Hello all. I am new to this forum and also new to owning a travel trailer. I really didn't intend to own one, but the wife and I went browsing to find prices this weekend, and well... you know how it goes sometimes.
Anyway, I purchased a Fleetwood Pioneer 18T6 Travel Trailer. Dry Weight is speced at 3905 and GVWR is 6000. I will be pulling this with a 2003 1/2 ton Chevy Suburban. The dealer is installing an anti-sway system and a brake system for us. Unfortunately, I do not know the brand of either system being installed.
Basically, I have towed boats and trailers before, but never a travel trailer. I was quite surprised to need an anti-sway system, as the trailers I have towed never needed such a thing. Actually, I’d never heard of such a thing, which tells you just how unprepared I was for the purchase.
Anyway, I am going to be heading to Phoenix from the Los Angeles area this weekend. Any advice you could offer a first timer would be appreciated. Am I in for any surprises? Do I need to know anything special about towing? (Besides the obvious need to keep my speed respectable) Anything I need to get done before the trip? (Chemicals in the system, something along those lines I may not know)
Any advice is appreciated. TIA
*This Message was edited on 29-Jan-03 02:42 PM by Aipaloovik*
Well, I had the chance to pull the trailer last night behind the suburban. No problems at all. It groaned a bit pulling the steep grades, but I was able to keep it between 55 and 60, so I am pretty pleased with performance. I didn't have any sway problems with the setup they gave me, which is a Reese roundbar weight distribution system with a Reese friction sway control. I know the friction sway control isn't the best, but it seems to be sufficient for my rig. I didn't have any sway problems when passing and being passed by tractor trailers and even hit some mild wind on the drive with no problems. If I find it to be insufficient on a longer trip, I will probably look into the Reese dual cam system.
Hampy, thanks for that advice. I will definitely check the lug nuts every time we need to stop on the way.
TheBigPunn: yeah, I got a startup kit that contained most of my connectors and hoses, some chemical and other little things I probably wouldn’t have thought of.
All in all, I have to say I'm really pleased with the setup and can't wait to leave for Phoenix this weekend. That will be a 300 mile trip each way and 2 days of dry camping, so it should be a good shakedown trip. I'll have family out there with 2 motor homes for backup if something goes terribly wrong, so I'm not too worried about being so far from home.
After you get everything all loaded up it is a good idea to see exactly where you are at weight-wise. Take the rig to a truck stop, or other nearby place that has a scale, with everything in it that is going on the trip that you can have in it. Get the trailer and each axle of the Suburban on seperate sections of the scale and get a weight. If you have time, measure the height of the tongue to from the ground, disconnect the trailer, set the tongue to the measured height, and get a second weight. Your axle weight should be the same and the other value will give you your tongue weight. Weigh the Suburban without the trailer if you can - you can then see how the weight is being distrubuted across the Suburban and if the numbers all add up.
The 1/2 ton Suburban has a decent payload and good GCWR, so you should be fine, but it is always nice to know. Some scales also will give you side-to-side values so you know how evenly your trailer is packed - this can affect stability and sway also.
We pull a 6500# loaded TT with a 3/4-ton Yukon XL and it does great. Our tongue weight is fairly high at almost 950#, but it helps keep the rig very stable; we also only need a friction type anti-sway system and have no problems.
I think you will be very happy with your setup.
Make sure your hitch is both a weight distributing as well as a sway control. Some dealers call the weight distributing bars a sway control...NOT.
Also make sure they have the Hitch set up so that the truck and trailer are both setting level and the WD bars are parallel to the ground.
Have fun...Ken W
Amateur Radio Operator.
2013 HitchHiker 38RLRSB Champagne, toted with a 2012, F350, 6.7L PSD, Crewcab, dually. 3.73 axle, Full Time RVer.
Travel with a standard schnauzer and a Timneh African Gray parrot
Thanks for the advice TXiceman. I'm dropping the Suburban off at lunch to get the work done, and I will find out exactly what is being done and what parts are being used so I can better research what I need. The FAQ threads went into the two systems in great detail and were a wealth of information.
Roadeye, I picked the 18T6 specifically because it was one of the few I found that were light, relatively inexpensive, and had enough beds that my 2 boys didn't have to sleep together. We are taking it to Phoenix for a break in this weekend; I'll post a full report of how it goes on Sunday or Monday. As far as the Suburban pulling it, I don't know yet. I pick it up tonight and we are going to run it up a nice little grade out here called Cajon Pass to see how well it pulls. I'll let you know.
Goodday: I haven't got a clue how far it is from Phoenix to LA, but it wouldn't hurt to check the lugs on your wheels, for the first few hundred miles, as this is a new trailer.More so if rims are aluminum. Also pump up your tow vehicle tires to the max as stated on the door jam label. Don't forget the water, sewer hoses and all fittings/connections. More importantly the refreshments!!!! ( oh..... and the kids!!! )
make sure they give you a free start up kit. it may include toilet paper, electric connector, short water hose, black tank deodorant, sewer hose and maybe other little items including cupons. make sure they take you through the camper showing you how everything works...bring your wife cause you'll forget some stuff. and ask as many questions as you can.
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