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Old 02-13-2019, 04:40 PM   #1
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To Keep or not to Keep

We currently own a 2011 Jayco 304BHK that has served us well so far. Most of our trips have been within a couple of hours or up and down the east coast to Florida. We ran the usual route from tents to pop-up and purchased it when our children were coming with us. We are now empty nesters getting ready to retire and want to start taking more frequent trips further from the east coast. We would like to do the western states and even parts of Canada. One trip we are thinking about is Alaska.

With that as background weíre wondering if it would be worth it to ďupgradeĒ some of the components of our current trailer or purchase a new one for us with room should any of the kids come along or meet up in places. Last season we used the bunkhouse for storage, as it was the two of us for the most part and question the wisdom of having a bunkhouse, besides itís free and clear.

The camper is pretty much stock with the replacing of tires and a few other minor components as the only changes. I was considering changing the suspension components to say the SRE 3000 or 4000. We have no solar and still use the single deep cycle battery that really doesnít count for much since it never seems to hold a full charge. It has been replaced over the years. I know solar is expensive to install. We would like to do some boondocking and although we can bring our generator along we would prefer not to have to run one seemingly all the time for basic electrical needs. I understand we wouldnít be running the A/C off solar. If weíre going someplace and have to stop for the night currently we donít have the luxury of heat because the furnace will kill the battery pretty quickly. This camper doesnít have any cold weather options like heated tanks or underbelly so we travel with it winterized till we get to warmer climates during the late fall and early spring. Some other things I was wondering is how long does the rubber roof last? We keep an eye on the seals and to date they have not cracked. Weíre wondering with the camper being eight years old might we be looking at a considerable outlay just to maintain it.

Iím guessing Iíll get a bunch of opinions and would like to know why or how some of you came to the conclusions you did. Weíre not looking to get a fifth wheel, we like a travel trailer set-up. Weíre just wondering out loud is it worth it to upgrade or would getting something different be a more prudent approach. We donít want anything bigger than what we have now and might even consider a few feet shorter with the hope of getting in some national parks out west.

Thanks for your thoughts.


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Old 02-14-2019, 10:09 AM   #2
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I'm assuming your current TT is either paid off or you have lots of equity in it. Only you can decide if your finances will support a new purchase or if upgrading your current rig with new updated components would the way to go. It also depends on if your handy and plan to do some of these upgrades yourself. The hourly rate at most RV services centers is pretty high.

Laying out a lot of cash up front to upgrade the current TT is a punch to the wallet but its a one time investment and after you do it your not on the hook for a new trailer payment.

If money is not part of the equation then I say get a new trailer. Especially since you plan to visit Alaska. you'll appreciate the heated tanks for sure.

Just my 2 cents, your mileage may vary.


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Old 02-14-2019, 11:19 AM   #3
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I'm thinking that if you are comfortable with your current trailer, do some upgrades that you would like and keep it. It would be different if you needed a new floor plan or had some serious issue with your current unit.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Midnightmoon View Post
I'm thinking that if you are comfortable with your current trailer, do some upgrades that you would like and keep it. It would be different if you needed a new floor plan or had some serious issue with your current unit.
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:57 PM   #5
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My .02 cents. If you want to upgrade the trailer you have now, check on what it would cost to do that. It has got to be cheaper than spending a lot of money buying a new trailer. That is if the both of you like your old trailer and it does everything that you need. We had a 35 foot long trailer and lived it cause we would spend 4-4 1/2 months in it up in the White mountains. Well we don't do that anymore so we got a smaller trailer for like 7-12 days out. Besides that the truck likes the 3000 pounds lighter weight.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:04 PM   #6
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This will be a hard one for the community to answer. My suggestions are leaving the financial parts out.

1. You could try a small class C motor home. Like a Jayco Redhawk, Greyhawk or Melborne. I love the little Melbornes. Spendy though.

2. Buy a smaller trailer with more slides. This will give you more square feet and a smaller trailer to tow. There are some nice Jay Feather and White Hawk floor plans. 24RL, 27RL are nice rear living floor plans. White Hawk has a beautiful 29FLS. I love this floor plan as well. Again spendy options.

This option might make travel easier than your current setup. Trailers are lighter than your current one and shorter. I am guessing you will be traveling a bit more since your retiring.

3. Keep same trailer but plan to maintain. You do need to start thinking about the roof. Its great that you are checking seals. That is the number one thing I see being neglected on the service side of used units. If the roof looks in good shape, chances are it is. Keep doing what your doing.

Maybe add accessories to fit your needs more. Morryde stairs, Electric Jacks, Auto Leveling, solar, or whatever else that makes it more enjoyable for camping.

Are you going to be grandparents in the future? Maybe that bunkhouse will come in handy again?

Something else to consider is that they don't make them like they used to.
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chopperdoc View Post
...your current TT ... you have lots of equity in it.

I don't think that's even possible for any trailer.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:20 AM   #8
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Ours is the same age. It's got maybe 15,000 miles on it, we've lived in it nearly three years total including six months right now and still no problems. Yours is the same age as ours. My belief, and it's just my opinion, is that in 2011 sales were very slow and the folks that put our campers together we're not scurrying around like a bunch of gerbils trying to shove units out the door.. That is why I have no intention of taking a chance on today's products unless I absolutely have to, and I don't.
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:56 AM   #9
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It is always hard to determine when is the right time to trade in your TT, especially if yours is in good shape.

Alaska; You do not need heated tanks, or an enclosed underbelly to go to Alaska, I would make sure you have good tires, and a good spare, the roads are a bit rough (frost heaves). We never turned the heat on when we were in Alaska. We were there over summer solstice for 3 weeks. It was a fabulous time, would love to go back! Do not OVER PACK, they have stores in Alaska, yes the price of groceries are a bit higher than at home. I know a few cheap people who stocked there TTs full of canned food, over loaded it so they did not have to buy anything during the trip. Every one of these couples had all kinds of mechanical issues, both with the TV & TT, and not just with tire life. We stopped every few days in a bigger city and bought what we needed for the next few days.

As for the battery life, we had incandescent bulbs in our TT, I changed them out to the 48 led boards. I calculated if I run all the LED lights now, it adds up to the power consumption of just one incandescent light. Hence our battery lasts a lot longer now. If we are careful we can go 5 days/4 nights on a single battery charge (OEM cheap interstate dual purpose battery). I commonly carry a spare group 30 true deep cycle battery if we are boondocking for more than 3 nights.

The rubber roof has a 10 year warranty, so I would guess you should get 15-20 years out of it. I got tired of checking and patching the caulking, so I applied Eternabond over all the joints a few years back, wish I had done that the first year. I still check the roof, primarily for tears.

Solar, you could consider a suitcase style setup. It stays on the ground. Place it where ever the sun is good. You could also consider a small generator. If you do not want the noise, AC or the microwave, a small Honda 1000 is very quiet, small, light, and just sips fuel. For my DW, the downfall is no AC.

This would be a good time to review the overall condition of your TT. Check the suspension for wear, repack the bearings, check the side wall caulking, maybe upgrade the tires to the next load rating.

My opinion, at 10 years old they really drop in value. You know the overall condition of this TT. Buy a new one and you may spend a year or two debugging it.

If I was buying a new TT, I would strongly forget the bunk house, as it makes the TT longer. Your kids and older grandkids kick them outside to a tent. The younger grandkids, let them sleep in your bed at first and convert the table/chairs to their bed, when your ready to crash.

I understand where you are coming from as we are a few years from situation. Already have started looking at camper options.

Good Luck!
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Old 02-17-2019, 09:38 AM   #10
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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your thoughts. Yes weíre in that in-between stage with regard to campers. The good news for us is the trailer is paid off. Weíre just trying to decide if it is worth the investment of upgrading based on its current value as opposed to a newer one.

You all have provided good ideas and things to consider. I have been overly diligent with checking the roof having heard that leaks from there can mean the death of a trailer. I like the idea of changing to the Mooryde Stairs. We have looked at some newer ones and like those as a way to get in and out much better. I had not heard of Eternabond. I will look into that now. Regarding the roof, is there a point where I should consider scraping off the seals and applying new or as long as it is working and not cracked just leave it alone.

I usually repack my bearings every spring before our season of camping. I was also considering just swapping out the lead acid battery for an AGM or possibly one Lithium Iron. I donít know if the charger that Jayco placed in the camper would have to be changed. Has anyone swapped out their lead acid? I also donít know how difficult it would be to change the charger.

I did some calculations and we have 39,000 miles on our camper. More than I imagined. Iím glad I keep a record of mileage and trips. Iíve noticed some folks talk about mileage and wonder how that matters on the camper assuming I keep up with the maintenance. As I mentioned I clean and repack my wheel bearings every spring before starting out. We are on our third set of tires, moving to the new Good Year Endurance tires last summer. We went from the Marathons that were installed originally and had a blowout so we switched to Maxxis 8008 and three years in the thread started separating. Iím hoping to get at least four years on the Good Year tires. We cover them when the trailer is not in use. What other factors should I be looking at with regard to mileage?

Thanks again to all for their thoughts and suggestions.


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