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Old 09-17-2019, 09:26 PM   #1
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Looking to buy a Roo 19 - What do I need to know?

I have a Rockwood HW-277 that has served me well since 2014. It's lifted, has solar, and I've done many minor mods to deal with boondocking. My routine is to travel wet with a full fresh tank and typically drive at least 11 miles on washboarded, pot-holed gravel roads....thus the mods.

We use the hell out of our camper. At least 10 to 12 trips per summer...and into the fall. Essentially every weekend. And sometimes in the winter when we get a streak of freakishly warm weather in Colorado.

I want the ease and comfort of the Roo 19. At 70, the rigors of setting up and tearing down a PUP are getting as old as I am. And we don't see this as camping. This is our mobile lakehouse.

What do I need to know about the Roo 19 before I make the commitment? Anything would be helpful, but these areas come to mind:
  • Ground clearance? I lifted my PUP because the stairs were very vulnerable to impact on rough terrain. How's the Roo?
  • Fresh tank? How sturdy is the fresh tank? Does it need to be reinforced? I always travel full, because I always boondock. I reinforced my PUP's tank. How difficult is it to get through the winter weather barrier if need be?
  • Black tank? Is it sturdy enough to travel nearly full on the rough terrain described?
  • Is the thing solid? My PUP needed a LOT of work to deal with the falling apart syndrome brought on by washboard roads. How well does a Roo tolerate this kind of vibration?
  • Bed ends? Are they truly solid and well made? My PUP has held up quite well on that front, but the design of the Roo is different. Do the cable mounts on the frame hold up well? Do the connections to the bed base hold up well? And how does the sealed "canvas" hold up in steady use?
  • Frame and hitch? I intend to mount a receiver hitch to the frame to carry a generator. Is the frame up to the load? Could I tow a middle-weight trailer with it (e.g. ATV trailer)?
  • Beds? Last but far from least, the beds in my PUP suck. Some lunatic thought a 4" thick innerspring mattress was a good idea. That lunatic needs to be shot. Anyway, I've dealt with it. What can I expect with the Roo beds?

And now, what is it that I don't even know to ask? What problems might surprise me?

I know the Roo (and Shamrock) may be the cream of the crop in expandables. But is there any reason, other than price, to choose a Jay Feather instead?

PS, several things dictate a hybrid. My driveway is terrorizing (on a very steep hill), and parking is postage-stamp size. Anything bigger than a Roo 19 is out of the question. Yet we entertain guests regularly, so a conventional couples camper small enough for my driveway is too small for guests. I spin and maneuver my rig with a Trailer Valet. The Roo is light enough for that. So we have looked at and ruled out everything else.

Thanks in advance for your wisdom and experience.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:54 PM   #2
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I have a 2014 Shamrock 183... 3 bunks instead of 2. If it wasn't dark out I would measure the clearance for you and will do that in the morning.

Did you have torsion axles before? Not sure they would be easy to lift for more clearance.

The stairs can be taken off ( I'm guessing they hang down about 10 inches when folded) and get those stairs that foldup inside to give you some clearance.

There have been some issues I have read about where water tank supports are weak, but you can always add some iron under the tank to help.

Have you thought about the extra room a 3 bunk 183 would give you? The third bunk gives a lot of storage to put clothes and store stuff while camping. It also give you another bed on the occasion that you need it.

I envy that you camp where you do...
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:57 PM   #3
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P.S. Sorry for the herky-jerky post. I made the mistake of trying bullets, and I had to post, close the site, then edit. Thanks for your patience.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:01 PM   #4
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Roo/Shamrock hybrids have torsion axles so spacers have to be added to increase clearance. Doing this will increase the trailer's air resistance, which wouldn't be an issue with a popup.
You will need a stronger tow vehicle to overcome this.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rsdata View Post
I have a 2014 Shamrock 183... 3 bunks instead of 2. If it wasn't dark out I would measure the clearance for you and will do that in the morning.

THANKS!!

Did you have torsion axles before? Not sure they would be easy to lift for more clearance.

I HAVE THE TORSION AXLE, AND IT WAS A BIT EXPENSIVE TO LIFT, BUT IT'S FABULOUS NOW THAT IT IS LIFTED. IT GOES ANYWHERE.

The stairs can be taken off ( I'm guessing they hang down about 10 inches when folded) and get those stairs that foldup inside to give you some clearance.

MANY DEALERS OPTION THEM WITH THESE LIPERT OR WHATEVER FOLD-AWAY STEPS. A VALUABLE OPTION.

There have been some issues I have read about where water tank supports are weak, but you can always add some iron under the tank to help.

THE ONES IN COLORADO COME WITH A MINUS-11-DEGREES WINTER PACKAGE. I'M CURIOUS HOW HARD IT WOULD BE TO GET THAT OUT OF THE WAY TO ADD REINFORCEMENT??

Have you thought about the extra room a 3 bunk 183 would give you? The third bunk gives a lot of storage to put clothes and store stuff while camping. It also give you another bed on the occasion that you need it.

REALLY LOOKED CLOSELY AT THOSE, TOO. OUR THOUGHT IS THAT THERE IS MORE WALL SPACE FOR CABINETS, ETC. IN THE 2 BED MODEL. BUT I DO LIKE THE EXTRA LIGHT THE THIRD BED BRINGS IN. WE WILL LOOK CLOSELY AT BOTH ON THE DEALER LOT.

I envy that you camp where you do...

THANKS...IF YOU CAN EVER MAKE IT THIS WAY, I'LL BE HAPPY TO POINT YOU TO SOME WONDERFUL PLACES FOR BOONDOCKING. WE NEVER GO TO RV PARKS, SO I CAN'T HELP THERE.
Excuse the all-caps. Just a way to embed my responses in your text.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bikendan View Post
Roo/Shamrock hybrids have torsion axles so spacers have to be added to increase clearance. Doing this will increase the trailer's air resistance, which wouldn't be an issue with a popup.
You will need a stronger tow vehicle to overcome this.
The good news for us is that we only travel about 40 miles one way at most. Typically just 15 miles. My RAM has a 7700 pound tow capacity, so the Roo is pretty light on the truck. If we want to go farther, we use motels. :-)
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:26 PM   #7
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I only commented about your post that I saw at first... I see you have added more questions...

Black tank? Is it sturdy enough to travel nearly full on the rough terrain described?

I DOUBT THAT BLACK TANK IS MUCH DIFFERENT THEN YOURS JUST LARGER I THINK... EVERYTHING IS EASILY WORKED ON, BUT I HAVE NEVER SEEN A WINTER PACKAGE BELOW THE FRAME.

Is the thing solid? My PUP needed a LOT of work to deal with the falling apart syndrome brought on by washboard roads. How well does a Roo tolerate this kind of vibration?

THE BUILD QUALITY IS AVERAGE TO POOR... NOT THAT MINE HAS FALLEN APART, BUT I DON'T DRIVE WASHBOARD EITHER. I DID DO SOME MODS TO CABINETS BEFORE I WENT CAMPING THE FIRST TIME, AS THEY WERE NOT VERY STURDY. I WOULD THINK YOU WOULD WNAT TO DO SOME REINFORCING OF CABINETS AND SUCH. YOU MAY WANT TO LOSE THE WALL MOUNT TV ON A BRACKET TOO.

Bed ends? Are they truly solid and well made? My PUP has held up quite well on that front, but the design of the Roo is different. Do the cable mounts on the frame hold up well? Do the connections to the bed base hold up well? And how does the sealed "canvas" hold up in steady use?

I HAVE CAMPED IN FL WITH THE WIFE FOR 3 MONTH STRETCHES 3 TIMES. THE CAMPER HAS HELD UP WELL AND THE BUNKS ARE STRONG... SUPPOSEDLY 500# CAPACITY.

Frame and hitch? I intend to mount a receiver hitch to the frame to carry a generator. Is the frame up to the load? Could I tow a middle-weight trailer with it (e.g. ATV trailer)?

WELL THAT MAY BE A PROBLEM... THE FRAME IS VERY LIGHT. MANY MANY FRAME MOD/QUESTIONS ON THIS FORUM FOR ROOS AND MINI-LITES TO DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, BUT WILL NOT WORK STOCK.


Beds? Last but far from least, the beds in my PUP suck. Some lunatic thought a 4" thick innerspring mattress was a good idea. That lunatic needs to be shot. Anyway, I've dealt with it. What can I expect with the Roo beds?

SAME PROBLEM WITH THE BEDS... I PUT A 2" TOPPER ON FRONT AND BACK, BUT THE BEDS WILL NOT FOLD UP WITH TOPPER, SO IT MUST BE REMOVED. I DID NOT USE THOSE HEAVY FOAM TOPPERS. I FOUND THAT 2 INCHES OF REGULAR FOAM HELPS QUITE A BIT.

I WILL POINT OUT THAT SHAMROCK AND ROO ARE SISTER BRANDS. ONE IS NOT BETTER THAN THE OTHER.
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:04 AM   #8
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Jim:

I would agree with most of rsdata's comments.

Some of my Roo 19 mods:

See here (post #2) for the beefed up receiver I had put on my Roo 19:

Installing a hitch on my roo.

I would NOT tow a trailer with it. These frames aren't up to it. I had 2 bikes and a rack, maybe 100 lbs, plus the spare tire.

I also replaced the crappy Suburban analog T-stat with a Honeywell RTH111B digital.

See Post #4 here for a window I put in my LP Gas cover so I could check it with the bunk open, and a shelf I put in the triangle cabinet by the door. (Ignore the shower stuff, you get a real door these days.)

Just Purchased a Roo 19

Never traveled with more than few gallons in the FW tank, but there are a number of threads related to the supports failing. Get underneath and take a look at the supports. Rumor has it that they've improved the supports, but who knows? This thread may help you:

Here's a tip: Don't over fill your fresh water tank.

See post #65 here for improving the supports:

What did you do to your hybrid today?

We use a 2" topper, too. It's now in our Mini Lite.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:46 PM   #9
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I know you have not gotten your hybrid yet, but I am going to suggest your first big MOD...

I added an additional baggage door on the rear below the rear bunk. At least on my '14 183 Shamrock there was one baggage door on the left-rear letting me access some storage space. The bad part is that there was lots more space on the right side that was inaccessible, so I added a second identical baggage door on the right side.

This thread describes the process... the hardest part was finding the door/frame online. I don't recall where I found mine.

MOD-adding an additional baggage door to Shamrock/Roo
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:36 PM   #10
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I know you have not gotten your hybrid yet, but I am going to suggest your first big MOD...

I added an additional baggage door on the rear below the rear bunk. At least on my '14 183 Shamrock there was one baggage door on the left-rear letting me access some storage space. The bad part is that there was lots more space on the right side that was inaccessible, so I added a second identical baggage door on the right side.

This thread describes the process... the hardest part was finding the door/frame online. I don't recall where I found mine.

MOD-adding an additional baggage door to Shamrock/Roo
rsdata: The 19 (at least in 2012) has an inside door on the "right rear" (curb) side (where your bathroom is). So in a 19, you can access both sides of the rear storage area, from the outside on the street side and from the inside for the curb side.
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Old 09-21-2019, 03:01 PM   #11
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My attempt to cut and paste:

Ground clearance? The lowest part is the axle Lifting won't help this. Everything else is well above that. You can lift the whole body with some plates bolted/welded between the axle and frame. This "lift" kit is on my Roo 23SS and there's no reason why the same concept doesn't apply. Once you get a lift kit you should be able to fit larger wheels and tires.

Fresh tank? I have no clue where this tank is in the 19. It's above the floor and inside a cabinet on my trailer. Mine takes tools to get out, it ain't gonna fall out.

Black tank? These are suspended under the trailer. No issues mine but YMMV.

Bed ends? No issues in 14 seasons. And the later models are better/nicer. Any problem with their 1000 pound rating?

Frame and hitch? Mount a receiver hitch to the frame to carry a generator? -- Don't do it. Tow a middle-weight trailer with it (e.g. ATV trailer)? Absolutely not. None of the frames are strong enough for either of these without much reinforcement. Surprised your popup could take the stain.

Mattresses? Mine are foam. I think. Never paid much attention to them. They're fine and heated.

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Old 09-23-2019, 07:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by rockfordroo View Post
rsdata: The 19 (at least in 2012) has an inside door on the "right rear" (curb) side (where your bathroom is). So in a 19, you can access both sides of the rear storage area, from the outside on the street side and from the inside for the curb side.
My 2014 also access from both inside and outside to the rear storage area, which spans the full width of the camper
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Old 09-23-2019, 07:37 AM   #13
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These trailers have all sorts of panels blocking off sections of the cabinets. The one across the rear of mine had partitions that cut the storage area in half until I removed them. Same in the front and under the bathroom sink.

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Old 09-23-2019, 08:51 PM   #14
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Looking to buy a Roo 19 - What do I need to know?

I have a 2017 Shamrock 183. Mattresses well they are still 4 of inner spring wonder of back pain. Like Rsdata said a 2 - 4 of foam or memory foam works wonders. Only issue with this is the mattresses are heated and with the foam on them you wont feel the heat but then again they retain your body heat so its kind of a trade off.

Keep in mind that you still have the bunk ends to raise and lower so you still have a little work to do. The fantastic fans work wonders when closing up though. Close all windows turn fans on high and the doors close right up.

As far as the fresh water tank I would reinforce it if going on rough terrain. I personally have not put more than a few gallons in mine and dont travel on real rough terrain. There are quite a few posts on threads with these falling out.

Once the front bunk is down getting to your propane tanks to turn on or switch tanks can be a pain. I cut a access hole in my cover for this very issue.

There will be bunk end maintenance you will still have to do but just like your popup. Overall we love ours and have came up with some storage ideas. But that always comes with time and ideas found on here.

The one last thing I would recommend would be a new shower head. Oxygenics makes a real good one and is a life saver for our family of 5, 4 of which are girls . But overall great TT for our purpose.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by mopwr4me2003 View Post

Keep in mind that you still have the bunk ends to raise and lower so you still have a little work to do. The fantastic fans work wonders when closing up though. Close all windows turn fans on high and the doors close right up.
Just know that this only works with the newer hybrids, with the pre-attached tent ends.
Doesn't work on the older hybrids with the bungee/snaps canvas ends.
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Old 09-24-2019, 10:31 AM   #16
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My attempt to cut and paste:

Ground clearance? The lowest part is the axle Lifting won't help this. Everything else is well above that. You can lift the whole body with some plates bolted/welded between the axle and frame. This "lift" kit is on my Roo 23SS and there's no reason why the same concept doesn't apply. Once you get a lift kit you should be able to fit larger wheels and tires.

Fresh tank? I have no clue where this tank is in the 19. It's above the floor and inside a cabinet on my trailer. Mine takes tools to get out, it ain't gonna fall out.

Black tank? These are suspended under the trailer. No issues mine but YMMV.

Bed ends? No issues in 14 seasons. And the later models are better/nicer. Any problem with their 1000 pound rating?

Frame and hitch? Mount a receiver hitch to the frame to carry a generator? -- Don't do it. Tow a middle-weight trailer with it (e.g. ATV trailer)? Absolutely not. None of the frames are strong enough for either of these without much reinforcement. Surprised your popup could take the stain.

Mattresses? Mine are foam. I think. Never paid much attention to them. They're fine and heated.

-- Chuck
Thanks! Good info.

Comments.

Lifting isn't for the axle. It's for the dangling parts far from the axle when scissoring up and down through the whoops and pot-holes. I hammered my stairs over and over again, because they are about 3 to 4 feet ahead of the axle. Lots of clearance on the level, but going over a hump or diving into a big hole (say 20 feet long by 10 inches deep...common on unmaintained dirt roads), the stairs would get driven into the ground. Same cresting the steep hill entering my driveway and entering the flat area on top.
I go anywhere with my lifted PUP now...with stock wheels and tires.
The larger wheel/tire combo would make sense if I did a dealer-installed lift kit as part of the purchase. Sturdier all-terrain tires would make sense where I go.

I think many new Roos include the Morryde step, and that completely disappears into the coach.

No hitch on my PUP. But you and others have convinced me it would be a bad idea on a new Roo.

Any chance a 2kw genny will fit in one of the storage compartments? I load mine in my TV bed, but if I use the truck for something else, I must unload it or risk losing it to theft. I lock it in place to a stainless steel shackle attached to my aluminum bed tool box. Several weak links in that "chain" so to speak.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-24-2019, 10:35 AM   #17
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Just know that this only works with the newer hybrids, with the pre-attached tent ends.
Doesn't work on the older hybrids with the bungee/snaps canvas ends.
Looking at new for a number of reasons...mostly the 5 year warranty on the tent ends. I'm 70, so I'm hoping this will be my last camper. FR backed up the 5 year warranty on my PUP roof at the 4 1/2 year mark ... delamination. Very happy with that level of service on such an expensive part. The whole job was worth about $4k. $2k for the roof, almost $1k for shipping and box, and estimating a day of labor at about $1k. I'd have been hard pressed to come up with that in cash.

So I'll try the fan method. I'm lucky to be 6'6" tall, so tucking canvas is a cinch.
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Old 09-24-2019, 11:59 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by mopwr4me2003 View Post
I have a 2017 Shamrock 183. Mattresses well they are still 4 of inner spring wonder of back pain. Like Rsdata said a 2 - 4 of foam or memory foam works wonders. Only issue with this is the mattresses are heated and with the foam on them you wont feel the heat but then again they retain your body heat so its kind of a trade off.

Keep in mind that you still have the bunk ends to raise and lower so you still have a little work to do. The fantastic fans work wonders when closing up though. Close all windows turn fans on high and the doors close right up.

As far as the fresh water tank I would reinforce it if going on rough terrain. I personally have not put more than a few gallons in mine and dont travel on real rough terrain. There are quite a few posts on threads with these falling out.

Once the front bunk is down getting to your propane tanks to turn on or switch tanks can be a pain. I cut a access hole in my cover for this very issue.

There will be bunk end maintenance you will still have to do but just like your popup. Overall we love ours and have came up with some storage ideas. But that always comes with time and ideas found on here.

The one last thing I would recommend would be a new shower head. Oxygenics makes a real good one and is a life saver for our family of 5, 4 of which are girls . But overall great TT for our purpose.
Thanks...comments:

I may purchase a decent quality foam mattress for "our" bed. Other brands have foam, so I may inspect the ones for Jaycos and, if it's any good and they are roughly the same size, buy one as a replacement. Our original PUP - a little Viking - had 4" foam mattresses that were awesome. The ones in our current PUP suck so badly that I bought a 2" topper and added big D-rings on the side of the roof (front only) to use with a ratchet strap to pull the roof down. Several other packing tricks, including moving the mattress toward the center of the camper about 4" (away from the curve in the roof) makes it easy to squish the extra thickness.

I will support the fresh tank immediately. Some rigs have recently done a better job with the mounts, but since the Roo has not, I'll take care of it. It doesn't take much to keep the tank from bellying. The photo depicts my mod on my pup. Very effective. It's just 1/2" galvanized water pipe, and it hasn't sagged at all.

Good tip on the propane tanks. I can just open both valves and let the auto-changeover handle it. I seldom use more than one, and I always have two spares in the TV for a fire pit. Worst case, I burn two and swap in a third.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-24-2019, 02:15 PM   #19
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Any chance a 2kw genny will fit in one of the storage compartments?
I doubt it and even if it would fit I'd not want a gasoline powered generator with a high potential for leaks and flammable fumes inside my trailer especially on the rough roads you anticipate. I really don't want one inside my Expedition either (although I've done it once or twice).

Easy to chain to the trailer if you have to leave the site.

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Old 09-24-2019, 02:48 PM   #20
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You asked about a 2Kw genny... if I only want to power a fan, or top off the battery I carry a 7/900 watt genny from Harbor Freight... light weight about 40# and not that loud... about $100 if you catch it on sale... easy enough to carry inside the trailer... I turn off the fuel flow and run it dry instead of turning it off with the switch, so no fuel in the carb to leak or drip and I can store it long periods without gumming up the carb... I have used one of these for over 10 years in all kinds of weather with no difficulty at all.. only changed the plug once when it would not start.
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2014 Shamrock 183
2014 RAM 1500 Bighorn Crew Cab, HEMI, 3.21 gears, 8 Spd, 4X4 TST TPMS
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