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Old 05-25-2016, 02:54 PM   #1
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Picking up your first Jayco

As a first time travel trailer owner, I thought it might help to share my experience with the delivery and pick-up of our 2017 White Hawk 28DSBH. If nothing else, it proved that no matter how many hours/weeks/months you spend researching the process, there's no substitute for experience.

We bought our trailer through Albany RV in New York, an RVOne Superstore that is also part of RVDirect. We chose them for proximity (103 miles from our home) and price (they beat all of the other wholesalers by a good margin). Driving to Indiana to pick up the rig was not something I had the time or inclination to do. It could have saved me about $1,800 total, but I just didn't have the vacation time to burn doing it. And I didn't want driveway delivery, I wanted an opportunity to do a PDI at an authorized Jayco dealer.

I know some might say "Why not MAKE Indiana your vacation, see some sights along the way, get a factory tour, etc?" My answer - we have a two year old and the last thing we wanted was to haul her on a 1,400 mile round trip in a new trailer which we weren't well acquainted with, or with a WD hitch that might not be dialed in right, etc. We want our inaugural camping trip to be pleasant, short, and CLOSE to home in case she doesn't take to it immediately.

That means camp driveway for a couple of weeks, learning all the systems, testing everything, figuring out our loading plan, buying whatever accessories we haven't acquired, letting our little daughter get used to it (she calls it a "train," adorable), etc. And here's a BIGGER concern - the atmosphere in a brand new new travel trailer is an overpowering mix of off-gassing odors from new vinyl, carpet, wood, plastic, sealant, stain, etc. it puts new car smell to shame in terms of its brute force! The first 5 minutes, it's pleasant, after that, it takes you to headache territory. It's chemical warfare in a 28 foot box. So airing it out over several days is a must before camping, at least for us.

Okay, on to the delivery day. My son and I drove our 2010 F-150 5.4 (Max tow equipped) to Albany to pick up our 2017 White Hawk 28DSBH. To prepare the truck, I installed rear mud guards (to protect the nose of the trailer from road debris), a pair of Timbrens (suspension enhancement system) to the rear end, and inflated my rear tires to max cold psi to stiffen the sidewalls for towing (I've got E-rated tires but still need to upgrade to a good LT tire). I inflated the front tires to max psi minus 5 to give the steering axle slightly better road holding.

For WD/sway control, I chose the Andersen WD hitch. There are entire threads devoted to the pros and cons of this hitch, so I don't want to go down that rabbit hole here. My advice is do your research and get whichever hitch YOU believe in, rather than just buying whatever brand your RV dealer stocks or likes to install. I'll discuss my experience with the Andersen in a little bit.

We arrived at Albany RV for our 1pm PDI/orientation. I came armed with a thorough PDI checklist, which you can find on this owners forum or several others. A lot of seasoned veterans have put together great checklists, so find one you like, print it out and bring it. I wasn't expecting much service from Albany RV. Their online reviews are so-so and they'd already delivered the primary service I demanded from them-price. But I was pleasantly surprised upon arrival. The reception desk was waiting for me, paperwork was in place and in order, and we got through the administrative details very quickly. Every single employee we encountered throughout the day was very courteous and polite, which takes the stress out of the experience. I appreciated that. The dealer has a well-stocked store (prices higher than Camping World or Amazon, however), the showroom was neat, and small details seemed attended to. They made a good first impression. Tip: I financed with my own bank, so that definitely sped up the admin process and removed a lot of stress on pick-up day. My bank beat Albany RV's quoted rates, so if you can secure outside financing I strongly recommend it.

Now, a 1pm pickup time is the WORST TIME EVER, and I knew that going in. But if I hadn't taken it I'd have waited a few weeks for a morning PDI to open on the dealer's schedule. They're a high volume dealer and that's just the way they operate. But of course, a 1 pm show time means that after a thorough PDI, admin work, hitch installation, etc., we'd be on the road in a major urban area during evening rush hour. We did fine but it's something to consider and avoid if you can.

On to the orientation. Our tech was a sweet-hearted 19 year old, sharp, polite, a hard worker, but with only 4 weeks on the job. Even with an experienced tech, you're likely to know more than he/she about your rig because you've poured your heart and soul into researching one model, whereas they have to be familiar with literally hundreds. When the tech is youthful and inexperienced, however, you end up teaching them more than they teach you. It's great, because they're going to be better as a result and the next customer will benefit, but ideally you want a tech you can learn from. I don't fault the dealer, it's kind of like going to a new barber - someone has to be their first haircut. But hopefully you'll end up with a more seasoned tech.

By the way, PDI with a new tech has its advantages - the young man wasn't responding to the faults we found with "that's normal," "nothing to worry about there," etc.. He hasn't had that drilled into him yet. I found wrinkles on the roof while inspecting it and an older tech was brought out to reassure me that they were normal. Uh huh. More on that in a bit.

Anyway, the trailer itself was in great shape except for a few things, and there will ALWAYS be a few things when buying a new RV. It isn't a car. Unless you're buying an Airstream or perhaps a Lance, don't expect car-like fit and finish. If you Google "Jayco factory tour video" or "Jayco construction video" you'll quickly understand why fit and finish isn't perfect. Most of the assembly is done by humans working at a frenetic pace, not machines like a mass produced car.

That said, we picked Jayco because they have a reputation for quality compared to other mid-range RVs, and all of our physical inspections on RV lots bore this out...at our price point, Jaycos just seem to be better built. Our unit was no exception. Except for the roof (which I'll discuss soon, I promise!), interior fit and finish is pretty solid. In fact, a lot of the gimp moldings that you see in older Jaycos to hide sloppy seam work (like where a cabinet meets the ceiling) are gone. The soft goods, fabrics, rugs, bed comforter, etc. are all very nice, and the cabinets are solid and well aligned - it comes CLOSE to a high end feel until you notice the occasional chips in a molding piece, a spare tire mounted directly in front of the water heater access panel, an AC directional vent that won't rotate, a ceiling speaker with loose screws, sink covers that fall into the sink because they're too small, tub surrounds that need silicone caulk - the kinds of things that would never make it out of quality control for higher end RVs.

But hey, it's not a Prevost, it's a travel trailer! So we focused upon systems, structural integrity, road worthiness and weather tightness. The exterior vacuum laminated walls, the front end cap, the framing and suspension, all are as good/better than any you'll find at this price point. Which brings us back to the roof. Close inspection of the wrinkles showed they were confined to the area around the refrigerator vent and the adjacent edge of the roof. They were large to my eyes, about 2 feet long, with excess loose material that wasn't really adhered to the roof. I was able to smooth the wrinkles by moving the excess rubber towards the roof edge, which means that it should be easy for techs to address later. It wasn't bad enough for me to refuse delivery or leave for repair - we're going to enjoy the camping season and get it repaired under warranty in the fall. And the roof was solid underfoot, all seams and entry points were properly sealed, no rips holes or tears, etc.

All systems worked during the PDI, and so the tech opened all of our low point drains so we could empty our freshwater tanks and prepare for towing. My son and I installed our weight distribution hitch, which I preferred to do and which Albany RV wouldn't do because they aren't an Andersen dealer. In fact, every staff member who saw our hitch asked "What is that, I've never seen one before!"

So far, so good, but the rest of the story shows where Albany RV could tighten up their procedures. One of our trailer tires was visibly low at just 25 psi (supposed to be 50 psi) but our tech had to do another orientation, so we were on our own. So there we were, flagging people down in the RV yard looking for an air hose to connect to the nearby air point, and everyone was polite but harried. One fella dropped off a hose with a class A sized connector, no good for our 15" wheels. Tip: if you have your own 12v portable compressor (I do), bring it (I did), but top off the trailer tires BEFORE you hitch up (I didn't). The compressor power cord plugged into my tow vehicle was nowhere near long enough for me to reach the tires on a 33ft trailer (duh).

Eventually another polite tech (they were all polite) saw us and said "I can't believe we just left you like this" and got the one tire to the correct pressure. My son and I quickly installed a valve stem mounted tire pressure monitoring system to the four trailer tires and we were ready to go. But we were so boxed in that we couldn't get the trailer out without an assist from the staff, which we eventually got.

Finally, we were on our way. I'd been concerned over whether my F-150 would be up to the task. Don't get me wrong, by the numbers she's more than up to it - 11,200 lb tow capacity versus a 6,400 lb trailer, with a good payload safety margin as well (I had 1,600 payload lbs available against a 900 lb tongue weight). But how would she actually pull? Would I have merging power? Would the WD hitch work as advertised? Would oil, water and tranny temps behave?

All my concerns were quickly put to rest. The venerable 5.4L, 3-valve-per-cylinder Triton V8 is no Ecoboost, but it's a beast in its own right. We had power to spare, no struggling, no gear hunting, no fluid temperature spikes. The truck was doing what it was built to do...tow an impressive load. All while getting 11.3 mpg, about 2 mpg more than I expected.

As for sway and bounce, the combination of Timbrens to the rear suspension and the Andersen WD hitch eliminated ALL sway and most bounce. I think LT tires on my tow vehicle will get rid of the remainder of bounce, which was not severe or uncomfortable. We drove 100 miles of busy interstate, hammered repeatedly by tractor trailers and double tractor trailers zipping by us as we held to 55-60 mph. Tip: most trailer tires are speed rated for about 60 mph, and you'll be safer, more fuel efficient, and run cooler tires at that speed. Don't test your trailer tires to see how much they can exceed specs by - you and your family are too important. Take your time. And invest in a tire pressure monitoring system for your trailer tires. The one I mentioned earlier cost about $99 and isn't supposed to have the receiver range to handle a travel trailer (tires on trailer supposedly too far from receiver on dash). But I took a chance and it worked PERFECTLY anyway. I never had an intermittent signal. The pressure readings matched two different digital tire gauges I used to test calibration. And as we drove straight south in late afternoon for 2.5 hours, the western facing tires (in direct sunlight) ran a wee bit warmer than the other side of the trailer, just as you'd expect. That's how accurate our $75 TPMS was, and it provided a lot of peace of mind.

As we towed, the truck and trailer functioned like one. It was beautiful. I attribute most of this to a properly installed WD hitch. The Andersen hitch is light, simple, quick, clean, and quiet. I'll be going to the scales this week to see how much load it restores to my front axle (a common criticism is that it doesn't return 100%). But Ford recommends restoring just 50% front axle load to my model year truck, and I believe the Andersen is doing that..there was nothing light or spongy about my steering, and the front fender measuring we did when we engaged weight distribution showed that weight was definitely restored to the front axle. The scales will help me confirm and dial in my weight distribution further.

All was not perfect, however. 45 minutes into our 2.5 hour trip the dreaded Ford "trailer disconnected" warning came on with its cheery yet annoying chime. Trailer lights and brakes were working, but we immediately pulled over. (Tip: NEVER ignore this warning). The 7 pin connector was firmly in place and clean, but I pulled it, tightened all connectors and plugged back in. Off we went, only to get another warning ten minutes later. We pulled into a rest stop, got some burgers and took stock. What was going on? We triple checked everything we knew to check in our glorious newbie-ness, then set out again.

The warning went off repeatedly for the rest of the trip, but we eventually got home in the deepening twilight. As I tried to bring down the power tongue jack, there was nothing, nada, zilch...no power. Why? Could the house battery be dead already? Did I have some major electrical problem on a brand new trailer? Had I just bought a lemon? Nah. The 30 amp inline fuse for the battery was blown. I replaced it and all was well. And I THINK that fuse may explain why I was getting a trailer disconnected warning on the way home. I've read that with no house battery detected, the Ford's ECM thinks no trailer is there, although the truck is smart enough to sense the tow load itself and supply braking power through the integrated trailer brake controller. So goes someone's theory, anyway. Tip: with the battery's inline fuse blown, your electric trailer brakes will have no power to activate in the event of a trailer breakaway. Always check the battery's inline fuse before setting out.

So here's my ultimate newbie move of the whole day. Even though my truck is Max tow equipped, Ford does NOT install the fuse and relay needed to send power to a trailer's house battery via the seven pin connector. Don't ask me why, but those are usually left in a small bag in your glove box. So I was NOT supplying power to maintain my trailer battery while towing (and this may have something to do with why the battery's inline fuse blew, I'm not sure). I bought my truck used, it's six years old. I wasn't expecting to find the relay and fuse in the glove box, but there they were! They pop right into the fuse box under the hood, the owners manual shows exactly where they go.

So, long story made just a wee bit longer - the trailer is home, everything works, the truck is equal to the task and in the future will provide battery maintenance power while towing. Now the real adventures begin. Sorry for going so long, but I hope my missteps help some folks avoid the same mistakes!
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Old 05-25-2016, 04:36 PM   #2
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Very nice, well written review. Could you post some pictures of the roof?


Enjoy your new rig. I hear you on the offgassing. Our will sit with vents on and windows open until the smell dissipates some.
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Old 05-25-2016, 06:43 PM   #3
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Glad your experience was positive. We pick up our new camper from the same dealer Friday. I went to the dealer last Saturday to handle all the paperwork and schedule my PDI (for this Friday). Everyone was very pleasant. My camper was in their hold over lot and my sales lady took me over there to check it out.

How long did the tech have to conduct your PDI? Like you I will be setting up my own WDH onsite... Again nice to hear about your experience and it's pretty much how I expect mine to go....
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:37 PM   #4
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Good review. I picked up my trailer from Albany 6 years ago and all went well for me with the inspection, but the hitch was not installed properly which was understandable since it was an older style Reese dual cam that I brought with me and they did it for free. We camped in the Catskills to try everything out and I adjusted the hitch at the camp site.
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
As a first time travel trailer owner, I thought it might help to share my experience with the delivery and pick-up of our 2017 White Hawk 28DSBH. If nothing else, it proved that no matter how many hours/weeks/months you spend researching the process, there's no substitute for experience.

We bought our trailer through Albany RV in New York, an RVOne Superstore that is also part of RVDirect. We chose them for proximity (103 miles from our home) and price (they beat all of the other wholesalers by a good margin). Driving to Indiana to pick up the rig was not something I had the time or inclination to do. It could have saved me about $1,800 total, but I just didn't have the vacation time to burn doing it. And I didn't want driveway delivery, I wanted an opportunity to do a PDI at an authorized Jayco dealer.

I know some might say "Why not MAKE Indiana your vacation, see some sights along the way, get a factory tour, etc?" My answer - we have a two year old and the last thing we wanted was to haul her on a 1,400 mile round trip in a new trailer which we weren't well acquainted with, or with a WD hitch that might not be dialed in right, etc. We want our inaugural camping trip to be pleasant, short, and CLOSE to home in case she doesn't take to it immediately.

That means camp driveway for a couple of weeks, learning all the systems, testing everything, figuring out our loading plan, buying whatever accessories we haven't acquired, letting our little daughter get used to it (she calls it a "train," adorable), etc. And here's a BIGGER concern - the atmosphere in a brand new new travel trailer is an overpowering mix of off-gassing odors from new vinyl, carpet, wood, plastic, sealant, stain, etc. it puts new car smell to shame in terms of its brute force! The first 5 minutes, it's pleasant, after that, it takes you to headache territory. It's chemical warfare in a 28 foot box. So airing it out over several days is a must before camping, at least for us.

Okay, on to the delivery day. My son and I drove our 2010 F-150 5.4 (Max tow equipped) to Albany to pick up our 2017 White Hawk 28DSBH. To prepare the truck, I installed rear mud guards (to protect the nose of the trailer from road debris), a pair of Timbrens (suspension enhancement system) to the rear end, and inflated my rear tires to max cold psi to stiffen the sidewalls for towing (I've got E-rated tires but still need to upgrade to a good LT tire). I inflated the front tires to max psi minus 5 to give the steering axle slightly better road holding.

For WD/sway control, I chose the Andersen WD hitch. There are entire threads devoted to the pros and cons of this hitch, so I don't want to go down that rabbit hole here. My advice is do your research and get whichever hitch YOU believe in, rather than just buying whatever brand your RV dealer stocks or likes to install. I'll discuss my experience with the Andersen in a little bit.

We arrived at Albany RV for our 1pm PDI/orientation. I came armed with a thorough PDI checklist, which you can find on this owners forum or several others. A lot of seasoned veterans have put together great checklists, so find one you like, print it out and bring it. I wasn't expecting much service from Albany RV. Their online reviews are so-so and they'd already delivered the primary service I demanded from them-price. But I was pleasantly surprised upon arrival. The reception desk was waiting for me, paperwork was in place and in order, and we got through the administrative details very quickly. Every single employee we encountered throughout the day was very courteous and polite, which takes the stress out of the experience. I appreciated that. The dealer has a well-stocked store (prices higher than Camping World or Amazon, however), the showroom was neat, and small details seemed attended to. They made a good first impression. Tip: I financed with my own bank, so that definitely sped up the admin process and removed a lot of stress on pick-up day. My bank beat Albany RV's quoted rates, so if you can secure outside financing I strongly recommend it.

Now, a 1pm pickup time is the WORST TIME EVER, and I knew that going in. But if I hadn't taken it I'd have waited a few weeks for a morning PDI to open on the dealer's schedule. They're a high volume dealer and that's just the way they operate. But of course, a 1 pm show time means that after a thorough PDI, admin work, hitch installation, etc., we'd be on the road in a major urban area during evening rush hour. We did fine but it's something to consider and avoid if you can.

On to the orientation. Our tech was a sweet-hearted 19 year old, sharp, polite, a hard worker, but with only 4 weeks on the job. Even with an experienced tech, you're likely to know more than he/she about your rig because you've poured your heart and soul into researching one model, whereas they have to be familiar with literally hundreds. When the tech is youthful and inexperienced, however, you end up teaching them more than they teach you. It's great, because they're going to be better as a result and the next customer will benefit, but ideally you want a tech you can learn from. I don't fault the dealer, it's kind of like going to a new barber - someone has to be their first haircut. But hopefully you'll end up with a more seasoned tech.

By the way, PDI with a new tech has its advantages - the young man wasn't responding to the faults we found with "that's normal," "nothing to worry about there," etc.. He hasn't had that drilled into him yet. I found wrinkles on the roof while inspecting it and an older tech was brought out to reassure me that they were normal. Uh huh. More on that in a bit.

Anyway, the trailer itself was in great shape except for a few things, and there will ALWAYS be a few things when buying a new RV. It isn't a car. Unless you're buying an Airstream or perhaps a Lance, don't expect car-like fit and finish. If you Google "Jayco factory tour video" or "Jayco construction video" you'll quickly understand why fit and finish isn't perfect. Most of the assembly is done by humans working at a frenetic pace, not machines like a mass produced car.

That said, we picked Jayco because they have a reputation for quality compared to other mid-range RVs, and all of our physical inspections on RV lots bore this out...at our price point, Jaycos just seem to be better built. Our unit was no exception. Except for the roof (which I'll discuss soon, I promise!), interior fit and finish is pretty solid. In fact, a lot of the gimp moldings that you see in older Jaycos to hide sloppy seam work (like where a cabinet meets the ceiling) are gone. The soft goods, fabrics, rugs, bed comforter, etc. are all very nice, and the cabinets are solid and well aligned - it comes CLOSE to a high end feel until you notice the occasional chips in a molding piece, a spare tire mounted directly in front of the water heater access panel, an AC directional vent that won't rotate, a ceiling speaker with loose screws, sink covers that fall into the sink because they're too small, tub surrounds that need silicone caulk - the kinds of things that would never make it out of quality control for higher end RVs.

But hey, it's not a Prevost, it's a travel trailer! So we focused upon systems, structural integrity, road worthiness and weather tightness. The exterior vacuum laminated walls, the front end cap, the framing and suspension, all are as good/better than any you'll find at this price point. Which brings us back to the roof. Close inspection of the wrinkles showed they were confined to the area around the refrigerator vent and the adjacent edge of the roof. They were large to my eyes, about 2 feet long, with excess loose material that wasn't really adhered to the roof. I was able to smooth the wrinkles by moving the excess rubber towards the roof edge, which means that it should be easy for techs to address later. It wasn't bad enough for me to refuse delivery or leave for repair - we're going to enjoy the camping season and get it repaired under warranty in the fall. And the roof was solid underfoot, all seams and entry points were properly sealed, no rips holes or tears, etc.

All systems worked during the PDI, and so the tech opened all of our low point drains so we could empty our freshwater tanks and prepare for towing. My son and I installed our weight distribution hitch, which I preferred to do and which Albany RV wouldn't do because they aren't an Andersen dealer. In fact, every staff member who saw our hitch asked "What is that, I've never seen one before!"

So far, so good, but the rest of the story shows where Albany RV could tighten up their procedures. One of our trailer tires was visibly low at just 25 psi (supposed to be 50 psi) but our tech had to do another orientation, so we were on our own. So there we were, flagging people down in the RV yard looking for an air hose to connect to the nearby air point, and everyone was polite but harried. One fella dropped off a hose with a class A sized connector, no good for our 15" wheels. Tip: if you have your own 12v portable compressor (I do), bring it (I did), but top off the trailer tires BEFORE you hitch up (I didn't). The compressor power cord plugged into my tow vehicle was nowhere near long enough for me to reach the tires on a 33ft trailer (duh).

Eventually another polite tech (they were all polite) saw us and said "I can't believe we just left you like this" and got the one tire to the correct pressure. My son and I quickly installed a valve stem mounted tire pressure monitoring system to the four trailer tires and we were ready to go. But we were so boxed in that we couldn't get the trailer out without an assist from the staff, which we eventually got.

Finally, we were on our way. I'd been concerned over whether my F-150 would be up to the task. Don't get me wrong, by the numbers she's more than up to it - 11,200 lb tow capacity versus a 6,400 lb trailer, with a good payload safety margin as well (I had 1,600 payload lbs available against a 900 lb tongue weight). But how would she actually pull? Would I have merging power? Would the WD hitch work as advertised? Would oil, water and tranny temps behave?

All my concerns were quickly put to rest. The venerable 5.4L, 3-valve-per-cylinder Triton V8 is no Ecoboost, but it's a beast in its own right. We had power to spare, no struggling, no gear hunting, no fluid temperature spikes. The truck was doing what it was built to do...tow an impressive load. All while getting 11.3 mpg, about 2 mpg more than I expected.

As for sway and bounce, the combination of Timbrens to the rear suspension and the Andersen WD hitch eliminated ALL sway and most bounce. I think LT tires on my tow vehicle will get rid of the remainder of bounce, which was not severe or uncomfortable. We drove 100 miles of busy interstate, hammered repeatedly by tractor trailers and double tractor trailers zipping by us as we held to 55-60 mph. Tip: most trailer tires are speed rated for about 60 mph, and you'll be safer, more fuel efficient, and run cooler tires at that speed. Don't test your trailer tires to see how much they can exceed specs by - you and your family are too important. Take your time. And invest in a tire pressure monitoring system for your trailer tires. The one I mentioned earlier cost about $99 and isn't supposed to have the receiver range to handle a travel trailer (tires on trailer supposedly too far from receiver on dash). But I took a chance and it worked PERFECTLY anyway. I never had an intermittent signal. The pressure readings matched two different digital tire gauges I used to test calibration. And as we drove straight south in late afternoon for 2.5 hours, the western facing tires (in direct sunlight) ran a wee bit warmer than the other side of the trailer, just as you'd expect. That's how accurate our $75 TPMS was, and it provided a lot of peace of mind.

As we towed, the truck and trailer functioned like one. It was beautiful. I attribute most of this to a properly installed WD hitch. The Andersen hitch is light, simple, quick, clean, and quiet. I'll be going to the scales this week to see how much load it restores to my front axle (a common criticism is that it doesn't return 100%). But Ford recommends restoring just 50% front axle load to my model year truck, and I believe the Andersen is doing that..there was nothing light or spongy about my steering, and the front fender measuring we did when we engaged weight distribution showed that weight was definitely restored to the front axle. The scales will help me confirm and dial in my weight distribution further.

All was not perfect, however. 45 minutes into our 2.5 hour trip the dreaded Ford "trailer disconnected" warning came on with its cheery yet annoying chime. Trailer lights and brakes were working, but we immediately pulled over. (Tip: NEVER ignore this warning). The 7 pin connector was firmly in place and clean, but I pulled it, tightened all connectors and plugged back in. Off we went, only to get another warning ten minutes later. We pulled into a rest stop, got some burgers and took stock. What was going on? We triple checked everything we knew to check in our glorious newbie-ness, then set out again.

The warning went off repeatedly for the rest of the trip, but we eventually got home in the deepening twilight. As I tried to bring down the power tongue jack, there was nothing, nada, zilch...no power. Why? Could the house battery be dead already? Did I have some major electrical problem on a brand new trailer? Had I just bought a lemon? Nah. The 30 amp inline fuse for the battery was blown. I replaced it and all was well. And I THINK that fuse may explain why I was getting a trailer disconnected warning on the way home. I've read that with no house battery detected, the Ford's ECM thinks no trailer is there, although the truck is smart enough to sense the tow load itself and supply braking power through the integrated trailer brake controller. So goes someone's theory, anyway. Tip: with the battery's inline fuse blown, your electric trailer brakes will have no power to activate in the event of a trailer breakaway. Always check the battery's inline fuse before setting out.

So here's my ultimate newbie move of the whole day. Even though my truck is Max tow equipped, Ford does NOT install the fuse and relay needed to send power to a trailer's house battery via the seven pin connector. Don't ask me why, but those are usually left in a small bag in your glove box. So I was NOT supplying power to maintain my trailer battery while towing (and this may have something to do with why the battery's inline fuse blew, I'm not sure). I bought my truck used, it's six years old. I wasn't expecting to find the relay and fuse in the glove box, but there they were! They pop right into the fuse box under the hood, the owners manual shows exactly where they go.

So, long story made just a wee bit longer - the trailer is home, everything works, the truck is equal to the task and in the future will provide battery maintenance power while towing. Now the real adventures begin. Sorry for going so long, but I hope my missteps help some folks avoid the same mistakes!
Don't feel bad. I pulled my toy hauler for 12 years with my Chevy Duramax Crew Cab before I realized I had never had the relay installed in the fuse block for the TV to charge the TT batteries. The batteries were so large they never ran down until they were dead players. Only when I wanted to charge the Jeep battery while towing it did I realize this.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:20 PM   #6
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Thanks Dust Devil, that takes the sting out some! 😀

Rusty, I can only attach one photo per reply now for some reason...frustrating! Am I the only one? I used to be able to attach up to 5 but the system won't let me now. Anyway, I apologize for the poor contrast in this photo, I took it in bright sunlight after work today. For scale, the large wrinkle in this pic is about 2 feet long, the one by the refrigerator vent is about 18". The rest of the roof is normal and smooth.

SouthCo, they schedule 1 hour for the PDI, which isn't enough of course. I guess that's why they refer to it as an "orientation." I took about 1:45 with the tech and then he had to run to his next customer. But no one hassles you and you can take as much time on your own to run through your own PDI checklist.

Crabman, I'm glad you were able to dial in your hitch on that first outing. It's a good feeling when you pull and the thing actually does what you hoped it would!
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:44 PM   #7
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Yeah, that looks like a relatively easy fix. As though someone got in a hurry trimming the edges. Shouldn't be too hard for that to be smooth out.


Can't speak as to the photo posting issue. Maybe someone else will chime in.


Thanks for posting that though. Gives me something to be aware of.
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:06 PM   #8
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Wow, you are pretty good written this reviews would have taken me two to three weeks but I love the review you wrote I'm hoping to buy one soon.
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:19 PM   #9
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Picking up your first Jayco

Mikey,

Thank you. Very well written.
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:50 PM   #10
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Enjoyed reading your post Mikey. Can you tell us what brand of TPMS you purchased for $75? Good to know that it works well for you. I'd like to get one before our upcoming long trip to keep an eye on our Rainer tires while in motion. Thanks!
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