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Old 06-15-2016, 09:50 AM   #1
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Default Just rented, about to buy. But...

I posted a few months ago about my considering to buy a new FF F-233 RBS. Well, my wife and I (with Rocky (dog) and Bear (3 week old baby)) rented a 2014 View Finder 19FK over the weekend to see if we liked the experience of a travel trailer. I race motocross, so I used it for two days at the track at a big regional race here in Colorado (boondocking with a generator) and then we took it to Rocky Mountain National Park and did one night at a commercial camp site with hookup and then one night boondocking in the park. Overall we had a great time and, despite it being a little smaller than the 233 RBS we might buy, the View Finder was great at both the race and in the park.

However, there were a number of things that were concerning with the View Finder and, while Iím going to have my local dealer give me a complete powered run through of the FF, I wondered if anyone here could chime in on whether these issues are particular to that View Finder model (and not an issue on a new FF), or if the issues were just with that particular TT we rented? Apologies for the long list, but this was the first time weíve ever stayed in a TT and Iím trying to gather as much information as I can before I invest.
  1. A/C: The A/C unit was pretty noisy and vibrated the whole RV Ė you could feel it through the seats. We would never be able to sleep through it if we camped somewhere really hot (Iím going to race at Loretta Lynn's dude ranch in Tennessee in August). How loud is the A/C in the new FFs? Can you sleep through it?
  2. Heater: How loud is the heater? Especially with the baby weíll need to run it through the night to avoid temperature dips. Is it propane powered and silent? Are there fans? How loud is it?
  3. Interior lights: I was amazed to see the View Finder had incandescent bulbs that had their own little fans built in to the light fixtures. Totally ridiculous IMO when youíre trying to conserve power in a TT and avoid excessive heat. I see the new FFs come with LED exterior lights, but are all the interior lights also LEDs? If not, I can swap them all out but I would rather it came with LEDs as standard of course.
  4. Leveling: To level the View Finder front to back was easy as I just used the powered front foot on the hitch to adjust that angle. However, there was no way to adjust side to side level since when I put a block under one stabilizing foot on one side the other foot would just extend lower without putting any further pressure on the foot with the block under it. Consequently, the only way to level is side to side was to drive it onto a block so one wheel is lifted up. Then the stabilizing feet just hold it all in place. The annoying thing about this is presumably you need to carry multiple sizes of blocks to put under the wheels to compensate for differing side to side slopes. Is this the case with the new FFs? Or are they smarter than this and can level side to side using the electric stabilizers?
  5. Heated underbelly: The new FFS come with a heated underbelly. Does this take the edge off the cold floor inside the TT in the mornings?
  6. Exterior water outlet: I see the new FFs come with an outside shower, but do they have a cold water outlet that I can connect a pressure washer to if needed?
  7. Skylights: Do the new FFs have blinds on the skylights? The View Finder didnít have any and was very annoying when trying to sleep beyond dawn.
  8. Water pump: You could hear the water pump throughout the View Finder, and it would occasionally chirp in the night, presumably when it lost a little pressure somehow. I would have thought that these days water pumps on RVs would be silent. How loud is the water pump on the new FFs? Can you replace the pump with a silent one? Do people even do that?
  9. Battery: the battery on the View Finder barely lasted two days using only the lights, water pump and whatever power was needed for the heater (water heater and fridge were on propane). Is this about right, or does a new FF battery last much longer when boondocking?
  10. Trash: there was no trash can inside the View Finder. Please tell me the new FFs have a trash can lol!

Thanks in advance for any help here! Our biggest concern really is the noise/vibration from the A/C and how loud the heater is. The rest I can fix or live with.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 06-15-2016, 12:46 PM   #2
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Simon –

For whatever it's worth, here are my comments:

As far as I know, all air conditioning units on all trailers are noisy, and they vibrate. The compressor is a fairly powerful machine on top of a fairly flimsy box (the trailer).

Sad to say, the furnace is even noisier. It takes cold air from the outside, passes it over a heat exchanger, and then blows it inside. The fan is the noisy part. Worse yet, it stops and starts all night long. The goal is to have no carbon monoxide fumes inside, but the noise is an inevitable result of this arrangement. Some folks use those catalytic heaters, with good results. I personally am worried about that solution – I don't like the idea of any sort of combustion inside the trailer. I am probably being too cautious about this. Because we don't like running the furnace at night, we camp with a heavy down comforter. It has gotten down into the high 20s inside the trailer when we are camped in the snow, but we are warm as toast in our bed. Then, when we get up in the morning, we turn the heater on for a couple of minutes. Bear in mind also that the furnaces draw a lot of electricity!

It is a great idea to change over to LED lights – I don't know whether the new trailers come stock with them, but it is easy to change over.

When it comes to side to side leveling, I rely on those Lynx blocks, which are essentially giant Lego pieces. They are very easy to use and store. Wooden blocks also work, but they have a tendency to slide around on gravel surfaces.

As far as I know, a heated underbelly is more for protecting the tanks from freezing than it is for heating the floor. But it probably does insulate the floor from the cold.

Unless your trailer is on "city water" (at an RV park), I doubt whether the 12 V pump would be sufficient to operate a pressure washer.

In order to darken the skylight, most folks use a foam insert.

Most RV pumps are noisy. There are ways of insulating the plumbing with foam. The best silencing device is an accumulator, which is very easy to install. My trailer is so small that we could only get a 1 quart accumulator, which is actually plenty for us. But if you have room for a bigger accumulator, I would get one. They're made by Shurflo and sold at Camping World. These are really worthwhile items. In addition to being a lot quieter, they also save electricity, since your pump doesn't cycle on and off.

My guess is that the stock battery that came with your rental trailer was only a group 24. I would switch to group 31 batteries when you buy your own trailer. We use two of them, mounted on the tongue. The other issue is that on a rental unit, there's no way to tell how well maintained the batteries are. If the batteries are not properly maintained at full charge with a trickle charger, they will deteriorate fairly quickly.

I've never heard of a built in trashcan, but there might be one. I made my own out of 1/4 inch Baltic birch plywood, so that it perfectly fits an ordinary plastic bag from a market.

I hope this helps!

Dan

PS -- Congratulations on camping successfully with an infant! Not easy to do.
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:45 PM   #3
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Thanks, Dan, for the education.

I'll get the dealer to show me the A/C and furnace running so I can get a better idea of the noise and vibration. Afraid not running the furnace overnight with the baby is not an option. I looked up those Lynx blocks and I think I'll get some along with a pair of X chocks. And I like the idea of foam inserts for the skylights (like blackouts I guess) and the water pump accumulator - v clever. Then I can upgrade the battery down the line too.

I just need a cold water outlet/faucet outside the RV for the pressure washer as the washer itself will suck the water. Again, I can check this with the dealer.

Thanks again!

Cheers
Simon

P.S. I learnt this weekend that in RV land a "queen" bed is not a queen bed, it's smaller. Who knew!?!
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Old 06-15-2016, 02:49 PM   #4
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It's actually a Princess.
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Old 06-15-2016, 03:35 PM   #5
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My $0.02...

You are not supposed to use the stabilizer jacks to level the trailer.

You got it right - drive up on orange blocks until level, but do BOTH axles, not just one.

The a/c is terribly noisy, as is the furnace.

CW sells various covers for the standard sized vent opening.

You can find short queen sheets online. But, in my little 2015 189fds, the mattress is a full-sized queen...
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Old 06-15-2016, 03:37 PM   #6
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My two cents:
1) A/C is noisy in my 2012 210UDS. My thermostat has 3 fan settings. Auto/Hi/Lo. So I chose high or low - it provides continuous fan operation and only the compressor cycles on/off. Used to drive me crazy if when the fan turns off/on all night. Now it's just a continuous "white noise."
2) I have a separate heater runs off the propane. (Some have a heat pump setup with heat strips.) Anyways, it is noisy and cycles off/on all night. If you're hooked to shore power-we bought a small ceramic heater. Saves propane.
3) Easy to find LEDs on eBay for cheap. Be patient, be sure to order the correct 12-volt with the correct base. Cheapest ones are from. . . China.
4) Leveling a small or medium travel trailer side-to-side does require blocks. Most carry the stackable blocks and build correct height "ramps".
5) My thoughts are that it keeps the tanks and pipes from freezing?
6) Not sure with the toy hauler sized trailers. But - any faucet would be pulling water from your tanks and you'd drain them fast. But if you're hooked up to a water source - well your problem would be solved by using that faucet with a "Y" splitter.
7) Unsure - my only skylight is in the bathroom. But the fans do let light in-there are pad to insert to block out the light.
Some people search for the perfect "silent" pump. I guess there are quieter pumps. I've been in rigs of all sizes and prices. Most (not all) pumps make noise.
9) One battery will not last very long - two days sounds reasonable.
10) lol - Walmart bags!
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Old 06-15-2016, 04:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by michellep View Post
My $0.02...

You are not supposed to use the stabilizer jacks to level the trailer.

You got it right - drive up on orange blocks until level, but do BOTH axles, not just one.

The a/c is terribly noisy, as is the furnace.

CW sells various covers for the standard sized vent opening.

You can find short queen sheets online. But, in my little 2015 189fds, the mattress is a full-sized queen...
Thanks! I just looked at the floor plan and the bed is 60x80 which, I think, is a regular queen, which is nice. I had a search for reducing the noise of a furnace, since we are more likely to be running the furnace overnight than the A/C and I found this: Soundproofing a Noisy RV Furnace | ModMyRV I might try it down the line if the furnace blower is too loud.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 06-15-2016, 05:09 PM   #8
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My two cents:
1) A/C is noisy in my 2012 210UDS. My thermostat has 3 fan settings. Auto/Hi/Lo. So I chose high or low - it provides continuous fan operation and only the compressor cycles on/off. Used to drive me crazy if when the fan turns off/on all night. Now it's just a continuous "white noise."
2) I have a separate heater runs off the propane. (Some have a heat pump setup with heat strips.) Anyways, it is noisy and cycles off/on all night. If you're hooked to shore power-we bought a small ceramic heater. Saves propane.
3) Easy to find LEDs on eBay for cheap. Be patient, be sure to order the correct 12-volt with the correct base. Cheapest ones are from. . . China.
4) Leveling a small or medium travel trailer side-to-side does require blocks. Most carry the stackable blocks and build correct height "ramps".
5) My thoughts are that it keeps the tanks and pipes from freezing?
6) Not sure with the toy hauler sized trailers. But - any faucet would be pulling water from your tanks and you'd drain them fast. But if you're hooked up to a water source - well your problem would be solved by using that faucet with a "Y" splitter.
7) Unsure - my only skylight is in the bathroom. But the fans do let light in-there are pad to insert to block out the light.
Some people search for the perfect "silent" pump. I guess there are quieter pumps. I've been in rigs of all sizes and prices. Most (not all) pumps make noise.
9) One battery will not last very long - two days sounds reasonable.
10) lol - Walmart bags!
Thanks for the pointers! It looks like Iíll be going with lynx blocks and x-chocks, insulating the furnace, getting pads for the skylights, replacing any incandescent lights with LEDs, installing a water pump accumulator and making sure the water pump lines are flexible and insulated, upgrading the battery to a pair of group 31s and using supermarket bags for the trash.

Iím going to line up a run through of the FF hopefully in the next week or so, then Iíll update you all as to my progress on making the purchase.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 06-18-2016, 05:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnimalHungry View Post
I posted a few months ago about my considering to buy a new FF F-233 RBS. Well, my wife and I (with Rocky (dog) and Bear (3 week old baby)) rented a 2014 View Finder 19FK over the weekend to see if we liked the experience of a travel trailer. I race motocross, so I used it for two days at the track at a big regional race here in Colorado (boondocking with a generator) and then we took it to Rocky Mountain National Park and did one night at a commercial camp site with hookup and then one night boondocking in the park. Overall we had a great time and, despite it being a little smaller than the 233 RBS we might buy, the View Finder was great at both the race and in the park.

However, there were a number of things that were concerning with the View Finder and, while Iím going to have my local dealer give me a complete powered run through of the FF, I wondered if anyone here could chime in on whether these issues are particular to that View Finder model (and not an issue on a new FF), or if the issues were just with that particular TT we rented? Apologies for the long list, but this was the first time weíve ever stayed in a TT and Iím trying to gather as much information as I can before I invest.
  1. A/C: The A/C unit was pretty noisy and vibrated the whole RV Ė you could feel it through the seats. We would never be able to sleep through it if we camped somewhere really hot (Iím going to race at Loretta Lynn's dude ranch in Tennessee in August). How loud is the A/C in the new FFs? Can you sleep through it?
  2. Heater: How loud is the heater? Especially with the baby weíll need to run it through the night to avoid temperature dips. Is it propane powered and silent? Are there fans? How loud is it?
  3. Interior lights: I was amazed to see the View Finder had incandescent bulbs that had their own little fans built in to the light fixtures. Totally ridiculous IMO when youíre trying to conserve power in a TT and avoid excessive heat. I see the new FFs come with LED exterior lights, but are all the interior lights also LEDs? If not, I can swap them all out but I would rather it came with LEDs as standard of course.
  4. Leveling: To level the View Finder front to back was easy as I just used the powered front foot on the hitch to adjust that angle. However, there was no way to adjust side to side level since when I put a block under one stabilizing foot on one side the other foot would just extend lower without putting any further pressure on the foot with the block under it. Consequently, the only way to level is side to side was to drive it onto a block so one wheel is lifted up. Then the stabilizing feet just hold it all in place. The annoying thing about this is presumably you need to carry multiple sizes of blocks to put under the wheels to compensate for differing side to side slopes. Is this the case with the new FFs? Or are they smarter than this and can level side to side using the electric stabilizers?
  5. Heated underbelly: The new FFS come with a heated underbelly. Does this take the edge off the cold floor inside the TT in the mornings?
  6. Exterior water outlet: I see the new FFs come with an outside shower, but do they have a cold water outlet that I can connect a pressure washer to if needed?
  7. Skylights: Do the new FFs have blinds on the skylights? The View Finder didnít have any and was very annoying when trying to sleep beyond dawn.
  8. Water pump: You could hear the water pump throughout the View Finder, and it would occasionally chirp in the night, presumably when it lost a little pressure somehow. I would have thought that these days water pumps on RVs would be silent. How loud is the water pump on the new FFs? Can you replace the pump with a silent one? Do people even do that?
  9. Battery: the battery on the View Finder barely lasted two days using only the lights, water pump and whatever power was needed for the heater (water heater and fridge were on propane). Is this about right, or does a new FF battery last much longer when boondocking?
  10. Trash: there was no trash can inside the View Finder. Please tell me the new FFs have a trash can lol!

Thanks in advance for any help here! Our biggest concern really is the noise/vibration from the A/C and how loud the heater is. The rest I can fix or live with.

Cheers
Simon
Dang, I pulled out of Thunder Valley on Thursday before the regional. It would have been good to let you check out mine.

1. The ACs are noisy for sure. Vibration isn't really an issue. As hot as it gets at Loretta's I'd take the noise and any vibration, as long as it pumps out good cooling. It gets blistering hot (and muggy) there.

2. The heater in my old trailer was amazingly noisy. It was about five years old, and a 189FBR. The new one (214WSD) still has some noise, but overall is much quieter.

3. On my new trailer, it has all LEDs on the interior, except for the light in the dinette slide, which has a trio of incandescent bulbs.

4. There are stabilizers, and there are full on scissor jacks. The stabilizers are flimsy, while the jacks are much more substantial. Like others have said, doing basic leveling with leveling blocks is your primary source of level (don't forget the chocks), and you can do some fine-tuning with scissor jacks.

5. I've got nothin' for you on this one. My FF doesn't have it.

6. You want to find a water source other than your onboard water for pressure washing. Typically, the capacity on board would be rapidly depleted washing your bike.

7. There are blinds on my skylight, and it does cut down on light, but they're not blackout blinds by any means. When I stay at a Camp WM (Wal-Mart parking lot), I sometimes am near big lights. For whatever reason, they don't bother me.

8. The water pump (and associated plumbing) is noisy. Really noisy. I know there are some ways to quiet the hoses (some of mine sound like they're knocking on a wall), but I haven't even peeked at them in mine. I'm also used to the noise.

9. I have a double battery setup on the front of my trailer, and also use the generator frequently at races. So does everyone else. It charges the batteries (and while it's running I look like a portable charging station, plugging in everything I own). You'll also need the generator to run the TV, microwave, and AC.

10. Nope, no trash can. I'm still sorting out a few things on mine. Usually I have a plastic bag hanging on a door as a trash can.
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Old 06-18-2016, 07:29 PM   #10
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Thanks for the pointers! I'm getting the feeling that none of these issues are deal breakers for us and I'll be able to mitigate some of them, such as the noisy plumbing and skylight blind. Nice to see the newer FFs are pretty much all LEDs now, which is great for heat and power of course. I like the idea of adding another battery. I'll have to see how long the batteries last while boondocking and maybe get a solar panel to keep the them topped up, but that'll be down the line.

I'm going to try and get my local dealer to give me a full powered run-through this week of the F-233 RBS and I'll update here.

Thanks again for all the advice, it's much appreciated especially since we're RV virgins.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by AnimalHungry View Post
Thanks for the pointers! I'm getting the feeling that none of these issues are deal breakers for us and I'll be able to mitigate some of them, such as the noisy plumbing and skylight blind. Nice to see the newer FFs are pretty much all LEDs now, which is great for heat and power of course. I like the idea of adding another battery. I'll have to see how long the batteries last while boondocking and maybe get a solar panel to keep the them topped up, but that'll be down the line.

I'm going to try and get my local dealer to give me a full powered run-through this week of the F-233 RBS and I'll update here.

Thanks again for all the advice, it's much appreciated especially since we're RV virgins.

Cheers
Simon
I was, too, the first year I did the Nationals. I bought the trailer so my son could travel with me during the summer after my ex and I split. I picked up the trailer in Southern California, hitched up and headed for amount Morris, PA. It was the learn-as-you-go program.
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Old 06-20-2016, 11:38 AM   #12
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Nice! That's normally how we roll, but I just don't want the FF to turn into an expensive yard ornament if we don't use it.

Qu: when you're traveling between races do you roll with your freshwater full, or do you fill up at each track? The 44 gal freshwater tank of the 233 RBS is 370 lbs of weight which would be eating up my fuel economy.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 06-20-2016, 11:57 AM   #13
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Nice! That's normally how we roll, but I just don't want the FF to turn into an expensive yard ornament if we don't use it.

Qu: when you're traveling between races do you roll with your freshwater full, or do you fill up at each track? The 44 gal freshwater tank of the 233 RBS is 370 lbs of weight which would be eating up my fuel economy.

Cheers
Simon
I've figured out a few water spots that I revisit on the tour, but I generally try and keep it full since not all tracks have potable water available. I don't always know what my schedule is going to be between rounds (meaning where I'm going, or how many mountain bike rides I might get in), so I like to keep it full for full maximum shower capabilities. The first trailer I had only carried 25 gallons or so, and I'm not sure how much of that I was actually getting, since the intake was fairly high on the tank. If I remember right, this one carries 40. Either way, it's fairly luxurious, since I get way more showers out of it than the last one.

Flying J/Pilot truck stops sometimes have RV islands with water and dump stations (varies by state/location). Those are usually around $7.50 to dump, fill is free. I usually try and do both at the same time. I really wouldn't want to have all three tanks (fresh/gray/black) getting full. Highway rest stops are sometimes a good place for a free dump/fill. Same goes for campgrounds, though you're paying the entry fee there. In California they've removed the fresh water fill at some of the rest stops. (DO NOT use the dump zone rinse hose to fill your fresh water.) In Kansas all the rest stop water spigots are marked as non-drinkable.
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:03 PM   #14
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I hear ya. The ability to take a decent shower when on the road, especially if getting in some good bike rides, is much underrated. I'd have never thought about not filling my fresh with the hose there though, unless it said it wasn't potable. The Sanidumps app, suggested by MichiganTraveler on my opther thread, for your phone looks pretty good too for finding dump stations.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:15 PM   #15
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Some Cabela's also have overnight parking, and a dump station, but not all. The one in Kansas City, Kansas used to have a dump station, but a building expansion took that station out. So there is one more place to consider while traveling.

Speaking of traveling with a full fresh tank, some have found it to be a good idea to add extra support under the fresh tank. I'm getting ready to repurpose a 6' by 5" "tree saver" recovery strap under my fresh tank, as it does sag quite a bit with a load of water.
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:18 PM   #16
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I hear ya. The ability to take a decent shower when on the road, especially if getting in some good bike rides, is much underrated. I'd have never thought about not filling my fresh with the hose there though, unless it said it wasn't potable. The Sanidumps app, suggested by MichiganTraveler on my opther thread, for your phone looks pretty good too for finding dump stations.

Cheers
Simon
Yeah, after people have been shoving that hose down their sewer tube to rinse it, I'd rather skip it.

I downloaded that app, too. Can't ever have enough resources for water and dump stations.
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:28 PM   #17
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Some Cabela's also have overnight parking, and a dump station, but not all. The one in Kansas City, Kansas used to have a dump station, but a building expansion took that station out. So there is one more place to consider while traveling.

Speaking of traveling with a full fresh tank, some have found it to be a good idea to add extra support under the fresh tank. I'm getting ready to repurpose a 6' by 5" "tree saver" recovery strap under my fresh tank, as it does sag quite a bit with a load of water.
Hmm...I did manage to squeeze my fresh water tank out of the previous trailer by overfilling it. After that I put three ratchet straps under it as a precaution...mostly because the tank was in front of the axles. If it dropped out while going down the road, it would have made quite a jump.

Hmm...with the under-trailer wrap, I'm wondering how to do that on the new trailer...
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:50 PM   #18
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Are you guys saying that the fresh water tank in the front of the trailer could go through the floor? Or am I understanding this wrong?
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Old 06-22-2016, 08:22 AM   #19
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I think this is the issue GuyB is describing: http://www.funfinderclub.com/forums/...-use-1116.html

Cheers
Simon
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Old 06-22-2016, 12:54 PM   #20
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The ratchet straps is a great idea. I used some thin door trim wedged between the metal edge strips to help support mine (precaution as never had a problem) but was concerned the wood thickness could cause the plastic tank to leak where the wood contacts it after lots of travel miles.

I think I will try some ratchet straps instead.

thanks for the idea.
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