We have a 2014 HW 277.
No trouble with front wall separation. I suggest that you ensure that the bed support pipes are set to keep the bed well supported. I'me 6'6" and 260#...and married. I just make sure the supports "lift" the bed slightly to carry the weight.
Lift the suspension if you plan to boondock. I had to buy a double-axle lift kit, but someone in the forums snapped up the unused second axle lift in no time. (see photo of kit and see it installed in the photo of the fresh tank support)
The stairs are very vulnerable to dragging on sharp breakovers and in whoop-de-doos "off-road." The internal road network in our favorite lakeside boondocking campground is poorly maintained and the up and down dips dragged the stairs. Once lifted, I removed the stairs and used a 6# sledge and anvil to straighten everything, and I added a second piece of angle iron to stiffen the mounts for the stairs.
The outside sink is awesome. The outside stove pretty much sucks unless there is no wind. Plus the burner space is tight for full-sized pans. I've replaced the knobs once already because they get overheated from "under-pan-heat-splash".
The mounts for the stove suck. Little snap-in clips and screws. I replaced them with small metal molly anchors
, tiny angle brackets
, auto body J-nuts
, and 1/4" round-head, hex drive bolts...stainless steel
. This is a sturdy repair that can be re-done over time.
Also, if you boondock, lay in a supply of nuts, bolts and screws in a variety of sizes. Store them in something like this
. If a screw falls out, it's best to replace it with a "Plus 1" size AND add Gorilla glue to the hole and the threads. Problem areas:
~ rear hinge mount for folding bathroom wall. Definitely larger screws and glue. On the front wall, check the acorn nuts often and keep them tight. Always use LocTite on any nut or bolt.
~ hanger for bottom of main door where attached to the roof. Replace screws in particle board with stainless bolts and nylock nuts. They are under the awning, so they won't leak.
~ outside table/grill hanger rail. Aluminum screws into particle board give out easily. Upsize AND add more in stainless...not aluminum. Gorilla glue.
~ under-sink cabinet door is big and heavy...and hard on the hinges. Buy spare hinges and put them with your hardware. Get slightly larger screws for the hinges and use Gorilla glue.
~ keep a close eye on your inside stove top. Things vibrate apart on the burners and the glass flip lid. LocTite is your friend, but vigilance is required on sheet metal screws and the plastic bolts on the glass lid.
~ always police the camper for parts on the floor when you arrive.
~ dark (e.g. walnut) stain will absorb into the MDF (or whatever) substrate on the cabinets and disguise scratches and mars.
~ your inside kitchen sink drain is garden variety drain plumbing that vibrates apart. Always double check that it's snug when you setup. I managed to tighten mine enough (by hand) to keep that from happening, but I had two incidents where the kitchen sink was draining into the cabinet.
~ again with the rigors of boondocking, the under-camper drain plumbing cracked at a "tee." I replaced the tee with a rubber Fernco tee
...which allows enough flex to keep that from happening again. I had to use some additional straight pipe and couplers to replace pipe that was glued into the original tee, but it was an easy fix.
Also, if you want to flush the grey tank, open the outdoor kitchen and put a garden hose in the sink drain. It will flow well and flush out the drain and tank.
I haven't had problems with the dump valves. I use one of these to back-flush the black tank
, and I use the above described procedure to flush the grey tank. This leaves both dump valves clean. There are quite a few of the black tank flush devices to choose from...mine is slightly different...it has a 45 degree bend. The water comes out of the black tank absolutely clear, and it flushes the drain hose, too.
As for the grey dump: Since I boondock and the grey tank is only 12 gallons, I dump it daily...into a bucket. In a campground, you can tote it to a vault toilet or bathroom to dump. In the wilderness, water the trees. Sink/shower water will not hurt the environment. Soaps (surfactants) are soil amendments...and "Dawn" is used to clean contaminated waterfowl after oil spills. This comment may spark debate, but this has been discussed to death. I have a Valtera adapter to connect my grey dump to about 10' of garden hose
to dump into my bucket. I'm frequently lake-side on a slope, so the 10' hose ducks under the camper to dump in the bucket on the lower ground.
If you are in a campground with hookups (I can't imagine why in a PUP), one of these will work
. Note that the adapter will create a natural "J trap" in the hose to prevent sewer odors from chasing back up the garden hose. There's no reason to connect the grey dump to the black dump, and doing so will contaminate the grey water emerging from the black dump.
SUPPORT YOUR FRESH TANK. SEE PHOTO. 26 gallons of water in a plastic jug under the camper will ruin the fresh tank if you travel full...which you often must do to boondock. My support is super easy: 1/2" galvanized water pipe, plywood, rubber mat, pipe clamps, and two clevis pins.
Get a full-sized grease gun and grease the hell out of the cables in the metal guide rail (two zerk fittings). At each corner, there are two hex screws holding the cable guide tubes. "Lower" the winch to create additional slack in the lift cable...use one hand to pull the cable sideways (up) to avoid tangles. 4" to 6" of lateral play will be enough slack to be able to drop the corners one at a time and shoot silicone lube down the tubes and on the cables where they make the turn. You may need to adjust the lower limit on the limit switch to allow this.
Speaking of the limit switch on the lift winch. This thing is trouble-prone. It's driven by plastic gear teeth that mesh with the main steel lift gear. Mine sheered off in season 1. So I bypassed the limit switch and just pay attention. I could write a book on this and have. Let me know if you encounter problems with the winch. You may wish to do the same. This is not a Forest River problem. It's a problem with the winch design...and virtually all brands use the same winch.
The black tank will last 5 days with a couple. It will fill faster with more users, of course. I'v'e discussed dealing with grey water. Last comes fresh water. Currently I carry 4 of these Reliance jugs
, and I made an adapter using a spare cap
, a 1/2" thread to 1/2" barb plastic adapter and about 15" of clear plastic hose and hose clamp--all from the local hardware store. I can dump from the jug to the fresh tank easily and stay dry. Between the fresh tank and the 28 gallons in jugs, I have water to spare after 5 days of boondocking.
If you're interested in going solar, let me know. I've been running solar for several years, and I never run out of battery. The only time I use the generator is to run 120 volt appliances like the microwave.
If you don't like your kitchen faucet, I bought this on Amazon and installed it without tools
. The spigot comes off as it should. The levers are awesome compared to the round knobs because they work intuitively and stop water waste.
You need Need NEED a ladder. One of these fits just right in the entry way tucked around the dinette slide
Your awning can be "rebagged." My bag deteriorated in the sun, but the awning inside is good as new. I paid $160 to have a boat canvas place make a new bag.
Tips on using the awning:
~ support poles vertical on the ground and staked...not in the sockets on the side of the camper;
~ use paracord and heavy duty stakes to guy the awning down to prevent wind damage;
~ be prepared to stow the awning in heavy wind or thunderstorms...you'll need the ladder and lots of determination;
~ When breaking camp, release the guy ropes then lower the roof FIRST then stow the awning...much easier.
~ this is a very tall camper, and even more so when lifted. I mentioned that I'm 6'6" and I'm on the top step of the ladder if I need to deal with the awning in wind!
This dry lube works wonders on the bed slides.
Use a paper towel to protect from overspray, but it's clean and works great.
Brand new, these things cost about $16,000. If you adjust your expectations and realize that yanking a small house down the road over and over again...often over rough rural roads and dirt roads...is a super hard life for a camper, and that you didn't pay Airstream prices ($80K) for your rig, you'll love it. Just bring tools and some ingenuity and you'll have a great time.
Note: MOST of the links in the copy are just illustrations...not specific recommendations. Shop around a bit to get just the right stuff.