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Old 09-13-2013, 11:10 AM   #1
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Default Looking at a Fun Finder 189 FDS-Any thoughts?

I have been a happy popup camper for 30 years but am in the process of moving to the "dark side." We love the mountains and my dear wife is starting to get more nervous about bears. I have a Honda Ridgeline that handles my 2300 popup like a dream. 15-16 mpgs doing 65. Towing capacity is 5000 lbs, but I would like to stay way under that number. I am hoping that 10-11 will be doable. the ridgeline generates its power with rpm rather than torque so mpg will suffer. There is a whole section in the ridgeline forums about what people tow and it almost beyond belief what these little guys can tow. I have narrowed it down to the smaller size TT with a slideout. I would prefer a dinette popout, but many of the smaller trailers use the couch popout which we are not thrilled with. The 189 FDS looks very interesting but my nearest dealer that has one is 2.5 hours away so I haven't seen it live yet. Here are some questions for those of you that have this trailer or something similar:
1) Compared to other TT you may have owned, how would you rate the quality of this brand/trailer
2) Are slideouts in general problematic?
3) Would it be unwise to buy this brand when my dealer will be 150 miles away? It kind of freaks me out when I read the comments of all the maintenance required if my dealer is that far away
4) What is the advantage of tandem wheels vs single axle since many this size have a single axle.
5) Just curious, above the queen bed, it show cabinet doors, but its a bed. If I dont want the bunk, can I take out the mattress and use it as storage, or are the doors just for show?
6) For those of you that own this brand/model, what would be the significant weakness/problem I need to be aware of?
7) For you experts, construction wise, are these average, above average, where do they fit in the construction quality world.

Enough for now, or no one will answer. I intend to make the trek to see this thing, but I like what i see in the photos. Just wondering what lurks beneath the surface. Thanks for your help.

BV
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Old 09-13-2013, 12:45 PM   #2
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I have a 2012 189FDS, it is our first camper.

1) Quality, we have had very minor issues, so minor I fix myself, not worth the hassle of going to dealer. I think you will find folks that have had problems with all makes of trailers. We also looked at Lance trailers, very well built but was pushing the GVWR of my Tundra.

2) I have used our trailer a great deal, no slide out problems, just keep the tracks clean and lube the seals.

3) Given I have only had to take mine in once distance has not been a big deal, again, things are so easy to work on find easier to deal with issues myself, barring a big failure

4) better tracking, braking and easier to level, carry a few more lbs as well

5) Upper bunk is also storage, doors open and close but it is one big store space that you could easily partition.

6) Issues that I do not like. Fridge has a heater strip to prevent condensation, sort of a battery hog, need a cooling fan for upper condensation unit, I replaced the stock version with a lower power higher cfm fan, also less noise. Shower is small but once you figure it out no bad, changed shower head to lower water consumption and better pressure. Dumped 12v batter added 2 6v golf cart batteries in series for more amp hours, also added 145w solar panel on the roof, replaced lights with LED's, tv is ac powered changed that out with larger DC powered version, added extra DC outlets. The queen bed sucks added nice mem foam queen. Mounts for screens on master bed in bad location, bed tends to shear them off, modify that before you tear up the interior wall. Insulated under bed using alum covered foam board, also around fridge and bed wall from floor up, made huge difference in sound and keeping things cool or hot. If you get electric stabilizers, pop caps off and seal, I used rubber rood repair spray and seal entire housing, have not had any issues with moisture getting into units from road spray
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:16 PM   #3
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Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. It seems like every mattress in these trailer is bad so I figured we would have to do memory foam no matter what trailer we do.

Seems like I read about this refrigerator thing in some other topic. Not sure I understand all of that but I appreciate the heads up.

What is the real dry weight of your trailer as it sits?

The big question is, if you were buying again, would you buy this trailer again?

Thanks,
BV
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:09 PM   #4
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Dry wt. approx. 3000, book states something like 2800. I would buy it again, it is just my wife and I and dogs, dogs stay outside. Easy to haul, have the hitch sway bars so I can zip down the road 75-85 no problems. We also tried a cheaper gen set, Champion 4000, we went through 3...junk, ended up with Honda 2000 and companion gen for a total of 4000w, nice and quiet and easy on fuel, built a 6 gal feeder tank so they can both run for about 15-18 hours. One other thing we did was extended the drain valve for the main water tank to the stairs, got tired of crawling under the trailer to drain the tank. also crawled around and sealed every possible place critters can get into, you would think all mfg's would do a far better job of sealing these things up
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:46 PM   #5
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Man o Man, you have really worked at this and added a lot of cool things. I am assuming the solar panels help keep the batteries charged, or am I missing something. If that is correct why do you need the generators? Sorry for being so stupid about this.

What kind of vehicle are you towing with?

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Old 09-13-2013, 03:59 PM   #6
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In az gotta have a/c in summer, batts won't run that or the Microwave. We do a lot of dry camping and don't usually need gens, solar panel adds plenty of power.

total cost wasn't bad, go to Az wind and solar, they have full rv packages think mine was right at $300, installed myself. Got interstate 6v batteries each one is about 260AH, I think they were about $90/ea, you can do 2 side by side on the 189, very slight mods. If you end up getting the 189 let me know, be more than happy to share the how to and photo's
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:08 PM   #7
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Shadow,
We made the five hour round trip to the dealer with the 189 FDS and after spending 3 hours analyzing everything we drove away and will take this week to think about it. We thought it was perfect for the 2 of us. We actually loved it, just wasn't going to make a rash decision. I took the Ridgeline down there and convinced them to let me tow it a bit and my vehicle handled it nicely. The truck probably didn't drop and inch when I hooked it up. The only unusual options with this model are a power hitch and the 19" tv. Apparently, everything else is added to all of these. It shows options of $9600 but the only "real" options were the 2 I mentioned. I believe they are somewhat motivated by the end of the year. Here are a couple of questions:
1) I was shocked that the underside is not enclosed. Has that posed any problems for you. Should I be concerned about this. Good news is everything it readily available.
2) I noticed the post about the refrigerator failure due to possible improper placement of the vents. This model had 2 vents for the fridge. Is this a fix to that problem or are they all like this
3) What year is your unit. Apparently significant modifications were made for the 2013 year.
4) Since you have followed this board for a while, has there been a general consensus of what discount from MSRP is a good deal or don't people talk about prices.
Thank,
bv
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:44 PM   #8
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Some comments on this thread:
1. Refrigerator heater strip - I think this can be shut off on our refrigerator to save power.
2. Mattress: If you are looking at a new unit and are not satisfied with the mattress, maybe the dealer can upgrade it.
3. Open underside: Easier to work on, but pipes and tanks may freeze if you are doing cold weather camping.
4. Camper defects: I think “bugs” in new campers as they are delivered from the factory is fairly common. I think how well the dealer preps a new camper has a lot of impact on how many “bugs” you will be faced with. I would assume dealers who spend more time on prepping will charge more for the camper.
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Old 09-15-2013, 08:46 AM   #9
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underside should have a reinforced plastic covering very flexible stuff works ok just watch for tears, best avoided by not going over tall brush and such.
the fridge issue if you remove the top most vent the e==heat exchange coils should be at that level, most likely they are up at the top where there is not heat vents...that is the problem. They should have a small fan that is tied to a thermal switch located on the exchange coils, go to frys electronics or some big electronics shop and get a 12v computer fan, that is 100-150 cfm and low watt usage and move it closer to the coils, this will force much more air through the area, eliminating the problem, you may want to see if the dealer will install a couple of small vents for as part of the deal. the heat strip can be turned by cutting a wire in the fridge light assy, I'll check and see which on, been some time since I did it, took about 2 minutes to do.
In terms of pricing you can work it pretty good especially if the have a few in stock, I handled mine as I do a car, my final price with taxes was about 15k and they tossed in the HD sway control hitch and brake control I really don't know if that was a good price or not, really didn't care that much. I would go get your own tv, the one that came with the trailer was junk. its now my outdoor tv for football games. Good you drove it around.

have the dealer load it up with water pressurize and run everything, water heater etc.. A/C and run it for a good day or more, see if you can freeze it out. I did have a problem with a/c tripping breakers, turned out a/c was bad, ran it until it burned itself up so they had no choice but to put brand new unit in...no problems since.
You may also look for a good used model that is 2012 or so, that can save you loads of cash, if nothing is wrong with the unit. But if your like me I just rather have new because I know nothing weird has been done to the unit
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Old 09-15-2013, 05:06 PM   #10
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Since this model does not have a rear bumper, will there be anyway to attached some sort of a bike rack on the back or will it be impossible. Anything underneath to attach it too?
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