Hi! New here. Lots of questions! :) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-05-2018, 12:41 PM   #1
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Name: Lisle
Trailer: Buying one in 2019
Massachusetts
Posts: 18
Hi! New here. Lots of questions! :)

I'm planning on starting my travel adventures next spring when I retire. Looking to buy a used 16' Scamp or Casita or similar on the East Coast. Currently researching tow vehicles and plan to buy one this fall and get used to driving it. (Currently drive a Honda Fit which is way smaller.)
Boy do I have questions!

1) What tow vehicle would you recommend that gets the best gas mileage? I can't bear the thought of driving around the country at much less than 20mpg.

2) If the trailer weighs 2500# when loaded, how much tow capacity should the tow vehicle have? I was thinking 3500# was sufficient but a dealer said 5000#.

3) There are 2 hybrids I'm looking at: Highlander and Ford F-150. The hybrid part will help MPG when driving w/o the trailer. Will it help when driving with the trailer?

4) I was planning to get the tow vehicle first (can't go get a trailer with my Honda Fit). Is it OK to wait til winter or early spring to get the camper? Or will I miss out if I don't pounce on one of the trailers currently being sold on this site?


Whew! Very appreciative of your advice on any of these questions.
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Old 10-05-2018, 01:04 PM   #2
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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Towing a 16 or 17 foot trailer, you are likely NOT going to get 20MPG. And if you have a barely adequate tow vehicle, the mileage drop tends to be substantial, while a larger tow vehicle, you may see very little drop off. I picked up a 13 foot Trillium last week, my F150 is way over sized for that Trillium (but it was bought to tow my Escape 19). It has a V8, so fuel economy is not terrific. But I get 18MPG when not towing anything, and I got over 17MPG towing the Trillium. I typically get 13 to 14MPG pulling the Escape.

In the world of F150s, the 3.5 or even 2.7 Ecoboost is the way to go. I doubt a Highlander would get any better mileage. My next tow vehicle will very likely be the 3.5 eco boost.

On weight ratings, you typically run out of payload capacity before running out of tow rating. Check weights in the real world, I think the trailer is going to be heavier than you think. Manufacturers dry weights are totally, completely, worthless. Tongue is typically 13% of the actual trailer weight, which goes against the payload limit.

F150s do NOT have one single payload rating. The rating for the actual truck will be on a yellow sticker inside the driver's door jamb. There is a HUGE variance in payload ratings, it comes down to the equipment on the truck (Platinum and King Ranch models tend to have the worst payload rating). Deduct further for every option, then stuff added by the dealer, or stuff added by you later (like a camper top).

Primary focus on a tow vehicle is getting something that can comfortably pull and more importantly, STOP a trailer quickly without excitement (no white knuckles). Having a marginal TV is no fun, and something I did once but would never do again. When you are going down a steep mountain, the fact you might be getting better fuel economy but can't stop the trailer is no longer important. And going up a steep incline at 29MPH, which I did with my under-rated TV years ago, is no fun, and you are a hazard to other road users.

If you don't want to do all the double checking of your vehicle's ratings, then a doubling which the dealer did gets you close. On my truck, I run out of payload at slightly more than half the tow rating. Since my tow rating is 9,800 pounds, I have room to spare.

Properly equipped, the EB 2.7 should give you great fuel economy when not towing, reasonable fuel economy when towing, and more than adequate tow and payload ratings.

Be careful with the Highlander. Depending on the model you pick, it can have a tow rating as low as 1,500 pounds.
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Old 10-05-2018, 01:18 PM   #3
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Name: Jerry
Trailer: Scamp
Alaska
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We we're in a similar situation two years ago when we got our Scamp 16. I pulled it with my Ford Ranger (4 L) and it handed it fine but seemed light for the load. Fuel mileage was 15 or so depending on terrain and speed. I always run at 65 mph when legal. Bev wanted a vehicle that was easier to get into and that could carry another couple so we now have a Ford Explorer (3.5 L with towing package) and LOVE it. We spent 7 weeks last winter going from MN to California and had a great time. 15 MPG again with lots of mountain roads and Rt. 66 roads. I've pulled a lot of trailers and like to have "the dog bigger than his tail".
If you find the right trailer I would pounce. They can be hard to find in the spring.
Just my two cents.
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Old 10-05-2018, 01:51 PM   #4
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Trailer: 2014 Escape 21, 2002 Ford F250 7.3 Diesel 4x4
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re: hybrids, they are at their best in stop and go, where they can do regenerative braking, and the electric part of the hybrid provides short boost of extra power to accelerate.

most towing is long distances, steady as she goes. diesel is optimal for this, lots of torque, but modern diesels are very much complicated by the required emissions controls and subject to a lot of expensive issues. my big older F250 diesel gets 13-15 MPG towing a fully loaded 4500 lb Escape 21', while hauling about 1000s of gear at the same time. running empty on the highway it can get as high as 18 MPG, i haven't' seen much better than that.... but this is a longbed 4x4 that has 2000 lbs of payload capacity and 12500 lbs of towing capacity, its overkill for the Escape, and would be ridiculous for a Casita/Scamp.


If you definite don't want a pickup truck, you might look at the newest Ford Expedition, which is a SUV built on a shortened F150 chassis, with the 3.5 ecoboost (its also available on 2015-2017 previous-version Expeditions). these are supposed to be very nice, although frankly, Iv'e neither driven nor ridden in one. Be sure to get one with the factory towing feature, they have all the goodies (trailer sway control and integral brake controller, etc).
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Old 10-05-2018, 02:07 PM   #5
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Trailer: 2003 Casita 16' SD
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1) F-getta bout it.
2. You might get a 16 Scamp around 2500 lb in travel trim. Casitas 16 average about 2700 in travel trim.
My Casita weighs 3000 lb and I tow with a 4500 lb rated vehicle. I think a 5000 lb rated vehicle offers more cushion.
3)F-getta bout it.
4)I never bought or sold a used trailer, no experience to offer.
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Old 10-05-2018, 02:57 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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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
I'm planning on starting my travel adventures next spring when I retire. Looking to buy a used 16' Scamp or Casita or similar on the East Coast. Currently researching tow vehicles and plan to buy one this fall and get used to driving it. (Currently drive a Honda Fit which is way smaller.)
Boy do I have questions!

1) What tow vehicle would you recommend that gets the best gas mileage? I can't bear the thought of driving around the country at much less than 20mpg.

2) If the trailer weighs 2500# when loaded, how much tow capacity should the tow vehicle have? I was thinking 3500# was sufficient but a dealer said 5000#.

3) There are 2 hybrids I'm looking at: Highlander and Ford F-150. The hybrid part will help MPG when driving w/o the trailer. Will it help when driving with the trailer?

4) I was planning to get the tow vehicle first (can't go get a trailer with my Honda Fit). Is it OK to wait til winter or early spring to get the camper? Or will I miss out if I don't pounce on one of the trailers currently being sold on this site?


Whew! Very appreciative of your advice on any of these questions.
Lisle,

1) Less than 20 mpg is (sadly) the norm. Try downloading the spreadsheet from this thread if you are interested.
Tow Vehicle & Trailer combos - POST INFO

2) I personally prefer a robust tow capacity, particularly travelling here in the west with steep grades, high altitudes and high winds. Another potential risk is that you will experience two-footitis and get a larger trailer later on. This happened to us and getting a replacement tow vehicle with a higher rating was expensive.

3) I don't know much about specific vehicles here but agree that it would likely help the most in stop-and-go situations with regenerative braking.

4) We had our first fiberglass trailer delivered as we didn't even have a tow vehicle when we bought it. There is some risk that you might "upgrade" the trailer you want after having already bought your tow vehicle. I think that asking prices for trailers might be a bit lower in the dark of the winter, and somewhat higher in spring, but from what I have seen the asking prices are pretty variable at any time of the year. Winter might reduce the number of people who are competing for the trailers you see listed.

Good luck on your new adventure!
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Old 10-05-2018, 07:58 PM   #7
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
North Carolina
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As far as when to buy a trailer, do you have covered storage area (carport or garage)? If not, I'd work on that first.

Once you have that covered, the first one you see that is relatively convenient, great condition and realistically priced, I would buy then. Could be next week, could be six months from now.

Knowing EXACTLY what you want is key. Go to a rally, the sooner the better, and tour some trailers.
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Old 10-06-2018, 02:26 AM   #8
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
Posts: 3,502
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
I'm planning on starting my travel adventures next spring when I retire. Looking to buy a used 16' Scamp or Casita or similar on the East Coast. Currently researching tow vehicles and plan to buy one this fall and get used to driving it. (Currently drive a Honda Fit which is way smaller.)
Boy do I have questions!
1) What tow vehicle would you recommend that gets the best gas mileage? I can't bear the thought of driving around the country at much less than 20mpg.
2) If the trailer weighs 2500# when loaded, how much tow capacity should the tow vehicle have? I was thinking 3500# was sufficient but a dealer said 5000#.
3) There are 2 hybrids I'm looking at: Highlander and Ford F-150. The hybrid part will help MPG when driving w/o the trailer. Will it help when driving with the trailer?
4) I was planning to get the tow vehicle first (can't go get a trailer with my Honda Fit). Is it OK to wait til winter or early spring to get the camper? Or will I miss out if I don't pounce on one of the trailers currently being sold on this site?
Whew! Very appreciative of your advice on any of these questions.
Welcome to the forum Lisle. We need a better back round to really answer your questions. How many people/pets are you looking to sleep. Are you looking to do short or long trips, miles and days. How tall are you as that may make a difference to the bed size. What floor plan. Do you want a shower/toilet or will a porta pottie do. Those are just a few considerations to ponder. The bed size and floor plan are probably the two most important features for a good TT experience. I would strongly suggest going to a rally or two so you can tour many different makes and sizes and see first hand....from the inside if a certain one will work best for you. They all look good on paper . Just FYI, the weight difference between the 16 and 17' Casita is a bunch, total and a 400#+ hitch weight. As far as your tug, would it be in the cards to keep your Fit for the daily driver and get a second vehicle for TT towing? I do have to agree with the recommending of the 2.7 or 3.5 EB but I'm a ford guy .
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Old 10-06-2018, 09:47 PM   #9
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Name: Lisle
Trailer: Buying one in 2019
Massachusetts
Posts: 18
Thanks to everyone for your Replies! What a wealth of experience is available on this site!

Thrifty Bill, can you explain what is the difference between payload and rating? I'm really new at this. And how does the tongue weight affect the payload?
I hear you about having a strong enough TV to be able to stop. Want to avoid the white knuckles.

And thanks for the suggestion of going to a rally to see a lot of different trailers. Not having a trailer myself, I wasn't thinking about rallies, but I sure would like to see some trailers and do comparisons.

I don't have a covered storage area and it will get cold here in Mass. If I get a trailer now will have to winterize first thing. Guess that would be true any time I buy one in the winter. Have been asking around about storage but no luck. Someone suggested Craig's List to find storage. Any other ideas?

Borrego Dave, My plan is to retire, store my stuff, give up my apartment and travel full time in the trailer. Just me - no pets. I'm pretty clear that I want a toilet and shower, dedicated bed, two person booth, and of course the kitchenette and frig. So I think that means a 16' Casita or Scamp would be the smallest? I've looked at the layout of the 2018 ones, but don't know if older ones have the same layouts. Or weights. Or what the difference is between 16' and 17'. It's quite the learning curve. And no, won't have a place to keep the Fit, plus I'd rather trade it in on the TV. Don't need much space for just me. And looking to simplify.

Thanks again for all the advice, and please keep it coming.
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Old 10-07-2018, 03:59 AM   #10
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
Posts: 3,502
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
So I think that means a 16' Casita or Scamp would be the smallest? I've looked at the layout of the 2018 ones, but don't know if older ones have the same layouts. Or weights. Or what the difference is between 16' and 17'. It's quite the learning curve. And no, won't have a place to keep the Fit, plus I'd rather trade it in on the TV. Don't need much space for just me. And looking to simplify.
Thanks again for all the advice, and please keep it coming.
The floor plans of Scamps or Casitas really don't change although Casita came out with a new additional layout a couple years ago. Using Casitas website to see the difference of the 16 to 17'....I sure can't see where the inches differ although the 17 has a bigger refer. I'll have to do a tour at the Quartzsite rally in Feb of a 16 . One big reason we tell newbies to hit a rally or two is to help folks from making a big mistake with a first purchase. There have been a number of folks that had the "perfect" TT picked out to order from looking online until they went to a rally and took a few tours. Their perfect choice was instantly out the window after stepping inside and one, that was rejected from paper, after a hands on tour turned out to be "it". No matter what comments you get here of the best for you, the #1 thing to do is a rally. That also may make a difference to a new TV. Good luck and enjoy the search .
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Old 10-07-2018, 06:20 AM   #11
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
North Carolina
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"Thrifty Bill, can you explain what is the difference between payload and rating? I'm really new at this. And how does the tongue weight affect the payload?
I hear you about having a strong enough TV to be able to stop. Want to avoid the white knuckles."

Tow ratings are model specific, payload ratings are specific to the exact vehicle. Payload is the maximum weight that can be in the TV itself: passengers, gear, stuff, plus the weight of the hitch and tongue weight. In the case of many, many pickups, you will run out of payload capacity at about half the tow rating.

My truck has a tow rating of 10,000 pounds. Sounds huge, right? But I run out of payload if I pull a 5,5500 pound trailer. In the case of pickups in particular, owners tend to add a lot of stuff that comes directly out of payload. Want a 200 pound camper top? No problem, but you just cut your payload by 200 pounds. Want special tow mirrors? No problem, there goes more of your payload. Want a spray in bed liner? No problem, you just lost more of your payload. Want optional bed side steps? There goes another 75 pounds of payload. Carry a generator in the bed of the truck? No problem, just take it out of payload.

Pickups seem to be the worse as far as huge tow ratings coupled with low payload making the tow rating unachievable.They also lend themselves to carrying a lot of stuff in the tow vehicle itself.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:55 AM   #12
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Name: Lyle
Trailer: Scamp 13
None
Posts: 628
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Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
I'm pretty clear that I want a toilet and shower, dedicated bed, two person booth, and of course the kitchenette and frig. So I think that means a 16' Casita or Scamp would be the smallest? I've looked at the layout of the 2018 ones, but don't know if older ones have the same layouts. .

While generally true, it is possible, with minimal modification and moderate expense, to convert the four person dinette in the 13 foot Scamp to a permanent single bed (somewhat narrow) and a two person dinette. I did it in mine, and it works beautifully. I do not have a shower in mine, but do have the privacy room that would be a shower in a similar Scamp. Mine has the conventional size bed, so if you found one with the wide bed, it would be an even more comfortable modification.

Just wanted to let you realize that fairly simple mods are possible to get more of what you want.

I plan to take and post some photos later today of my Scamp which will be for sale soon (My new one should be ready by the end of the month). I will add a photo or two of my mod here when I get them.
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Old 10-07-2018, 01:52 PM   #13
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the casita 17 has about 2" more headroom than the casita 16,it has optionally way bigger water and grey holding tanks. the 16's a/c is a small window unit mounted below the closet, while the 17 has a roof unit, so the 17's closet is much bigger. the extra foot in length is in the dinette and kitchen.

re: trucks and payloads... there are extremes, my f250 diesel is rated for a 2000 lb payload and 12500 hitch tow... if that 12500 lb trailer has 10% tongue weigth, thats 1250 lbs on the tongue, elaving 750 lkbs for additional payload. The GCWR (gross combined weight) is 20,000 lbs, and the max loaded truck GVWR is 8800 lbs, so that leaves 12000 lbs too. as our trailer is max 4500 lbs, and we /might/ have 1000 lbs of gear in the truck, we have margins up the whazoo.

OTOH, my Tacoma 4x4 has 1200 lb playload, and a 6500 lb tow capacity.. I added a fiberglass shell to the truck, and 'nerf bar' steps for my wife, these probably take 300 lbs off the truck capacity, so now I only have 900 lb payload. hitch the 4500 lb Escape on there, and now I only have 450 lbs payload. I weigh 225-230 lbs, and my wife won't tell me what she weighs anymore. my big telescope weighs about 120 lbs, rest of my astro gear is another 50 lbs. ladder, loading ramps for the scope, table, chairs, whoooops!
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Old 10-07-2018, 04:10 PM   #14
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Name: Lyle
Trailer: Scamp 13
None
Posts: 628
Here a a few of the photos of my mod for a permanent bed or u-shaped dinette. This can be changed back to the conventional 4 person dinette (original) in about 5 minutes. It makes use of some tongue and groove planks to bridge the gap at the rear, some custom cushions made by Scamp to match the regular cushions, and a Lagun swing arm table support.
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P1000434.JPG   P1000435.JPG  

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