Greetings from LP and Ron - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-08-2015, 02:01 PM   #1
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Greetings from LP and Ron

Hello,
I'm new here today! I'm still working to convince the hubby that a small trailer is a good idea for us. He's an avowed *minimalist* and is happy sleeping on a board and living on a hunk of stale bread.

Me, not so much!

Twenty years ago I had (and loved) a vintage Kencraft. I think I caught the vintage trailer wave before it was a wave! But I met the hubby and he was devoted to his small work van, and I no longer had a tow vehicle, so I sadly let the Kencraft go.

I also worked pretty hard at loving roughing it in his van... gradually moved to a tent extension, acquired the items needed to make a comfortable campsite... but realized the days of packing, setting up, tearing down, and putting away almost negated any enjoyment I had for the too-brief time we were wherever we were.

He's been working long past his retirement age, and enjoying it, so I haven't pushed much about a lifestyle change. But he's finally mentioning that he'll retire this fall, which opens new possibilities.

I want to camp.

I want a trailer!

I know it will be too hard to break him into this all at once. Slow and steady wins the race.

The best way to approach this is to find something lightweight that can be either towed by his van (1980's something Ford Aerostar... well kept and maintained, standard tranny), or my car, a 2000 Volvo V7 (auto tranny).

I'd prefer driving the Volvo because of its comfort level, and because the Aerostar is just not as pleasant. But I also know that automatic transmissions aren't as happy towing, and while this one *can* tow, it may not be good in the long run. The Aerostar is probably considered a 1/2 ton, and I know we could add amendments to the transmission to help it with towing. Hubby did this with another tow vehicle when he owned a heavy sailboat.

So... I'm here looking for a trailer that would work for us. I love fixer-uppers, but I don't want to present him with much (if any) labor for this venture. If I can get him hooked on this life-style, I think it's possible he may embrace it and look for a beefier tow vehicle... but again, I think slow and steady introductions are the best move.

So.... do you all think what we have would allow us to tow a lightweight trailer? I'm in Northern CA... north of Sacramento, and am looking. My birthday is coming up, so some arm-twisting is a real option.

Summer is coming.

I want to camp!

Thanks for any suggestions!

Ellpea (LP) in CA
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:24 PM   #2
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Welcome, LP!

I'm pretty sure either vehicle could tow something, but the place to start is the owner's manual for each vehicle. There should be a section on towing. Once you know what your vehicle can tow, and whether any supplemental equipment is required, then you can consider trailers. A helpful resource is the thread Trailer Weights in the Real World. Post #297 has a handy downloadable spreadsheet.
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:37 PM   #3
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Good luck LP!

Trailer Life magazine has online towing guides going back to 1999 here: Trailer Towing Guides | Trailer Life Magazine

For your Volvo, it says all models (except S40 & V40) will do 3,300#s with a Volvo hitch (whatever a Volvo hitch is).

Ford should be able to tell you what the towing capacity is of that van with the VIN. At least that's what I would try.

Best of luck to you!

Frank
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:56 PM   #4
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Actually, if you could figure out what they mean by having a Volvo hitch, 3,300#s is a good capacity for your nicer vehicle. Our Ford Escape only tows 200#s more.

Keep in mind most of these tow ratings figure your trailer has brakes of its own. That means you usually will need a 7 pin RV connector out back and a brake controller inside the tow vehicle.

More food for thought!

Frank
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Old 05-08-2015, 03:18 PM   #5
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Hi LP and Welcome the Group...


You might have better luck if you meet your minimalist husband sorta in the middle, with a "transitional" FGRV like a Hunter or a Campster. They too can be minimalist, some only have one light and a hand pump for water, they are fairly light and you still have the camping feeling with the top up. Here is a link to my Photobucket. There are two collections for my Hunter Compact-II and feel free to look around at the others in the library, many of which may pique his interest.

Here's the link: http://s363.photobucket.com/user/adv...?sort=3&page=1

And yes, get your tow ratings from the owners manual and don't be fooled by values listed for aftermarket hitches. Those ratings are for the hitch, not for the vehicle to which they are attached.


Good Luck and be sure to visit us often and ask lots of questions.
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:29 PM   #6
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I read with a chuckle your plan to ease your husband into trailering… I grew up camping in tents and tent trailers, but my wife is definitely more of a hotel kind of gal. We like to spend a week in June near San Diego, but there came a summer when we just could not find someplace decent near the beach we could afford. In desperation, she agreed to try tent camping. We spent the week at South Carlsbad State Beach, close enough to hear the waves at night and to carry your chair and morning coffee right onto the sand. She was hooked. That fall I found and bought the Scamp, and she thinks it's so much more comfortable than the tent!

We're returning for the third time in the Scamp this June and have made many other shorter trips in between.
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:51 PM   #7
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trailer brakes

(I thought I posted this earlier... wrote it into an email response)

Yes, I think we would have to have trailer brakes... when packing for a trip I like to take many things (including lovely heavy hand-crank sewing machine).

Is your Ford Escape an automatic or a standard? In earlier research I was doing about towing with the Volvo, I thought I remembered that doing so with an automatic transmission wasn't really recommended... or at least not with as much weight as Volvo claimed it could tow.

And while Volvos are famous for their longevity (I've owned four), major work like transmission replacements and valve jobs are pretty costly (and would probably convince the hubby I'd pushed him into a BAAAD decision)!

He used to tow and race sportscars, tow and race sailboars, sell vehicles and was a Volvo dealer for many years -- so he does have excellent mechanical *chops.* I suspect his resistance to this idea is less that our vehicles could not do it and more a dedication to his bare board and hunk of bread minimalism. :-)

LP
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:55 PM   #8
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Bob, thanks for the suggestion! I looked at ALL of your photos. I do have a line on one of these, a 72 Compact Jr. It's about 9 hours away, but it only weighs 900 lbs (they say). Pretty basic, but definitely a good start. They want $4800, which seems a little steep for something that old, although it does look to be in decent shape.
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Old 05-08-2015, 05:15 PM   #9
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Automatic vs. standard for towing will generate a fair bit of controversy…

With an automatic, the enemy is heat. The usual solution is to add an auxiliary transmission oil cooler for towing. Your independent mechanic should be able to advise you on that.

With a standard, the enemy is clutch slippage. Getting started with extra weight on a hill or in stop-and-go traffic, backing a trailer (especially up an incline)- these are hard to do without excessive clutch slippage. Many can drive a stick shift. Few do it right and well. (I am not one of them.) There are several forum members who have towed 200K+ miles without a clutch failure.

P.S.- Check out the link in post #2 for some more realistic towing weights for a Hunter Compact Jr.
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:02 PM   #10
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Volvo Mania.....& Hunter Compact Jr

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post
Bob, thanks for the suggestion! I looked at ALL of your photos. I do have a line on one of these, a 72 Compact Jr. It's about 9 hours away, but it only weighs 900 lbs (they say). Pretty basic, but definitely a good start. They want $4800, which seems a little steep for something that old, although it does look to be in decent shape.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
$4800 is more than a bit high for a very basic Compact JR with no upgrades. If that is the one near Barstow(?), it has been on the market for months, I might be interested at 1/2 that price, but I am a bottom feeder any way. BTW: The Jr is very different from the Compact-I & II.

They are better appointed as you move up from Jr, to I to II. Many of the II's has a built in bathroom, but we took ours out and put in the in the slide out porta potty you saw. Storage space is at a premium and the dead space in the bathroom seems a waste. We really like our Compact-II and have a month long, 5000 mile trip, planned for June.

BTW: Mine came in at 1350 lbs or so about a years ago when I had it weighed, packed and ready to go.

Like adults, all FGRV's are basically the same age, it's all about condition, condition and condition.

Tell your hubby that you are getting fed FGRV stuff from a couple who's credentials include the following Volvo's over the many years. 444, 445's (2), 544, 122 wagons (3) a factory prepped 123 Rally car, P-1800, 164 and (2 )245's. In the late 60's we had factory $$$ support for SCCA racing and we also had an all Volvo (123's) autocross team. And, we have been to the factory in Stockholm. One of our team members had a Volvo molded fiberglass P-1900, which I did get to drive around a couple times.

Good luck with your conversion project. If by chance he gets attracted to a stick built, we can also offer exorcisms on request. (LOLOLOL)
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Old 05-09-2015, 08:05 PM   #11
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My husband retired 10 years before I did (he is 4 years older than I). When I retired he was eager to get on with an active life of retirement together. What a sweetheart!

I have to mention that I dislike the word "retirement" and replace it with "renewment". Part of our renewment plan was to camp and hike and travel more than ever AND during non-school vacations. I had worked 20 years in school systems and had had the same vacation times as everyone else which meant hot summers and crowded winter, spring and summer vacations. Hey, I'm not complaining about the abundant vacation time, just the quality of the experiences. In renewment we could pick and choose the times to travel and we do.

Having been avid car campers and sometime backpackers we had/have an abiding love for the outdoors. As time passed by, though, we are less enamored with set-up and break-down of campsites, especially in the rain! Although we are both in great shape, except for minor physical limitations due to my husband's two hip replacement operations we agreed (after a year of discussion/preparation) that trailer camping was our next step.

We purchased a basic new 13' Scamp in 2011 and tow it with a 2008 Subaru Legacy sedan (manual). We fell in love with our trailer on our first voyage and have never looked back. We keep all our camping supplies in the trailer at all times and only need to bring 3 milk crates of food and our clothing along when we are ready to roll. What could be simpler than that? No sooner do we end one trip then we are planning the next.

We just returned from a 2 week camping trip in New Zealand. While we could not bring our trailer there we did camp in a campervan which is just about the same size as our trailer. The trip was so much fun!

I am confident that you and your husband will realize the advantages of camping in a FGRV and will embark on a more comfortable mode of camping.
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Old 05-09-2015, 08:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post
(I thought I posted this earlier... wrote it into an email response)

Yes, I think we would have to have trailer brakes... when packing for a trip I like to take many things (including lovely heavy hand-crank sewing machine).

Is your Ford Escape an automatic or a standard? In earlier research I was doing about towing with the Volvo, I thought I remembered that doing so with an automatic transmission wasn't really recommended... or at least not with as much weight as Volvo claimed it could tow.

And while Volvos are famous for their longevity (I've owned four), major work like transmission replacements and valve jobs are pretty costly (and would probably convince the hubby I'd pushed him into a BAAAD decision)!

He used to tow and race sportscars, tow and race sailboars, sell vehicles and was a Volvo dealer for many years -- so he does have excellent mechanical *chops.* I suspect his resistance to this idea is less that our vehicles could not do it and more a dedication to his bare board and hunk of bread minimalism. :-)

LP
Our Ford Escape is a 2013 with Ecoboost (turbocharger) & a factory tow package rated for 3500#s. It's an automatic. Actually we have not towed with it yet, but will soon. We had an issue with getting the Escape to "see" the trailer brakes that just got resolved. Lots of other folks are towing stuff with the same package. We bought this car specifically to tow an egg.

Frank
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Old 05-20-2015, 01:52 AM   #13
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Hello,

I thought I would post an update on my search/plot. I found a Boler locally, and am still trying to determine if it's a good fit for us. Owner says it weighs 700 pounds. She tows it with a Jeep Cherokee. Hubby tows our sailboat with his Ford Aerostar (manual), and he estimates the boat weighs around 500 lbs (with trailer).

Anyway, I asked some questions about this here: 1965 (or so) Boler
and am hoping that some of you who were helpful to me in this thread would chime in there. Thank you!
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Old 05-20-2015, 02:41 AM   #14
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Found a photo! Does this help?
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