Maintenance Required? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-08-2008, 08:51 PM   #1
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Lalah and I are again thinking about buying a fiberglass trailer. We have had our little "Stickie" for a couple of years and have had a lot of fun with it, but the maintenance overhead is kinda' high. So---we are again considering our options. I am kinda' leaning toward the Escape, but we will be looking at all of them again.

Here is my question: what is the typical maintenance you do you your FB Rv? I think the Casitas might have problems with popping rivets and gel coat cracks. Is this so? Is it a problem with the other FB Rv's?

What do you generally have to do to keep your rv in shape? I would really appreciate any discussion of what your particular rv is and how you keep it in shape.

Our little aluminum sided rv has problems because the aluminum siding seems to inhale any stains around: rosin from our Pondersa pines, any little trickel of water tha flows off the top, and the number of dings and dints is astonishing! I am going to have to recaulk around all the lights (wonder why we never have to do this on our autos?).

I am hoping that the maintenance with a fiberglass will be less. Not so?
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:08 PM   #2
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I have had a number of FG units. All i have done to the outside is clean and polish. The inside the same thing. As for stove , heaters , furnace , fridge , wheelbearings , etc , its the same as a sticky.
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:48 PM   #3
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Many of the owners on this site have trailers that are 25 years old and more. They seem to last longer than the stick built kind and can be totaly rebuilt a lot easier. My Boler was made in 1984. The previous owner had painted it and we are now changing the colour after owning it since 1994 with only what I would call standard maintenance that I would do with any type of trailer. Keep it neat, keep it clean and look after the mechanical parts and it's virtually trouble free. Now for the real" kikker". It is still worth has about the same resale value now as when we bought it back then. That's almost like having it for free for 14 years. Say that about a sticky.
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:49 PM   #4
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Rivets popping can happen on any of the eggs that use rivets, including Boler, Casita, Scamp. They are not a major problem, replaceable easily with an inexpensive rivet tool if need be. They are usually the result of rough treatment. I've really bashed my Scamp 13' around (taking it up on all the good and not-so-good roads to Alaska and on gravel and dirt roads all over the US) and have only broken three or four. The Jayco 16' I had before the Scamp would not have lasted...

The fiberglass shell really beats heck out of roof leaks, delamination, rotted wall studs, etc., that are common with stickies -- The big advantage molded FG has over the stickies is that there are no joint seams to separate and leak. Lots of rigs from the '70s are still rolling around in good shape!
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Many of the owners on this site have trailers that are 25 years old and more.
My Fiber Stream is an "Orphan", no longer manufactured. Most of what I do as "maintenance" is actually repairing neglect from previous owners as the symptoms crop up in the present time. Over time, as I catch up with problems, the actual repetitive maintenance becomes less and less. I completely wash and wax the exterior (including the roof) at least twice a year. I probe the snap-caps for tightness and remove and recaulk and tighten as necessary. I check for water in the battery and proper air pressure in the tires. If it hasn't been traveling for a while, I bring the battery home and recharge it before a trip. Once every other year I have the wheel bearings repacked and the brakes inspected.
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Old 03-09-2008, 07:35 AM   #6
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Our little aluminum sided rv has problems because the aluminum siding seems to inhale any stains around: rosin from our Pondersa pines, any little trickel of water tha flows off the top, and the number of dings and dints is astonishing! I am going to have to recaulk around all the lights (wonder why we never have to do this on our autos?).
Fiberglass will stain unless kept wax, getting pitch off the fiberglass would be similar to a stickie. There again waterstains are the same. If the lights are leaking, they need to be pulled off and butyl tape reapplied. Applying caulk on the outside of the light is a temporary fix.
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:51 AM   #7
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Thanks, folks,

Another---probably exceedingly dumb---question just occurred to me: will the roof on an fg unit support my full weight? What do you do when you have to work on the roof?

Art
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:58 AM   #8
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Well, Art... are you larger than a breadbox but smaller than an elephant?

Tough question, and one that varies from unit to unit. The early Bolers wouldn't support your weight at all, but fortunately they're short enough that you can reach anywhere on the roof from a short stepladder. The Scamp 16' I had would probably have supported my 195lbs, but again a stepladder was all I needed to reach anywhere up there. My Bigfoot trailer will definitely hold my weight, and I can walk anywhere on the roof. The bottom line? Maybe, depending on the specific trailer (not necessarily brand as many early trailers of each brand had little or no roof reinforcement) you're looking at.

So... without actually answering your question, I hope I answered it.

Roger
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:20 AM   #9
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This is not direct trailer experience but it does relate to fiberglass two shells trailer construction. I bought a new 9.5 Bigfoot Camper in 1995 for $16K and sold it this year for $13.5K. That is an excellent resale for 13 years old camper. I gave it a good polish before the sale and it looked like new. The only problem I had was gravel related paint damage on the jacks so I repainted them before sale. I had no leaks, cracks, nor permanent discoloration.

I think that fiberglass construction is well proven in the boating industry. The beating boats get slamming waves at speed is a good proof for robustness of the fiberglass two shell constructions. So, I am getting another Bigfoot, this time the trailer.

George.
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Old 03-09-2008, 05:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Will the roof on an fg unit support my full weight? What do you do when you have to work on the roof?
Quote:
Well, ... are you larger than a breadbox but [b]smaller than an elephant?
Me? Um, baby elephant? er, ah, um... <sub>no</sub>
My Fiber Stream has wood framed partition walls between the main salon and the kitchen, and between the kitchen and the bathroom. They serve to support the roof from below.

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It also has 4 molded-in fiberglass ribs to strengthen the roof structure. They support the roof from above.

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I get my <sub>205</sub> pounds up there on my hands and knees when I wax the roof and probe the sealed screws.
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