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Travel trailer tips and tricks

Squamch

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Since we have a small boy, we decided to get a camper trailer instead of living the tent life. Bought ourselves a 19' 2011 model. Tandem axles, no slide. What kind of tips and tricks have you guys got for travel trailers?
Best caulking to use to re-caulk windows and doors?
2x6v batteries instead of one 12v? Why or why not?
It's a 4000lb unit, towed behind a levelled 2001 f350 7.3 6 spd on 315/75r16.
I don't have a trailer brake controller, any recommendations?
 

Clb

another toyota from P.R.K
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Envision Proofreading. First 50 club
stackable leveling blocks
scissor jack levelers
X chock tire brakes
Fantastic fans
Level master for the win
IMG_20200629_161503.jpg - Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200629_161503.jpg Views:	0 Size:	303.7 KB ID:	55573

​​​​​this is on the front of the rig, look in rear view and level rig.g
Etrailer.com has some decent forums and links
 
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Squamch

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Yes, but more specifically the prodigy p2. Or p3 if you like to have features that you will never use.

There's a P2 on the local classifieds for $85/cad. Comes with a harness. Do these things get plugged in? From the pictures thats what it looks like. I thought you had to cut wires and shit to install em.
 

Rttoys

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I like 12v batteries over 6v for the ease that in a pinch, I can find a 12v battery anywhere. Also, putting a master disconnect switch is good idea. When you store the trailer, Flip the switch and you don’t have to worry (much) about draining the battery.

prodigy like other have said.

keep electrical tools with you (stripper, crispers, connectors, tape and meter at a minimum)

a good cordless drill with a socket adaptor will bring down the outriggers quickly. And you may need the drill to screw things back together :rolleyes:

sewer hoses and adaptors, electrical adaptors, water hoses, pressure regulator, leveling stuff, but wait, there’s more ......
 

rockdog57

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Prodigy controller for sure. Buy led light boards on eBay and change all the lights to them. If you pull one light you can see what base they have. Buy them with the bases included. Dirt cheap and you can run the lights forever without running the batteries dead. Buy a battery tender and leave the thing plugged in when you aren’t using the trailer. Get a 12 volt disconnect and disconnect the battery when not using it. There are things that pull on the battery when it sits. I’ll have to think about all the other stuff I’ve done to our trailers.
 

Benny

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There's a P2 on the local classifieds for $85/cad. Comes with a harness. Do these things get plugged in? From the pictures thats what it looks like. I thought you had to cut wires and shit to install em.

With the prodigy controllers, the harness plugs into the back. So you can buy a double ended harness that matches your truck. Or you can still do it the old way and get a single ended harness for your truck and one for your prodigy (should come with it) and use butt connectors and do it yourself.
 

YotaAtieToo

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Newer? My 97 is pre-wired for a brake controller :laughing:​​​​​​

I'm not a huge fan of the prodigy one in my 97, it has 4 different levels and then more adjustments on top of that, yet it seems like it either too weak or too aggressive 90% of the time.

Had a tekonasha or whatever in my company truck, seemed to work fine except the stupid display was bright as fuck. Bad enough I'd throw my hat over it every morning.
 

Squamch

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I like 12v batteries over 6v for the ease that in a pinch, I can find a 12v battery anywhere. Also, putting a master disconnect switch is good idea. When you store the trailer, Flip the switch and you don’t have to worry (much) about draining the battery.

prodigy like other have said.

keep electrical tools with you (stripper, crispers, connectors, tape and meter at a minimum)

a good cordless drill with a socket adaptor will bring down the outriggers quickly. And you may need the drill to screw things back together :rolleyes:

sewer hoses and adaptors, electrical adaptors, water hoses, pressure regulator, leveling stuff, but wait, there’s more ......

I drive old shit, I don't leave home without tools!
If it's a pinch, don't you just turf the 6v batteries and put a 12v in? My reading suggested that there is nothing more to putting a pair of 6s in than wiring a pair in series. Is there more than that?
I'll be putting together a fix it kit for the trailer with some electrical shit, screws, caulking, etc in an ammo can.
Reason for asking about batteries is I plan to use it for hunting season too, so being significantly off grid will happen.
 

DRTDEVL

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P3 has one feature that has saved me in the past, where my former controller smoked. A short in the connector of a borrowed trailer smoked my Curt, where I couldn't make any adjustments, just full or nothing. The P3 has a diagnostic feature that will tell you if there is a wiring short and disable the brakes to protect itself and the trailer's wiring.

This is a double-edged sword, however, as my car hauler is now down because of a wiring short. Its very intermittent, but I can't set everything up and tow not knowin when I will be stopping and the controller suddenly detects the short and drops out. I have the supplies and am rewiring the trailer when time permits.
 

Kowboy

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Level master for the win

I use an app on my phone called "spirit level". Free and pretty handy. I've even used it for driveline angles. :smokin:

'Level' trailer has many definitions. Level the frame don't mean anythang else is level for example. Usin' the phone app, set the phone on whatever you want level. Floor, countertop, bed, whatever. I personally level the stove top so my bacon grease don't run away.

The stabilizin' jacks are just that. Stabilizin'. Try to level the trailer best ya can with the stackable tire blocks and tongue jack and then finish with the stablizin' jacks. Cordless drills are handy for lowerin' 'em as previously stated. But like ev'rythang else on the trailer, they're cheap as fuck so best use care. I've seen cordless impact guns just bend 'em all to hell.

Use a water pressure regulator on the fresh water hose so you don't blow the fuck outta the cheap-ass plumbin' system.

Keep the gate valve on the shit tank closed until the shit tank is full. It'll flush better that way when ya dump it. Use RV toilet paper and shit tank treatment to dissolve solids.

Never leave an awnin' out unless you're sittin' under it. Lil' wind gust can get expensive quick. Amazin'ly, several awnin' casualties in our RV park after ev'ry storm.

Trailers bounce a LOT goin' down the road. Worser in the stern. Keep heavy items in lower cabinets and wrap breakable shit as if you're shippin' 'em. Better yet ... don't have breakable shit in the trailer.

That's all for now. Carry on ...
 

Az Scooter

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Replace the RV mattress with a house mattress. Being so small, just plan on not eating in side. Sleep and cook inside that way you dont have to worry about the dinette. There are custom mattresses available.
Plenty of blocks to run the wheels on for leveling is a winner.
If you have a generator for the trailer, you need to do something to make sure it is with the trailer in the morning, and not with someone elses trailer. I had one stolen that was chained and cable locked.
Solar panels to recharge the batteries.
If you, or your wife likes to cook for recreation, some decent pots, pans and knives. With just three, you wont need much, but it will make everyones life better.
When you go out, at the end of a trip, take the time to thoroughly clean it before the next trip. It will make it so much nicer, and you will know right away the stuff that needs to be fixed.
Flush the black tank, then the gray tank. Even leave the black tank open when you flush the gray.
we kept a separate set of linens on the trailer in a sealable duffle bag, with dryer sheets between everything. Because sheets beat sleeping bags.
 

pvkj454

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Tennessee
P3 has one feature that has saved me in the past, where my former controller smoked. A short in the connector of a borrowed trailer smoked my Curt, where I couldn't make any adjustments, just full or nothing. The P3 has a diagnostic feature that will tell you if there is a wiring short and disable the brakes to protect itself and the trailer's wiring.

This is a double-edged sword, however, as my car hauler is now down because of a wiring short. Its very intermittent, but I can't set everything up and tow not knowin when I will be stopping and the controller suddenly detects the short and drops out. I have the supplies and am rewiring the trailer when time permits.

My P3 displayed a short when one of my magnets went bad but the brakes still worked. I also like that it is selectable between electric and electric/hydraulic. It is the best controller that I have ever used.

I had a Reece that would stop working intermittently causing me to get pushed through a red light. After spending hours troubleshooting without finding anything, I replaced it with my first P3 and problem solved.
 

inthefield

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Dollar Tree is your friend, get camper specific stuff, don't haul stuff out of your house.

I remove everything from the camper when I'm not using it. Nobody uses my top bunk so it all goes in totes and rides there when we back it into it's spot at the house we pull everything out.

Use those little dehumidifier cans, (they're a buck at dollar tree)

Don't bring luggage into the trailer, we have one of those pop up hampers, it gets loaded in the house and unloaded into the cabinets in the trailer. Once we make it home it's easy to tote the hamper into the house.

I always haul with a full tank of fresh water, the GF appreciates that a clean restroom is no more than 40' away when heading down the road.

When I hook up water, I use a brass y, one side is the filter and drinking hose (with a pressure reducer) the other is one of those flex hoses with a brass nozzle for washdown.

if you do put stuff in cabinets, use little baskets so it stays in place while underway.
 

Rttoys

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I drive old shit, I don't leave home without tools!
If it's a pinch, don't you just turf the 6v batteries and put a 12v in? My reading suggested that there is nothing more to putting a pair of 6s in than wiring a pair in series. Is there more than that?
I'll be putting together a fix it kit for the trailer with some electrical shit, screws, caulking, etc in an ammo can.
Reason for asking about batteries is I plan to use it for hunting season too, so being significantly off grid will happen.

Good, you can fix things. Although there might be some minor annoyances, you won’t be stranded because something came loose.

Rewiring is not not that difficult. Not knowing your abilities (or any random person on the interwebby) , I’ll always suggest 12v because trying to explain to someone that you connect a + to a - makes heads explode. And like I said, I like simplicity. I can pick up a top post 12v battery anywhere.

I know the debate on “which lasts longer” 2 6v or 2 12v, but couldn’t tell you which one it is by experience. I have always just used 2 12v.

The front cubby on the driver driver outside area is my “business” side. Inside that cubby I have all my parts and such for repairs stashed there, plus all the hook ups and adaptors. I have plastic totes and pull out shelves screwed to the inside.

a couple more things to remember:

there are 3 systems on board. 12v dc, 120v ac and propane. Make sure to know what controls what, so you know what you are looking at. If the ait conditioner goes out and you think it’s jacked up because you have lights, those are 2 different systems. Look at the microwave to see if you still have 120v power. Stuff like that.

Oh. And Wal-Mart is your friend (even if you hate them). They have a great stash of stuff for rv’s, plus your truck, food, forgotten things, pharmacy and such, and they don’t mind you parking there.

Diddo on what others are saying, there’s a lot of good info here. 1000000x on the real mattress vs a Rv mattress.
 
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Rttoys

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There is “rv caulk”. One is for the top one for the sides. The sides won’t run. I don’t remember the name of the stuff I used, but I picked it up at my local rv place.
 

rdr99

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Eternabond roof seal tape, has worked well for me.
 

tracyb

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for the caulking, only use sikaflex 715 and 521 its pricey but worth it. if you cant handle the price of sika go for the dicor product line.

use a dehumidifier, i use this one; (and check it at least once a month)
https://www.amazon.com/Pro-Breeze-El...%2C233&sr=8-23

AND NEVER FORGET THEY ARE ALL BUILT WITH STICKS AND STAPLES AND THEY ARE ALL PIECES OF SHIT! treat it accordingly.


i jumped into the camper life without knowing a damn thing and figured it out. made mistakes selling one for easy to fix issue's. but now i will always have a camper. i just sold our truck camper and bought a 2017 rubicon 2100. fucker was pricey, but perfect for us.

and the last thing, dont be the dipshit that buys the 40ft triple axle fifer monster because it was cheap. both of my brothers did this.... they went from being out 6-8 weekends a year, to two trips tops. they are massive time sucks. maintenance, setup, repair, towing.... your the size of a big rig better know exactly where your going.

dont forget to have fun
 

Squamch

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for the caulking, only use sikaflex 715 and 521 its pricey but worth it. if you cant handle the price of sika go for the dicor product line.

use a dehumidifier, i use this one; (and check it at least once a month)
https://www.amazon.com/Pro-Breeze-El...%2C233&sr=8-23

AND NEVER FORGET THEY ARE ALL BUILT WITH STICKS AND STAPLES AND THEY ARE ALL PIECES OF SHIT! treat it accordingly.


i jumped into the camper life without knowing a damn thing and figured it out. made mistakes selling one for easy to fix issue's. but now i will always have a camper. i just sold our truck camper and bought a 2017 rubicon 2100. fucker was pricey, but perfect for us.

and the last thing, dont be the dipshit that buys the 40ft triple axle fifer monster because it was cheap. both of my brothers did this.... they went from being out 6-8 weekends a year, to two trips tops. they are massive time sucks. maintenance, setup, repair, towing.... your the size of a big rig better know exactly where your going.

dont forget to have fun

I have contractor accounts all over and understand the price/value on good products, so I'm happy to pay, I just want the right shit!
As far as construction, good advice. I grew up with always having a slide in camper, we toured all over BC with those on dad's 91 F250. The first couple got rattled apart on gravel roads, then they got an 88 bigfoot 11.5'. It's a goddamn monster. But it held up until dad's lack of maintenance left windows uncalled and the floor is now soft. I wanted a trailer rather than a slide in so we can drop it and take my truck to get firewood, hunt, etc, without having to pack our lives up again. That, and I can hook up to a trailer by myself. Spouses and camper loading is a recipe for disaster.
Most of friends have a camper of some sort, and I've had a few cheapie ones that I've repaired. Hot tip for that, is a Fein tool, and silicone adhesive/sealant. Fein tool is the shit for carving out rotten popsicle sticks, and adhesive/sealant stops the water getting in, and stiffens it up.
And fuck a monster trailer, my wife wanted a 26' bunkhouse. I fought her down to this 19' unit. My requirements were that it have tandem axles, and no slides. Hers were that it have a tub/shower for hosing the kid off, and that we could have a separate area for him to wind down in when he gets too jacked up and starts wanting to fight the world. I wish that when I was in a shit mood she would give me snacks and tell me to take a nap!:laughing:


I've also been looking at the drains, I'm gonna see if I can tuck em up a little, and see what I'd gain in clearance with a SOA. There is one campsite in particular that has a pretty nasty washout seasonally appear that I'd be concerned about.
 

rockdog57

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If you are gonna take off trim and recaulk the thing. Make sure you get all the old stuff scraped off. On a trailer old enough that it doesn’t have a slide, it probably has par tape caulking from the factory. If you look at it and it is dry and cracking. That’s what it is. They make a butyl tape now that comes in rolls. It is waaaay better stuff. Same goes for under the windows. If any of the old stuff is cracked, you’ve got a water leak! Water leaks are the death of trailers! You won’t find em until the damage is done. Same goes for roof vents. Dicor makes a self leveling caulk for roofs. It and eternabond are the best bet for the roof.
Cooking is another deal that I think is best done outside. I plumbed a quick connect fitting into the propane circuit. We use a nice pro 60 camp chef plugged into the trailer propane to cook almost all of our meals. This keeps the inside of the trailer way cleaner and way less crowded. Get a good flat grill for it. We went with a camp chef grill. It’s heavy, but heats more evenly. Set a small table up next to it and you’re good to go.
I’ll second the pots and pans thing. We have went to the point that we carry pretty much only food from the house and everything else is already in the trailer and stays there unless being washed. You will find this makes trips way less work when getting ready and unloading when you get home. That part becomes a deal breaker for people because it involves so much work on each end that you just say screw it. It’s too much hassle to go camping.
Another thing I’ve done is put an Easy Start on our air conditioner. If you camp where it gets hot and need AC run off a generator you will thank yourself for putting one on. You can run your AC off a 2000 watt Honda quiet generator with this. I’m not sure why more people haven’t discovered these. We just got back from a trip to lake Powell and it was 104 degrees during the day. I ran our ac for almost a week without a hiccup. Every other person in our group had trouble because the AC on trailers have a huge amp surge on startup. It can be more than a lot of small quiet generators can handle. The easy start stops the huge spike at startup.
 
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Squamch

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Wanna hear a funny story?


So I bought this from a buddy. I knew he had slacked on maintenance, and figured better the devil I know than the one I don't.

Went into it today, and started tuning it up. Gluing loose trim back in, tightening screws, etc.
noticed the rear seat on the dinette had a floppy piece, so I took the cushion off, took the cubby cover off, and stepped in, to tidy it up, glue it and clamp it.

My foot damn near went through the floor.

So, I've found that road spray was getting up into the belly on both sides, so I've peeled up the floor for the full width, less 1.5" each side to tie into, by 40" forward from the back wall. Pulled up the wet insulation, and sprayed it down with bleach solution, then left it with a fan on it.

I'll pick up some rigid insulation and 5/8 ply (not OSB!) and re-assemble tomorrow. I'll be buying some tek screws for the trim underneath, and re-caulking the underside as well.

At least we got a good deal:laughing:. It was cheaper than any other one we looked at by about $4000, so I figure even after this, we'll be ahead of the game.
 

rockdog57

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Water seems to find its way into them from every angle. I had to do the exact same thing on our old 21 foot trailer. Started peeling paneling off under the front dinette and the two by twos were also dry rotted. The way they are put together, I’m surprised they stay in one piece going down the road.
 

Squamch

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Click image for larger version  Name:	20200701_173205.jpg Views:	0 Size:	405.9 KB ID:	58165
Blueskin to cover the thin spots in the tarp material that's used on the belly as a vapour barrier I guess?? above the chloroplast.
The little hole in the wall was to check if it was coming in through the wall too, doesn't look like it. Seems to have just been wicking up.
Sitting with a fan on it now, hoping it's ripe for reassembly tomorrow. Got a buddy who is management with a fenestration company getting me a case of the most badass UV resistant goop in a tube he can get his mitts on too.
 

ANGRYBLACK

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Just to add to this.. Roof flashing tape is your friend if the belly plastic gets a tear. I clean it with brake clean then apply the tape. But a bunch of these silica packets to toss around inside and between the floor and the belly plastic.

I used to keep a gallon of fabric softener with us on trips.A half gallon goes in after i rinse the black tank. I will always add a gallon of water to that after a trip.

It looks like a great project. I have seen plenty worse. I can't wait to see the end result.
 
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