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Old 10-21-2013, 06:03 AM   #1
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New Sunliner from San Diego

Hello to everyone and thank you for this wonderful site, it has already been very helpful.

We just purchased what appears to be a 1982 Sunline M12.5 to tow with our 2004 Nissan Frontier. It's the 4 cylinder with a standard transmission. We have been looking for a lightweight trailer to replace our 1986 gas guzzling 26 foot Jamboree motor home, 2 miles/dollar in gas. I had no idea how much the Sunline weighed (brochure says 1140lbs) but I figured that since I could lift the tongue and roll it by myself, out little truck could handle it.

I still have to get a receiver hitch installed, a brake controller and it all wired up.. A friend towed it home with a Cummins powered Dodge, I am not sure he knew he was towing anything. First time with the little truck will be interesting. I am figuring it's not going to be a high speed cruiser but if we can do 60mph on the flats and make it up that hills at 45mph-55mph, without too much strain, I'll be happy.

My wife and I are long time campers, tent camping in our younger years. About 15 years ago the difficulties of tent camping got the better of us and we bought a smaller motor and then the Jamboree.. Lots of good times but longer trips are prohibitively expensive.

Most of our vacations are centered around the new Moon.. I am an avid amateur astronomer (anyone else?) so traveling to remote locations where the skies are dark and clear part of the game plan.

Last year we did a 7000 mile trip in the Frontier, San Diego to Springfield, Mo to Appleton Wi to Walla Walla, Wa and back to San Diego. We visited friends and relatives but we did go weeks sleeping in the back, cooking with a propane stove, we had a wonderful time but we were lucky with the weather. Camping in the rain gets old fast. We decided a small travel trailer would be perfect.

So, here we are...

Jon
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Old 10-21-2013, 06:31 AM   #2
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Hi Jon, welcome to the forum.....if you have read some posts, you will have noticed that this is a very friendly, helpful group of people.

So if you have any questions, just ask away!

Enjoy your new to you Sunline, and may you have many happy memories made from it!
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:05 AM   #3
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Brake Controller.?

J.I. WELCOME, from east Tenn. . For a short more time we have a 79
15 S.C. model . Ours has electric brake axle.. You sure there is
electric brake on a small 12.5 ?
We were truck shopping last week, course bigger truck , bigger brake,
one comment for the bigger truck was under 2,500 lbs only need for hilly
terrain.!
. Glad you are excited for the small model . Keep the hobby alive.
Again Welcome. Prior full timers also in the past with motor coach.
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Old 10-21-2013, 08:54 AM   #4
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Welcome & enjoy your new Sunline
For the last 4 Winters we've done alot of camping "near" San Diego but never been to what we understand is a very beautiful downtown.

We've run into many avid nighttime sky watchers while boondocking in Anza Borrego who let us peer thru their telescopes & identified what we saw
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:47 AM   #5
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Hi:

Thanks for the great welcome to everyone. Ours does have electric trailer brakes.. The little M12.5 has passed it's first test.. I fit in the bathroom.

Regarding the city of San Diego.. I am not big on cities but it definitely qualifies as a beautiful city.. It's built on a series of mesas with scenic views of the harbor, the bays and the mountains.

Jon
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Old 10-22-2013, 07:39 AM   #6
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Welcome to our group. I have a 1983 T-1350. I pull it with my 4 cyl Rav4. It handles great. It's in great shape. I love the small size & the fact that it has a bathroom.
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:47 AM   #7
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Jean:

It is good to hear that you are able to tow your T-1350 with your 4 cylinder RAV-V. Do you have any idea of what sort of fuel mileage you get?

Our Frontier is quite sturdy, I believe it's rated for 3500 lbs but with the 4 cylinder only 3000lbs. The M-12.5 shouldn't tax it too much. One concern is are the hills/mountains. To get out of San Diego to the east, there are several long climbs with three passes over 4000 feet...

Best wishes to all..

Jon
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:56 AM   #8
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Jon: Not sure of how many mile per gallon I get. I have been working on it & just got new tires so I haven't taken it out for a long drive yet. I do not notice any pull when towing it. This is my first camper so I am very careful when towing. I go very slow. No issues with hills but then again Long Island NY does not have big hill/mountains. Take it slow until you are used to it. As the saying goes "half the fun is getting there". Enjoy!
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:06 PM   #9
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Jean:

I will definitely be careful. I have a fair amount of experience towing trailers and the like, as a young fellow I drove 18 wheelers as well as a variety of smaller trucks with trailers. But big trucks are all designed and built for towing heavy loads so while they are cumbersome and awkward but steady and solid.

A small trailer behind a pickup, each one is different so more care is needed in the beginning, I will really need to feel out the rig and see how the brakes work, how it turns, whether it sways back and forth at speed.

Jon
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:00 AM   #10
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Welcome!
In San Diego, there is a Great place to have any hitch work done!
San Diego trailer supply 68th and el cajon blvd
Worked there for 16 years, ask for Greg, Or Dave
They will do you a great job.
Wayne
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Old 11-16-2013, 05:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WASA 1500 View Post
Welcome!
In San Diego, there is a Great place to have any hitch work done!
San Diego trailer supply 68th and el cajon blvd
Worked there for 16 years, ask for Greg, Or Dave
They will do you a great job.
Wayne
Wayne:

In my recent travels, I have been to San Diego Trailer Supply, I will be going again.. Thanks for heads up.

Here's an update:

Things are going well, we have had the M12.5 trailer out on the road behind our 2004 Nissan Frontier with the 4 cylinder, 5 speed. It seems like it's up to the task though steep grades are going to be slow.. But no slower than a full sized PU pulling a loaded Toyhauler.

It's been some work getting the truck wired for the trailer and getting the trailer brakes working. The truck was not wired for towing..

Right now it seems everyone is getting ready for the desert season so there are long waits to get anything done. I decided to wire the truck myself. It was relatively straight forward. What took the most time was figuring out exactly what I need to do, not which color wire to hook up where but what that wire did.. Once I figured out exactly what I was had to do, it took a few hours.

The lights were straight-forward, they worked right off the bat. The brakes have been a different story. The truck did not have a harness, once I got wired, I plugged in the brakes, nothing, no trailer brakes... A bit of investigation showed that there was no brake wire hooked up to the trailer side of the connector.. So much for the seller's claim that they worked.

Fixing the wiring was relatively easy but they still did not work.. So, I took them apart. New Magnets, cleaning up some grease, one side worked, the other did not. It tried but the surface that the magnet grabs was far from flat. My machinist buddy chucked it up, turned it flat, this morning, I will install it. I am confident it will work since I tried the hub from the other side..

I imagine the previous owner did not bother with the brakes since he had a 3/4 ton pickup and a 1300 lb trailer is not much but with our little mini-truck, I really want the brakes working...

Enough rambling...

Hoping to take the little guy on a trip to Monument Valley over Thanksgiving..

Jon
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:49 PM   #12
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Glad to hear the brakes are salvageable. The Kelsey Hayes brakes originally used on these trailers have long since been discontinued (in the early-mid '90s), so finding parts for them is quite difficult and owners are forced to replace the entire axle to get common fitting parts.

Be prepared for having to have everything custom fabbed to keep them working though.

Agreed that you really need them with a smaller tow vehicle though!
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:13 AM   #13
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Hi:

The little M12.5 seems to have Dexter brakes, the old 1.5x10 inch and the magnets are the same as used on the new Dexter 7 inch models. The good thing is that the shoes and drums showed no signs of wear, probably because they haven't been hooked up for many years.

I think the little guy is going to work for us. My wife was concerned about the space when compared to our previous RV, a 26 foot Jamboree but she is already figuring ways to make it all work.

The Frontier's 4 cylinder seems like it will be enough engine. It pulls a a 6% grade at 55.. we never went over about 62 in the motorhome and that seems about right here too..

Jon
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