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Old 04-05-2009, 07:40 PM   #1
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Howdy Campers

During our last camping trip, we realized that with our 2 boys (4+6) and a dog, tenting just wasn't as much fun as it used to be. Plus, the wife never was much into camping, and prefers more creature comforts.

I had been looking for a cheap starter camper for several weeks. With our small budget ($5K) , I wasn't finding much out there in our price range that was decent. The wife found a '98 Sunline Advancer 2553 advertised online at a local dealer, so we ran down just to take a look, even though it was priced a little above our budget, and I wanted to buy from a private owner...


It turned out to be in very good condition. The dealer was very nice, hooked everything up, and even showed us the very minor issues the camper had previously had, which they had fixed. So, we made an offer of $4k which they accepted. The even added a brake controller to our tow-rig and threw in a ball, all after the dealer was supposed to close, in the rain..

So, we drug her home. The interior is pristine. Everything, and I mean everything, works perfectly and there are no stains on anything, anywhere. The exterior is great, with only peeling stickers. It could use some wax, but that's about it.

We look forward to outfitting it soon, and have made reservations in a few weeks at a local campground.

Here's a few bad cell-phone pics from the day we bought it. Have since given it a good washing, and the wife has started sanitizing the interior. Anyway, it seems like a well made camper and we can't wait to try her out.










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Old 04-05-2009, 07:48 PM   #2
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Welcome unclebob,nice looking rig .sounds like a great deal
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:58 PM   #3
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Thanks. Glad I found this forum, because I know absolutely zilch about campers.
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclebob
Thanks. Glad I found this forum, because I know absolutely zilch about campers.
Well I would not say you know zilch, because you towed home a very find coach.

Welcome to Sunline Club. I have never seen an Advancer package. Filon siding also, wow.

You have a good built coach there. While it might be 10 years old it was good to start with and if well kept will last a good long time.

Now to increasing your TT knowledge, you found the right site to talk about Sunlines. We have a lot of really nice folks here all willing to help and all you need to do is, ask. So ask away.

Congrats on your new coach and happy camping.

John
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:34 PM   #5
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The 'Advancer' was a package? Wonder what that entails?

The previous owner kept everything that he ever got with the coach, that I've been reading for days. Sure glad he did, that helps.

What's Filon? I thought siding was fiberglass..
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:48 PM   #6
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Unclebob, That's a nice looking rig you got.

Check this out.
http://www.sunlineclub.com/docs/98.pdf
There is a big selection of the Sunline brochures on the site.
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:56 PM   #7
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awesome, thanks!
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclebob
The 'Advancer' was a package? Wonder what that entails?

The previous owner kept everything that he ever got with the coach, that I've been reading for days. Sure glad he did, that helps.

What's Filon? I thought siding was fiberglass..
The Advancer package was basically the fiberglass/filon exterior. They are somewhat rare, too, especially in the T-2552. There are more 2553's and 2653's in comparison, but the regular Solaris version easily outnumbered by probably ten times.

In the Sunline registry, I just have a column for "Advancer?", which is just copied from the other years' "SE?". The SE Package is the exact same idea, but they just changed the name in '99.

I don't have any documented '97's, but I see a lot advertised from then, so the Advancer's may have started in '97, but they took off in '98. Then in '99 it was changed to the SE package, so the Advancer was relatively short lived. The name did reappear in '07 on a coach custom designed for wheelchairs.

The Advancer package did include custom exterior graphics different from those on the Solaris line. The SE package didn't, but after four years, they went back to special graphics.

Unfortunately I don't have any good pictures of any of the Advancer graphics. The logos did tend to peel easily. If you could get any good high resolution pictures of them, that would be great. You may think you have peeling issues, but from the pics, your coach is one of the best examples of an Advancer. The front/rear logos and the small side logo in the front peeled the most, and probably 90% of them are missing one or more of these logos.

If I get a chance, I'll look around to see if I have any pics of a '98 Solaris 2553 so you can see a comparison.

Jon
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:38 PM   #9
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Unclebob,
I am a Sunlinewannabe, so I have been keeping an eye on the market for a little while. From what I can see, you made a heck of a buy!
At that price I would have picked it up in the blink of an eye.
Like I said, I have been looking for a while, so I have read a lot of the postings on this forum and I have learned a lot, even if we are not quite newbies to trailer camping. We graduated from a tent to a small dual axle coach five years ago.
Do like I have done, read as much as you have time for, and you will, like me, learn a lot, and if you are stumped, here are experts that will guide you along the right path.
Happy camping!
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Old 04-06-2009, 05:17 PM   #10
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Thanks Viking, after checking out a few rigs in our price range, this one was heads and shoulders above anything comparable, I am very pleased with the deal we got on her.

I would probably have offered their asking price, but we were really looking for a queen bed in the back for me and the wife. But after talking about it at the dealer, the wife has agree to give me 'visitation rights' when we do go camping.

Plus, we're usually too beat anyway after chasing the boys (4+6) around all day, to actually have any alone time anyway. I think the split beds will work just fine. Not to mention the money we saved can be put towards outfitting it, we need EVERYTHING!

And I REALLY like the front kitchen layout.
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Old 04-06-2009, 06:27 PM   #11
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WELCOME UNCLEBOB THATS A GREAT LOOKING TRAILER YOU PICKED UP ENJOY EVERY MIN. WITH YOUR FAMILY CAMPING . THEY GROW UP SO FAST I CAN BELIEVE THAT MY BOYS ARE 8 AND 11 ALREADY GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY CAMPING DAN aka (SUNNYSEAGULL)
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:56 AM   #12
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I'd like to agree, nice looking coach. Looks like a great deal for $4k. Good luck, and most importantly, have fun.
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:04 PM   #13
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OK, time for an update I guess.

I went ahead and replaced the tires since they were a little weather-checked, and I'd imagine a blowout wouldn't be any fun with a camper. What WAS fun (and expensive) was buying all the stuff to stock the camper. Plates, pots and pans (thanks Mom), tools, flashlights, linens, spices, hoses, adapters, chemicals, lights, etc etc etc.

We took it for it's first shakedown run at a local ORV Park a few hours away, for a 3 day weekend.



All systems work 100%! It was a hot, dirty weekend and we really put the camper to the test. Sure is nice having AC, shower, stove, fridge, and entertainment for the kids, not to mention a soft bed to sleep on. I am really surprised how quiet it was in the camper, despite our rowdy neighbors. We never heard a thing. Anyway, we couldn't be happier.


I did have a few questions I'd like to ask, seeing as how I'm new to the whole camper thing.

1. Is the AC supposed to drain on the roof? I had assumed the condensate would drain into the gray water tank?

2. Hot water heater 'red switch'. The red light goes out immediately after turning it on, showing the pilot light is lit. I left it on all weekend. I noticed a few times during the weekend the red light was lit again, briefly. Does this indicate water is heating again, or something else? We had hot water the whole time, even taking multiple long showers, it never got cold.

3. Can you fill the water tank by using the hose inlet? I purchased a white hose with a regulator and tried hooking it up to the hose inlet on the camper, but after a few minutes, noticed that the water level wasn't rising in my water tank. So, I just refilled the water tank with the hose all weekend (low pressure). We went through 5 full tanks. Guess I'll need to conserve the water in the shower. It was just so nice to take a hot shower we all took long ones.

4. I need load-leveler and/or sway control. The tow rig is an '03 Tahoe Z71 4WD, which has pulled heavier loads (boats) which I've never had a problem with, but the Camper was all over the place north of 50mph. I'm reading threads on this now.


Anyway, sure like my camper so far. So do these guys.

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Old 04-27-2009, 09:17 PM   #14
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It sure looks like you got a good deal. You won't be sorry with a Sunline. We looked for over a year and purchased ours this past Jan and absolutely love it. We went to the RV show in Feb and never saw anything that I would want to trade for as the quality just isn't there in other campers. Happy camping.
Love your Beagle also. We have one and he loves to camp.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:50 PM   #15
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Hi Uncle Bob

Gee looks like a good weekend and nice setup. Thanks for posting.

A few answers.

AC condensate, yes it just drains on the roof then finds the pitch to which ever corner or side is the low point nd then over the edge.... No tie to the gray tank.

Your gas red light going on and off. Hímm donít know exactly which heater you have on that 98 camper. I am fluent with the newer direct spark ignition and I know the older gas pilot systems but what you are describing sounds different. If no one can come to the rescue, take a few picís of the inside of the HW heater, the displays with the red light and model number. Can look it up to figuire out what you have.

Now to your towing, I had a 02 K1500 Tahoe. And yes I towed large cargo trailers, 6500#, 6 x 12 but TT towing is different.

If you are only towing on the ball with no WD hitch, well that is part 1 you will need to upgrade. And then is to have anti sway controls with it.

For your camper and truck Iíll suggest 2 brands that both will serve you well.

http://www.equalizerhitch.com/productinfo/ The Equal-I-zer brand by Progress mfg. Make sure it is that brand as a lot of hitches are called equalizer. This has both WD and sway control built in.

http://www.reeseprod.com/ The Reese Straight line hitch. Made by Reese. I would suggest the trunnion bar setup as it gives more WD options and adjusts finer but the round bar system will work as well. The Straight line version includes the WD hitch and a Dual Cam anti sway control.

Both of those hitches are sold on line in many different hitches places. The Equalizer might be slightly cheaper over the Reese but that depends on selling site.

Both will do a very good job once setup and adjusted correctly. The first part is to determine the size. Need to know your loaded tongue weight and ideally how many pounds is in the truck aft of the rear axle. The WD hitch works on both weights. Ideally get the camper to a truck scale and weigh the camper and tongue alone. And the trcuk while you are there. Short of heading to the scales is to come up with an estimate. As most have to estimate to get a hitch to allow them to get to the truck scale...

I canít tell in the 98 brochure on the T2553 for the dry tongue as the page is cut off. The non advancer is 4,340# dry and a 7,000# GVWR TT. Your loaded weight could be in the 1,000# range. A little more or a little less. If I at least knew the dry, we could guesstimate closer. Scaling is best.

If you did not have weight distribution at least, yup going much in the 45 mph and up range can be adventurous.

Look that info over and ask any on anything you need. There are many here glad to help.

And once you select one getting it dialed is the next learning. All very doable, and not hard, but if someone can explain it first, makes the adjusting that much easier.

Good luck and hope this helps.

John
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB
I canít tell in the 98 brochure on the T2553 for the dry tongue as the page is cut off. The non advancer is 4,340# dry and a 7,000# GVWR TT. Your loaded weight could be in the 1,000# range. A little more or a little less. If I at least knew the dry, we could guesstimate closer. Scaling is best.
The floorplan continues on the next page of the brochure on the left side, third down. It still is hard to read though. I believe it's 515 #'s, as that is what the '02 shows too for the same T-2553.

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Old 04-28-2009, 07:40 AM   #17
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The Water Heater is Attwood Model GC6AA-9E, which I guess is gas only, no adjustable thermostat, with electric Pilot light. It has a simple red rocker switch below the tank sensors. Unfortunately the book I have on it is not much help (generic book for several different brands of water heaters).

Oh, I did find a diagram of my water system, which shows that the high pressure hose inlet connects to the water tank, so it looks like it should keep it full. Does it generally take a while to fill the water tank with the high-pressure line? Maybe I didn't wait long enough? I was a little scared that the high-pressure hose would find and leaks in my water system so didn't leave it on there long. I guess that's what the regulator is for?
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:20 AM   #18
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As for No. 3.....

The city water connection and the tank fill are seperate.

The tank fill is for putting water into the tank, which is then pumped into the water system by the electric pump. The pump will cycle on and off to maintain pressure in the system, i.e. when you open a faucet or flush, the pressure drops and the pump comes on, turn off the faucet and the pump shuts off at a preset pressure.

The city water connnection goes directly into the water system and works off the pressure of the "city" system, no pump involved.

So, the tank fill/tank/water pump is a separate but parallel system to the city water connection.

If you have a site with a water hookup, just run your white hose to the "City" hookup and turn on the water. No need to fill the tank at all.

Saw your post after I wrote this......

Quote:
Oh, I did find a diagram of my water system, which shows that the high pressure hose inlet connects to the water tank, so it looks like it should keep it full. Does it generally take a while to fill the water tank with the high-pressure line? Maybe I didn't wait long enough? I was a little scared that the high-pressure hose would find and leaks in my water system so didn't leave it on there long. I guess that's what the regulator is for?
I've never seen a rig where the tank fills off the city connection. Through the tank fill it takes about 5 minutes to fill my 40 gal tank. How long it takes is going to depend on how big the tank is. Yes, that's why you should use a regulator in line with your white hose. But, you should be able to hook up to "City" water without using the tank.
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:12 AM   #19
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Thanks. I assumed the city water would fill the tank first, and the 12V pump would still be used for the water pressure.

Maybe they do run in parallel but are seperate. I do not know if the city water connection could fill the tank since it would need to go backwards through the diaphram pump first. There's also a valve whith what appears to be a vent tube on it, between the pump and tank. I guess that could be used to prime the pump.

I was just afraid to have the hot-water heater on if I wasn't 100% sure water was getting to it via city water, you know? The city water line tees off from the tank and has a line that goes directly to the water heater, so I guess I have no need to worry?
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:51 AM   #20
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Quote:
Maybe they do run in parallel but are seperate. I do not know if the city water connection could fill the tank since it would need to go backwards through the diaphram pump first. There's also a valve whith what appears to be a vent tube on it, between the pump and tank. I guess that could be used to prime the pump.
That valve between the tank and the pump with the "vent" tube on it sounds like a "winterization kit" you turn the valve, place the tube into a gallon jug of RV antifreeze and turn on your pump to pump the antifreeze into your water system. Makes winterization VERY easy. The handle should be in line with the tank line, turn it towards the tube to winterize.

Quote:
I was just afraid to have the hot-water heater on if I wasn't 100% sure water was getting to it via city water, you know? The city water line tees off from the tank and has a line that goes directly to the water heater, so I guess I have no need to worry?
Check the lines going into your hot water heater and make sure there isn't a "winterization bypass" on it. Basically, there is a pipe and two valves that connect the cold inlet to the hot outlet. The valve on the hot side might be a check valve or a three way, the cold side will be a three way. This option allows you to turn the valve(s) and bypass the hot water heater, saving six gallons of anti-freeze to winterize (i.e. you can drain the heater instead of filling it with anti-freeze). The handle(s) on the three way will be in-line with the direction the water is going.
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