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Old 08-16-2010, 10:57 AM   #21
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What I've Learned

Hi Sabina, welcome in. I've researched this topic hard for the past 6 months as we were looking to upgrade from a popup to a hybrid travel trailer. We wanted more space, but did not want to have a giant tow vehicle. We currently have a 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan (3800lbs capacity). We selected the Jayco ExPort 17Z because of it's light weight (from factory with propane 3033lbs) and max GVWR of 3500lbs (thats the total weight you should not exceed trailer and contents including water). We used a borrowed vehicle for our first trip (I need to change the hitch receiver and add tranny cooler to Caravan before it can tow). The vehicle was a Jeep Commander with a 5.8liter HEMI engine and factory tow package (7800lbs capacity). The jeep pulled the 17Z with almost no problem. It has caused me to take some time and think through the use of the caravan though. Where we live (Michigan) it is fairly flat. I think the caravan would do it but I would be up against the wall or slightly over on my limits. Towing the fully loaded 17Z with a HEMI powered Commander worked well, but I felt at times there would be no way the caravan would have been able to handle it, and definately not if we were traveling in mountain areas. One thing you may want to consider is the "Equal-I-zer" hitch. It is weight distribution hitch and sway control all in one, it does not increase towing capacity but it spreads the weight out over both TV axles for better control of the rig. It worked great on our trip. A good brake controller that is setup properly is important as well. I spent some time in a parking lot with the trailer fully loaded to tune in the control so it worked in a way that was comfortable for me. I can tell you the 17Z exceeded our expectations for a family of 5 and the bunks pop out instead of slide so they are literally setup in a matter of minutes. The couch was a big selling point for us and is very comfortable. Sorry for the long post, sometimes I ramble..
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:16 PM   #22
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I will second the Equal-I-zer hitch suggestion; works very well for us also.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:45 AM   #23
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Thanks, I had to read six books on Trailers before I finally found out the formula for this. My Nissan manual only said to times the width by height and left out an important fact which I finally found in the "Idiots Guide to RVing". The fact is, yes,you times the width by the height but before you do that you measure the floor of the RV to the ground. You take that off the height. I'm sure that makes a big difference in what one would get in square footage. Who could find an RV with only sixty square feet if you don't use the Idiot's Guide formula - it is almost impossible. Before I found this formula we thought we should give up on buying anything we could safely tow.

We still have not bought our Jayco. There is so much to learn and it is so darn hard to find out some of it. I just bought a bunch of DVDs from RV Orientation 101 in the hopes of having all the abbreviations and numbers and formulas sink in. We are going to look at the 17 Z on Wednesday but think the 17 C might suit us better. They have no 17 C's on the lot, though.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:49 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by RedWingsFan View Post
Hi Sabina, welcome in. I've researched this topic hard for the past 6 months as we were looking to upgrade from a popup to a hybrid travel trailer. We wanted more space, but did not want to have a giant tow vehicle. We currently have a 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan (3800lbs capacity). We selected the Jayco ExPort 17Z because of it's light weight (from factory with propane 3033lbs) and max GVWR of 3500lbs (thats the total weight you should not exceed trailer and contents including water). We used a borrowed vehicle for our first trip (I need to change the hitch receiver and add tranny cooler to Caravan before it can tow). The vehicle was a Jeep Commander with a 5.8liter HEMI engine and factory tow package (7800lbs capacity). The jeep pulled the 17Z with almost no problem. It has caused me to take some time and think through the use of the caravan though. Where we live (Michigan) it is fairly flat. I think the caravan would do it but I would be up against the wall or slightly over on my limits. Towing the fully loaded 17Z with a HEMI powered Commander worked well, but I felt at times there would be no way the caravan would have been able to handle it, and definately not if we were traveling in mountain areas. One thing you may want to consider is the "Equal-I-zer" hitch. It is weight distribution hitch and sway control all in one, it does not increase towing capacity but it spreads the weight out over both TV axles for better control of the rig. It worked great on our trip. A good brake controller that is setup properly is important as well. I spent some time in a parking lot with the trailer fully loaded to tune in the control so it worked in a way that was comfortable for me. I can tell you the 17Z exceeded our expectations for a family of 5 and the bunks pop out instead of slide so they are literally setup in a matter of minutes. The couch was a big selling point for us and is very comfortable. Sorry for the long post, sometimes I ramble..
Hey, the more you write the more I learn so ramble on. Let me know if you towed with the Caravan or not. We had two Caravans when our family was young and we loved them.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:57 AM   #25
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Equalizer Hitch for small trailer

[QUOTE=Hondopatrick;4781]I will second the Equal-I-zer hitch suggestion; works very well for us also.[/QUOTE

Equalizer was recommended on the RV DVD I bought, too. I asked the dealer we are working with and he said we didn't need it and they use something else (I can't remember the name of it). He said Equalizer is for bigger trailers than the 17 Z. I wonder if we have to have what he says to use installed by his dealership or if we can get it elsewhere. This dealer said we could pull more than I know we can, so I am not trusting him much. He also does not seem too interested in giving us any real information. It is the closest Jayco to us, though. Any other Jayco dealers are at least a few hours away.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:59 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Gone Camping View Post
Welcome to the forum sabina the square footage is for air drag on the tow vehicle.
Thanks, I had to read six books on Trailers before I finally found out the formula for this. My Nissan manual only said to times the width by height and left out an important fact which I finally found in the "Idiots Guide to RVing". The fact is, yes,you times the width by the height but before you do that you measure the floor of the RV to the ground. You take that off the height. I'm sure that makes a big difference in what one would get in square footage. Who could find an RV with only sixty square feet if you don't use the Idiot's Guide formula - it is almost impossible. Before I found this formula we thought we should give up on buying anything we could safely tow.

We still have not bought our Jayco. There is so much to learn and it is so darn hard to find out some of it. I just bought a bunch of DVDs from RV Orientation 101 in the hopes of having all the abbreviations and numbers and formulas sink in. We are going to look at the 17 Z on Wednesday but think the 17 C might suit us better. They have no 17 C's on the lot, though.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:08 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Sabina View Post
We are going to look at the 17 Z on Wednesday but think the 17 C might suit us better. They have no 17 C's on the lot, though.
Here's something to consider.... Back when we owned a tent trailer, someone recommended that we consider the floor plan and ease of getting to the bed once it is pulled out. We chose a floor plan that did not have the dinette impeding the entrance to the bed (where you have to crawl over the dinette to get on the bed). It looks like the 17z allows direct access to the bunk so you don't have to crawl over the dinette as you would on the 17c
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:16 PM   #28
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Did you see the new Jayco Skylark?
http://www.jayco.com/php/products/vi...bed.php?id=247
looks and robust-- nice floor plan too
http://www.jayco.com/php/products/fl...47&mod_id=1266
GVW (gross vehicle weight) 3500lbs loaded.
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Old 08-29-2010, 03:28 PM   #29
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Like JPBeck stated, the Skylark is only 3500lbs loaded. This is the same as the 17Z and 17C. We purchased a Skylark this year and love the trailer. At first we had planned to go with the 17Z. However, once we spent time in both models, we chose the Skylark. Ours is the front kitchen model (FKV). Jayco has recently just introduced the front bath model (FBV).
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:15 PM   #30
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Xterra Can Only Pull Trailer Up to 18 ft.

Quote:
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Did you see the new Jayco Skylark?
http://www.jayco.com/php/products/vi...bed.php?id=247
looks and robust-- nice floor plan too
http://www.jayco.com/php/products/fl...47&mod_id=1266
GVW (gross vehicle weight) 3500lbs loaded.
Thanks, I just looked at it and love it, but our Nissan manual says we can only tow up to an 18 foot trailer. The Nissan Xterra has a short wheel base.
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