New Casita, new TV, need advice - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-29-2019, 12:02 PM   #1
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Name: Debra
Trailer: Researching brands
FL
Posts: 53
New Casita, new TV, need advice

Hi All,

Many of you gave me the background advice I needed to make decisions about advancing from tent to trailer camping. So far, I purchased a Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited (4x4), with factory install'd tow package and towing rating of 6200 pounds. I ordered my Casita Spirit Deluxe (toilet in front; 17') travel trailer which I will pick up the end of March. So thank you.

Now I have decisions to make about other things and am seeking your opinions and advice again.

1. I have been reading about Weight Distribution Hitches. What do you recommend? I was planning on the Anderson which Casita will install for $600 (Amazon prices them at around 500 so the Casita price sounds reasonable.) Looking at other threads I have read about Fastaway E2 and others, so now am getting a bit confused. Do I have to remove WDH when backing up? Do I still need an anti-sway bar?

2. Also have been reading about sway on other threads and how to distribute weight best since there needs to be sufficient weight in the tongue (if I understand correctly). Can you advise what I might need do since the tongue weight on the 17' Spirit Delux seems to be relatively high with the toilet in front.

3. I am also looking for recommendations for brake controllers and things to look out for when getting it installed. E.g., best to go to the dealer, U-Haul or an RV expert? Anything else?

4. Anything else you recommend for safe towing for a newbee? (I will be practicing with a U-Haul and have a friend who is an experienced tower go to Texas with me and we will do a week's camping together.)

Thank you in advance for help.

Debbie in Florida
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:43 PM   #2
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2003 Casita 16' SD
Michigan
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1. The Anderson is a perfectly acceptable WDH. It is my understanding that the Anderson includes sway minimization inherently. I didn't go that brand route but I've heard nothing bad about it.

I have frequently found Casita to be competitive price-wise.

I haven't heard of a WDH that should be removed for backing up. Sway control is another story.

I'm not expressing an opinion (to you) as to whether sway control is necessary for your rig or even if it is a good idea at all. That is a somewhat "hot" topic.

Separate friction based sway control devices are recommended to be removed before backing up to avoid damage from accidental jack-knifing the trailer while backing up. Jack-knifing can happen to anyone but perhaps more often in new tow-ers. Even after 15 years of towing I remove mine either while waiting to get to the front of the line at the entrance booth or more often while filling the fresh water tank. Sway control at in-park speeds isn't necessary. I do it there as a courtesy since once into the camping area I don't have to spend any more time than necessary blocking the road.

The sway control of the Anderson WDH can't be removed so no issues backing up with it connected although I would defer to actual users of it.

3. Tekonsha makes good brake controllers. Prodigy P2 is a popular model and the Prodigy P3 is a newer version. They make scads of custom brake wiring harnesses for vehicles with built in tow packages (usually less than $15). I recommend getting one of them for the Jeep. It makes connecting the controller to the vehicle so much easier.

I also recommend the controller (if you go with the Prodigy) be set up for zero boost and whatever brake level will just lock up the trailer tires on gravel. (There are two adjustments: 1. Boost and 2. ultimate brake level.) Boost is helpful for big heavy trailers but is awkard for lighter trailers like ours. There are cheaper and more expensive units. Prodigy has a good reputation.
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:18 PM   #3
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Name: Allison
Trailer: 2016 17' Spirit Deluxe
Texas
Posts: 14
We use the Curt sway control bar and I find I can really tell a difference if we don't use it. I will always use it as less bounce and sway on the road is safer and other drivers and wind are out of my control. Happy travels!
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Old 01-29-2019, 02:06 PM   #4
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Casita 17 ft DLX SD & 21 ft SOB
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 3,402
I have the factory integrated brake controller on my tow vehicle
After having several after market brake controllers and the factory brake controlller I much prefer the IBC
If you decide to go with the IBC you will need to have it installed by the dealer , they can program it into your vehicle’s on board computer .
We have a WDH which was installed by Casita — fair price — install was good
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Old 01-29-2019, 03:03 PM   #5
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
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Debra, I don't think you'll need a WDH with your 6200# TV rating. I'd do some towing with the TT first to see if it's needed before adding one. It's an add on item anyway.
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Old 01-29-2019, 04:31 PM   #6
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Escape 21 & Jeep GC 5.7 (Previous 2012 Casita FD17 & 2010 Audi Q5)
Puget Sound, WA
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Debbie,

The Casita has a 3,500 lb axle, so it's probably rated at about 4,000 lbs total gross weight.

Our 2017 JGC owner's manual recommends a WDH "If the gross trailer weight is 5,000 lbs (2,267 kg) or more". You should check the manual for your Jeep.

We have an V-8 Overland with a 7,200 lb rated tow capacity. We are towing our Escape 21 without a WDH. The Escape 21 is rated at 5,00 lbs gross, so it is larger and heavier than your Casita. We have crossed the Cascades and the Rockies to Yellowstone, etc.

We owned a Casita 17 previously and I towed it with an Audi Q5. The Casita tracked behind the Audi like a baby duck, and your JGC is even more capable than the Audi.

So, I suspect your JGC will tow the Casita comfortably without using a WDH. While the Casita 17's are tongue-heavy, the tongue and total weights are both lighter than the 21. The Casitas are also much more aerodynamic.
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Old 01-29-2019, 04:56 PM   #7
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Trailer: 2014 Scamp 16 layout 4, 2018 Winnebago Revel 4x4
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A WDH in your setup will be a paperweight, nothing more.
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Old 01-30-2019, 07:34 AM   #8
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Name: John
Trailer: 2018 Casita Independence
Texas
Posts: 220
I personally would have a tow vehicle that you don't need a WDH to pull your trailer. We pulled or 2018 Casita with a 2017 Honda Ridgeline and really never knew the trailer was back there, no WDH. We just replaced our Ridgeline for a 2019 Ram 1500 4x4 crew cab, because we are thinking about going to one of the larger fiberglass trailers, Oliver, or Escape and wanted a vehicle that could handle the new trailer without a WDH. Personally the design of the fiberglass trailers does give then better air flow on the outside and thus is much easier to pull then say a "Stick Trailer" of a trailer of a box design. For me the biggest thing is that the trailer and tow vehicle set level when hitched for both ride and safety, at this point some setups will need a WDH to accomplish this, so what works for one may not for the other. As you can see I purchase a tow vehicle for the trailer I will be towing, not the other way around. I read on these forums that several spend many dollars trying to get there tow vehicle to handle there trailer, start with the correct tow vehicle and be done with it.

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Old 01-30-2019, 08:04 AM   #9
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Did you (the OP) order a new Jeep? I ask because a recent discussion elsewhere highlighted that some dealers will add a few features and call it a factory tow package but it doesn't tow 6200 lb but more like 3500 lb. The dealer is either ignorant of towing requirements or willfully misleading.

You could have bought the Jeep from a private party as well.

Since we're questioning some of your underlying assumptions, like whether you need WDH, the tow capacity is part and parcel of that. Since some dealers will say anything to make a sale I guess I'd like to know more about the tow vehicle.

If the vehicle is new to you there are a number of sites that will generate a window sticker which will show if a tow package was factory installed. I know you said it was but if you have only the dealer's word for it...
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:17 AM   #10
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Casita 17 ft DLX SD & 21 ft SOB
NW Wisconsin
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Remember that a 17 ft Casita has a relatively high tongue weight
The average tongue weight taken from Trailer Weights in the Real World” was 427 lbs , many are well over 500 lbs . My Casita’s tongue weight is right around 430 lbs .
I would see how well your vehicle tows without the WDH before committing to one . I have towed our 17ft Casita and our 21 ft SOB with and without a WDH
Towing with the WDH is a much better experience IMHO
TOW VEHICLE = 2014 Ram 1500 Quad Cab 5.7 liter V8 - 8 speed tranny -3.92 rear end , rear suspension air bags .
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Old 01-30-2019, 10:45 AM   #11
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Name: tom
Trailer: casita
Connecticut
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Yet another opinion

We have no trouble with weight or sway without using WD hitch. '13 Spirit Deluxe towed by '16 VW Touareg diesel. I went through the same inquiry regarding hitches as you are doing and am well satisfied that we have no need for the extra complication (and cost)of a WD hitch. Casita made a sway bar attachment for us - I don't use that either, as the trailer simply does not sway. By the way, unlike some others here, we always travel with full water, not knowing where our next fill-up will be.

Have fun with your new trailer!
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:53 AM   #12
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Name: Bonnie
Trailer: Casita
Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by Civilguy View Post
We owned a Casita 17 previously and I towed it with an Audi Q5. The Casita tracked behind the Audi like a baby duck...

I am happy to read this. We are new owners of a 17 Casita SD and will be towing it with our Q5.
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:53 AM   #13
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Name: Oliver
Trailer: 2014 Casita SD
Oregon
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Not to trivialize the original question, but we also tow our Casita 17' SD with a Audi Q5. It is a 2015 TDI, which is the 3.0L diesel. We do use an Andersen WDH with a Prodigy wireless brake controller. After 12 trips from Oregon to Arizona, we can only speak to our setup. Trailer tracks like a dream, Audi tows all day at 60, even up Siskiyou Pass, never overheats, and gets about 22 mpg. Plus the added advantage of unhooking and going places without dealing with vehicle size for parking and getting around. Not saying it will work for everyone, but it does for us. So, "Bonnie RB", happy camping!
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:07 PM   #14
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Name: Bonnie
Trailer: Casita
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Originally Posted by oabrown View Post
Not to trivialize the original question, but we also tow our Casita 17' SD with a Audi Q5. It is a 2015 TDI, which is the 3.0L diesel. We do use an Andersen WDH with a Prodigy wireless brake controller. After 12 trips from Oregon to Arizona, we can only speak to our setup. Trailer tracks like a dream, Audi tows all day at 60, even up Siskiyou Pass, never overheats, and gets about 22 mpg. Plus the added advantage of unhooking and going places without dealing with vehicle size for parking and getting around. Not saying it will work for everyone, but it does for us. So, "Bonnie RB", happy camping!
Thank you! This is music to my ears.
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