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Old 12-05-2018, 09:14 AM   #1
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New Surveyor SC 189 Owner

This weekend we will be taking delivery of a 2013 SC189. We jumped through many hoops before finding this unit. It is about as close to new as one could be. Only camped in about 10 times...the owner hates camping (wife-yes, him-no) and really had almost no knowledge of the camper. We have a 40' Allegro Bus and two other pull behinds but decided we wanted something smaller, less/no canvas, small slide, good floor-plan and 7' wide! Well, we found it.

When we first looked at the camper it was raining. The camper was not set up (as in level and stabilized). We opened the slide. Towards the end of our inspection I noticed some water puddled between the slide and the bed. Obviously there was fresh water intrusion. There was zero evidence of any previous water staining or damage. So my assumption is that the trailer may have been tilting to the right a bit. In hindsight...it is possible the owner didn't open the slide fully (honestly I wasn't watching closely). Since there was obviously no signs of previous water damage...I am really not worried about it.

That said...I really want to put an awning over the slide out. The 14' slide on our bus has one and I believe it is an easy way to help insure against most water issues, plus, it keeps the top clean.

I would appreciate any "new owner" info that would be beneficial to me for this model or similar models. I have no desire to re-invent the wheel when there are people that can provide good info.

We will be towing this with our slightly off-road modified Lexus GX470. We greatly enjoy exploring back roads and trails. While we are not rock-crawlers or mud-boggers...a little off-road challenge can be fun. But...we always want to protect the environment (not tear up the road/trail) and don't want to break the vehicle!

We are looking forward to owning this camper and being part of the Surveyor/Forest River family.
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Old 12-09-2018, 01:22 PM   #2
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I'm a bit concerned with the relative size of the trailer compared to the tow vehicle. Using rough rules of thumb... The estimated trailer weight would be 4500-5000# loaded for a trip (empty plus a generous ~1500#), well within the book spec on tow capacity. Your trailer has ~50 sq. ft. of frontal area. I couldn't find a frontal area spec for your tow vehicle, but that's going to really eat into your mileage at the very best. The added drag also affects the apparent weight of the trailer with respect to the tow capacity. You're also adding ~700-750# (15% of the gross trailer weight) of tongue weight (check the limits on the actual hitch) which eats significantly into your ~1500# payload (check the actual numbers inside the drivers door frame) and may exceed the rear GAWR.

I recommend that you check out the Towing, Tow Vehicles, Hitches & Toads forum on this site. I also recommend that you look into a weight distributing hitch with sway control mostly because you're putting a rather large sail behind a rather small tow vehicle and you're getting really close to capacity. Finally, you should take a trip to the scales (CAT Scales are good) with your expected load, including passenger(s) and trailer loaded for camping, so you know the actual numbers you're dealing with.

I'm not saying it won't work. I'm sure there are lots of folks who'll say it works for them just fine. There are also those who'll recommend a diesel F350 dually, with tongue in cheek I hope. Personally, I don't think the combo is a good fit but, I'm not the one using it. The scales and the stickers on the vehicles will define the truth.

I hope it works out for you. Welcome to the family.
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Old 12-09-2018, 02:20 PM   #3
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Mark,
Thank you for the welcome and for the information you provided. I have looked at the numbers and things should be fine. Our goal is to keep things as light as possible...and still have everything we need.

Agree about a trip to the scales. We have a 40' Allegro Bus...so I am familiar with using the scales at various truckstops.

Friday, I towed the trailer about 165 miles. I only had about a 1.5" drop after adding the trailer. I pumped up the rear overload bags a bit to raise the rear about 1". That left me with basically a 1/2" droop. Since the WDH that came with the trailer was WAY out of adjustment for me, I didn't bother using the WDH. But, I did connect both sway bars. The 165 mile ride was completely uneventful (well...almost). No bad behaviors. It remained rock stead all the way to 80 MPH. No induced sway and very little up-down travel over bouncy areas of the road. It appears if I stay around 60-62 my MPG is going to hit around 10.2 - 10.5. I typically tow our other camper and my tractor around those speeds anyway...so I don't mind the slower pace.

The "well....almost..." part! I had aired up all the tires to 50 PSI. Everything looked good, no visible tire problems. I had previously pulled the specs on the tires and took a tread measurement. Over all, just a little over 1/32" wear. Basically new. They were the original 2013 tires (based on the DOT date stamp on the tires). My plan was to replace them after we had it home. About 35 miles into the trip, we heard a loud thud...followed by a mild vibration. We stopped immediately. The right rear on the trailer had blown apart in the tread area! I swapped out to the spare and we continued onward. Yep...I will be replacing all the tires before our next trip. So that search starts today.

So, we made it to our local campground on our way home and quickly got things set up. We took our time to go through systems, storage and starting developing our weight distribution plan for our stuff. It was a nice evening! It started raining Saturday morning and never stopped until late Saturday night. We do have a confirmed water leak on the slide. I honestly could not tell where it was originating. But I found the track it was following to where it was dripping to the floor. I tucked some paper towel in that area and put the tails of the towel in a glass to collect the water. Better there than soaking into the floor/wall area! I have a couple of areas I will be looking at and also reading about where most folks are finding leaks. I believe it is coming from the lower half of the slide.

My worst fears were confirmed as I tried to shower in the micro-shower...although I was away of this going in... Too tiny and trying to keep water confined is a complete joke. I know I will be adding wings, a better shower curtain and the curtain will be weighted at the bottom to help keep it inside the micro-shower.

The mattress has got to be at least 1/2 of the total trailer weight...Dang! It also fits so tight that it can't be made unless you physically lift the mattress and pull it out and onto the counter top. This allowed enough room for Kathy to secure things against the front wall side. Even lifting the mattress and the storage deck(with its lift assist cylinders) is crazy difficult. I will be ordering a new, and lighter mattress, that will be of the foam variant. That will allow me to cut a few inches off of width and length to make making the bed much easier.

HVAC thermostat... This is a combined unit that leaves a lot to be desired (it is also possible that I still don't understand the directions or I am expecting more than it can deliver). There is no way to operate the gas heat and run the fan on the ducted roof air at the same time. Also, the fan setting has a Hi, Lo and Auto setting. Still no idea what the Auto part does. My assumption was it would activate either heat or cooling depending on ambient temp and temperature settings. None of this proved to be correct. I will read and search some more.

Beyond those few annoyances...we are very pleased with the SC-189. It seem to be a good fit for us. OK...time for lunch and then the search for the info and explanations I need!

As always...guidance and support is always appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 12-09-2018, 05:08 PM   #4
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A few minutes ago my wife was unloading the trailer. She called me to "come quick." She was standing next to the trailer and said to me...what is that noise? It was a slow ticking/tearing sound. After a few seconds we realized it was coming from the tires. She noticed a slight bulge on the left front tire. We watched as the tread slowly continue to bulge as the ticking/tearing sounds continued. The tread was separating from the core! Suddenly it started hissing and then deflated! I'm 62, have towed trailers of all types my whole life...I have NEVER witnessed an actual tire failure! Crazy!

Now to decide on upgrading from a Load-range C to a D rated tire. The wheels can support the extra PSI. Now to start reading and learning about what tires are available!
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Old 12-09-2018, 05:27 PM   #5
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There should be two modes on the thermostat. One is mode (heat/cool) the other is Fan. With fan on auto and heat on only the furnace fan will run. With fan on Hi ir Lo, the AC fan should run on the set speed when the furnace is running.
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Old 12-10-2018, 07:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybob View Post
There should be two modes on the thermostat. One is mode (heat/cool) the other is Fan. With fan on auto and heat on only the furnace fan will run. With fan on Hi ir Lo, the AC fan should run on the set speed when the furnace is running.
Thanks for the info. I will spend more time with it. I was never able to get the
A/C fan to run at the same time the LP furnace was on.

...always nice to hear from other Fly-people!
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