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Old 06-19-2021, 04:57 AM   #1
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Concord , Arizona
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Should I let the dealer do all the trailer setup?

While waiting for our Caravel 16’ we are thinking of buying all of the stuff needed for the towing. I need trailer break controller, sway bars hitch, etc..

So basically I don’t have anything ready to tow yet. Just have a Tacoma truck.

I guess my point here is that would it be cheaper for me to do it myself or would that worth the efforts.

Thank you
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Old 06-19-2021, 05:33 AM   #2
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I’m in the same boat! Waiting on my caravel 20fb. My truck has an integrated brake controller but I’m going to let them do the install of a weight distribution hitch. I personally would feel better having them do it, since it is something I’m not experienced with.
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Old 06-19-2021, 06:11 AM   #3
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If it’s a hitch they are familiar with installing / buying from them, I would recommend you go ahead with that approach.

In my case, it was only the second ProPride hitch the dealer had ever installed, so they made some errors.
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Old 06-19-2021, 06:19 AM   #4
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Question

It all depends on the dealer's experience, skills, knowledge, mechanics, and so forth. There is no good generic one-size-fits-all advice on this IMO.

A great dealer can do everything you need, and help familiarize you with the entire rig, including a detailed in-person walk-through on every system in your trailer.

A bad dealer, however, can ruin your day . . . not to mention the next year or two . . . or five.

What is your dealer's name? Did you have any recommendations, from family or friends, to use this dealer?

Good luck,
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Old 06-19-2021, 06:32 AM   #5
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle007 View Post
. . .
. . .
I guess my point here is that would it be cheaper for me to do it myself or would that worth the efforts.
. . .
[ . . . assuming your permission to speak freely on this . . . ]

Saving a few hundred dollars, at this early stage of your new life-long journey, is in my personal opinion:
-- short-sighted
-- penny-wise-pound-foolish
-- just plain . . . not at all in your long-term interests.

How much will you spend on this new journey over the next 5 years, including tow vehicle and trailer costs, combined insurance, campground fees, gas, maintenance, etc. etc.?

Maybe in the neighborhood of $250,000, plus or minus?

Let's say you can save $500 dollars doing this all yourself.

What percentage of $250,000 is $500?

You might have saved . . . what? . . . 0.002 percent . . . or about 1/20th of one percent?

And what, on the other hand, would be the cost of you doing the hitch etc. incorrectly, and harming yourself or your family, not to mention other human beings who are out on the road enjoying this great lifestyle?

Immeasurable?

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Old 06-19-2021, 07:36 AM   #6
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Manufacturers of hitch systems have a good manual on the set up of the hitch, as well as online help. The more you know about your system and how to adjust it, the better. If you have no mechanical abilities, then let the dealer do it, BUT, if you can, learn to work with it by doing the install. No hitch install is right the first time and all need some "tweeking". My dad always used the phrase " learn to do the things that you can yourself, and leave the others to someone that can, and the wise man knows the difference"!! It's like the trailer itself, learn as much as you can on how to solve problems! JMHO
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Old 06-19-2021, 07:46 AM   #7
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I tend to agree with those who are advising to install your own hitch system. It has been my experience that many RV dealer technicians are not especially competent. I use a Hensley hitch system and have always installed it myself.

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Old 06-19-2021, 08:45 AM   #8
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Hi

There are a number of tools that are pretty "hitch specific". You likely will need a couple of torque wrenches ( one up around 500 foot pounds, the other down around 100 or so. There are various oversized wrenches most folks don't have "in stock". If you are deeply into DIY, buying lots of tools may be part of the fun.

There are a vast range of dealers out there. Working out just how good this one or that one's service department is will take some digging. You very much do *not* want your hitch installed by some guy named Uncle Bob who is on his first morning working on RV's.

Indeed if you install the hitch yourself, that's exactly what you get. A hitch installed by somebody on their first morning working on hitches. The only advantage you have is that you can take a week or two to get it all done. Third time's a charm ....

The weak link in this is getting the trailer home in the first place. With no brake controller / no hitch / no nothing .... you can't get it home. You can install / get installed the brake controller ahead of time. Matching the hitch parts to the trailer, probably not so much. There's to much fiddling with the ball height.

The same basic service questions apply to a whole lot more than hitches. Regardless of the hitch install or not, it's worth looking into your dealer's service "record". There will be things you will need done. Researching where to get those things done is well worth the effort.

Bob
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Old 06-19-2021, 08:54 AM   #9
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OK! So when we bought our first trailer, we had a great dealer who spent more than an hour explaining how things worked and running us through the systems on the Airstream. As this was going on, we had the kid who washes the trailers installing the hitch. He couldn't have been more than eighteen years old. So much for experience.

Now I'm sure that while we were doing the paperwork, someone inspected his work and made sure it was installed right. I'm also sure that the adjustments I had to make when I got it home (3-hour drive) watching YouTube videos was also normal.

Was it installed right? Almost.
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Old 06-19-2021, 11:46 AM   #10
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This dealership is at Greensboro NC. I will just let them take care of it for me. Going to get their pricing when closer to the time of delivery.



Thank you all.
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Old 06-19-2021, 11:47 AM   #11
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Agreed with most of the commenters here unless you know being done correctly you don't know how the hell it's going on it's best to watch somebody do it right the first time and then learn it yourself from then on
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Old 06-19-2021, 12:01 PM   #12
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Trust but verify?
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Old 06-19-2021, 12:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle007 View Post
This dealership is at Greensboro NC. I will just let them take care of it for me. Going to get their pricing when closer to the time of delivery.



Thank you all.


You should be fine, that dealer has a great reputation
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Old 06-19-2021, 12:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle007 View Post
This dealership is at Greensboro NC. I will just let them take care of it for me. Going to get their pricing when closer to the time of delivery.



Thank you all.
Hi

Out of Doors Mart knows what they are doing. I would trust them to do it all correctly and with good parts.

Bob
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Old 06-19-2021, 05:01 PM   #15
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Get your brake controller installed ahead of time. I had a local hitch company install mine. In fact, they did this for me on 3 different tow vehicles. This will save you a lot of time, it is not expensive and these guys do it all the time. Look in your area for someone who install hitches.
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Old 06-19-2021, 05:10 PM   #16
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Save on the brake controller and adopt the 21st century by getting the Curt Echo + Better Weigh:

Curt 51180 51701 Echo Mobile Trailer Brake Controller with Betterweigh Mobile Towing Scale with Towsense Technology Bundle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JM54Y3B/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_846YD16NAJZEE7G9MTA0?_ encoding=UTF8&psc=1

And then get the ProPride and install it yourself. Best learning experience and safest hitch on the market.
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Old 06-19-2021, 08:44 PM   #17
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A good dealer is the key, as previously mentioned. Sounds like you have one so that makes it an easier decision. If you are inclined to do that kind of work yourself, have the tools, and general mechanical aptitude, I personally favor doing what I can for myself. It’s not about saving $$ on instal cost for me, it’s about knowing as much as I can about *how* everything is supposed to go together, how tight things fit, why they got placed where they are, etc. so I have a better frame of reference to spot something out of whack, shifted, or outright broken. If I installed it, I have a pretty good chance I can do some level of repair, even if only temporary. A mechanical break down in a remote place is probably something we all experience at some point, if that happens to me I hope to know enough about the item/system involved, anticipating that it helps me come to a safe and quick remedy.
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Old 06-19-2021, 10:04 PM   #18
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Should I let the dealer do all the trailer setup?

Around here, the ‘design department’ (SWMBO aka The Dragon Lady) does the design decisions, then checks with the management of the ‘overkill engineering department’ (me) for tools and materials needed. Funny thing is that I have most of the tools I may need for most projects but can negotiate to buy decent tools needed for any really new project need.

On the Airstream front, I only employ people I totally trust to do stuff on the Airstream, and the Dragon Lady is the QA department. Yup, I’m the one that does darn near all the work.

Note that the Dragon Lady is the absolute toughest inspector I know. I personally witnessed her spotting a piece of trim on a house a contractor was building for us. She looked at it from half a block away, and told him it wasn’t level. He knew her abilities by then, and told his worker to go fix it, no arguing. The piece of wood was 12 feet long, and barely 1/4 inch off on one end.

I have to use fancy levels, micrometers and lasers all the time to keep her happy…just on common woodwork and tile jobs. “Slack” does not exist around here.
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Old 06-20-2021, 06:08 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynntalsma View Post
Get your brake controller installed ahead of time. I had a local hitch company install mine. In fact, they did this for me on 3 different tow vehicles. This will save you a lot of time, it is not expensive and these guys do it all the time. Look in your area for someone who install hitches.


Good to know. Ok I will get that done first before I go to the orientation.
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Old 06-20-2021, 06:33 AM   #20
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I have installed two Proprides myself so I understand about installing a hitch. But I did let the dealer put this new Equalizer on my truck. I was watching real close and did re-checked all of my torques. I just felt that I had bought everything new from them that I wanted them to have the responsibility of it all. I do get it, thats just my weird way of thinking of things.
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