Hope everyone is enjoying this lovely fall
After buying our Bigfoot
about a month ago, we have taken it on two weekend trips. I'm sharing what we have learned here to help other newbies like us with their first few trips and to hopefully get some input on a few issues.
First, two disclaimers. 1: We are the fifth owners of this trailer. The folks we bought it from were friendly, helpful, and fair, and I believe that they were honest with us as far as their knowledge extended, and I appreciate that. Unfortunately they did not know about some surprises we learned about the hard way. The owner before them is also a member here and has been very helpful with troubleshooting. 2: I make no claim to understanding everything about this trailer after having it for such a short time, and I am not recommending that what has been true for us will be true for everyone. If I err in anything I say, please correct me, but gently.
- Tow mirrors provide good visibility. We have the K-Source universal dual lens clip on mirrors, which fit nicely on the mirrors of our F150. We adjust the larger lens to look down each side of the trailer and the smaller lens to show our blind spots.
- Brake controller, a Tekonsha Prodigy P2, functions well at 5.5 power. Tuck the cord away or it will catch your toe.
- Emergency brake switch seems fine.
- Seven-pin connector seems fine. All lights
- The camper tracks well behind the truck. It can turn pretty tightly and go up steep hills. Don't ask me how I know. It involves trying to avoid a round-about and ending up in a back alley that Google Maps thought was a real road.
- Electric jack is nice. Donít run the electric jack all the way up. It gets stuck. If the battery
is run down, the jack must be turned manually.
tanks and battery
cover and lid seem fine.
- Rock guard is in good shape.
- The door and all windows
except one appear watertight.
- All hatches and door lock.
cord and connector are clean and functional.
is new. It was professionally installed about a month before we bought the camper.
- All stabilizing jacks work. They are a little stiff but not hard to use.
- The fiberglass on the sides, belly, and back of the camper is in good shape.
- The sewer hose is in the bumper.
- The air conditioner blows cold.
- The cushions, floor, walls, and ceiling are all in good shape.
- The gaucho bed is comfortable.
- All the cabinets open and close and hardware matches.
- The blinds are in good shape and functional.
- The microwave
, range hood exhaust fan, cooktop, and oven work. The cooktop has its cover.
- The monitor systems and indicators all work.
- The sink is clean and has its cover.
- All interior lights
work. Most are LED.
- The fire extinguisher is within date.
- The radio works.
- We had to buy the tools to adjust the hitch, an Andersen weight
distribution hitch. Ours is an older model and requires a 1 1/8" socket or wrench to move the ball up or down and a 1/2" drive socket wrench along with the provided socket to tighten the chains. Tighten chains as much as possible, for us until 4-5 threads are visible. We can hook up in about 15 minutes now.
- Breakaway chains needed an extra link to reach our truck while criss-crossed, so we added one on each side.
- The battery
was bad. Once it lost all juice, the breaker on our power converter tripped our first night out. A friend gave us a new battery, and everything appears to be working great now.
- The door stuck a little on the bottom corner. My dad took a block of wood and a hammer and very lightly tapped the threshold down where we could see the rub marks. It is much better now.
- The screen door handle broke the week we brought it home. We bought the generic replacement and installed it ourselves in about two seconds.
were from spring 2015. They looked ok, but we decided to replace them just in case. Our tires
are 225/75R15. Our local tire place, who has done great work for us, recommended Goodyear Endurance. So far we have been very pleased with them. However, the tires
have a max PSI of 80 pounds. The shop only filled them to about 50 pounds, which was not nearly enough. We filled them to about 65 pounds, and they ride much better now.
- Bearings and brakes
needed to be checked for our peace of mind. We took it to a trailer shop, who repacked the bearings and said the brakes
- We needed a 15 amp to 30 amp adapter so we could plug it into our house or shed for power. Ordered a simple one online. Pretty straightforward.
- It did not come with chemicals, water hose, or pressure regulator. We have since obtained those, and the water systems work fine.
- Donít hammer hitch pin clips. They bend. Lesson learned.
distribution cone (anti-sway friction material, Andersen part 3381) is cracking and creeping up. I sent a photo to Andersen. The material is warrantied for life. They emailed back for my address to send me a new one, no questions asked. I haven't gotten it yet, but it hasn't been very long.
- Camper bounces like a rubber ball when towing. Not sure why. A past owner recommends loading the trailer more heavily in the front and not traveling with full water tanks. Andersen says to start with the trailer level, double check the hitch installation, check tire pressure in both trailer and truck, shift the load, and check suspension in both trailer and truck. I think our truck suspension might need to be stiffened a little, because everything else seems fine.
- The light
under the rock guard needs a new bulb.
- The hinge on the nose cone is missing a few screws, which has cause the hinge to bend. We need to straighten it out and secure it.
- Wing nut that holds driver side propane
and battery cover to camper is missing.
- One propane
tank is empty. Easy enough to fill.
- Rubber rock guard clasps on both sides need replacing. This is a generic part, but I'm having trouble figuring out exactly which size to order.
- Front bottom corners of fiberglass are chipped from road debris. Maybe add mud flaps to truck or shield on camper?
- There are cracks along the top near the antenna, maybe from stress.
- There is a leak inside the wall to the right of the door, looking at it from the outside. A previous owner pulled out the dinette bench on that side and replaced the floor due to a leak caused by the front top awning
bracket being torn loose before he owned it. He warned that there was still a small leak from the bracket or the rail that holds the awning
to the camper. When it rains a lot, you can slide your fingers into the top of the wall, right below where the ceiling starts to curve, and feel the wet insulation.
- The window on that wall also leaks
. Not sure if it is related or not.
- There is some rust on the tongue and on the rear stabilizing jack rail.
- One end of the piping on the spare tire cover is loose.
- We need to get the fittings for the sewer hose, both the one to attach to the camper and the one for the end that goes into the hole at the dump station.
- We need some more chocks and blocks.
- The roof sags between the air conditioner and the door. It is pretty pronounced, but it doesn't seem to be causing any damage.
- Window gaskets will eventually need to be replaced, as they are creeping.
- The cabinets have small hard plastic nubs on back of the the doors and drawers to keep them from striking the frames. These nubs have rubbed off the finish where they hit. I would like to added felt pads for a softer close and some protection to the wood.
- The refrigerator
, while running on electric, will occasionally stop working and illuminate the check light
. It is happy if we just turn it off and turn it back on. Apparently this is pretty common?
- The filters on the air conditioner need to be cleaned badly.
- There were not any bolts to attach the license
plate to the bracket. I was in a hurry and attached it with twisty ties. So far it has held fine, but a more secure fastener would probably be a good idea.
- Camper needs a cover. Calmark seems to be the most recommended. They make custom covers. Emailed them for a quote. For those who are interested, it will be $648 plus shipping. That's a lot, so I'm considering other options.
- I'm thinking it's about time for a good cleaning and a fresh coat of Poli Glow.
And one story for free: the winterizing drama. Adding antifreeze isn't hard, they said. You just drain everything, stick the intake tube in your jug of antifreeze, run each faucet until it flows pink, and pour the rest of the antifreeze down all the drains. It should take half an hour, they said. Right. Long story short, someone installed the valve for the antifreeze intake tube backwards, so the water pump couldn't pull it in, and when we tried to pour some in, it ran into the fresh water tank. The temporary fix involved bypassing the valve with first-class jerry-rigging, plastic wrap, and Scotch tape. So now the camper is winterized, but our valve is still backwards. Has anyone else had this problem? Is there a reason for it that I'm not aware of?
Thanks for your patience with the long post. Hopefully this will help others as they're getting familiarized with their trailers too.