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#1 Mr Lynn

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 06:37 PM

[This is a follow-up from the introductory thread I started a few days ago,

 

http://www.casitaclu...rom-saxonville/ ]

 

We looked at some stick-built campers.  The last was just yesterday, an Idea i15Q, about the size of a Casita 17, with a similar layout (permanent bed instead of table/bed, and two-person side dinette).  This was a previous-year model that had been sitting a year, and it smelled like it.  It was also remarkably junky inside; the dinette table wobbled, the bench seats were too short, and the paneling looked like it would fall off at any moment.  But once my wife said the size was OK, then it was obvious: we wanted a Casita.

 

And, as luck would have it, I had been corresponding with the owners of a 2013 Casita Spirit 17 in New Hampshire, only an hour and a half from here.  This charming couple had advertised only on Craig's List in NH, which I had seen only by extending my search beyond the Boston area, but I got in first.  So today we were able to drive up and buy this pristine Casita; looks like new, inside and out.  The owner says he has had six RV trailers over the years, and this was by far the best built of any of them.  But they're probably going to rental cabins, so they decided to sell the Casita, which they bought new in Texas three years ago.

 

What I like most about the Casita is, after looking a several stick-built campers, how bright and cheerful it seems inside, what with the light wood (the commercial folks seemed to be enthralled with dark wood), white fiberglass cabinets, and the big, sunny windows).  It just makes a compact trailer seem more open and welcoming.

 

I do have some concerns about the running gear.  They had not rotated the tires, nor repacked the bearings, and the owner did not know that the trailer had electric brakes (!)  He was towing with a medium 6-cylinder pickup, with no brake controlller, and says he never had a problem going up mountains, or coming down.

 

My 2013 Ford Expedition has a brake controller.  My concern is: what are those brakes going to do when I connect the 7-wire plug and start driving (it's still in NH; I have to get a tag tomorrow)?  Chances are the drums are quite rusted—and the shoes?  They haven't been used in three years.

 

My inclination is to set the trailer brake gain to -0- until I can get it home and pull off a wheel and look at the brakes.  Or maybe have someone do it.  If he had no problem with a smaller vehicle, I'd assume I won't either—but you know what they say about assumptions. . .

 

Advice welcome.

 

/Mr Lynn


Edited by Mr Lynn, 12 May 2016 - 06:39 PM.

  • Wally Z likes this

"Hillbilly at Harvard"

Honky-tonk Country and Bluegrass
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WHRB-FM, 95.3 FM, Cambridge, MA
Streaming at WHRB.org
Be there!
 
 

#2 Wally Z

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 07:30 PM

Congratulations! Sounds like you found a good one.  If it were me I would jack up trailer on the frame only, (never axle) after hooking up to tow vehicle.  Give the wheel a spin and actuate the break controller. Do the same to the other side.  Bring a grease gun with you and while it's jacked up give the wheel bearings a few gentle pumps while spinning the wheel through the quick lube fittings. Check the play in the wheel by grabbing it on each side and pushing in and out. Check the lug nuts to make sure they are snugged up. Just a little safety check that won't take long at all. If you don't feel comfortable doing any of that ask the previous owner if there is anywhere close by that does that kind of work. Not knowing what experience you have with this stuff I hope this isn't condescending. The wheels and brakes are basically the same as your car or truck and should be maintained the same.  Don't forget to check the air pressure.


  • sandyb12 likes this

2014 17' Casita SD


#3 Mr Lynn

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 07:39 PM

Thanks, Wally Z, for the sound advice.  Not sure if it's going to be feasible to do all that in the seller's driveway.  They're not going to want us hanging around, I suspect.  I have a grease gun, but there are rubber caps on the wheels, not Bearing Buddies, so no zerks.  I can do what's needed when I get here; but will have to tow c.75 miles. 

 

/Mr Lynn


  • sandyb12 likes this

"Hillbilly at Harvard"

Honky-tonk Country and Bluegrass
Founded in 1948 by Pappy Ben Minnich
Saturdays 9am - 1pm Eastern
WHRB-FM, 95.3 FM, Cambridge, MA
Streaming at WHRB.org
Be there!
 
 

#4 Ros M

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 09:47 PM

Exciting!

#5 CA Birder

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 05:26 AM

Mr Lynn
The zerk fittings are underneath the rubber caps
Mike
  • sandyb12 likes this
Mike and Cindy
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Retired!

#6 Meadowlark

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 06:11 PM

Is there an RV sales/service outfit near the seller's home? That's where I'd head to, taking side roads if at all possible to avoid overheating what may be dried out bearings while on the interstate.

Amazing. He had never used the electric brakes. Wow.


  • sandyb12 likes this

These are the voyages of the small ship, "Grus Egg".

2011 17" Spirit Deluxe, "Grus Egg"

 

"Civilization began when we stopped eating horses and began riding them."


#7 Mr Lynn

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 06:30 PM

UPDATE: We picked up the Casita from its owners today, who were understandably sad to part with their "shelter in which we have had many good times."  The brake controller in my Ford Expedition picked it up right away; I set the gain to -0-, so the brakes were not actuated, and towed it home without incident.  Aside from a small sense that the (brakeless) trailer was pushing a little on stops, it followed beautifully.  A noisy rattling turned out to be the cover of my toolbox in the back of the Expy, which I had left open.  

 

So my fears turned out to be groundless.  No sign of overheating, even though I ran at 60-65 mph (when not stuck in rush-hour traffic on I-495).  Next week I'll pull off a wheel and look at the drums, and maybe throw some grease into the bearings (assuming Mike is right about the zerks), and go from there.

 

Thanks for all the advice.  We are delighted to have this terrific camper, which somehow combines elegance with cuteness.

 

/Mr Lynn

 

PS: Meadowlark, no RV dealers within shouting distance of us; they are all about 40 miles away, or farther.  Best bet to get brake and bearing work done, if I can't do it myself?

 

/Mr Lynn


Edited by Mr Lynn, 13 May 2016 - 06:31 PM.

  • clairemr1 likes this

"Hillbilly at Harvard"

Honky-tonk Country and Bluegrass
Founded in 1948 by Pappy Ben Minnich
Saturdays 9am - 1pm Eastern
WHRB-FM, 95.3 FM, Cambridge, MA
Streaming at WHRB.org
Be there!
 
 

#8 Plainsman

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 06:44 PM

Outstanding. That's good news indeed. Now-- enjoy! :)
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#9 Mr Lynn

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 08:50 AM

BRAKE UPDATE:

 

Today I jacked up the passenger-side wheel and tested the brakes with the controller in our TV: no effect at any gain.  So I pulled the wheel off and attempted to adjust the brake, using the star wheel adjuster.  Got the drum to lock up, then backed off a bit.  Tried electric braking again; no effect.  So I guess the next step is to see if the electric brakes are getting any current. . .

 

/Mr Lynn

 

UPDDATE TWO:

 

Discovered there is no current at the 7-wire connection coming out of the controller to the electric brakes.  So the problem is not with the trailer, but with the truck.  Hmm . . .


Edited by Mr Lynn, 15 May 2016 - 09:33 AM.

"Hillbilly at Harvard"

Honky-tonk Country and Bluegrass
Founded in 1948 by Pappy Ben Minnich
Saturdays 9am - 1pm Eastern
WHRB-FM, 95.3 FM, Cambridge, MA
Streaming at WHRB.org
Be there!
 
 

#10 borderbrae

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 09:14 AM

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on finding a Casita so close to home! Once you get the brakes sorted out you may want to check the age on the tires, if they're original ones it may be time to change them out even if the look really good. 


  • NASA42 B likes this
Jean
2000 SD 17'
2011 Silverado w/Prodigy BC
Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much (and take lots of photos along the way)
www.jeanclarkphotography.com
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#11 Mr Lynn

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 09:39 AM

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on finding a Casita so close to home! Once you get the brakes sorted out you may want to check the age on the tires, if they're original ones it may be time to change them out even if the look really good. 

 

Number I think is the manufacturing date on the tires says '0113'.  So they're originals, just three years old, plenty of tread, no cracks or weathering on sidewalls.  I think they're good.  Spare was never used; trying to decide whether to rotate it in.

 

/Mr Lynn


"Hillbilly at Harvard"

Honky-tonk Country and Bluegrass
Founded in 1948 by Pappy Ben Minnich
Saturdays 9am - 1pm Eastern
WHRB-FM, 95.3 FM, Cambridge, MA
Streaming at WHRB.org
Be there!
 
 

#12 Babs&Chris

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 03:13 PM

Check the wiring diagram in your Casita owner's manual.  They do things a little differently.



#13 Mr Lynn

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 03:50 PM

Check the wiring diagram in your Casita owner's manual.  They do things a little differently.

 

The blue wire to the brakes in both the Casita and Dexter (brake/axle) manuals corresponds to the No. 2 terminal on the truck, which is identified on the connector for the trailer brakes. Probing the blue wire on the truck shows no current when we step on the brake with the ignition on, and nothing happens when I squeeze the manual controller, either.

 

Something is wrong.  I checked two fuses for the brake controller (one for 'logic', one for current), and both seem fine.

 

????

 

/Mr Lynn


Edited by Mr Lynn, 15 May 2016 - 03:51 PM.

"Hillbilly at Harvard"

Honky-tonk Country and Bluegrass
Founded in 1948 by Pappy Ben Minnich
Saturdays 9am - 1pm Eastern
WHRB-FM, 95.3 FM, Cambridge, MA
Streaming at WHRB.org
Be there!
 
 

#14 Joe Z

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 09:06 PM

The brake wire is wired to a proportional brake controller which means the light would be really dim or nothing because it doesn't detect a trailer hookup or it thinks it's a nice soft stop.(depending on the model)

  Try this as it's free... go back there with the probe light  hooked and ready to go and have someone stab the brake quick like a panic stop..... see if you get any reading.(key on of course)


Edited by Joe Z, 15 May 2016 - 09:09 PM.

Joe & Linda
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#15 Mr Lynn

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 06:57 PM

UPDATE THREE: The brakes work!

 

A suggestion at FiberglassRV.com, that the factory controller sends little or no signal to the trailer brakes when the tow vehicle is not moving, led me to take the Casita out on the road.  And, lo and behold!, at the highest gain (10.0) driving slowly, I was able to lock up the brakes using the manual actuator (the squeezy control). Then I reduced the gain and settled on 7.0 for now, which seems to provide braking without lockup.

 

So I think we can say that the electric brakes are working. With the manual control I can feel the trailer brakes without touching the Expedition's.  So all would appear to be well on that front.  Of course there are other wrinkles to be ironed out.

 

Thanks for all the suggestions and comments.

 

/Mr Lynn 


  • Joe Z likes this

"Hillbilly at Harvard"

Honky-tonk Country and Bluegrass
Founded in 1948 by Pappy Ben Minnich
Saturdays 9am - 1pm Eastern
WHRB-FM, 95.3 FM, Cambridge, MA
Streaming at WHRB.org
Be there!