Eyeing the Fleetwood Utah...

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by MaeKay, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. MaeKay

    MaeKay Well-Known Member

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    Haha, so we got a 2005 Viking Epic 2308 and enjoyed it for the one trip we got to take before the holidays set in. (Would have taken it out more but don't have bunk end covers or liners yet and the temps were in the teens and 20's) But I'm realizing now we really would like a slide out because we were tripping over our 2 and 4 year old in the narrow space between the galley and the dinette. We got it for a pretty good price so I'm thinking perhaps we can sell it for the same if not a tiny profit. But I'm afraid to sell it before having another trailer in hand.

    In doing more searching, I really like the Fleetwood Utah layout. I like that it has the slideout dinette to give more floor space and the slide out gaucho so that we can have a bed for the 2 year old set up 24/7 but also have the table set up 24/7. Yes, I realize my small kids could share the king sized bunk end...but my toddler won't sleep if her brother is nearby. Something about her having a separate bed in the trailer helped her go to sleep better.

    The Bayside is really similar except it has more cabinet/counter space and the sofa doesn't appear wide enough for a bed. I liked in our Viking how I had all that counter space to set plastic drawers so I know I'd be giving that up in the Utah. Has anyone regretted giving it up? The weight difference between the Bayside and Utah seems negligible (200 pounds).

    I thought I saw one E3 that had a slide out gaucho instead of counter space. Can anyone confirm this?

    Our Viking epic is only 1800 pounds though. How obvious is the difference in towing an extra 1000 pounds? Our 4th gen 4Runner Ltd has a towing capacity of 7000...we don't want to get close to that because I'm not sure what our stopping power is. My guess is we'd need to install a break controller for the larger trailers. Our TV already comes with the harness, just need to purchase the controller.

    Are there any other brands with very similar floor plans? We are towing with a V8 4Runner and with our Viking we didn't even experience any drop in gas mileage. I seriously forgot I was towing the thing. Granted, I only pulled it mostly along the freeway and not up any hills.

    I'm trying to find a local one of each of these floorplans in any condition so that we can at least get a feel for them. And I've been searching this site to try to find user experiences.

    Edited: forgot to mention, we didn't think we'd eat inside our trailer until we went cold weather camping. And when the sun went down, it got coooold. So it was nice to eat our sandwiches inside at the table. And we hope to do quite a bit of cold weather camping. Hence the need to leave a table up instead of constantly converting between a bed and a table.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  2. MaeKay

    MaeKay Well-Known Member

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    This is a Bayside I'm looking at. Yeah, it's about 1,000 miles away from us, but also about $2000 cheaper than I'd find here in Utah. Plus I have family near there I could visit. https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/391378664627395

    I know about the leaking problem with the roof racks on the alumitite roof so I'd carefully inspect that.
     
  3. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    Baysides also go by the nickname "sway side" because the weight distribution isn't so good, so beware.
     
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  4. MaeKay

    MaeKay Well-Known Member

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    Good to know. Our 4Runner isn't exactly a 3/4 ton truck.
     
  5. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

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    That's for the years before they flipped the floorplan(door moved to in front of the wheels), which IIRC happened for the 2004 models. The same year the integrated storage trunk was replaced with the separate plastic trunk.
     
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  6. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    With my Fleetwood Utah I use a sway bar when towing this will help with any sway issues you might experience. Towing you should have no problem. You will feel a difference compared to the lighter camper, but very doable. I have a v6 only 5000 tow rating and only slow down on the steepest inclines. Now as for the lack of counter space this is where I have to think outside the box. There is really only one counter big enough to use not counting the toilet cabinet, but that is where the emergency exit is located so I'm hesitant to put anything there just in case. There is small cabinets under the goucho with a regular drawer. Problem with that is its very difficult to access if the goucho is made as a bed. I myself just keep my clothes in the car. However the sidekick insists on unloading her bag in order to see what she wants to wear sometimes twice a day. (Got to love a teenager). So instead of using things on the counter I use closet hanging organizers. That way she can use that instead of dumping a pile of clothes everywhere. A thing to note, the ally way between the table and couch (in bed mode) is almost as wide as what you have now. Luckily the couch is easy to put back up and like you mentioned the table is always up. We keep the couch in bed mode often as we keep the dog crate on there or we all (dogs included) pile on the couch for family movie night.
     
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  7. MaeKay

    MaeKay Well-Known Member

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    Very helpful advice. I want to install hanging cloth shelves in our Viking but it doesn’t have anywhere to hang one from and I’m not about to drill into the ceiling. Does the Utah have any kind of hooks or bars? I’ve seen some factory installed that people then hung shelves from.

    I didn’t even think about how narrow that walkway would be in bed mode! Thanks! I’ll have to try it out but I wonder if because the galley is farther away from the table, I’ll have room to work. I wasn’t able to access my food drawers on the counter because my kids were excitedly hoping from the bed to the table to the floor...and my husband was standing in my way trying to stop the kids from knocking everything over. Maybe having the two kids beds on the same side of the trailer is the problem...because I couldn’t get either ready for bed because both adults were trying to stand in that tiny space to reach everything and prepare the kids’ beds. Hmmm...

    Thanks for sharing your experience!
     
  8. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    No hooks on the ceiling at least on mine however I am able to hang closet organizers on a bathtub rod in front of each bunk end. The pressure rod does not fall off even with the normal flexing in the wind because i have them just above the curtain tracks so it prevents it from slipping downwards.
     
  9. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    . Not sure if this will help. It is what worked for my parents when they took us 3 kids camping in a 10' jayco popup, no slide outs back then. Mom took us kids to their side or to the bathhouse to get us changed, teeth brushed, etc while my dad prepared the beds. They each took turns tucking us in. Part of your problem is the camping experience is still very new to both the kids and the parents and trying to find new processes to do such simple tasks that at home would have been no problem. Spring and summer time makes things a tad easier as your not all stuck inside. Good luck.
     
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  10. MaeKay

    MaeKay Well-Known Member

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    That’s a good idea. I had thought of pressure mounted rods but was afraid we’d weigh them down too much and they’d fall. Or my kids would pull on the organizers and pull the rod down.
     
  11. theseus

    theseus Centerville, OH

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    This is exactly why we got a unit with a slide out years ago. The extra space makes it really nice with small kids. Of course mine are now teenagers...
     
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  12. theseus

    theseus Centerville, OH

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    I have a Bayside. With good tires and a swaybar, it rides just fine. In my opinion, any large camper can benefit from a swaybar.
     
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  13. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    IIRC, the OP is driving a 4-runner. Probably more susceptible to swaying than your expedition.
     
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  14. MaeKay

    MaeKay Well-Known Member

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    Yep, a 2007 4Runner 4x4 Limited, so I think it comes with a little better towing ability than the V6 or non-limited...can’t remember now which part of that included better towing accessories. Toyota doesn’t have a towing package, per se, on the 4Runners.

    Based on the fact that the slide out gaucho on the Utah makes it just as small, we’re now considering a fairly local 2004 Bayside for $3500. Do you think this would be too much for our 4Runner?

    I did a little research on sway bars and couldn’t make heads or tales of them. Maybe I was researching wrong but it seemed like there were many different types and it all depended on both your TV and the trailer. Any recommendations for a 4Runner paired with a Bayside?
     
  15. theseus

    theseus Centerville, OH

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    With a 7000 pound limit for towing, it is easily in the ballpark of your tow vehicle. The trailer will be less then 4000, I'm guessing.

    As for a swaybar I have used this on my current Bayside and my previous Palomino. It work great. To make your life easier, get this swayball mount to attach to your tow bar.
     
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  16. MaeKay

    MaeKay Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! I know we can pull 7000 pounds, I'm just not sure how much we can STOP. And I keep hearing on 4Runner forums that they don't want to pull anything longer than 20 feet. I think our Viking is 18 feet! Plus, I kind of like that our gas mileage with the Viking stays the same as without towing. The other consideration is that we're currently pulling the trailer into the backyard with a trailer dolly. We can barely just get the viking back there. We think we probably need to practice backing the trailer better (it's a really tricky spot and we're such beginners at backing) before we upgrade. Sigh.
     
  17. theseus

    theseus Centerville, OH

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    Any large popup trailer will have brakes. You will need to make sure you have a good proportional brake controller, like the Tekonsha P2 or P3, in your vehicle. If you have your controller set properly, stopping will not be an issue.
     
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  18. Sotovoce

    Sotovoce Active Member

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    theseus is correct. Get the brake controller even if you stay with your Viking. Our little A-frame was only 1,800 lbs. off the assembly line and it came with brakes. It's a safety thing.
     
  19. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    I believe most trailers over 2000# will have factory brakes. You 4runner is made to handle 7000#. When towing a 4000# trailer without the brakes connected to a controller the trailer will push a little. At higher speeds the push is greater and could lead to a very bad situation. Connect the controller and it will handle much more like a heavier version of your 4runner. A brake controller is cheap peace of mind.
     
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  20. MaeKay

    MaeKay Well-Known Member

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    In a quick turn of events we sold our Viking today for a mild profit. We did go look at a 2004 Bayside fo what feels like a good deal in our area. Unfortunately it was snowing and sleeting so we weren’t able to open up the trailer and look inside. (I have pictures but that’s not the same). We have an appointment to go back when our schedules align.

    A few things concerning: She showed me a wire that you hook on the tow vehicle and if the wire breaks, the trailer breaks will lock up. What kind of breaks are these? I was under the assumption they would have breaks we could hook to the 4Runner and once we installed a break controller it would activate the trailer breaks in tandem with the car breaks.

    The tongue jack looked slightly crooked. And because of the 33 degree weather, when we opened the front storage area the second time, one of the plastic latches broke. Also, the door doesn’t have a legit lock because they were on vacation several hours away and realized they’d left the keys behind and jimmied the lock with a screw driver.

    It comes with tons of stuff (screen room, hoses for fresh, grey, and black water, leveling blocks, pots and pans, utensils, etc). Assuming the inside is clean and the roof, canvas, and floor feel and look good, would you pay $3000 for it? (Most of the trailers the size of the bayside around here seem to be selling for $4000-$5,500)

    Thanks for the help!
     

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