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Old 11-03-2019, 05:22 PM   #1
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Hello from WV

We just bought our first camper after months of searching. We got a 2004 Solaris T-2553. We got it from a private owner and it’s in great condition. I didn’t check out the oven because it’s never been used and still has the stickers on it.
I’ve known for a long time that I wanted a Solaris but could never find one that was near enough at a price we could afford. My wife fell in love with it the moment she walked inside. I wanted to thank you for welcoming me into the fold and I look forward to hearing from you all.
We may not get to use our camper until
Spring but be assured it won’t get any rest come April.
Thanks again,
Gary
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:23 PM   #2
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Welcome, Gary. While you may not get to take your new toy on the road until next year, you can still play with it in the interim. First thing I recommend, if it hasn't already been done, is replacing all the lights with LEDs. They consume way less current, generate less heat, and usually light things up better than the old incandescents.

If it's parked at your home, plug it in and do some practice camping right there. That will also let you check out the performance of the furnace and refrigerator. And how well you can take being cooped up with each other in a small space for 2-3 days!
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:29 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tips. We’ve loved tent camping for a long time. We are just getting too old to crawl around in a tent. We will definitely do some practice camping in the yard to get familiar with everything.
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Old 11-04-2019, 08:44 PM   #4
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I'm a long-time tent camper also. Wifey, not so much, and it finally came to ultimatum time last year--so she won, of course. Have to admit, campers do have their points.

But at 69, I'm still far from ready to completely abandon tenting. So I still have a few belly-button staring trips on the calendar.
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Old 11-05-2019, 08:32 AM   #5
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Welcome Gary!

Your T2553 is a popular model. The floor plan offers enough room for access to everything, but not too big and a walk around bed.

And yes, if the camper is home over the winter, there are lots of things to learn, check out, do preventative maintenance on and have fun with in anticipation of spring. We use to just go have meal in the camper in the yard when the camping itch got too bad. Spring can be a long ways away this time of year.

You have come to the right place for Sunline info, there is a lot to read and if you can't find it, just ask. There are no dumb questions, just ones you need help with.

Have fun with the Sunny!

John
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Old 11-06-2019, 08:59 PM   #6
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Thank you John!
I’m sure that I’ll have plenty of questions because I know that I have a lot to learn. Here’s one for you. How often should the wheel bearings be packed? Or do Bearing Buddy’s do an adequate job? I thought it may be best to clean, inspect and hand pack at least the first time. I want to check the brakes too ASAP and thought that I should inspect the bearings as well. The previous owner winterized and resealed for us but I still need to check out some things so I’ll be hitting you folks up to pick your brains in the regular.
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Old 11-06-2019, 11:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvpanhandler View Post
Thank you John!
Here’s one for you. How often should the wheel bearings be packed? Or do Bearing Buddy’s do an adequate job? I thought it may be best to clean, inspect and hand pack at least the first time. I want to check the brakes too ASAP and thought that I should inspect the bearings as well.

The previous owner winterized and resealed for us but I still need to check out some things so I’ll be hitting you folks up to pick your brains in the regular.
On the bearings greasing, I'm with you on the first time. I would recommend before next years camping season, or this year if you are still camping, you pull the drums, clean up the brakes, adjust them, put a new grease seal in, check the bearings for damage and then repack the bearings.

Then you know what you have to start with. You know you used high quality wheel bearing grease and if you did it yourself, you know what you have. From that point forward, if you only tow 2,000 miles a year or less, you could go 2 to 3 years before a repack. If you travel 10 to 12K miles a year, then 1 year. The point is, they need to be done right and they need to be done routinely on schedule. Brake adjustments to be on 2,000 mile intervals for manual adjusted brakes which is almost all the Sunlines unless a prior owner upgraded to self adjusting brakes. Many folks never adjust the brakes or bearing greasing. They just did not know they needed to.

You mentioned bearing buddies, a friendly heads up. I would not recommend you use a bearing buddy on a camper with electric brakes. The bearing buddy is great for boat trailer on non brake axle to fill the cavity and help keep water out of the bearings. But a camper is different. The constant spring pressure of the bearing buddy on the grease, and more so when you are pumping the grease in, can and will blow out the inside grease seal and get grease all over the brakes.

This bearing buddy topic comes up often, just many folks did not stop and think about the differences in the boat trailer on a non brake axle and the camper with brakes and an inside seal that cannot withstand the grease pressure.

When you said the prior owner resealed the camper for you, have you looked at what they did? And what did they do? Learning how to do roof sealants correctly and wall corner moldings, windows and doors etc. sealing is something that is not always intuitive to know how to do it. The roof sealants are very unforgiving for a leak if not done correctly if your camper is living outside all winter not under cover. The older the camper, the worse it can be at times pending how the camper was maintained. Take pics and post if you have concerns. This is the place to ask any and all questions on this.

Hope this helps

John
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Current Sunlines: 2004 T310SR, 2004 T1950, 2004 T2475, 2007 T2499, 2004 T317SR
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:10 PM   #8
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John what you told me about the bearings makes sense. This trailer has been lightly used so I don’t know if the bearings have ever been packed since it lefted the factory. I will definitely do what you said. If I find the that the brakes need replaced, where do you recommend that I buy brake shoes and hardware? Or the grease seals for that matter? This is my first camper but I’m an experienced mechanic
Thanks-Gary
Also I will inspect the work that has already been done.
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:12 PM   #9
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Hi Gary,

On brake parts, we are in the RV world or trailer parts world and not automotive. If you are use to working on older auto drum brakes, you have been pre-trained for these. But, do not be expecting to see automotive duty beefyness on trailer brakes. And with that, if yours are in need of new shoes, most times you can buy the entire brake plate with shoes, magents, springs the magnet arm, adjuster all in a unit cheaper then you can buy just the shoes alone.

Since yours is a 2004, Sunline used Dexter Axle on the 7,000# class trailers. Which is good as Dexter is one the higher end quality trailer parts manufacturers.

There should be an axle manual in Sunline manual binder if yours came with it. If not, here is one on-line. https://www.dexteraxle.com/docs/defa...sn=cfe1e328_42

Most times, the brakes can be cleaned up and reused. Then, clean out the old grease in the wheel bearings, check the bearings for corrosion/wear, replace as needed, repack with good wheel bearing grease and put a new grease seals in. Check the brake wiring too for wire damage.

Here is a show and tell on doing clean up and repack on a Sunline 2004 T2499. Yours should look just like these. I never made it to posting this hear on Sunline club. Its on another camping forum.
Annual Brake Inspection and Axle Re - Lube (Pic's)

Dexter declares when the lining approaches 1/16" it's time to replace. They are not as thick as automotive linings to start with. There may also have (most likely will have) small heat cracks in the linings that makes you think they need replacing. Dexter declares these are acceptable. And I can attest to, they are there and they do not create an issue unless the lining itself starts to become unbonded. Then it's time to replace.

If you need to replace, here is one of the places I get many of my Dexter parts and have had good results.

Yours are 10" x 2 1/4" wide drum brakes. Manual adjust. They have lefts and rights.
https://www.easternmarine.com/electr...and-k23-027-00

https://www.easternmarine.com/electr...and-k23-026-00

About the only brake parts that are declared as spares are, the shoes and the magnets. If you need much more than that, you have buy the entire brake plate.

Bearings,drums and seals.

Eastern Marine has them too if needed. https://www.easternmarine.com/trailer-brakes-electric

I do shop Etrailer https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Parts and Amazon on line as well and compare prices on all 3 of them. Sometimes the orders get split up if the cost difference is great enough.

Freight is charged at Eastern Marine, E trailer is free over $100, Amazon if you have Prime is free so take freight into account. Amazingly Eastern Marine with freight still trumps the other two sometimes. Just look for Genuine Dexter, there are lots of clones out there. And the parts are not interchangeable short of replacing the entire brake plate.

Bearings and seals, you can get these at your local NAPA or other auto parts stores. They are standard sizes.

Dexter does make (or have made for them) grease seals. They offer 2 different types and they are interchangeable with other manufacturers. The heads up is what type to get.

They make a single lip seal. It's more of a dirt seal. It may even be what is on your camper now, if they are original. I recommend "not" using the single lip seal.

The other type they make is a double lip seal. It has the outer dust seal and an inner seal with a garter spring around it. They also make an EZ lube feature on some axles which you can pump grease into a zerk fitting and grease both bearings. You can see if yours has this feature by the zerk fitting. If is not there, then you do not have the feature. They use the double lip seal on the EZ lube, but still recommend the standard hand pack lube. If yours by chance has the zerk, I can explain the why it's not a good idea to grease the bearings that way if wanted.

Here is the Dexter double lip for the 10 x 2 1/4" brake.
https://www.easternmarine.com/dexter...eal-010-019-00

The cost difference between the 2 styles is not much and why they even bother with the single lip seal, I cannot imagine with the double being so much better. I guess it is mass production savings maybe.

You can find the double lip seal and the bearings at the local auto parts store. Just look for the garter spring, that is a tell tail on the seals.

While you're in their doing the brakes, check the suspension assuming it has leaf springs. Odds are high the standard nylon spring pin bushings are worn through and possibly there are spring pins which can spin which wears out the bushing, shackle links and hanger holes even faster. The spring pins have serrations on the bolt body by the head that press into the hangers & shackles for anti spin. When the bushing starts going, the pins wobble and strips out the serrations making the problem wear even faster. With enough wear, the shackle plates can and have broke free leaving you somewhat stranded on the side of the road.

The top center pivot bushing on the equalizer seems to want to wear out the fastest. Then the other pivot points follow. The stock nylon bushings are only good for about 8,000 to 10,000 miles. After that, the spring pins are grinding into the leaf springs. Most times you have to pull out the spring pins to see the bushing wear. Unless yours has lots of shackle plate wear or pins that spin, then you know the bushings are shot.

If you want more on the suspension, ask away. We have lots of pics and posts on them.

Hope this helps

John
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Current Sunlines: 2004 T310SR, 2004 T1950, 2004 T2475, 2007 T2499, 2004 T317SR
Prior Sunlines: 2004 T2499 - Fern Blue
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:10 AM   #10
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Hey John,
That’s a lot of informative and I very much appreciate that you took the time for the lengthy reply. I’ll keep you updated on the progress and I’m sure that in the future I’ll be back with more questions. You have me so much that it will certainly keep me busy for awhile but I’ll post updates.
I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Sincere thanks-Gary
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:24 PM   #11
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Hi Gary,

You are very welcome. I had some time to type and I know you can use it now or next year, so I had at it.

And you and your family have a great Thanksgiving also.

Thanks

John
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