How big, function vs ease of use?? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-06-2007, 05:47 PM   #15
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Trailer: 2002 17 ft Casita Liberty Deluxe
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I know you are interested in a trailer with a bed that is up all the time, and a separate dinette, but we sure love our Casita. The Liberty has several ways of sleeping.

We decided on the 17' Liberty model - more room during the day and twin beds or king at night. You can also keep the rear bed up all the time and use the small dinette in front of the bed. Takes just a minute to change the couches during the day into the twin beds, which is the way we use the trailer.

By the way, we are seniors too, and find this trailer to fit our needs perfectly. We usually have 6 or 7 people in our trailer, in the evening, eating or playing cards.
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:59 AM   #16
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It all depends on your definition of comfort and ease of use. If you can tow a 21' or even a 25' they certainly give you more livable space which means less stress to me. But if you spend a lot of your time outside a 17' may work. I have a 17' and enjoy it very much but we are outside most all the time. If I were to spend a lot of time inside and be on a prolonged journey for months, had a larger tow vehicle and $$ was not an issue, a 21' - 25' Bigfoot would be the ticket hands down. A 17' trailer is just large enough to 'work' ok but by no means do they have generous space in comparison to larger trailers. If you can live on a 24' sail boat, then a 17' would seem in proportion.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:39 AM   #17
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It all depends on your definition of comfort and ease of use. If you can tow a 21' or even a 25' they certainly give you more livable space which means less stress to me. But if you spend a lot of your time outside a 17' may work. I have a 17' and enjoy it very much but we are outside most all the time. If I were to spend a lot of time inside and be on a prolonged journey for months, had a larger tow vehicle and $$ was not an issue, a 21' - 25' Bigfoot would be the ticket hands down. A 17' trailer is just large enough to 'work' ok but by no means do they have generous space in comparison to larger trailers. If you can live on a 24' sail boat, then a 17' would seem in proportion.
Nice clarification of a difficult thing to advise on and it truly is "in the eyes of the beholder". There are a lot of pluses with the BigFoot (which would likely be the 21) including that we have a couple of acres on a lake and lots of visitors and having a year around guest cabin would be nice -- I have a shop building it would fit in. And I think we would spend a lot of time inside if we travelled around the US as planned as there would be times with less than ideal weather. However it does seem nice to have something about 7' wide to tow rather than 8'4". Airstream has a new series that has some 19 to 22 foot models that I think are only about 7.5' wide but my wife thinks they are ugly and I heard the aluminum skins are somewhat fragile (hail damage etc.) also they are even more expensive than a BigFoot. Anyway, good perspective Gary.
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Old 07-07-2007, 04:57 PM   #18
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Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
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Ed, Here's a thread you might find interesting:

Two Foot-itis

Roger
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:34 PM   #19
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Ed, Here's a thread you might find interesting:

Two Foot-itis

Roger
Very interesting, thanks for the lead. Roger, it sounds like you have had a lot of experience towing a wide range of trailer sizes. I am leaning heavily towards a BigFoot 21' which I think will be less than 5000 lbs when loaded. I have had conflicting advice on whether to use a load leveling/anti-sway hitch or not. I have towed similar weight boats without such a hitch but maybe the travel trailer characteristics require one?? I will be using a GMC Yukon Denali which has a tow rating of 8600 lbs I believe. Also I have been told (by the anti-antisway advisors) that you have to unhook such a device when backing and maneuvering -- is that true? Thks, Ed
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:52 PM   #20
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Ed, you can expect your trailer, dry but "as equipped" to weigh in at just under 5,000 lbs. The "as equipped" is significant. My 25RQ has a base "average" weight of 4660, but mine "as equipped" from the factory is 5350. The 21RB starts at about 3700 lbs so you can add another 900 or so pounds for options. With your "stuff" and propane in it, you'll realistically be at 5400 to 5600 lbs without water in the tanks.

The advertised "average" tongue weight on the 21RB is 350 lbs, but with 80 lbs of propane plus the propane tank weight, and "stuff" in the trailer it'll be another hundred pounds heavier.

FWIW, I used a Reese Dual-Cam when towing my 25RB with a 7,000 lb Excursion with a 10,000 lb tow rating. I would recommend nothing less than a Dual-Cam or Equal-i-zer WDH/sway control hitch for your tow with a 21' Bigfoot. If you already have a WDH, then you can get by with it, but I'd definately recommend a friction sway control device to compliment it.

Roger
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:14 AM   #21
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FWIW, I used a Reese Dual-Cam when towing my 25RB with a 7,000 lb Excursion with a 10,000 lb tow rating. I would recommend nothing less than a Dual-Cam or Equal-i-zer WDH/sway control hitch for your tow with a 21' Bigfoot. If you already have a WDH, then you can get by with it, but I'd definately recommend a friction sway control device to compliment it.

Roger
Thanks for the weight info and advice Roger. I will follow it. I will do a little research to have more understanding on the anti-sway options and the differences between the products you mentioned. I do have a WDH (torsion bars, receiver, chains, etc.) that I used about 30 years ago when towing a speedboat with a passenger car but I think it may be too small and it has none of the anti sway function that I am aware of. What about having to remove the anti sway device when backing and maneuvering --- is that true? Ed
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:42 AM   #22
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What about having to remove the anti sway device when backing and maneuvering --- is that true? Ed
If you're using a friction sway control device (bar), and you have to back at an acute angle, it's wise to remove the device first. If you use a Reese Dual Cam or Equal-i-zer hitch, there's no reason to remove anything while backing.

Roger
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Old 07-10-2007, 05:43 PM   #23
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If you're using a friction sway control device (bar), and you have to back at an acute angle, it's wise to remove the device first. If you use a Reese Dual Cam or Equal-i-zer hitch, there's no reason to remove anything while backing.

Roger
Roger...please clarify... according to the Equalizer brochure that I just picked up, it does use friction for sway control... so should it be removed when backing up?
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Old 07-11-2007, 08:35 PM   #24
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No, Val... only if you're using a friction sway control device in conjuction with a standard weight distributing hitch. A friction sway control device looks like this:


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If you're using an Equal-i-zer sway control weight distributing hitch, or a Reese Dual-Cam hitch, there is nothing that needs to be removed for backing. You might want to review this post in Reese Dual Cam Sway Control.

Roger
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Old 07-12-2007, 09:55 AM   #25
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No, Val... only if you're using a friction sway control device in conjuction with a standard weight distributing hitch. A friction sway control device looks like this:


Attachment 8854


If you're using an Equal-i-zer sway control weight distributing hitch, or a Reese Dual-Cam hitch, there is nothing that needs to be removed for backing. You might want to review this post in Reese Dual Cam Sway Control.

Roger
Well, that's a strong point in favor of an Equal-i-zer or Reese Dual-Cam. The less rules to remember, the better.
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Old 07-12-2007, 11:16 AM   #26
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Back to your original question --

We are fortunate to have both a Scamp 16 and an Avion 26. Both tow great with our 83 Jimmy diesel. Fuel usage with the Scamp runs about 19 MPG vs 15-16 with the Avion. The only basic anemity the Avion has over the Scamp is a shower.

What we have found, so far, is the Scamp goes and the Avion stays.

Our major use is getting away from the Pacific Northwest rain for a couple of weeks or so a couple of times through each winter. This involves a fast trip down I-5 to So. California, a week or two in the sun (hopefully) and a dash back up I-5.

For us the evenings get a bit long in the Scamp. Seating is not that comfortable and heating is spotty due to leaks around the door, windows and lack of insulation.

On the-other-hand we have enjoyed exploring and camping in remote areas with the Scamp that would not be possible with the Avion.

So our plan is to use the Scamp for exploratory-touring outings. Then as we find places that we might like to revisit for a longer time, the Avion will be available. Most of these places are in areas easily accessed with the larger trailer.

Another trailer you might consider, if you can find one, is one of the Award models. They are very light weight, having an engineered frame, and are quite aerodynamic but are more conventional in construction.

My parents had a Big Foot fifth wheel (my memory says it was a 21 ft, but that may not be exact) for several years. It was roomy and very functional, but a little heavy and hard to pull until they upgraded to a full size V-8 pickup. Later they upgraded to a large full-time 5th wheel setup for a while, then back down to a Scamp 16.
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:12 PM   #27
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Of even more importance than removal when backing (when I had a friction bar anti-sway control on my old Jayco, I made a hanger on the tongue so I could pull the pin on the truck end of the control, fold it back against the tongue and hang it when unhitching or backing to the wrong side), is the warning to loosen or remove it when towing in slippery road conditions.

As mentioned elsewhere, a tight friction bar control that has gone into a turn and has slipped, will now resist the trailer tracking straight behind the truck when coming out of a turn or maneuver.


QUOTE FROM THE REESE PDF FOR FRICTION BAR SWAY CONTROL:

1.SWAY CONTROL CANNOT BE USED ON TRAILERS WITH SURGE BRAKES.

2.Trailer loading: Proper trailer loading is your first-line defense against dangerous instability and sway. Heavy items should be placed on the floor in front of the axle. The load should be balanced side-to-side and secured to prevent shifting. Tongue weight should be about 10-15 percent of gross trailer weight for most trailers. Too low apercentage of tongue weight can cause sway. Load the trailer heavier in front.

3. The handle (5) is an on/off device. The bolt (7) below is for adjustment only.

4. When towing during slippery conditions such as wet, icy, or snow-covered roads or on loose gravel, turn on/off handle (5) counterclockwise until all tension is removed from unit. Failure to do so could prevent tow vehicle and trailer from turning properly.

5. Do not speed up if sway occurs. Sway increases with speed. Do not continue to operate a swaying vehicle. Check trailer loading, sway control adjustment, and all other equipment, until the cause of sway has been determined and corrected.

6. Never paint or lubricate slide bar (6).
END QUOTE

The friction bar anti-sway control is a tool, and like any other tool, there are right ways and wrong ways to use it.

As Roger said, the 'integral' anti-sway on the Dual Cam and EqualIZer WDHs do not need to be disconnected.
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Old 07-13-2007, 09:45 PM   #28
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Trailer: Bigfoot 21 ft Front Bedroom
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Again, thanks to all of you for your comments and contributions -- this is a great forum and very educational. Some comments on swaying as discussed in this thread in the context of anti-sway hitches. The trailer we are zeroing in on is the BF model 25B21FB (front bedroom). This trailer had a spec'd dry weight of 3815 lbs and recently I noticed the weight changed to 4090 lbs in the online specs. When chking with BF I was told that that particular model had some issues in some configurations under certain loading (water, propane, stuff ????) and they added weight to keep the tongue weight in a satisfactory range under different loading conditions. I guess there was some sort of recall or something (not sure of correct trailer language here) about the tongue weight issue. I guess that is ok, but, I was not too happy about just having weight added as opposed to moving something (batteries ?) or adding something useful (again batteries or ???) to manage the weight issue. I don't know where or what the added weight is or if it is removable but that trailer has an outside accessible storage area forward and it seems carrying some heavy tools or whatever is better than adding lead/steel weight. I will of course find out more about this soon but it seemed strange --- not sure if they plan to notify existing owners or do anything with dealer inventory trailers?? FYI, the rear bedroom model of the same 21' trailer has a dry weight of 36XX lbs with all the same stuff. Ed
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