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Old 08-09-2016, 08:19 PM   #1
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new to us 2012 Forest River M-206?

Hi,

Total noob here seeking random repair/ upgrade advice. My wife and I have been wanting to stick our toes in the escape pod adventure club and now have the option to buy this camper for 2k from a family friend. Seems like a good price point to begin the experiment and solid price compared to NADA guide of 3-4k. We were able to stay in it last night pre-purchase with our 3 yr old. The camper was towed from it's old home and hastily set up on (non level) ground. Seems mostly in good condition. Did not leak having sat in the rain for a couple days. Fantastic Fan, 3 way fridge, lights etc. all working, powered by extension cord. Did not try propane at all as the bottle was empty.

Issues for us to solve if we move on it:

1. The bolt for the manual crank appears to be broken off. There is an electric winch. How bad is this?

2. The door isn't quite making it to a solid fit at the top (gap of 1/4" with hinged metal piece connected to Phillips head screws). Also, the top panel will not latch if you are trying to slide it up to make a solid door.

3. The outside panel to the back of the fridge control area is missing. Where to get one and how keep it on?

4. Pretty uncomfortable bouncy issues when any of us shifted around in the night.

5. Uncomfortable, thin mattresses plus bounce had the wife and I up all night while our toddler slept almost 12 hrs straight! Level ground plus extra equipment?

6. Dead battery. If we are at campsites with power do we need to bother with this?

7. Canvas looks good but has some small mildew looking dots here and there outside. How to clean, vinegar or store bought stuff ?


I have researched some of this stuff here. People have remedied the bounce by setting up on level ground and used additional equipment, like x chocks and stabilizers. Seems like a mattress pad makes a big dif. but requires removal or strap adjustments.

Any advice appreciated. Thank you!

Kenny
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyh View Post
Hi,

Total noob here seeking random repair/ upgrade advice. My wife and I have been wanting to stick our toes in the escape pod adventure club and now have the option to buy this camper for 2k from a family friend. Seems like a good price point to begin the experiment and solid price compared to NADA guide of 3-4k. We were able to stay in it last night pre-purchase with our 3 yr old. The camper was towed from it's old home and hastily set up on (non level) ground. Seems mostly in good condition. Did not leak having sat in the rain for a couple days. Fantastic Fan, 3 way fridge, lights etc. all working, powered by extension cord. Did not try propane at all as the bottle was empty.

Issues for us to solve if we move on it:

1. The bolt for the manual crank appears to be broken off. There is an electric winch. How bad is this? My opinion, it could be a very big problem since you have the older style power winch and they are noted to not work when you really need them too (such as the campground) and if no manual way to raise or lower, it could be a very big problem. However, to switch to a manual crank is about $78 directly from Goshen who makes them, and even if the cable needs to be replaced, that is about $25 more, fairly easy to do, but very greasy.
I switched to a manual last year due to the problems with the power winch.

2. The door isn't quite making it to a solid fit at the top (gap of 1/4" with hinged metal piece connected to Phillips head screws). Also, the top panel will not latch if you are trying to slide it up to make a solid door. Could be the upper limit switch in the power winch needs adjustment to allow for the roof to stop a bit sooner. Also, trailer really needs to be level as possible (side-to-side as well as front-to-back).

3. The outside panel to the back of the fridge control area is missing. Where to get one and how keep it on? They usually slid in upward, then in at the bottom and held in place with two plastic push pins that turn to lock. The doors can be purchased; probably ordered. Might try Roberts sales in Denver CO. They have a large parts department. Or just search online. Many people will place them on top of the trailer to change controls on the fridge then drive off. Almost did it once myself.

4. Pretty uncomfortable bouncy issues when any of us shifted around in the night. Try it completely leveled with the stabilizers down at each corner. Makes a world of difference. However, the beds are hanging out into mid-air with only a few supports under, so they are not as rock solid as the rest of the trailer. However, mine are not that bad even when the two 100 lbs dogs jump up onto the bed, but I do feel a slight sway.

5. Uncomfortable, thin mattresses plus bounce had the wife and I up all night while our toddler slept almost 12 hrs straight! Level ground plus extra equipment? Beds are not the best, that is for sure. Some get foam to lay over top (I did) however, might not be able to lower the roof far enough with the foam topper so might have to put it someplace else or roll it up. I just through mine on the table that is broken down for closing up. Plenty of room.

6. Dead battery. If we are at campsites with power do we need to bother with this? My recommendation if you are only going to camp where there is an electrical hookup, then get a cheap series 24 battery. You need a battery for the electric brakes to work if the trailer ever disconnects from the tow vehicle. The breakaway switch, that has a cable connects to the tow vehicle, so if the trailer disconnects from the tow vehicle, the cable pulls a pin and the switch sends voltage from the battery to the electric brakes on the trailer, stopping it. That is the reason a 12 volt battery is needed if you have electric brakes. And in some states, depending on trailer weight, it is a law.
You can purchase a breakaway kit that has its own little chargeable battery.
http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Brea...ins/20099.html
However, a series 24 12-volt is not much more expensive and if the power goes out at the campsite, it might be able to supply enough juice to run the heater for a night (not constantly but on when needed), and the water pump and interior lights. A series 24 won't do it for long, but might just be long enough.


7. Canvas looks good but has some small mildew looking dots here and there outside. How to clean, vinegar or store bought stuff ? Can't help here.


I have researched some of this stuff here. People have remedied the bounce by setting up on level ground and used additional equipment, like x chocks and stabilizers. Seems like a mattress pad makes a big dif. but requires removal or strap adjustments. X-chocks only work if you have two axles; not sure if you do or not.

Any advice appreciated. Thank you!

Kenny
Price sounds good for a trailer for you to break into the trailer life. Just make sure your tow vehicle can handle the weight and the tongue weight of the trailer.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:18 PM   #3
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All good advice from f5moab, might try oxy clean on the spots
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:15 AM   #4
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Great info. Thank you both very much for responding! I will reward you with more annoying questions.

Tow vehicle options are a 2012 Subaru Outback rated for 2700 lbs. and a 2006 Ford Econoline super duty 350 van that would tow just about anything. The camper says it is 2100 lbs on the sticker I believe. The Subaru has no hitch on it as yet and I am not sure about finding the tongue weight of either the camper or the subaru limit. Sub is better on gas and has a bike rack on the roof already but I wouldn't want to compromise our daily driver and would have the added expense of the hitch install.

f5moab , did you install the goshen wench yourself? Is it a good idea to replace the cable at the same time? Do the cables wear out so soon? This camper seems to have been used very little. How do you get to just the right height for your door when setting up with the crank? Do you think a nut could be re-installed on that bolt to get the manual crank option back or better to just go with the Goshen system ?

As far as getting the camper level, this one has only the wheel at the tongue and two jacks at the back end. I have seen people here talking about x chocks and extra stabilizers. Also I have seen mention of frames being bent. What is the best way for a fool like me to sort out this situation? How do I know if the frame is bent? Should I keep a carpenters level with me? Get something extra for the front end?

Great point on the battery and break away brake situation. I did see the cable and pin at the tongue and saw wires running to the wheels. I don't know if that means "all the time" brakes or just emergency? The battery breakaway kit is almost as expensive as a new battery so I am thinking I might as well just get one for the added power option benefit. I have an auto zone credit for $20. Any battery in particular better than another for this job?

I didn't even know the heater was electric! It was about 90 degrees out so I wasn't that interested yet!

Seems like canvas clean and bedding are not to hard to sort out.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyh View Post
Great info. Thank you both very much for responding! I will reward you with more annoying questions.

Tow vehicle options are a 2012 Subaru Outback rated for 2700 lbs. and a 2006 Ford Econoline super duty 350 van that would tow just about anything. The camper says it is 2100 lbs on the sticker I believe. The Subaru has no hitch on it as yet and I am not sure about finding the tongue weight of either the camper or the subaru limit. Sub is better on gas and has a bike rack on the roof already but I wouldn't want to compromise our daily driver and would have the added expense of the hitch install.
Remember the trailer will be loaded with other items so that 2100 lbs will go up when towing. Usually, hitches have some type of sticker (at least my GM's did) that state the maximum tongue weight. Also, make sure you don't exceed the max gross weight of the tow vehicle; that will include the weight of the passengers, food, luggage, bikes on the roof and the tongue weight of the trailer. That might be a problem with the Subaru, but not the Econoline van.

f5moab , did you install the goshen wench yourself? Is it a good idea to replace the cable at the same time? Do the cables wear out so soon? This camper seems to have been used very little. How do you get to just the right height for your door when setting up with the crank? Do you think a nut could be re-installed on that bolt to get the manual crank option back or better to just go with the Goshen system ?

That nut is actually on a worm gear. Could a new one be installed? Could someone welds a new nut head onto the worm gear? Not sure about either. But believe it could be replace. (Basically, the nut is where the arrow is pointing out where grease is required.)

The install of a manual winch is VERY easy. There are three bolts on the bracket holding the power winch in place. Disconnect all wires to the winch, then remove the three bolts, pull winch off. Place manual winch, install three bolts and install cable to the winch.
The three bolts are just in front of my propane tanks.

On the power winch, the cable end is inserted into a hole on the drum of the winch and held in place with a set screw, then the cable wraps around the drum as the motor turns the drum to lift the top.
That will cause a problem with the install of a manual winch. The manual requires the cable to wrap about halfway around the drum, then go outside of the drum, wrap around the center bolt and install to a bracket. So it depends on how much slack you have with the cable when you pull the power winch off.
In some cases, you will have enough cable; in my case, the dealer when they installed the power winch, they just cut the cable. That left me about 8 inches too short. That is why I had to replace the cable.
That cable is very strong and not sure if I have heard of it actually breaking, and I believe other components would break before the cable does. But not sure.


As far as getting the camper level, this one has only the wheel at the tongue and two jacks at the back end. I have seen people here talking about x chocks and extra stabilizers. Also I have seen mention of frames being bent. What is the best way for a fool like me to sort out this situation? How do I know if the frame is bent? Should I keep a carpenters level with me? Get something extra for the front end?
You could get extra stabilizers added to the front corners, they just bolt to the frame. The biggest item to bed the frame are the stabilizers (other than hitting an obstruction). People will try and level the trailer with a stabilizer damaging the frame. They are only used to stabilize. So after the trailer is level, side-to-side/front-to-back, then the stabilizers are lowered to just touching the ground or pad, and I give about an extra half-turn. So I would doubt the front frame would be bent since no stabilizers are installed. But might want to crawl under and look.

Great point on the battery and break away brake situation. I did see the cable and pin at the tongue and saw wires running to the wheels. I don't know if that means "all the time" brakes or just emergency? The battery breakaway kit is almost as expensive as a new battery so I am thinking I might as well just get one for the added power option benefit. I have an auto zone credit for $20. Any battery in particular better than another for this job?

Breakaway switch is just that, if the trailer breaks away from the TV while being towed and the pin is pulled out, it will supply voltage to the solenoids in the rear brakes, causing them to energize and push out the brake shoes engaging the drums.
When you connect the trailer to the tow vehicle (TV), and you connect the seven pin connector from the TV to the trailer there is a dedicated circuit for the trailer brakes. So when you apply the brakes in the TV, voltage is applied to the trailer brakes, allowing the trailer to stop.
Which brings in another question. Do you have a brake controller, either factory installed or aftermarket add on the two vehicles? If not, you need one. Not expensive, fairly easy to install, but depends on the vehicle and if they have wires available for an add on brake controller. On the Econoline I'm sure there are wires, but not sure about the Subaru. Many states require brakes on trailers that are over 2000 lbs empty. Here's a chart showing the laws for states; however, I have found these charts not to be completely accurate, so if you decide to go without brakes, make sure of the state you live in and travel in. (For example, they show Idaho with a max speed of 65 mph with a trailer; yet the law states it is the same as the speed limit for the towing vehicle which can be 80 mph on the interstates. But the brake requirements is correct. UT is also wrong since it is the same as the TV, and UT's brake requirement is not a simple weight but a distance to stop at a certain speed.)

If wires are not installed for a brake controller there is another option. If you look at the photo of my trailer, you can see a large box attached to the tongue of the trailer; next to the propane tank. That is a RF brake controller made by Tekonsha. It attached to the trailer tongue, the electrical pigtail from the trailer plugs into it, and a pigtail from the controller plugs into the TV. Inside you have a hand controller that plugs into a cigarette lighter.
I used it on my '13 Silverado that did not have a factory installed controller, and didn't want to mount a wired controller to the '13 Silverado since I was going to sell it or trade it in a few years later. It worked great pulling my 228BH. Never had a problem with it. Some have wondered about RF (Radio frequency problems between the hand controller inside to the one on the tongue, but I never experience that while towing the trailer almost two years with that setup. Just another option for you to think about. Nice thing is it allows easy switch between vehicles. The controller is permanently mounted to the trailer, so all you have to do is move the hand controller from vehicle to vehicle. My dealer recommended it since they rented trailers and if a rental client did not have a controller, all they had to do was give them the hand controller. If they had a controller in the TV, they just changed the plugs around.)




I didn't even know the heater was electric! It was about 90 degrees out so I wasn't that interested yet!

Heater is technically propane; however, the blower is electric and it is one of, if not, the largest drain on the battery(ies).

Seems like canvas clean and bedding are not to hard to sort out.

Thanks again.
Hope all that helps and I'm sure you will have more questions as time goes by. Maybe some Subaru owners can jump in about the brake controller and wires, etc. I just know GM trucks and Hummers regarding towing.
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Trailer: Lifted 228BH, heavy duty springs and Yokohama tires DELAMINATED ROOF
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Living somewhere in ID; previously lived in Moab UT; previous to that, don't ask!
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:08 AM   #6
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Might want to get these for the front of camper, simple installation will help with the movement of camper while set up. These are made just to stabilize the camper, not to level it.

Heavy Duty Stabilizer Jacks Scissor with Handle Lift Levelers 5000 Pound (2.5 Ton) Capacity Each - 13.75 to 23.5 Inch Range
Price: $59.95 & FREE Shipping on Amazon

IMO I would not tow with the Subaru, use the van. By the time you load everything you want to take with you I am sure the Subaru would be overloaded.

I have these to level my camper side to side lynx leveling blocks also on Amazon or you can get them at Walmart. You can use some 2X6 and 1X6 16inches or longer pieces of lumber to place under the tire of the side that needs to be raised to get camper level.

Having a carpenters level is a good idea. Once camper is level you can place RV levels on the front side and side walls, they stick on or you can screw them on with small screws that come in the package.

Have fun doing all the things you want to do, its not that bad. Just a bunch of simple little upgrades.
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Old 08-10-2016, 11:04 AM   #7
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Stabilzers suggested by JBar are great, look just like those on my trailer. One hint, if you get them, get one of these...

Inserts into a drill, and you can then lower/raise the stabilizers in seconds.
https://smile.amazon.com/Magnetic-Tr...on%29+Capacity


Another idea for leveling. Some like it, some don't. I personally love it.

https://smile.amazon.com/BAL-28050-L...ds=bal+leveler


As for leveling, I used a 2-foot level inside the trailer, just inside the door, then leveled the trailer side-to-side/front-to-back, in my driveway, then installed these to match the level of the trailer and this is what I have used to check when leveling the trailer.


https://smile.amazon.com/Hopkins-085...trailer+levels
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Trailer: Lifted 228BH, heavy duty springs and Yokohama tires DELAMINATED ROOF
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Spare TV: Two Alaskan Malamutes

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Old 08-10-2016, 02:28 PM   #8
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kennyh, your Sub obviously doesn't have the factory tow package. That means it has the lowest tow rating.
You would have to duplicate the factory tow package to get the higher rating.
Does the Popup have the 4 pin or 7 Pin connector.
Does it have electric brakes?

If it has the 7 Pin connector, it probably has electric brakes.
That means you will need to have the Sub wired for both the 7 Pin connector and a brake controller.

Bottom line is the trailer will probably be too much for the Sub, unless you duplicate the factory tow package.
Just adding a hitch isn't enough.
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:14 PM   #9
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You guys are the best. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer.

Van it is bikendan! Van has 7 pin and so does trailer. No need to mess with our car with such a powerful van sitting there.

two xtra jacks are a definite JPBar. Do you need to drill holes in the frame to mount them?

I can see where the tire raising leveler would be easier to use than driving up on the stacking pyramid blocks f5moab . I noticed the mixed reviews also. Maybe I will get both and have the plastic ones as back up.

The driveway level check with stick on levels is a fantastic idea f5moab . You must put them on two different walls, or wall and side of cabinet to get the job done right? You must use the tongue wheel for front/back level and tire raiser for side to side, jacks for stability after? half turn after touchdown. I am learning a lot here.

I have a local trailer shop that has been recommended. I might have them assess the winch,install jacks, confirm brakes. I guess I could take the cover off the winch and try to determine if there is an extra foot of cable length. Seems easy enough if the extra cable is there. I would feel pretty proud if I pulled this stuff off myself...then again my wife wants to take a 3 hr. one way trip with this thing fairly soon and I might feel more confident to have a pro bless it first.
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Old 08-11-2016, 12:09 AM   #10
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kennyh, I have a bal leveler that I no longer use. If you are interested let me know.
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