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


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Old 02-09-2016, 04:34 PM   #1
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Are Stick Built Small RVs going to kill fiberglass RVs?

When I was looking for a small RV in 2005 I don't remember small (size/weight/quality) RVs in the Casita range.

Now I see well built, good priced small RVs. I would probably go for a Winnebago Micro mini now - either the 17' 3,000lb dry weight or the 21', 3,800 dry weight.

http://winnebagoind.com/products/tra...nie/floorplans

I'm thinking of going full time with a new RV and the selection and quality of construction has improved over the years.
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Old 02-09-2016, 05:25 PM   #2
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I viewed these trailers at an RV show a couple weeks ago. The smaller one compared quite closely to the Escape 19 I had for over six years, at least in size. For me, that is where the comparison ended, as it felt way tighter inside, and there was less cabinet/storage space, less counter space, and the table seemed smaller. I was quite taken back by the quality of the finish too, as it was terrible. It seems like whoever did the fitting of the trim was an amateur. I was really surprised by how poor the fit and finish was, as for some reason, and not sure why, I always figured Winnebago to be of better quality.

In regards to things feeling cramped, the bathroom was much bigger, but I much prefer a wet bath, and put that saved space to better use elsewhere. The shower was way tighter than showering in my Escape was.

I can't speak to the quality of construction of most of the rest of the RV's I saw there, but all in all, I was very surprised at the poor finish in some of them. Not all though, as there were some with some good craftsmanship going into the finishing, but this was mostly on the high end, $500k to $1M units.

Even though I found I could buy a heck of a lot more trailer (in volume) than I would be spending on my Escape 5.0TA, I left extremely satisfied with the choice I had made. Heck, most of those units, short of the higher end ones, don't allow you to customize anything on the them..... you get what they give you.

Though, the sure do sell a lot of those bigger, cheaper made units. So many people seem to want more (as in physical size) for their money, and care very little about quality. To be fair, I know that many people don't know how to judge quality.
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Old 02-09-2016, 05:39 PM   #3
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The Chevys never killed the Cadillacs. There are buyers for each type.
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Old 02-09-2016, 06:09 PM   #4
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I viewed these trailers at an RV show a couple weeks ago.
Which mfg did you view?
Winnebago has gotten high marks from those who bought them.

Here is another one that is extremely well constructed.

2016 Outdoors Rv Black Rock 17B, Pendleton OR - - RVtrader.com
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Old 02-09-2016, 07:20 PM   #5
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If U R considering a non-molded trailer another consideration (as it is for even some molded fg units) is that there is a potential for off gassing inside due to products utilized during the build.

When we got our first full time rig, a beautiful DRV Mobile Suite, it was built with the traditional glues/woods/etc that nearly all RVs (including most molded fg) utilize. Get a hot day going on and even after 5 years there was that slight off-gassing smell.

So when Cari and I went looking for an upgrade for a full time rig we went with an Evergreen product as it was the only product at the RV show (we looked for three years) that had no smell.

One thing that FEMA discovered after Hurricane Katrina, many of the RV/Trailers provided for temporary shelter turned into long term live-in units. Many of the occupants in some areas/rigs were actually getting environmental related illnesses. Some RVs are just not mean to be in 24/7 for months or years.

With the Evergreen (Tesla T3970) there has been zero interior smell. And IMO, It is a much healthier interior environment than our first rig which is still arguably one of the top 3 manufacturers in the industry for full time use.

YMMV,
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Old 02-09-2016, 11:03 PM   #6
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Yes, the offgassing in our '05 Rockwood, purchased new, made my eyes water for most of the first year we had it.
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Old 02-09-2016, 11:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dextersp1 View Post
Which mfg did you view?
Winnebago has gotten high marks from those who bought them.

Here is another one that is extremely well constructed.

2016 Outdoors Rv Black Rock 17B, Pendleton OR - - RVtrader.com
There were at least a dozen RV dealerships with 30-40 different trailers there. We did not go through them all. We did look at a lot of the smaller ones, and a few others just to see what people were buying. 2 1/2 baths, and 3 TVs in some. There was definitely some good innovation and quality, but most of the affordable ones just were not very impressive, especially given their size. You are buying just that in some cases, lots of room, often with little more feature than many of the small fiberglass trailers.
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Old 02-09-2016, 11:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
There were at least a dozen RV dealerships with 30-40 different trailers there. We did not go through them all. We did look at a lot of the smaller ones, and a few others just to see what people were buying. 2 1/2 baths, and 3 TVs in some. There was definitely some good innovation and quality, but most of the affordable ones just were not very impressive, especially given their size. You are buying just that in some cases, lots of room, often with little more feature than many of the small fiberglass trailers.
I don't get the impression you were comparing small to small but large to small.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:09 AM   #9
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I think we can generally agree that large is bigger than small.
But, quality and design are issues that can be debated.
This trailer, for instance, has no counter space - none.
The person sitting on one side of the dinette needs eyes in the back of their head to view the TV.
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Old 02-10-2016, 03:25 AM   #10
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Nope, the stickies will never kill the molded trailers. The molded owners may be a very small segment of the RV market but the demand, following and dedication is high for them. Look at how long the wait time is now .
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:16 AM   #11
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Many different types of smaller trailers with "New" construction methods were shown at the RVIA trade show in Louisville last December. There is a lot of new innovation in the the materials and construction methods for modern small trailers. Lot's of aluminum, composite sheet, molded cabinets, FRP panels, new light weight non wood floor panels and more is becoming the norm. Digital controls has significantly changed the manufacturing process as the cost of machines (CNC, Water Jet Cutting tables Etc) has dramatically dropped in price many smaller manufacturers and startups can now afford this technology to lower the price of their product and vastly improve the repetitive quality of their product. Stick built trailers are certainly still an option for higher volume (CHEAP) trailers manufactures however many new composite parts and construction methods were shown by many different high volume manufacturers. These manufacturing techniques has certainly led to huge increase the quality of low end high volume small trailers which has also resulted in the large sales increases enjoyed by many manufacturers in this market segment.

My take away from the show was that the "Smaller Is Better" theme continues to grow. The small towable trailer segment continues to be the area of the market with the continued largest growth AND industry growth projections for the future. The big trailers and big motorhomes show well at shows, on the RV dealer lots and continue to become more and more luxurious however this segment of the market is declining. The cost of purchasing these behemoths and the HUGE hit in depreciation (80+% loss of value in less than 5 years) has made this a declining market. More and more innovative designs and innovating "packaging" in the smaller trailers and smaller motorhomes (Sprinters) were shown. Very few 45 foot RV's were shown compared to previous years. The "Fat 60 & UP" market is going smaller. $100K Sprinters make better sense in many ways for the older crowd than a $500K 40+ foot bus/RV. Lot's of move down in size buyers in this segment of the RV crowd.

NONE of the fiberglass shell trailer manufacturers displayed at this the LARGEST industry only trade show. The ONLY fiberglass trailer I saw at the show was an Oliver and that was hooked to a truck in the parking lot. I am not surprised there were no fiberglass trailer manufacturers displayed at the show as the goal of the show is to for the RV manufacturers and suppliers to present their product to the industry DEALERS. Virtually all the fiberglass trailer manufacturers only sell direct to their customers. GREAT idea in the past but this "May" be their "Achilles Heal" in the future. Personally "I" think it is just a matter of time before one of the "Big Boys" decides to enter the fiberglass shell trailer market by making their own fiberglass shell designs that WILL be widely available through RV dealers. IF these "Big Boy" manufacturers decide to produce fiberglass shell trailers with the production methods and manufacturing technology they currently enjoy I see nothing but problems for the current fiberglass "Egg" trailer manufacturers who are living on borrowed time from a manufacturing technology standpoint, who sell a SIGNIFICANTLY overpriced product for what you get and most importantly are manufacturers who are NOT able to meet the current customer demand in a timely fashion. This may be the opportunity the "Big Boys" are looking for to enter this market segment. That ultimately means SALEABLE IN STOCK INVENTORY available for purchase NOW should be a paramount consideration in the future operating business plan for the current fiberglass "Egg" manufacturers!
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:37 AM   #12
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I totally disagree with the term "Stickies" when it comes to the more modern-built "Laminate" trailers. Regardless how many disagree, a "stickie" has been and always WILL be the old style 2x2'? wood framing with aluminum siding better known as "Stick-n-tin"...shortened to "stickies". I think that basically this term was phrased in the FGRV forums.

The "Laminates" are what you see with the smooth FG sides most often laminated onto aluminum frames with styrofoam inserts filling the voids. Of course then you have luan possibly laminated to either or both sides. The one posted here I noticed has alum. studs....which is cool...alot less chance of "rot".

Regardless, in my opinion neither will EVER compare to the durability of a FG shell we own in this group. But I do have to agree that the "Laminates" took "SOB"s to another level. The only problem I've seen in those (and this is common in the stickies) are that they can STILL leak. In laminates, this can cause horrible looking "delamination" and then $$$$$$ to fix. I have a friend who owns one of the laminates- Forrest River Surveyor- and it has severe delamination. The trailer is practically worthless at this point. He's asked me to look Youtube at some of the repairs with epoxy and possibly help him fix it.... major job!

I agree with another thread- although they're more prone to give problems, I still long for an 18-25' Escape, BigFoot, Oliver with a slide-out!! I could full-time in one of those without much hesitation

Last but not necessarily least- check the resale value on each!!
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:59 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:07 AM   #14
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I agree there is room for everyone. A small, simple Jayco can be had for around $10,000 at the right time of year. This gives a family an affordable way to get out and enjoy camping. That seems like a win-win. There are many choices, many budgets and other needs and we should all be happy about that.

When it comes to outgassing, it is my understanding from reading posts on different forums that it is also an issue with at least some of the molded fiberglass. If you have glues, carpeting, fabric, etc., you will have outgassing. I dothink I read that Scamp does not use anything with formaldehyde in it which is a REAL plus if that is true.
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