Considering the Niagara HW - First PUP

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by dbbyleo, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. vjlarson

    vjlarson Active Member

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    I think you make a good point here. We camp totally different than how we used to when we always went for full hook-ups. We've moved down to a much smaller popup than what we started out with years ago - and we find we still don't use many of our amenities. Because we sometimes camp in bear country now, we never cook or eat inside, rarely use the refrigerator (except for cold water), never use the stereo and I can't remember when we started the hot water heater. We definitely use the furnace and the Thetford toilet but that's about it. I love the Niagra, but I'm sure it would much more than we'd use.
     
  2. threebeachboys

    threebeachboys Active Member

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    We have an '05 Niagara and love it.

    To address/comment on a couple of concerns. . . . You can absolutely use it for long term stays/vacations. We spent a summer camphosting in ours. Comfortable and fun.

    Please consider whether or not the black water tank will work for you. If you are staying long term, offloading into a tote for disposal is a pain. I much prefer the cassette, which they stopped installing after 2005. Also, for garage storage, make sure you take into consideration the height, including any options like a/c, in addition to length & width.

    Enjoy!
     
  3. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    I guess my original post didn't go up.
    My take is based on where you camp. If you will only be camping where you won't have to maneuver the trailer without the TV, a near two-ton trailer isn't a problem.
    I personally dream of having a high-wall, but by that time, a Trailmanor will probably be our choice.
    I also prefer having a cassette/separate Porta-Potti and cannot imagine having a shower unless I had hook-ups.
    We actually have had to pull our trailer 300 yards into the CG! Right by the river and under the trees though... [:D] Korean CGs are often natural tree growth areas, so maneuverability is important here.
    I can't wait to see what you get!
     
  4. dbbyleo

    dbbyleo Member

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    Sorry... been gone all this time tripping in our new Niagara!

    Just Kidding... I wish! But my radar is still on and searching the hotsheets (aka Craigslist).

    IslePilot - great post - love the pics and actually seeing it next to a Tacoma! You got me really amp'd up! And good to know your feedback - being in the same neck of the woods - I know exactly where you've just been and helps a lot in getting my bearing.

    I think y'all are spot on - I think the Niagara is definitely the one for me so far. The waiting game (fall/winter trigger point) does provide more time to vet it thru with the wife, so TX_F@ - your point is well taken. I've had some discussion with the wife about our individual expectation for the Niagara. Her's is more simple - she just wants the added conveniences for our usual camping trips.

    Me... my expectation are a little bit more than that (now that we're considering this HW and all the extra we'll be paying for). My expectation is that this will allow us to extend our vacationing from just purely camping... to long distance and "grander".

    We're still trying to figure out if that's realistic for us with our 7 and 5 year old and our current TV. We do well in long drives in out Honda Odyssey... it's got all the comforts for all passengers and rides like a charm. We've driven out to CA (18 hours) and broken that up into 3 legs. So that's roughly about 6 hour legs. I'd love to do that same trip and instead of motels along the way... we'd stop in CGs instead!

    Tacoma... on the other hand... not sure how well the kids will do in the back cabin for those kinds of stretches on highway. Back seat don't recline... feels more cramped in general than the minivan, and definitely doesn't ride as well, etc. So my current TV posses a risk from that standpoint. Now if I have a Tundra or something bigger... drive comfort probably wouldn't be an issue at all. So who knows... we won't know til I'm actually there.

    You know what I mean? I'm talking about road trips to the east coast or to some other states... stopping and detouring as we please.. never having to worry about hotels/motels arrangements/costs... just CGs. I imagine we can afford to max our drive time to 6 hours for the kids sake.

    But what is that like??? I have a buddy who recently decided to fly instead of RV out to California (from CO). He was worried there weren't enough "attraction" along the main route to keep the family "interested" when they stopped into a CG along the way. And come think of it... there probably isn't a whole lot of "cool" stops along I-70 through Utah, etc.

    So I'm trying visualize the experience and see how it all would pan out in reality.

    Scenario #1: If we hit the road by 10am... + 6 to 7 hours of driving... that puts us in a CG by 4-5 pm. Seems like just in time to setup... and have dinner. May by unhitch and drive into town for some dessert for a quick sight see to experience the area we happen to be in for our "lay-over". Sleep for the night... breakfast in morning... close-up and hit the road again.

    That doesn't sound bad to me at all... with or without any major attraction. So I'm sure really why my buddy decided against the RV - I guess to each is he own. And if the CG or the town had a nearby pool... shoot, that's all the attraction my kids ever need anyway to make the lay-over "fun".

    Scenario #2. We just arrived in our primary destination. We've been on the road for 3 days... layovers, cool interesting detours, several CGs, etc. And now we're finally here - Big City, USA. Whether its to visit the amusement parks in Florida or see the history, museums and monuments of DC... I picture setting up basecamp in some nearby CG, RV Park, etc. I don't assume there's CGs or RV Parks within a big city, so I'm picturing our basecamp could be as far as 1 hour from our primary vacation destination. And I think that would be ok, too... and if it were closer... all the better.

    So these are the kinds of things I'm vetting thru.

    Our tent camping style fits this. But our current tent camping style has also gotten pretty darn efficient.... and probably as efficient as it's gonna get (as far as tent camping goes). So if all we'll end up doing with the pup is just our typical camping... I'm really not sure if it's worth it... especially a HW for that matter. But if it means we can do big vacation via long-range Rv'ing trip to some far away "big-city" or "national park", etc... then I think it's well worth it.

    One concern now is around the Black Tank... and this "offloading to a tote" deal? What is that?

    I imagine CGs may only have hooks up for electric and fresh water... but I assume if I need to empty the Black, I would pull the pup up to a dumping area... hook up the sewer lines... and out goes the poop. And I expect I'd only need to empty out the Black on my way out of the CG. What is this "offloading tote" business??
     
  5. ChocoChock01

    ChocoChock01 On the road aagaain See Rallies below;

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    first read this and thought "what happened to the Spring 2014" date?


    to re-iterate a number of items listed below:
    • check out unit for bent axle (depending on the price - axles can be upgraded)
    • 4L should be sufficient (exception high altitude)
    • there are four models in the highlander series to choose from (depending on year) so if there is a wt, issue others to choose from and get most of the same benefit.
    • get WDH!! it makes a tremendous difference towing and not bottoming out your hitch on driveways
     
  6. Talonman

    Talonman New Member

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    Don't rule out a HW27SC, we have one and really love it and it is 2800 dry so you save some weight.
     
  7. IslandR

    IslandR Flagstaff 228D

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    If you TV can handle it: go for the Niagara. We bought one step down from a highwall and though we absolutely love it for the floor space, storage and just the openness of it, I think we didn't realize how much we would actually use it.
    Now, our Flagstaff 228D sits on a seasonal site from May-October...ya so we are going to upgrade. If your gutt says I want it, and its within your means: get it.
    We are looking at the Palomino Grand Teton and the Flagstaff Highwalls. No Somerset dealers at all up here yet. Leaning towards the Palomino...damn stylish beast.
     
  8. dbbyleo

    dbbyleo Member

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    I'm keeping my eye open too for any HW Flagstaff. Haven't read much on Palomino... but will look into it.

    The other thing I'm realizing with pups or RVing in general is... you gotta know what your "primary destination" is. What I mean is... if you primary destination is to visit friends/family/city 3000 miles away... and that's really where you want to spend the bulk of your vacation... Rving is probably not the way to get there for that trip - just fly. And that's what it basically boiled down to with my buddy who flew instead of RV'ing to get there.

    I'm a working class dude... 2 weeks is the most I can burn in one sitting. But if I can do one big long rv'ing trip a year... I think I'd be happy. The rest can be our typically long weekend campouts in the pup - that would really make those more frequent trips that much more enjoyable and easy. I think if it pans out for me this way, I'd consider that a good ROI.

    Will keep this thread posted.

    Justin... keep us posted on your side too.
     
  9. dbbyleo

    dbbyleo Member

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    Re: I COULD BE BUYING ONE THIS WEEKEND!!!!!

    I COULD BE BUYING ONE THIS WEEKEND!!!!!

    I just found a used 2006 Niagara for a great price. If this thing looks as good as it does on the photos online... I'm pulling the trigger. Owner just called me and said it's still available!

    So I'm reading all the posts that's been put up here to remember the things I need to be looking out for when I look at the unit.

    So far, I only saw Loraura's response directly answering that question... and Loraura said:

    Check floor and roof. Pole around on it. Nothing soft, no visible damage or visible repair jobs not done right. Look for evidence of leaks.
    Check the storage bin. People have lots of trouble with those leaking.
    Does it smell musty? Water/mildew/mold is the death of a popup.
    Crawl underneath, look for damage or any visible frame issues.
    Test every appliance. AC/heat/sink/hot water/fridge/shower/potty/roof lift

    What about the water tanks? Is it common for the tank to leak.. .and if so, should I ask the owner to fill it up? Seems like a lot to ask, so I'd rather not if this is not a high risk area.

    Someone else said to check the axle is not damaged or bent. Is this pretty obvious and visible... or subtle? What exactly am I looking for. Would it be too much to ask if I asked for a "test drive"... as in pulling it with my to see if I notice any issues with the axle or the way it rides?

    Is there such thing as a "carfax" for RVs?

    I do plan on bringing a creeper with me so I can examine the under carriage.

    Any other pointers would be greatly appreciated.
     
  10. IslePilot

    IslePilot Member

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    You might want to look at the thread I started on actual weight of the Niagara/Tacoma pair.

    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=74236.0

    Sort of surprising results and while it is possible to stay in limits, you do have to watch your load.
     
  11. jrclocks

    jrclocks Member

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    When I bought mine, I started by towing it with my TV and confirming that the brakes worked and it towed well.

    Then I asked the owner to set it up and demonstrate all the systems (ALL OF THEM! IN EVERY MODE!). Inspected everything inside. Then closed it all up again. This way I got to see the beds slide in and out and roof go up and down.

    Then I got under it and inspected the frame, axle, floor and systems that are visible below.


    JR
     
  12. Loraura

    Loraura New Member

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    Not a deal breaker, but if you get it, check the code on the tires. It will indicate the year of manufacture. If they have not been replaced since 2006, you'll want to replace them even if they still have good tread.

    [​IMG]

    The date is the week and year of manufacture.

    I did not go as far as hooking it up and taking it for a test tow.

    I haven't heard any problems with the fresh water tanks leaking so I probably wouldn't worry about asking him to fill it. Plus, it will tow differently full vs empty. Most people tow empty and fill up at or near their camping destination only if they won't have city water hookups.
     
  13. Storm Trooper

    Storm Trooper Home is where you park it!

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    Where my camper is parked now.
  14. dbbyleo

    dbbyleo Member

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    You dang right it's an eye opener!!! I practically wrangled Keith in a chat so I can directly pick his brain. This whole time no one has mentioned "axle weight"... and me being a complete newbie to all this lingo... never thought to ask. heck, even my Tacoma brochure that lists all the other "weights" and "capacity" doesn't list Axle Weight.

    Thoughts?? Loraura??

    Are pups typically this close to max cargo when wet? From Keith's analysis... you doesn't have any room for clothes or food in the pup when its wet because his Axle Weight on the pup is max'd put.
     
  15. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    Interesting read, but not surprising. Yup. They saved a few $$$ by going with the minimum trailer axle. Lovely.
    IMO, don't worry about it. Don't bring everything you own, either. You'll be close to or at the maximums of the "sticker".
    Those trailers are VERY well made, so you shouldn't have any problems.
    Drive carefully, and get a lightweight WDH if you want to get some of that weight back on the front axle of the TV.
     
  16. dbbyleo

    dbbyleo Member

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    Re: We shook on it...

    Well.. just got back from looking at. It's as good as the ad. Banks were closed, so we just shook on it. He lowered the deal to price I couldn't refuses. If he follows through with it tomorrow (when banks are open again)... I should be a proud owner of a 2006 Niagara.

    I don't have all the add-ons for towing I was planning on having... electric -brakes, WDH, etc. But I think I should be okay towing home for about 13 miles on relatively flat roads (Longmont to Erie for those in the area). But let me know... I've got a buddy I can also ask who has a F-350 that can bring it home for me.

    Stay Tuned...
     
  17. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    The F350 is a good idea. You can follow behind and see how it tracks.
     
  18. jrclocks

    jrclocks Member

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    Congrats!

    Hope it works out.

    JR
     
  19. mainahman

    mainahman All the worlds indeed a stage

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    Rooting for ya!! Cant wait to see pics!
     
  20. Loraura

    Loraura New Member

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    The safest option is the F-350. Not because you can't pull it, but because if you have to stop it in an emergency situation, the Tacoma will need to stop 3000 pounds with no assistance from trailer brakes. That trailer really needs it's own brakes to be working.

    You could get it home. If I had another option, I'd take it. If someone runs a light, or pulls out in front of you, you can't control that. Get your truck outfitted properly, then go have fun knowing you're safe.
     

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