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Old 01-19-2014, 11:44 PM   #1
denverpilot
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Hello from Colorado

Hi everybody,

Wife and I plunked down the Benjamins for a new 2014 Keystone Laredo 312RE -- after I unwisely took her to a dealer to look at one if their used units.

Delivery later this week! Can't wait!

Actually, we agreed we wanted new, but I'll conveniently "blame" it on her.

We love the layout for just two of us and the big pup (more on him below).

Nice touches, and lots of things that were options on 5ers just a few short years ago, seem to be standard now with most of the manufacturers.

(I've seen the complaints here about the non-vented range hood. We'll survive!)

We're new to 5ers, but not new to camping. We both grew up in families that camped in smallish bumper tow hard side trailers, or pop-ups regularly.

We're both old enough to remember leaded gas and grandparents towing behind station wagons. We even survived riding in the back of those same station wagons as children without dying. We might have even taken a drink of water from the garden hose and ridden bicycles without helmets! Imagine that!

Definitely new to 5ers, but have towed some very heavy bumper-tow trailers, including a couple of squirrelly car trailers, and knew I wanted the stability and better towing behavior of a 5th wheel.

I didn't want an RV with a drive-train built in, so Class A/B were off my shopping list.

Having shared a family Coleman pop-up for almost two decades, until it literally came apart at the seams, it was time to move on up, as they say.

We've been talking about this for years and things were finally right to do it. We honeymooned in the Desert Southwest... [cough... many] years ago, in that Coleman, and now we have some new places to go see and adventures to have.

We are both still in a bit of shock. "This isn't camping, this is a house!", the resident female in the house has already quipped. You should have seem the look on her face when she saw the interior of her first 5er! I had been doing my usual over-thinking and late-night research for a few months before showing her some photos and getting her interest up.

We will be towing with a 2001 Dodge Ram 3500 DRW with the 5.9L Cummins HO Diesel, exhaust brake, Juice w/ Attitude box, Reese 18K tiltable hitch, 6 speed manual transmission, and one of the progressive brake controllers, I forget which brand. 8' bed, extended cab, and a big toolbox below the bed level forward of the hitch.

Looking forward to putting the Dodge workhorse to work. I've already nicknamed him "Grunt", and he's ready and needs something to pull! He kinda bored running around empty! (He formerly towed a friend's 31' Sunnybrooke and he did all the right stuff to him for towing a 5er... which makes my life as the engineer in the family a whole lot easier.)

First order of business after checkout and walk around, is getting it home. Dealer is a pretty long way from the house, and completely across the Denver Metro area.

Should be entertaining towing it (carefully!) for the first time, right through town on the highway. (A friend who tows a Keystone 5er of similar size joked already, "Floor it and don't look. They'll move. You're towing a house!" Haha. He's just trying to loosen me up a little about it.) We also have a little drop off into our rural dirt driveway and I'm going to find out if the angles all work right to not bottom the tail of the 5er cing into the property. (If it's tight, the old Ford tractor's front loader may get a new tasking to re-grade the entrance road this Spring!)

Made some high visibility chocks tonight out of a cut up 4 x 6 and rattle can yellow paint, so I'm already getting in the DIY spirit for getting it all outfitted the way we want and like. I'm sure there will be plenty of that over the next couple of months, as long as the snow doesn't fly.

Getting all prepped for having a ball with it. Starting to think about where the shakedown cruise should be to. That'll be a weekend trip within "pull the ripcord and bail out"distance from home in case of the inevitable first cruise problem(s).

One of the selling points for us was the big King bed. We have a lovable German Shorthaired Pointer and Great Dane mix who is 82 lbs and thinks he's a lap dog. He especially likes curling up at the foot of the King bed at home, so we suspect he will be playing the role of doggie space heater/foot warmer in the 5er, too.

He stands just under waist high to me, and can poke me in the belly button for attention with his nose, and I'm 5' 11". Those little doggie poo plastic bags, don't bother. Just bring a couple of plastic grocery bags!

We've had lovely weather here for a few days and of course, we'll drop from almost 60F, to 33F on delivery day. Ha. The adventure begins!

Anyway... Howdy from the Colorado Eastern Plains! Hopefully see some of you in our travels! We'll be the people next door making all sorts of newbie mistakes and asking dumb questions and gawking at your modifications.

Nate & Karen
And the spoiled dog: Dino
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:11 AM   #2
Javi
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Howdy and welcome to the forum.
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:07 AM   #3
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to the forum from Michigan. I remember when we got our new 5th wheel and my wife and I both agreed that this is not a camping trailer we have anymore but a house. Were seasonal campers and everytime we go up north to our 5th wheel we look at each other and say Welcome Home!! I hope you enjoy your new 5th wheel
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:21 AM   #4
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Welcome aboard and to the wonderful world of "glamping".
Have fun. C u on the road!
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:04 AM   #5
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Cool

Welcome and have fun....
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:26 AM   #6
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:20 PM   #7
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Hi Nate!

Glad to see you're just as terse here as POA! bwahahaha!!!!!

First thing you're gonna realize is that crappy mattress goes straight to the trash! We bought a new memory foam for the house and bumped the replacement to the 5er.

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Old 01-21-2014, 12:02 AM   #8
denverpilot
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Originally Posted by gkainz View Post
Glad to see you're just as terse here as POA! bwahahaha!!!!!

Ha. And you've seen me do it in person, too.

The little missus bought a memory foam topper for "her" side of the home bed last year and assumed I wouldn't want one on my side. And of course as soon as I tried it, I loved it, so the home King has two twin sized toppers on it now.

The dog likes to put his back against Karen and then stretch toward me, shoving me and the topper askew on my side. Ha.

I suspect that will mean those toppers will move to the trailer and she will replace the two toppers with one King sized topper at home.

I won't say anything, and see how long it takes for the credit card usage text/e-mail alert to say "There is a new transaction at Bed, Bath, and Beyond" some evening when I have to work late.

LOL!!
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Old 01-21-2014, 02:30 PM   #9
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I thought about the topper but I just didn't think there was enough support in the OEM mattress to help.

I just watched a youtube video walkthru of the 312RE - beautiful unit! Our only regrets on ours is I wish we had a slideout in the bedroom for just a little more room, and maybe another foot of length in the rear for just a little more legroom.
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:28 PM   #10
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Delivery was today! We were really excited!

Found one missing overhead light cover during inspection, replaced. I said, "It's probably here on the floor somewhere" and the PDI guy joked, "no, someone probably robbed Peter to pay Paul"... Yeah, I suppose if a dealer does a lot of a particular brand and doesn't have the light covers in stock one day, they'd just open up another unit and grab one. Ha.

Had a little weirdness with the bedroom slide once we got it home but thinking it was some ice... Dealer left the slides out during the snow last night and cleared it off before pulling them in, but it's tipped a little (bottom sliding out ahead of the top, bed frame trying to dig into the carpet a bit) and then a pop, like some ice broke off outside and it straightened out. Hopefully not a shear pin... Ugh. Left the slides out and it'll dry off nicely tomorrow with 60F weather. I'll play with the slide a bit more in daylight when I can see what's going on. It was fairly dark when I put them out tonight... Silly winter! Would love to find docs on that particular slide mechanism. Don't think that's in the ten lbs of docs already headed for a "trailer binder".

We picked up on the only below freezing day of the week, of course! (It wouldn't be an RV if there weren't some weather adventure, right?)

Dealer plugged in the wrong cable for the wrong trailer when prepping ours this morning and ran the battery down. It's hooked up temporarily at the homestead on a dedicated 15A circuit but we'll be installing a permanent 30A for it eventually. I know it's a deep cycle, but that's not good for lead-acids... Kinda annoying and the PDI guy was annoyed too. They had two trailers parked side by side for deliveries and the other was hooked up. Oh well. Stuff happens. Probably going to upgrade the battery system anyway. A single 12V deep cycle is marginal for what most folks are doing with these trailers anyway.

Hookup is interesting. The pin needs to be lower than I thought. It won't take long to get used to it. When the dealer wasn't watching me, I ran the jacks to their up stops thinking it needed to be higher, and popped the fuse. Ooooops! They figured it out quickly and handed me three spares as they put another one in... Ha. Embarrassing.

Well at least I know now what happens when you have a low battery, you're plugged into the truck to get the darn thing to jack, and you extend all the way and keep pushing the button like an idiot. Yup. Ohm's Law. That's what! Pop.

(Already have plans to make up a repair kit and had plans to put fuses of all the used sizes in it, so at least I'll have spares if stupidity takes over again someday!)

Tow home was effortless. Sheesh. I should have gotten a 5er sooner! This thing is more stable than even the big pop-up was, even when the pop up was behind behind big tow vehicles like the old 2500 HD Suburban we used to tow with. Tracks nicely, doesn't sway or act squirrelly at all. Love it.

Definitely was glad for the Juice w/Attitude box on the Cummins, and the older style but useful display on the pillar... Nice to see all the data on how happy the Cummins is, and the extra horses in Tow Mode. Other than a couple hundred more degrees on the EGT and just under twice the boost... Oh, and my foot a long way further toward the floorboard (and resulting sucking sound coming from the diesel tank... ha...)... you hardly know it's back there.

Our tilting Reese 18K hitch does jiggle a bit if some dummy behind he wheel is too jerky shifting the manual transmission, though. Maybe we should fire the driver? The ol' 2001 Dodge 3500 just loves pulling something.

(The truck has a name now, Bubba Grunt. Trailer hasn't been named yet. With the rich finishes of the 312RE, I've suggested that it's the "Barbie Playhouse", but I got "the look" for that one... I don't think that one will stick. Hahaha.)

Everything else checks out good. We did leave it winterized so, we didn't do a "proper" full tank check at PDI, but the dealer says they went over it and do their own PDI... I know, promises, promises. Salespeople. We'll see. I'd love to be pleasantly surprised by someone at any retail business, especially cars or RVs, not lying and really meaning what they say. Gut feel is, they did it.

With only 15A, carefully ran one thing at a time again, here at home, (no A/C or microwave of course) and all seems well. Even sat in there and messed with the TV for a bit, and laughed that the stupid Wingard antenna does a better job than our indoor amplified ones at the house, since we're semi-rural. More channels with the amplifier on. Ha ha.

We're joking about sitting in the trailer to watch the Super Bowl... Heh. Not because we don't get the channel well in the house, just 'cause we need an excuse to play with the new toy!

I think the fridge needs additional scientifically sound testing this weekend... Need to measure how long it takes to chill a six pack, for use while poking stuff into containers and loading the storage compartments!

We laughed when we found out the electric fireplace had a remote. Remote for a fireplace?! LOL! Later I realized it's the only way to set the timer mode, but still... A remote for a fireplace?? Hahaha.

I'm like a little kid in a candy store right now. We have a fridge?! And ducted furnace?! And recliners?!

Karen got to watch someone good at backing a 5er maneuver one at the dealer... She was impressed at how well it backed and could turn.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:21 AM   #11
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Very cool! Now let's see if I can remember the points I wanted to reply to ...

Batteries ... yeah, I bought 2 more battery boxes from Keystone to match the one that was already in, dropped in 2 more 12V deep cycle batteries - Considered 1 or 2 pair of 6V but I already had these 2 12V...

Landing gear fuses - BTDT and more ...
- run the jacks to full extend or retract if you're not quick enough off the trigger ... pop the fuse
- pull a dummy maneuver and forget to lift the rear stabilizers before attempting to raise the front of the trailer ... pop the fuse
- finger slips off the switch and you get back on it too quickly ... pop the fuse
- switch between extend and retract too quickly (meant to go up, hit down ... correct while motor still running) ... pop the fuse

So there's a box of fuses so far! I'm putting a 30A auto-reset CB in the fuse holder before spring.

Slideout ice ... we're considering slide awnings just for that issue.

Pin height - I made sure the kingpin touches the end of the tails of my hitch (Valley 16k) as I back into it, making sure it lifts a little to hitch up.

Fridge - I always turn on my fridge at least 1 day prior to a trip, and load it with everything pre-chilled or frozen from the house.

Lights - I've converted everything to LED (ebay purchases from China) ... bought a few of many different kinds, colors, etc to find what we liked best. Still have some that are too blue for me.


Edit - oh yeah, tank and indicator tests ... can pretty much guarantee this test will be pretty much the first, last, and only time your tank sensors will display accurately!

Enjoy!
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:09 AM   #12
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how do and to the forum from Connecticut. Funny how that happens with the DW. ask me how I know enjoy the new camper!
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:23 AM   #13
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Congrats. Picked up a new 5er a few months ago. First time out I couldn't get the landing gear up. Blowing fuses. Luckily it had come up enough to hitch up. Went to the dealer and he inserted an auto reset fuse. Landing gear retracted. Went to autozone and picked a couple of these fuses too just for emergencies. Depending on the fault these fuses may not help. Our rv had a wire that got caught in the landing gear gears.

Wife and I gone out and watched tv in ours too. Spring is too far away in colorado.

Let us know what's involved in adding a battery. Just made reservations for rmnp. Have a generator but an extra battery would be nice with no hook ups.
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:47 AM   #14
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Welcome!

...from Denver! My husband and i are both airline pilots in Denver too. We just purchased a new Passport Travel Trailer. We are new to all of it!

Have fun in our beautiful Rockies this summer!!
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:03 PM   #15
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No airlines for me since leaving my ramp rat baggage thrower (yes, we threw it...) position at Continental while they were still at Stapleton. Just a po' old Cessna driver here. (Co-owned 182 based at KAPA.)

Congrats on the Passport! Just remember when stuff breaks to take a deep breath and get out the duct tape. No A&P nor any build standards like in airplanes!

(No $950 for three aileron hinge halves at annual inspection time nor $150 dollar rubber donut engine mounts either...!)

For the person who asked how to add a battery... gkainz covered the hard part. Proper boxes bolted down so they don't go anywhere. Having a 100 lb battery become a missile smashing everything in its path, during corners or hard braking or acceleration is bad juju. If you can keep them from wandering around that's well over half the battle.

Hooking them up is relatively simple, electronics-wise. Parallel if 12 Volts, two in series if 6 volts.

Having two batteries of same type and age is generally a good idea also since you don't want one older worn out battery and one new battery.

But keeping then from moving is the important part at first!
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denverpilot View Post
Hi everybody,

Wife and I plunked down the Benjamins for a new 2014 Keystone Laredo 312RE -- after I unwisely took her to a dealer to look at one if their used units.




One of the selling points for us was the big King bed. We have a lovable German Shorthaired Pointer and Great Dane mix who is 82 lbs and thinks he's a lap dog. He especially likes curling up at the foot of the King bed at home, so we suspect he will be playing the role of doggie space heater/foot warmer in the 5er, too.

He stands just under waist high to me, and can poke me in the belly button for attention with his nose, and I'm 5' 11". Those little doggie poo plastic bags, don't bother. Just bring a couple of plastic grocery bags!


Nate & Karen
And the spoiled dog: Dino
Just had a chance to read your introduction, YA catching up on my reading
Noticed your comment on specialty dog bags and yes I fully understand the plastic grocery bags Here is something I discovered that was helpful in storing these bags.
Take a gallon plastic container like for milk and using a 2" hole saw put a hole in the side. You can stuff a ton of them in there.
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:48 PM   #17
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Just had a chance to read your introduction, YA catching up on my reading

Noticed your comment on specialty dog bags and yes I fully understand the plastic grocery bags Here is something I discovered that was helpful in storing these bags.

Take a gallon plastic container like for milk and using a 2" hole saw put a hole in the side. You can stuff a ton of them in there.

That does make a good holder. My wife has some cloth thing that has pull cords at each end that works pretty well. Looks like a long paisley tube.
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