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Old 05-28-2021, 05:18 PM   #21
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Welcome fellow Canadian. Living in Vancouver B.C. I have a 2009 189 FBS. Purchased in late 2018, managed to use it most of 2019 then COVID hit, only one trip 2020, hoping for more this year. Use a 2007 Nissan Frontier as the tow vehicle. Have been up and down the ‘Highway from Hell’, the Coquihalla highway couple times now with no problems. Added a sway bar this winter as at freeway speeds noticed a slight sway, nothing major.
Suggestions?
Make sure to remove water from toilet before hitting the road except for a little to cover rubber o-ring. Our first trip had a river down middle of trailer.
After becoming very sick on a trip in our former Class ‘C’ from drinking park water we now carry bottled water. To reduce tongue weight we place all heavy items, like bottled water over the axles, use an anti-skid mat to prevent shifting, so far its works.
To save storage space and frig space plan your meals. We use a excel spreadsheet with every column a different day. In each column put the dinner planned then only take what is needed to support that meal, i.e., hamburgers- two patties, two buns, onion, etc. Don’t take Costco sized items. For mayo, ketchup, other condiments use plastic squeeze bottles.
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Old 06-01-2021, 03:22 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by gator View Post
Always watch the caulking on those older trailers. Any cracks and fix immediately. Pay attention to the marker lights up top and the diamond plate at the front. Well known area of water egress.
Thanks! Looks like it's in good shape now and no sign of past leaks, but we're already looking into how to re-seal the roof (and more) at the end of this season!
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Old 06-01-2021, 03:27 PM   #23
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On the rare occasion that I have someone assist me with backing up I have them call me on their cellphone so I can talk to them through the sync in my truck. Their directions are “drivers side a few inches” “need to go more passenger side” things like that.
Had my shake out weekend last weekend and learned a valuable lesson. I don’t often hook up to water but this time I did. I also turned on my water pump. All that pressure caused my pump to leak and the kitchen faucet to drip. Checking on the pump this afternoon to make sure I didn’t ruin it.
Look up some good hitching, setup and tear down checklists. I updated mine so I’m going out again this weekend.
Have fun, laugh at your mistakes, talk to neighbors about their biggest mistakes and again, have fun!!
Totally makes sense, but I don't think I would have thought of just using the phone! We will grab a water regulator before heading out... still negotiating a bit on whether we need an energy monitoring system or just surge protector, but I'm hoping to install an EMS to keep things safe and simple. And the checklists are in progress, but we're both quite curious about what will surprise us once we're actually out!
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Old 06-01-2021, 03:30 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by whatme View Post
Welcome fellow Canadian. Living in Vancouver B.C. I have a 2009 189 FBS. Purchased in late 2018, managed to use it most of 2019 then COVID hit, only one trip 2020, hoping for more this year. Use a 2007 Nissan Frontier as the tow vehicle. Have been up and down the ‘Highway from Hell’, the Coquihalla highway couple times now with no problems. Added a sway bar this winter as at freeway speeds noticed a slight sway, nothing major.
Suggestions?
Make sure to remove water from toilet before hitting the road except for a little to cover rubber o-ring. Our first trip had a river down middle of trailer.
After becoming very sick on a trip in our former Class ‘C’ from drinking park water we now carry bottled water. To reduce tongue weight we place all heavy items, like bottled water over the axles, use an anti-skid mat to prevent shifting, so far its works.
To save storage space and frig space plan your meals. We use a excel spreadsheet with every column a different day. In each column put the dinner planned then only take what is needed to support that meal, i.e., hamburgers- two patties, two buns, onion, etc. Don’t take Costco sized items. For mayo, ketchup, other condiments use plastic squeeze bottles.
Got a very gratifying reaction when I told my wife about your "why draining the toilet is important" lesson. We'll do that! I'm not optimistic about our ability to calculate the food requirements... I suspect we may end up being a fridge + cooler family, but it will give me something to work towards!
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Old 06-02-2021, 10:55 AM   #25
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We only put non-perishable items in our little fridge, you just never know when it'll conk out, so only soda and water. Plus we take a lot of food with us, so I have two large ice chests. Food in one, liquids in the other.

As far as tips, I try to keep the trailer only for sleeping and do most everything outside unless it's raining.

I try to have plenty of lighter sticks at hand, they always seemingly vanish when you need it. (or my wife moves them.)

We use a collapsible laundry basket as a trash can, it's large enough for a 33 gallon bag. I put a rock inside the basket to keep the wind from taking it away and binder clips to hold the bag inside. Works like a charm. We keep it outside of the trailer. We also use a basket for our dirty clothes, we put it in the bathroom (as long as the campground has a bathroom.)

We also have a bunch of ziploc baggies. You can put anything in there, wet garbage, left-overs, dirty spoons, etc... and it doesn't get all over the place.
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Old 06-02-2021, 11:06 AM   #26
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We only put non-perishable items in our little fridge, you just never know when it'll conk out, so only soda and water. Plus we take a lot of food with us, so I have two large ice chests. Food in one, liquids in the other.

As far as tips, I try to keep the trailer only for sleeping and do most everything outside unless it's raining.

I try to have plenty of lighter sticks at hand, they always seemingly vanish when you need it. (or my wife moves them.)

We use a collapsible laundry basket as a trash can, it's large enough for a 33 gallon bag. I put a rock inside the basket to keep the wind from taking it away and binder clips to hold the bag inside. Works like a charm. We keep it outside of the trailer. We also use a basket for our dirty clothes, we put it in the bathroom (as long as the campground has a bathroom.)

We also have a bunch of ziploc baggies. You can put anything in there, wet garbage, left-overs, dirty spoons, etc... and it doesn't get all over the place.
That's a great idea... we've usually used bungees to hold a garbage bag to a tree, but it makes so much sense to use the rock to secure the basket (and will prevent a bit of sap from attacking our bungees)! The multi-purpose baggies will be super useful, too.
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Old 06-02-2021, 12:17 PM   #27
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Well, I don't know about everyone else but we use all the facilities and comfort features that came in our camper which is why got away from the tent program. And therefore, no need or reason to 'build a campfire' either.

The frig is packed with whatever the wife thinks we may eat on the outing, including our individual choices for snacks. If we run short, there are groceries stores in/near every little 'berg' in the USA.

We take an ice chest for water/drinks 'cause opening the frig frequently prevents it from staying nice and cold.

Unless grilling on the small, portable propane grill that came with the camper and mounts on the exterior rail or placed on a picnic table - the cooking is done inside utilizing the propane stove and/or the convection microwave which is why they came with the camper.

We NEVER use a public restroom/showers that are found at campgrounds since we have one built into the camper. When on the road, we stop when nature calls and use the camper bathroom.

All trash is put into a supply of used plastic 'shopping bags' from various stores, tied shut tightly and deposited in the campground dumpsters when required.

The cookware/dishes are washed and put away after a meal so the kitchen area stays neat a tidy. Dirty laundry goes into a plastic garbage bag, closed with a wire tie, so no aroma issues arise.

The air conditioner and heater built into the camper are utilized as needed as we watch the campground cable or satellite TV during inclement weather and/or evenings as we relax in our comfy recliners which are far superior to the removed U dinette benches that came with the camper.

To each their own as they see fit.
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Old 06-02-2021, 12:34 PM   #28
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Had a problem on my 189 FBS front left corner, the front cap was pulling away from the side panel, at its largest point about 1/4 inch. Fearing water/dry rot took to local RV repair dealer. He found when they built the unit, 1/2 the screws securing the front cap to the side completely missed their mark and not screwed into the side panel, he joked most of been made on a friday afternoon and just wanted to get out of the factory. There was no rot nor water damage.
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Old 06-02-2021, 01:53 PM   #29
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I'm more of an "inside dog", too. I like nature best through a window, but I suspect I'm in the minority, there. It was my wife who really wanted to get into something other than the tent just like @Xerofall described... she wanted dark and quiet to sleep, but didn't care about most anything else ("what do we need seating for? We're just using it to sleep!"). I'm also looking forward to having a place away from the bugs and hea during the day, so I expect I'll take full advantage of as many comforts as I can squeeze out of it!
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Old 06-02-2021, 01:56 PM   #30
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Had a problem on my 189 FBS front left corner, the front cap was pulling away from the side panel, at its largest point about 1/4 inch. Fearing water/dry rot took to local RV repair dealer. He found when they built the unit, 1/2 the screws securing the front cap to the side completely missed their mark and not screwed into the side panel, he joked most of been made on a friday afternoon and just wanted to get out of the factory. There was no rot nor water damage.
Yikes! I expect that if ours had issued like that they would have been identified by now, but it makes me think I should give it a careful once-over just in case...
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Old 06-02-2021, 02:06 PM   #31
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I'm more of an "inside dog", too. I like nature best through a window, but I suspect I'm in the minority, there. It was my wife who really wanted to get into something other than the tent just like @Xerofall described... she wanted dark and quiet to sleep, but didn't care about most anything else ("what do we need seating for? We're just using it to sleep!"). I'm also looking forward to having a place away from the bugs and hea during the day, so I expect I'll take full advantage of as many comforts as I can squeeze out of it!
Traveled for years via Motorcycle all over the central and western United Stated and tent camped so with limited space, traveled with only the bare necessities - no extras or luxury items.

After a day of riding to see whatever is to be seen, great to come back to the camper, get inside the a temperature controlled enviornment, take a nice hot shower, change clothes and sit in comfy recliner and watch a good movie or a bit of the news and eat a good meal w/o dirt/bugs and mother nature intruding.
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Old 07-05-2021, 05:17 PM   #32
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Well, we've had it out a couple of times now so I thought I'd do an update. In no particular order...

Backing up is tricky. We're going with the hands-on-the-bottom-of-the-wheel method (thanks, Eagle!) with the spotter moving her hands the direction mine should go, but it's going to take time to get the feel for it and to get rid of the residual "turn the other way.... no, the OTHER way" moments that invariably lead to confusion. Honestly, the thing that's helped the most for me is just to remember that this will take time for both of us to get the hang of, and I need to keep calm, go slow, and suggest that we just try again when it's not working. Blaming her won't get us into the spot any sooner, and is pretty certain to make it a much less pleasant spot to be in after we're set up. Profdant139 got it right in the first post of the thread... mistakes will happen, so laugh and move on!

I'm glad I held out for AC. We had a couple of weekends with it and then one without and it was terrible.

Our water heater can run off of propane or plug-in. Realizing that we don't have to turn on the propane water heater when we're plugged in will help those tanks go a lot further. We'll have to be careful to remember to stick to one or the other - same with the water pump when we're hooked up to city water, and make sure the kids don't get into the habit of turning things on or off that could cause issues.

In a small unit with 4 people and a dog, there's nothing we can do to add more space, so the key is to manage activity instead. If someone is cooking or converting the beds/bunks/dinette to either daytime or nighttime use, it's best if everyone else is either outside or just seated out of the way.

I would have loved to have gotten a larger unit with dedicated sleeping spaces, but it was really important to my wife that we keep it small. While it's inconvenient having to do that day/night conversion, at least this unit has a dinette that really does have room for 4 people (who have arms) and having the couch along the wall behind the kitchen means that we have a comfy place for anyone who wants to sit.

Eyeballing the distance to the power/water plugins sometimes works, but it sometimes doesn't. Now we make sure we can reach before we level and unhitch.

Putting things away, right away, makes a big difference.

If we're on a short trip and aren't pressed for fridge space, we just put empty cans back in the fridge when we're done. There was room in there before, and there's room after. That way we don't have them rolling/leaking or (even if we crush them) having to dedicate another space to holding them. Then we pack them up for recycling when we're home. My wife actually has embraced the more careful approach for food planning and we've been able to skip the cooler so far.

Windows are lovely when you want light, but kind of a pain when you don't. We're in progress with this one, but my wife's taken a blackout curtain, cut it to cover the windows/skylights (and microwave clock) and sewn magnets into the seams all around the edges. We'll glue a set of magnets around each window to match up, and hopefully have effective light-blocking that we can very easily get up and down without the issues that always seem to follow velcro, where the bond it has with itself is stronger than the bond with whatever you try attach it to!

Extended side mirrors are great. I enjoyed mine for the full 10 minutes they stayed attached. Time to try another style, I guess.

We're still looking for an effective way to create those little spots you take for granted at home... a place for keys, place for the wallet, place for the phone near the bed. We tried small removable bins, but the double-sided tape that was supposed to anchor their bases to the wall proved to be less effective than the "50lbs strength" label would have suggested.

There isn't a ton of storage in a unit this size. Since we don't shower as often as we need to wear clothes, we got a tension-mount shower curtain rod in the bathroom that we can just use like the rod in a closet. That way the jackets and things are more out of the way, more of the time.

A relatively flat bunk ladder can make it easier for a little kid to get in/out of the bunk and then just be left in the bunk when we fold it up. It's been handy to gently stuff extra bedding up their during the day, too.

Xerofall's idea to use a collapsible laundry bin with a rock in it to hold the outdoor garbage bag has worked really well.

We bring along a little plastic step-stool (like the kind you get so little kids can reach the sink) below our trailer step to make it easier for the kidlets and little dog to get in and out. We put a mat in front of that so we have a relatively clean place to take our shoes off before we go into the trailer.

Our unit only has one outlet in the main area (and another in the bathroom), so planning ahead (charging when it's not in use instead of waiting until everyone is at 10%) and bringing a short extension cord or power bar helps.

A weight-distribution hitch helped our short-wheelbase vehicle ride a bit smoother with the trailer. We had a few mechanical issues (the joy of buying used) but it's sure nice having a trailer that's sitting at around 50% of the vehicle's towing capacity... no problem getting up to highway speed or keeping it on hills.

The mattresses aren't very comfy, but since we don't want to have huge extra foamies taking up space we're still trying to figure out if supplementing them with some old camping thermarests or something will be enough. Since there are no dedicated beds, the mattresses all need to do double-duty as seats (couch and bankette) or be slim enough to fold up and out of the way (upper bunk).

I'm toying with the idea of getting more substantial scissor-jacks instead of the single-leg stabilizing jacks that came with it, but we'll use it a bit more and see if we can either tweak our setup to make it more stable or just get used to a bit of wobble when people move around.

So, thanks for the advice, everyone. I'm sure we'll continue to learn, but you've helped to make it a much less stressful process than we thought it would be so far!
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Old 07-05-2021, 05:25 PM   #33
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Great update! Thanks for posting it.
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Old 07-06-2021, 03:40 PM   #34
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Putting things away right away.... should be a tattoo.
I don't know if anyone mentioned this but we have a bungee that we pull across the fridge door just to make sure it doesn't open during towing. It happened once and was a mess. I understand that there are cabinet latches (the baby proof type) that work well also.
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Old 07-13-2021, 12:50 PM   #35
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Putting things away right away.... should be a tattoo.
I don't know if anyone mentioned this but we have a bungee that we pull across the fridge door just to make sure it doesn't open during towing. It happened once and was a mess. I understand that there are cabinet latches (the baby proof type) that work well also.
All the crap I cram into mine seems to keep the door closed, lol.
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