Thursday, May 20, 2010

Now that you have a travel trailer...

...welcome to the post purchase expenses!

Just documenting a few expenses for repairs and additional equipment:


Before delivering the trailer, the prior owner replaced a damaged stabilizer jack. Cost: Free (to us). Thanks Brook!

The Zip Dee awning had 2 broken parts (a hook and a pin). Cost: $14 (I think)

The plastic latch to keep the door open was broken. Cost: $1.32.

The plastic stop on the end of the curtain track. Cost: $1.50(ish).

The deep cycle batteries failed to take a charge. After reading several blogs/articles about RV/marine deep cycle batteries, we went with a high tech type (AGM?) that costs 2.5 times as much as a regular deep cycle lead acid battery, but has slightly more capacity, is more resilient to not failing when discharged, and has double the life expectancy. Cost: about $300 (for two).

When towing the trailer home, we discovered that the LED tail lights were crap. Roughly half the lights in each of the four units would not light up. We got one replacement Bargman LED unit from Windish RV for $37, and tested that out. We didn't like it. Where the old ones light up dim for running lights, and bright for brake/turn lights, this one just lit up the 7 center lights for running lights, then lit up all 25(ish) for brake lights. It just didn't look right. I then stopped in to Harbor freight for a bottle jack and noticed that they have the same sized LED lights. They had fewer LEDs, but I suspected they we higher intensity. I picked up 2 of them to test out ($30 for both). I tried them out, and they fit MUCH better than the originals and the replacement Bargman. They looked good too - they had the desired low and high intensity. Went back a week later to get 2 more, and they happened to be on sale - $20 for the pair. In replacing the lights, I found that whomever originally installed them or whomever messed with them later did a crap job. Holes were drilled in the aluminum housing where there was no point to having them there (there were no screw holes in the retaining flange in those spots), there were multiple types of screws used, 2 of which were broken off in the housing, and finally, the light units and flanges were installed at an angle, which caused half of the flange screws to completely miss the aluminum housing. I got some replacement screws from Home Depot, realigned, and redrilled the holes. The tail lights look much better now, and no longer droop! Total cost: about $90. Not something I expected to have to do, but since it looks so much better now and didn't cost hundreds of dollars, I'm happy.

Flat tire. The right side tire went low. I filled it back up with air, and it went low again. I detected that the valve stem was leaking, so took the wheel off and went to Discount Tire. They replaced the valve stem for free. Yay! They told me that because it was a trailer tire, they filled it to max PSI. Buzzzzz! That is the correct procedure, but they only filled it to 34 PSI. The rated PSI for this tire is 65. Always double check! Cost: free.

Concerns (possible future repairs):

The fresh water tank, over about 18 days, lost 14 or 15 gallons of water (assuming the measurements were right). [update 10/13/2010] After 4 multi day trips I see no further evidence of a water leak.

The floor near the banquette has an odd bump (I think the floor is sagging and the bump is where the frame is keeping the floor from sagging). Live with it for now, but might mean floor repairs in the future. Same sort of thing in the bathroom.

Additional Equipment:

Most expensive item (to date): Honda 2000 watt inverter generator (small/quiet/expensive): $1000.

Seven blade connector plus brake controller. installed. Cost: about $400.

Hitch and ball to get the trailer home. Cost: about $30.

Bottle jack (hey there was no jack - what is one to do if/when one gets a flat on the road?) A way over capacity 8 ton bottle jack. Cost: $20.

Weight distribution anti-sway Equilizer hitch. The FJ was slightly nose high, and bobbed a bit while going down the road, so I decided on a weight distribution hitch. Mail ordered, with extension arm to lower the hitch point, and a new 10,000 pound rated ball. (no longer use the $30 hitch parts above) Cost: $600.

One and seven eigths inch socket for the hitch. Cost: $26

Four chairs (2 cheap, 2 even cheaper) $70

Sheets (altered). Cost ??

Water presure regulator. Cost: about $5.

Plastic coated wire hangers. Cost: about $5.

Mat for under awning. Cost: ??

Mat for outside, in front of stairs. Cost: ??

Mat for inside door. Cost: ??

Mat for kitchen. Cost: ??

Glow sticks for backing up tow vehicle to trailer to hitch. I don't know what they are really called. They are bright yellow/green and stick up from the hitch and hitch ball with magnets. Cost: ??

Grey/black water tank enzyms/chemicals. Cost $20.

Hitch lock. Cost: ??

Toaster oven. Unit does not have a microwave, so when we are hooked up to elec (generator or plug in hookup), we can toast stuff. Cost: $50.

12 volt elec blanket/throw. It's not very big, but should be usefull for preheating the bed. Cost: ??

Reflective bubble wrap insulation (roll). I'm sure it has a different name, but that's what I call it. Used to create insulative light blockers for the 2 roof vents (night use). Cost: $12 + velcro.

Dishes/pots/pans/etc reuse from tent camping.

Tire chocks. High vis red. Four. $21

Tow mirror (1 to test). Suction cup style. COMPLETE failure. Sometimes it would immediately sag and fall off. When it didn't do that, it would just fall off as soon as I let go. Cost: $20.

Tow mirror (1 to test). Clip to existing mirror style (extra tall 'arms' to handle the tall FJ mirrors). Almost complete failure. Did not clip well due to the contours of the FJ mirror. Did not extend very far (not far enough). Vibrated. Cost: $25.

Tow mirrors. (2, because it had better work) The scratch-your-paint, strap to the side of your door extension mirror with stabilizer arm style. I don't like 'em, but they do work. Cost: $120.

Storage (because we can't keep it at the house). 10 to 15 minutes away. Cost: $35/month.

[update: 10/13/2010] weight distribution + anti sway hitch. Cost: $600(?). Saved $120 by installing it myself.

I'm sure there are several other nickle and dime expenses I can't think of right now.

No comments:

Post a Comment