Have I thought of everything - or anything?!

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by jnjsawyer, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. jnjsawyer

    jnjsawyer New Member

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    Well, we're off to pick up our new PUP from the dealer. It was used (if you can call 3 times used) and traded in on something bigger by previous owner. It's a 2006 Flagstaff 208. We can even have the original warranty transferred to us. So we're going to pick up our new toy today if my husband can take a long lunch or Saturday if not.

    The dealer said he'd do a walk-through with us, but I'm afraid we won't ask everything we should. We've never PUP'd, only tent.

    Fast forward to September - picturesque scene - can you hear the birds chirping?- Mom, Dad, Two year old, 6 month old, pop up camper - beautiful huh? Except that Mom and Dad are grouchy and the PUP's leaking and the coffee's cold and the bugs got in.....ALL BECAUSE they didn't know how to work anything because they didn't ask!

    So if anyone remembers their first trip and not knowing how to use "blank" let me know so I'll remember to ask about that.

    No potty/shower system to worry about, but other than that, its "LOADED" (especially compared to a tent).

    Oh, our TV is a 2006 Trailblazer EXT with a straight six.

    Thanks in advance! Jennifer
     
  2. tiredTeacher

    tiredTeacher New Member

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    Be sure to start your PDI (pre-delivery inspection) with the pup closed and latched. After the pup is set up, wheels chocked, stabilizers down and the awning is in place, the PDI should move on to ALL the systems. Cut on the propane, light the stove, put the fridge on propane, hook up the power cord, put the fridge on AC power (extinguish propane), check battery and converter voltage output, fire up the furnace, cut on the lights, put water in the tank and cut on the water pump (check for leaks), hook up to city water and check for leaks.
    Carefully inspect every inch of fabric for any signs of wear and tear.
    Go through the close up sequence. Hook the pop up to your tow vehicle and go through hitch up and pre-towing safety checks.

    That oughta do it. Don't be in a hurry to carry the new baby home. Now's the time to find any and all flaws.

    Good luck!

    Wright and Penny
    Starcraft 2107
    Tundra 4X4
    "Life is a hard teacher; you get the test first, the lesson then follows."
    Nights camped in 2007: 40
    Nights camped in 2008: 28
    www.webshots.com/user/awellis3
     
  3. JoeCamper

    JoeCamper Eastern, Pennsylvania

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    Wright and Penny are right...
    Check lists for hook up, set up, and close up are very helpful, less stress and less chance of mistakes.

    Plan your first trip at Camp Driveway.
    It's slower moving... less pressure and the house is there as a back up. Good Luck!

    Joe '71, Joy 'earlier, Ashley '97 and Eric '98
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> '00 Coleman Westlake & <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_jeep.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Jeep"> '00 Jeep Grand Cherokee from Eastern PA
    http://www.thebrennans.us
     
  4. PattieAM

    PattieAM New Member

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    If you can get a babysitter, it would be a benefit to do so - that way no interruptions while learning how to set up your PUP.

    While setting up your PUP, take a few minutes to find the section in your owners manual, and, have the dealership show you the little things like lighting the water heater pilot, turning the furnace on. Find the applicable owners guide for each amenity as you will easily forget.

    There's a very basic video on the www.popupportal.com website on setting up your camper - you could view that too and make notes.

    I took the step-by-step instructions from my owners manual and typed them up, printed and laminated it. That check list has been a life-saver especially when I have help who isn't familiar with the procedure.
     
  5. dupreet

    dupreet New Member

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    Kudos on getting a 'new' camper!!

    Good advice already given - start from a fully 'packed' status, open it up, turn on everything, pack it back down. If you have a camcorder, thats an option to follow the dealer around getting his/her explination of things on tape.....you will forget some of what they say :)

    Other than that, I recommend getting it home and popping it up as soon as you can (hopefully you can do a Camp Driveway). If the camper has a 30A power connection (big plug), either get an adapter for it to plug into a standard outlet from the dealer or Wal-Mart ($5). This will allow you to plug in at home. If you set it up while their explination is still fresh it will help.

    Good Luck!

    Todd

    Wife, 3 Kids, 4 Dogs, 3 Cats, The Wabbit
    '88 Palomino TXL hardsider
    '93 Ford E-350 Van
     
  6. jnjsawyer

    jnjsawyer New Member

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    We'd planned to do the camp-backyard - the plug adaptor is great! I'd thought about videoing especially because I'm not sure I'll be able to get a sitter.

    Thanks for all the advice! Jennifer
     
  7. He Ruide

    He Ruide New Member

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    Wrigth and Penny and other have mentioned it but let me high light it. Don't let the dealer do the set up.... DO IT YOURSELF with their guidance. Think of this as a test drive of a car with the dealer sittng in the back seat. And then repeat it at camp drive way with the manuals handy.

    I still remember my first PUP purchase. The sales man wanted to impressed me with the ease of setting up a PUP. So he flew through the whole process at the speed of the Fleetwood lady on the video. Net I left the lot not knowing anything other than it could be done real fast.

    Ruide

    My Mods and Pics and My Weekly Blog
    Fleetwood Evolution E3, Hummer H2, Blue Ox SwayPro WDH and Honda EU 3000 Generator
     
  8. MGriff

    MGriff New Member

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    Good advice by all. I like the video taping and the do it all yourself while being helped by the instructor. We had our guy do all the work for us and he was a little aloof,tired, bored, all of the above. My wife was scribbling notes and I thought I was retaining all the info. WRONG!! Two years later and we are still fumbling around with the appliances. We had our water heater on once! We can't get it lit today! I'm actually going to look at it today. The main point is that this is a major purchase for your family. Take all the time that you need and don't tolerate a ho-hum approach to your demo. Get another person! Lesson learned. Do video tape and do all the work. Good Luck to you and your family. Lots of FUN ahead for you guys!!
     
  9. deltafox5674

    deltafox5674 New Member

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    I am a first time PUP camper also. My wife and I did two total "dry runs" in the driveway, and found ways to streamline the setup. Our dealer was lackluster to say the least in our orientation. I found my owners manual to be my best friend, and of course this web site! :) Also, my advice to you is to camp close to home the first time. We camped twenty minutes from home and it was a blessing to go back and get forgotten items. One of the best things that we pack are a pad of paper and a pen to write down things we want to bring on our next trip!
    Good luck and have fun!
     
  10. jzg2879

    jzg2879 New Member

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    Im fairly new to this also but I have learned a lot here at PopUpPortal.
    A couple of things I would add..
    1. Use communication to its fullest when setting up and taking down, make sure each of you know where the others hands are when helping each other (dont need someones finger smashed to put a damper on your trip)
    2. Make a small tool kit to take along on your trip, things like a roll of duct tape, channel lock pliers, and other things. There was a thread here somewhere about suggestions for these things but Im afraid I dont remember where it was. Anyway, better to be prepared just in case.
    3. Plan a quickie meal for after setup. You will probably be tired after your first time and not feel like a lot of cooking.
    4. HAVE FUN. Even with the problems that are sure to arise, laugh about it and put it to memory for stories to tell the grandkids in later years. =)

    Me ('59) DW ('71) kids & grandkids too many to list.
    '05 Silverado 4X4, '07 Flagstaff
     
  11. Camping4Life

    Camping4Life New Member

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    Howdy ya'll,

    First time PUP owner, actually picking up my 00 Meteor on saturday, from private seller. Those are some really good tips. Is there a checklist or list of items must have's? I'll be pulling w/F150 any advise/suggestions before I pull 220 miles, this will be my first pull.

    Thanks

    Ike & Carmen in Texas
     
  12. barb_dave

    barb_dave Active Member

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    Ike, first make sure you have the right size ball, Once there make sure tires on the pup are aired properly before heading home.

    http://community.webshots.com/user/Barb_Dave
    1998 Coleman Mesa 1997 Voyager
    Nights Camping 2008-7
     
  13. He Ruide

    He Ruide New Member

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    Ike & Carmen, I'm assuming you are asking about must haves for your first tow trip and not for camping.

    In addition to the right size ball, and making sure the tires and spare are correctly inflated, I would say you need the following:

    <ol type=1><li>Four wheel chocks</li><li>Lug tool and jack for the PUP - don't assume your TV jack and lug tool will work</li><li>Brake controller installed in your PUP</li><li>Possibly a sway bar.</li><li>Right size TV socket four or seven pin for the plug on the PUP</li></ol id=1>

    Some of these will mean that you have to call the seller and check on the status of the items. For example, have they had sway issues and is a bar included, electric brakes, fully charged battery for the break away switch etc.

    Hope this helps.

    Ruide

    My Mods and Pics and My Weekly Blog
    Fleetwood Evolution E3, Hummer H2, Blue Ox SwayPro WDH and Honda EU 3000 Generator
     
  14. pixel

    pixel Campers: Nature's way of feeding mosquitoes. Unkn.

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    Tool kit that is fully stocked and LYNX leveling system.

    Also, a lock for your hitch (they make locks but a bolt will do), the type that slides through the holes in the hitch to prevent the hitch from uncoupling from the ball.

    Pixel

    99 Coachmen Hunter Pop-up
    02 Town & Country
    Pix (Me), DH, 3 DD's
     
  15. YellowRose

    YellowRose New Member

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    On our first trip out we couldn't figure out why we were not getting any hot water. This was in February...after getting a PDI from the dealer.

    So....

    * Check to make sure your propane tanks are full if they are supposed to be that way on delivery. Ours were not. <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_angry.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Angry">

    * We also could not get hot water because no one told us about/showed us the main valve for the water heater...which was turned to "off" for winterizing purposes. Next trip out, a phone call to the dealer took care of this...I found it and turned it on. Voila! Hot water!

    We paid attention at our PDI and I took notes. The best way, really is to keep that owner's manual handy and just have fun exploring and getting to know your PUP on your outings! (Middle of 2nd trip out, we found the switch to the light in the toilet! Whoohoo!)

    Yep, the Lynx levelers make leveling a breeze. I also got a set of the Lynx chocks. Wonderful invention!

    Happy pupping!

    1 Texas Chick / 1 Scotsman / 1 Heinz 57
    '03 Chevy Tahoe / '08 Fleetwood Niagara
    5 bicycles of various breeds
     
  16. Martlet

    Martlet New Member

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    So you level by propping up the tires? What do you do, just get out, check it, drive onto a block, check it, add a second block, etc etc?
     
  17. jnjsawyer

    jnjsawyer New Member

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    SO HERE'S HOW THE PDI WENT......

    We get there and the guy (I'm gonna call him PUP Instructor) doing our PDI knows my husband. Hubby knows PUP Inst. from when they worked together and my husband had to fire PUP Inst. for questionable actions which could have resulted in sexual harassment cases.

    So, we're customers and PUP Inst. is on the job and everyone is very civil-nice really BUT..... there's no chance I'm gonna be allowed to video tape and there's very little chance that my husband is going to ask a single question.

    Oh, and the whole time we're there, my husband's Nextel is going off from the office (yes, the one where PUP Inst. was previously employed.) All calls from people PUP Inst. previously worked with.

    It was very much a "check it off the list" deal. Noanimosity. Nothing I could even complain about to PUP Dealership. Just unfortunate extinuating circumstnaces making it NOT the sort of PDI I was hoping for. I asked a lot of questions and he'd look at my husband and give him the answer - SO after all of your wonderful words of advice (have I said "THANK YOU" yet??) I didn't get to put my plan into effect.

    Plan B: Camp Backyard will be going on and we'll be learning as we go. (Lagniappe to extended Camp Backyard - 2 year old will get quite comfy being around and in PUP.) We do have some friends who've PUP'd in the past, so I have some resources if I feel really stuck - and I can call the dealership and ask questions over the phone. I'm sure ya'll will see lots of questions posted from us!

    THANK YOU AGAIN!! Jennifer
     
  18. EvTech

    EvTech Vancouver (not BC), WA (not DC)

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    Martlet asked: "So you level by propping up the tires? What do you do, just get out, check it, drive onto a block, check it, add a second block, etc etc?"

    ------------------

    That's one way of doing it. Some folks use 2 x 6's, some use Lynx Levelers. With bubble levels on the side and front of your trailer you can soon get to have a pretty good idea of how much of a stack to make based on how far off the bubble is from level.

    Another way to do the side-to-side leveling is to buy a BAL Leveler. This is a device which slides arouind the low-side tire and then is cranked up to a perfect level (as opposed to the 'near' perfect which one gets from using blocks). Another advantage of the BAL Leveler is that it can be done AFTER the pup is unhitched from the TV. It's not as cheap as wood blocks or Lynx Levelers but it is a popular method of side-to-side leveling. Front-to-rear leveling is done, of course, with the tongue jack. Do NOT use your stabilizers to level the pup. They are only for lessening pup movement.

    1999 Ford Ranger 4.0L V6
    2007 Aliner LXE
    SW Washington State <img src=../Images/flags/us-army.jpg border=0 align=middle alt="US Army">

    Edited by - EvTech on July 11 2008 00:06:42
     
  19. themanfromvan

    themanfromvan Van, PA - Near The PA Wilds

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    Jennifer - Since your orientation did not go as planned, we are your back up here at PUP. If you have a question, ASK IT HERE !!! Don't feel foolish about ANYTHING you need to ask us. Don't worry if your questions number into the tens, or dozens, or hundreds. We just want your new camping experience to be a good one.

    My first suggestion would be to set up at home, close to your PC several times. As questions arise that your manual is foggy on - ask 'em !! You have several thousand people on standby, waiting to help.

    David, Betsy, Elizabeth, Olivia & Robert
    '01 Rockwood Freedom <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">
    www.themanfromvan.com
     
  20. deltafox5674

    deltafox5674 New Member

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    Marlet,
    To put is simply, yes. They do make some neat accessories you can get at camping world that are made out of modular plastic and have the chocks built in etc. But I just have a few scraps of 3/4" OSB and some scrap 2X4's, and split logs for chocks. After you set up your PUP a few times, you will get the drift of the level bubble, you will know that this little bit on the level means about 3/4" under the tire, etc. Its not hard, but you will want to level your PUP to avoid problems with your fridge and having a restful nights sleep. Too much of an incline and some lift systems don't work correctly, either.
     

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