How much HANDY ??? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-30-2015, 10:11 AM   #1
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Name: Raj
Trailer: Waiting for Escape 17B due soon
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How much HANDY ???

Hi, a Newbie here,

I am starting to look around for a used fiberglass RV to start my retirement travels.

Among other things my incapability to get things done/fix handy things around the house is putting a cramp in my excitement to RV and is the reason for this question to other forum members.

I & my wife do not know whether we will take to RVing in real life as I have been living the pleasure vicariously on the various RV forums/websites/in a digital format so far. That was the main reason for getting a used RV, as the worse scenario will not hurt as much

HOW HANDY ARE YOU around the RV or how Handy does one NEED to RV.

Or is it a good idea to just go ahead & buy a new trailer, hoping to at least avoid these challenges in part.

- Or did you learn(You tube/google/RV camps) the skills as you traveled & get only major things fixed at the RV places.

Thanks for any output from the members.

Regards
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Old 04-30-2015, 10:43 AM   #2
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Sounds like you are asking the right questions.....
It's all about condition, condition and condition, Many FGRV's are now over 40 years old and are still going down the road with minimal repairs done/needed. On the other hand, a few that I have seen that are less than 5 years old, are in need of major repairs. BUT, if you get a good one first, and take care of it, maintenance and repair expenses will be minimal.


As you, basically, want to try a "trial experience" with minimal $$$ risk, may I make the following suggestion.


At the end of the season (September/October) start looking for one that the owner has finished up with and wants to sell. Take a few months for any minor cosmetic adjustments and try some weekend trips etc to see if you like it. If so, all is good, if not, put it back up for sale in April/May and you will usually more than break even and might even make a profit.


BUT: DO NOT buy one that you know needs work that will have to farmed out to the local mechanics/RV shop, that will get expensive fast.


As another alternative, there are companies and a few individuals that rent FGRV's you might try that first as well.


Basically, for those that don't do their own work, (and for many that do) it's almost always cheaper to buy the very best you can afford up front, than to buy something that will need farmed out repairs.


About how to get the needed skill sets?
I see the sources you mentioned as supplements for those already with the basic mechanical/electrical skills needed to work on an RV. Not having those can often get one into trouble as more than a few (Youtubes especially), demonstrate often unwise and unsafe methodology. And what's "Simple" for Joe the RV mechanic/bodyman/electrician etc, can be a daunting challenge for the unskilled.


I've been turning wrenches for over 50 years, was an aircraft technician in the NAVY and taught technical subjects in a community college, so I can't really remember anymore how I actually "learned" ... LOL
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Old 04-30-2015, 10:59 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum Raj. Don't let your fears keep you from living your dreams & experience travel in the real world. I believe that ANY type or brand of RV will need some type of repair or maintenance regularly, as everything is moving and shifting as you travel, and you can learn a lot from others here on this forum and from youtube. All moulded fiberglass towable's will not have seams to leak and start all the problems associated water intrusion. A new unit should in theory give you less problems, and will have a warranty from all the manufacturing companies that make up the trailer (ie: battery, water pump, furnace, refrigerator, etc.), so you shouldn't have to work on it yourself, but if work is needed, you can get educated from the repair facilities that will be doing the work. I believe you should at least learn how to use a screwdriver in conjunction with some type of thread locker, to keep up on all the fasteners that work their way loose as you bounce down the road making memories.
Dave & Paula
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Old 04-30-2015, 11:54 AM   #4
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Don't know what your getting into: start with your tow rig of choice and read the owners manual and see what the factory recommends for towing. Now you have a guideline.

With out skills this is where I would start.

Read our thread here towing weights in the real world. This will give you a guideline on our choices of fiberglass trailers and what realistically can be towed by your tow vehicle.

Now the choice of trailers If it were me I would look for a 3-4 year old trailer.
Walk in and use your nose if it smells bad or is covered in perfume walk away.
If it stinks and you don't have the skills to fix it its going to take real money to fix it.

Now make the owner prove every thing works properly in the trailer and don't take the excuse we never used it, I don't know. Test it. What ever doesn't work is going to cost you $500 to have someone repair it or even more to replace it since you don't have the skills to repair it.

Especially important is to have water in the water tank and with all the faucets closed turn on the water pump and leave it on. The pump will pressurize the water system and turn off itself. While doing the rest of your inspection you should not hear the pump cycle again since the system is closed. If it does cycle then there is a leak. Could be something simple or something real bad. The more the pump cycles the worse the leak will be. Undetected leaks destroys trailers.

There is a pre-buy checklist on this site.

By choosing to go fiberglass you will pay premium for a used trailer but if you choose to get out and sell you mostly get your money back on a used trailer. A new trailer you will loose money. Really depends on how important a new $4000 mistake is to you. With used paying fair market your mistake could be closer to $1000 or may even make money. Used is worth the leap as long as you don't buy junk.

Buy choosing a 3-4 year old trailer you are less likely to have to deal with major expenses like a 8 to 10 year old trailer.

If you choose to go to the dark side and choose a wood and flat sided trailer any trailer you buy should be inspected by an RV professional not associated with the seller. These trailers have a hundred places that water can leak. Both inside and outside and since they are built with wood, a leak gone unrepaired can be disastrous.

I have been in manufacturing for over 40 years. Started as a machinist and a jack of all trades up to assembling a manufacturing plant and managing operations. Currently out of the metal trade and working in the Composites world. For my personal well being working and restoring cars have been in my life since i was 15.

My first real work started when I was 10 years old where I cleaned and sealed the seams on trailer roofs in the trailer park where my grand Parents lived. I also had the job of cleaning and re-padding swamp coolers and covering them in the fall and opening them up in spring. I had about 12 trailers under me using me for service. A 10 year old on top of an old trailer does no damage compared to a 200 lb man. An old man named Bob trained me and really made a difference whether the family ate or not. Bless him, I never thought to thank him, I did this until my grand mother died and we no longer went to the trailer park. It was a good 5 year gig. I was 15 and then started working in the machine shop. We needed the money I had to work. I don't pay anyone to do anything for me except Smog checks and medical both of these I am not allowed to do. Pretty much self educated, buy the book and dig in. I have allot more money in books than tools and I have allot of tools. Now I turn on the computer and fire up Google. As I age now things take twice as long and seem twice as hard and are associated with twice the pain. Wont be long before I have to start funding the rest of society.
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Old 04-30-2015, 01:55 PM   #5
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The bad news: Whether you buy new or used, you're going to have to build your skill set. As is said, "Stuff happens.", and according to Murphy, at inopportune moments (read "on the road").

The good news: Most trailer systems are relatively simple, and any skills you don't have you can develop on the trailer, and maybe transfer that knowledge to home maintenance.

The really good news is that you have access to a world of experience and knowledge on this site, and friendly folks willing to share.

So, don't let your inexperience hold you back. Keep to the smaller trailers with the simpler systems and learn as you go. I think you will find lot's of folks here who have done just that.

Spend lot's of time in "Maintenance and Restoration" forums.

Take your time, think it out and plan carefully...........and welcome to FGRV.
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Old 04-30-2015, 02:03 PM   #6
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Name: Raj
Trailer: Waiting for Escape 17B due soon
Florida
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Thank you David, Bob Steve & Cliff, appreciate you taking the time to help.

That was good advice -

1)New or late model 3 to 4 yr old fiberglass trailer

2)Our Lexus 350 has a towing capacity of $3500 from the owner's manual. I will try to pull first by this, if it is not working out then I will upgrade the SUV.

Will start looking for Scamp 16, Casita 16 (17?? because of heavier hitch weight) or an Escape 17 if I could find one.
A new Escape has a lower hitch weight and I think in some ways would be perfect but takes 9 to 12 months for delivery, I do not know if I can be patient that long.

For some reason, I noticed there is not much fiberglass Trailer activity in general in Florida & nor that many for sale.

Thanks again
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Old 04-30-2015, 02:53 PM   #7
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Advice....

Quote:
Originally Posted by disneydoc View Post
Thank you David, Bob Steve & Cliff, appreciate you taking the time to help.

For some reason, I noticed there is not much fiberglass Trailer activity in general in Florida & nor that many for sale.

Thanks again
About the only place in on the planet that you will find FGRV activity might be in Southern Calfornia, they just aren't that common, to keep prices half sane, most of the builders don't use dealers and a lot of them change hands between peeps that current owners know who had amassed an existing waiting list.....

Follow your area Craigs lists every day as well as <<<fiberglass-rv-4sale.com>>> and be ready to pounce as soon as you see a listing. Most good ones, at anywhere near decent prices, tend to last hours, and seldom days and you are in an area where demand might be higher than elsewhere.

And be somewhat flexible for your first unit. There just aren't that many out there and that odd color upholstery or even the attitude of the seller, may just be something that you will have to deal with.....lol

Good Luck
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Old 04-30-2015, 04:09 PM   #8
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Raj, have you looked under the "Classifieds" section of this page? There are a couple of Parkliners for sale, and of course, the Lil Snoozy factory isn't that far away either.
Dave & Paula
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:09 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=As another alternative, there are companies and a few individuals that rent FGRV's you might try that first ...QUOTE]

I agree maybe rent one first to see if you really like it first.
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Old 04-30-2015, 07:33 PM   #10
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Raj,

You have the first ingredient, a nice wife, some one to share the adventure with.
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Old 04-30-2015, 07:57 PM   #11
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Be sure to follow Norm's advice. He not only adores his wife and lets us all know it, he is the guy to ask for trailer advice as he and his wife have been FGRVing for a looonnnnggg time!

While I do not have personal experience with renting FGRVs I found a few rental places in California. Where in California are you located?

Dan Ludovina
Located in Woodland, CA
Phone: (530) 219 - 2421
or email at dan@danstrailers.com
DansTrailers.com

Happier Camper
HappierCamper.com
rentals@happiercamper.com CALL: (470) 222-6728
We are located in Sunny Silverlake, Los Angeles at:
2756 Clearwater St, LA, CA, 90039
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Old 04-30-2015, 08:16 PM   #12
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Raj loves in Florida
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Old 04-30-2015, 10:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Raj loves in Florida
And he LIVES there to.
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:42 AM   #14
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How much HANDY ???

Raj, maybe this already came up, but I think it would be good to point out that this forum looks to be mostly populated by people who are handy and take on a lot of projects. I am sure that a new, or a well maintained FGRV will provide many years of enjoyment without any complicated repair or maintenance. Unless there is an emergency, whatever is needed can be entrusted to some RV repair shop. Here we have something with wheels that we can still work on, modify, improve, many times not out of necessity, but because we enjoy doing it and may be proud of the results, and love to help others. I believe we are a small part of the population and most people simply enjoy using their trailers without regard to how "handy" they might be. Go for it!
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