Buying used ... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-24-2015, 09:04 AM   #1
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Name: Biker
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Buying used ...

Hi,

What are the BIG BIG BIG items to definitely check out when inspecting used fiberglass RVs for potential purchase?

BIG meaning most expensive, time consuming or difficult (maybe impossible) to resolve.

I reviewed the Used FiberglassRV Evaluation Check List, which is terrific, but wanted to find out from the experienced folks here what they would be concerned about most when looking at a used FGRV for purchase...from a fix/replace perspective.

Thanks!
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:30 AM   #2
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We bought ours with no knowledge it had been in an accident. It took me a while to figure out, but maybe the best approach is to ask the owner before you buy. I'll never make that mistake again. It has cost us some headaches and bucks, but everything worked out in the end.

Good luck!

Frank
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:38 AM   #3
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Spongy floor is bad one.
Cracks, in the fibreglass, at the corners of the door are also bad. On Trilliums, that is one indication that the front curb side is sagging. The door is a large hole in the structure. It can cause problems, but it's kinda necessary.
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank_a View Post
We bought ours with no knowledge it had been in an accident. It took me a while to figure out, but maybe the best approach is to ask the owner before you buy. I'll never make that mistake again. It has cost us some headaches and bucks, but everything worked out in the end.

Good luck!

Frank

Thanks Frank! I had read through your thread/posts about your experience.

Your post here makes me think that maybe I should have also included ...

"What are the MUST ask questions when looking at used fiberglass trailers?"
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:51 AM   #5
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Refrig/frame/soft floor/axle
Are. My biggest issues
Have seller start refrig well in advance of your showing up for inspection
Poke around under trailer with ice pick for soft spots ( sure sign if leaks)
Look over frame for cracks/ welds
As for axle sometimes another person sort of hopping up and down will indicate bad axle
While all are fixable these in my mind are the most expensive


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Old 09-24-2015, 10:16 AM   #6
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Follow your nose.
If it stinks inside or covered in perfume smell. Its gonna cost you to solve the issues that created and hold that stench. Rotten wood and mold stinks. usually caused by an over abundance of moisture gone unchecked for a long time. To get rid of the smell you have to rip everything out and get rid of the rot and mold. Then all of the fabrics need to be replaced or try to clean which is very difficult. Some people think dumping a bunch of air freshener inside makes it smell better. This is a first sign of a real problem.

Next worse is the owner that lives in the trailer and smokes. This can take a nice trailer and put it in the trash heap. Its extremely hard to remove that stench. You can strip out the trailer rebuild it and think the smell is gone but it creeps back as soon as you store it closed up for a while.

Mechanical's and electrical can be fixed. Rust and body work can be repaired. Once they are fixed they are done but no see'ums are extremely hard to fix and can come back to haunt you.
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Old 09-24-2015, 10:22 AM   #7
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About smell. Once the cause is dealt with, an ozone generator can get rid of the smell.

Fridge is less of an issue on an older trailer. I have obtained working, older, replacement fridges for $100 or less, (free).
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Old 09-24-2015, 12:08 PM   #8
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My wife found a 10 year old Boler tucked away in the back of a sticky dealers yard. 20 plus years later we still have no regrets. During our time with it we have repainted it, replaced the axle, changed it to a front dinette with a permanent bed and redecorated and replaced the fridge. The changes would be for the most part ongoing upkeep and well worth the effort. Looks great, tows great and draws new admirers/friends like flies to honey. Hope to have it for a while yet!
Jim


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Old 09-24-2015, 12:42 PM   #9
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All good points. You would do yourself a favor to download the buyers checklist in the document center.

Here:
Fiberglass RV - Document Center - Buyers Check List
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Old 09-24-2015, 02:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post

Fridge is less of an issue on an older trailer. I have obtained working, older, replacement fridges for $100 or less, (free).
or if your not as skilled as David at finding such deals you may as many others here have done, pay about $600 for a new fridge - assuming you are wanting one that runs on propane as well as electrical &/or 12v.
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Old 09-24-2015, 02:38 PM   #11
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A new axle is maybe $600-800 if you pay someone else to do it. It's a relatively simple process. A new 2- or 3-way fridge is about the same (or a bit higher for a larger one), assuming you already have LP plumbing, wiring, and vents in place.

Point is, they're expensive, but not complicated to replace. I wouldn't pass on a trailer for either reason, but I would expect it to be reflected in the price.

For me, the walk-away issues (unless you want to take on a fairly involved project yourself) are:
  1. Structural integrity of shell and frame. Exactly what to look for varies with the specific type of trailer, but stress fractures around door and windows, frame cracks, door alignment and fit are among the kinds of things than can indicate serious structural issues.
  2. Floor rot, especially if widespread or if involving a fiberglass-encapsulated floor.
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Old 09-24-2015, 02:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
or if your not as skilled as David at finding such deals you may as many others here have done, pay about $600 for a new fridge - assuming you are wanting one that runs on propane as well as electrical &/or 12v.
I have been known to sell for $100 as well. Give me a call if you want an RM211, or an RM36. I am now looking for an RM24 for someone.
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Old 09-24-2015, 04:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by alan H View Post
Poke around under trailer with ice pick for soft spots ( sure sign if leaks)
This is one thing that folks here suggest to do. I have a hard time believing any seller would want or allow someone to poke holes in my rig. I wouldn't let them. Use a hammer or the handle end of a screw driver and tap listening for a soft sound. YMMV
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:47 AM   #14
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I appreciate all of the responses. Thank you!
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