Hi I am Jill Ann - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-08-2017, 09:56 AM   #1
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Name: Jill
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Question Hi I am Jill Ann

My name is Jill Ann, and I am actively searching for the right ultra light weight small fiberglass trailer for dog showing. I have recently returned to the show ring with my boy Dexter and have decided that I would enjoy the privacy and security of a small trailer. I'm here to learn, and hunt for the right trailer for my Jeep Cherokee Laredo to haul. Tips and tricks are welcome!!
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:03 AM   #2
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Is your 'boy' Dexter a dog or a human? Clarification might help.
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:09 PM   #3
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Dexter is my dog.
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Old 03-09-2017, 05:12 AM   #4
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Welcome, Jill Ann!

Two things I'd suggest for starters. First, read everything your Jeep owner's manual says about towing. Find out the tow rating, hitch (or tongue) weight rating, and any required upgrades to the vehicle or trailer. The rating may depend on the engine, transmission, or trim level. Upgrades may include things like additional cooling on the vehicle and an electric trailer brake system. All that will help you determine the maximum size trailer you can safely tow.

Second, make a list of what your ideal trailer will have. Do you need a full bathroom, just a toilet, or neither? A full galley with stove, sink, and refrigerator? How many beds? Will you need AC and/or heat? Will you be plugged into electricity or do you need everything to run off of LP gas and/or a battery? Trailers range from rolling beds to complete homes on wheels. It's helpful to separate your list into must-haves and nice-to-haves. Small, lightweight trailers involve some compromises.

As far as finding a used trailer, this website is one good place. Another is Molded Fiberglass Travel Trailers For Sale | Fiberglass RV's For Sale. Good deals sell fast, often in hours, so be prepared to act quickly.

If you're thinking new, contact the manufacturer directly. With a few exceptions, most molded fiberglass trailers are sold factory direct, built to order, and wait times vary from a couple of months to over a year. Most have a referral program in which they set you up with a nearby owner for a demo so you can see what you're buying.

BTW- what breed and how big is your boy Dexter?

Best wishes finding your perfect rolling dog hotel!
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:50 AM   #5
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Spot on advice from Jon in AZ, couple more notes

Jon's words are well crafted and spot on. I would add that you should build in plenty of cushion on those tow ratings. For example, my trailer (Casita Liberty Deluxe) has a 'spec' dry weight around 2500 lbs, but we are every bit of the 3500 max axle rating when loaded. I am currently seeking a tow vehicle with at least a 5,000 lb rating for cushion in the mountains. If your Cherokee is a newer one, then it is front drive, and has greatly reduced towing capacity over the older ones due to independent rear suspension (instead of a full axle in the rear). That is not a deal breaker, as many people successfully pull with the independent setup. I found in my vehicle (Honda Pilot) that the rear wheels wear unevenly due to splaying out slightly.

As one who traveled with a big dog (but not in our little trailer), there is a lot to think of there. Bed space doubles as seat space and storage sometimes, so preserving a spot for your boy can be difficult. If he likes the sensation of being crated, some of the Casita models have a 'tunnel' of sorts under the bed that might work perfect.

I would also mention price. It is very easy to get sticker shock and run away to the 'stick built' trailers (pretty much every trailer on the market except for molded fiberglass models or Airstream). I encourage you to look at prices on 10 year old trailers. "Egg Campers" and Airstreams generally still bring 70-80% of their original selling price if they are well cared for. There is a reason: Most every stick built trailer WILL leak at some point due to the manner of construction, but it is nearly impossible to leak in any serious way in the egg campers. They are quirky, but extremely well built and last a very long time.

It's a little weird going through the shopping process, because much of it is contrary to the conventional way (going to an RV dealer, or cruising classified websites). First, I would review all the floorplans online, and narrow the field to 3 or 4 choices. Then use the referral programs through the manufacturers. To see the specific model you are interested in. It took about 20 minutes to be in touch with a local gent who had exactly the model I was interested in, and he was happy to show me his trailer (since he would get a check if I ultimately ordered a new one). That way you can narrow your choices down even more. Once you know what you want, you can narrow your search for that specific one.

I got very frustrated with the pile of fake ads on Craigslist. There is a golden rule: If it seems really cheap, then it is fake. Egg owners know what they have, and anything below 6,000 is likely a fake ad from some kid in Nigeria. Other tell-tale signs are pLayINg %wIth* CaPs to fool the robots searching for this sort of violation.

Keep in mind that it is incredibly rare to find a egg camper at an RV dealer. There are a couple dealers near the factory in Texas (Casita) that try to keep one or two around, but it is generally a dealerless society. Don't let that worry you. The online community is among the best I've seen and incredibly helpful. For example, you can usually find someone willing to go look at a camper for you at some distant locale. If you have a break down, there is usually someone nearby to come help.

My experience followed Jon's advice - Be prepared to buy. Have your money in order, know exactly what you want, and be prepared to travel quickly to go see it. I literally had 3 or 4 bought out from under me in mere hours after the ads hit the net. Ultimately, after about 2 months frustration, I had 3 of my exact model go up for sale on the same day, all within 2 hours of me. I took off at sunrise to look at them, and by the end of the day had our perfect little 2003 Casita Liberty Deluxe.

Good luck in your search. If I can help in any way (N FL), please feel free to reach out.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookernoe View Post
...you should build in plenty of cushion on those tow ratings. For example, my trailer (Casita Liberty Deluxe) has a 'spec' dry weight around 2500 lbs, but we are every bit of the 3500 max axle rating when loaded...
That's a good point. It can be hard to know what a trailer will really weigh once you load it up with all your stuff. Manufacturers' dry weights generally don't include options, water, LP, battery, or any of your gear. Here is a link to a helpful database of actual loaded-for-camping weights of various makes and models: Real World Trailer Weights Database

At the top of each field you can filter the data by size, manufacturer, etc. Then if you scroll down, you will see averages. The two numbers that matter most are total weight and tongue weight.

Even when you know the approximate loaded weight of a trailer, I'm still of the mindset to leave additional margin between the loaded weight of the trailer and the tow rating of the vehicle to allow for high demand towing situations: steep grades, high elevations, headwinds, and/or high temperatures. In my part of Arizona it is possible to have all of those conditions at once!

BTW- Charles, I doubt your trailer axle is maxed out. Even if your trailer weighs 3500 pounds total (well above the average 3300 pounds for a loaded Casita 17D), around 450 pounds of that is carried on the hitch, leaving a little over 3000 pounds on the trailer axle. However, it's very likely your vehicle's rear axle is maxed out, especially if you're carrying any cargo in the vehicle. The tire wear is a symptom.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:01 PM   #7
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Hi Jill,

Welcome! Looks like you are getting great advice. Hey, enjoy the hunt for your egg!

Go to some rallies in your area. I see you are from Alabama. The Green Eggs and Ham VII rally is next week in Montgomery. Our plans are to attend despite bad weather that will adversely affect my dewinterization this weekend and a bad resistor on my tug that needs to be replaced before leaving on Wednesday.

Take care,

Dean
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