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Old 02-10-2017, 01:51 PM   #1
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Driving / Towing Tips

So we agreed on a price on our Sunset Trail Super Lite 291RK today. The dealer is submitting all the paperwork, and we should be able to pick it up late next week. Now that we're almost there, I wanted to pick your brains about general travel trailer towing, as my wife and I are new to this. I've towed boats and smaller open trailers before, but never anything this large or heavy. I installed tow mirrors and a brake controller on the TV today, and will probably be using a Reese brand WD and anti-sway system.

With that said - what are things a new guy would need to know about towing a large trailer? Do I need to stop at insterstate weigh stations? CAN I stop there to pull weights, or is there somewhere else I should go? If I can, do I just drive through, or should I stop and talk to the troopers on-site?

Also, how do you gas up? Do you drop the trailer, gas up the TV, then re-attach? Do you go to truck stop gas stations and pull-through? The TV is gas, so that'd limit me for truck stops that have large pull-throughs I could use.

Anything else I should know? Thanks guys, finding this forum has been the biggest help in our journey to get into RVing!
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Old 02-10-2017, 02:38 PM   #2
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Congrats on the new rig. I went through your concerns when I bought my first large RV and it was a TT as well. First and foremost be comfortable with hooking up and disconnecting. Don't let someone talking to you distract you from these tasks. Second, drive slower than you normally would and be prepared for the unexpected. You can't change lanes as fast or stop as fast. Also, take right turns wide. I hit several curbs trying to turn too sharply.

When fueling, I will go to travel stops and try not to block more than one pump - sometimes you have no choice. If possible set up camp then fuel after you have disconnected.

I have never stopped at truck weigh stations. Find a local scale near your home and do the weighing there.

Never drive into a location without looking around to make sure you can turn around or somehow get out. I took the RV to a GM dealer while on the road due to a truck issue. When leaving they sent me down a long road only to find a HUGE dip in the driveway that I would never had made. I had to back up 150yards to find another way out of the lot.

Enjoy the rig and have fun!
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Old 02-10-2017, 02:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by lp722 View Post

With that said - what are things a new guy would need to know about towing a large trailer? Do I need to stop at insterstate weigh stations?
No.

CAN I stop there to pull weights, or is there somewhere else I should go? If I can, do I just drive through, or should I stop and talk to the troopers on-site?
I don't think so.
There is truck stops that have scales you can pay to use, or if there is a local feed mill in the area with a scale you might be able to weigh there.
If you have a few extra $ left over some of the guys have purchased a tongue weight scale.
https://www.etrailer.com/faq-how-to-...ue-weight.aspx


Also, how do you gas up? Do you drop the trailer, gas up the TV, then re-attach? Do you go to truck stop gas stations and pull-through? The TV is gas, so that'd limit me for truck stops that have large pull-throughs I could use.

I pull right in to a gas pump same as if I don't have a trailer tied on. Just look the situation over before pulling in to make sure you can make all the turns pulling in and getting back out.

Anything else I should know? Thanks guys, finding this forum has been the biggest help in our journey to get into RVing!
I always syop before pulling up to the pump and either my wife or I get out, go into the camper and turn the fridge off. I feel safer for myself and everyone else that is fueling knowing I don't have an open flame going that could cause a fire.
Other then that I would suggest practicing turning and backing your new rig. Maybe in an empty parking lot if you have one around.
Remember to take your corners/turns at intersections wider so the trailer isn't hitting the curb.
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Old 02-10-2017, 03:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Stan View Post
Congrats on the new rig. I went through your concerns when I bought my first large RV and it was a TT as well. First and foremost be comfortable with hooking up and disconnecting. Don't let someone talking to you distract you from these tasks. Second, drive slower than you normally would and be prepared for the unexpected. You can't change lanes as fast or stop as fast. Also, take right turns wide. I hit several curbs trying to turn too sharply.

When fueling, I will go to travel stops and try not to block more than one pump - sometimes you have no choice. If possible set up camp then fuel after you have disconnected.

I have never stopped at truck weigh stations. Find a local scale near your home and do the weighing there.

Never drive into a location without looking around to make sure you can turn around or somehow get out. I took the RV to a GM dealer while on the road due to a truck issue. When leaving they sent me down a long road only to find a HUGE dip in the driveway that I would never had made. I had to back up 150yards to find another way out of the lot.

Enjoy the rig and have fun!
Thanks, Stan! I appreciate the advice.

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I always syop before pulling up to the pump and either my wife or I get out, go into the camper and turn the fridge off. I feel safer for myself and everyone else that is fueling knowing I don't have an open flame going that could cause a fire.
Other then that I would suggest practicing turning and backing your new rig. Maybe in an empty parking lot if you have one around.
Remember to take your corners/turns at intersections wider so the trailer isn't hitting the curb.
Do you turn off the propane, or go into the rig and flip the switch on the fridge? I still don't fully understand how that works...if I flip the switch on the fridge, does it automatically stop the flow of LP?
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Old 02-10-2017, 03:15 PM   #5
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put the fridge to "off " and you are good . Once you clear the pumps,stop anywhere and go back in and turn to "auto" .
Dont forget when you put out the awning ,tilt it to either the front or back so as to make the awning tube non level , so water will run off rather than pool on top and rip the awning. And the awning can be let open in the rain...see my pic
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Old 02-10-2017, 03:19 PM   #6
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Do you turn off the propane, or go into the rig and flip the switch on the fridge? I still don't fully understand how that works...if I flip the switch on the fridge, does it automatically stop the flow of LP?
The fridge has an auto position on the switch. That will allow it to operate in electric or AC. When not plugged in to AC it automatically switches to LP and starts. All you have to do (presuming you are operating on LP at the time) is turn the switch to off. When you pull away from the pumps go back and turn it back on (to auto). When you get to the campground and plug your camper into AC, the fridge then switches from LP to AC.


Here is a link to a PDI. I suggest you print it out, study it and take it with you when you pick up your rig. Make SURE to show it to the dealer or the person who is going to do your PDI. Then make SURE they follow it, and make SURE, you follow it
http://www.angelfire.com/trek/buenavistas/
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Old 02-10-2017, 03:45 PM   #7
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If you are anywhere near Tampa, Lazydays RV offers free courses on trailers and other subjects. We took a course last year and then arranged with the teacher for a one-on-one (actually a one-on-two) lesson in backing up. We brought our trailer. We winter in Florida so we did this the day we left to go home as we had to hook up and move anyway. There was no charge for this, but we tipped the guy.

I use checklists for everything (a holdover from when I was a pilot). My hooking up checklist covers everything inside and out and changes from time to time.

We kept track of what gas stations were more "RV friendly" when we had a gas truck for our trips to Florida. Now we have a diesel truck and fuel up where the trucks do when on the road. If we are staying somewhere, we will park the trailer and then fuel up. A lot of stations have the pumps facing the building and have parking in front of the building. They don't seem to consider RVs at all in the planning process. We have on occasion had to back up to get out of a gas station.
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Old 02-10-2017, 03:48 PM   #8
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Thanks, guys! Lloyd, that link is great! Saved off several of the lists there. Thanks again!
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Old 02-10-2017, 05:12 PM   #9
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Congrats on the new TT. Never be afraid to ask questions if your not sure. We've all been there, just wish I had this forum when I started out. Enjoy and welcome to the forum.
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Old 02-10-2017, 06:02 PM   #10
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Also, check your states requirements for proper licensing. Not sure what your gvw is for the trailer, but here in CA, any bumper pull overheavier then 10,000 lbs or 5 th wheel over 15,000 lbs, requires a commercial or non commercial, Class A license.
Great advice above, especially not to let anyone else help or distract you when connecting or disconnecting. Never be in a hurry.
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Old 02-10-2017, 06:55 PM   #11
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FL is pretty lax with regulations, but GVW on the trailer is only 7800#. I'll ask the dealer though, thanks!
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Old 02-10-2017, 07:26 PM   #12
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It is important that your brake controller is set properly and if unsure, set it more aggressive than too little. If you ever have a sway problem due to the large sail area of the TT, you don't want the trailer pushing the truck, it should act as a drag on the truck. Actually the ideal way to stop sway is to manually activate the trailer brakes while accelerating, but in a panic it is difficult to do both while continuing to steer.
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Old 02-10-2017, 08:18 PM   #13
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It is important that your brake controller is set properly and if unsure, set it more aggressive than too little. If you ever have a sway problem due to the large sail area of the TT, you don't want the trailer pushing the truck, it should act as a drag on the truck. Actually the ideal way to stop sway is to manually activate the trailer brakes while accelerating, but in a panic it is difficult to do both while continuing to steer.
I have a Tekonsha P3 controller. The manual says to start the max power at 6v out of 15v total. Is that reasonable? The instructions say to start there and adjust the power up/down until manually actuating the brakes at 25mph just doesn't lock them up. Is that realistic?
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Old 02-11-2017, 02:36 PM   #14
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I have a Tekonsha P3 controller. The manual says to start the max power at 6v out of 15v total. Is that reasonable? The instructions say to start there and adjust the power up/down until manually actuating the brakes at 25mph just doesn't lock them up. Is that realistic?
The P3 is probably the best non-integrated controller available. Follow the manual and see how it goes. But there are many trailers with brakes that will not lock the wheels at any power setting, especially brand new brakes where the shoes haven't conformed to the drums yet. Even when you set them at 25mph per the manual, you may have a hard time feeling their stopping power at 65mph. The P3 should have a 'boost' feature, make sure it is turned on.
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Old 02-11-2017, 02:43 PM   #15
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The P3 is probably the best non-integrated controller available. Follow the manual and see how it goes. But there are many trailers with brakes that will not lock the wheels at any power setting, especially brand new brakes where the shoes haven't conformed to the drums yet. Even when you set them at 25mph per the manual, you may have a hard time feeling their stopping power at 65mph. The P3 should have a 'boost' feature, make sure it is turned on.
Great, thanks!
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Old 02-12-2017, 11:21 AM   #16
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I have to echo all the other comments and add a couple.

Take your camper over to a parking lot and get the feel of manually using the brake controller to slow the rig. Then unhook the umbilical to the camper and try to stop with just the truck brakes. It's a bit enlightening.

The first time I had to do that, the trailer kept wanting to push the truck so you do need to be aware of just how it behaves.

I'm not sure how the Ford and Dodge integrated controllers work but the GMC/Chevy controller will tell you when you make connection and if it drops (comes unplugged).

When I was pulling bumper pulls, I had a proportional inertial based controller (can't remember the brand & it's at home, we're in Florida). I remember it was not cheap but it did work well.
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Old 02-13-2017, 07:41 AM   #17
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I had to learn how to tow this beast a couple of years ago and did most of the recommendations here.

Recently, I tried to pass someone going about 45 on a 70 mph interstate. There was an 18 wheeler barreling don on the passing lane going about 80, that came up behind me quicker than anticipated while I was in the passing lane. To show his displeasure in having to slow a bit, he cut over INTO MY LANE after he passed, causing me to hit the brakes and veer to the median to avoid collision. I was too shaken up to get his ID to report him, and since he was speeding, he was long gone (I stay at 65).

Lesson learned: Passing is rarely need if you are keeping it at 65, but if you must pass, don't underestimate your ability to accelerate and decelerate. It takes a long time. Err on the side of more time.
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