I am new to this group, but after lurking for a few days, I concluded that the information presented here was valuable enough for me to join in and contribute. So I reviewed a few campgrounds and then decided to post this story of our entry into the world of RV'ing last fall. While the story is a bit long, I hope that it might help others who may be having similar issues.
Last fall (2010), we purchased a brand new (2011) travel trailer and shortly afterward took it for a "shakedown" trip close to home. And what a shakedown it was!
When we opened the trailer door at our destination, about 50 miles from home (5 of which were on a well graded gravel road), we found; the microwave on the floor (it had destroyed both the bathroom door and trailer floor on it's journey there), the toilet seat halfway across the trailer, the monitor (idiot light) panel and thermostat dangling by their respective wires and other misc. damage not worthy of even mentioning.
Even though we had never had a RV before (other than sleeping in my large homemade canopy on our truck), we felt this was not what we should expect. Yes, we had been on a gravel road for a few miles, however we were driving slow (I am a slow driver) .... as well as following friends who were also pulling a travel trailer.
Upon returning from this trip, we took the trailer to the manufacture (about 150 miles away) and left it for repair. When we picked up the repaired trailer a couple weeks later, we were told by the manufactures service manager that "no travel trailers are designed to go off paved roads", which is exactly what we wanted to do with the trailer. (I am not talking about 4x4 roads, just cautious travel on dirt or gravel roads). So, with my wife in tears, I immediately drove to the dealer (located in the same general area as the manufacture) whom we had purchased the trailer from and said that "if what the manufacture had told us was true, then we were done with RV's and we wanted our money back". The dealer laughed and said that what the manufactures service manager had said was "incorrect", that we "could indeed take the trailer on gravel/dirt roads", and convinced us to give it a another chance. We agreed as we really wanted this to be the case.
After returning from the manufacture and dealer (all, good surface, paved roads); the toilet seat was again off the toilet, the screws for the microwave were partly backed out, two of the range/oven mounting screws were out, the range hood was "almost" disconnected from the cabinet, and the thermostat was again a-dangling. More phone calls to the dealer!!!!!
During one of these phone calls, the dealer happened to mention that I try getting the tires balanced. So I took the trailer to a local tire shop (large Northwest tire dealer) where they attempted to balance the tires .... with no success. All of the tires (including the never used spare) were too out of round to balance. The tire dealer said that the tires were so far out of round (or square) that, "if they were on a passenger vehicle, the ride would be so rough as to make the vehicle difficult to control" and that this was "most defiantly contributing to our woes". The tire dealer further said that "tires like this were common on RV's as the manufactures frequently put on low cost (aka; "cheap") tires". Knowing that crying to the trailer dealer and/or manufacture would take time, and wanting to go on another trip soon, I bought all new tires (including the spare).
Since replacing the tires, I have not had any "significant" problems in the past 5000 miles (I fixed the microwave and range screws so they would never back out on their own) and we are now very happy with our trailer .... after having done numerous modifications, but that's a topic for a different posting.
Moral of the story, if you are having these types of issues, consider having your tires balanced or replaced.
The purpose of this posting was not to bash the manufacture or dealer (neither one of whom I have named in this posting). And, in all fairness, the manufacture reimbursed us for the new tires and the dealer did try to help. However, it sure would have eliminated a lot of frustration had both the dealer and manufacture (both of whom having a lot more experience with RV's than us) recognized this as a possible cause much earlier on and addressed it then. O-well.
Rather, my hope is to help others out there who may be struggling with similar issues .... and perhaps give the more experienced members something to smile about.
Now, does anyone want to buy five, nearly new, square tires? (-: