2005 Bigfoot 25B175G Shakedown - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-25-2018, 02:31 PM   #1
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Name: Melissa
Trailer: On the hunt
Tennessee
Posts: 33
2005 Bigfoot 25B175G Shakedown

Hope everyone is enjoying this lovely fall camping.

After buying our Bigfoot about a month ago, we have taken it on two weekend trips. I'm sharing what we have learned here to help other newbies like us with their first few trips and to hopefully get some input on a few issues.

First, two disclaimers. 1: We are the fifth owners of this trailer. The folks we bought it from were friendly, helpful, and fair, and I believe that they were honest with us as far as their knowledge extended, and I appreciate that. Unfortunately they did not know about some surprises we learned about the hard way. The owner before them is also a member here and has been very helpful with troubleshooting. 2: I make no claim to understanding everything about this trailer after having it for such a short time, and I am not recommending that what has been true for us will be true for everyone. If I err in anything I say, please correct me, but gently.

Successes:
- Tow mirrors provide good visibility. We have the K-Source universal dual lens clip on mirrors, which fit nicely on the mirrors of our F150. We adjust the larger lens to look down each side of the trailer and the smaller lens to show our blind spots.
- Brake controller, a Tekonsha Prodigy P2, functions well at 5.5 power. Tuck the cord away or it will catch your toe.
- Emergency brake switch seems fine.
- Seven-pin connector seems fine. All lights work.
- The camper tracks well behind the truck. It can turn pretty tightly and go up steep hills. Don't ask me how I know. It involves trying to avoid a round-about and ending up in a back alley that Google Maps thought was a real road.
- Electric jack is nice. Donít run the electric jack all the way up. It gets stuck. If the battery is run down, the jack must be turned manually.
- Propane tanks and battery cover and lid seem fine.
- Rock guard is in good shape.
- The door and all windows except one appear watertight.
- All hatches and door lock.
- Electrical cord and connector are clean and functional.
- Awning is new. It was professionally installed about a month before we bought the camper.
- All stabilizing jacks work. They are a little stiff but not hard to use.
- The fiberglass on the sides, belly, and back of the camper is in good shape.
- The sewer hose is in the bumper.
- The air conditioner blows cold.
- The cushions, floor, walls, and ceiling are all in good shape.
- The gaucho bed is comfortable.
- All the cabinets open and close and hardware matches.
- The blinds are in good shape and functional.
- The microwave, range hood exhaust fan, cooktop, and oven work. The cooktop has its cover.
- The monitor systems and indicators all work.
- The sink is clean and has its cover.
- All interior lights work. Most are LED.
- The fire extinguisher is within date.
- The radio works.

Work Done:
- We had to buy the tools to adjust the hitch, an Andersen weight distribution hitch. Ours is an older model and requires a 1 1/8" socket or wrench to move the ball up or down and a 1/2" drive socket wrench along with the provided socket to tighten the chains. Tighten chains as much as possible, for us until 4-5 threads are visible. We can hook up in about 15 minutes now.
- Breakaway chains needed an extra link to reach our truck while criss-crossed, so we added one on each side.
- The battery was bad. Once it lost all juice, the breaker on our power converter tripped our first night out. A friend gave us a new battery, and everything appears to be working great now.
- The door stuck a little on the bottom corner. My dad took a block of wood and a hammer and very lightly tapped the threshold down where we could see the rub marks. It is much better now.
- The screen door handle broke the week we brought it home. We bought the generic replacement and installed it ourselves in about two seconds.
- Tires were from spring 2015. They looked ok, but we decided to replace them just in case. Our tires are 225/75R15. Our local tire place, who has done great work for us, recommended Goodyear Endurance. So far we have been very pleased with them. However, the tires have a max PSI of 80 pounds. The shop only filled them to about 50 pounds, which was not nearly enough. We filled them to about 65 pounds, and they ride much better now.
- Bearings and brakes needed to be checked for our peace of mind. We took it to a trailer shop, who repacked the bearings and said the brakes were fine.
- We needed a 15 amp to 30 amp adapter so we could plug it into our house or shed for power. Ordered a simple one online. Pretty straightforward.
- It did not come with chemicals, water hose, or pressure regulator. We have since obtained those, and the water systems work fine.

Attention Needed:
- Donít hammer hitch pin clips. They bend. Lesson learned.
- Weight distribution cone (anti-sway friction material, Andersen part 3381) is cracking and creeping up. I sent a photo to Andersen. The material is warrantied for life. They emailed back for my address to send me a new one, no questions asked. I haven't gotten it yet, but it hasn't been very long.
- Camper bounces like a rubber ball when towing. Not sure why. A past owner recommends loading the trailer more heavily in the front and not traveling with full water tanks. Andersen says to start with the trailer level, double check the hitch installation, check tire pressure in both trailer and truck, shift the load, and check suspension in both trailer and truck. I think our truck suspension might need to be stiffened a little, because everything else seems fine.
- The light under the rock guard needs a new bulb.
- The hinge on the nose cone is missing a few screws, which has cause the hinge to bend. We need to straighten it out and secure it.
- Wing nut that holds driver side propane and battery cover to camper is missing.
- One propane tank is empty. Easy enough to fill.
- Rubber rock guard clasps on both sides need replacing. This is a generic part, but I'm having trouble figuring out exactly which size to order.
- Front bottom corners of fiberglass are chipped from road debris. Maybe add mud flaps to truck or shield on camper?
- There are cracks along the top near the antenna, maybe from stress.
- There is a leak inside the wall to the right of the door, looking at it from the outside. A previous owner pulled out the dinette bench on that side and replaced the floor due to a leak caused by the front top awning bracket being torn loose before he owned it. He warned that there was still a small leak from the bracket or the rail that holds the awning to the camper. When it rains a lot, you can slide your fingers into the top of the wall, right below where the ceiling starts to curve, and feel the wet insulation.
- The window on that wall also leaks. Not sure if it is related or not.
- There is some rust on the tongue and on the rear stabilizing jack rail.
- One end of the piping on the spare tire cover is loose.
- We need to get the fittings for the sewer hose, both the one to attach to the camper and the one for the end that goes into the hole at the dump station.
- We need some more chocks and blocks.
- The roof sags between the air conditioner and the door. It is pretty pronounced, but it doesn't seem to be causing any damage.
- Window gaskets will eventually need to be replaced, as they are creeping.
- The cabinets have small hard plastic nubs on back of the the doors and drawers to keep them from striking the frames. These nubs have rubbed off the finish where they hit. I would like to added felt pads for a softer close and some protection to the wood.
- The refrigerator, while running on electric, will occasionally stop working and illuminate the check light. It is happy if we just turn it off and turn it back on. Apparently this is pretty common?
- The filters on the air conditioner need to be cleaned badly.
- There were not any bolts to attach the license plate to the bracket. I was in a hurry and attached it with twisty ties. So far it has held fine, but a more secure fastener would probably be a good idea.
- Camper needs a cover. Calmark seems to be the most recommended. They make custom covers. Emailed them for a quote. For those who are interested, it will be $648 plus shipping. That's a lot, so I'm considering other options.
- I'm thinking it's about time for a good cleaning and a fresh coat of Poli Glow.

And one story for free: the winterizing drama. Adding antifreeze isn't hard, they said. You just drain everything, stick the intake tube in your jug of antifreeze, run each faucet until it flows pink, and pour the rest of the antifreeze down all the drains. It should take half an hour, they said. Right. Long story short, someone installed the valve for the antifreeze intake tube backwards, so the water pump couldn't pull it in, and when we tried to pour some in, it ran into the fresh water tank. The temporary fix involved bypassing the valve with first-class jerry-rigging, plastic wrap, and Scotch tape. So now the camper is winterized, but our valve is still backwards. Has anyone else had this problem? Is there a reason for it that I'm not aware of?

Thanks for your patience with the long post. Hopefully this will help others as they're getting familiarized with their trailers too.
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Old 10-27-2018, 03:12 AM   #2
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Name: Peter
Trailer: G30 Elite Class C
British Columbia
Posts: 1,386
make sure you got a shut off between water and HWH then open HWH a hwtap so it can drain the HWH water once this is done then drain the water tank once all done hook up a system so you can blow the water lines throughout the trailer, also make sure you grey and Black tanks are empty. Once you have all the water out for the winter, install a trickle charger on your batteries so they do not freeze if they do freeze plan on buying a new battery first time out. Re- Anti Freeze we only put a bit in the the sink drains so the water trapped in there won't freeze, if you toilet runs at angle and not straight down then do same with it., we never put any in the Fresh Water Tank as it is empty now, so it will not freeze. I forgot to mention you will need a specific sized socket wrench to get the bolt out of the HWH to let all the water out, I just at the moment cannot remember the size.
If you have power it does not hurt to keep a electric heater on inside trailer say around 500 or no more than 700 just to keep the dampness out of everything.
We sold the farm and now live in a apartment and have to rent a spot for our rig, pretty pricey I should of checked the prices before selling the farm. But were pretty well set up now and finally got a place on someone else's farm. We have to keep it in the open so the 250W solar system set up keeps the batteries charged through the winter as I do not want to replace them again.
Stude
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Old 10-27-2018, 06:43 AM   #3
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot FT20
Michigan
Posts: 786
The class E 10 ply tires might be your bouncing problem. You didnít say what your TV is, the WDH May be over kill.
As far as the rest of the stuff goes, welcome to owning a camper.

As far as the leaks go, that issue needs your attention ASAP. Easy to fix if you know what your doing.
The power issues may just be learning how to control your amp usage. There is a learning curve.

The door may have a problem, might need tightening and or fine adjustment.
My guess is you may be trying to level your trailer with the stabilizers. Which causes the frame to twist, and door opening problems.

Itís all a learning curve, youíll get it all dialed in. We all go through it.
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Old 10-27-2018, 06:51 AM   #4
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Name: Melissa
Trailer: On the hunt
Tennessee
Posts: 33
Stude,
I hadnít considered the benefits of solar in terms of keeping the battery charged through the winter. Weíre planning to bring ours inside and put it on a charger. Like you, we were surprised at the expense of finding a place off-site to store the trailer, so it stays parked in the driveway. Not ideal, as I wish it were under cover, but at least we can keep an eye on it. Iím glad you found someone willing to let you keep yours at their farm.
As for winterizing, we did drain the hot water heater, although I canít remember the size of the plug either. I wouldnít have put antifreeze in the fresh water tank on purpose except for that valve flowing backwards; it happened before we figured out what was going on. We will have to flush and clean it really well in the spring. Thanks for the tips on how you do the winterizing.
Melissa
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Old 10-27-2018, 07:06 AM   #5
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Name: Melissa
Trailer: On the hunt
Tennessee
Posts: 33
Mike,
I did wonder if the weight distribution hitch might be harming instead of helping the ride. What do you think? Our TV is a 2008 Ford F150 4x2 with the 5.4 liter engine, factory towing package and a weight rating of 8,100 pounds. I can’t remember the other specs about it off the top of my head but I can look it up.
According to other owners with this specific model Bigfoot, it’s common for it to porpoise because of the axle being a little close to the tongue and all the water tanks being in the back. We try to load our heavy things in the front and not travel with water in the tanks. But if we’re going somewhere without hookups, I want to be able to take water with us, you know?
Yes, fixing leaks is high on the priority list for sure.
I hadn’t considered the frame twisting causing the slight sticking of the door. We hadn’t been using the stabilizing jacks to level it, but we may have snugged them up unevenly. I’m inclined to think it is something else since the wear was visible on the frame, so it has been sticking since before we had it. But I would like to know why, so thank you for the suggestion of what to watch for.
Thanks for the helpful thoughts.
Melissa
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Old 10-27-2018, 07:56 AM   #6
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot FT20
Michigan
Posts: 786
I hauled my 17 with a F-150 with no problem when it come too sway. A WDH is over kill and a pita in IMO.
Porpoising is an other problem, which is attributed to hitch height and weight distribution.

If towing height is part of the problem. You can install the axle on top of the springs. Will give an extra 2” in ground clearance. Cost is minimal, and just might be enough.

A full water tank is 33 gallons x 8 lbs per gallon = 264 lbs extra behind the axle.
Which needs to be offset with ballast in the front. I would load my full ice cooler and heavy items under the dinette.

Make sure the trailer is level and or slight forward when hitched. This will control your tongue weight. You will get it all dialed in. Might take a few tries to get it right.

I installed a straight axle on mine. Gave me the extra ride height and ground clearance I needed.

The door might be a little out of square. Check with square at corners. Just might need to tightened and or tweaked.
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Old 10-28-2018, 03:39 PM   #7
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Name: Martin
Trailer: Bigfoot 27.5 Front bed
Missouri
Posts: 55
Mellissa:
unless john changed the valve for adding anti freeze it was in correctly, but some times took a bit of fiddling with the position to get it to suck the anti freeze from bottle and pump it thru the system. if your unsure if the hitch is helping with porpoising try towing it with chains slack and see if different, I towed it many thousand miles with that hitch with a heavy duty 1/2 ton chevy crew cab 4x4 pick up the hitch made a difference for us to help with sway and bouncing on the tongue. if you have other questions that we didnt cover in earlier emails feel free to contact me again. Sorry we didn't get to meet when you were in AR we just didn't have time that weekend.
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Old 10-30-2018, 07:52 AM   #8
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Name: Melissa
Trailer: On the hunt
Tennessee
Posts: 33
Mike,
We might try lowering the ball a notch to point the nose slightly down. As it is now the trailer sits almost perfectly level. You're right that loading heavy items like our cooler under the dinette seems to help. Topping off the propane tanks would add some offsetting weight too. We have briefly considered replacing the axle, for the reasons you mentioned and because the trailer fully loaded is close to the axle limit. I think we'll camp in it a little more so we can figure out what we want before we decide. Thanks for the encouragement.

Martin,
I'll email you a picture of the plumbing in that compartment. Maybe you'll be able to tell if it has been modified. This might be entirely user error on my part, but I couldn't think of any way for the antifreeze to be allowed to flow backwards into the fresh water tank unless the valve were turned around.
We have been pleased with the hitch in terms of sway reduction, and it may be that the porpoising issue stems from something else or a combination of factors. We'll just have to keep tweaking our setup until we figure it out.
Wish you could have come down to AR, but maybe some other time.

Melissa
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Old 11-05-2018, 03:05 PM   #9
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Name: Jocelyn
Trailer: Bigfoot
Oregon
Posts: 1
Does anyone have pictures on the water system drain valves? It seems that the Bigfoot manual would have these to help understand the plumbing of these trailers.

Thanks
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:17 PM   #10
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Name: Eddie
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Florida
Posts: 1,630
Milessa
When were the shocks last replaced on your 2008 F-150? If they are original that might be part of your bounce issue. If you want to settle things down get a set of Bilstein shocks for the truck rear, not cheap but quality shocks.
Eddie
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Old 11-09-2018, 01:27 PM   #11
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Name: Melissa
Trailer: On the hunt
Tennessee
Posts: 33
Jocelyn,
Here are a few pictures of the plumbing in that compartment. I can't promise that it's original since the trailer is several years old. The manual includes specifics for the longer trailers but says nothing about the 17.5'. So, not much help there, unfortunately, although I had hoped for it same as you.

Eddie,
The more I analyze each part of our setup, the more I think you might be on the right track with replacing the shocks. Our truck is the King Ranch edition, and I don't know much about what equipment came with it, but I would guess it was designed for a softer ride rather than for towing. My dad has Rancho 9000 shocks on his truck and really likes them. Thanks for your recommendation of another good option too.

Melissa

Edit: The last two photos are upside down. Sorry about that. Maybe a moderator can flip them? I can't seem to do it here.
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Old 11-09-2018, 01:39 PM   #12
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot FT20
Michigan
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Have air bags on my truck, with onboard compressor. Love the setup.
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Old 11-09-2018, 01:48 PM   #13
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Name: Melissa
Trailer: On the hunt
Tennessee
Posts: 33
Mike,
Glad to hear about the airbag option too. What brand do you have? Please forgive my ignorance, but are your airbags adjustable? If so, do you run them the same all the time, or change the setting for towing?
Thanks!
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Old 11-09-2018, 02:15 PM   #14
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot FT20
Michigan
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I have AIR LIFT airbags installed on my f150
I also use there onboard compressor system. This allows me to adjust them on the roll.
I do adjust them for normal use. And increase them with a load on, or road conditions.

You donít need a compressor onboard to adjust them. I only have it for my convenience, so I donít have to find a air source.
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