Just bought a camper

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aaronrb204

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Messages
74
Location
bowling green, va
Wife has wanted a truck and a camper since I don't know when. Last spring we bought a used Honda Ridgeline AWD. We would have liked to have gotten a Tacoma but we couldn't find what we wanted for what we could afford. We randomly walked into an RV dealership to see what kind of stuff was out there that we could pull. We ended up with a barely used 1 year old Palomino Palomini 189 Badlands Offroad. While it definitely has features we won't be using, it seems wonderful. What I am here for is tips, tricks, pointers, and other forum recommendations. I know that there are cheap and efficient ways to do things but I also don't want to get bit in the butt by trying the cheap way. I guess the first question is can I use some 2x6 to put under the stabilizer jacks for leveling purposes? How wary do I need to be regarding buying a cheap surge protector? I am going to practice driving around in a big empty parking lot.
 

4896worker

Bearcat
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
5
Look up Andersen hitch company and their camper leveler system. Thank plastic c-shape wedges that get progressively taller the more you drive up them. They work great.

Also use cel-phone or portable radios when getting direction from wife backing into spots etc.

Also get a system down maybe make check list on setup and take down so you don’t miss anything . Maybe decide labor give wife inside setup take down and you do outside stuff.

Last make sure do walk around and final safety check before leaving
 

Pal Val

Buckeye
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
1,542
Location
S.E. PA, USA
I've been camping in trailers for longer that I care to tell and have seen all the mistakes and made a bunch of my own. Here are a few tips:
The stabilizer jacks are not there to level the trailer. Have a level handy when you arrive. You level the trailer side-to-side first, by raising the "low" wheels. There are several different setups sold for this. For front-to-back, you use the front jack. After the camper is level both ways, THEN you lower the stabilizer jacks. If you use the stabilizing jacks to level the trailer, you could either bend the jacks (needing replacement) or bend the trailer's frame. The off roads frames tend to be sturdy, so the jacks will probably take the damage.
The surge protector is like a gun - Better to have and not need than to need and not have. A couple years ago I was camping in Virginia and lightning hit a power box. The only trailers not damaged were (like mine) hooked up with surge protectors. Don't go cheap on that. buy the best you can afford.
Practicing the back-up is the best idea. My wife is my guide when backing into a site and we use walkie-talkies to communicate. It saves us the embarrassment of the neighbors hearing all the swearing that naturally happens while doing the maneuver.
If you hook up to camp water, have a pressure regulator and water filter in your kit together with the hose. You never know what will come out of that pipe, and how strong.
If you can afford it, put Lithium batteries in the camper's box. I bit the bullet a couple years ago and put in a 50Amp/hr one to replace the old battery. It weights only 5 lbs has more than twice the output of the old battery, which weighted 20. The day of the VA storm, it kept my refrigerator and lights going for several hours while we waited for the electricity to be fixed in the camp.

The setup/strike camp list and the safery check "4896 worker" advised are true and wise. Do them.

Enjoy your camper in the best of health, safety and good company!
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
7,855
Location
Dallas, TX
Congratulations! Some people on another street over have some sort of "off road" trailer. They look neat. We don't have a trailer so I can't comment on leveling it or anything. Good luck!
 

aaronrb204

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Messages
74
Location
bowling green, va
We have seen the leveler systems that look not unlike curved ramps like we all have for doing oil changes. Can we use some lumber and drive onto it? All of the extra bits add up in a big way. We might buy a cheaper surge protector and upgrade later. Luckily we have a car port and I can practice turning around in the driveway and backing up. We also have a nice 4 lane divided highway that has good amounts of up and downs and some easier turns.
 

kmoore

Buckeye
Joined
Mar 29, 2017
Messages
1,164
Location
Idaho
I wish you happy camping for sure. Been Rving about 45 years and 9 RVs, 3 truck campers (thought thats what you were going to put on your Honda). Bumper pull travel trailer from 14 ft to 29 ft and a 40 ft park trailer on beach property. I have been using 2x6 or 2x8s. Just buy a 8 or 10 ft pressure treated wood and saw it in the length I want. I use scrape 4x4 or anything like that under the tongue jack.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,878
Location
Redlands CA USA
Hi,

There seems to to be a growing storm, and that's heavy use of camping facilities--maybe because of the pandemic--so it's a good idea to contact the places you wish to stay and learn all about them as much as you can before visiting. Friends, for example, have a travel trailer they use a lot. It tows nicely behind an F-150. She will drive it in a straight line as long as you want her to, but toss in hills and curves or city traffic and she's suddenly scheduled for a driver change. He can, and will if he has to, back the trailer up. but he's much happier to find a spot with a pull thru. Also watch for freebies, like WalMart, who are cutting back on letting people stay in their lots. Make yourself a check list of questions to ask before the trip.

As for practicing backing up, I joke that you could retire early selling tickets to watch me back a trailer. It's hard to practice too much. It also helps to know a truck driver or two who can teach you more in ten minutes than you could teach yourself in a year or two!

Rick C
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2003
Messages
5,391
Location
Richmond Texas USA
We bought a GMC 24' Class C Jimmy Minnie Motorhome in 1977 and we used it a lot.
It did not have leveling jacks and I never used blocks under the tires. Most places you find are pretty level and if a slight slope no big deal. Your jacks should stabilize it fine under most conditions. Don't spend all your time and effort trying to get it perfect when it's not needed.
The MH we now have has automatic Hyd. jacks so a push of a button takes care of the PITA. They are also strong enough to pick the wheel up off of the ground.

This is the one we now have. As you can see the spot is level BUT the jacks are down to stabilize it.
1659926962047.png
 

Blazenet

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 7, 2009
Messages
170
Location
Eastern,Pa.
Do the new Ridgelines come with a transmission cooler? I had a 2017 ridgeline... if memory serves me correct, Honda recommended a trans cooler for towing over 3000 lbs.
 

woodsy

Blackhawk
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
747
Location
Seymour, CT
Hi,
Sold our travel trailer 5 years ago. For backing up, we used a "Swift Hitch" with wireless connection to its receiver which one holds in hand. The remote camera has a magnetic mount, so easy to attach. I believe they were available with either bluetooth or digital transmission, which is what we got. I would attach the camera to the steel frame on the side of the trailer closest to whatever one does not want to hit. The display unit has a screen which shows what the camera sees, in real time. Sure beats all that "C'mon back!" stuff. Don't know how available they still are, but the company was in Mass.
 

Colonialgirl

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
7,762
Location
Wesley Chapel, Florida
I use to tow a 14 ft boat/trailer out in Calif and it was ALWAYS a laugh to watch someone with an 18 or 20 ft boat trying to back down to launch or to reload the boat with 4 or five friends "helping". I could tie up, go get my car and trailer and be finishing up in the wash area by the time they got it loaded. They were ALREADY attempting to get to the water to recover the boat or launch.
 

jimbo1096

Hunter
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
2,062
Location
Alexandria, LA USA
We had a 26' class C years ago and I just took 2x8 pressure treated, cut into different lengths to make the step and drove up on it to the step that leveled the rig. I'm sure the plastic ones would work just as well and be a lot lighter. That was back when we were roughing it on a budget and usually camped in places without all the nice concrete pads to park on.
I'd love to be able to do that again. Hope you have a great fun time out in the camp trailer.
 

vito

Hunter
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Messages
2,820
Location
Northern Illinois
Having used a travel trailer for the last several years, my primary advice would be to get new, and high quality tires for your camper. Even if the old tires look okay, trust me you do not want to have a blowout when out in the middle of nowhere.

I had replaced my tires two seasons ago and thought they were fine. While I cannot be totally sure I do not believe I overloaded my camper. Just several weeks ago while we were on a road in western Colorado, with no cell phone signal, we suffered a blowout. The blown tire ripped most of the wiring underneath the camper. I could not call for help but luckily two good Samaritans stopped to render aid and the two of them worked a few hours to cut lose the blown tire and damaged wheel and put my spare on. I was sick with Covid at the time and my wife had been driving and neither of us were in shape to do even a normal flat tire change. We limped to a campground using the spare, and were able to get the damaged wheel replaced and a new tire put on (a quality tire, Goodyear Endurance). Then we started for home with 1100 miles to go. 200 miles later the new tire blew out. We made it home the last 900 miles without a spare tire, and with a non-functional camper due to the loss of almost all the wiring. Now the camper is at the RV shop and I am waiting for the full estimate of repairing everything, which likely will be over $6,000.

When its fixed my plan is to leave it with the dealer on consignment for it to be sold. I'm getting too old to deal with crap like I just went through.
 

woodsy

Blackhawk
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
747
Location
Seymour, CT
We also lost a tire on the trailer we had, for no "good reason". Until I looked closer at the tires and discovered that the factory set were rated for 52 mph (!). Replaced them with a pair rated for 82 mph. One of those little things which can bite hard. But it took a while, considering that previously we had traveled to Yellowstone and regularly hit 75 mph, legally.
 

Jeepnik

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
5,514
Location
On the beach and in the hills
I use to tow a 14 ft boat/trailer out in Calif and it was ALWAYS a laugh to watch someone with an 18 or 20 ft boat trying to back down to launch or to reload the boat with 4 or five friends "helping". I could tie up, go get my car and trailer and be finishing up in the wash area by the time they got it loaded. They were ALREADY attempting to get to the water to recover the boat or launch.
You ever launch out of Cabrillo? It's always good entertainment. Especially after a recent boat show.
 

kmoore

Buckeye
Joined
Mar 29, 2017
Messages
1,164
Location
Idaho
Trailer tires on a boat or RV one of the most important parts to get you safely down the road and most over looked and not understood. Along with wheel bearings and brakes if they have them. Top 4 reasons they fail, overloaded, under inflated, pulled at speeds there not able to handle. Also their rotten due to age not use.
Overloaded can be avoided if you actually weigh the trailer loaded. Under inflated can be avoided if you are not overloaded and use the max. psi rating printed on the tire. Look up the speed rating it's on the sidewall of the tire. That tells you the tire will not hold up after about 90 mins of speeds higher than rated. They rot from the inside out in about 5 years no matter how good the tread looks, the date the tire was made is also on the sidewall. This applies to trailer tires with ST printed on the sidewalls. Newbies really should go on tire maker web sites and learn some of the differences those ST tires have vs your "P" tires on your car or LT tires on your truck.
 
Last edited:

Big Old Boy

Hunter
Joined
Dec 31, 2013
Messages
2,371
Location
Tn
My very first truck driving job was in a 1961 KW pulling a 22 foot dump trailer and I learned really quick to never let the rear of the trailer get out of the view in your mirror, keep this in mind and travel safe.
 

kmoore

Buckeye
Joined
Mar 29, 2017
Messages
1,164
Location
Idaho
Big Old Boy, that's the best, clearest advise to give to a newbie about driving with any trailer.
2 days ago I explained that to a person who has never driven anything bigger than a Toyota Camry. She is going to rent a U haul truck and put her car on a trailer to move to another home. I told her the most important thing is to not stare out the windshield, she needed to be aware of that trailer at all times by every few seconds look into the left and right side mirrors while keeping the road ahead in the corner of her eye. She had no understanding of that concept. I explained the reasons why the best I could.
Not sure about others, but I avoid U haul vans and trucks or other rentals as much as possible. On the freeways, I also watch out for their chase vehicle. there just as bad. They tend to blindly tailgate the lead truck. If the truck makes a lane change they can attempt it at the same time with or without looking. just to keep the rear of that large truck in their windshield.
 

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