Are Stick Built Small RVs going to kill fiberglass RVs? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-10-2016, 09:24 AM   #15
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It's all relative. My Boler is over 40 years old and is structurally like new. I've never seen a stick trailer last anywhere near that.
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:27 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Dextersp1 View Post
I don't get the impression you were comparing small to small but large to small.
I was really not comparing size at all, mostly feature for what was of value to me.
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:29 AM   #17
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"Are Stick Built Small RVs going to kill fiberglass RVs?"

This whole questions seems a but bogus. People buy trailers for different reasons than they buy self-powered RV's. In my case, i wanted a trailer that was small enough that I could pull it with the same vehicle that I drove around town. I didn't want another drivetrain and expensive license fee to worry about. Engines cost a lot more to replace than trailer tires.

It retrospect, it seems like I made a great decision. My 2007 Ford Escape recently got rear-ended out on the freeway and the other guy's insurance paid me off. I went out and bought a new Escape and will hook it up to my 1996 Casita as soon as the snows melt. A 1996 Winnebago would be a maintenance nightmare at this point in time, no matter how good it was built.
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:55 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
If one of the major RV manufacturers can produce an affordable, mass-produced molded fiberglass line of comparable or better quality to what is currently available and bring it to market using a dealer distribution model, more power to them.
And offer the opportunity for options, both stock and non-stock features. This would be way tougher with a dealer network. Dealing direct with the factory allows these additional options to be added in a more streamlined fashion.

There is no doubt that there have been huge steps forward in RV manufacturing as others have mentioned. What I don't understand is why they don't put in that little bit extra cost and time to provide a good finish package. For me, this cheapens the look of what otherwise could be a great product. Are they doing it for speed and cost savings, or is it that many customers just do not see quality anyway. I think it just might be both.

I know doing custom renovations that I see quite a difference in customers. There are some that are willing to pay for a quality finish in what they have done, and will do less work to get something they take great pride in. There are some that just want a lot for the dollar, it is all about that first visual impression. An example is the customer that just wants a lot of cabinets, something that gives that big first impression, and they do not worry about the function of these cabinets like: more drawers, better slides, better quality drawer boxes, hardware that makes better use of the space, etc.

These quality details don't show as a first impression, though make all the difference in function and even how long they last.

I do admit that I am a huge stickler for detail, and more quickly see fault in workmanship way quicker than others, while some do not even seem to notice at all.
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:02 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Mike, you have certainly thrown down the gauntlet...

My gut response is "let them try"!

If one of the major RV manufacturers can produce an affordable, mass-produced molded fiberglass line of comparable or better quality to what is currently available and bring it to market using a dealer distribution model, more power to them.

They've had 50 years or so to think about it.
Gee! My opinion is now a "Gauntlet"!

Move over George Jefferson as I am also "Movin On Up"! Maybe I should throw my hat in the Presidential race?

In all seriousness the fiberglass trailer industry by all appearances could be called a "Cottage Industry" full of Mom & Pops with a dream and a better idea. Just read this forum and you will find the fiberglass Egg trailer market littered with casualties (Brand Failures) some of which continue to rise again from the dead with new ownership and ideas. That's what our economy and way of life is all about!

As far as none of the "Big Boy's " NOT choosing to play in the small fiberglass trailer market in the past 50 years I am positive there WERE many reasons they chose not to participate. One of which is that they were not primary in manufacture of fiberglass parts & panels. That has certainly changed in recent years.

Given the exhorbitant retail prices the current fiberglass Egg trailers manufacturers enjoy (you know who I am talking about) AND the market move to smaller more efficiently designed trailers industry wide "I" think it's just a matter of time before the "Big Boys" enter this market. They also just might enter this Very Profitable segment of the small RV trailer market in a BIG way.

Just look at ALL the recent threads on this forum about tow vehicles and the desire of many to have a dual purpose tow vehicle. One that is comfortable as a daily driver and capable as a tow vehicle. In most all situations the tow vehicle capability questions revolve around the towing capability of small SUV's and Mid Size trucks. In today's world for many folks "Smaller Is Better" and this new way of thinking is changing many industries not just the RV industry. As is always the case time will tell!

That's my "Gauntlet" and I'm stickin to it!!!
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:07 AM   #20
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Terry, I believe the original point had to do with small towables comparable in size and weight to molded fiberglass offerings. The suggestion was that improvements in construction and manufacturing mean that their quality and, more important, durability are approaching that of molded fiberglass. The implication was that small, low volume molded fiberglass manufacturers will be driven out of the market by the new-and-improved crop of mass market small stickies (used here in its broadest sense).

Every year we hear the hyped latest-and-greatest RV technology. And 3-5 years later we hear about its shortcomings. I'm skeptical.

But, as I said, let them try. There's plenty of room for all. Much as we'd like to think so here, molded fiberglass construction is not for everyone.
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:12 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by vintageracer View Post
Gee! My opinion is now a "Gauntlet"!...
A gauntlet is an opinion in block caps...
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:23 AM   #22
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Are Stick Built Small RVs going to kill fiberglass RVs? "NOT AT THIS TIME "
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:28 AM   #23
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YDex, You have opened a can of worms. This is the official true believers site for molded fiberglass trailers. Most if not all here have closed their eyes in the presence of the Stick-Built travel trailer.

Fact: both fiberglass and stick-built have their issues....in the end the trailer's size, layout and weight are the deciding factors...but cost vs benefits also weigh heavily in anyone's final choice.

Fact: Molded fiberglass trailers cost more...why ?....simple their construction takes more time and time is money. Ther are additional costs involved due to the nature of fiberglass. I have been to manufacturing facilities using fiberglass and Kevlar and the atmosphere is toxic even with high tech air exchange systems. The product continues releasing toxic gases long after the molding process is completed. The very nature of the material adds to the cost of production.

To my knowledge the fiberglass trailer industry does not offer slide outs.

If you plan on full timing consider the size carefully. Too small and you will be trading up very quickly. Consider bathroom space. Most travel trailers come up short offering very cramped space in the bathroom.
Also picture yourself trapped in a small trailer for several days in very bad weather. You will need comfortable seating for reading and television viewing.
Space is important...visit RV shows and dealerships and study layouts. Find the right one the first time (if you are lucky).

Whenever you look at a stick built trailer ask what the wall and roof framing is made of...wood studs (not good) or metal stud framing using welds (the best).
Study the kitchen layout and counter space for cooking...most RV kitchens make me crazy (yes even mine).

I have been RVing for over 30 years and still have not found the perfect layout...I keep getting closer and closer but as they say.."size matters".

If you put enough planning into your final selection you will be a Happy Camper !
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:32 AM   #24
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Vintageracer is spot on. There will always be a niche for molded fiberglass ordered from the small factory but with manufacturers listening and improving small lightweight trailers with so many amenities it is only a matter of time until that niche dwindles. One manufacturer uses no wood in their units now and they make quite a variety of units. Everyone wants to make some mods to make their unit their own but at this stage, no one should have to make mods to have their tanks drain or not back up in the shower, etc. All units should have a monitor for tank levels. Mods shouldn't have to be done to keep rain from flowing between the awning and the unit. Come on...there must be some updates or price adjustment to continue to compete.
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:53 AM   #25
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This is the official true believers site for molded fiberglass trailers. Most if not all here have closed their eyes in the presence of the Stick-Built travel trailer.
This is not really the case at all, at least as I see it. The members here are definitely ones that believe in the values of a moulded fibreglass trailer, thus the purchase of one. But, it is not at all done with closed eyes, and for most the comparisons were made, resulting in their choice. As well, I would bet the majority owned conventionally (for lack of a better word) built trailers, and found a reason they wanted to migrate to the moulded ones.

I had two previous trailers before my Escape 19, a Coleman tent trailer, and a Terry 24' stick build. I do not regret owning them one bit. They both served their purpose at the time.

We wanted to sell the 24' bunk model, as kids were no longer with us, and the bed was terrible, a fold down couch. I did lots of research, looking for something just the right size for use, which meant smaller. This search eventually led me to our moulded trailers. Long story short, it was not long after I settled on finding the right FG trailer, that Escape announced their idea for a new 19, and I was all over it. My wife's only criteria was a permanent bed, and a pot to pee in during the night. It served us great for over 6 years, and after seeing just how great this moulded fibreglass trailer worked for us, and the quality of the trailer and the company behind it, we yearned for, and now have put a deposit on, the Escape 5.0TA.

I tell this story to show that I do not have blinders on with regards to our precious moulded fibreglass trailers, it was a well thought out path that got me here.

As far a most folks here being huge supporters of moulded fibreglass trailers, well, it was the intended purpose for the starting of the site, to be a resourse for others that too are interested in these trailers.
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Old 02-10-2016, 11:17 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
I believe the original point had to do with small towables comparable in size and weight to molded fiberglass offerings...Much as we'd like to think so here, molded fiberglass construction is not for everyone.
: ) On the "Molded Fiberglass" idea.

I'm a nearing 60 guy who grew up living nearly every weekend on our family fiberglass sailboat (1968 build date) that had been sailed over from England by the original owner and sold to my dad in 1972, It was a beauty. Gleaming WHITENESS of gel coated fiberglass outside AND inside. Just about the only wood inside were doors to cupboards and below seating hatches-to-storage areas. And of course the Teak floors and cockpit sole. And all interior items were fiberglassed to the interior of the hull...not a rivet in sight ; )

Fast forward to 1974, my dad, who was a Professor at U.C. Berkeley in the 60's through 70's (then onto U.C. Davis into late 1980's) was good friends with another Professor. This fellow had a 41ft fg sailboat and my dad and I were going to be part of the upcoming 1975 transpac race crew from San Francisco to Hawaii and then cruise back to S.F. One thing I really didn't like was when I went down below in his boat there was little if any fiberglass. The manufacturer had epoxied wood stringers onto the interior of the hull and built traditional wood cabinetry and furniture. It just didn't seem to me like a sailboat, more like a home in a hull.

Why do I mention that? Well, for my taste, and fun memories, when I looked in the various molded fg trailers, I ruled out all that had the later type of interior. With my love of fiberglass, gleaming, sparkling gel coated beautiness, I wanted as little wood as possible.

Personal taste, I know.
White is one of my favorite colors
...but I wear camo,
; ) Thom
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Old 02-10-2016, 11:29 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Every year we hear the hyped latest-and-greatest RV technology. And 3-5 years later we hear about its shortcomings...
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Originally Posted by wlknthewoods View Post
...One manufacturer uses no wood in their units now and they make quite a variety of units...
I can't be sure which manufacturer you are referring to, but one that meets your description is Livin' Lite. I really wanted to like their product and gave it serious consideration before settling on my Scamp. At the time I was leaning toward a tent trailer, so I looked at their offerings carefully. Later they introduced their line of travel trailers and I looked at them as well. Much as I wanted to like them (for some of the reasons already mentioned, like space, amenities, layout, no wood, as well as just being new and innovative), I passed for several reasons: (1) they were expensive and no real used market yet, (2) tent fabric was flimsy & would not stand up to our winds in the SW, (3) aluminum is a great conductor of heat, so cold at night and hot during the day (not a great characteristic in the desert), and (4) fit and finish were poor- lots of rough edges. This independent manufacturer won awards for innovation when it first came out, but the shortcomings are only now being revealed through on-line RV forums. It was bought out by Thor in 2013, so now it's one of the "big boys."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uplander View Post
...This is the official true believers site for molded fiberglass trailers. Most if not all here have closed their eyes in the presence of the Stick-Built travel trailer...
The second statement does not follow from the first. Like Jim, I have previously owned conventional stickies, and (as mentioned) I gave very serious consideration to an unconventional sticky, the Livin' Lite, before I purchased my Scamp. Based on experience with both build types, conventional construction is going to have to demonstrate that it has changed before I'll go there again. I'm not saying I never will, but I need to be convinced, not by sales pitches or engineering cutaways, but by long-term durability and resale value. So ask me again in 15 years.
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Old 02-10-2016, 11:31 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by accrete View Post
: )
Why do I mention that? Well, for my taste, and fun memories, when I looked in the various molded fg trailers, I ruled out all that had the later type of interior. With my love of fiberglass, gleaming, sparkling gel coated beautiness, I wanted as little wood as possible.

Personal taste, I know.
White is one of my favorite colors
...but I wear camo,
; ) Thom
These individual tastes are what provide multiple options. For me, I love colour, and would love to have a colourful interior. I do love wood too, and love wood interiors. In fact, a blend of my favourite colours, along with my favourite wood species would be fantastic. I would love a burnt orange interior with cherry cabinets, but this does not seem to be offered anywhere.

I am not a fan of pure white, to me it seems institutional, BUT I have a few customers that do like it, and are very pleased with the results we gave them. This is obviously a choice of quite a few.

There are a couple moulded fibreglass trailer offering this white interior, are there any non-FG trailers doing so?

It is nice that there are these differing preferences with folks, otherwise if we all looked the same, and owned things all finished the same, whatever that was would become drab.
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