Aerolite 213RBSL (New to us) - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 08-04-2018, 03:02 PM   #1
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Aerolite 213RBSL (New to us)

My wife and I just picked up our new to us, Aerolite 213RBSL in a private sale. We drove to Northern Virginia (about 160 miles away) to pick it up.

We have learned so much in this process:
O never finance through Southeastern Finance. They were highly recommended but the agent and closing agent messed up the paperwork so the deal that should have been done in 1-2 weeks took 4 weeks

O RVTrader was awesome.

O Buying used over new is mixed blessing. I love my local RV dealer (Grand Design) and their service is impeccable but we found a camper that hit 9 of 10 items on our checklist. Now I have to fight for repairs from a dealer that I did not buy from so I will be last in line.

O I was very fortunate to buy from a wonderful lady who is reinlisting in the Marine Corps and just wanted her camper paid off. Her and her husband spent hours with us newbies explaining everything and helping us hook up the WDH. Also, in the rain! Shew was meticulous in her documents and manuals and handed everything over to us....maintenance records, Malden # for every appliance with serial numbers, everything imaginable. Her husband already made dozens of upgrades that were not reflected in the final price. All I can say is Semper Fi!!!!!

O I have been in discussions on facebook about pulling camper with F150 and within moments my wife was already complaining about being pushed around and porpoising. I laughed and said “250”? And she just put her head down....what I have been saying since I bought the F150. But I stopped a couple times along our 160 mile journey back and made a couple of adjustments and last half of the ride was so much better. But, I made use it was not too much better so we can at least keep F250 on my Christmas list. It was funny though that we passed a used car dealership with a F250 diesel up front being sold for $19,999. Almost pulled over but saw it was a 2006 which have to be “bullet proofed” because of the design flaws. I will die if I see my wife scanning ford.com for Super Duty trucks!!

O Backing up a camper for the first time in pitch dark in driving rain with wife totally clueless about how to give instructions to the driver was challenging was still easier then unhooking the hitch. I did go into the neighbors yard by about 3-5 feet which will cause me about a cubic yard of dirt and a lb of grass seed. I did see on YouTube a couple said their ritual when setup is to ask “we still married” and then answer with a kiss 😘. Fortunately I got a kiss last night so good for one more backing in. 👍

O I already have 4 of the next 7 weekends booked for quick trips for shakedown, and a 3 day weekend planned to go to the Hershey PA RV Show billed as the largest in the country. My wife said we already have a camper so why attend. Well, it is to confirm you made the RIGHT choice or to look for your next camper.

Day 1 is in the books and we could not be happier. Wish we had done this years ago!!

Happy Camping and We are off like a herd of turtles 🐢!!
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Old 08-04-2018, 04:53 PM   #2
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Sounds like your weight distribution isn't set up properly or your tongue weight is drastically off. There's no way that camper should be porpoising or pushing around an F-150.

My ritual to stay married is to go setup while she is at work! And I bought a truck with a backup camera to get the hitch connected.

I would also highly recommend a roof inspection at least twice a year, the more you travel the faster those caulk joints will crack and need attention. Water damage is by far the #1 enemy of campers.
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:56 PM   #3
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be careful with that camping show stuff... we went and came home with a new (and larger) RV when trading our first one in. Darned sales guys! LOL

Congrats on the camper and hope you enjoy years and years of great camping.
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Old 08-04-2018, 10:11 PM   #4
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Enjoy your 213, it’s a great camper! But you do need to adjust the WDH, it should ride smooth as glass once done right. I am pulling mine with a 2013 F150 with the 3.5 Ecoboost without any issues. Habpve fun and enjoy!
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Old 08-05-2018, 02:52 AM   #5
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I am going to do the WDH setup myself and see how far it is off. If there is still issues then I will take it to a local dealer for setup.

Thanks for the tips.
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Old 08-05-2018, 02:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
be careful with that camping show stuff... we went and came home with a new (and larger) RV when trading our first one in. Darned sales guys! LOL

Congrats on the camper and hope you enjoy years and years of great camping.
Lol that is my wife’s fear but the F150 will severely limit our options.
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Old 08-05-2018, 03:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by gjwinner850 View Post
Enjoy your 213, it’s a great camper! But you do need to adjust the WDH, it should ride smooth as glass once done right. I am pulling mine with a 2013 F150 with the 3.5 Ecoboost without any issues. Habpve fun and enjoy!
Going to try setting it up myself then have professional try it. It was originally setup for Jeep Cherokee and a F150 is quite different. We will keep trying.
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Old 08-05-2018, 12:35 PM   #8
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Going to try setting it up myself then have professional try it. It was originally setup for Jeep Cherokee and a F150 is quite different. We will keep trying.
there are LOTS of you-tube videos on the setup of a weight distribution hitch. It's daunting at first, especially attempting to get the adjustable hitch set to the right level. it took me lots of tries to get it set properly, even to the point where I had to order new locking nuts because I kept taking them off to get the levels correct. Now I think I have it set properly but there is always a doubt. I would say, unless they have experience with WD hitches, The dealership probably can't help or they will set it up incorrectly and then you will have 1) wasted money 2) still have it wrong. the folks at this forum are VERY HAPPY to give GOOD advice.
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Old 08-05-2018, 12:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
there are LOTS of you-tube videos on the setup of a weight distribution hitch. It's daunting at first, especially attempting to get the adjustable hitch set to the right level. it took me lots of tries to get it set properly, even to the point where I had to order new locking nuts because I kept taking them off to get the levels correct. Now I think I have it set properly but there is always a doubt. I would say, unless they have experience with WD hitches, The dealership probably can't help or they will set it up incorrectly and then you will have 1) wasted money 2) still have it wrong. the folks at this forum are VERY HAPPY to give GOOD advice.
Thanks for the advice. I gave an experienced friend that is going to help.
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Old 08-05-2018, 01:14 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice. I gave an experienced friend that is going to help.
While I was camping a few weeks ago, I noticed plenty of WD hitches that were installed completely wrong. One person had the bars so close to the frame that they were rubbing on the frame and his RV still was not level. It can take a while and you may go through several different settings but DON'T be discouraged, it will work out eventually.
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Old 08-05-2018, 08:21 PM   #11
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No problems with the F150 here. F250 would give lots of room to upgrade though!
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:38 PM   #12
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Welcome to the 213RBSL club!

So if you bought used you might have gotten one with the BIG shower? (instead of corner shower)

That camper has a cult following around here. It's really an awesome package.

As for towing with that F150?
I would never want to talk a fella out of getting a Big Beast Super Duty, but that truck should tow that 213 with aplomb!

Of course the WDH is the most important tool to get a nice level and balanced tow, but that specific truck benefits from a good set of shocks (Bilsteins are awesome) and tires can make a big difference too.

Just be tenacious with your pursuit of "dialing it in". You'll know when you hit that sweet spot. Towing becomes a joy.
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Old 08-07-2018, 01:26 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by snakebitten View Post
Welcome to the 213RBSL club!

So if you bought used you might have gotten one with the BIG shower? (instead of corner shower)

That camper has a cult following around here. It's really an awesome package.

As for towing with that F150?
I would never want to talk a fella out of getting a Big Beast Super Duty, but that truck should tow that 213 with aplomb!

Of course the WDH is the most important tool to get a nice level and balanced tow, but that specific truck benefits from a good set of shocks (Bilsteins are awesome) and tires can make a big difference too.

Just be tenacious with your pursuit of "dialing it in". You'll know when you hit that sweet spot. Towing becomes a joy.

Tried two setup and both made things worse so back to original setup and try again. Any suggestions on YouTube videos?
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Old 08-07-2018, 01:30 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by snakebitten View Post
Welcome to the 213RBSL club!

So if you bought used you might have gotten one with the BIG shower? (instead of corner shower)

That camper has a cult following around here. It's really an awesome package.

As for towing with that F150?
I would never want to talk a fella out of getting a Big Beast Super Duty, but that truck should tow that 213 with aplomb!

Of course the WDH is the most important tool to get a nice level and balanced tow, but that specific truck benefits from a good set of shocks (Bilsteins are awesome) and tires can make a big difference too.

Just be tenacious with your pursuit of "dialing it in". You'll know when you hit that sweet spot. Towing becomes a joy.
Yes big shower! I’ll keep trying the hitch setup.
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:09 AM   #15
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2 things as starting points. Both are "measurements" by nature.

1. The technically more difficult, but the one that pure physics dictates, is tongue weight. It is well proven mathematically that the tongue of the trailer needs to be 10-15% of the total weight of the trailer itself.

It's far easier to experiment with this phenomenon by using a flatbed trailer and putting one super heavy item in various locations on the deck. Too far behind the axle and the nose of the trailer actually lifts into the air. (terribly unruly as you try to tow it. The trailer has a mind of its own and fights against the tow vehicle) On the other hand, place the heavy object on the front of the trailer and the tow vehicle is burdened with a Payload limitation of its own AND the tow vehicle now has its own weight distribution issues as its nose (front axle) is lifted and steering/control is greatly compromised.

So its a HUGE benefit to get the trailer itself loaded with all of its contents where its own weight is distributed resulting in 10-15% on its tongue. (Yes, scales are the only way to KNOW for sure) Every manufacturer varies on how well they designed their trailer to make this distribution almost natural (good design)or very difficult (or impossible)

Some trailers actually require strange measures like filling tanks with water acting as ballast to get that desired balance.

2. Wheel well relationship with tire on an UNLOADED truck. The purpose for the weight distribution hitch is to..... you guessed it, distribute some of that tongue weight resting on its bumper to other areas. If you measure the distance of your trucks front wheel well BEFORE you hitch the trailer, you will see it is lifted higher off the ground once you drop the trailer onto the ball. But, once you attach your weight distribution bars under binding force, you find that the front wheel wells drop again as some of the weight of the tongue is transferred to the front of the truck! (note:some of the tongue weight is also transfered BACK to the trailers axles too)

In theory, you adjust your weight distribution hitch in a way that returns your front wheel wells back to their unloaded truck position. But most seasoned veterans will differ on if they like it all the way to unloaded, or slightly still lifted. But you get the idea.


A couple of other notes: Since the weight distribution hitch is going to transfer some weight back to the trailer axles themselves, most will recommend that the earlier estimate of 10-15% should err on the heavier side. (15%) Since the physics involved with the wdh will lighten the tounge.

And finally, one other characteristic of a weight distribution hitch is also "leveling". You desire your trailer to be level with the road. So if after setting it up you have good "measurements" of the trucks wheel wells, but the trailer is nose high or low, you need to adjust the wdh ball location up or down. This means starting over basically. But once you nail this, you're done! (as long as that trailer and it's cargo is married to that tow vehicle)

OH, and congrats on that bathroom. It's one of the best in the business!
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:35 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by snakebitten View Post
2 things as starting points. Both are "measurements" by nature.

1. The technically more difficult, but the one that pure physics dictates, is tongue weight. It is well proven mathematically that the tongue of the trailer needs to be 10-15% of the total weight of the trailer itself.

It's far easier to experiment with this phenomenon by using a flatbed trailer and putting one super heavy item in various locations on the deck. Too far behind the axle and the nose of the trailer actually lifts into the air. (terribly unruly as you try to tow it. The trailer has a mind of its own and fights against the tow vehicle) On the other hand, place the heavy object on the front of the trailer and the tow vehicle is burdened with a Payload limitation of its own AND the tow vehicle now has its own weight distribution issues as its nose (front axle) is lifted and steering/control is greatly compromised.

So its a HUGE benefit to get the trailer itself loaded with all of its contents where its own weight is distributed resulting in 10-15% on its tongue. (Yes, scales are the only way to KNOW for sure) Every manufacturer varies on how well they designed their trailer to make this distribution almost natural (good design)or very difficult (or impossible)

Some trailers actually require strange measures like filling tanks with water acting as ballast to get that desired balance.

2. Wheel well relationship with tire on an UNLOADED truck. The purpose for the weight distribution hitch is to..... you guessed it, distribute some of that tongue weight resting on its bumper to other areas. If you measure the distance of your trucks front wheel well BEFORE you hitch the trailer, you will see it is lifted higher off the ground once you drop the trailer onto the ball. But, once you attach your weight distribution bars under binding force, you find that the front wheel wells drop again as some of the weight of the tongue is transferred to the front of the truck! (note:some of the tongue weight is also transfered BACK to the trailers axles too)

In theory, you adjust your weight distribution hitch in a way that returns your front wheel wells back to their unloaded truck position. But most seasoned veterans will differ on if they like it all the way to unloaded, or slightly still lifted. But you get the idea.


A couple of other notes: Since the weight distribution hitch is going to transfer some weight back to the trailer axles themselves, most will recommend that the earlier estimate of 10-15% should err on the heavier side. (15%) Since the physics involved with the wdh will lighten the tounge.

And finally, one other characteristic of a weight distribution hitch is also "leveling". You desire your trailer to be level with the road. So if after setting it up you have good "measurements" of the trucks wheel wells, but the trailer is nose high or low, you need to adjust the wdh ball location up or down. This means starting over basically. But once you nail this, you're done! (as long as that trailer and it's cargo is married to that tow vehicle)

OH, and congrats on that bathroom. It's one of the best in the business!
Thank you for the tip.
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Old 08-07-2018, 11:21 AM   #17
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There are many factors involved in setting a WDH. First, the height of the truck and the trailer. The truck hitch should be two inches higher than the trailer when the trailer is level. The tilt of the hitch on the truck determines how much tension is placed on the bars in order to "lift". There are a lot of videos that can assist but trial and error are the norm here.

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C...uA9U#kpvalbx=1

David's RV Tips: Hitch Setup
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:07 AM   #18
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Just my story but I have had absolutely excellent service out of my Excursion 6.0L Power Stroke. Yes, I did spend some money bulletproofing it after reading from many sources (and there are many sources that run the spectrum) that a bulletproofed 6.0L was a very good engine. After quite a few thousand miles, I have to agree. The Excursion is a nearly perfect towing platform (I need an SUV as I travel with two Greyhounds) and the 6.0L has been superb. I am pulling a 34 foot Aerolite 284BHSL and at 60 MPH, I get 12.5 MPG. I couldn't ask for more.
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Old 08-16-2018, 02:55 AM   #19
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I have a 2007 bear cub I wANT TO KNOW HOW TO PUT THE BED UP. HOW DO HOOK IT UP. iF ANYBODY KNOWS of a book for a 2007 i would to know. om sandylmidd9@gmail.com.
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Old 08-17-2018, 02:34 PM   #20
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I have a 2007 bear cub I wANT TO KNOW HOW TO PUT THE BED UP. HOW DO HOOK IT UP. iF ANYBODY KNOWS of a book for a 2007 i would to know. om sandylmidd9@gmail.com.
Hey Sandy, welcome. Not sure about your question but it will get more attention if you post it in a new thread under the ultralite section. Or go to the new member section and say hi, then ask away. Good luck.
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