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Old 03-27-2019, 08:33 AM   #1
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Hello From SouthEast Pennsylvania

Hello Sunline Club! I just purchased my first ever camper in the form of an 18' 86 Sunline Satellite. I was hoping to get one of these, and I'm not certain because I'm a noob but I think it's in excellent shape. I'm selling my home of almost 25 years and moving into my Sunline (haven't named her yet). Then I and my son are going to set out in search of some land to buy, with or without a home. I don't know the first thing about travel trailers, towing, boondocking, solar, compost toilets, etc. These are all things I need to gain some knowledge on. Any help would be much appreciated. If anyone has any tips or advice, please send any and all my way. I look forward to making some good friends here!
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Old 03-27-2019, 09:28 AM   #2
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April

Good morning April and welcome to the group. You came to the right place for assistance. There is a wealth of knowledge in this group. Check out the meet and great section. There are meet ups posted and it would be great to join up with one of them. The Adirondack meet in September is one I have reservations for this year. Also below is a You tube web site that has a bunch of videos about full time living and Boon docking. Also check out his web site. Regards; Frank

www.cheaprvliving.com

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAj...em-uploademail
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:47 PM   #3
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Welcome!
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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9467.8 (as of 5/26/19)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
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Old 03-28-2019, 08:52 AM   #4
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Thanks Irish! I have been to CheapRVLiving. I'll check out the video.
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:19 AM   #5
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Dewinterizing

Hi April. I tried to respond to your personal message but you need to change settings to accept a private message.

I can't help with any PA dealers. I am in up state NY. That question is best asked on the forum. Because you don't have water or drainage to clear out the antifreeze I am afraid you are stuck with a dealer. The antifreeze,if it the red RV stuff it is potable and not hazardous like the auto type so it could be drained on the ground. In order to dewinterize you will need water or air to clear out the lines. I usually use air first and then a garden hose to finish what is left in the system. After the system is flushed out I would add a RV sanitizer or a small amount of non scented bleach to the fresh water tank and fill it with water. There should be a water fill on the side of the rig where you can add water from a water container. I use the 6 gal. ones sold at wall-mart. Pump that through the system with the on board pump doing it one valve at a time. Start closest to the pump and work to the farthest sink, shower and then the toilet. Run it dry and then remove the plug on the water heated and drain it last. I hope I have been of some help. Frank
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Old 03-28-2019, 05:53 PM   #6
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Thanks Irish for the info! I'm definitely going to have to take it to an RV dealer.
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Old 03-28-2019, 07:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AprilL View Post
Thanks Irish for the info! I'm definitely going to have to take it to an RV dealer.
I've heard good things about Shady Maple RV in East Earl. They are pretty familiar with Sunlines.
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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9467.8 (as of 5/26/19)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 03-28-2019, 09:31 PM   #8
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Welcome April!

Congrats on your new Sunny!

You asked about some tips and help on things. You found the right place for help, any and all questions are welcome.

I also saw your post in the towing section on getting a tow vehicle which gave a little about your travel plans. Which if I understand it correctly, you will be traveling in your new Sunny for about a year and see much of the US in the process. That will be a very memorable trip. There is a lot of great things to see in the US and Canada to if you make it up there.

We do not know the timing of when you are going to set out on the trip, but there is much to get to know about your camper, towing and camping in general. And making sure the camper is ready to camp and travel.

Here are a few things to think about as you plan your trip. Since this is all new to you, I will start with some basics and camper safety. I'll talk about the camper in this post and reply later about the truck in your towing post.

With getting an older used camper, planning to live in it and tow it across the country, these areas will need to be checked out, and corrected if needed so hopefully they do not break down on the road when your traveling.

1. The trailer suspension, the axle bearings, and the brakes. These are wear parts and need to be in top working condition before a long trip. Find a qualified repair trailer place or an RV dealer to help with this area. This may be expensive pending what they find.

2. Trailer tires. This is a topic in itself. Trailer tires have a very different use and needs then normal auto tires. While the tires may look like they have a lot of tread left, that in itself doesn't mean they are up to cross county travel or even 100 miles trip travel. If the tires are 5 years or older, it is recommended they be replaced due to age as the rubber itself is breaking down. Age and cracks in the rubber, bulges or other damage needs to be looked at. There are DOT date codes on the tire to tell their age which are 4 digit codes that tell the week and year the tire was made. If you do not know how to read them, see here https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiret...jsp?techid=11&

And there needs to be a good working spare, the same age as the rest of the trailer tires. You could very easily end up needing 5 new tires. Starting out on a long trip with questionable tires can make a bad day camping from tire failures along the way. Since you are going to be traveling for a year and unless you do not want to buy new tires on the road, consider making sure the tires you have now are in the 3 year old or newer date range. Or be prepared to get them on the road at some tire shop that handle trailer tires.

3. The camper LP gas system. Have this tested for leaks and that the main tank regulator is working correctly. The age of the tanks and if they are in compliance of being inspected usable and able to be refilled. Have all the gas appliances looked over, checked they are working correctly.

4. Smoke alarms and LP gas alarms. If your camper does not have these, consider adding them. They are not that expensive and are a real safety item. While an 86 camper might have a smoke alarm, a LP gas leak alarm did not come from the factory but they can be added. They now also make combo smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for not much more than a new smoke alarm. Consider one of these if you are buying a new smoke alarm.

5. I believe PA is an vehicle inspection state, even campers. Make sure all the trailer DOT lights (clearance lights, tail lights, brake lights) all work and the lens are in good condition.

6. The camper power converter and internal wiring. Your 86 camper may still have the original power converter with it. They are really not the greatest in battery charging and can be limited in supply clean reliable 12 volts DC current in the camper. And there can be things like loose wires at the terminals in the power converter which can create hazards. Have this checked over that it is safe and in working condition as a minimal. Pending the findings, it may need to be upgraded. The camper on board battery needs to be in this check too. It may be very old and in need of replacing.

Those above get can get you "started" on some of the safety things. Each area can present challenges and expense when a breakdown on the road come along for a year and at great distances.

Next comes, just getting used to camping in a camper. This is an topic it and in itself. There is lots to learn, our forum can be a great help, but there is nothing better then to, read up on how to do it and then, just do it!

Before heading out on a year long journey, plan several local trips, even a 1 or 2 night stay, but many of them, to just learn how to camp, setup and teardown camper and best of all, enjoy yourself and make sure you have the right things with you to get by. This makes the longer trip all that much easier. I know it may be hard to comprehend on all that will be learned on actual camping in a camper, but there is a lot and it is difficult to type it all in a note. The more you camp, the more questions you will have as they become apparent. And in time, after many trips, it will become natural and fun! And... the learning never stops.

Hope this helps get you started. Again ask away!

Thanks

John
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Old 03-29-2019, 07:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
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5. I believe PA is an vehicle inspection state, even campers. Make sure all the trailer DOT lights (clearance lights, tail lights, brake lights) all work and the lens are in good condition.
PA only requires inspection for trailers over 3,000 lbs GVRW. According to its brochure, the '86 T1850 is 2,700 lbs, so there's a bullet dodged.

Still, obviously a good idea to make sure everything's in order.
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
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PA only requires inspection for trailers over 3,000 lbs GVRW. According to its brochure, the '86 T1850 is 2,700 lbs, so there's a bullet dodged.

Still, obviously a good idea to make sure everything's in order.
Thanks for the PA info. Didn't know that. All the campers I have had from PA where over that so I knew PA inspected campers, at least in some capacity.

I too was "almost" tricked by the 86 brochure last night. That 2,700 is the "empty" dry GVW, (there is no R in the rating). Scroll down the list of spec's on the next page and the GAWR is 2 lines down.

I was looking for the GVWR on the camper as it is a tandem axle camper which means it has to be over a 3,000# - 3,500# camper. The empty weight is 2,700#. They list the axle rating at GAWR as 4,480#. The older Sunlines did not seem to list a GVWR, but they did a GAWR. Why I'm not sure. The camper title should have what the state of PA considers the GVWR. But with a GAWR of 4,480# the actual GVWR cold be in the 5,000# range or they just used the GAWR as the GVWR. From your info, it looks like it is a direct target for PA inspection.

Thanks for chiming in. Good info.

John
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:07 AM   #11
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Woops, I should have known better than to think I caught you out. My bad.

I just learned something. Thank you.
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Old 03-30-2019, 03:35 PM   #12
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Believe it is already a Pa. trailer??

I believe April bought her Satellite from a Pa. owner?? and it should already have been inspected. I have a T1850 ('85) and it has brakes which automatically means annual Pa. insp.
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Old 03-30-2019, 04:45 PM   #13
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Inspection isn't required for either the sale or purchase of a vehicle (or trailer) in PA. You just need it in order to be legal on the road.

It's a common misconception that brakes = inspection in PA, though it's usually a pretty good rule of thumb. Same goes for two axles. Technically, inspection is only required if the GVWR is 3000 lbs or greater. Just so happens that most trailers in that class or higher come equipped with brakes and/or dual axles.
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:27 PM   #14
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April,

Seven years ago, my husband and I were newbies to RV camping too. Through the SOC and experience, we’ve learned a lot and are still learning. JohnB listed some important things to consider when beginning camping. As he pointed out there is a lot to learn but it needn’t be overwhelming, altho’ it will feel like it at times.

In the beginnning, we took time to read different threads on this site. By doing that we learned quite a bit, even before going out on the road; like one evening we both read some threads about trailer tires. Imagine our surprise to learn that most trailer tires, especially on older trailers, are to be driven no faster than 65 mph - many newbies (& some veterans) don’t realize that. We took it one topic at a time and also looked at other websites but kept coming back to the SOC as one of the best places for reliable information.

Many of the things we learned about our Sunline, we learned by doing ourselves. For instance, using a checklist from this site we winterize/de-winterize our 2363 which, in turn, taught us about the water system. DIY is a great teacher, especially when on a limited budget. It helps also to find someone who is “trailer savvy” and is willing to help. The SOC has been very helpful in that way.

If you can’t DIY, expect to spend money; trailer repair, especially at dealerships, is not cheap - $75.00/hour & up - and some dealerships are not the best places to get repairs or improvements. For example, we had a dealership install our Reese hitch system and they did not install it correctly. With JohnB’s help, we re-installed it ourselves and learned A LOT about how weight distribution and sway control worked by doing it ourselves. In southeast PA, Stoltzfus’s RV (Adamstown, not West Chester) has a good reputation and is familiar with Sunlines. We live in central PA and know of one dealership here, Lerch in Milroy, whose repair shop is reputable. We are blessed to have a local RV repair shop nearby that is honest and does good work when DIY is not possible.

From where we are now seven years later, our advice is to learn and camp as much as possible before taking your 1850 on a long trip. As JohnB said, take a few camping trips locally; some people even camp a night or two at home as an initial test run. And don’t hesitate to ask questions, we all have them!
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