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Old 01-14-2013, 12:35 PM   #1
CiCiBee
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1st time Pop up buyer...questions I should ask the seller!

Hi guys, We love camping at the Fort and are ready to purchase our first popup! We have been scouring craigslist and I think I have found a great first timers popup and its just what we are looking for. That being said is there anything specific that we should ask the seller that is not mentioned in the description? I will copy and paste the description here:

Great Pop Up for sale. This Pop Up has been great to our family. Only selling because we want a Travel Trailer now to further our camping. We absolutely love this Pop Up. Everything works. No leaks.

Options:
- Slide out Kitchen Area
- 3 Burner Stove with Toaster
- 3 Way Refrigerator
- King Bed
- Queen Bed
- U Shaped Couch
- Furnace
- AC Unit
- Outside Shower
- Awning
- Screened in porch that zips onto awning, creates another room, never used
- Microwave


The pictures all look great. I am worried this might be too good to be true and it is a 2 hour drive from us so I do not want to be surprised when we get there! Thanks in advance for all of the help!
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:27 PM   #2
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I was encouraged to visit http://www.popupexplorer.com/ by folks on this forum and it was and is great advice, posts and posts detailing what you are looking for.

It seems that, just as important as questions we should ask (I am in the same process you are) are what you should look for. And what it looks like, and where to find it- or hopefully, not find it. And those topics are all covered, with photos of other people's experiences/trailers. Reading comments made by posters to ads like yours.

I know this is not one stop shopping/quick answer, but it's an education. And the more you know- to a point, the better your decision usually turns out to be.

I will be interested in your outcome, if you decide to buy during your first trip (will this be the first one you've ever looked at buying?) and how it turns out. Like you, I found something I really like the sound of, but its 3 hrs away one way. I am hunting for a couple possibilities to show up near me, even that I don't like as well, that I can go look at as possible buys but really for practice runs and lookthroughs, before I invest in mileage for 'this looks like the golden one'.....and, the more I look, the more I learn, the more I realize if not this one, another will come along.

but now is a great time to buy- while we still have some leverage, season-wise, at least in my country~!

Dis boarders with pop ups, is there a question you wish you had asked? Or a question about your pop up you are very glad you asked?
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:37 PM   #3
KristinU
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Another vote to head over to PUX (popupexplorer) for a wealth of info. Off the bat, I know there were some issues with some of the roof materials used in some years of Colemans (I don't know details offhand, but you'll find info by searching on PUX), I'm also thinking you'll want to ask the age of the tires and how frequently the bearings were re-packed. Electric brakes? A unit with a slideout will be heavy enough where you'll want them...heck, we were happy to have them on our 1500 lb Aliner pop-up! Someone cuts in front of you on 95 and they're a big blessing.

You don't have a year make and model listed, but you might want to post over on PUX with the same info but include the year make and model as well as the size and ages of your camping crew so the folks over there can weigh in with thoughts and opinions.

Happy shopping, good luck!
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:02 PM   #4
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We don't own a pop up now, but one thing you do need to look for is signs of any leaks. I also was going to ask (saw pp did) what year it is? Has it been sitting in the weather, or garage kept? What condition does the canvas look to be in? If left in the weather, the tires may not be in good shape.

Make sure everything *works*.

Good Luck
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:16 PM   #5
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Questions:
. . . does it pop up? (sounds stupid, but a logical question for mechanisms)
. . . age of the tires? (older tires could get dry-rot and need replacement)
. . . any windows replaced? (old plastic could be ready to crack)
. . . can you spray it with water? (you need to look for leaks)
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:39 AM   #6
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We had a couple pop-ups in the past. On an older one we had to replace the canvas - pricy! We also had the cable restrung when it was 10 years old. Otherwise, all I recall was replacing tires and battery. Although we have an amenity filled large travel trailer, we both wish we also had a pop-up for ease and economy of towing it.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:50 PM   #7
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CiCiBee, you've gotten a lot of good advice. Here is my two cents:

As I told someone else, have the seller demonstrate EVERYTHING to you. Have him crank it up in front of you, show that all the appliances work, etc. Look for cracks in the outside roof caulking which might cause leaks inside. Water stains, soft wood, and mold stains on the canvas are other signs. At the end have him crank it down. You want to make sure the lift mechanisms work (and the cables haven't jumped off the pulleys).

Canvas can be replaced if it is bad but it is about $1,000.

I replaced all my tires after one of my originals blew out (on the way to the Fort no less). The original tires were bias ply (el cheapo trailer tires) and I replaced them with Goodyear radial trailer tires (including the spare). I feel much more confident towing with those.

How has the popup been stored/kept by the current owner? That will determine what you might have to do. Does it have electric or hydraulic brakes (my pup is hydraulic but electric seems more popular). You would need a brake controller mounted in your car to use with the popup if you end up with a trailer with electric brakes.

Most popups have a flat 4- or 5-pin wiring connector and some vehicles (like my suburban) are prewired for a round 7-blade or 7-pole plug recepticle. I use an adaptor http://www.etrailer.com/Wiring/Hopkins/37335.html (this is a 7-blade to 4-pole flat adaptor and yes, mine is red and lights up to let me know the power is getting back to the pup). Or you can directly wire a flat 4-5 pole recepticle into your vehicle.

Expect to have to repack the bearings (put new grease in pup tire axle to keep it rolling smoothly). That is one of the few recurring maintenance items to do on a pup.

Use your nose too. Smells will give mold, etc away. Has it been winterized every year if it was stored outside and exposed to freezing temps?

How do you plan to store it? Indoors is best - I put my pup in the garage in the back which is actually part of the unfinished basement. So mine still looks brand new and I've only done a few recaulking. Never had to winterize it (we don't camp when it's that cold). I also keep some DampRid in it constantly to absorb moisture which keeps mold away.

Good luck!

Bama ED

PS - Ensure the seller has a clear title to sign over to you if you make the purchase. You'll have to get a license plate and get insurance on it and you want to have a clean title just as if you were buying a used car.

PPS - does the u-shape couch come in addition to a dinette table? that's the one regret of my popup. because we got the built in casette potty/shower, we couldn't get a couch/gaucho instead. At night we adults sit at the slideout dinette table to read the paper, work a sudoku, or color and I WISH we had a second place to sit inside like a couch (and not lay on the bunks). Somebody I love likes to open the newspaper and take up the whole dinette table....
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Apr 1979 Off-site...................... Jan 2001 FW 2200 Loop (cabin)........Dec 2007 FW 900 loop (pop-up)...............................Mar 2014 FW 400 Loop (popup)
Apr 1981 FW Creekside Meadow... Jan 2002 FW 2200 Loop (cabin)........Nov 2009 FW 1500 Loop (pop-up)
Nov 1987 FW 100 Loop(tent) ...... Oct 2003 FW 2000 Loop (tent).........Mar 2011 FW 900/1500 loop (pop-up) to/from KW
Jan 1988 FW 700 Loop (tent).......Jan 2004 FW 2500 Loop (cabin)....... Apr 2011 FW 2000 Loop (pop-up)
May 1988 FW 1200 Loop (tent).... May 2006 FW 900 Loop (pop-up) .... Mar 2012 FW 1500 Loop (pop-up)
Dec 1995 Contemporary.............. Mar 2007 FW 1000 Loop (pop-up).... Apr 2013 FW 100 Loop (pop-up)

plus countless WDW day trips, DL 3X, DLP 2X - TV: 2005 Chevy Suburban - Camper: 2014 Aliner Expedition - Nights Camped: 182

Last edited by bama_ed; 01-15-2013 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:32 AM   #8
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Before you even look at it, have you done the math to determine that you can tow it?
What is the year make and model of the pop and your tow vehicle?
# of passengers
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:42 AM   #9
mouse2mouse
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I am in the same boat. Addicted to Disney. Love the Fort and looking for a Pop up to support my addiciton Always great info on here!
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:49 AM   #10
JanL
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Doesn’t seem to have an inside bath area. You need to determine if that is something your family needs. I would prefer a pop-up shower tent outside the camper door to hold a cassette toilet.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:52 AM   #11
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OP, it's so true what arthuruscg says. Be sure your towing capacity can handle the weight of the trailer, passengers, luggage, supplies, water, etc. - in other words anything that's not part of both vehicle & trailer (as is) needs to be factored in for the total weight.

I have seen some very dangerous situations over the years with people towing trailers that *far* exceeds their towing capacity Even dealers (that most certainly should know better) will sell you something, KNOWING you are not rated to tow that much. Shame on the ones that want to make a sale and could care less about the customer's naivete' and safety

Some pop ups actually weigh more (or just as much) than some full size trailers with better amenities and room (not all, of course, but some of the larger ones with showers, etc. and slideouts).

Otherwise, you've been given much good information, so the best to you finding the pop up you want
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bama_ed View Post
CiCiBee, you've gotten a lot of good advice. Here is my two cents:

Most popups have a flat 4- or 5-pin wiring connector and some vehicles (like my suburban) are prewired for a round 7-blade or 7-pole plug recepticle. I use an adaptor http://www.etrailer.com/Wiring/Hopkins/37335.html (this is a 7-blade to 4-pole flat adaptor and yes, mine is red and lights up to let me know the power is getting back to the pup). Or you can directly wire a flat 4-5 pole recepticle into your vehicle.
Pop-ups with electric brakes will have the 7 blade Bargman connections for the most part...just thought I'd mention it just in case anyone runs out to buy adapters they may or may not need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by North of Mouse View Post
OP, it's so true what arthuruscg says. Be sure your towing capacity can handle the weight of the trailer, passengers, luggage, supplies, water, etc. - in other words anything that's not part of both vehicle & trailer (as is) needs to be factored in for the total weight.

I have seen some very dangerous situations over the years with people towing trailers that *far* exceeds their towing capacity Even dealers (that most certainly should know better) will sell you something, KNOWING you are not rated to tow that much. Shame on the ones that want to make a sale and could care less about the customer's naivete' and safety

Some pop ups actually weigh more (or just as much) than some full size trailers with better amenities and room (not all, of course, but some of the larger ones with showers, etc. and slideouts).

Otherwise, you've been given much good information, so the best to you finding the pop up you want
Totally true, and remember to factor in weight of gear, bikes, kayaks, any "toys" or anything that you plan on shlepping along camping. Our old setup was a Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5L V6 with a tow capacity of 3500 lbs. Aliner Pop-up was 1500 lbs. Looks great, right? Add our family, dog, cooler, bikes, kayaks, random junk and we were not loving the performance in the mountains of northern New England...like turn off the A/C to chug up the hill kind of not love. Most vehicles account for a 150 lb. driver in their tow capacity, and that's it - so something to watch when you're close to limits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JanL View Post
Doesn’t seem to have an inside bath area. You need to determine if that is something your family needs. I would prefer a pop-up shower tent outside the camper door to hold a cassette toilet.
Just to clarify while you shop - a cassette toilet is one that is built into the camper and you pull out a little drawer to empty the waste. A freestanding porta-potty would be able to be taken into a tent outside of the camper. Whatever you go with on this topic (if you do at all - many people simply opt for using the bath house at the campground), but if you do go with a potty, consider privacy for now and in the future. One of the factors that weighed in to our decision to go with a bigger camper was just this. We were using a porta-potty at night, but as DS got older the privacy factor became an issue, along with his desire to bring along a friend - definitely need privacy then! And I really love not having to put shoes on and go outside in the middle of the night or first thing in the a.m.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:03 AM   #13
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We had a PU for 10 years before buying a TT. Some minor things that weren't mentioned: check the propane connections for corrosion, and the battery box. On my old PU (a Viking, built by Fleetwood) the battery box plastic eventually cracked where the bolts go through to secure it to the frame. If yours has a nice 'hood' over the propane and battery area you'll be better off.

As others have said, ask if they ever repacked the wheel bearings. I do it annually. Just requires a $10 grease gun and a cartridge of axle grease. Look at the little black caps that protect the bearings (center of the wheel) and see if they're tearing or coming apart. They keep dirt out and are cheap to replace.

Ask for a demo of all lights and appliances. When I sold my PU, the darn lights didn't work when I did a demo (luckily I was selling to a friend). Turns out a single ground screw had come loose.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:11 PM   #14
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Wonderful info in this thread!
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:56 PM   #15
CiCiBee
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Thanks to everyone for being so helpful. After looking into it we decided we need to get a better tow vehicle and then will start our quest for a popup. We rented one in July when we stayed at the Fort so we could really gauge what we prefer. We do know that we wouldn't really utilize a shower or toilet in the popup. We also realized we would like more "booth" style seating as the way the one we rented was setup was difficult squeezing into the seating with tables set up! Looks like we will be renting for the Fort a bit longer. Doesn't matter to me as long as we get to spend our time there!
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