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Old 06-19-2021, 10:47 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 7
Trip Report: 2020 Surveyor Legend 19BHLE - 5200 Miles, 5 weeks

Two adults, two kids, and a dog.

Tow Vehicle: 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat (2.7) with 60K miles on the clock

Modifications:
* Tires: BFGoodrich KO2, Load Range E (stock size)
* Suspension: Bilstein 5100s at stock height, Timbren bump stop (with 1” spacer puck installed)

Camper: 2020.5 Surveyor Legend 19BHLE (Built July 2020, Purchased new in October 2020 at Baydo’s RV in Fife, WA for $21K)

Modifications:
* Solar: 2 x 200 Watt rigid panels (camper did not come with any, but was wired with a roof inlet), feeding through a Renogy Explorer 30A Lithium Solar Charger
* Batteries: 2 x 105aH Lion Energy LiFePO4 (Costco, on sale). Originally equipped with two of the cheapest “deep cycle” lead acid batteries, which were likely cooked before we bought it. Would barely make it through a light days usage before dropping below 50%.
* Tires: Goodyear Endurance. Didn’t care for the OEM tires (CastleRockST from Lionshead). Removed the attached “Bike Rack” which was very bouncy, heavy, and the spare tire carrier broke. Replaced with a dedicated spare carrier on the 4” bumper.
* Interior: Vortex 2 fan in the bathroom (it’s okay, but not great), upgraded foam mattresses all around (Queen + 2 kid size), custom curtains for the bunks to add privacy and give each kid curtain control, removed hanging clothing storage in the bathroom for pantry shelves and additional food storage.

Started in Bellingham, WA just below the Canadian border. Made it south of Tucson, AZ before turning around. WA - ID - UT - NV - AZ - UT - ID - MT - WA. No back tracking, new ground every day.

Typical travel mix was 3-4 days of boondocking, 1-2 days in a small host (Campendium, Harvest Host, etc.), and 2-3 days in a KOA. With the solar, upgraded batteries, and the propane fridge, we were able to do plenty of time off-grid.

5,232 miles, ~5 weeks, ended up averaging 12.2 MPG in Tow Mode (Premium fuel - towing + the EcoBoost made this an easy decision). The truck towed fantastically, only one time did it even get hot enough to turn the transmission temp on (loooooong uphill in Northern Arizona on a 95* day). Slowed a bit, downshifted, and temp dropped quickly. The 10 speed transmission was very helpful on the hills - both up, and down.

Fully loaded, we were right at the axle limits for both the truck and trailer, but had no issues towing. No major mechanical failures, truck or trailer. Needed a new battery in Montana, and a new tailgate actuator in Arizona, but both easily sourced at the local Ford Dealer along the way.

Felt like we were always the smallest camper in the big campgrounds, but wouldn’t have wanted one any bigger in some of the boondocking and/or Campendium sites. The slide on this unit is tremendously helpful for gaining crucial living space!

Best boondocking was a tie between the Salt Flats in Utah and on BLM land outside the Grand Canyon.

Happy to answer any questions, but also wanted to document the trip and setup in case anyone has any questions or it’s helpful.
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Old 06-20-2021, 12:05 AM   #2
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Location: Bow WA
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A very nice informative report. Thank you and welcome to the forum.
Our Surveyor is a bit larger and we tow with a 2500 diesel with 6 speed manual transmission. We sure do agree with you that the single slide makes a great living space. And we can walk through the slide when it is in - a very nice feature when on the highway.

The question we have is how did you research the boondocking locations?
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Old 06-20-2021, 12:18 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debit View Post
We sure do agree with you that the single slide makes a great living space. And we can walk through the slide when it is in - a very nice feature when on the highway.

The question we have is how did you research the boondocking locations?
Yes! Being able to access the bathroom, fridge, and stove with the slide in was a HUGE benefit for those lunch stops or road-side potty breaks for the kids.

We found the paid subscription to the Campendium app to be the best source of data on boondocking, including recent reports, photos, and cell coverage details (important for us as we worked and did school during this trip).
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Old 06-20-2021, 12:31 AM   #4
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Hello, thanks for the upgrade list. I just put a deposit down today for a 21 19BHLE, though was disappointed it isn't the 21.5 version with a few changes.

The dealer will install 2 AGM batteries, sounds like lithium is the way to go? The 21 comes with an 80W solar, do you think that's enough for occasional boondock for a night?

What size were the GY Endurance?

Thanks!
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Old 06-20-2021, 02:21 AM   #5
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Nice, I would love to do something like that, we bought our first TT at the same place you bought your, at Baydo's in Fife.
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Old 06-20-2021, 08:06 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ciditad View Post
Hello, thanks for the upgrade list. I just put a deposit down today for a 21 19BHLE, though was disappointed it isn't the 21.5 version with a few changes.
What changes are coming in the 21.5? I peeked at the website and didn’t notice any. We are planning on adding a window to the door - pretty dark on that side of things.

We are planning to flip the springs on the axle and add Sumo Springs to gain a touch of height and minimize the side to side movement caused by rough roads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ciditad View Post
The dealer will install 2 AGM batteries, sounds like lithium is the way to go? The 21 comes with an 80W solar, do you think that's enough for occasional boondock for a night?
If you’re going to be doing anything longer than 1.5 days, I think you’ll find 80W to be not quite enough. You may be able to supplement with a solar suitcase, and avoid installing additional panels (it wasn’t that bad, though).

I also think you’ll find the AGM batteries to be very heavy, adding significantly to tongue weight. See if you can save the money and spring for lithium if you really want to spend time off grid. Even one higher-end lithium (Battleborn, Lion Energy, etc.) would be preferable to 2x AGM. I was reminded of their heft when I had to pull the truck’s AGM out in Missoula.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ciditad View Post
What size were the GY Endurance?
Stock size: 225/75R15 - ordered from Amazon, had a fresh manufacture date and arrived next day. Had a local independent shop put them on the stock wheels, but in hindsight would probably spring for new wheels, too (even low end aluminum ones). We had a weld on the inside of one wheel fail within 5 minutes of getting home from this trip, resulting in a complete flat in the driveway. Luckily, it was at home.

I will say that Lionshead was quick to warranty the wheel and sent a replacement within a week, along with a check to cover the cost of mounting and balancing. The new wheel, however, had quite a wobble in it (hence the upgrade desire - which we may still do at some point).
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Old 06-20-2021, 08:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by UpperLeft View Post
What changes are coming in the 21.5? I peeked at the website and didn’t notice any. We are planning on adding a window to the door - pretty dark on that side of things.
https://youtu.be/lad7YejZzjU

Some minor stuff:
- new kitchen faucet (wife really wanted this)
- more streamlined storage cabinet handles
- shower screen door pulls from the opposite side, which is actually easier to latch.

Where did you mount the TP holder?
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Old 06-20-2021, 10:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ciditad View Post
Hello, thanks for the upgrade list. I just put a deposit down today for a 21 19BHLE, though was disappointed it isn't the 21.5 version with a few changes.

The dealer will install 2 AGM batteries, sounds like lithium is the way to go? The 21 comes with an 80W solar, do you think that's enough for occasional boondock for a night?

What size were the GY Endurance?

Thanks!
We own a 2021 19 RBLE and it came with a 12V compressor refrigerator and a 80W solar package. I do not think they provide propane refrigerators anymore.

The 80 W solar package will keep up with the parasitic loads just fine but will fail miserly trying to keep up with the 12V compressor refrigerator. You should ask the solar pros the requirements to keep up with the Norcold 10CF compressor refrigerator and other loads when boondocking. GoPro says you can add a 100 W panel to the provided controller.

If all you are looking for is one night the right batteries will get you through, BUT you need to charge them the next day along with keeping everything alive.

Happy Camping

Solar requires sunshine, and I like Cold Beer
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Old 06-20-2021, 10:51 AM   #9
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Thank you - very appreciated.
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>We found the paid subscription to the Campendium app to be the best source of data on boondocking, including recent reports, photos, and cell coverage details (important for us as we worked and did school during this trip).<
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Old 06-20-2021, 11:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ciditad View Post
https://youtu.be/lad7YejZzjU

Some minor stuff:
- new kitchen faucet (wife really wanted this)
- more streamlined storage cabinet handles
- shower screen door pulls from the opposite side, which is actually easier to latch.

Where did you mount the TP holder?
Interesting. The video you linked to is from August 2020, and our camper is laid out exactly as shown (faucet, storage handles, and shower door). Sounds like a 2020.5 or 2021 would work for you.

We mounted the TP holder vertically on the angular wall near the light switch. Didn’t use the OEM one, but rather an IKEA offering.
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Old 06-21-2021, 05:36 PM   #11
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Quick question: do you know how thick the stock queen mattress is? Looking to replace it with an IKEA Matrand.

Also, does your shower screen door pull away from the bathroom sink? I think I may have discovered a major issue with mine since it pulls towards the sink and won't latch properly.

Maybe towards the end of the year I'll swap out both AGM batteries out with this:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FMTRYPT...ing=UTF8&psc=1

If you end up getting additional solar panels please post your experience, 80W seems a bit low. Thanks!
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