This is a public service announcement.
If you are thinking about buying a used Travel Trailer, whether it be a traditional tow behind or a fifth wheel, you will want to pay attention to what I am going to say here.
If you are not a certified Jack Of All Trades, you want to reconsider this decision right now.
Some skills you will be using constantly are,
Electrical trouble shooting, 110 volt and 12 volt both, they are two distinct different systems.
Travel trailers and Motor homes use both types of electricity, at the same time, and have a converter built in where the circuit breakers and fuses are located.
A great deal of the lighting , the electric water pump and possibly the refrigerator are generally on the 12 volt system while things like microwaves and the usual 110 volt outlets for televisions and other things are on a completely different system.
This is a complex system and you had best get a good grip on it as problems can get quite frustrating if the actual wiring is involved, tearing out wall panels is a real possibility, tracking down problems involving wiring is a real life nightmare in a real sense, every one of these things are glued and stapled together.
Next, this is important, if you have to take something apart, SAVE EVERYTHING!
There are so many fixtures, couplers , plumbing parts and things like light fixtures that you are going to go match up at the hardware store that you would be astounded.
Beware, these are RV specialty items and you are going to have to get real creative in trying to find a replacement.
Take my word for this, I have been trying to fix quite a few things in my trailer and they are not readily available at your local hardware store.
I spent an hour and a half trying to make a traditional porcelain toilet adapt to the plastic water lines that they use in these trailers.
There is nothing in the plumbing system in an RV that is the same as a house, as far as I have seen. The toilets and sinks are completely different.
Speaking of plumbing, get ready to deal with tiny little sinks.
That is one of my pet peeves, the kitchens are an after thought and the sinks are a joke.
There is no counter space in one of these things and ya better get ready for that right now.
The other things that you need to be aware of are water leaks.
These can be a deal breaker in the first place if there is one disclosed while buying and are the number one killers of RV's.
Water leaks do not happen all at once, like bumping a curb tends to throw the alignment off for your car.
Water leaks are very difficult to find and repair and cause terminal damage in some cases, way too often.
Things like air vents that are a stop gap measure to let heat out in the summer are especially notorious.
They are cheap pieces of junk with hand cranks that seem to be designed to destroy the very same workings that operate the lifting mechanism they were designed to operate.
Most of these contraptions have an air conditioning unit mounted on the roof to keep the occupants from frying like an egg in mid Summer, the electric bill will reflect the amount of heat directly, as will the propane furnace and water heater will in the Winter.
Again, these are proprietary units and will have no resemblance to anything that a stick house on the grid will have.
I swapped out the hot water heater in mine today.
That is a unique experience.
Things like Trailer brakes, tires that rot off the rims while sitting for long periods of times, wheel bearings are a huge maintenance item.
Take the time and expense to take the tires and brake drums off, take the wheel bearings completely out, replace the wheel bearings ,bearing races and pack the new bearings with a graphite based grease.
This is one of the most important maintenance items you can do and it does not cost a fortune.
It ain't cheap but two hundred bucks compared to a wheel falling off at sixty miles an hour with pretty much every thing you own inside that long box? Coupled to the Truck hooked to it and your kids?
Just do it.
To make this post short enough to read, I am going to stop here but just for grins, consider the waste water systems and the cost of repair and maintenance of those...
Do the math.
Trailers do a lot of sitting and wheel bearings will put you on the side of the road with a gaping hole in the side of your trailer in a heart beat.