I take it that you are considering buying a Hymer, right?
If so, I'll do my best to cover the bases. There's also a pretty active Facebook group on Hymer GT's and they seem to post a lot more often than here. Some really good discussions and problem solving on there.
We bought ours from a couple who bought it new, and never used it due to health problems. So, it was a year old, but pretty much unused. It's my opinion that all of the Hymers had some kinks straight out of the plant. Maybe it was caused by the morale of a company that was being ran into the ground and/or mismanaged. That said, there's a lot to love about them, and there's a faithful following of owners.
We noticed a sway issue on the drive home after purchasing it (about 100 miles from home). We were towing it with a Toyota RAV4 with a towing package. Plenty of power, good brakes
, all that, but it's a bit short wheelbase, which doesn't help on the stability end of things. I was probably trying to go too fast, the tires
weren't equally inflated, and it turns out there was a bolt missing where the cabin attaches to the tongue, which I didn't find for a while. That surely allowed it to wiggle a bit. Also, it's imperative to not put a lot of weight
in the copious storage compartment beneath the bed. A design oddity that adds to the sway tendency is the location of the axle
being about a foot forward than it should be, IMHO. Extra weight
behind the axle
amplifies this trait.
We put on a Blue OX anti - sway/ weight distribution hitch (it's necessary to find a setup that works for surge brakes) and it worked quite well, but it reduced the already low ground clearance too much. So, I sought a different option. This is how I ended up w/ the hitch described and shown. That, and the weight changes on the tongue solved the problem completely. No sway, but keep it under 65 - which is really good practice anyway when towing. We are on our 4th trailer, and 60 seems to be the sweet spot for all of them.
As for the rest of the trailer: we were smitten with the design, and still think of it very fondly. Good windows
, lots of light
and ventilation, the swingout windows
w/ integrated blinds/screens are just great.
The Truma furnace/water heater unit is nothing short of amazing. Very effective, and quiet.
The little control panel is pretty keen.
There is lots more storage than first meets the eye. More storage on the 17' Hymer than on our 19' Escape
, for sure.
We added an awning
, there's a tutorial or two on the FB pages.
I added a solar panel
on the roof (again you can find information on doing this) and a second battery
(AGM). The inverter is a quality item like the furnace
, and is Lithium battery
capable, which is a big plus. If you are into boondocking
you'll probably want to go Lithium at some point, and charging is different than standard batteries, and a compatible system is needed. The Hymer has this already - a big plus IMHO.
There were some things about it that made me shake my head, some brilliant things and some 'what were they thinking?' things. This is not unique at all to Hymers, BTW.
I guess the biggest drawback was the lack of ground clearance (it's about 4 1/2" in places, and the tires
can rub the wheelwells when bounced). This I solved by installing an OEM axle beneath the stock axle. Again, there's some tutorials on the FB page about this.
Because of the fact that the trailer cabin and mechanicals are sort of built around the stock axle, it would require partial disassembly of the entire trailer to remove it and lift it on the frame. The simplest fix is to cut off the swingarm ends of the stock axle and weld on a new one underneath it. I know, it seems crazy and elaborate, but I got a good deal on an axle, and with a friend who's a good welder/fab fellow, we both worked on it for about 5-6 hours and got it done. Raised the trailer about 5". Once the hitch height was readjusted, it tows even better than it did when new. It was worth the challenge and the cost. This is a pretty common and well liked solution when to study the owner chatter on the 'net.
Once I'd ironed out the kinks and upped the energy storage capacity, it was a very comfortable and enjoyable trailer. In lots of ways we liked it more than our Escape
, but we wanted a bit more room and a few other aspects that the Escape
The Hymer wins on style, panache, and systems like the heater, inverter, etc.
Iyou buy one, it would help to be a bit handy, willing to tinker, and maybe put up with some idiosyncrasies. I did all my own work.
The Hymer was the trailer equivalent of a BMW or Rover, while the Escape is more of a Toyota or Ford. Lots to be said for either one. The Hymer was more evocative, and you can't stop for gas w/o drawing a crowd. "Cool trailer" was heard often.
We loved it and once the kinks were worked out it was a very enjoyable trailer that fit in smaller campsites and boondocked well, too. A mid-sized SUV or pickup (we later used a Nissan Frontier, and it was perfect) can tow one handily.
That's probably more than you bargained for, but if you have specific questions I'd be happy to address them.