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Old 10-05-2015, 02:42 AM   #1
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Name: dawna
Trailer: U-Haul
North Carolina
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New Member from Ohio/North Carolina/Alaska

Hello!

I am a geologist currently working a rotational job (2 weeks on, 2 weeks off) in Northern Alaska. On days off, I live in North Carolina but travel back to my home state of Ohio fairly often.

After an RV adventure to Denali National Park three weeks ago, I've decided to invest in a 13' travel trailer and venture out west to explore more parks with my dog, Pie (well, wherever I can bring her, actually). I instantly fell in love with the molded fiberglass RVs and the communities that adore them so much; right now I'm interested in 13' Scamps, Casitas, Trilliums, Uhauls and Burros (although I'm certainly open to other brands too). Bathroom/ showers aren't important as I'd like to keep the weight down (I'm hauling it with an AWD 2013 Mazda CX-5). I do like the option of a 3 way fridge as well as an AC unit in case I have to leave my dog behind for a few hours at a time. I have a lot of talented friends capable of helping with repairs and minor restorations if need be. Ideally though, I'd like to spend more of my time traveling, not fixing.

That's all I have so far! I look forward to stalking your forums and asking your advice about every little thing.

Dawna R.
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Old 10-05-2015, 08:23 AM   #2
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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New Member from Ohio/North Carolina/Alaska

Welcome to the forum, Dawna!

I have a good friend who follows a similar jet-setting schedule. He works about 10 days at a time as an ER doc here in AZ at the local Indian Health Service unit, and flies back to his home in VA between rotations.

Your plan to tour the West with a small egg sounds exciting. The trailer you have described will likely weigh 1500-1800 pounds loaded. You'll want to make sure your CX5 is rated for at least 2000 pounds.

Two things to be aware of as you look for a trailer. First, most vintage 13'ers (and some newer units as well) are not built to support an RV-type roof AC unit. Some people add a small portable unit through a window (must be removed for travel in most cases) or permanently installed in a cabinet (takes some skill to do it right). Second, electric brakes on the trailer are likely required with your CX5. Many vintage 13'ers lack them. Adding them sometimes requires installing a new axle.

Best wishes in your "egg hunt"!
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Old 10-06-2015, 02:19 AM   #3
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Name: dawna
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Thank you so much, Jon!

My Mazda has a 2000 lb tow capacity. I'm looking into tow packages now and will hopefully have something set up next days off. Thanks for AC info too- I hadn't thought of the cabinet option.

I'm sure I'll have more questions when the hitch receiver is installed and the shopping begins.

Thanks again!

Dawna
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Old 10-06-2015, 03:38 AM   #4
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Welcome to the group Dawna. Many answers can be had here.....just ask away .
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Old 10-06-2015, 05:25 AM   #5
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Good day Dawna. It is easy to get the luv for the small eggs. I'm liking your TV choice with the Mazda CX. I had a 626 years ago and the handling and drive was very precise. I also support the idea of a trailer with brakes. Be sure it is set up right with an appropriate brake controller.
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:09 AM   #6
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Dawna, when you install the tow wiring, make sure you set it up for a 7-pin connection, not a flat-4. That allows for a brake controller and a charging line for the trailer's battery.
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Old 10-06-2015, 09:13 AM   #7
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don't know if you saw these or not but there are some 13" scamps for auction at Wright Patterson airforce base.
13" scamps
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Old 10-06-2015, 04:28 PM   #8
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Name: dawna
Trailer: U-Haul
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Wow, guys! Thanks for the input.

@MC1: I am a die hard Mazda fan. Its unfortunate the CX-5's only have a 2000# tow capacity but overall, I wouldn't trade her in for the world. I bought it for heavy travel before I got this crazy trailer idea and she hasn't let me down even once. I highly recommend them.

That being said, I was discussing hitch receivers with a co-worker today and I mentioned that the CX-5 has two options
1.) Sportframe 1 1/4" Rec - Max weight 2000 lbs
2.) Square Tube 2 inch, Max weight 3500 lbs

My immediate inclination is the second option - the 3500 lb Max weight. So was the coworkers. What do you guys think? Why is there a 3500 lbs option if the capacity is 2000 lbs?

I've also been advised to follow these steps:
1.) Buy the receiver and install it first.
2.) Wait until I find a trailer before buying anything else.
3.) Once purchased, figure out what type of ball mount is needed (the drop is dependent on the trailer).
4.) Purchase correct ball mount, hitch ball, pin & clip AND then the wiring harness.

@Jon - Thank you! I will be sure to get the 7 pin connector and NOT a flat 4. Is there any other spec for the wiring harness that is dependent upon the actual trailer? Or will this suffice for just about any brand I get?

5.) Set up electric brake system with brake controller.
6.) Ramble.

@ Dudley - I have been watching those Scamps like a hawk! What are your thoughts on sight unseen auctions like that? I've studied the pictures closely and have one picked out that I think looks in the best condition (my main problem with this is not being able to see what Midwest winters and salt have done to the undercarriage of that trailer). The idea that I'll make it to Wright Pat to check them out before the auction ends is slim to non. I don't know...I've seen where these trailers can go for super cheap at these government liquidation sales but I also feel sketchy not being able to check them out first.

Thanks!
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Old 10-06-2015, 04:48 PM   #9
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I agree that getting to see the trailer in person is preferable. Is there anyone that you know in the area that can have a look at them for you and maybe take pictures? Otherwise its a gamble and only you can decide on the wager and your comfort zone. I don't know the Scamp line at all, so not much help there. I did buy my Casita long distance (in North Dakota) but I could have walked away from it if I had to. Not the case with an auction but depending on the price I think there is enough people looking for the small trailers , that you could probably break even or make money if its not what you want.
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Old 10-06-2015, 05:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawna View Post
Wow, guys! Thanks for the input.
That being said, I was discussing hitch receivers with a co-worker today and I mentioned that the CX-5 has two options
1.) Sportframe 1 1/4" Rec - Max weight 2000 lbs
2.) Square Tube 2 inch, Max weight 3500 lbs

My immediate inclination is the second option - the 3500 lb Max weight. So was the coworkers. What do you guys think? Why is there a 3500 lbs option if the capacity is 2000 lbs?
Thanks!
It is probable that the CX5 off shore is rated higher so the companies that build hitches, aware of that, offer compatible options. Anyway when it comes to hitches you can't do any harm in going with the heavy duty 2" option. There is only benefit for a small amount of extra dollars. It will also give you the option/benefit of using a WDH* in the future if you should decide to do so.

*weight distributing hitch
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Old 10-06-2015, 05:56 PM   #11
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Name: dawna
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Gotchya. I like benefit. Thanks, Wayne!
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:00 PM   #12
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Trailer: 2014 16 scamp side dinette/Rav4 V6 Tow pkg.
Pennsylvania
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Just a heads up, Just B/C you use a higher weight hitch receiver, does not increase the 2000# limit on your vehicle. If i read you right. good Luck, Carl
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:05 PM   #13
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Name: dawna
Trailer: U-Haul
North Carolina
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@Carl, Yes, I've read quite a few stories preaching the dangers of overdoing the tow weight capacity. I was just curious as to why the higher hitch weight is even an option if the tow capability is a constant . But thank you for re-warning me. It's a boundary I could totally see myself trying to push
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:15 PM   #14
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I've seen hitches advertised for cars that are not even rated to tow. IMO, I'd go with my owners manual not the hitch rating.
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:18 PM   #15
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@Pam - You're absolutely right. I'm still getting the 3200 lb hitch but not towing more than 2000 lbs.
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:21 PM   #16
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British Columbia
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As you can see from the label on my hitch, it is capable of 14,000 lbs.
However it says not to exceed the vehicle's limitation, which is 3,500 lbs ( in my case ).
The hitch is capable. The tow vehicle is not.
Attached Thumbnails
WDHitch capacity.jpg  
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:15 PM   #17
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I really think you are really going to be impressed with how well your Mazda performs when you finally get it all set up and connected to your proposed egg.

There is some good info here Dawna. Always stay within the safe limits of your vehicle/rig combo. I believe that is something we all agree with.
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawna View Post
Wow, guys! Thanks for the input.

@MC1: I am a die hard Mazda fan. Its unfortunate the CX-5's only have a 2000# tow capacity but overall, I wouldn't trade her in for the world. I bought it for heavy travel before I got this crazy trailer idea and she hasn't let me down even once. I highly recommend them.

That being said, I was discussing hitch receivers with a co-worker today and I mentioned that the CX-5 has two options
1.) Sportframe 1 1/4" Rec - Max weight 2000 lbs
2.) Square Tube 2 inch, Max weight 3500 lbs

My immediate inclination is the second option - the 3500 lb Max weight. So was the coworkers. What do you guys think? Why is there a 3500 lbs option if the capacity is 2000 lbs?

I've also been advised to follow these steps:
1.) Buy the receiver and install it first.
2.) Wait until I find a trailer before buying anything else.
3.) Once purchased, figure out what type of ball mount is needed (the drop is dependent on the trailer).
4.) Purchase correct ball mount, hitch ball, pin & clip AND then the wiring harness.

@Jon - Thank you! I will be sure to get the 7 pin connector and NOT a flat 4. Is there any other spec for the wiring harness that is dependent upon the actual trailer? Or will this suffice for just about any brand I get?

5.) Set up electric brake system with brake controller.
6.) Ramble.

@ Dudley - I have been watching those Scamps like a hawk! What are your thoughts on sight unseen auctions like that? I've studied the pictures closely and have one picked out that I think looks in the best condition (my main problem with this is not being able to see what Midwest winters and salt have done to the undercarriage of that trailer). The idea that I'll make it to Wright Pat to check them out before the auction ends is slim to non. I don't know...I've seen where these trailers can go for super cheap at these government liquidation sales but I also feel sketchy not being able to check them out first.

Thanks!
As you will quickly discover, the rule of thumb in buying used FGRVs is "You Snooze, You Looze". With that thought in mind I'd suggest getting a full set-up done on your vehicle so that you can drive and take home any prizes you discover. Having to get last minute work done, especially some distance from home, can get expensive in both time and money.

What I would do:

1. Get the 2" receiver installed. As mentioned the 3500 lb rating is for the hitch, not the vehicle to which it is attached.

2. Get full wiring, with a 7 blade RV connector, installed, including a brake controller and a charging line. The P2 controller is a favorite. You will need both eventually anyway and you want your vehicle to be set up "Standard", even if some trailer was incorrectly wired and needs correction later. The wiring is pretty much standard and, if you happen to find a trailer that just has a 4 pin connector, there is an adapter available for connecting to the 7 blade plug.

3. I'd start with a drawbar with the ball height set for the 13' Scamp, that's pretty close to most and they aren't all that expensive to change if need be. You can even buy them at WalMart.

Now, when you take that 300 mile trip to look and buy, you will have a pretty good chance of doing a "buy and drive" rather than spending time and money looking for a local shop to finish the job.



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Old 10-07-2015, 08:24 AM   #19
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Regarding "buy and drive"... Even if the tow vehicle is ready to roll, the trailer may not be.

First, trailer tire "wear" is measured in years, not tread depth. A tire more than 6-7 years old needs to be replaced regardless of tread. A date code is stamped into the side of every tire and is read as wwyy (week and year, so 2408 means the 24th week of 2008).

Second, trailer wheel bearings need to be repacked periodically. If the seller cannot provide documentation of a recent bearing service (as in the past year or so), and especially if the trailer has been sitting unused, you'll want to have it done.

You might pull a trailer gingerly home a few miles with iffy tires and/or bearings, but not 300 miles.

Regarding brakes, if the trailer does not already have brakes installed, you should look for a square flange on the axle just behind the wheel. If it has the flange, brakes are easy to add. If it doesn't, the only way to add brakes is to change the whole axle, $600-800 if you pay someone to do it. Until recently, most torsion axles were welded to the frame.

Not to scare you off... It's not uncommon for older trailers to lack brakes and have worn out axles. If the price is right and the shell, floor, frame, and interior look good, you can invest the $$ and have a brand new axle with brakes.

Beware the floor, though. Check above and below carefully for soft spots and water staining. Inside pay special attention inside benches and cabinets and under windows. Replacing a rotten floor is not a beginner's project.
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:38 AM   #20
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Name: dawna
Trailer: U-Haul
North Carolina
Posts: 9
Sorry for the delay! I keep some weird hours up here at work-

@Bob - Thank you! You make a great point; considering my schedule and how quickly these trailers go, the best possible move would be ready to tow at any time.

I found my hitch receiver online. For the drawbar/ball mount..I don't know. Does anyone have experience with the adjustable ones? Doesn't that make more sense if I don't know what I'm getting yet? Then I could purchase different sized hitch balls depending on what I needed.

Wiring harness: Are most wiring harnesses set up for the flat 4? Because that's mostly what I'm finding online. There are abundant 7 pin converters and all...I was just wondering if that was standard.

@ Jon - Quit trying to scare me off! Just kidding. Thanks for the heads up on the brakes. I will keep my eyes open for the square flange on the axle.

Thanks again, everyone! I have so many good notes thanks to all of you.

dawna
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