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Old 04-19-2013, 02:33 PM   #1
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2013 Surveyor 220 review

Traded our 2010 Surveyor 186 for a 2013 Surveyor SP220. The 186 has been a great trailer for us, but the new one, being about five feet longer and a foot wider, gives us a lot more extra moving-around space and storage. We love the new trailer. Here are some observations from our maiden voyage of two nights:

On our way out of town we took the trailer by the dealership to let them take a photo of a bad spot on the dinette upholstery. It's not bad, but we think it could be trouble later. They don't think FR will do anything about it now, but they took a photo to keep on file in case it later becomes an issue.

That is the only real flaw we could find in the fit and finish. We like the horseshoe dinette/couch and the freestanding table that can be removed or lowered to coffee table level. The table is very stable. The dinette is in the slideout.

This brings up the only negative aspect of the camper so far, which is that the bathroom can not be accessed when the slide is in. So if we need to use the bathroom on the go, it will require a few extra seconds to roll the slide out so it doesn't block the bathroom door. Not a deal-breaker by any means.

We actually love the bathroom because it has two gigantic closets, a little tub and a very cool radius shower curtan that slides on a curved metal track. Not a drop of water gets out while showering.

There is also decent storage in the kitchen, three cabinets above the slideout, a large pantry beside the slideout with drawers underneath and two more small closets on either side of the bed, plus storage above the bed and underneath it, too. The outside pass-through goes all the way through and is lighted.

There's also storage space in the bottom of the entertainment center, which is floor-to-ceiling at the foot of the bed and features a TV that spins around for viewing from the bed or the dinette. There are sliding louvers on either side of the entertainment center to make the sleeping area more private.

As for the entertainment center, we were delighted that the Concertone junk that was in our old camper is not in this one. We got a nice Jensen stereo/DVD system and a Jensen TV. We like both a lot. The TV antenna does not crank up or rotate. It is mounted slightly above the roof level of the camper, and it gave us very good reception. We had some trouble receiving cable TV, and now the camper is back at the shop to have a cable board replaced. No big deal. The TV can be lifted off the entertainment center and attached to a fitting for outdoor viewing.

There are lots of power outlets in this trailer and lots of lights.

The electric awning worked well, and the only downside we see to it is that, unlike the manual awnings, it does not go down into a low position where it's easy to clean the top or underside. We'll have to use a ladder for that, but we think it's a small concession for having the convenience of speed when rolling the awning in or out.

The coolest thing is the LED awning lights. They are in a dedicated slot that goes the entire length of the metal awning reel. At night they light up the whole door side of the camper.

There's a fold-down bike rack across the back of the camper, but we'll probably only use it for hauling coolers and grills and such. We're told it will support 350 pounds, although the brochure says 250.

Aside from the couple of minor glitches mentioned, everything worked, and everything was tight and dry. We love the camper.

I hope this might be helpful to anyone interested in the Surveyor 220, and I will be glad to answer any questions.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:36 PM   #2
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Nice to hear you love it and nice review!
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:47 AM   #3
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We (DW and I) just picked up our 220 on the 18th and headed straight out camping. I agree with everything you said. This is our first hard shell (traded in our pop-up) and we absolutly love it. We can live with the bathroom being blocked but I do wish the table was a little bit longer.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:09 PM   #4
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I know what you mean about the table. We're still trying to figure out how to best situate four people around it for meals. There are only two of us, but we like having our friends in for meals if the weather is bad.

With just us, we eat side-by-side with our backs to the window. We tried sitting near the ends of the couch to see how comfortable an additional two guests would be, and it seemed a little awkward.

As an experiment, we bought two very light plastic folding chairs (just $15 each) from Walmart, and our plan is for us (when we have guests) to sit in the chairs in the "hallway" while our guests sit across from us with their backs to the window. We think the chairs will fit under the bed when not in use. Of course, this is all subject to change.

When entertaining without a meal, we think the couch would be very comfortable for four people. We may just fold up the table and put it on our bed in that situation.

We have always liked having our own bathroom when on the road. Always seems cleaner than most of the high-traffic facilities in restaurants or rest areas. Just takes a few seconds to roll out the slide far enough to open the bathroom door, so we'll probably do that. We'll just have to make sure we've got enough room to deploy the slideout wherever we've stopped.

We hope you'll keep in touch. I'm sure we'll both be learning more and more things to share about our new campers. We had a pop-up and then a 20-foot Surveyor, but this SP 220 has lots of things that are new to us.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:20 AM   #5
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We are considering the folding table approach as well. We also camp with friends (that just purchased a new Vibe) and like to eat together as well as play cards. For just the wife and I, she sits by the window and I sit at the end watching the TV (we don't get any channels where we camp but we found that we can hook up our smart phones to it and have a slide show of pictures scroll on the TV)
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:48 AM   #6
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We are considering the folding table approach as well. We also camp with friends (that just purchased a new Vibe) and like to eat together as well as play cards. For just the wife and I, she sits by the window and I sit at the end watching the TV (we don't get any channels where we camp but we found that we can hook up our smart phones to it and have a slide show of pictures scroll on the TV)
That's a great idea, using the smart phone.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:32 AM   #7
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Here are a few glitches we discovered in our 220 in its second outing: On the first trip we had no cable TV, so had it in the shop to get a cable board replaced. On this trip we had great cable TV but no 12-volt power from the entertainment center forward. So no bedroom lights, no stereo, no antenna booster.

Then we found a piece of wood with two screws in it jammed under the edge of the slideout on the interior. Investigation showed that the wooden storage area on the right side of the couch had collapsed and was partially resting on the floor. So when it got time to bring the slide back in, one of us had to support the storage bin while the other pressed the button, so the bin didn't scratch the floor. We had some items in storage there, but I don't think the weight was excessive enough to cause a failure.

One of the drawers under the kitchen sink, which had had the latch repaired by the dealership after our first outing, was open when we got to the campground. When I reached underneath to check the latch, a screw fell out. Because it's on the very bottom drawer, I couldn't get down there to see what is going on, but the shop will need to fix it again.

We noticed that one of the side panels on the medicine cabinet is warped and one corner has pulled away from the main part of the cabinet.

One of the privacy curtains beside the entertainment center will not line up with the latch on the wall in order to snap shut.

Although there have been a number of problems during our first month with this camper, we are really enjoying it and will get these things resolved. We just hope this will be helpful to other 220 owners as they go through the process of finding the inevitable glitches.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:30 AM   #8
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Sorry to hear about the second outing glitches. We are heading out on our second trip this weekend. I will post back if we have any problems.

Do you know what knocked out the front haff DC power?
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:45 AM   #9
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Sorry to hear about the second outing glitches. We are heading out on our second trip this weekend. I will post back if we have any problems.

Do you know what knocked out the front haff DC power?
We and the service people both think it was something they did when they fixed the cable TV problem. The entertainment center is where the problem seems to start, and they said there are a lot of wires there where they were working.

They think they may have compromised some other wire in there which blew a fuse and continued to blow fuses when we tried to replace them. Should be a fairly easy fix when they track it down. Luckily the 120 outlets in the bedroom continued to work, so we could plug in lamps in there.

Yes, please let us know how your second outing goes. We hope it's trouble-free.
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:49 AM   #10
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We've had a few issues as well, luckily nothing that I couldn't fix.

We also noticed that the privacy screen didn't align with the tab on the wall. Another time out it did align. It depends on how you have your camper jacked up. It is easy to slightly twist the camper by having unequal pressure on the jacks.
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:46 AM   #11
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I am worried that I will jinx myself but we are currently in trip two and we haven't had any major issues. We Havant used our privacy screens but we did try them. Only thing I have seen are some irregular readings on the tank levels. Coming from a pop up I am not used to these yet. I'm not sure if some of this is normal.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:26 AM   #12
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We have completed our second trip out and no major issues. The only problem (other than the sensors) is a small water leak in the back of the toliet. I tried to tighten it up (very difficult to reach) so we will see how it goes next time. Oh yeah, DW stepped on the vacuum cord while it was plugged in and ripped the outlet out of the wall. Can't blame Forest River for that one. Luckily it was an easy fix.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:25 AM   #13
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Tanddc: Glad you guys are still only seeing minor issues. All of ours got fixed at the dealership in a timely fashion, and we're heading out now for a four-night trip. They discovered that the piece of wood I pulled from under the pantry had been an un-needed piece left there by workmen. When the slide moved, the wood got jimmied under the storage bin on that end of the couch and pried it loose so that it touched the floor. Now fixed, but could have been a real problem.

I'm not sure how you could really look under there to see if debris has been left.

As for your toilet leak, I had that to happen sporadically with my previous camper, a Surveyor 186. There would be a small puddle, then no problem for months and months (we camp at least once a month). I think I would just keep an eye on it.

I don't know about the tank sensors. My black tank always showed full after about the first trip on the 186, but I think the flush system will help that in the new one.

We'll report back next week. By the way, we are deliriously happy with the incredible extra storage space as opposed to our previous 20-footer. Coming from a pop-up, which we have previously had, you must be on Cloud Nine. Keep enjoying it.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:17 AM   #14
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Yes we are on cloud 9! Not just the storage but a bathroom. New camper $15,000 plus. Not having to walk my wife to the restroom at 3:00 AM. Priceless.
Good luck on your trip! We are back out the 17th. Camping is addictive.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:58 AM   #15
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Yes we are on cloud 9! Not just the storage but a bathroom. New camper $15,000 plus. Not having to walk my wife to the restroom at 3:00 AM. Priceless.
Good luck on your trip! We are back out the 17th. Camping is addictive.
Yes, and it's a great bathroom. We love the radius shower curtain and the gigantic closets. Just wish we could access it with the slide closed, but that's a minor detail. Have fun on the next trip.

You are right about it being addictive. In the past eight years we have made it a point to go camping once a month, year-round. We've only missed two Januarys. In our nice N.C. weather, it wasn't too cold to camp, but just too cold to go outside and hook up the camper. That heat duct in the bathroom is nice, too. Didn't have it on our last camper.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:08 PM   #16
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We just got back from our fifth trip in our 220. We replaced the dinette table with two small folding tables. Loved them. Most of the time we only need one table, but they are very lightweight, so I can move them around for all kinds of uses. This was also the first trip with the new foam in the dinette cushions. These two things made the trip much more comfortable.

Haven't had much in the way of glitches. Just this trip, I figured out that the TV isn't hooked up to the DVD player OR the antenna. We don't use the TV much, but the weather was bad one day and Dh wanted to watch a movie. I ended up just hooking the TV up to my laptop. As for the antenna, I just figured, we were always in low signal spots to begin with. Since we won't camp again until Sept-Oct. We'll have our local dealer, fix that and add a couple of other things
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:34 AM   #17
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Stephanie,

What size are the tables you are using? We have thrown the idea around of doing the same thing but with one table. Also, where did you get the foam for your cushions? We were thinking about adding memory foam to the bottom just to add a little more give but I am not convinced it is worth the extra weight.

Mjones12,

All the ducts are nice! The only heat we had in the pup was an electric plug in heater. It had to be run with nothing else on. No microwave and worse yet, no coffee! A furnace with a thermostat while camping is almost alien to me.

We try to go every other week in the summer until our vacation days run out.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:48 AM   #18
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We purchased these tables at Staples. For most meals, one table is perfect for just the two of us. We use two when we need a bit more room. Very lightweight, but pretty sturdy. Easy to store in the bath or to take out side.
Sudden Solutions™ 30" Personal Folding Table | Staples®

For the foam, I went to a local upholstery shop and purchased their most dense cushion foam. It was a green foam, similar to memory foam, but not quite as heavy. Dh goes to bed early, like 8pm and I like to stay up late and read, the old cushions weren't comfortable for that.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:51 AM   #19
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Thanks for the tip! We don't spend a lot of time sitting on ours but it doesn't take long to start taking its toll.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:00 PM   #20
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I can't tell you how much more I like these tables than the one it came with. These aren't as pretty, but much more useful. I can flip it around and use it for counter space, one will just fit between the entertainment center and lounge, if I want to hook my laptop up to the tv. And If I stub my toe on the base, it doesn't hurt nearly as bad.

I looked at a lot of tables, and a lot of different bases for the table we had.
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