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Old 08-10-2012, 05:19 PM   #1
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A128S Converted from ALINER Ranger

I'm new to this Forum and I'm glad I found this site while surfing on the internet for another A Frame type brands. I was going for the ALINER Ranger because of its weight and length (15ft). I was impressed with the A128S features and price, but it is 600 pounds heavier and 18.7 ft long. I decided to go for the A128S and I'm picking it up next Tuesday.

For the price of the Aliner Ranger, I got the following added features included in the A128S:

- Awning/Screen room
- 6 gallons of Hot water tank
- A/C
- bigger refrigerator
- 2 Propane tanks
- BBQ Grill
- CD/AM/FM/Speakers
- clothes bar
- another dining table
- extra stove burner (3)
- 48" Front Storage Deck
- Outside Shower
- Micro Wave Oven
- Outside lights side/front
- Folding Grab Handle
- Aluminum Wheels
- TV outlet and satellite hookup
- courtesy lights
- Let's not forget the Port-a-Potty

With all these added features why go with a basic A Frame trailer.

This will be my first camp trailer after 30 years of tenting. I have a lot of questions and I hope your experiences you put in here will help me learn stuff to do and avoid:

I have a 2007 Pontiac Torrent front wheel drive without the tow package. I got an after market trailer hinge which is good for 3500 lbs and 350 lbs tongue weight. Owner's manual of my SUV states that it could handle 3500 lbs.

I can't wait to get the trailer and I have a million questions but the following stands out:

Do I need a Transmission Cooler? I'm scheduled to get one next Monday.
How much does the refrigerator use up the propane gas?
How long will the refrigerator run on 12 V?
I don't remember when I saw the 2012 A128S, does it have storage access from the outside close to the A/C?
When did Forest River start making A Frame?
How do you use the hot water feature? does it only use propane?
I'm getting a Awning/Screen Room with it, anybody use them and how was it?
I'm getting a bike carrier, does anyone have one on their trailer? Pic please

I have booked a campsite for Aug 21st with electric so I could test its features.

I hope to hear from you...happy camping now with a trailer
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:16 PM   #2
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Congrats!

I say a big yes in the teams cooler. An aux cooler will extend the life of your transmission even when towing within rated tow weights.

The propane usage on the fridge is minimal as is the hot water heater. If you camp with AC you'll not use propane except for water heater (minimal) and those really cold nights with the furnace.

The 12v in the fridge is mainly for when traveling when you can use your tow vehicle to keep your battery charged and supply enough juice to run the fridge. Switch to AC when plugged in and use propane when no AC is available. 12v on the fridge will drain your trailer battery pretty quick, less than a day I would imagine.

Remember to precool your fridge at least for 24 hours before going on a trip and ore chill all drinks and food before putting it in the fridge. They can't handle cooling without following those tips.

Search this forum for opinions on the awning. They vary, but the consensus seems to think its not worth the hassle and most use an EZUp canopy instead.

Make sure you have the 7 way plug added to your hitch setup and that they add the power lead to the battery of your tow vehicle so you can charge the trailer battery when towing.

You will love it. Keep on this forum for lots of great tips.

Have fun camping!
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:01 PM   #3
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Welcome ko777 - Glad you found us! I was very much stuck on the Aliner brand name when it came to considering an A Frame...my husband steered me to Forest River for the reasons you posted above. More bang for the buck, for sure! I think FR entered the Hard Side market in 2011.
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:05 PM   #4
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Agreed, do not hesitate or question it, get the tranny cooler. It's well worth the money for peace of mind at least and transmission protection for sure.

Another positive that you got with your A128S over the Aliner is that the Coolcat AC unit is 10K BTU and is also a heat pump. When available, Aliner's ACs are 5K BTU.

Remember to unplug the camper pigtail from your tow vehicle when set up for camping, or it could drain your TV battery. Also, when breaking camp, unplug the power from the campground electric hookup (shore power) first before plugging in the pigtail to the tow vehicle. We blew the 30amp fuse when we did that...

Gary thinks the refrigerator actually cools better on gas. Yes, the hot water heater only runs on propane. The 'fridge and the water heater actually use very little. We always turn the gas tank valve off when we aren't using the camper.

I pretty sure that 2011 was the first year for Forest River produced any aframes.

on your first camp experience in your new aframe!

Deb
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:31 PM   #5
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Awesome information and hints I'm getting so far, thank you and I really appreciate more of do and don't tips before I head out on my first camping trip using the A128S.

I have an outdoor extension cord 30 ft rated 13A/1400 Watts, will this handle the A/C of A128S, 10000 BTU?

When towing with 2 full propane tanks and the battery, how much tongue weight does this add? Its specs stated tongue weight is 260 pounds without any load.

Do I leave the gas water heater on after I've set up?

How long does the port-a-potty that came with the A128S last? is it easy to clean?

Happy Camping...
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ko777 View Post
Awesome information and hints I'm getting so far, thank you and I really appreciate more of do and don't tips before I head out on my first camping trip using the A128S.

I have an outdoor extension cord 30 ft rated 13A/1400 Watts, will this handle the A/C of A128S, 10000 BTU?
Does it list the gauge on the cord? 12,14 or 16?
If it's 12 GA, then yes, no problem.
14 GA will run it, but the cord and plug will get hot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ko777 View Post
When towing with 2 full propane tanks and the battery, how much tongue weight does this add? Its specs stated tongue weight is 260 pounds without any load.
Filled propane tanks should weigh approx. 25 lb each and the battery is about the same +/- so 75 lbs total.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ko777 View Post
Do I leave the gas water heater on after I've set up?
Yes, you can leave the water heater on while you are camping. Turn it off when you break camp and are going down the road. Since it has an electronic ignition, I am not sure if the water heater will light on DC power. We always camp at places with electricity. Mama likes modern conveniences

Quote:
Originally Posted by ko777 View Post
How long does the port-a-potty that came with the A128S last? is it easy to clean?
It will become evident when the porta pottie is nearly full. Take it to the dump station to empty it or carefully pour the waste down a toilet. Normally the dump station is located near the entrance of the camp, near a shower house, or by a water hydrant. Rinse the potty waste holding tank at the dump station hydrant or with a non-potable water hose. For goodness sakes, don't use a drinking water hose.

Always use the chemical in the waste holding tank to keep odors down. When I purchased replacement holding tank chemical, I bought the powder type to eliminate possible spillage. I use 1/2 an envelope in per "charge" because it is proportioned for the larger RV waste holding tanks.

At the end of a trip, I like to put the whole camper away clean. I wipe the pottie down with water and mild soap.


hth,
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:44 PM   #7
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Thanks Deb for the info, this will really help me enjoy my first trip, with the guidance of the stuff I've learned in this forum(more please).

I'm doing a solo test run next Thursday for 2 nights. So my next trip my friends will be impressed on how I manage the A128S. We have a Provincial Park 45 minutes away with electric hookup. Nice place for Kayaking, hiking and relaxing. I will take pics to share...

I will have a port-a-potty rule:
For emergency use only, if you use it, you clean it (I just hate cleaning someone else putty...LOL)

BTW, when I pick up my A128S from the Dealer, do I pay the balance before or after PDI? I would like check if all parts of the package are there.

Happy Camping
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:14 PM   #8
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Ask your dealer re: pay now or pay later. In would imagine most would be flexible, but expect to pay regardless of whether you find problems or not, as without payment there is no deal and I would t expect fixes. Just my viewpoint.

On my delivery I had PDI before payment and paperwork.
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Old 08-12-2012, 11:50 AM   #9
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Regarding potty stuff...I dont really like the idea of handling someone elses mess either. For that reason, I got a dry waste system that gels the pee or breaks down the poo, its double bagged and ok to toss in the trash...if camping alone, one bag can be used a few times (for urine, once for doo) ...if camping with others, then they need a bag for their own mess and dispose of.

I told the dealer I would finalize and sign all paperwork only after we ran thru PDI and only after I saw all appliances, hardware & equipment work...all problems would have to be corrected before the sale was final. He had no problem with this. The service tech understood and patiently explained all to me, pausing as I took notes. Dont forget you are in the drivers seat with the purchase...its your money therefore you are the empowered one in the deal.
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:09 PM   #10
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More questions:

On a 30A electric hookup, can you have both a/c and refrigerator on AC? I think using the microwave at the same will pop the fuse.

My extension outdoor cord is 16 Gauge, is it safe to use this? A/C off

Do you use the fun/vent when using the A/C? Windows closed

Two more days before getting my A128S, can't wait to try all the stuff I learned from here...
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ko777
More questions:

On a 30A electric hookup, can you have both a/c and refrigerator on AC? I think using the microwave at the same will pop the fuse.

My extension outdoor cord is 16 Gauge, is it safe to use this? A/C off

Do you use the fun/vent when using the A/C? Windows closed

Two more days before getting my A128S, can't wait to try all the stuff I learned from here...
When at the CG, use any and all appliances you like. It should be ok web hooked up using the campers heavy gauge 30amp hookup cable.

When at home, I would advise avoiding using a 16 gauge extension cord with AC. Get a heavier extension cord and watch which appliances you use at the same time. You could trip you 15amp breaker in your home circuit. If you want to have maximum power at home consider having a 30amp 120v plug added to you house. Be sure it's marked as such so future homeowners don't think it's a 220v circuit.

The only time I would use the fantastic fan with the AC would be during cool down on a hot day, or when cooking with the gas stove. In both cases it's a good idea to crack a window to allow to fan to work properly.
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ko777 View Post
More questions:

On a 30A electric hookup, can you have both a/c and refrigerator on AC? I think using the microwave at the same will pop the fuse.
If you plug your aframe's power cord in, from the camper to a 30amp hookup, you can run everything including the microwave. Your aframe should have about 25' of cord.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ko777 View Post
My extension outdoor cord is 16 Gauge, is it safe to use this? A/C off
The 16GA cord should be able to run lights, the inverter, the fridge and maybe the fantastic fan for a while. That's about it. It will not run the AC for long, if at all. The cord and plug ends will overheat, which is not good. Also, you will not be getting enough "juice" to the air conditioner and that is hard on the unit and will probably damage it.

I would invest in either a nice long (50') 12GA extension cord and run just about everything with little problem.

Here's an example of a 12/3 50' cord from amazon:
Amazon.com: US Wire 74050 12/3 50-Foot SJTW Yellow Heavy Duty Lighted Plug Extension Cord: Home Improvement

Here's an example of a 12/3 100' cord from amazon:
Amazon.com: Coleman Cable 02509 100-Feet 12/3 SJTW Extension Cord, Orange: Home Improvement

You'll need this adapter for a 12/3 cord, which should be included in your new aframe:
http://images.campingworld.com/is/im...=0,-1&hei=1000

Or "go for broke" and purchase a 30amp 25' RV extension cord, which will run it all. Not a bad price, especially if you can find a Camping World near your location and save shipping.
Heavy Duty 30-amp 10/3 STW Cord, 25

Quote:
Originally Posted by ko777 View Post
Do you use the fun/vent when using the A/C? Windows closed
The fantastic fan/vent is used to bring in fresh air through the open windows. When the air conditioner is on, turn off the fantastic fan and close the vent, just like if you were at home. If you are cooking and the air conditioner is on, it is fine to run the fantastic fan and vent that out for a bit. After cooking, turn off the vent fan and close the vent to keep the cool, air conditioned air in your aframe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ko777 View Post
Two more days before getting my A128S, can't wait to try all the stuff I learned from here...


Deb
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Old 08-12-2012, 08:11 PM   #13
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Oops, I linked you to the wrong adapter for a 12GA cord. The adapter should look similar to this link below. The aframe's 30 amp cord plugs into this adapter, which plugs into the 12GA extension cord:
Amazon.com: Camco 55223 RV 15M/30F Amp PowerGrip Adapter: Automotive
The one that was included with our unit is black and triangle shape like the incorrect link in the first post.

Deb
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregory
If you plug your aframe's power cord in, from the camper to a 30amp hookup, you can run everything including the microwave. Your aframe should have about 25' of cord.

The 16GA cord should be able to run lights, the inverter, the fridge and maybe the fantastic fan for a while. That's about it. It will not run the AC for long, if at all. The cord and plug ends will overheat, which is not good. Also, you will not be getting enough "juice" to the air conditioner and that is hard on the unit and will probably damage it.

I would invest in either a nice long (50') 12GA extension cord and run just about everything with little problem.

Here's an example of a 12/3 50' cord from amazon:
Amazon.com: US Wire 74050 12/3 50-Foot SJTW Yellow Heavy Duty Lighted Plug Extension Cord: Home Improvement

Here's an example of a 12/3 100' cord from amazon:
Amazon.com: Coleman Cable 02509 100-Feet 12/3 SJTW Extension Cord, Orange: Home Improvement

You'll need this adapter for a 12/3 cord, which should be included in your new aframe:
http://images.campingworld.com/is/im...=0,-1&hei=1000

Or "go for broke" and purchase a 30amp 25' RV extension cord, which will run it all. Not a bad price, especially if you can find a Camping World near your location and save shipping.
Heavy Duty 30-amp 10/3 STW Cord, 25

The fantastic fan/vent is used to bring in fresh air through the open windows. When the air conditioner is on, turn off the fantastic fan and close the vent, just like if you were at home. If you are cooking and the air conditioner is on, it is fine to run the fantastic fan and vent that out for a bit. After cooking, turn off the vent fan and close the vent to keep the cool, air conditioned air in your aframe.



Deb
Thanks again for the information and the links. I did not know the A128S includes a 25' 30A cord and an adaptor, I'll put this on my check list when I pick up the trailer.

Do you put some kind of lock when you extend your cord to the hookup? Some one could easily lift it when your out of your site.
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:39 PM   #15
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If you are going to a provincial park it might be wise to purchase a 25' 30 amp RV extension cord. I have found that the hydro post is always a long way from the site at provincial parks. I have a 50' 30 amp Rv cord from Princess Auto.
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:41 PM   #16
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The cord on our aframes is hard wired to the power center. It would be difficult to lift and unlikely. This is different from the Aliners that have a cord that plugs into the pedestal then to the side of the camper.

No worries of theft on the camper power cord.
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:43 PM   #17
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As Caper says, an extension may be a good item to have. I always check the distance from the pad to the pedestal when making reservations.

In my area I haven't needed an extension cord yet, but the day may come.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:07 AM   #18
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How about any tips on how to hook up the trailer, never done it so I have no clue how to align the hitch.
Do they teach you how this is done when you pick it up from the dealer?
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:14 AM   #19
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I am definitely not a psychic at knowing where the ball and hitch are....so I use a handy telescopic magnetic ball hitch gadget. It looks like a yellow nerf ball on a telescoping radio antenna. One goes on the ball of the tow vehicle and the other goes on the trailer coupler. The idea is to back up and align the 2 yellow balls until they are together (one behind the other). I use them everytime I have had to hook up & they do work...yay. This contraption costs anywhere from 19.99 to 24.99. would be interested to know how others do it, too.
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:18 AM   #20
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I use the help of another person when hitching up. They help spot me as I tweak the ball to the hitch. I've gotten pretty good and get darn close even when hitching up alone.

You'll get good with practice. Having a level hard surface to hook up on helps since you can push the trailer to the ball for the last few inches, but that won't work in On level or rough surfaces.

The tennis ball hitch aids are a good recommendation.
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