First Time Tower - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-08-2010, 05:42 PM   #1
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Name: Steve and Rosemary
Trailer: 89 Scamp 16 ft side toilet
Posts: 183
First time tower here in need of advice. We're towing our new 16' 1989 Scamp with a newer (I think it's a 2005) Ford Explorer (V6). There will be hills with at least one climb to a summit (in Utah, that's several thousand feet). Any and all suggestions will be appreciated!

SERENITY 1989 Scamp 16' Side Toilet | Steve, Rosemary, Maude Pod & Tripawd Hope | Next trip: The Weber for some fishing
Moab Maiden Voyage 03/10 * The Swell 5/26/11 * Antelope Island 12/31/11 * Strawberry Res 6/12 * Whitney Res 6/14 * Uintahs 07/15
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:39 PM   #2
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Name: Roy
Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
Posts: 4,852
There is a lot written in the forums already. Pete Dumbleton has contributed to a lot of posts that are worthy of reading while waiting for others to respond. Pete frequently told everyone to read the towing section of their vehicle's owners manual.

My first suggestions would be to make sure you have a transmission cooler suitable to the task, keep the vehicle out of overdrive and keep an eye on the temperature gauge. With a little experience, you'll soon find the speed that your vehicle will tow comfortably at - without a lot of changing gears (gear hunting) pulling uphill.

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Old 03-08-2010, 09:09 PM   #3
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Trailer: Bigfoot
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Take your time, enjoy your travels and relax; it will all work out just fine.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:12 PM   #4
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Trailer: 2007 Casita
Posts: 3,440
Take it slow! Remember your towing, cause with these eggs that fact can get away from you. Take your turns, slow and give yourself enough room to complete the turn. Decending a grade. Get in the slow lane and stay there! It isn't a race! It's about getting use to the feel and compatibility of your tow vehicle and trailer.

Know your vehicle and it's limits. Don't push it as far as pulling out into traffic unless your a lead foot Annie like me and know you have the horse power to back it up. Give yourself time to reach your destination. So many people try and push when they are tired. It's not worth it. Give yourself time to make the trip and enjoy it. Be prepared for issues, a small tool kit and a good spare tire.

Are either of you use to backing up? if not, I suggest pulling into the first big empty parking lot and giving your selfs a crash course in backing up 101. It's helps, just incase you ever get into a construction zone, or parking lot that you "have" to back up to get out of. Construction zone happened to me the first time I drove my parents brand new Class A when I was 16......... YIKES! I had to back that bad boy out of a really skinny construction zone! eeek! Thank God my Dad never knew about it! LOL......

But most of all just enjoy it! Congrats! Please post pics of your new purchase on the General forum so we can all ewww and awww over it........
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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Name: John
Trailer: 16' Casita
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My advice is to relax and learn to use your mirrors while backing up.
Adjust your mirrors so you can see the side of the TV as well as the trailer. This enables you to see the trailer in relationship to the TV instantly.
When going down hill there's nothing wrong with putting your transmission in a lower gear to use the braking power of the engine to slow you down.
You will be going slower than most traffic until you become proficient at towing your trailer so it's important to use pullouts if you get traffic piled up behind you.
Find a big empty parking lot and practice until you can put your trailer where you want it while backing up.
The 16 ft. Scamp is easy to tow so relax and enjoy. I'm sure you will do well.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:45 AM   #6
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Trailer: Cloud 13 ft and Compact Jr
Posts: 325
I think the Scamp has brakes. It would be good to have a brake controller installed in your Explorer if you don't already have one.
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Old 03-10-2010, 12:55 PM   #7
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Trailer: 1978 Trillium 13 ft
Posts: 53
I suggest pulling into the first big empty parking lot and giving your selfs a crash course in backing up 101.

Exactly what do you mean by a "crash" course?
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Old 03-10-2010, 01:46 PM   #8
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Name: Alan
Trailer: FORMERLY:Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel Deluxe ('The White House')
Posts: 329
Steve and Rosemary -

I second ALL the advice - take 'er slow until you feel comfortable. When making turns, swing the front end wide - LOOK in the mirror and see how much Scamp "cuts" the corner. It does NOT follow the same tire track as the Explorer.

You will get TONS of advice on backing up. The way **I** learned was to hold the steering wheel at the bottom. When backing watch the back end of the trailer - and which ever way you need it to go, push your hand holding the steering wheel in that direction. DON'T be afraid to stop going backwards and pull fwd to straighten it out. You **WILL** get the hang of it.

MOST important - when you park somewhere - CHOCK YOUR WHEELS before you unhitch. In fact, get into a routine of doing things in a specific order - use a checklist - both when you unhitch and when you re-hitch. I always go a final walk around after I re-hitch - to make SURE everything is good to go.

Do not be in a hurry. Like one poster said, it is not a race. Stop and THINK - that gets you out of a lot of situations - or better, prevents a situation from starting.

Towing itself is the easy part. You will love how your little baby just follows you where ever you lead.

Enjoy, and Happy Trails.

Alan W.

First time tower here in need of advice. We're towing our new 16' 1989 Scamp with a newer (I think it's a 2005) Ford Explorer (V6). There will be hills with at least one climb to a summit (in Utah, that's several thousand feet). Any and all suggestions will be appreciated!
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:35 PM   #9
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Trailer: 2007 Casita
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Exactly what do you mean by a "crash" course?

Will, I wondered if I used the wrong wording.................. But hopefully they knew what I meant.
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:10 AM   #10
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
Posts: 3,014
I don't have too much to add, as you're getting great advice. But I would like to take away one thing: Please don't get in the habit of "swinging wide" for turns. Unless you are driving a semi-truck

Now it is true that if you turn right just the same as you do in your car, your right/rear trailer tire will "clip" the curb (or post or whatever is there). But, the way to avoid that is to simply start your turn a bit *later* than you would in a car. In other words, "keep on driving straight ahead" for just a scoch longer, then make your turn "normally" without swinging to the left. This way your right/rear tire will clear just fine, and you won't impinge upon traffic that is rightfully occupying other lanes. I cringe whenever I see that.

A couple of notes: If, say, you are turning into a gas station parking lot, and there is a car also in the driveway but coming out, you may not have room to turn "later." In that case, I typically either move on along to another entrance (you will find that you "scout" ahead like you are driving a chess game - that's part of trailering); or, if it's safe to do so, I pause for a second to let the other car come out and clear the driveway. Also, many times there is actually room for both of us and the long turn, since our rigs are really pretty short (think of how looooong a tractor-trailer is, and they don't even swing wide by all that much).

Also, of course this doesn't mean you can *never* swing wide, but please don't get into the habit, would be my advice. It should be the rare exception, if at all, in my opinion.

I used to drive a 40+ foot long straight vehicle. Now that was fun on tight turns!

Practicing in a parking lot is a great idea. If you can, bring along some construction cones or something similar (maybe make something with pool noodles?). Then you can set up various tight turns and backing scenarios and really get good at them.

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Old 03-15-2010, 04:30 AM   #11
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Name: Roger
Trailer: 2009 Trillium 1300 "Homelet"/2014 Subaru Outback "Rosie"
Posts: 2,155

I just completed a 4200 mile trip with our Trill, (averaging 19.79mpg, I might add), towing with a 2.5L 2000 Subaru Outback. I did have to downshift (stick transmission) to second a couple times, especially on California Hwy 1 up the coast.

I followed the truck speed limits on the Interstates, was passed by most trucks, and had a great time.

My advice would be to allow plenty of time, I think when a person rushes is when they get into trouble.

A good discussion is found here:

A charter member of the Buffalo Plaid Brigade!

Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
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