Towing 13' from PA to Western NC - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-30-2013, 12:50 PM   #1
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Name: Brenda
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Towing 13' from PA to Western NC

It seems like we may be picking up our new-to-us 2004 Scamp 13' from its currently owner in Western NC south of the Great Smoky Mountains over June 14th weekend! It will be a long haul, but we're up for the challenge.

I'm currently having an electronic brake controller installed on my 2009 Auto Subaru Forester as recommended by the dealer. I just want to confirm that all 2004 Scamp 13's have electric trailer brakes?

Any recommendations for towing through some of the mountainous regions of Western NC? Any tips - this will be our first time towing something, and being that, over a loooong drive, so any tips are greatly appreciated! I hope this works out!
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:05 PM   #2
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Boy, good for you Brenda, and congratulations! That will be a fun road trip!

Couple of friendly suggestions. Get your Subaru serviced before leaving. While great vehicles, they have been known to have head gaskets fail, often under load. I'm not trying to scare you here, just that we had it happen to our extremely well maintained '08 Outback (not towing at the time), and it is just a suggestion. After that happened, we googled it, and sure enough, we were not alone. We put a new motor in it and plan to keep it a long time. It is a great vehicle!

If you don't already have a tranny cooler, now would be the time to add one. Transmissions take a lot of the load towing, and automatics get hot. Plus when you get your tow vehicle serviced, make real sure they check the coolant.

Do you know if the previous owner has serviced the hubs at all? I would worry more about that than brakes for such a light trailer, as I see trailers broke down all the time because a hub burned out. Saw a double axle boat trailer like that day before yesterday. That is a pricey fix on the road.

Whether or not the Scamp has brakes it can't hurt to get a 7 pin rv plug on your Forester and install a brake controller. You can always replace an axle without brakes in the future with one with electric brakes if you want. I am a fanatic about brakes on any trailer, but that's just me.

Something I always bring with me with any trailer is a small jack in a box, a portable air tank and a few tools. I'm hauling our classic boat across the state tomorrow and have to get all my "stuff" in the pick up tonight. Most of the time I never use any of it, but it gives me peace of mind!

Best of luck to you!

Frank
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:16 PM   #3
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You might want to confirm with the current owner if it has a 7 pin or 4 pin connector. Seven pin is (usually) with brakes.

Tail light wiring problems are common. Many take a set of towing lights as a back up. 12 Volt Magnetic Towing Light Kit
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:19 PM   #4
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Also, easy to go from a 7 pin rv connector to a 4 pin, but not the other way!

Tom makes a good suggestion about magnetic trailer lights.

Good luck!

Frank
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:51 PM   #5
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Frank, in regard to the Subaru head gasket failures; wasn't that confined to just a couple years of production. One of the other mechanics in the shop that I was in had his Subaru head gasket fail about 3 times, BUT, he's one of those guys who thinks he's great if he gets a job done in record time, never mind the quality of the job. So he'd yank the engine out, [can't get the head off with the engine in the car] pull the head, clean it up, stick on a new head gasket, and back into the car with the engine. When I do a head gasket, I send the head out to get it planed, clean up the block real good, and take my time in the reassembly. Anyway, Brenda shouldn't have any problems with a 2004 trailer, just verify the plug it has, a 12 volt air compressor that plugs into the cigarette lighter is good to have along as well as a tire gauge. Take it easy at first, get the feel of towing, and don't forget you now have a trailer behind you that's taller than the car. If you have AAA, their RV policy is cheap to add on, $20 for us. Have a good trip.
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:52 PM   #6
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Thanks Frank! As the previous owner of a '99 Forester, I am aware of the prior head gasket issues! I spoke with a service tech at Lancaster Subaru and also found some useful information online. He only recommended the electronic brake controller and trailer brakes for anything over 1,000 pounds. I called back to confirm about the trans cooler, even for the auto, and they don't recommend it as an ad-on for the weight of the Scamp. Here's some information from what I read:
"I know this is an old thread that perhaps won't get much attention...but it came up in my searching for information regarding trans cooler installations for my '09 NA Forester. There is more of a 'howto' here, I know, but I wanted to respond to this one because it dealt with the Warranty question asked here. I wrote to SoA's customer support to find out their recommendation for transmission oil cooling while towing my 1800 lb tent trailer. This is how they responded.



"Dear Jeremy:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. Congratulations on the purchase of your 2009 Forester. I hope that you are enjoying it!

Subaru does not offer a transmission cooler for our 2009 Forester models. By your message, you seem to be aware of our towing recommendations for your 2009 Forester and that we do not feel that a transmission cooler is necessary, which is why we do not offer one. Below I will provide you with our statement regarding aftermarket products. This recommendation would be the same if you, a Subaru dealer or an independent source installed the transmission cooler.

The following is Subaru of America's position on aftermarket products:

We do not recommend the installation of any aftermarket part into any of our vehicles. This is because Subaru of America does not test nor research aftermarket products. Installing an aftermarket product may affect your warranty; but only on related failures. Any problems caused by the installation or performance of an aftermarket product will not be covered by the warranties on your Subaru.

If you need any future assistance, please let us know. Have a great day Jeremy!

Sincerely,

John J. Mergen
Subaru of America, Inc.
Customer/Dealer Services Department
1-800-SUBARU3 (1-800-782-2783)"

I will *definitely* service the fluids before and after towing. They did recommend me servicing the trans ever 15,000 miles if I'm actively towing. Thanks for the heads up on what to ask about the hubs/brakes and lights, as well as what to pack along. It's much appreciated!
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:54 PM   #7
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Mary and Bob - yep, I know what you mean! I have read some limited gasket issues with the newer ones, but nothing like my '99! Traded it in on this one last year with 215k on it.

We have a great battery pack/air compressor that we'll bring along. I also have AAA so I'll add the RV package, thanks for the recommendation.

PS - how does insurance work on Scamps in PA? Also - anyone know how it works as far as trailering it back to NC not registered (since we can't register it until we're in PA?)
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:05 PM   #8
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Our Subaru motor, which had never had a problem in 72,000 miles, blew on a highway going up-slope with my wife passing a van. I was absolutely amazed. It is what it is. Cost us $6500 for a new short block and one new head. It was out of warranty, so we ate the expense. Subaru sent us $500, which was like a slap in the face. Nevertheless, we like the car. We just don't like Subaru! Soon as I sell my pickup and we get a new tow vehicle (maybe a Traverse), I will be driving the Subaru into retirement (early 2016), while the little woman drives the new tow vehicle. She has a shorter commute.

Good question on registration. I would talk to your local state motor vehicle registration place, tell them what you want to do, and ask how you can do it legally. I never even thought about that, as most of these eggs are outside NYS, and we will have to deal with it probably sometime. Every state is different, so the best thing to do is just ask.

Good luck!

Frank
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:27 PM   #9
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N.C. titles as well as Pa. titles need to be notarized, if you pick it up on a weekend that may be an issue. Also check with your DMV rep. about a trip permit instead of tags to get it home. Verify this info. on their DMV web sites.

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Old 05-30-2013, 02:33 PM   #10
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Thanks for the heads up Eddie. I will call our local licensing agent/notary to find out.
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:43 PM   #11
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C'mon Frank, you have other trailer plates, wouldn't you just grab one off another trailer, not that I would ever do such a thing! <_< But for Brenda, I've heard that PA is a real big pain with registering trailers, so bad that I know of some PA residents that have registered them in Maine because of the hassle they encountered, BE SURE of what you'll need for paperwork before you go, and check the VIN numbers on the trailer against the numbers on the title. Another PA member here was having a real bad time trying to get his camper registered because of a number issue. As for transporting the Scamp back from NC, I've heard that you'll be in less trouble if caught towing it with no plate, than if you're caught with the plate from another trailer. Maybe the seller has it registered and will let you use his plate. Check with your insurance company, here in NY my auto policy covers liability on any trailer, but I don't know about PA.
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:45 PM   #12
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Brenda, I'd check with NC to see what the title transfer process is. Not sure if NC issues transit tags. Only vehicles I've brought into PA were from NY and I just made an extra trip back to get my tag, but that's sure not gonna help you. Hopefully someone from NC will post. Be sure to make absolutely certain whether or not the NC title needs to be signed in front of a notary. I've had a lot of people try to sign the title on the spot, that will cause huge headaches if it needs a stamp.

As far as insurance, a 13' Scamp with no brakes should be covered under your TV insurance, but check with your agent about adding an RV policy if you want full coverage. I have an RV policy for my other camper and motorcycle, but not one for my utility trailer. Best part is the $6.00 per year registration, I usually do 2 years at a time so I don't forget.
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
I've heard that PA is a real big pain with registering trailers, so bad that I know of some PA residents that have registered them in Maine because of the hassle they encountered, BE SURE of what you'll need for paperwork before you go, and check the VIN numbers on the trailer against the numbers on the title. Another PA member here was having a real bad time trying to get his camper registered because of a number issue. .
Depends on who is doing the title work. There is one local place that insists on having the trailer there to check the VIN, they never explained how to get it there legally without a plate. This same place also lectured me every time that the Dept. of Revenue would come after me because I didn't pay book value (and therefore full sales tax)- still waiting 15 years and never a peep from the tax cops. These geniuses also screwed up the address on my title, took me months to get it straightened out, they refused to refund my fees.

Found a new local place where the folks are professional and reasonable and provide real customer service. Definitely check the VIN, make sure everything matches perfectly. I have had dealers and private sellers let me use the tag that's on it, might be a good idea to have a letter stating that you have permission to use the trailer. And make sure their registration is current and clear- you don't want a cop running the plate and finding a warrant or something!
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Old 05-30-2013, 03:24 PM   #14
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Hi Brenda & welcome!

You should check with the seller as to if the trailer you are buying actually has brakes as the trailer could have been ordered without them. A lot of used 13' trailers don't have them. If you check your Subaru manual you will find its an actual requirment by Subaru that anything you pull over 1000lbs has brakes.

I have been pulling with a Subaru for 6 years & on a far number of miles - a few more than your average week-warrior some might say ;-) No extra transmission cooler for the reason you sighted above. I also taked directly with Suaburu USA as well as my service manager who also tows with a Subaru & both were pretty convincing as to why it was not nessesary. I do have the transmission fluids checked & have had them changed sooner than the service manual states due to my high tow mileage. Was told by the party who did the change last that the fluid looked fine and didn't in there opinion appear to have any signs of an issue with over heating. Not sure entirely how they can tell that by looking at it but I do recall reading that some change in colouring might be an indicator of an overheating issue.

As far as head gaskets being a serious problem on Subarus go I am on my 4th Subaru & not had a problem in that regard. I was aware though that in late 90's there were some reported issues.

We ave a lot of folks towing 13's happily with Foresters & most seem pretty happy with the set up.

Enjoy your new trailer. Getting it is just the start of fun new adventures.
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