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Old 08-20-2013, 07:43 PM   #1
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New Guy, Lots of Questions

Ok, here's my story.

Always wanted a camper, never had one, borrowed one from wife's cousin one time, and loved it. It was a 25'+ with a slide out. Only hooked up electricity, not water or sewer.

Just found a 2008 micro-lite 18fb, from an 80 year old man, who bought it new and used 2 times, most of the items have not been used and are still in the box. He has everything that I will need and more that is going with it.

So here are my questions:
1--have a 04 Toyota sienna, 6 cyl, front wheel drive....just put a hitch on it, van is rated 3500 lbs, I was told by man at u haul, that if I had electric brake box added and stabilizer bar on it, that it would increase my towing capacity to 5000 lbs. so agree, disagree, comments?

2--any pros or cons on this particular model from other owners

Any other feedback, words of wisdom, tricks of the trade, do's, dont's, suggestions, etc. I'm all ears

By the way, the majority of the time, it will just be me and my 15 year old son, and/or my wife. It says its only rated for 4 people

Thanks in advance for the feedback.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:07 PM   #2
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This is your towing capacity w/ a towing package. (Not sure what that includes) Sienna - 3.3LV-6 - 3,500 You can find this information here:

http://www.trailerlife.com/wp-conten...Guide-2004.pdf
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:11 PM   #3
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This is not a 2004 but it may be close:

Micro Lite Travel Trailer Specifications by Forest River

You should have a sticker on the trailer that will give a ball park estimate of the weight.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:17 PM   #4
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Welcome Slick--TN!!

What does your owners manual say about towing capaticy for your van? An electric brake controller does NOT increase towing capacity, but stopping distance.

Its not a stabilizer bar but a weigt distrubuting hitch. And again its about what the VAN can safely tow. Does you van having a towing package, transmission cooler?

Do your home work before you get a trailer to tow. So many people buy trailers that are way tooo big and heavy fro them to tow. Dealers will tell you anything to sell an rv.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLICK--TN View Post
So here are my questions:
1--have a 04 Toyota sienna, 6 cyl, front wheel drive....just put a hitch on it, van is rated 3500 lbs, I was told by man at u haul, that if I had electric brake box added and stabilizer bar on it, that it would increase my towing capacity to 5000 lbs. so agree, disagree, comments?
A brake controller is needed but does not increase your tow capacity. A stabilizer bar would may make it handle better but will not increase your towing capacity.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:19 PM   #6
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2008 Forest River Flagstaff Micro-Lite 18FD Specifications

Wheels & Tires: Wheels Composition SteelNumber Of Axles 2Rear Tire (Full Spec) 13 Inch Tires Brakes: Rear Brake Type Electric Drum Technical Specifications: Length (ft/m) 21.08 / 6.4Width (in/mm) 96 / 2438.4Height (in/mm) 105 / 2667Interior Height (in/mm) 78 / 1981.2Length (ft/ft) 21Length (ft/in) 1Dry Weight (lbs/kg) 2849 / 1292.3Payload Capacity (lbs/kgs) 1670 / 757.5GVWR (lbs/kgs) 4519 / 2049.8Hitch Weight (lbs/kgs) 69 / 31.3Capacities StandardNumber Of Fresh Water Holding Tanks 1Total Fresh Water Tank Capacity (gal/l) 31 / 117.3Number Of Gray Water Holding Tanks 1Total Gray Water Tank Capacity (gal/l) 35 / 94.6Number Of Black Water Holding Tanks 1Total Black Water Tank Capacity (gal/l) 25 / 94.6Propane Tank (s) StandardNumber Of Propane Tanks 2Total Propane Tank Capacity (gal/lbs) 9.4 / 40
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:24 PM   #7
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This is your van. MAXIMUM TOWING CAPACITY** 3500 lbs.MAXIMUM PAYLOAD** 1570 lbs.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:24 PM   #8
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I have a 2109S and it is 4774 lbs and my original tow vehicle was a Honda Ridgeline. by the time everything was loaded (chairs, beer, outside table, beer, grill, food, beer, clothes, propane, beer,) it struggled. I now have a new tow vehicle.
IMHO, I think your tow vehicle is too small and the frame may not handle a weight distributing hitch.
Search this forum for towing weights, GVW and there is a host of threads. There may be a sticky on it.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:26 PM   #9
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here's a link to the 2008 Flagstaff brochure:
http://ddrvandauto.com/brochure/fore...8flagstaff.pdf

there is no 18FB. there's a 18FD or 18FBR though and both are WWAAYY too much trailer for your minivan.
adding the 400+lbs. for the "options" that aren't included in the dry weight, plus the battery, propane, water and cargo and either will easily exceed the 3500lbs. of the Sienna, which is only IF it has the factory tow package.

and your Uhaul guy is an idiot and doesn't know what he's talking about.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:34 PM   #10
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Bikendan is right!
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:04 AM   #11
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Minivans can tow a small pop-up or a boat and that's about it. I wouldn't tow a regular travel trailer with a minivan, ever.

Sorry, but you need a different trailer or tow vehicle.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:39 AM   #12
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If your tow rating is for 3,500 lbs, adding a WD hitch will not increase what the van can pull (3,500 lbs). In my case my truck can pull 5,700 lbs (that is what it can tow, there is another payload rating for what is also in the truck) but my Class III hitch was only rated for 3,500 lbs (I think). By adding a WD hitch, I can increase that rating to 6000 lbs (but still limited to the 5,700 lbs truck rating).

And as already said, factory towing package is a must (or 3rd party that does the same).
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:46 AM   #13
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Good to have you here!

As others have said, I don't think this is a good setup for you.


It sounds like your van is maxed at a 3,500lbs towing cap and this unit will be at least that much in real life (with cargo, battery, a little water and propane). A (very) basic rule of thumb is to stay at 80% of your vehicles tow cap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SLICK--TN View Post

So here are my questions:
1--have a 04 Toyota sienna, 6 cyl, front wheel drive....just put a hitch on it, van is rated 3500 lbs, I was told by man at u haul, that if I had electric brake box added and stabilizer bar on it, that it would increase my towing capacity to 5000 lbs. so agree, disagree, comments? You cannot increase the manufacturer's tow ratings on a vehicle. The vehicle's weakest link defines its weight limitations. This might be the suspension, springs, tires, axles or any other weight-bearing portion of the chassis. You can try to find the weakest link and modify it but even that doesn't change the sticker.

Also, It sounds like your minivan does not have a tow package on it. A towing package may include a heavy duty radiator, battery, flasher system, alternator, suspension, and brakes, as well as an engine-oil cooler, transmission-oil cooler, wiring harness, specific axle ratio, and special wheels and tires.

So, your capacities are what they are. I know that backyard mechanics will insist that you can change these to tow a bigger trailer, but you need to go by the certification sticker and manual that lists your towing capacities.

2--any pros or cons on this particular model from other owners

Any other feedback, words of wisdom, tricks of the trade, do's, dont's, suggestions, etc. I'm all ears

Its good that you are reaching out to ask questions before you commit to a setup. Feel free to browse the forum and ask specific questions as they come to mind.

By the way, the majority of the time, it will just be me and my 15 year old son, and/or my wife. It says its only rated for 4 people

I would suggest you consider a popup, R-Pod, or an A-frame (hard sided popup in Flagstaff terminology). These would also fit your family, as they come with at least one bed and the dinette can be made into a bed.


Thanks in advance for the feedback.
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:14 PM   #14
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Thanks for the feedback everyone, actually talked to the bank today about the rv, and was told that with it being an '08 model the value was only rated at $6000, and owner is asking $8000....he had it at $10,000.
I know it is in great shape and only used twice, but still, the value is the value, so just wondering if its worth paying $2000 more for something than what it's worth, vs. buying one that us $5000-$6000 but has been used and abused.
I know its a judgement call, but just trying to make a smart decision since this will be my 1st.
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:28 PM   #15
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Seems the price of the trailer isn't the problem at this point.

The trailer is just too heavy.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:17 PM   #16
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Theresa

Agreed, after all the great feedback, plans are already in the works to update our towing vehicle.

Now, just concerned about the value vs what we would be paying

Plus can't help but wonder if I wouldn't be better off getting something a little bigger.

Just afraid that the 18', only being able to sleep 4 would be too small and we would want to upgrade, so why not do it first.

Had same scenario happen with my motorcycle and regret not going bigger the 1st time.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:41 PM   #17
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If you went with a cheaper camper, lets say 5 or 6000, the bank will just come back and tell you its only worth 2000. It will always be that way. They go by the blue book. You're never going to win. If someone is selling their camper for 8000, try to lower em up a bit, but don't expect people to sell their units for blue book. Its unrealistic. If that were the case then they would just take the loss trading it in at the dealer. Why go through the hassle of trying to sell it on their own?? Most people still have a hellova loan on their campers. Their just trying to not take too much of a loss. If you've found a gem with no problems and barely used, and looks real nice, then I say go for it!
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLICK--TN View Post
Theresa

Agreed, after all the great feedback, plans are already in the works to update our towing vehicle.

Now, just concerned about the value vs what we would be paying

Plus can't help but wonder if I wouldn't be better off getting something a little bigger.

Just afraid that the 18', only being able to sleep 4 would be too small and we would want to upgrade, so why not do it first.

Had same scenario happen with my motorcycle and regret not going bigger the 1st time.

Remember too, if you are looking for something "bigger" alot of trailers claim to sleep 8 but remember kids grow quick so you want to be sure it sleeps adult size ppl comfy or you be upgrading sooner then you think.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLICK--TN View Post
Theresa

Agreed, after all the great feedback, plans are already in the works to update our towing vehicle.

Now, just concerned about the value vs what we would be paying

Plus can't help but wonder if I wouldn't be better off getting something a little bigger.

Just afraid that the 18', only being able to sleep 4 would be too small and we would want to upgrade, so why not do it first.

Had same scenario happen with my motorcycle and regret not going bigger the 1st time.
The camper is 'brand new', and I am sure in very good shape and this gentleman should get the 8gs for it.... But I don't think it is for you.....

1) By your statement above.... I think that the camper is already to small for you.... I have three kids and had a 30 foot camper... it was fine as long as the kids were small... they grew up... I now have a 36 foot camper.

2) You will need a bigger tow vehicle just for this camper. If you get a large tow vehicle... then get a larger camping unit that you will have for at least 5-7 years. Do not 'buy' a smaller one now and think to trade it in a yer or two... you will lose your axx on the devaluation. (my last camper I had for 15 years)

3) This smaller camper has 5 year old tires on them.... the tread is 'new', but the life of the tire is gone and an accident waiting to happen.
Being new to RVing, you do not want anything bad to happen so add 4 new tires and a new spare to the costs...


Pass on this 'good deal'.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
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3) This smaller camper has 5 year old tires on them.... the tread is 'new', but the life of the tire is gone and an accident waiting to happen.
Being new to RVing, you do not want anything bad to happen so add 4 new tires and a new spare to the costs...


Pass on this 'good deal'.
plus eleventy on this....

and additionally, depending on where it's located, was it winterized properly each year?

was it maintained properly while it was sitting...roof inspected, etc. ?

Lots to contemplate. These rigs take a lot to maintain, even when just sitting.

I found this listing for an 18frb...there's a weight document there, but look at the dealer's 'asking price'.
2007 Flagstaff 18FBR Travel Trailer for Sale [Stock No. ND095051]
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