VIDEO REVIEW: 2019 Forest River Rockwood 2280BHESP

Discussion in 'PopUpPortal TV' started by sstressfl, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. sstressfl

    sstressfl Active Member

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    We traded in our 1997 Starcraft Popup Camper and bought a new Forest River Rockwood 2280BHESP. After 2 months of ownership we finally got it repaired, fixed and aligned enough to take it on our first camping trip. This is the full review.

     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
  2. bobinfleet

    bobinfleet Well-Known Member

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    Great review, shame about the workmanship on a new trailer
     
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  3. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Well-Known Member

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    Excellent review!
     
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  4. sstressfl

    sstressfl Active Member

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    Thank you!
     
  5. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Well-Known Member

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    I am grateful for many engineering designs on my Fleetwood/Coleman/Somerset as I watched the video of a Rockwood, which I think is the second best design out there after the Fleetwood. And since it is not easy to find Somerset dealers I can understand why people who like good engineering buy Rockwoods.

    Pulling out the beds and setting the bed support poles is just a better design that required a Fleetwood box frame with a strong slide for the beds so beds slide easily and the support poles are attached under the bed for quick storage and setting in place and the bed easily rolls out on rollers that are lubed with dry silicone spray each year.

    Cranking up the top is less likely to cause damage from overcranking and doesn’t rely on a visual cable to know when to stop, but instead has a mechanical stop on the wiffle tree cable that can be adjusted by removing the wiffle tree cover under the camper.

    Extra safety roof support posts are not needed to be added over the lift posts when done cranking on the Fleetwood due to a better internal lift system design.

    But nevertheless the Rockwood still works well if you treat it with care and it provides many days of great memories with your family which is most important!
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
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  6. PathfinderESP

    PathfinderESP Member

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    Good video
    We have the same unit in 2018 year
    Thanks for the door stowing tip!
    The rust proofing is non existent.... I've changed the stabilizers on mine, cleaned up some spots on the frame and tidied cable loom into 1/2 inch split flexible conduit.

    What's your thinking for not using the awning pole plugs on the side of the camper? See my picture with the pop-up up and awning out.
    I also figured you can unzip it before raising the roof but leave the tapes tied. Once it's up you can reach the tails of the tapes to release them
     

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    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
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  7. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Well-Known Member

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    If the paint that you used under your camper does not hold up you might consider using POR-15 (available on Amazon). It is the best paint I know to stop rust. Rustoleum paint usually does not stop rust. POR-15 dries like a hard enamel. The problem with rust is that once it starts, it's hard to stop it from growing. It's oxidation that works like a slow fire to rust away metal. Putting out the fire of oxidation requires eliminating oxygen needed for rust to continue. I've used POR-15 on areas that needed touchup and no rust returned.

    I've used POR-15 on cars that begin to rust too. The problem with paint is that if you only paint one side of metal, and the rust as already started on the back side of the metal, POR-15 can't reach that area and it will rust from the back side. This has been my problem with mini-vans that rust. It's just too hard to cover all sides of metal and often both sides of rocker panels start rusting.

    But on Campers that are seldom exposed to salty wintery roads, often rust can be stopped. I'd keep an eye on your paint job and let's hope it holds for many years, but if rust starts coming through now you have a better paint, POR-15, that can probably stop it.

    Always use rubber gloves when using POR-15. It doesn't come off and dries fast on skin. You have to wear it off. And every time I use it I spill some on my hands.
     
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  8. sstressfl

    sstressfl Active Member

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    Someone told me about the caps on the awning poles. I had no idea lol. I use them now :)
    I still use a 3 step ladder and open it after I raise the top
     
  9. sstressfl

    sstressfl Active Member

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    I used POR 15 on my first car 30+ years ago! I know it well :) it dries as hard as steel and freezes rust. Great stuff. The rust oleum is holding up. The camper never sees winter weather and gets stored inside in winter so I suspect it’ll last, but I keep an eye on it. Easy to touch up if needed. Thanks for lookin out! I agree POR15 is the permanent solution. Great tip
     
  10. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Well-Known Member

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    Great that you know about POR-15! Not many do!
     
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  11. CajunMan

    CajunMan Active Member

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    I didn't know about the upper ones till a friend showed me. They are hidden behind the zipped holder. The poles he has on the ground go into the lower bracket and the other poles click into the top. They didn't show me that during the walk through
     
  12. J R

    J R New Member

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    I've watched all your YouTube videos, and I had a question about your setup (because we have the exact same minivan as a likely tow vehicle). How do you account for the high tongue weight of the 2280? The Dodge says that max tongue weight is just a few pounds above the dry tongue weight of the 2280. A WDH solves the axle sag, but it doesn't magically change the dry weight of the tongue. If you put anything in that front cargo bay, you'd easily push past the Caravan's allowable tongue weight. Furthermore putting a Class III hitch on the van which says it can handle 400lb tongue weight or with a WDH 500lb tongue weight, doesn't change the fact that Dodge engineers designed the van to hold a max of 345 safely with a family of 3-5.

    Bottom line: Is it safe to tow this trailer which is at the tongue weight limit when dry? My gut says, "No" and that I should look at one that doesn't have that front cargo area. GC manual is attached and I'm referencing pg 274.
     

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  13. sstressfl

    sstressfl Active Member

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    You're not wrong! I am SO aware of how max'd out this van is... my wife and I work to put as much heavy stuff in the way back of the popup to compensate for the weight placed in the front, and of course focused on maintaining a proper balance so things don't get wiggly while towing. We also only put light weight misc things in the front carrier.

    The WDH made a HUGE difference in stability and towing comfort. I have researched tongue weight limits on vehicles and part of that is suspension and tire type. I have added monroe booster shocks to the rear for a little more stability and an extra 1000 lbs of lift and my next set of tires will be the highest load bearing tires I can find that fit this vehicle. This vehicle is also equipped with monstrous heavy duty brakes. That helps a LOT!

    I have mostly been worried about the transmission. On steep mountain roads when moving slow it works very hard and gets very hot, so I added a transmission cooler. It worked wonderfully! But this summer I hit an especially steep mountain road that climbed for miles and the trans temp crept up again. After some research, I found that adding a pull fan to the cooler makes ALL the difference.

    If I was rich I'd buy a nice truck! But I'm not so I work with what I got. Tentatively we are looking at used trucks but still not sold on the idea especially since truck maintenance is so expensive compared to the minivan and we only tow this popup ~4 times per season.
     
  14. J R

    J R New Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply. I guessed you were loading the back of the trailer more than the front to fight that tongue weight. I don't think it's in the checkbook to go adding new shocks or bigger brakes to our van. We'll probably have to look at something like a Flagstaff 228D, Coachmen 1285SST, or a Jayco 12SC. They seem to have lower tongue weights and don't get as close to the GVWR allowed.

    I know what you mean about the cooler. We put a cooler and brake controller on our Trailblazer back in 2011 before towing a small (non-Pup) travel trailer across the Badlands and Yellowstone. Now that was an adventure on our first attempt at towing a camper. We learned quickly to check the trailer to make sure that the water tanks weren't unnecessarily filled (they were) and before leaving town that the rental place at Offutt hadn't cut the brake wires because they didn't think the trailer needed it and didn't want to do the brake maintenance (thankfully caught it and remedied it before pulling out).

    The cooler helped, but I'd never thought of adding a pull fan on top of that. Might be necessary on a weaker hauler like the Caravan. Thanks again for your quick feedback. It's helpful.
     
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