1st step taken... now what? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-15-2008, 06:34 PM   #1
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Trailer: Had to sell, no longer an egg owner
British Columbia
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Other than the obvious: go somewhere.

My wife and I are the new owners of a 1976 13' Trillium. First trailer for us. The unit seems to be in fine shape and the previous owners (2nd owners) kept it spotless; and would still own it except for the whole bathroom issue. (She's decided it's time she had one, tired of the bucket.)

He (the previous owner) pointed out a couple of issues he was going to get to (before the decision to buy a new, larger unit was taken) - dig out and reseal around the windows and roof vent, and replace the propane regulator. Wheel bearing were replaced last year and repacked recently. Tires are good. All the appliances work, the unit is apparently water tight, upholstery is new (with LOTS of spare material). I went through the Buyers Check List on this forum (Thanks for that!). We won't be able to get away for a few weeks yet so I thought I would ask... Now What?

What advice have you for a pair of new folks at this? Are there any non-obvious (for a newby) things I should be checking?

BTW we're pulling with a 2007 Subaru Forrester (non-turbo) and they call for brakes on units over 1000 pounds - this is apparently around 1500 lbs wet. Are they something I can add myself (pretty handy and not afraid to get dirty) or is this a task best left to professionals? Do I really need them? (probably a silly question, but I really am new to this.) What about a tranny oil cooler (AT in the Forrester)?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Dave
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:59 PM   #2
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
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I'll leave the brakes and mechanical stuff to those with more knowledge than myself.

But, I do have a suggestion. Since this is your first trailer and it's a new one to you... I'd suggest you "camp" in your driveway. Act like you're out in the wild, make certain you pack everything you'd need and just do it. Now, no going back into the house for the things you forgot. Remember, you're miles away from home (okay, if it's medication.. but that's it). Now, what will you remember to take the next time and what would you leave home? It's LIST TIME! This sounds kind of weird, but it really is valuable. And, you'll find out things about your trailer that you may need to fix and it's easier to do that when you're not out camping.

Just don't forget to pack the Journal that you'll want to start... and a camera!

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Old 04-15-2008, 07:16 PM   #3
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Trailer: 1975 13 ft Trillium
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David, in case I haven't done so allready, to our fantastic group!!

Over and above Donna's usual GREAT advice, I might suggest that on May 16/18 you git on the Ft. Langley ferry and come for a ride across the slough to The Fort Campground. Thats where a 'couple' of us Canadian (oh an SOME Americans too) are getting together for the weekend. This would be a great place for you to come and get a first hand L K at whats being done in our neck of the woods. Sites are for the most part allready spoken for and there is a (patiently)waiting list. Come Saturday and pack a lunch or partake in our 'order in' special OR a great new item (for us) a pot luck supper!!!

The drive-way campout is a GREAT way to do a 'shake down' run, especially IF you have youngun's who aren't too familiar with GLAMPING as we have coome to call it, LOL!!!!
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:56 PM   #4
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Trailer: 1980 Bolar 1700
Massachusetts
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Ah to be in that enviable spot where you get to choose what you want to improve. Welcome aboard! Brakes are easy but are not cheap. They will run you about $120 a pair of drum assemblies and $120 for the electric brake assemblies. This assumes that you have a four hole mounting assembly on your existing axle. If not you'll need them welded on. Then you'll need a good quality brake controller in the car. I always play the side of caution but you can always try it for a season as is. Be cautious about anticipating stops. A new set of brake pads will run less than the e-brake setup. The transmission cooler is a definite recommendation. It's short money compared to a damaged transmission. You can pick one up at any auto supply or ebay and don't just go with the minimum recommended size. Of course keep in mind how much space you have in front of your radiator to mount one.

Other than that just go out and enjoy it. Don't start ripping and tearing, use it for a season, see what works and what drives you crazy. Then you will have a list of things to work on for the winter.

Rob
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:38 PM   #5
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Over and above Donna's usual GREAT advice, I might suggest that on [b]May 16/18 you git on the Ft. Langley ferry and come for a ride across the slough to The Fort Campground.

Uhm, Doug, isn't it the May 9-11th? Good Lord, do I have the dates wrong?
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
This assumes that you have a four hole mounting assembly on your existing axle. If not you'll need them welded on.
Depends on the axle type; one shouldn't be welding anything on a torsion axle except on the axle bracket. Leaf spring axle OK.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:48 PM   #7
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Depends on the axle type; one shouldn't be welding anything on a torsion axle except on the axle bracket. Leaf spring axle OK.
Pete is right. My world is traditional leaf spring setups. My understanding is that any welding on a torsion axle creates enough heat to damage the rubber cords that provide the torsion.

Rob
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:03 AM   #8
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Trailer: 1976 Trillium 13 ft
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Hi David,

Did you get that beauty 76' from Tsawwassen, if so I was next in line and I'm very sorry I missed it - if you EVER want want to sell it let me know first =)... I have been looking seriously for months and that one is exceptional. If you didn't buy that one ignore everything above.

I have asked the same question about trailer brakes for a Trillium 13 and the general answer I got was "Yes, get it done" - if not for the safety issue then for the fact that you may be libel if you get into an accident and were not following your car's manual on safely towing.

Also from what I have read you will need to replace the entire axle which involves removing and welding a new one on - the Trillium 4500's generally came with an axle with brake mounts but not the 1300. I am handy myself but that is not a job I would take on. You would also need to get a brake controller installed in your subaru. Prices seem to range from $600-$800 for an installed dexter (or similar) 2200lb axle with 10 brakes

The earlier Trillium frames may crack where the body meets the frame (the frame has a pocket there) but I think by 1976 they had that figured out.

Happy Camping!
Booker
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:21 AM   #9
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My 98 Forester has been worked hard and put away wet, when it comes to towing. It has an automatic transmission overheat light that has never come on, not even towing uphill, into a 30 mph wind, on a 105 degree day, with 4 people and gear in the car. Vehicle/Tranny has 305,000 Km. The factory does not recommend a transmission cooler for towing, but it would not hurt anything to install one. The main thing is to get out and use that new trailer; have fun.
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Old 04-16-2008, 10:53 AM   #10
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The thing I have noticed is that two itentical cars towing the exact same trailer and one will have zero problems and the other will loose the transimission. I am sure that there are penty of FGT owners out there towing with a dodge caravan with 60,000 miles on it and yet, my younger brother was pulling a poptop which weighs about 500 lbs less and he completely lost the transimission on a trip. Where you drive, how you drive and how hard the auto worker partied the night before all play into the mix.
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Old 04-16-2008, 10:55 AM   #11
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Trailer: 17 ft Burro Widebody / 2007 Explorer Sport Trac
British Columbia
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Quote:
My 98 Forester has been worked hard and put away wet, when it comes to towing. It has an automatic transmission overheat light that has never come on, not even towing uphill, into a 30 mph wind, on a 105 degree day, with 4 people and gear in the car. Vehicle/Tranny has 305,000 Km. The factory does not recommend a transmission cooler for towing, but it would not hurt anything to install one. The main thing is to get out and use that new trailer; have fun.
Where do you tow uphill in Manitoba??
lol
Ian

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Old 04-16-2008, 11:23 AM   #12
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Where do you tow uphill in Manitoba??
lol
Ian
Trip out to the Rockies; the floodway is the only hill around here...
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:39 PM   #13
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The thing that seems to causes some confusion on whether or not a cooler is needed on a Subaru seems to come from the fact that Subara does not make its own transmission cooler. I suspect it comes down to where you are towing, how long you intend to keep the car and how close to the cars towing limit you are.

When I asked the sales rep where I purchased my Outback last year if I needed a tranny cooler he highly recommened that I get one. When I talked to the Manager at our local dealer (not where the car was purchased) he said the same thing. Said it would be much easier on the car considering that we live in BC and big hills are hard to avoid. He by the way has one on his Subaru Forester. This was at the same dealer where I had asked the Service Manager the same question and he had said no - after the manager asked him why he said no the Service Manager indicated that he thought because Subaru did not make a cooler that one was not needed. Go figure. This by the way was not a pitch to sell me something I did not need as Subaru dealers do not sell or install coolers - or at least here they don't.

As far as towing without any brakes goes I would not consider it. I tow with an Outback and tow at about 900lbs under the cars towing limit. I use a Protage controller and so far I have had only one occasion when I can honestly say that I could clearly feel the trailer pushing the car and I was worried. I think I may have closed my eyes as I did not want to actually see what was about to happen! =:-O It was on a highway when I had to do a sudden stop at a fairly high speed on a very steep hill. If I had been towing without brakes that situation would have turned out very differently and it would not have been a pretty sight! The cost of the Protage and wiring was more than covered that day. The liablity of running with no brakes is just not worth it IMHO

If the cost of doing both is an issue right now, then I would go for the brakes first.

Carol
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:20 PM   #14
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Sharon YES that WAS a test and the dates are correct as you indicated, I goofed (like THAT'S the first time thats happened .....today!!) and you are indeed correct.

Cam, coming from St.Vital towards downtown Winterpeg @ 5 corners (St., I distinctly remember a 23ft drop in elevation. Good test of brakes there....NOT!!! LOL

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