Considering the Niagara HW - First PUP

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

  1. ChocoChock01

    ChocoChock01 On the road aagaain See Rallies below;

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    Hopefully PO did nt hook up AC to 220V
     
  2. Harvardroger

    Harvardroger If it feels good, do it! If it hurts, Stop!

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    Assuming no major changes from 2005 to 2006, the AC will cord will plug into the 20 amp outlet left of the microwave. (one prong is sideways)

    As stated above you need to plug the pup into an outlet on your house that is on a 20 amp (30 better) 110V.

    On the AC unit turn it to Fan and see if it blows air. If so advance it to the low cool, then high cool.
     
  3. dbbyleo

    dbbyleo Member

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    Well gee weez guys, thanks for the info. The guy at Camping World basically was the one that told me I that I can't run the AC unless I'm plugged in to 30amp.

    I have 20amps in the garage... I'm plugged in... and A/C is blowing cold!!! Check!

    Nice... the PO let it go for $7200 on the basis that I would take his word that "the last time he used it (in 2011) everything was working fine" and I wouldn't drag him out to a CG to hook everything up... and test everything.

    So far so good... still crossing my fingers everything will be fine when my TV is finally hooked up. Still working on rigging.

    I've got the brake controllers... just need to install it.

    I'm still split between equalizer vs dual cams - both are the same price. Research continues...

    Thanks!!!
     
  4. IslePilot

    IslePilot New Member

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    Congratulations, and the price you paid is awesome!

    When I got mine home I set everything up, and we actually camped in it for two nights in the driveway...by doing that I found that the water pump would run for a few seconds every 5 minutes or so. It turned out that the outside faucet was cracked and leaking so I fixed that and then the pump would still turn on once every 10 minutes or so...tracked that down to the toilet valve...another easy replacement. Now the system holds pressure for over 24 hours with no issues pump cycles.

    Everyone covered the 20 Amp requirement for the AC. As long as you aren't charging the battery, running all the lights, running the furnace, and hot water heater all at the same time the 20A should carry you. If you have everything running at once though, you will probably trip your house breaker.

    Since we are talking about electric stuff, one upgrade I made to my Niagara was to replace all of the interior lights with LED bulbs. A bit of an expensive step, but the power consumption numbers convinced me it was a good idea. With all of the installed lights running (6 ceiling lights, bathroom light, patio light) the draw was around 10 A, or 120 Watts (6@1.44A, 2@0.7A), . Changing them all over to LEDs lowers the full-on draw to only 0.641 A, or 8 Watts....lights seem brighter since all of the lumens "go" in the right direction and I can run for about 15 times as long on the same battery drain.
     
  5. dbbyleo

    dbbyleo Member

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    Thanks Keith! Everything on this unit are checking out... I mean everything. I spent all day yesterday looking are every nook and cranny.

    There's only 2 problems I've found, and like yours, related to plumbing.

    1. The shower drain leaks. Turns out just the caulking/putty around the drain (basket & strainer) has failed - I don't the original job was done well... and subsequent attempts to address with more caulking didn't work... and sure wasn't pretty. The looks of the basket/strainer should have been a dead give away and I looked at this unit. And this turned out to be a real pain. The PO or dealership glued the drain to the trap adapter. So there's no way to take them apart and redo the caulking/re-putty. Since the basket/strainer is plastic ... I worked on breaking off the rim that sits on the stall pan... so I take out the trap adapter and pull it down from underneath. I heater a flat head and scored the rim of the basket/strainer... and that make it easy to break it off. Now I need a new trap adapter and basket/strainer. Take a look at that thread I have going and if you can, give me some pointers: http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=74370.0

    2. Leaky bypass valve at the water heater. This just has some weeping at that valve handle. Very, very tiny leak... water pump doesn't even notice pressure lost. It's almost negligible, but I won't be able to ignore it without bugging me. Seem pretty straight forward to address - $10 part and a little elbow grease.

    That's about it, though #1 poses a bit of a challenge (again see my other thread for details - your feedback is greatly appreciated).

    I like you LED mod - totally makes sense. Once I have addressed #1 and #2 above ... and get the rigging on my TV that I need done... I look forward to all the interesting possibilities mods. I want to do the scale work to be sure of my weight factors, etc, too. So I've got a bit of work ahead of me... but man, I sure can't complain.

    :) :) :) :) still smiling (just like what's his name said above!)
     
  6. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    Congrats on the killer pop-up! $7,200? Wow...
    If the dual cam and the Equalizer are the same price (?) My vote is for the dual cam. I just saw one this morning on a 36' TT. Nice!
     
  7. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    Great price. You can use it for 5 years and get every nickel back out of it. $9K is low in these parts. $9.5 would be par. You're lucky that the trailer lasted as you were conversing with the seller. When I was shopping, any PUP that even sniffed NADA value was gone within a day ... and I was shopping in February. CO is a seller's market. Well done.

    Looks like the drain is a bit of work, but just keep your bill of sale nearby. Anytime you start getting frustrated, just glance over at it and read the sale price again. That should calm you down and put a smile back on your face.

    The issue with the whole "it was working the last time I used it" with trailers is that it's not just about the integrity of the seller. A utility trailer I sold developed a ground problem in a 3 week span of when I last used it and when I sold it ... sitting in one spot the entire time. My current PUP has a loose connection in the 7-pin plug that wasn't there when I put it away last Fall. Stuff just mysteriously decays ... sometimes more when it's not being used.

    Glad everything seems to be going OK, less the drain.
     
  8. ChocoChock01

    ChocoChock01 On the road aagaain See Rallies below;

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    Well at least you have narrowed down!
    Now all you have to do is look for the deal...and save the $$!
     
  9. dbbyleo

    dbbyleo Member

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    Well guys... without further adieu, here's the latest update on this venture. I have to admit, the last few weeks have been completely inundated with all the tasks of preparing my TV for towing. Once the parts came in, I've been busy with installs... and the overwhelmed with eagerness to get the pup out on the road.

    So I'm happy to report that... it's been a success - both the installs and the first, maiden voyage (which was just last weekend). Tonight, set forth for a second trip. The first trip was in a RV park with full hook ups... this weekend, full boondock. Keep you fingers crossed for me.

    Here's all the installs I completed on my TV following many of your advises:

    1. Transmission Cooler (B&M) - plus a tranny fluid flush
    2. Transmission Temp Gauge (Autometer)
    3. Air Suspension (Airlift)
    4. WDH (Reece Strait-Line w/ Dual Cam)
    5. E-brake controller (Prodigy P2)

    In the photos below, you'll see that the TV and pup are nicely level. The WDH really does a great job eliminating squat, but I'm still happy that I went with the air suspension since the Tacoma inherently have bad rear leaf springs.

    What I don't like about the WDH is that it really drops the ground clearance, which is something I should have realized. I suppose when WDH are used on bigger rigs, those rigs typically have higher clearance to begin so the WDH is less of a factor in terms of clearance. The cams are the lowest point in the whole thing and is about 3-4 inches above the ground. On the highway... it's a none issue, but in areas where you dealing with dips, yo have to go slowly and/or manuever diagonally, etc to minimize scraping. This factor may have persuaded me to go with the Equalizer WDH since that doesn't have the type of spring bar like typically WDH. Anyway... thoughts?

    Other than that... I'm absolutely happy with how things turned out. Thanks again for all the tips and advise.

    Photos, photos, photos...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/runningwithicecream/9516218831/#
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/runningwithicecream/9519010418/#
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/runningwithicecream/9516218897/#
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/runningwithicecream/9516218905/#
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/runningwithicecream/9516218839/#

    Tacoma owners may appreciate the gauge I installed:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/runningwithicecream/9519010442/#

    (How come I can't attach photos here... is it because I'm "new?")
     
  10. IslePilot

    IslePilot New Member

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    The rig looks great!

    Not sure if you saw my thread about lifting the Niagara or not. Since you live less than 3 minutes away, if you want to come over and take a look at it in person you are welcome to do so. Given all that you did to your Taco, the over/under mod would be an easy $50 and and a few hours to justify.

    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=75262.0
     
  11. dbbyleo

    dbbyleo Member

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    hey Isle!
    I thought about that idea... but quickly got squashed. I've got my garage all situated in housing the pup. Everything is perfect and I'm liking and can definitely live with it.

    Problem is my rig has the A/C. And with the A/C, I have about 2 inches to spare between the garage door opening and the A/C. So lifting the pup is probably out of the question :(

    I think time will tell which will go. If I find use of the A/C is none existent... which it probably is in CO, it'll probably get the boot... then I'll do my lift. Or if I find I'm scraping a whole bunch based on the typical camping terrain I find myself in... A/C will probably get the boot and then I'll do my lift. I think a couple season will be enough to tell. I'd primarily be keeping the A/C for anticipating a trip across multiple states on that once a year epic road trip. I'd assume summer weather in most midwest states may require A/C.

    Hey... I did go over to the CAT scale last night having the rigs loaded up and ready for this weekend's trip. I was pleasantly surprised with the result having seen the numbers you posted on yours. Fully loaded, including gear, clothes, food, full tank of fresh, full tank of gas, one full tank of LPG (the other possibly 50%), the whole family in the TV, 2 adult bikes plus two kids bikes, and cargo box... (drum roll please)

    Steer Axle: 2440
    Drive Axle: 2900
    Trailer Axle: 3320
    GCW: 8660

    I think based on Taco's numbers, I have about 200 lbs to spare on either axles... on for the pup, about the same.
     
  12. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    So unbelievably jealous.... Have fun!
     
  13. justin.kerns

    justin.kerns Member

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    Looking great! You and Keith are killing me with all your posts on progress and camping. Hopefully by next spring I'll be out there with mine too.

    I spent some time on Wed. at Ketelson's and got interesting perspective on the demise of Fleetwood and their opinions of the Somerset campers. They have not been impressed thus far. I don't know that I would buy a Niagara from them as it may be overpriced but it's really nice to have a place to walk into where you can see 6 PUPs all set up at the same time!

    Enjoy!
     
  14. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    Justin - Do tell! You can PM me if you want.
    BB
     
  15. justin.kerns

    justin.kerns Member

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    Well I don't want to hijack the original thread too much but the short version is Ketelsen was one of the biggest Fleetwood/Coleman dealers in the country. In fact they claim they were the biggest for something like the last 20 years of F/C's existence. It was a dark day when they got the call that the company was gone and it was apparently a surprise. You can read some comments made by Randy Ketelsen in this article:
    http://articles.dailyamerican.com/2011-01-20/news/29154003_1_ftca-don-meyer-trailers

    After the closing they took a look at everyone's PUP lines and struggled to find product they were confident enough in to sell. To their credit they did not get into specifics or bash any brand publicly but simply said they looked for quite a while at several different brands. When I specifically asked about Somerset they did open up a bit more and I could see they have been disappointed thus far.

    They were hopeful when Somerset started rolling product out and brought some Somerset campers in for review. After thorough inspection "they never made it onto our showroom floor". Complaints were with respect to build quality both on major items as well as fit and finish items. Everything from cabinet fit to lift mechanism to canvas issues and slide alignment. They also commented on the high price of the product. They communicated with Somerset but were frustrated by the lack of progress and in the meantime needed a new line to sell. They were also talking to other lines about modifications and improvements and got positive response from Starcraft. As a result they now carry Starcraft and claim to have influenced the product offering directly just as they did with F/C.

    That's the gist - I guess it wasn't that short sorry! Just what I was told and I don't have enough personal first hand experience with Somerset to have my own opinion about the product. I will say the Starcraft line looks very nice - especially the HW Comet models. They're out of my price range though so I'm still pining for a used F/C HW.

    </tangent>
     
  16. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    JK - Thanks for the info. I had read that article before. It's a good source of info.

    If all you wrote is correct, my suspicions have been confirmed. Everything Somerset has done seemed a bit off from a corporate/marketing perspective. I have never seen the trailers in person, but I've seen enough comments to be suspicious. That's really too bad, too.
    I guess Starcraft/Jayco are in the lead regarding Q.C. now. I wish I knew this last year...


    With regards to FTCA closing being a surprise, that's how bankruptcy needs to be done. As soon as someone catches wind of what's happening, the fit hits the shan and they all come running. I'm sure the unions got stiffed pretty good, too.
    Ever read up on how and why Hostess bakeries (twinkies) closed? It'll be a great case-study for years to come.
     
  17. Ted S.

    Ted S. Member

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    Is that true? Is there trouble in paradise (Somerset)?
     
  18. IslePilot

    IslePilot New Member

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    We should start a new thread on this. Since I spent a lot of time debating about a Somerset Niagara vs. StarCraft HW vs. used Niagara and ended up buying the FW Niagara at Ketelsen I might have some opinions that would be helpful to everyone.
     
  19. justin.kerns

    justin.kerns Member

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    Agreed. Can a mod split this part out into a new thread? I would like to hear your thoughts and findings along with the experiences of others.
     
  20. dbbyleo

    dbbyleo Member

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    Hey Justin...
    Good luck with the search. Along with craigslist, check out RVtrader.com. That's where I eventually found my deal.

    As for the hijack, I'd love to hear more about the subject. A buddy of my at work just bought the Somerset E2... he was really the one that egg me on to get a pup. He was all jazzed up about the Someret and the quality construction. So it's a bit of a surprise to me when I hear all this talk. If all this is true... I'm guessing my buddy got handed the kool-aid to drink.

    As for me... I am absolutely loving this thing. I just got back from another trip this weekend. Went up to Frisco and stayed at Peak One CG off of Dillon Lake (Keith/Justin).

    Keith... (and any other 2nd gen Tacoma owners) don't know if you've been up that direction yet, but wholly crap was the climb brutal. I was basically down to 2nd gear at about 35mph on some segments maintaining at about 3500rpm. Having the tranny cooler in, temps out of the torque converter peaked at about 210*F (Ive got my sensor on the cooler inlet side).

    Anyway... I may have one more camping trip before this season is over. So far, this older 2006 F/C Niagara has performed very well. Every simply works. It's either attributable to the PO care... or F/C simply made some quality rigs. Either way, this is one happy customer thus far.

    Thanks to all for all your advise, tips and encouragement. My family is having a blast and we already can't wait for the next season of camping to start. So hijack away on this thread... as I think this one reached it's endpoint as "considering" has now turned into "owning." But I'll leave you just one more pic from this weekend ... mainly for Justin :) http://www.flickr.com/photos/runningwithicecream/9541108733/#

    Justin... you gotta PM me when you bust the move. I wanna see what you end up with.
     

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