I can hardly contain myself! - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-07-2009, 06:44 PM   #15
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Just my opinion, but if you aren't prepared to do a lot of work yourself, it might be a costly mistake to buy an older rig with problems -- Having someone else do the work, esp on older rigs with potential parts problems, can turn out to be very expensive -- Makes more sense to look for a rig in good shape.

The exception here is that any older rig with torsion suspension is likely to need a new axle, so that should be automatically budgeted unless the axle has recently been replaced.

Monica. When we first wanted to get one, we started visiting any listing that was within easy driving distance, you know, a couple of hundred miles. We saw what we didn't want, since we really did not know about the work that is needed and can be done, with a little patience. Finally, the 'right one' came along and we traveled 500 miles round-trip. Then this year, another one reached out and grabbed us and we made a 1,000 mile round trip to bring that baby home! They are addictive! Right now, i would encourage you to look at all that you can and fine-tune your wants and needs. Use this "shopping time" constructively... V & J
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:08 PM   #16
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Trailer: 2005 16 ft Scamp
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Just my opinion, but if you aren't prepared to do a lot of work yourself, it might be a costly mistake to buy an older rig with problems -- Having someone else do the work, esp on older rigs with potential parts problems, can turn out to be very expensive -- Makes more sense to look for a rig in good shape.

The exception here is that any older rig with torsion suspension is likely to need a new axle, so that should be automatically budgeted unless the axle has recently been replaced.
I really appreciate this advice, but what is "older", I was hoping to get a very late 90's model or newer, seems many are coming up in the 10K range which is what I am prepared to spend. I do not plan on getting anything older than that because of possible repairs needed. Am I thinking reasonably in your opinion?
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:18 PM   #17
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Hi: Monica... Late 90's sure narrows the field a lot!!! Not too many fiberglass Mfg's in business by then...
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:26 AM   #18
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Older is relative -- My Scamp 13' is a 1991 and fits the description -- I'll use Scamp 13' as an example, but much is applicable to other brands and models -- Don't let the list scare you, it would be quite rare to have all or even most of these problems on one used rig unless it was sitting in a field for years with leaks.

If there had been leaks, either from outside or from appliances, there might be something rotted by now, even if the leak had been fixed -- Repairs like this are likely to be one-of-a-kind to a local repair or RV shop, with a learning curve for the techs involved (which will show up in the repair bill, of course.

My original factory axle was only a 1,600 lb'er, which may have been the max Dexter made at the time for this size of axle -- When I had to replace the axle (bearing disintegration permanently damaged the spindle on the original one; shame on me for not doing my basic bearing maintenance!), I had a 2,200 lb-er installed, which is what the current models use (Also the current max by Dexter and, I believe, Al-Ko).

A friend on Yahoo Scampers has a late '80s S13 and his axle is only rubbered for 1,200 lbs, again the apparent max at the time.

Late in the '80s, Scamp changed from ensolite (aka elephant hide) to marine carpet (aka rat fur) over Reflectix insulation as interior wall treatment -- Some ensolite needs repair if it has separated from the fiberglass shell -- Likewise, of course, some rat furs need repair from damage or gluing errors in original construction.

Windows have changed -- Form-wise, the newer sliders look nice with their radiused corners, but function-wise, I prefer the older crankout style -- The newer ones are more likely to have leaked due to lack of drain maintenance.

If the curved door has had a tendency to straighten out, time will have made that a problem.

If handled too roughly over the years, there may be rivets that need replacing.

On some much older brands (early Bolers, the forerunner for Scamp and Casita, comes to mind), there were frame weakness problems resulting in cracks -- Later years, of course, have had these design flaws corrected and likely any you find will have had problem corrected.

A big thing will be that although the egg manfs use standard, off-the-shelf appliances, on an older rig they will be getting near the end of useful life -- Not a big deal for something like fluorescent counter light, but a major problem for something like an RV fridge.

Again, don't let this stuf put you off too badly -- There is a good checklist on this site for inspecting used trailers for problems -- I would learn it so as to identify problems and to sort them into major and minor.

Some brief info on torsion axles -- They come in basic sizes from the manf, and each size has a load range for intended use -- When the axle is assembled at the axle factory, the rubber rods that determine the capacity are cut to length to provide a maximum load capacity within the range of the axle size (in 100 lb intervals; I call this 'rubbering') -- The axles are then assembled using liquid nitrogen to stiffen and shrink the rods; once assembled and back to ambient temperatures, there is no way to repair or replace the rods and those axles whose rubber has finally failed (due to age, chronic overloading, poor storage techniques, etc) must be replaced, which usually involves welding.

The expected life of a torsion axle is along the lines of 15-20 years, so rigs older than that with original axles are candidates for assumed replacement -- You can usually tell by looking at the manf's tag on the axle if it is original or not by the capacity -- Low numbers like 1,200 - 1,600 are likely original.
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