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Old 01-15-2019, 11:05 AM   #1
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Newbees

Hello all,
My wife and I are new owners of a 1997 Solaris T-2553. We are absolute NewBees. The camper appears to be in excellent condition and all of the maintenance has been up-to-dat and manuals have been kept. With that said, we plan to start our retirement in March with a trip to the Southern States. Now the bad news. We live in the Adirondacks and temps are far below freezing. The camper has been winterized, but with the cold weather here, we can not clean, or fill our tanks. My thought is that we head south to some place that is warmer and do our set up there. Since we are new to this, any helpful does and don't would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and see you on the road.


Dave
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:10 PM   #2
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Hi Dave, have you tested the water system at all? I personally would like to know that everythingís working properly before heading out.

Iíve had 2 used Sunlines, a 1996 T-1700 and my current 2000 T-2370. Both sellers claimed everything worked, however the T-1700 had a broken water fill tube, and the T-2370 had water leaking from the pump connection and the black tank dump valve leaked (not much fun taking the cover off and black water spills out).

Maybe you could rent an indoor space for a day to check things out?
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:07 PM   #3
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Hi Dave,

Welcome and congrats on your new camper!!!

The T2553 is a popular floor plan.

We were all new at this camper thing at one time. There is no problem here on our forum to ask any and all questions. There are no dumb questions and all of yours being new at this, are welcome.

You asked about some do’s or don’ts. As a friendly fellow camper, I’m going to ask a few questions to try and be helpful as there is a learning curve on a camper which takes a level of time using it to even know what to ask.

You mentioned all the maintenance is up to date. Do you have any specifics to what that entails and when was it last done? Trying to find out what was or was not done before you set out on your extended travel.

Do you know the seller personally as a friend for many years who has camped with this camper and this past fall was the last they used it or did you buy it from a dealer or private party?

I do not know how far south you are planning to go, 100 miles or 1,000 miles. And when you get to your destination, do you have means to do camper repairs?

Ideally, before you head out on an extended trip as your first campout, you can go camping somewhere close to home to learn all about it, by using it. This allows you to make sure your weight distribution hitch is all setup correct with a loaded camper and how it handles fully loaded to go camping with your tow vehicle. It also helps let you figure out how to use the camper and camp with it. And then you know more to ask questions as you have run into things you never thought of to even ask. I know this may sound like, how hard can this be? While it may not be that hard, sorting it out beforehand can make for a much more pleasurable trip once you head out on a long extended stay.

Tell us a little about the questions asked above. We can then help respond a little better on what to check and make sure all is well before heading out.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:57 PM   #4
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Welcome Dave! Some great advice so far. Another option is, being on a tight schedule, is to ask a local RV dealer if they can inspect the systems for you. This will likely be a couple hundred dollars due to shop rates, but they can pull it in, test all systems in the warmth, and rewinterize it. Basically what happens for a new or slightly used trailer, so they should know the process well.
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:51 AM   #5
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Thanks for the quick response. Our RV was inspected in June and winterized in November by our local RV dealer, so I feel pretty comfortable about the readiness. I'm more concerned about opening up and getting all of the systems running in March. Will plan on finding a dealer in a warmer state to help/instruct me on procedures. I own a boat and am somewhat familiar with a lot of the systems. Again, Thanks for your reply.

Dave
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:49 AM   #6
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Response to John

John,
Thanks for the reply.
The T2553 was purchased by my neighbor in June 2018 from our local RV dealer. I have known my neighbor for over 20 years and he has been in the automotive business for many years. He is also close friends with the owner of the RV dealer. The camper was used to house his uncle while he was going through dialysis. The camper was checked out in June and winterized in late fall. I feel very comfortable about itís maintenance.
We plan on heading south to Georgia and Florida March 1st. We are going to wing it. No real schedule to keep up with and plan to be on the road for two months.
Iím pretty handy with tools and repairs. I have a boat with a lot of the same systems. Iím putting together tools to bring with me (if you have any recommendations it would be helpful). We will have a spare tire also. The tires on the camper are in great shape.
Since we are up in the Adirondacks, camping close is not an option. Temps are in the single digits.
Will have time to adjust the weight distribution hitch and sway bar prior to our leaving and will get on the highway for tests.
My plan is to find a RV park down south and do a big outside cleanup and start-up all of the systems. I think at that time I might have some questions/issues. I might take it to an RV dealer down south to help me set up the camper. What do you think?
Again, Thanks for your reply.

Dave
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:42 AM   #7
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Just wanted to say "hi" from Vermont. Do keep in mind the Sunline Meet and Greets in the Adirondacks (Fish Creek in early Sept. and also Western NY M&G at Southwoods RV Resort later in Sept. (in Byron, NY, just beyond Rochester). Lots of fun to meet other Sunliners ( many now former owners, but we are still a tight group) . All listed on the site as well as several others that are a bit further away.
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mellow Yellow View Post
Just wanted to say "hi" from Vermont. Do keep in mind the Sunline Meet and Greets in the Adirondacks (Fish Creek in early Sept. and also Western NY M&G at Southwoods RV Resort later in Sept. (in Byron, NY, just beyond Rochester). Lots of fun to meet other Sunliners ( many now former owners, but we are still a tight group) . All listed on the site as well as several others that are a bit further away.
Thanks,
Sounds like fun...will watch for dates in September
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:53 PM   #9
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Hi Dave,

It sounds like you should have things in pretty good shape mechanically for your trip. Good for you.

I'll mention a few things on the tires which is unique to camper towing with tandem axles. The distance you are going will be long enough the trailer tires will heat up while towing. They need to be at max cold sidewall pressure at the start of the towing day to handle the side stress from turning. Starting out in the cold temps of March in NY, the tire pressure will be lower due to the cold. Air up before you head out. Then the next day you may be 300 miles south, and the starting temps different most likely different again. Check and adjust as needed back to the max cold sidewall pressure. Once you stay in the same climate, this settles out. But large temps swings makes this all that much more critical to check and adjust at the start of each towing day.

Having a tire failure on a camping trip makes a not fun time. The way the tires are sized, they need full tire capacity all the time to keep the side turning stress low. The spare tire, my 2 cents on it, it needs to be as good as the 4 tires running on the trailer. Check the date codes on the tires. ST trailer tires much past 5 years are the time they should be changed regardless of tread wear including the spare. Most trailer tires do not wear out of tread; they age out. Tire failures happen even quicker on old ST trailer tires.

On tools, something to know and bring. Since you are mechanically handy, get a torque wrench, extension and 13/16” socket for the lug nuts on the camper. Have a method on how to lift up the camper if you have to change a tire. Any time a wheel is off for whatever reason, the lug nuts need to be torqued. 100 ft lbs are what will fit your Ĺ-13 studs. After the first torque set, stop and check at the 20 to 50, 100 and 150-mile mark. It takes at least 3 times for the nuts to stop moving. Not all will take more torque generally but a few will. The very first check is the most important. If the 3rd check still had a nut take some more torque, then go a 4th or more as need until they stop taking any more. The wheels are lug centric. There is no pilot on the wheel that mates with a hub diameter on the brake drum. The nuts take all the weight load and the turning side loads. They loosen a little bit until they are fully seated. This happens after those 3 retorque checks. Again this is different than a car. It is a travel trailer thing.

Other basics hand tools will get you through. Make sure you have a no. 2 square bit on a screwdriver. That no. 2 square drive size is used all over the camper.

Have a great trip.

John
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
Hi Dave,

It sounds like you should have things in pretty good shape mechanically for your trip. Good for you.

I'll mention a few things on the tires which is unique to camper towing with tandem axles. The distance you are going will be long enough the trailer tires will heat up while towing. They need to be at max cold sidewall pressure at the start of the towing day to handle the side stress from turning. Starting out in the cold temps of March in NY, the tire pressure will be lower due to the cold. Air up before you head out. Then the next day you may be 300 miles south, and the starting temps different most likely different again. Check and adjust as needed back to the max cold sidewall pressure. Once you stay in the same climate, this settles out. But large temps swings makes this all that much more critical to check and adjust at the start of each towing day.

Having a tire failure on a camping trip makes a not fun time. The way the tires are sized, they need full tire capacity all the time to keep the side turning stress low. The spare tire, my 2 cents on it, it needs to be as good as the 4 tires running on the trailer. Check the date codes on the tires. ST trailer tires much past 5 years are the time they should be changed regardless of tread wear including the spare. Most trailer tires do not wear out of tread; they age out. Tire failures happen even quicker on old ST trailer tires.

On tools, something to know and bring. Since you are mechanically handy, get a torque wrench, extension and 13/16Ē socket for the lug nuts on the camper. Have a method on how to lift up the camper if you have to change a tire. Any time a wheel is off for whatever reason, the lug nuts need to be torqued. 100 ft lbs are what will fit your Ĺ-13 studs. After the first torque set, stop and check at the 20 to 50, 100 and 150-mile mark. It takes at least 3 times for the nuts to stop moving. Not all will take more torque generally but a few will. The very first check is the most important. If the 3rd check still had a nut take some more torque, then go a 4th or more as need until they stop taking any more. The wheels are lug centric. There is no pilot on the wheel that mates with a hub diameter on the brake drum. The nuts take all the weight load and the turning side loads. They loosen a little bit until they are fully seated. This happens after those 3 retorque checks. Again this is different than a car. It is a travel trailer thing.

Other basics hand tools will get you through. Make sure you have a no. 2 square bit on a screwdriver. That no. 2 square drive size is used all over the camper.

Have a great trip.

John
Thanks John, Great advise. Have been doing a lot of research on YouTube and will be getting everything ready for the first trip. Will keep you all advised.

Again, Thanks for your reply.

Dave
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:40 AM   #11
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Thanks John, Great advise. Have been doing a lot of research on YouTube and will be getting everything ready for the first trip. Will keep you all advised.

Again, Thanks for your reply.

Dave
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