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Trying To Make My Wife Happy


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#1 jimrex

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:36 AM

Hello,

 

A few months ago, my wife said that she really wanted to try out trailering (is that what ya'll call it?).  I didn't want to buy a truck or SUV, so I thought that the Subaru Outback 3.6R would be a good compromise. Well, if I would have researched a little more before buying the Subaru, I would have fully understood the concept of tongue weight.  I now understand that my vehicle isn't recommended on several forums for towing anything beyond a 13' Casita or Scamp, but I think for the intended use, we'll not destroy our car.

We finally picked up our 1988 16' Casita Spirit Deluxe (I think) on Sunday.  After an hour of merging two wiring adapters to make a 7 blade male to 4 pin male interface (Subaru only installs the 4 pin flat plug for lights), we drove it about 50 miles including a short ferry ride.  I haven't had the brake controller installed yet, so the route was planned to avoid several bridges over the Houston Ship Channel.

 

Things that need to be done:

- Carpet and possibly cushion replacement to get rid of the musty smell

- I think that I need a battery

- Previous owner mailing key for door to me before I take it to the lot I'm leasing

- Get an brake controller installed at UHaul (has anyone used them for installations?  I know about etrailer.com and their instructional videos, but don't do well in heat and it's not getting any cooler here)

- Study, study, and study... and learn how to back it in the driveway under 30 minutes without neighbor's help.

 

That's it.  If we like this sort of activity, perhaps we'll go larger and replace my aging short-commute vehicle with a more capable tow-er.  If we don't care for trailering, we can sell the Casita and still have a nice car.casita_at_home.jpg

 



#2 tractors1

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:07 PM

I definitely do NOT recommend U-Haul. I have had 2 bad experiences with 2 different depots and wound up re-doing the wiring from both. They use Scotchlock connectors which are not sealed, and corrode shortly after installation. I also had 1 break the mounting posts on my lens over my taillights when tying into the wiring and not tell me - I found out when I needed to change a bulb in my Forester.

 

Go to a real RV type store instead. Many of us use the Tekonsha brand of brake controller, which they carry. I would definitely have it installed before you have wet roads and the trailer keeps pushing when you want to stop quickly.

 

Your vehicle has a 3000 pound towing capacity, so you should be fairly ok with a 16 (most pack 500 pounds or so of stuff along), but I heartily recommend an additional transmission cooler be installed.

 

If you do get a new tow vehicle, consider a Tacoma pickup. Stick a hard top on that and you can pack a LOT of stuff. The V6 has a 6400 pounds tow rating.

 

Charlie Y


  • jimrex likes this

ex-owner LD17, Escape 21 now
2013 Tacoma V6 4dr 4wd long bed

Need a widget to hold your stuff?

        Don't drill holes!
http://www.rvwidgetworks.com

 

 


#3 tractors1

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:08 PM

Forgot to add: "Happy wife, happy life"............


  • jimrex likes this

ex-owner LD17, Escape 21 now
2013 Tacoma V6 4dr 4wd long bed

Need a widget to hold your stuff?

        Don't drill holes!
http://www.rvwidgetworks.com

 

 


#4 oregonlavender

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 02:16 PM

I absolutely agree with Charlie Y to avoid U-Haul.  Check around for a reputable RV place or a good electrical mechanic to do it for you.  Have a wonderful time!!

 

Susan


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Susan and Sunshine (a rare purebred brown dog)

#5 Dann and Karan

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 09:11 PM

Hi Jimrex,

I wish I could tell you of a good place to have the brake controller installed besides U-Haul. I should be able to tell you some

place because I grew up in the old part of Pearland. I still have family in Pearland I visit them about every 2 months or so.

Good luck getting it installed.

Happy camping.

 

Karan and Dann,

and CoCo (the dog)

2007 FD 16' (Snowball)

1995 Volvo Sedan 850 tubo.

 



#6 ArizonaEileen

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 01:38 AM

If you're interested in cutting your study time, I suggest you consider purchasing my A-Z Casita Owner's Guide. Everything you need to know, all in one place. Be sure to check out the Table of Contents and the Testimonials.

 

You definitely have a To-Do List for your new-to-Casita, but you'll get a lot of enjoyment from it in the meantime. Good luck and safe travels!

 

Eileen


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#7 HBarlow

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 03:35 AM

Jimrex,

 

Your Subaru must have a seven wire wiring harness from engine compartment to seven pin connector at the towing hitch.  A factory made professionally cut, routed, terminated, and insulated wiring harness is preferable to seven wires wrapped with electrician's tape made up by a semi-skilled tech.  I don't know if anyone makes such a harness for a Subaru but I recommend you call around starting with etrailer.com to see if you can find and purchase one.

 

The seven wire wiring harness is required to provide not only running, brake, and turn signal lighting but trailer brakes and a 12 volt dc charge line to keep your trailer battery charged while towing and allow you to operate the refrigerator on dc power if desired.

 

The wiring harness should be installed with an isolation relay to protect the tow vehicle's circuits from damage.  Tapping into the Subaru's lighting circuits with direct wiring and flimsy connectors is a recipe for an expensive failure.  When wires are shorted to ground the car's factory wiring harness can be destroyed and car fires can result.

 

A skilled technician who does these installations on a regular basis can usually be found at an RV dealership.  Expect to pay for the wiring harness and an hour or two of shop labor.  Short cuts usually cost a lot more later.


Edited by HBarlow, 07 May 2014 - 06:36 AM.


#8 ArizonaEileen

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 01:09 AM

You can also try Discount Hitch. They have locations near you.

 

http://www.discounth...s.com/Locations

 

Eileen


07 17 SD "Casa de Suenos" | 09 Ford F150 XLT "White Night"
A-Z Casita Owners Guide / Store / Rallies: www.LoveMyCasita.com

Photos: Casita Travel Photo Albums

#9 arlon

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 04:41 AM

I'd simply get the Tekonsha 90250 romote brake controller. No wiring in of the controller. Move it from car to car in 10 seconds if you change vehicles. Easier to get to if you need to activate the brakes in an emergency. Lot of benefits.


2002 17 Casita Bunk Model Delux
2005 AWD Astro van (my solo camper)
Dodge/Cummins quad cab

#10 jimrex

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 06:19 AM

Lots of info - thanks!

 

I contacted my neighborhood mechanic and the owner usually does installations but recommends getting the controller from O'Reilly auto parts.  I have heard quite a bit of positive things regarding Tekonsha, so I most likely with go with one of their products from etrailer.com and follow their installation videos for my car.  I'm not unskilled - just don't do heat well anymore.



#11 arlon

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 06:25 AM

The remote brake controller seems to solve a lot of problems for import owners other than VW where it seems to create some new ones. Not having any controller wires to deal with is just a neat thing.


2002 17 Casita Bunk Model Delux
2005 AWD Astro van (my solo camper)
Dodge/Cummins quad cab

#12 jimrex

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 07:22 AM

Arlon, I'll check it out.  The initial cost is outside my comfort level, but not having to crawl under car to run wires here and there is appealing.

 

It seems that this unit would rely upon the Casita battery for brake power.  Other units rely upon a wiring kit that provides a dedicated wire straight from the battery.

 

Jimrex,

 

Your Subaru must have a seven wire wiring harness from engine compartment to seven pin connector at the towing hitch.  A factory made professionally cut, routed, terminated, and insulated wiring harness is preferable to seven wires wrapped with electrician's tape made up by a semi-skilled tech.  I don't know if anyone makes such a harness for a Subaru but I recommend you call around starting with etrailer.com to see if you can find and purchase one.

 

The seven wire wiring harness is required to provide not only running, brake, and turn signal lighting but trailer brakes and a 12 volt dc charge line to keep your trailer battery charged while towing and allow you to operate the refrigerator on dc power if desired.

 

The wiring harness should be installed with an isolation relay to protect the tow vehicle's circuits from damage.  Tapping into the Subaru's lighting circuits with direct wiring and flimsy connectors is a recipe for an expensive failure.  When wires are shorted to ground the car's factory wiring harness can be destroyed and car fires can result.

 

A skilled technician who does these installations on a regular basis can usually be found at an RV dealership.  Expect to pay for the wiring harness and an hour or two of shop labor.  Short cuts usually cost a lot more later.

HBarlow,

 

Don't worry - I didn't tap into the wiring for the lights.

 

Subaru installed a 4 pin flat female connector (the only thing that they will install), but my Casita had a 7 pin female blade connector.  So using a 4 pin male pigtail adapter, I inserted the bare wires into the Casita's plug to make sure that the correct light would function, then I terminated the pigtail leads to the screw posts in the 7 blade male connector and secured the strain relief.  Worked great.  This connection was made just to have lights for the trip home.

Thanks for your concern, but I was an instrument and control technician for 16 years before branching out to IT, so I'm familiar with the proper wiring techniques and the use of test equipment.  Plus, having an iPad handy to display the Casita's plug wiring was a great benefit!



#13 arlon

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 08:21 AM

Remote also dosn't leave holes in the dash from mounting a controller that may affect resale down the road.

 

Don't see anything about using the trailer battery for power. Power comes directly from the 7 pin..

 

facts and figures http://www.tekonsha....1435&part=90250


Edited by arlon, 08 May 2014 - 08:24 AM.

2002 17 Casita Bunk Model Delux
2005 AWD Astro van (my solo camper)
Dodge/Cummins quad cab

#14 jimrex

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 08:35 AM

Remote also dosn't leave holes in the dash from mounting a controller that may affect resale down the road.

 

Don't see anything about using the trailer battery for power. Power comes directly from the 7 pin..

 

facts and figures http://www.tekonsha....1435&part=90250

Arlon,

 

That's the problem.  I don't have a 7 pin plug on the car.  Just a 4 pin for lights.



#15 arlon

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 10:07 AM

Yep, still have to get power to the brakes.


2002 17 Casita Bunk Model Delux
2005 AWD Astro van (my solo camper)
Dodge/Cummins quad cab