Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Travel Trailers: Buying a Used Travel Trailer
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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Buying a Used Travel Trailer

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tinstartrvlr

Currently AZ

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Posted: 01/11/18 01:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My 2cents...

I bought new, and probably will never do so again. The warranty headaches are a PITA, should anything need repair (and almost a guarantee there will be needed repairs).

That said, not sure I would buy used from a dealer, as they probably have no clue about the history of the trailer, and for the sake of a sale, might make shoddy repairs just to hide damage, or don't disclose problems, etc. Not saying don't do, just not sure it would be for me.

Think I would buy from a private seller. One that doesn't seem to have anything to hide and doesn't mind you poking around (their body language/words may speak volumes if they are hiding something) such as removing panels and things to see beyond.

I routinely remove panels and things to look inside for water damage or other problems on my own trailer, so as to head off a big problem down the road. Actually discovered a leak behind some false cabinet panels and I was able to fix it before any serious damage occurred. Had a p trap come loose and fall off the drain on an old trailer I had; flooded things badly and resulted in a soft floor pretty quickly. (only reason I knew I had a leak was the water pouring out the bottom of the trailer-not sure how many showers I took before I discovered it)
Part of the reason why I now poke around routinely looking for things like that.
Any way you go it's a gamble. But lots of good advice here from others so hopefully you'll have all the bases covered.

drsteve

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Posted: 01/11/18 01:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Do you already own a suitable tow vehicle? If so, step one is to figure out what it will pull.


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linnemj

Eastern Tennessee

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Posted: 01/11/18 02:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you decide to buy a used trailer there are certified RV inspectors you can hire to go over the trailer.


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hjcihak46

Alexandria, VA

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Posted: 01/11/18 03:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks everyone for your quick replies and assurances. I suppose it might help if I provided a few more details.

First, I'm looking for something in the 22-24 foot range, & under 3500 lbs dry weight. My SUV is rated for 5000 lbs. I expect I will be the sole occupant most, if not all, of the time. Other than clothes and food I don't expect to be carrying anything really heavy in the TT. I've been considering this for quite some time and have a pretty good idea of what features I consider "essential."

I consider myself pretty experienced in non-mechanical maintenance and repairs and somewhat limited on the mechanical side when it comes to actual repairs.

Where is the best place to get an idea of any particular TT's current used market value?

hjcihak46

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Posted: 01/11/18 03:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Actually, I have another question. Slide-outs? A potential maintenance problem?

Gdetrailer

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Posted: 01/11/18 03:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

hjcihak46 wrote:

Thanks everyone for your quick replies and assurances. I suppose it might help if I provided a few more details.

First, I'm looking for something in the 22-24 foot range, & under 3500 lbs dry weight. My SUV is rated for 5000 lbs. I expect I will be the sole occupant most, if not all, of the time. Other than clothes and food I don't expect to be carrying anything really heavy in the TT. I've been considering this for quite some time and have a pretty good idea of what features I consider "essential."

I consider myself pretty experienced in non-mechanical maintenance and repairs and somewhat limited on the mechanical side when it comes to actual repairs.

Where is the best place to get an idea of any particular TT's current used market value?


NOW you have a problem.

22-24ft and 3,500 lbs dry is going to be a stretch.

I had a 1981 20 ft TT which EMPTY (dry) was 4,100 lbs, hitch weight was 550 lbs. Loaded we were around 5,500 lbs and hitch weight of about 800 lbs. This trailer had a GVWR or 7,000 lbs.

My current 1984 26ft TT is 5,500 lbs empty with a empty hitch weight of 650 lbs. Loaded we are around 6,800 lbs with hitch weight of 875 lbs. This trailer has a GVWR of 7,500 lbs.

First, instead of concentrating on the supposed "tow rating" of 5,000 lbs you NEED to figure out what CARGO WEIGHT you have left of the TOW VEHICLE.

The tongue becomes CARGO of the tow vehicle and you typically will run out of available cargo before ever hitting the "tow rating".

You will also need to figure in the Weight Distribution hitch weight into your cargo as it will be dead weight and will reduce the amount of available cargo for the vehicle.

Newer vehicles (2011 and up should have a yellow cargo weight sticker on your drivers side door or on the drivers side door post.

That sticker will list the max amount available cargo (fuel and driver is already figured in with this sticker).

If no yellow sticker, you need the curb weight of the vehicle and the GVWR of the vehicle.

Subtract curb weight from GVWR and the result is the cargo weight.

Now, you need to subtract full tank of fuel, driver, passenger and anything else you put into the vehicle to get the available cargo weight which is left for the hitch.

Because of your limitations of your tow vehicle, you most likely will have to look for "Lite" trailers and most likely a bit smaller than 22ft..

If vehicle is not not equipped with a electric trailer brake controller, you WILL need to buy one.

kerrlakeRoo

Va

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Posted: 01/11/18 03:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valuation is as much on condition as anything else. But for a starting point, NADA does cover many popular TT's, all if you find one you are interested in, check RV Trader and RVT.com for the same model.They also come in handy for having a comparative price in hand for negotiation purposes.

drsteve

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Posted: 01/11/18 04:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What kind of SUV? The tow rating means very little. Payload rating is key. Engine and gear ratio are also important, as is whether you have the factory tow package.

hjcihak46

Alexandria, VA

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Posted: 01/11/18 04:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My tow vehicle is a 2008 Nissan Xterra 4WD. It has a 6cyl. 4 liter engine. That model comes with a standard towing package and the owners manual does not recommend any additional improvements.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 01/11/18 05:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

hjcihak46 wrote:

My tow vehicle is a 2008 Nissan Xterra 4WD. It has a 6cyl. 4 liter engine. That model comes with a standard towing package and the owners manual does not recommend any additional improvements.


Not enough information.

See my post above.

You NEED the AVAILABLE CARGO RATING of your vehicle instead of the "tow rating".

Tow ratings are notoriously OVER RATED by the manufacturers..

The 5,000 lb tow rating you sate means that vehicle MUST have AT LEAST 500 lbs of cargo available.

The problem is that is 10% tongue weight and that IS the bottom most percentage that you will EVER want to tow with.

The recommended tongue weight should be 10%-15% but 12%-15% is MUCH BETTER FOR TOWING STABILITY.

So, for 12% to 15% tongue weight for 5,000 lbs WILL require 600 lbs- 750 lbs of AVAILABLE CARGO for your tow vehicle.

If you don't have at least 600 lbs of available cargo then you may as well forget anything that may come close to 5,000 lbs loaded.

Many of the trailers in the length you seek WILL be considerably heavier than 3,500 lbs..

Heck, even the average popup is going to be above 3,500 lbs EMPTY.

Do you see the problem?

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