Another egg owner wannabe - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-01-2009, 07:33 PM   #1
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Hi, all.
I first heard of fiberglass trailers not that long ago, and have been reading this board ever since. Congratulations on a wonderful, friendly community!

I have read some of the discussions on buying new versus old, but to be honest, we're not terribly handy and although I'm interested in learning how to do things, some serious movement problems prevent me from doing a lot. So that's a major consideration and probably puts us in the buy new camp.

On the Trilliumrv site they said that they don't use rivets in the construction--after all I've read here about drilling rivets out and replacing them with bolts, having no rivets sounds like a good idea, right? Although a Scamp would probably be significantly less expensive, which would make the whole plan much more possible. Sigh.

The whole idea is a couple of years away--we don't have a tow vehicle or storage space yet, and we certainly don't have the money saved either. But I'm enjoying reading up on eggs and doing some very basic research. We've tent camped for years whenever we could so we're used to minimal stuff. But not very hardy mind you, sleeping on the ground is starting to get to me.

cheers,
Judith


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Old 01-01-2009, 07:48 PM   #2
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Judith
We did the same thing after seeing a 13' Casita Patriot in person and it was love at first site ...... it took us over three years from that point to finally get one of our own but being on a Casita site at first and then finding this site was a large part of the fun to "Getting There"...... This site is one great place for all different fiberglass trailers...........
Good Luck in your venture
Joe
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:32 PM   #3
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happy new year, judith!!
welcome to the site and i hope that 2009 is the year you find the egg of your dreams. my husband and i bought new --we have an outback by trillium, 2004. we don't regret spending the extra $$$ because although my husband dennis is handy, he wasn't interested in doing a remodel...not everyone is. we lvoe our trailer and i hope that your hunt will prove successful.
and you are quite right---this is a site with a wealth of knowledge and a wealth of new friends.
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:40 PM   #4
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I think that if you buy a new or couple years old Scamp or Casita, you are unlikely to have to fool around with any rivets for many years... am I right, Scamp and Casita owners?

On the other hand, if you were looking at a 20 year old trailer, maybe it's more of a consideration. But then you have all kinds of handyman issues that can come up, rivets are just one of them.

If affordability is a primary consideration, you might have to cross some things off your list... new Oliver, new Escape. But don't let that stop you from enjoying a nice FG trailer. Keep an eye out, you'll find something that will work for you.

Mike
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:19 AM   #5
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Hi, all.
I first heard of fiberglass trailers not that long ago, and have been reading this board ever since. Congratulations on a wonderful, friendly community!

I have read some of the discussions on buying new versus old, but to be honest, we're not terribly handy and although I'm interested in learning how to do things, some serious movement problems prevent me from doing a lot. So that's a major consideration and probably puts us in the buy new camp.

On the Trilliumrv site they said that they don't use rivets in the construction--after all I've read here about drilling rivets out and replacing them with bolts, having no rivets sounds like a good idea, right? Although a Scamp would probably be significantly less expensive, which would make the whole plan much more possible. Sigh.

The whole idea is a couple of years away--we don't have a tow vehicle or storage space yet, and we certainly don't have the money saved either. But I'm enjoying reading up on eggs and doing some very basic research. We've tent camped for years whenever we could so we're used to minimal stuff. But not very hardy mind you, sleeping on the ground is starting to get to me.

cheers,
Judith
We started by looking at the new ones, then opened our eyes and literally found one in our own back yard. We paid almost nothing, and have had the pleasure of redoing it at our leisure. We currently have about a $1000 in it, and are quite pleased with our find. While its not perfect, it had good tires, some new windows, new foam, and is campable. It all depends how much work you are willing to do. Also, the nice thing about these eggs is that they are trailerable with many 4 cylinder engines.

Pam
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:33 AM   #6
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Judith -- Welcome aboard! I think that the concern about rivets is a valid one, but don't let it steer you away from a nice clean Scamp. Whether or not you will experience problems with your rivets is a question of how you use and treat your trailer. If it sits outside, UV deterioration of the rivet caps will hasten the loosening of the rivets. If you drive on rough roads, or if you load the cabinets heavily will all come into play in how well the rivets hold up. But, just because a trailer is assembled with rivets is not a reason to shy away from it.

To my mind, the biggest downside to the rivets is that if one starts leaking, you may not know about it until too late. Scamps are lined with reflectix foil insulation, and that is covered with "rat fur" carpet. A leak can stay out of site, soaking the floor in seldom-accessed areas, and can cause floor deterioration. Like any vehicle, the best maintenance is the preventative type. Periodically empty the bottom cabinets and check the floor near the walls for moisture. Don't obsess over it, but do it from time to time, particularly after a heavy rain. Every spring, check the condition of the rivet caps, and replace and re-seal them as needed. This is not difficult for most people, but if your physical limitations will make this troublesome, either find a person you can trust to do this for you, or I would point you to a rivet-less design.

In my own Scamp, the floor was badly rotted due to un-detected leaks. I had a lot of fun tearing it all out, fixing it, and then rebuilding a snappy custom interior. I ended up with a super trailer that met our needs to a tee. However, it doesn't sound like that is the road you want to risk taking.

By the way, I am not trying to imply that "Scamps leak". They have potential leak spots, that's all.

I see you are in the Chicago area. Another camper you might want to check out is the EggCamper, made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is rivetless and considerably roomier than most eggs.

Best wishes in your search -- have fun!
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:49 AM   #7
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Judith, welcome to the forum! I think the rivet thing is mostly rare and not a problem for most of us. Just get the one you like and and can afford and you'll enjoy it.

Harvey
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:20 AM   #8
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Judith,
Welcome to the group! We live in Oak Park, IL and have a 16' UHaul Vacationer trailer. It's covered for the winter now, but if you would like to drop over and see it in the spring or summer, we'll be glad to give a tour. While you can't buy these new any longer, it would give you a good idea of size and capacity. We tow it with a V6 VW Eurovan and have taken it to Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Badlands, and Williamsburg, Virginia. We went the route of buying used and fixing it up, but new ones sound good, too.

You could contact us at kevanderkusd[at]yahoo.com.


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Old 01-02-2009, 11:11 AM   #9
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Hi,

We live in the Chicagoland area also. I saw my first Casita about 8-9 years
ago in Alaska owned by a friend of mine. ... It took us a year to find our first Casita
where we bought it from a great owner in San Antonio, TX, a 13' foot Patriot.
We sold our 13' this year because we had purchased a new used 16' Casita in the Spring
to accommodate a puppy that outgrew the 13'.

We just came back from TN and Kentucky a couple weeks ago where we were the only ones
camping! We kept the trailer winterized the whole time. The fiberglass trailers are all
very nice and last for years if you take good care of them.
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:16 AM   #10
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Welcome aboard!

When I was shopping for a trailer this past summer, I called Scamp and they were very eager to unload a discounted trailer on us. I think it was in the $6000-7000 price range for a new, but very basic trailer. If you guys are trying to save up money for a new one, and don't need all the bells and whistles, I would give this a shot. In fact the sales guy called us up a few times trying to work a deal, but we went with an inexpensive used one. You might luck out and find a good newer used one, that doesn't need much work. They are out there, and I know many of them are in the northern part of the US after all my searching on line to find one. It looks like you are in the learning stages, and this is a good time to see what all your options are before you dive in. My advice to you on a tow vehicle, get something that can handle at least 3000 lbs towing capacity. We have a 4cyl. SUV that only has a 1500 lb towing rate, so we are very limited in what we can add to our trailer since it is already close to 1300 lbs now. It seems to pull just fine (so far) but I would feel more secure if we had a higher towing range. I think most 6cyl can handle the load, but many people do use 4cyl. with no trouble.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:42 PM   #11
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I'll agree with what others have said, in that rivets, while being a potential maintenance* item, are only one part of a trailer. Granted, fiberglass tabbing (bonding) is better, but rivets are only one feature amongst many that might influence you one way or another.

Other examples are interior walls, which range from smooth fiberglass, to vinyl-like ensolite, to "rat fur," to full carpet. Cute and round vs. squarer but more-useful corner-space. Fit in a garage vs. more headroom. Features vs. towing weight. Price varies too, of course, depending somewhat on how labor intensive the construction methods are, especially when you're buying new.

Even if you are ultimately going to buy a new trailer, if you're not sure what you want, you might consider a clean, older, used trailer at first. You could get in cheaper, use it to refine your priorities, and then probably sell it for close to what you paid for it and buy a new one at that time. You'd be camping sooner that way too.

*When I say that rivets are a maintenance item, I want to clarify that they are not a maintenance item like changing oil in a car; they're more like something you would do once every ten years or more. For example, some rivets in my Boler need to be replaced, but I can see they are all original, and they are 35 years old. Replacement options include machine screws, or sealing-rivets that have no center hole to cap or caulk.

By the way, I do have a counter-view to one statement made above: I do not believe that the plastic rivet caps perform any function related to keeping the rivets from loosening. They are mainly decorative, although they might pr ovide some UV protection for the sealant (but said sealant is not what keeps them tight).

A basic rivet is like hollow tube -- picture a very narrow drinking straw. The way it keeps two things together is like a bolt and nut, except you don't tighten the nuts on threads, you simple crush/smash a "washer" onto the back. A rod goes through the straw and pulls the "washer" tight upon installation, then breaks off (its job is done). So they are very quick to install by only one person with a "rivet gun." No need to tighten a nut on the backside, while someone else holds the head of the fastener, etc. In fact, you don't even need access to the backside to use a rivet.

But, independently of the rivet staying tight (the "washer" is crushed onto the outside of tube, regardless), you have the issue of water leaking through the tube. So usually people put a dab of caulk into the hole on the outside. One can also put a plastic cap on the outside rivet head, after the caulk. This helps to conceal the rivet, and also protects the caulk. But I don't believe it is connected at all to the holding power of the rivet. By the way, there are sealing rivets that don't have an open tube, but I don't know of any mfgrs using them. One could use them later.

Raya
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:03 PM   #12
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By the way, I do have a counter-view to one statement made above: I do not believe that the plastic rivet caps perform any function related to keeping the rivets from loosening. They are mainly decorative, although they might pr ovide some UV protection for the sealant (but said sealant is not what keeps them tight).

Raya
In the interest of brevity, I did not state why the rivet caps contribute to the seal. However, I will now do so. The rivet cap itself is primarily decorative, although, as Raya mentioned, it will help keep moisture away from an un-sealed rivet tube. That's not the main issue, however. The rivet caps that Scamp uses are not UV stable, and deteriorate over the course of several years -- slower or faster depending on how much sun exposure the camper gets. When the cap (which goes over the rivet) crumbles, it exposes part two of the rivet cap system -- the snap base. The snap base goes [b]under the rivet, and is not UV stable either. If the rivet caps are neglected, the snap base also deteriorates and breaks away, leaving the rivet itself loose. The movement of the rivet during towing will break any remaining caulk seal, and allow moisture to easily penetrate around the rivet.

Again, as Raya mentioned, this isn't difficult to maintain, and Scamp will happily sell you a rivet cap kit, as they themselves recommend changing them out every so often.

When I re-riveted my Scamp, I put caulk under the snap base prior to installation, then installed the rivet, then caulked the rivet tube, and then snapped on the cap. If you replace the rivet caps before they deteriorate badly, the snap base may well last through several caps.
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Old 01-02-2009, 04:33 PM   #13
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If the rivet caps are a big concern, you could first paint them with a plastic paint, like: Krylon Products - Fusion Paint for Plastics, then top coat with Krylon Products UV-Resistant Clear. I'd think that would help.
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:36 PM   #14
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Judith,
We live in Orland Park, IL and own a 17' 2007 Eggcamper. Right now it is "in bed" for the winter, but come spring we would love to show it to you There are no rivets in an Eggcamper and it is all electric. We hunted for an "egg" and found this company on the internet, drove up to Michigan to visit the factory and bought one. We had never camped before and in 2008 we traveled about 12,000 miles.
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