Nissan Frontier 4Cyl - Camper Options - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-11-2009, 11:32 PM   #1
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
Tennessee
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I've scanned about every topic on this forum and I fear long-term members here are gonna go...oh no not another one. But please bear with me on this. No one has to be informed that we're in a bad "economy" and trying to save is not an "option" right now.

BUT- "The eyes of man are never satisfied" and the wife and I want a camper! We married off our last one in Feb so it's time.

I have a '99 Nissan Frontier King Cab PU with a 4cyl. I've narrowed the options down to the lighter weight Casitas, Tadas, etc. But I'm REALLY concerned and wonder if ANYONE has pulled a Casita 16' (or equal camper) with a 4cy Frontier. It IS a "manual" transmission and rated at 3500lbs. A nice guy at a camper place let me pull a 3000 lb camper. NO GO!! Listen, on a small grade, I could not get over 50mph in 4th gear. On a hill, I did good to hold 40 in 3rd. But this was a larger dual axle camper and NOT an "egg" style.

Again, has ANYONE here pulled a 16' Casita or equal with a 4cyl Frontier. I know without a doubt that I believe it would pull a 13'. But they (Casita) tell me it's only about 300 lbs different than the 16'.

Please accept my apologies early on for such a "redundant" post. But honestly, IF a Casita 16' or so is out of the question, my dream of a "camper" will be put on hold. I just dont want to invest $40K + for an entirely new rig right now.

Thanks in advance....

Darral T. from Tennessee!

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Old 06-12-2009, 08:37 AM   #2
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THis does not really compare to a 16 foot scamp... but I pulled a 14 foot stick built with that same 4cyl truck in a manual tranny. My wife and i went all over the place and neighboring states. We packed light, traveled with no water and only one propane tank. It had no shower. IT was an old 70's model with no trailer brakes. That would be my advice to you, be sure and get trailer brakes if you buy new. That 3500 rating seems common (not v6 optimal) but common from all of my reading on this and other forums. Even though i was within my tow rating, My truck was a Dog too like you describe on the road. But that's all we could afford at the time.

PS> I also used inexpensive air shocks from pep boys on the rear for sag and they worked out great for my particular setup.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:05 AM   #3
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
Tennessee
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Twould be interesting to know how much yer "stick" weighed.

I guess the bottom line is, I'm looking at the Casita, Tada, and the newer Forrest River's (havent heard good things from that line) new "R-Pod". Except for the Casita, I've had two dealers that have told me to come by and "pull" one. There's a dealer in Manchester, Tn that carries the Hi-Lo, Tada, MoJo and others. Unfortunately, I was heading to Manchester this weekend but BONNAROO...so no-go. Hopefully, next week.

I just fear the lil 4-cyl is going to remain somewhat of a "dog" regardless.

Thanks so much for the reply!
Darral from TN.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:55 AM   #4
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We got by for a year or two, but yes it was very slow (dog is the best description). Getting on on ramps you have to have the pedal floored to accelerate. Passing was difficult, you had to down shift and have the pedal floored. That's what you will have to put up with. Going 55 down the flat highway it was fine. Don't tow in fifth gear either, it will slowly destroy that gear. I'm sure you know all this anyway. But I can add that we later upgraded to a chevy s10 v6 and that v6 was like a whole new world opened up. I was relaxed driving, could pass others with ease. Hit the mountains no problem. Anyway that's what we did. Got by until we saved enough to upgrade the truck, a used truck I should say.
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:56 PM   #5
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Name: Dana
Trailer: 1973 Compact Jr
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I was idly searching for 6-cylinder cars to tow with (my 4-cylinder Camry is just barely adequate on the flats, and at sea level at that) and thought the used CRVs and Escapes and etc. were too rich for my blood.

What popped up was a 1998 Dodge Ram 2500 with a Cummins inline 6-cyl turbo diesel with less than 100k miles and for less than $7k! Lessee, with over 400 ft-lb torque that puppy should pull my little Compact Jr pretty well. Oh yeah, it's rated towing capacity is over 14,000 lbs!

I looked around a bit and found more that were newer and more expensive, but still well under $10k. Maybe not as pretty as a Honda CRV, Toyota RAV4, or whatever, but much cheaper and they definitely the guts to go!

Sure, the others get better gas milage, but I drive only 4,000 miles/year. Even if diesel costs $5/gallon and the others didn't use any fuel at all, it would take me nearly a decade for the fuel cost to eat up the difference in purchase price.

Damn, I really didn't want a big truck but the economics is rather compelling...
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:55 AM   #6
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Darral,

Your Nissan can tow a 16ft Scamp. I know other members here towing 19ft Scamp fifth wheels with four bangers. You mention many other brands- mostly traditional framed trailers- probably because the fiberglass brands don't get much publicity. You've come across the best trailers there are (speaking of all molded fiberglass trailers here, people). If you're looking for new, check out (in no particular order, showing no favoritism): Escape, Scamp, Trillium, Casita. Somewhere on here is a link to the list of manufacturers still in business. Also, keep an eye out in your local papers, online classifieds, and our own classified section for used options. Hope I'm not forgetting something. Others will chime in, I'm sure.

Don't give up!
Eric B.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:40 AM   #7
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Here's the list Eric mentioned:
All Current Trailer Brands

Ignore the top one, Bigfoot is out of business
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:15 AM   #8
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yes dont let me discourage you either. My setup does not really compare to a 16 foot scamp. I had a large frontal area for wind. Maybe the slick scamp body would have better wind resistance. Don't be shy to ask all the questions you want here either. this is a great forum.
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:48 PM   #9
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I had my camp bud had a heart attack at 9000 feet last year, I towed the 16 foot scamp back to home for him, my 95 Nissan 2.4L has a Lux Pro Gold clutch and the rear suspension has Roadking springs that kick in when needed, I would dispense with any idea of pep from a four banger unless its diesel, I love my Astro trailer but I do not zoom up the hills and third is where it likes it even with the smaller one. I trade allot of pep for 27 mpg.

We go slower and see more.

Granted there are times I would like to zip but that is not an option with a 4 cylinder.

I did 1000 miles last summer and averaged 23 mpg, I was doing about 300 miles a day goofing off. Going up hill I saw all sorts of wildlife I would have missed zooming at 65 mph...Including several bus motor homes who flipped me off going up hill.

One blew a gasket on Az 260 ahead of me when he passed me, miles later he did not look too happy...at 100 plus degrees the A/C is more important and getting to the cool pines the goal...We got both...he didn't.

Happy Camping, Safe Trails.

Harry



Quote:
I've scanned about every topic on this forum and I fear long-term members here are gonna go...oh no not another one. But please bear with me on this. No one has to be informed that we're in a bad "economy" and trying to save is not an "option" right now.

BUT- "The eyes of man are never satisfied" and the wife and I want a camper! We married off our last one in Feb so it's time.

I have a '99 Nissan Frontier King Cab PU with a 4cyl. I've narrowed the options down to the lighter weight Casitas, Tadas, etc. But I'm REALLY concerned and wonder if ANYONE has pulled a Casita 16' (or equal camper) with a 4cy Frontier. It IS a "manual" transmission and rated at 3500lbs. A nice guy at a camper place let me pull a 3000 lb camper. NO GO!! Listen, on a small grade, I could not get over 50mph in 4th gear. On a hill, I did good to hold 40 in 3rd. But this was a larger dual axle camper and NOT an "egg" style.

Again, has ANYONE here pulled a 16' Casita or equal with a 4cyl Frontier. I know without a doubt that I believe it would pull a 13'. But they (Casita) tell me it's only about 300 lbs different than the 16'.

Please accept my apologies early on for such a "redundant" post. But honestly, IF a Casita 16' or so is out of the question, my dream of a "camper" will be put on hold. I just dont want to invest $40K + for an entirely new rig right now.

Thanks in advance....

Darral T. from Tennessee!
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:04 AM   #10
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
Tennessee
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I REALLY appreciate ALL of the posts concerning my "4 banger" (never heard that one).

Alot of water has gone under the bridge since my last post. Wife and I headed to Lebanon Tn. this past weekend. At Family Campers, I pulled one of the new "R-Pods" by Forest River (havent heard good things about this brand). Going up a mild grade, I could go to 55-60 in 3rd, when I went to 4th, it would start dropping back. No-go. It weighed right at 2400lbs.

We then went over to Scenic Roads RV www.scenicroadsrv.com to look at the Tadas. I looked inside of THREE of them and the bathroom wallboard was bucking badly! The quality just wasnt there. There are other brands they carry as well in the "Microlites".

But, they carry the "Hi-Lo" . I pulled the 15'er (15T weight of 2200lbs) and took it to the foot of Monteagle Mt. on the North/West side. This would be down I24 E from Manchester, TN. I could hold 60mph on most grades even in 4th. I drove 5th gear on the flats and could hold 70. I also used the A/C. But I always bump off the A/C climbing hills. That's just me.

I would HAVE to pull a 16'/17' Casita to believe I could come close that experience with the Hi-Lo. Personally, I just wouldnt be comfortable pulling in 3rd gear "regularly". I'm thinking that it might pull the 13'er FG Camper- but can find NO ONE in my area (Columbia, TN) that has one. Do you guys believe that having to pull in 4th would hurt the truck??? I know the Toyota/Nissan motors are pretty tough. I ALSO know you do NOT "lug" those motors or as we saw on one other post here, you WILL be replacing head gaskets. I experienced this with an 85' Nissan 4cy PU when I lugged it with a load of tables.

Thanks again guys and I"m OPEN for any/all ideas/opionions as I have several myself. Since experiencing pulling some trailers now, I know what I DONT want and that is to abuse my truck. As of right now, (until I could try a Casita or equal), I wouldnt be comfy with anything but the Hi-Lo 15. Sorry, I realize I'm on a "Fiberglass forum".

What do yall think? I'll suck up any opinions for/against the Hi-Lo's as well. The first negative, they're EXPENSIVE.

Sincerely,
Darral Teeples




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Old 06-22-2009, 10:31 AM   #11
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I would like to see that hi-lo in person. They look neat. Others can chime in here too. My experience towing in fourth was fine. But I did damage my fifth gear towing in fifth. It still works... but is now worn and hum's and the syncro wants to pop out more easily. I didn't know much about mechanics at the time but have learned a lot since.
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:26 PM   #12
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Darral,

Have you determined that you really need something larger than a 13' Scamp or similar? You get a lot of fun for the buck, they're easy to work on, store, tow, sell, etc. Depreciation on a used one will be very little, so you can move up someday when you're ready for a larger TV. You do have to be friends to share the small bed and in most cases give up things like inside flush toilets and showers, but it's really a pretty good trade for all the fun you can have with a small egg. If you've pulled the Hi-Lo okay, I can't believe you would have any trouble at all with a 13' Scamp. The first time we pulled one was when we drove from mid-Ohio to upper Wisconsin to pick up ours, and towed it home with a Volvo convertible. We've since replaced the Volvo with a Subaru, which pulls it easily.

Good luck in your search.
Parker
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:56 PM   #13
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Have you called Casita and talked to a salesperson?

They have a list of owners and can put you in touch with some of the ones nearest to you.

worth a shot, I would think!
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:14 AM   #14
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
Tennessee
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Gene,

I have called Casita and received lotsa information. Got to view a 17' when we were in the Great Smokey's back in April. But they were pulling with a Tacoma v6. Unfortunately, she (Jean I believe) from Casita was going to look for someone pulling a Cas. with a 4cyl or look for a 13' in our area (Nashville, TN). That's been probably 4-6 weeks ago and I havent heard from them since . Kinda discouraging there.

Tonight, I've been viewing the "Scamps" online. I'm beginning to think like Parker. I would LOVE the 13' as I dont like "overgrown apes" in my life. I'm a 5'6" guy drive a small truck, car (Corolla), but my dear wife of 30 yrs thinks she will be claustrophobic in the 13'ers. Sighhhhh..... But I look at the price/weight....VERY doable and I personally feel, an EXCELLENT "starter" camper. Hey....what if we decide we dont LIKE camping and it's not for us?? I"d rather have $12K invested instead of $30-40K! We have some friends wanting us to hurry it up so we can camp with them. They started out with a "pop-up" to which I TOTALLY refuse to yield to and will lose the camper fever before I succomb to one.

I also keep reading about Ken's problem in 5th. I realize that I dont believe 4th would be a problem. If the Scamp 13' is as light as it proclaims, I think it would be fine. Now the decision would be between the Scamp or Casita. Any opinions on that? Of course, the #1 decisive factor will be the weight, #2 is price. Ken...you havent been discouraging at all pal...just honest. I like the Hi-Lo, but it's going to run apx $3-$4000 more than the "Eggs"!! not sure it's worth it.

As I tell many of my long-time friends that call me "Tight", I tell them, "I'm not tight, just efficient."

Thanks again guys. I feel like I'm making friends through my ignorance. But honestly, sounds like alot of you guys have been right here in my seat!!

Darral

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