How much weight can we tow? Leaky roofs? Cost?

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by Carefree Camper, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. Carefree Camper

    Carefree Camper Bucks County, PA

    Mar 6, 2009
    Hi. We are looking to buy soon, and we have a minivan (Kia Sedona 6 cylinder). It says it can tow 3500#. I understand dry weight, GVW, and adding some extra for safety cushion. (Is 200# to 500# enough here, or do we need more? Question: As a general guide, can we buy most any pop up that does not have high walls? Can we get a 10-12 footer? Are slides and AC too heavy for us? Are there any models that you would not recommend? Are Niagara, Westlake, Chesapeake, Williamsburg, too heavy for us? (I am asking because the dealership we are going to tomorrow has some of its better deals on these older models 1990-1998.) I checked NADA, they only list dry weight, and I checked recommended prices. BTW, most of the pop-ups are overpriced by $1500-$2000-$3000 at the dealers around PA & NJ.

    When we looked at 2008 Fleetwood basic Taos' and Sedonas (basic models) 8 footers, those seemed just a little small for us, as far as comfort is concerned. We have me, my husband, an 11 year old and an 8 year old. (We looked at them because they were in "affordable" range around $5000 or less.)

    I don't know any other way to say this than just to say it--I can't help sounding negative here, as we have run into problems while looking, that we did not expect with the roofs. This (huge) issue is leaky roofs. Most every used pop up we have looked at has definite problems with mold, wood rot, or at least substantial water damage up under the corners of the roof. What gives with this? We are in SE Pennsylvania. Years ago, when I lived in Oklahoma, I never noticed leaky roofing/mold to be an issue. Have we just been unlucky while looking, or do 99% of the roofs leak with substantial damage in less than 10 years or as little as 1 year (we saw it in a new 2008 last weekend)in NE USA? One dealer I called last week laughed and hung up on me when I asked if they had any used pop ups that were free from roof damage. She said, "Oh, you want a pop up that is not leaky? Then she laughed hysterically, and hung up on me.

    We have been looking in earnest for 3 weeks, during the week and weekends, too. Tomorrow morning we are traveling to a large dealer (2 hours away) that has many new and used pop ups. We are scared off by what we've seen so far. My husband is not much of a fix it man. I can do some minor fix it work--but not redo a roof. Is it possible to buy a pop up for $5000 or less and not worry with mold and leaking roofs? And if so, what is the oldest model we should consider buying (as far as prabability of leaking) is there a rule of thumb? Also, I want to know if we could consider the 10-12 footers.
  2. theseus

    theseus Centerville, OH

    Feb 6, 2007
    Centerville, OH
    Let me see if I can answer some of your questions.

    1. If you are planning to tow with a Kia Sedona, I would stay away from high wall pups. Most of the Coleman/Fleetwood high wall pups such as the Niagra are too close to your towing capacity to be towed safely. You can find lighter weight pups with slides that can be towed by your Sedona.

    As for dealers being over priced, take into account that the NADA online only gives an average national retail value, not the local retail value. Dealers will mark them up as much as they dare...

    2. I would say that you have been extremely unlucky in your search. Only improperly cared for or maintained pups have leaks in the roof. Keep looking. (Incidentally that new 2008, if you were to purchase it would have the roof covered by manufacture warranty. It would have to be replaced.) I wouldn't deal with any RV place that treated you like that one dealer did. It is obvious that the sales person is rude and uneducated when it comes to pop-ups.

    3. All my pups have been sub-$5000. I currently have a 12 footer with a slide. My first two were both under $1000. Keep looking and you will find the right pup for you and your family.

    Bruce        ______________
    2004 Expedition & 2000 Palomino Mustang SL-SG-FT

    Edited by - theseus on March 13 2009 11:55:08
  3. Luv2ridebikes

    Luv2ridebikes New Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Granger, IN
    You aren't stuck at 8'. Most 10' boxes and some 12' boxes will fit within your tow capacity. 12' boxes with slide out and lots of amenities (like showers) are going to push your weight. 12' boxes with less features will work.

    If all they are giving you is dry weight - try to stay in the 2,200 pound our lower category. That should put you at 3,000 or less loaded and with options.

    Pop Up roofs can be well cared for (like any other RV). Many don't develop leaks until they are ancient and then only if you don't check the caulk seams periodically.

    For any Coleman/Fleetwood trailers you look at, you can go to their website and download the appropriate brochure (with all weights and specs) going back to their start in 1967.

    Steve & Deb (boys are grown & gone)
    Aspen & Riley (the 4 legged children)
    05 Fleetwood Sequoia & lot's of bikes! <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_bike.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Bicycle"><img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_bike.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Bicycle">
  4. twstdpear

    twstdpear Party like it's 2012!

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern VA
    Our 2008 Fleetwood Yuma (2400lb GVWR) is something like 1500lbs unloaded, 2100-2200lbs loaded, has all the major options (A/C, fridge, furnace, HWH, awning, two propane tanks), 10' box, king+double bunks. The Odyssey (also 6cyl, 3500lb towing cap) tows it very nicely too. You notice you have some additional weight behind you, but aside from that and the freakishly large A/C unit (Coleman Mach 3) that blocks most of the view rear view mirror, you barely notice it's there.

    So, a 10' box is a definite. The 12' seem to be OK too, except the sliders seem to add another 500lbs or so which pushing the weight up to the towing capacity (3500lbs). I do remember we were looking at an '07 Fleetwood Westlake (3000lb GVWR) and it was well within the towing capacity of the Odyssey.

    I'd say that anything 3000lbs GVWR or less would be fine for you, as long as your vehicle is in good shape and have a transmission cooler.


    08 Fleetwood Yuma <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu_closed.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp Closed"><img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> 03 Honda Odyssey

    Edited by - twstdpear on March 13 2009 15:38:11
  5. awsandlin

    awsandlin Active Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    I have owned two popups and did have not had any leaks. My current popup is 5 years old as of this year and has not had the roof re-calked. I purchased the 3M 5200 calk two weeks ago and will be doing a calking job in a few weeks. It is not bad yet, but is at the point that it needs attention. I am sure, if I did not re-calk at some point I would have a leak. Basically, just like anything you own, you need to inspect it every so often and do some maintenance. So, if you had asked me to see a non leaky popup, I could have at least shown you two.

    2004 Fleetwood Utah

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