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Old 09-22-2011, 06:57 PM   #1
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Question Mini ETC or Micro XLT

The wife and I have decided to get away from it all on the weekends and due to a budget we are looking at ultra lite travel trailers. I am really close to being convinced on the mini ETC or Micro XLT sight unseen as there are none to be found in southern California. If anyone has any suggestions on where and how to get a hold of one of these or at least see one please feel free to make suggestions.

My primary concerns are towing. I have a Honda Odyssey van and at all of the dealers that I have gone to for other trailers I have had mixed results. Some say there will be no problem as long as I don't over do it on cargo and some say it won't work. The ones that say it won't work I question their motives in trying to sell me a class C. Any inputs?

My other questions are just requesting general comments on quality, issues to beware of and just how cramped might this be for my wife, 2 toddlers, 2 Boxers and myself as this may end up being a purchase without actually stepping foot in the trailer. I do love the options of these.
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:24 PM   #2
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I own a Mini Lite ETC 185- that model has two bunks and a queen murphy bed. I love the layout and I've been happy with it, but I would have to say that I had some issues with the first one I ordered from RV Wholesalers. When I went to pick it up, it had a significant water leak...so a new one ordered, which I have had since June. I just recently discovered a small leak on one bunk bed, but not sure yet where the water is coming from and after a recent rain, it was dry, so hopefully, it will be something easy to fix. Otherwise, great layout- love the murphy bed option. I would say with 4 people (even though two are only toddlers) and 2 dogs, you may find it is going to get crowded inside. It's doable, it just depends what you are able to put up with. I find that three people is comfortable, more than that and it gets tight. There are other layouts, however, but again, you have to look at the weight. Note that the actual weight was approximately 300-400 lbs more than the dry weight in the brochure for my unit. I tow with a crossover SUV with a 3500 lbs towing capacity and weight distribution hitch. It tows it fine, but I will probably get a bigger TV next car.
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:45 PM   #3
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I hope your kids get along better than ours did. We started out with two boys and two dogs in a 19' camper and it would get a bit intense on rainy days! We only lasted a year in it before moving to a larger bunkhouse camper.
I now have a Micro Lite 25DS which is the big brother to the series you are looking at. We had some quality issues when we first purchased it but 90% of the problems should have been caught by the dealer who did little to nothing to it from the time they took delivery to when they handed us the keys. Now that we have had it a while I have grown quite fond of it and have had no problems in quite a while. I am impressed with the quality of the benches and cabinets for such a lighweight unit. The one thing that does bug me though is the floor - it is so thin it flexes in spots when you walk on it.
You are quite limited if you are not planning on getting a new tow vehicle for a while though. You could also consider a pop up or a hybrid, they will give you more room inside but will keep the weight down.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:32 PM   #4
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for one thing, all the Mini ETC and Micro XLT trailers have GVWRs over the 3500lbs. tow capacity of the Ody.

one has a GVWR of 3552lbs., the Mini ETC 185. it's the only one that the Ody has a chance to be able to tow.
and you need to read up on frontal size limitations in your owner's manual.

and with a family of 4 and two large dogs, any TT that the Ody can tow will be very small.

IMHO, i would never tow a full-height TT with a minivan. only the Astro minivan had the right stuff. ladder frame construction, rear wheel drive, 4.3 Vortec v-6 with lots of torque.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:28 PM   #5
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IMHO, i would never tow a full-height TT with a minivan. only the Astro minivan had the right stuff. ladder frame construction, rear wheel drive, 4.3 Vortec v-6 with lots of torque.

Spoken by a true Chevy person. There were others, the Aerostar had a full frame, almost like a Ford Ranger. Now, not wanting to start a war just wanting to point out, there are options. I don't know the specs on your vehicle, you'll have to look them up. If you need help help figuring them out, post in the towing thread. Then post your trailer specs as well, and we'll help as we can. DO YOUR HOME WORK, so you'll be a happy camper.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:29 PM   #6
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If you are in the general area there's the RV show in Pomona in mid October.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:09 AM   #7
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windrider, i actually owned an Explorer and a Ranger before my Avalanche. i pulled my popups with both.

the Aerostar on a Ranger frame is something i've never heard. but its engine was nowhere near the power of the 4.3 Vortec.
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:59 AM   #8
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Ovidson21

I have the ETC 181 and just returned from 3 week 4751 km trip including White Mountains,NH towing with 2002 Tundra V8. No issues towing in mountains. CAT scale measured 3325 loaded so trailer maybe too much for the Ody. Very nice layout with many features of larger trailers. Its OK for two people but abit cramped on rainy days. I would go for a TT that had a sofa next time. Also the Murphy bed must be tied down or can close on its own if someone is lying at the hinge point as happened to my wife.
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:10 PM   #9
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I guess I should have added my weights and measurements. The 2010 Odyssey can tow up to 3500# and has an allowable tongue weight of 350#. Also there is a GCVWR of around 8500#. I know I will need the PS and tranny cooler (so they say) to keep my warranty. I will most likely get a WDH hitch.

I was looking at the ETC 185 or the XLT 18FD which are basically both the same models. Some of the differences that I have seen around the web are that the ETC has a rubber roof and plastic windows compared to the fiberglass roof and glass windows. I am a little worried about quality as well. The only reviews and forums that I have seen state that they all had problems with leaks or something was not working. I know that not many people are going to post as much when there is nothing wrong, but this does concern me.

I have also looked at the RPOD and some other brands like MPG and Visa. The RPOD seems like it is the easiest for me to see and purchase, there are a couple of MPG's around as well, but I have not looked at them. The wife really wants a real bathroom rather than the wetbath and I do not want to mess with the Wife Acceptance Factor. I do not blame her, that bathroom is small. I am not a big guy, but that was tight.

Terier- I will be going to the Pomona RV show in October, thanks for letting me know about that.

Thanks to everyone for all the comments.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:47 PM   #10
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The ETC and XLT both have fiberglass roofs but the remainder of the mini lite series uses the alpha (rubber) roofing. The dry hitch is 367 for the 185. Due to Murphy bed. You can count on the loaded hitch weight to be higher. (UVW is higher than dry weight when adding propane, battery and options i.e. BBQ) I havent had any leaks during our trip and we had very wet trip. Overall quality has been great (except for how the safety latch for the Murphy bed was designed). The ETC is IMO too much trailer for they Ody
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