I'm looking for my first egg. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-16-2005, 02:58 PM   #1
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Name: Yves
Trailer: Bigfoot 17 ft (15B17G)
Quebec
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Ok Guys, i guess i知 at the right place, to ask for information, and to tell you what i知 looking for. Maybe some of you have what i知 looking for. I知 a beginner, and i知 looking for my first egg. My budget for the egg, is not a dime over CAN $8000.00. My 2001 Chevy Venture will be my tow vehicle, and I will have to have a hitch installed with the necessary wiring. What kind of hitch should I choose?

Also, I dunno about the necessity to have a tranny cooler installed, but i guess if I can find something not heavier than 2000 lbs, it may not be necessary. Am I wrong?

I would like something like a 16 or a 17 footer, (for instance, Gordon Bjorkman痴 1978 Boler, would be perfect for me, but Gordon lives too far away. He痴 in BC, and i知 in Quebec City) in order to accomodate from 1 to 4 people (most of the time, i値l be alone). I would like a 3 way fridge, a two burner propane stove, a hot water tank, a toilet and a shower, a furnace. Ideally, I would like to have a trailer that also has a side dinette, so that i could use the back dinette permanently as a bed, when i travel alone.

I知 not looking for something brand new, or something perfect, but i壇 like something ready to roll, or something that does not need big repairs to be usable. I can do small repairs if the need be.

Feel free to contact me if you have something.

Yves.
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Old 11-16-2005, 05:08 PM   #2
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Trailer: Former 1989 Bigfoot owner
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Sent an e-mail to you Yves with some pictures.
I think I cover most of your wants. When you are alone, the front dinette would stay up and your bed in the side goucho would be there for you.
My brother (former owner) towed this with a Chevy Astro.
We are very close on price, maybe meet somewhere geographically on the 401 to arrange a delivery??
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Old 11-18-2005, 02:04 AM   #3
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Trailer: 2000 Bigfoot 17 ft (15B17CB)
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Yves, Does your Venture have the towing option? If not, the tow rating is probably 2000lbs. I think the tow option, which includes heavy duty cooling for engine and transmission, heavier duty suspension, and probably a few more items, increases the rating to 3500lbs. You should add a transmission cooler and air lift bags in the rear suspension if you do not have the tow package. I would recommend a class 3 hitch receiver, which would give you the option of using a weight distributing hitch to level out the tow vehicle and transfer weight back on to the front axle to aid traction with the front wheel drive layout. A brake controller will be required along with the wiring hookup.

I think you will find that most FG trailers in the 16 - 17' range will greatly exceed 2000lbs when fully loaded in camping trim. Some will be double this amount. The manufacturer's quoted dry weight will be far less than the actual weight, as it usually is a stripped trailer with no options, no battery, no spare tire, empty tanks, etc., and will be useless in determining what tow rating is required. To get a rough idea of what is required, to be on the safe side, take the maximum GVW rating of the trailer and add 10%.

It is my opinion that you should have at least a 3500lb tow rating to tow trailers of this size, with an eye to the lightest ones. You may be able to duplicate the components in the factory "tow package" to acheive essentially the equivalent towing capacity. Whether this will be viewed as "legally equivalent" is another matter.... - To find trailers whose actual loaded weights are 2000lbs or less, I think one would have to look at 13-15' trailers without bathrooms.
-
I hope all of this does not sound discouraging, and is helpful in the choice of your first "egg".

Steve.
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Old 11-18-2005, 07:21 AM   #4
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Name: Yves
Trailer: Bigfoot 17 ft (15B17G)
Quebec
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Thanks a lot Steve for your answer. It helps me to determine what equipment is required to tow a trailer this size. I will surely look into this. My Venture does not have the towing package, and i will have to have it installed. What are lift bags needed for????? How much do they cost?

Most of the time, i'll be driving alone, with limited bagage, and i also can remove the back seats of the van, thus removing a few hundred pounds off the tow vehicle. I'll need to be careful about the waters in the trailer, too, as this will quickly add a lot of weight to the trailer Also, i'll need to do more careful route planning, in order to avoid steep hills along the way. I was also told to avoid selecting the overdrive gear, when i drive with the trailer, and limit speed to 80-90Km/h

Thanks again.

Yves.
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Old 11-18-2005, 08:58 AM   #5
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Name: Yves
Trailer: Bigfoot 17 ft (15B17G)
Quebec
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Originally posted by Harry Gaudier@Nov 16 2005, 11:08 PM
Sent an e-mail to you Yves with some pictures.
I think I cover most of your wants. When you are alone, the front dinette would stay up and your bed in the side goucho would be there for you.
My brother (former owner) towed this with a Chevy Astro.
We are very close on price, maybe meet somewhere geographically on the 401 to arrange a delivery??
Hello Harry;

I'm buying! I sent you an e-mail.

Yves.
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Old 11-18-2005, 10:18 AM   #6
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It's a Done Deal!
Thanks Yves
Happy Camping
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Old 11-18-2005, 08:52 PM   #7
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Trailer: 2000 Bigfoot 17 ft (15B17CB)
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Yves, Congratulations on your purchase! Bigfoot makes a great trailer and I'm sure you will enjoy yours.
Air bags are inserted into the coil springs on the rear suspension, and you can inflate them to stiffen up the rear suspension to prevent sag when the trailer is put on the hitch. You can semi-deflate them when there is no load retain a good ride.
You could try towing without them to begin with, an only add them later if you find the rear suspension seems too soft. If you are a little handy, you can easily install them yourself. Probably will cost around $200 in Canada, you can check them out at http://www.airliftcompany.com/new-index/Frameset.htm

If you spring for a stronger class 3 hitch receiver over the lighter and not much cheaper class 2, you will be able to use a weight distributing hitch. Since this style of hitch will distribute some of the tongue weight off the rear axle and onto the front axle, using one may remove some of the need to stiffen the rear suspension. If you choose not to use one of these, I think you will definitely need the air lift bags.
My guess is that the tongue weight of the Bigfoot will be 3-400lbs, which will really cause the rear suspension to sag without some help.
I chose to use both methods with the Ford Explorer that I previously employed to tow my 17' Bigfoot. I used a WD hitch to begin with, and later added air bags to improve stability.

You should find out exactly what components were added or changed with the factory tow package, and try to install the equivalent pieces. Your local GM dealer may be able to help you with this. An auxiliary transmission oil cooler is a must and transmission service and flush may be a good idea before you tow. Most transmission shops can recommend and install an appropriate cooler for towing. Probably a good idea not to tow in OD, as it is generally a weaker gear and keeping the RPM up slightly may improve overall cooling. The use of synthetic oil in the engine could be cheap insurance also.
If you make the effort to minimize the amount of weight put into the van and trailer, you should make out OK.
Feel free to ask questions in the "Owners helping owners" part of the forum to get other helpful people's opinions besides my own.
Have Fun!
Steve.
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Old 11-19-2005, 09:29 AM   #8
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Name: Yves
Trailer: Bigfoot 17 ft (15B17G)
Quebec
Posts: 94
Thanks Steve;

I've been using Amsoil synthetic oils in all of my vehicles, since the early 80's, and would never go back to non-synthetic oils. It's night and day, in terms of performance and fuel economy. I will have the class 3 hitch, installed, with weight distribution.

Thanks again for help. Your help made it easier for me, in my purchase decision. Forums like FiberglassRV are great.

Yves.
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