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Old 02-27-2017, 03:23 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: FL
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First trip ever is in the books!

So I've been posting and lurking for a few weeks, asking a bunch of questions that you all have been so helpful answering, and last Thursday I took delivery of our new 2017 Sunset Trail 291RK. It's our first RV, and the first time I've towed anything in years. I drove from our house about an hour south of Orlando to the dealer in St. Augustine, then left from the dealer and went straight to a campground in Tallahassee for a dog show over the weekend. My wife joined me the next day with our pup (who took Reserve Winner's Dog on Saturday at just 6 months old!), and we spent the weekend up there.

With the RV I also got a Reese 10,000# load leveling/anti-sway hitch, and had the dealer install it. I got the brake controller more or less dialed in, and hit the road. Within 10 minutes, I was on I-95 with gusty winds and heavy rains. Keep in mind, the biggest thing I've ever towed before was a 15' boat about 8 years ago, and this 34' beast is a whole different animal. I white-knuckled it the whole way to Tallahassee with one stop at a rest station to take a breather, and toward the end of my trip was starting to feel a little more confident.

We had friends at the fairgrounds that we were able to set up next to who are much more seasoned campers, so I got their help on everything and learned a LOT. We ended up parking about 55 feet from the nearest power/water, so I was about 5 feet short on power and about 30 feet short on white hose (I had 1 extra power cable, but only 1 25' hose). They had enough extras to get me connected, and I was able to settle in before too long. Thanks to them, things went relatively smoothly setting up, and I took lots of notes - including ordering some extra equipment off Amazon.

While we were there, the shower developed a leak, but I think it's just a lack of caulking between the glass and the shower basin, as it looks like it may have been leaking out there then running onto the floor. There's also one small trim piece that needs to be glued or brad-nailed back down, and a couple trim pieces on the dinette that need to be trimmed back and re-stained, but otherwise everything works and seems to have been assembled properly so far. We got to test both the AC and the furnace, I installed a 32" LED TV in the bedroom (32" looks HUGE when you're that close! haha), and all the appliances, tanks, water heater, and outlets work normally. We also emptied the tanks at the dump station without issue, and all-in-all had a great first experience.

Before I left to head back home, I checked the tire pressures with a cheap automotive tire gauge, and they pegged the gauge at 60PSI. They're 14" 6-ply C-class tires, and the pressure rating is 50 cold, so I dropped them to 52 PSI cold on my gauge. I also had what I would assume is a moderate amount of sway on the way there, and didn't notice any of the 'slow-speed noise' everyone talks about that's associated with sway bars, so I torqued the sway bar down an extra 1/4 turn. The trip back home was much better. I don't know if it was lowering the tire pressure, tightening the sway bar, just me being more confident, or everything together...but the rig seemed easier to control and a little less reactive to passing semis. I also heard that 'low speed noise' when I stopped for gas, so I think I have the sway bar where it should be now. Everyone keeps saying, "You'll feel it", but I have no frame of reference, so I have no idea if I would benefit from tightening it more or not.

Anyway, I got back home and the next day bought a decent digital tire pressure gauge, and the tires were reading 60PSI cold...which tells me that Crossroads had them filled to around 70PSI or more. I dropped them again so now they're reading about 50PSI on the digital gauge. The caps are green, so I'd assume that means they used nitrogen, but you really only gain a couple PSI of pressure when normal air warms up, so...I don't know. Did I do the right thing?

Now we're re-evaluating the stuff we brought with us, buying some new stuff, getting rid of some other stuff, and re-packaging everything to stow away in the RV in storage.

Picking up the 291RK from the dealer:

Some people on a facebook group have said I'm sagging too much. Can I fix this by going up a link in the chain on the load leveling bars? I already have 2 links hanging, and don't know how tight I can go before it's too much.

At a rest-stop half-way to Tallahassee:

The sag looks pronounced in this picture because the truck was sitting just on the other side of a fairly pronounced drainage slope in the parking lot.

Setting up at the campground...just disconnected from the truck for the first time:

The dealer had hooked the trailer up, so getting everything off properly was a fun learning experience.

Just leveled the trailer:


Night-shot after setting up the fence for the dog:


Our boy Frank checking out the new digs:


He made his den under the dinette:


Our first dump experience went off more or less without a hitch:


And here it is in our driveway while we reorganize and clean before taking it to storage:

It JUUUUST fit. I backed it in on the first try, too...I was pretty proud of that. haha Hopefully we can clean it up and get it sorted and off to storage before the HOA comes knocking.

Can't wait for the next trip. Your input and experiences have been invaluable, and are very welcome! Thanks everyone!
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:39 PM   #2
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Posts: 262
Glad to here that you had a good maiden voyage with your new camper. Also some great pictures. Since this is your first rv may I make a friendly suggestion? It would be some time well spent if you would crawl under your camper and seal any an all entrance points for rodents, they can make a mess and cause damage if the get in. Seal any holes or gaps in the black plastic underbelly. We got a 2017 Sunset Trail last year and I found many areas that needed to be sealed up, such as around the leaf spring brackets, rear bumper braces, and across the entire front where the fiberglass cap wraps around the bottom front, ours had a gap across the whole front and I could see right up inside. I used black silicone and in some places I used spray foam (Great Stuff). One other are of concern was where the furnace is mounted, on our unit the cut a hole in the floor way bigger than needed where I could see down to the plastic underbelly below which caused a possible cold air intrusion and a rodent entery point. Also when the camper is in storage put out some mouse traps or deter ant (peppermint oil or Fresh Cab) there are many different opinions on this though. Enjoy your new camper.
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:02 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by sjk1998 View Post
Glad to here that you had a good maiden voyage with your new camper. Also some great pictures. Since this is your first rv may I make a friendly suggestion? It would be some time well spent if you would crawl under your camper and seal any an all entrance points for rodents, they can make a mess and cause damage if the get in. Seal any holes or gaps in the black plastic underbelly. We got a 2017 Sunset Trail last year and I found many areas that needed to be sealed up, such as around the leaf spring brackets, rear bumper braces, and across the entire front where the fiberglass cap wraps around the bottom front, ours had a gap across the whole front and I could see right up inside. I used black silicone and in some places I used spray foam (Great Stuff). One other are of concern was where the furnace is mounted, on our unit the cut a hole in the floor way bigger than needed where I could see down to the plastic underbelly below which caused a possible cold air intrusion and a rodent entery point. Also when the camper is in storage put out some mouse traps or deter ant (peppermint oil or Fresh Cab) there are many different opinions on this though. Enjoy your new camper.
Thanks! Are rodents really that big of a deal up in WI? I honestly think the last time I saw a rodent not in a pet store was 25 years ago when I lived in MN with my folks. We don't have them down in FL. Down here I'm much more concerned about spiders and palmetto bugs. I'll take a look under there and seal it up, though. AC is more important down here than heat, and any way I can help seal up the interior is a good thing.

I'm starting to realize why so many people wait until they're retired to get into RV'ing. Taking care of all this and also working is a huge challenge. I wish we lived in a place where we could store it on-site. It'd be so much easier.
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:56 AM   #4
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Nice . I like the long awning. Remember to angle the awning about 2 " either to the front or back for rain run off. About the blue drain hose . That "y"set up is ok for on the site sewers but personally at dump stations ,I would only use 1 hose to drain the front tanks (black then grey), then pull forward and drain rear tank ,them rinse hose and store. It will be faster at dump station especially when trailers waiting behind you. You will understand what I am saying when you get caught behind a guy that spends time farting around when draining is done. Have fun.
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:57 AM   #5
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One more question ...are you sure they are 14" tires?? that size trsiler should have 225 -15's at 65 lbs.
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It was a rainy few days at Algonquin Prov park...tarps kept us dry.
Wayne --Belle River (Windsor), Ontario
2013 Sunset Trail Reserve 25RB..
2015 White Chev Silverado 2500HD 4x4 (6.0 l gasser)
1997 Lance SL 185 Truck Camper (for Yukon/Alaska NWT trip for 2015)
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Old 02-28-2017, 07:04 AM   #6
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I just checked your specs and you are right with 14" tires rated at 1760 lbs x 4 tires = 7040 lbs max. You are at the max for tires ...looks like the same tires they use on the 22 ft -29 '...wow.
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It was a rainy few days at Algonquin Prov park...tarps kept us dry.
Wayne --Belle River (Windsor), Ontario
2013 Sunset Trail Reserve 25RB..
2015 White Chev Silverado 2500HD 4x4 (6.0 l gasser)
1997 Lance SL 185 Truck Camper (for Yukon/Alaska NWT trip for 2015)
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Old 02-28-2017, 07:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Remember to angle the awning about 2 " either to the front or back for rain run off.
Funny, I've heard that advice several times, but it just now clicked and made sense to me. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by harley
About the blue drain hose . That "y"set up is ok for on the site sewers but personally at dump stations ,I would only use 1 hose to drain the front tanks (black then grey), then pull forward and drain rear tank ,them rinse hose and store. It will be faster at dump station especially when trailers waiting behind you. You will understand what I am saying when you get caught behind a guy that spends time farting around when draining is done. Have fun.
The hose is what the dealer gave us. It's not the best quality either. I was figuring we'd use it a couple more times until we have a better idea of what we're doing, then make a decision at that point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harley View Post
One more question ...are you sure they are 14" tires?? that size trsiler should have 225 -15's at 65 lbs.
Yup, they're 205/75/14's. Dry weight on the trailer is only 5600#'s. That's why we went with the Sunset Trail Super Lite. All the other comparable trailers were 500-1000#'s heavier, and max tow on the TV is 6800#'s.
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:13 PM   #8
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Congrats on your new trailer! I'm looking at the SS291RK as well, and my TV will be, like you, a RAM 1500. My RAM is a 2015 and I bought it to tow, so it has a max towing rating of 10,200.

My question for you, how did your RAM feel when towing in the winds and rains? My girlfriend is worried about the length and wind sheer when getting passed by big rigs, or the occasional gust.

Oh, I really like how you used that small fencing to block the underside of your trailer! What is it, and where can I get it?

Thanks, and again, congrats!
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Old 02-28-2017, 08:09 PM   #9
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Congrats on your new trailer! I'm looking at the SS291RK as well, and my TV will be, like you, a RAM 1500. My RAM is a 2015 and I bought it to tow, so it has a max towing rating of 10,200.

My question for you, how did your RAM feel when towing in the winds and rains? My girlfriend is worried about the length and wind sheer when getting passed by big rigs, or the occasional gust.

Oh, I really like how you used that small fencing to block the underside of your trailer! What is it, and where can I get it?

Thanks, and again, congrats!
The fencing is 2'x8' PVC lattice from Lowes that I cut into 4' sections with a circular saw to be able to store easier in the rig. The section that goes under the stairs I cut a notch with razor snips (they look like a big pair of snips, but the blade is a standard utility razor blade) so it slides on either side of the stair well. I used fiberglass electric fence posts to anchor the ends, and zip tied the stairwell piece to the stair frame, then ziptied each 4' section to eachother with a little overlap, and to the fiberglass posts on the end. It held well, but our dogs are well behaved. A big crazy dog could probably get out.

As for the truck...this is the first large or heavy trailer I've pulled, and I'm still trying to figure out how much to torque down the anti-sway bar. While driving through the rains and wind the trailer was moving around a lot, and I could feel the truck getting pulled around a bit. After torquing down the sway bar a little more it seemed to handle better, but it still moves around. It's a really long and light weight trailer, and I don't know if I can realistically eliminate the sway. Semis/busses/trucks do yank the trailer over a bit when they pass, and I've just had to get used to keeping an eye on traffic and being prepared for it. Again, I'm new at this, so I don't know how normal that is.

Mine has the 6-speed with tow package and the shorter rear end, so my max tow is about 6800#'s. I averaged 8-9mpg, but other than downshifting on some of the bigger overpass inclines, it towed it well. I have a Tekonsha P3 brake controller also, which is a huge help. It stops really well.
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Old 03-03-2017, 09:35 AM   #10
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 27
Nice rig, you should have lots of good times with it. As far as towing, I measure the TV front wheel well height with the truck empty. Then tension the bars so I get the same height hitched and fully loaded. My 1/2 ton with 400#s in the bed and 4450# Z1 sits one inch lower in the rear when the front is the same as unloaded. Setup the hitch so the loaded trailer is level front to back when hitched to the loaded truck. Then make sure the hitch ball is 90 degrees to the tounge. This should get you close to the safest and easiest driving setup. Also, crank the sway bar down as hard as you can by hand, the replacement pads are cheap. Happy Trails

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