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Old 02-10-2010, 05:16 PM   #1
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Surveyor recommendations

Hey all,
I am looking to get a Surveyor, and am liking the 235rs. Our tow vehicle is a 2004 Dodge Sprinter which has a GCWR of 13,550, and a towing capacity of 5000 lbs. With the dry weight of 3,700, and figuring for approx. 600 lbs. for options/accessories, will an occasional trip of 500 RT miles be too much for the Sprinter? The wheelbase is 140". Any recommendations on the 235, or other Surveyor is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:49 PM   #2
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Hello, The Forest River web site has some occasional issues with the accuracy of their specifications. We have a 2008 SV235RKS with the interior and exterior option packages. Our trailer, actual weight from the factory, is 4,400+ pounds dry. A full fresh water tank will add another 300 pounds. Add in any black/grey tank weight, food, clothing, supplies, etc in the trailer and you are quickly looking at 5,000 pounds with a tongue weight of at least 500 pounds. We love this trailer but it seems like it would be a bit much for your Sprinter. The low center of gravity, enclosed underbelly, and good quality make Surveyor a good choice though IMO. Of course, we ALL like what we bought right? Be careful of Sport models as they are de-contented; might not be immediately obvious.
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:11 PM   #3
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To get your real towing capacity, you need to weigh the sprinter, with full gas tank, wife, family, and gear in it, as if you would be camping. Take that number and subtract from the GCVW of 13,550, and you will have real number for a max trailer weight. I suspect the 5000 pounf weight is the limit of the hitch receiver, which should have a label on it somewhere. This will give you the best number for trailer weight, everything else is a guess. Also the closer to max you are, the less performance you can expect, acceleration, braking, gas mileage, etc.
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Old 02-11-2010, 07:32 PM   #4
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Sport models

[QUOTE=acadianbob;38365]Hello, The Forest River web site has some occasional issues with the accuracy of their specifications. We have a 2008 SV235RKS with the interior and exterior option packages. Our trailer, actual weight from the factory, is 4,400+ pounds dry. A full fresh water tank will add another 300 pounds. Add in any black/grey tank weight, food, clothing, supplies, etc in the trailer and you are quickly looking at 5,000 pounds with a tongue weight of at least 500 pounds. We love this trailer but it seems like it would be a bit much for your Sprinter. The low center of gravity, enclosed underbelly, and good quality make Surveyor a good choice though IMO. Of course, we ALL like what we bought right? Be careful of Sport models as they are de-contented; might not be immediately obvious.[/QUOTE

Hi, Bob. I didn't understand what you meant by Sport models being "de-contented." I just bought one back in October, and wonder if there is something I should be watching out for. Whatever you meant, I certainly won't take offense at it. If there are problems, I'd like to be able to anticipate them. Thanks
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:47 PM   #5
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Bob is referring to the options that are NOT in the sport models. Prior to the sport models all surveyors had enclosed underbellies, torsion suspension, message center, wall clock, in floor heat ducts, whole trailer water filtration etc. as listed on the forest river webpage under features. This is not to say that the trailers aren't still good value. It just means that the regular version of the surveyor trailers likely cost more than the sport version but also have more.

The big difference (to me) is the torsion suspension vs. leaf spring suspension. The lower ride height and independent part is worth something extra to me.

In the end everyone has a budget and must decide what is enough for them. The main thing is to get the family out together, share some adventures and create lots of memories (with pictures, of course!).
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:03 PM   #6
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Shineysideup has it right and I didn't intend any slam on the Sport models. I was just remembering that one poster on this forum bought a Sport model not realizing that they are equipped differently; then was a little bummed that some stuff wasn't there. Not a judgment; just a heads up. Bob
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dmonroe67 View Post
Hey all,
I am looking to get a Surveyor, and am liking the 235rs. Our tow vehicle is a 2004 Dodge Sprinter which has a GCWR of 13,550, and a towing capacity of 5000 lbs. With the dry weight of 3,700, and figuring for approx. 600 lbs. for options/accessories, will an occasional trip of 500 RT miles be too much for the Sprinter? The wheelbase is 140". Any recommendations on the 235, or other Surveyor is appreciated. Thanks.
I have a 2009 235 rks. The sticker in the door says 4650lbs. I believe that this is WITHOUT the battery and tanks... I did weigh my trailer last year... it was approx. 5200lbs without food and clothing. We had everything else in the trailer.

the 235 has some advantages/disadvantages;

the good stuff;

almost a 30' trailer when the slide is out

travels like a 25' trailer with the slide in (25'-10" to be exact)

low riding, very stable (torsion suspension) great towing trailer

side door and fold up bed is great for bikes and stuff

a full featured trailer (a/c, 3 burner stove, oven etc.)

a dinnette and couch that are 74" long (can sleep adults)

bunks that are 48" wide (can sleep two adults)

huge cargo carrying capacity (2900lbs. ++, not sure what someone would carry to exceed this!)

great size awning (the bigger the better for those rainy days)

an electric and gas water heater

the fridge is more than adequately sized for a family of 4

no chip board used in the trailer

double 30# tanks

a/c and furnace sized appropriately down to 0 degrees celsius and up to 35 degrees celsius



disadvantages (my opinion only...)

rear slide bed is not the easiest to access (vs. a walk around bed) and can seem confining

bathroom is quite small (try getting dressed with the door closed...)

storage space could have been better executed (wasted space, no full length wardrobe at the front of the trailer)

floor ducts that are ALWAYS dirty

a/c fan runs all the time when on

no ladder (easy enough to fix but still an annoyance)

some side slide windows (no good in the rain)

furnace seems quite noisy to me (a small electric heater is more than adequate most of the time and since you are paying for electricity anyway it is more economical)

the bed is terrible (IMO), the bunk foam is a little light



Now the concerning stuff...

questionable build quality (forest river may be the better than the industry average but it is still not great), a thorough inspection IS necessary. It's like having all the right parts and not being overly concerned with the final assembly

the slide setup seems quite mickey mouse (sorry mickey). I know there is members that have had problems already. The tracks on the roof seem to be attached to nothing substantial. I see this causing me grief in the future

my slide is/has been rusting since I brought it home. It looks like the steel was painted before the metal was cleaned and the paint is peeling off

the formaldehyde smell hangs on for a LONG time (newer f.r. products might have addressed this)

I have come to these conclusions after 2 years of camping with two children and a wife. We don't stay at any campground too long and are always moving around. We spent two weeks and drove 5000 km last year during our summer trip.


hope this helps... any questions don't be afraid to ask.
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Bob is referring to the options that are NOT in the sport models. Prior to the sport models all surveyors had enclosed underbellies, torsion suspension, message center, wall clock, in floor heat ducts, whole trailer water filtration etc. as listed on the forest river webpage under features. This is not to say that the trailers aren't still good value. It just means that the regular version of the surveyor trailers likely cost more than the sport version but also have more.
The important thing about Suveyors has not been mentioned. It is made with light weight square metal tubing that is all inter connected and strong. Check out the r factors for the floors, ceilings and walls. The over all quality seems to be higher that most.

That aside, you are going to need a serious TV. The dodge will not do the job.
I have a 192T and a chevy pickup with towing package and sometimes I wish I had more.

By the way mine does not have
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enclosed underbellies, message center, wall clock, in floor heat ducts
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:02 AM   #9
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Hey guys,
Great info on the 235. Thanks. Anyone have experience/input on the 234? I do appreciate it.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:39 PM   #10
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The important thing about Suveyors has not been mentioned. It is made with light weight square metal tubing that is all inter connected and strong. Check out the r factors for the floors, ceilings and walls. The over all quality seems to be higher that most.

That aside, you are going to need a serious TV. The dodge will not do the job.
I have a 192T and a chevy pickup with towing package and soetimes I wish I had more.

By the way mine does not have .
Dick
Yes you are correct. The trailer walls are made with aluminum tubing and are also 2" thick (I think that this is a surveyor exclusive?). I did not mention this because most trailers (that I looked at) in this price range are aluminum framed. The better trailers are . I noticed from your pic that you have an older surveyor... At some point forest river dropped the grand surveyor and combined the "regular" surveyor into one model line (around 2007?)... until the surveyor sport came along. What year is your surveyor? does it have a slide? Have you had any major issues with it? (I gather not, you seem to be happy to own it).

I believe that your surveyor has the torsion suspension. It sure makes for a great towing trailer.
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:28 AM   #11
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At some point forest river dropped the grand surveyor and combined the "regular" surveyor into one model line (around 2007?)... until the surveyor sport came along. What year is your surveyor? does it have a slide? Have you had any major issues with it? (I gather not, you seem to be happy to own it).

I believe that your surveyor has the torsion suspension. It sure makes for a great towing trailer.
It is a 2007 and I am very happy with it. The only problem was with the AC. One of the tubes in the AC was not propperly attatched and wore through the condensor(sp). It was replaced without any problem. No slide, it tows well and is easy to setup.
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:41 AM   #12
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I thought our initial delivery quality was very good. But I think we have a great dealer that really went over the trailer. We've had 2 issues in the 2 seasons we've had our 235. Water filler tube leak and a broken trolley on the slide. We've camped perhaps 40 nights and towed about 7,000 miles. Sunnysideup has captured the pro's and con's very well. We replaced our mattress with a custom-sized unit from The Original Mattress Factory. Stock unit was HORRIBLE. We've added cabinets to our trailer because of the lack of storage from the factory. Ironically, lot's of storage AREA but not much cabinetry for it. Lot's of functionality for its size though. And easier to get into tight spaces and campgrounds in the mountains for example.
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Old 02-13-2010, 07:16 PM   #13
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I thought our initial delivery quality was very good. But I think we have a great dealer that really went over the trailer. We've had 2 issues in the 2 seasons we've had our 235. Water filler tube leak and a broken trolley on the slide. We've camped perhaps 40 nights and towed about 7,000 miles. Sunnysideup has captured the pro's and con's very well. We replaced our mattress with a custom-sized unit from The Original Mattress Factory. Stock unit was HORRIBLE. We've added cabinets to our trailer because of the lack of storage from the factory. Ironically, lot's of storage AREA but not much cabinetry for it. Lot's of functionality for its size though. And easier to get into tight spaces and campgrounds in the mountains for example.
Are you talking about the filler line for the water tank? The one that is under the dinnette seat? If that is I've had to replace mine also! The darn thing had pinhole leaks in it.

We camped 35 nights our first year... not bad considering we didn't get our trailer until june 15! We did 30 ish nights last year. We only have from May till october to camp in my neck of the woods ( a little later if you can find a campground open... ).

There isn't much more to be said about the bed... The ironic part of the 235 is there is ample cargo capacity and space it just isn't utilized the best. I looked carefully at a KZ spree it had much more storage space and is actually a bit smaller. KZ gained the space by having a full length wardrobe at the front of the trailer (where the 235 only goes up 4 ft) and by having a 64" long couch and dinnette. This allows for an extra full length cabinet beside the fridge. The smaller dinnette also allows for the kitchen cabinets/countertop to jut out on an angle leaving much more counter space.
I wish the stove was near the door, it seems like a better setup to me. There is a possibility of splashing/spilling something on the dinnette apholstery with this configuration.

It is great that I can sleep 10 people but I would have rather had the extra storage and counter space. There is only 4 in our family after all (and the bunks are huge!). We have slept a couple extra kids on occasion along with my brother his wife and baby complete with a portable baby crib (pack n play) quite comfortably.

The surveyor is set up for towing with a sloped front end and torsion suspension while the spree had much smaller front bunks a relatively flat front (lots of air drag), sat 12 - 15" higher and had leaf spring suspension. This is why I ended up with the surveyor in the end.

Interestingly, the spree had a cargo carrying capacity of only 1500lbs vs. the surveyor's capacity of almost 3000lbs.

I've attached a couple pics to show the storage difference. Now if I could just have ordered parts of this and parts of that I would have had THE trailer for us!
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:22 PM   #14
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It is a 2007 and I am very happy with it. The only problem was with the AC. One of the tubes in the AC was not propperly attatched and wore through the condensor(sp). It was replaced without any problem. No slide, it tows well and is easy to setup.
Without a slide there will be no problems with that in the future. I'm starting to think that simple is a really good thing...
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:11 PM   #15
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Yes, we saw very similar trailers at the RV show when we bought ours that had better storage and similar layout and size. But, the ones we saw had only a queen bed and needed outside rails to be mounted for the rear slideout; which was manual; you had to manually push/pull it out. Always tradeoffs! But yes, more storage that i think they really COULD incorporate into the 235.
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:14 PM   #16
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And, yes, it was the filler tube. Not pinholes but leaking where it attached to the tank. Didn't leak at all until the tank got full.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:30 AM   #17
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Bob and Shineysideup: Thanks for the clarification. We were aware - but a little confused - by the Forest River info that declared ALL Surveyors were thus equipped, only to find out that the Sports are not. Still, we are very happy with our fully equipped (sort of) SP186. Our dealer told us they could enclose the underbelly and heat the tanks for $800. He further noted that the water lines are on the interior of the unit and that if the tanks are not full, freezing would not hurt anything. We have camped at 22 degrees with no freezing problems. Just unhooked and emptied the fresh-water hose until morning. Anyway, thanks for the helpful information.
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:01 PM   #18
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Bob and Shineysideup: Thanks for the clarification. We were aware - but a little confused - by the Forest River info that declared ALL Surveyors were thus equipped, only to find out that the Sports are not. Still, we are very happy with our fully equipped (sort of) SP186. Our dealer told us they could enclose the underbelly and heat the tanks for $800. He further noted that the water lines are on the interior of the unit and that if the tanks are not full, freezing would not hurt anything. We have camped at 22 degrees with no freezing problems. Just unhooked and emptied the fresh-water hose until morning. Anyway, thanks for the helpful information.
Yes it is too bad the way that they describe the different models.

DO NOT let the dealer enclose your underbelly for $800!!! You can put the tank heaters on but enclosing the underbelly will do little good. It isn't insulated (to my knowledge) and is just a cheaper (in my opinion) way of doing things. Now I have duct work in the floor (pain to keep clean), and water lines that run under the trailer (that can freeze).

The heating that they talk about is the heat that comes off the duct work running under the floor. What a joke (in my opinion). Now if the whole underbelly was insulated with dedicated ductwork I could see the point. The material is little more than a plastic type cardboard that I'm sure is not very expensive. We rarely use the propane furnace (VERY LOUD) and usually a small ceramic heater will heat the whole trailer (but not the lines underneath the trailer...)

I know, I know I only paid $22 grand (+ all taxes etc.) for my trailer, what do I expect...
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