
Hi Jeff, before you roll off the lot you'll be given a demonstration of all the features of your new purchase. Pre write any questions you might have, now. Actually, you should contact the dealer before you leave to pick it up to ensure you have the right electrical connector and (Brake controller if required) on your tow vehicle before your arrival, unless you have arranged for them to install it for you..boarding the ferry will not be difficult, BC Ferries staff will guide you into position and there's loads of room on either side over the ramp. Have you inquired on the cost of the ferry towing back? It's not cheap...$$$ Just watch for drag on your trailer's rear end as you come up and over the ferry ramp as you enter or exit. DEAD SLOW BOTH WAYS.

You'll be an old hand at towing by the time you get back home!

Welcome to the forum......
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:26 AM   #7
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I had a job for 4 years with a maintenance contract company, and I towed a trailer in a city every day. I can think of 3 occasions where i got to remove my utility trailer from my ford aerostar cargo van. I had a huge learning curve backing trailers up, until one day i was eating my lunch and rifling through the glovebox because i had nothing to read. I found a Ford brochure on trailering, and ever since that day it's been a breeze to make the trailer do what i want in reverse.


put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, in the center. move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go, for example, move your hand to the left, and the trailer will go to the left. try not to think of the wheel as a circle and which way to turn it, but which direction you are 'sliding' the bottom of the wheel. with a little practice, a clear head and a few deep breaths, you can do it....practice with as few onlookiers as possible, and as mentioned, a spotter always helps. those inexpensive FRS 2-way radios are a big help because the spotter can stand way out of the way and you don't need to see them in your mirror for them to guide you. make sure your spotter knows there job is not to tell you what to do (turn the wheel left), but to tell you where the trailer has to go (trailer needs more to the left), this will prevent you from getting flustered.

big box stores sell inexpensive wireless backup cameras. I've had luck with them, but they shouldn't be relied on, only as a supplement for your vision.
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:49 AM   #8
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Hi -- Congratulations on your new rig -- it sounds great. Just wanted to add that the BC ferries are well organized, well managed and make trailering on & off a boat as simple as it can be. My folks and I rode them repeatedly with an F250 king cab 4wd & and a 34' Airstream, and as huge as that rig seemed to me -- used to my little Honda Element & 13' egg -- it went smoothly every time. The lanes are correctly oriented to the boats for getting on & off, and the staff are helpful. Enjoy!
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