Curious about Hi-Lo Campers? Thinking about buying a Hi-Lo camper, curious, have questions? Ask them here
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:17 AM   #1
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Default Shopping From Afar?

Hi - New to the forum and been looking into getting a Hi-Lo. I stumbled on a local 17' HiLo and really liked it, but felt it was a bit small for us. Still shopping around, but the ones I've seen thus far are several hours away. I'm curious if anyone has any experience buying one several hours away? What did you ask about ahead of time before making the trip? Did you get an inspection from a third party prior to making a trip? Did getting from dealer vs. private make a difference? I realize it's probably a bit of a dice roll when looking at one far away, but was hoping to avoid a wasted trip.

I'm scared to death about the potential of water damage. Is there any way to identify it ahead of time? This will be our first RV and just hoping to avoid a major disaster. BTW, I've really enjoyed reading the info on this forum and your experiences. Great info and much appreciated!

mutt
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Old 03-23-2020, 07:12 AM   #2
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mutt, you may have to take a trip (chance) and check it out for yourself. Having someone else check it for you may lead to dissapointment. A dealer will over price it, and usually knows little about a Hi Lo.
Basically, start with the visual items –
1. Exterior
• Look for water stains and discoloration on inside walls and around ceiling anywhere vents, skylights, windows, etc. exist.
• Push and prod with your hand on the inside walls for soft spots (which could indicate a water leak and a damaged or rotten interior wall).
• Check for bubbles in the wallpaper (a sign of delimitation or water intrusion)
2. Interior cleanliness of the unit-
• Look for water stains and discoloration on inside walls and around ceiling anywhere vents, skylights, windows, etc. exist.
• Push and prod with your hand on the inside walls for soft spots (which could indicate a water leak and a damaged or rotten interior wall).
• Check for bubbles in the wallpaper (a sign of delimitation or water intrusion)
3. Test appliance functions –
• lights
• fans
• refrigerator
• air conditioner
• heater
• water pump
• range hood
• stovetop
• oven (if equipped)
• microwave (if equipped)
• stereo (if equipped)
4. Lift System-
• Does the unit raise and lower properly
• Check the lift system for hydraulic leaks (puddle under the trailer)
• Check the lift cables to see if they are in good shape and not frayed
• Check the seal between the upper and lower body halves for tears or damage
5. fill the tanks to the top and check for leaks
6. Battery
7. Solar Panel (if equipped)
______
This may help
Tree
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Old 03-23-2020, 07:49 AM   #3
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Hey Tree - thanks for the reply and info. I'm anticipating a few disappointments along the way and trying to prepare accordingly. (I think, anyway...) Thanks for sending the checklist - that will definitely be helpful!
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Old 03-23-2020, 08:02 AM   #4
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mutt, Take your time, it'll be worth it. I searched for 4 years to find the right one. I know I traveled several times long distances just to find the seller wasn't quite truthful or were unaware of leaks, etc.
This check list has been on the forum for quite some time. A helpfull hint is the "search" box at the top. Also in the reference library under "Hi Lo Owners Manual" , there is a sticky with 32 short videos on the Hi Lo systems. Informative too!
BTW, Welcome to the forum,
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Old 03-23-2020, 08:59 AM   #5
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Yes - I found the reference library and videos, which have been great! Appreciate the insights and thoughts too.
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:30 AM   #6
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Our pleasure!
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:53 PM   #7
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Default Best of luck in finding your HiLo.

Treeclimber has given you a wonderful check list. Tell the seller to fire up the ref. and have electricity to the unit. Climb up on the roof/bring a ladder. Climb underneath the unit. If the seller doesn't want you to do as i have outlined then don't even check it out. Bring a camera and take lots of pictures. Post them for us to give you advice. Any service records? When were the bearing serviced? How old are the appliances? Have any appliances been replaced? Check the date on the tires as these are $ items. Keep us posted. What is your tow vehicle? Are you looking for a Classic or a Towlite?
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Old 03-24-2020, 07:47 AM   #8
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Hi Sam - thank you for the info and thoughts. I have an older F-150 that will be outfitted for towing, so I think that should cover just about any of the models. (I hope anyway). I am leaning toward a classic with the tip-out and bed (28' if I recall), but also open to a towlite. I looked at a 17' but it was too small for us. I did like the portability and low-profile towing though and was hoping to find something just a bit larger. Thanks again and will keep you updated!
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:15 AM   #9
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mutt, Hello again. I've had both a 24'er and presently a 27'er and towed both with a 6.0 engine and have had no problems, a bit of a strain on 7% grades, but that's expected. The 27'er has the tip out and that really makes a difference. The 24 was a Classic and my 27 is a Towlite, with the same 6.0, I couldn't tell any difference between the two when towing or with respect to gas mileage. I still get about 14 - 16 mpg except in the mountains, it drops of course, to about 10 - 12, depends.
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Old 03-24-2020, 09:25 AM   #10
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Mutt - an F150 would NOT be a good tow vehicle for the larger HiLos, such as the 24s and 27s that Treeclimber mentioned. He's towing those with a SuperDuty truck 250/2500 class vehicle.

The problem you will have with using a 150 and the larger trailer is the tongue weight of the trailer, which will overload your TV's axles and tires/wheels. A Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) or airbags will NOT correct this. I think the LARGEST HiLo you should be looking at is 22ft, and even that will be pushing things. AND, you will definitely need a WDH to equalize the load on your axles.

- Jack
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:25 PM   #11
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Hey Jack - this is good to know and thank you for sharing. I apparently misunderstood the weight on the 28s and will need to adjust my thinking. The F-150 is an older 5.0L longbed and I thought it might handle one in that range, but apparently I need a to reset expectations. Thank you again for the info and insights!
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:39 PM   #12
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mutt, What Jack said! I also didn't mention that represented trailer weights are often not accurate, nor is the actual towing capacities on our vehicles.
Trailers are often heavier and vehicles often over-estimate towing abilities. I think that's called salesmanship.
I tow my 27'er with an Escalade, which out-weighs the trailer by about 1500#.
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:51 PM   #13
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Thankful now that I didn't hesitate posting this question!
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:58 PM   #14
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Don't never hesitate on this forum. The question you ask has probably been asked before and it's good that some of us be reminded of where WE were once. This rehab on a 20'er is tasking my brain and the wonderful people here are helping me along. Some are just coming out of winter hibernation and getting units ready for season. Keep your head up, you'll find the perfect Hi Lo.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:48 PM   #15
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Mutt - The problem I see in ALL towing capacity information is that it concentrates on the "pulled" weight of the thing being towed, rather than the load the tongue of the trailer puts on the TV axles. My F-150 can EASILY "pull" a very heavy trailer, probably one in the 7-8000# range, but it is only about 600# away from being overloaded on the axles by my 3500# 17ft HiLo.

Contributing to this situation is the fact that the truck has a bed cap installed that weighs about 300# and the fact that its "delivered" weight is quite a bit more than the published "dry weight" it is supposed to have. Also, the trailer is about 500# heavier than its published "dry weight" with a corresponding heavier tongue weight.

My truck "pulls" my trailer effortlessly, never dropping below 4th gear even going up 7% grades. But I have to be careful how much stuff I load in the bed when we go camping, due to the axle limits.

- Jack
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:15 PM   #16
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Default Got to love the advice you have been given.

It is also recommended that when you get your trailer fully loaded for a trip you get it weighed. As other have mentioned you need real world weights that are most likely over what is posted on the RV plate. We pull our 25ft. Classic with a gas hog 3/4 F250 with a cap. Plenty of room for gear in the 6ft. bed. Hoping the covid/19 virus doesn't wreck our camping season. The state parks in NY doen't open up until May.
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Old 03-25-2020, 07:51 AM   #17
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That's a good idea on getting the setup weighed. And I'm hoping this virus doesn't wreck the season too.
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Old 04-02-2020, 06:18 PM   #18
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I love my 17' Hi-Lo, but I would not like our design for more then 2 people.
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Old 04-02-2020, 08:35 PM   #19
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Hello Mutt, this may be too late for your decision input, but if not FYI I we have had three Hi-Lo's, the present a 29 ft. Classic. I have towed all three with a F150, current model W/ 5.0. Never had any difficulty. I'll admit I haven't done a lot of mountain climbing, but have been to Tennessee a few times. Just do a bit of research on the capability of your present vehicle.
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Old 04-02-2020, 11:09 PM   #20
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Richard, respectfully, I need to point out what I said earlier. I have no doubt that your F-150 can "pull" a 29 ft HiLo. I'm certain mine could do that too, probably up some mountain hills too.

But, I KNOW the tongue weight of that trailer, if it is set up properly, has exceeded the cargo weight capacity of your truck! Your axles, wheels and tires are overloaded. You can take your rig to a CAT scale, find the weight on all your axles and then compare them to the limits on your truck's door sticker, to verify what I'm telling you. You are taking big chances with the safety of you, yours and other folks on the highways you drive with that combination. You need a SuperDuty class truck to safely tow that trailer.

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