Palomini Fiberglass camper - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-19-2015, 08:49 PM   #29
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I have also looked into a number of trailers with welded-aluminum wall and roof frames with vacuum-laminated panel construction. Unfortunately, there is an intrinsic problem with any design that includes a square corner such as the junction between a paneled wall and roof. The problem is that forces (stress) concentrate at sharp corners. Trailers are subject to many racking forces and this concentration of stress at corners tends to deform or pull apart the joints. This makes it very challenging to seal the corners.

This is a blessing of the molded-fiberglass design. The corners generally have a radius in all planes. So, while fiberglass trailer owners enjoy the seal-less construction of the molded body, we also enjoy the benefits of these lower stresses which allow for lighter and more efficient construction. This principal also applies to openings in the shell such as doorways, window openings, etc. That’s why you usually see a radius at the corners of windows and doors. (The square opening at the bottom of a doorway is generally “braced” by the trailer’s frame.)

My focus when I was researching trailers was the 2,000 to 4,000-pound range. For those that remain intrigued by the concept of a “larger-small-trailer” and are looking for “better” quality construction in a stickie, I suggest looking into anything made by Livin’ Lite, Winnebago’s Micro-Minnie, Gulfstream’s Vista Cruiser, and Venture RV’s Sonic and Sonic Lite lineups. It also looks like Pacific Coachworks Mighty Lite trailers were recently changed to higher-quality construction for 2016.

Mind you, I have not researched these exhaustively, and have not even seen a couple of them “in the flesh”. Construction methods often change over time. Construction methods also sometimes vary for different for models within the same lineup. As with all things, Caveat Emptor, let the buyer beware.
The real problem is that square corners and edges will LEAK and once water gets in, it's "Bob's your Uncle" for unlimited repairs. Many, if not all of the ones you mentioned all have nice square corners & edges. No Thanks.....
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Old 11-19-2015, 09:28 PM   #30
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"Bob's your Uncle"???
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:03 PM   #31
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I'll take a molded fiberglass trailer, hands down, over any other construction method. They are just too practical and low maintenance to shift away from. If I need more room, I'll get a bigger FG trailer. I have not seen anything in the newer models of 'stick built' trailer that I would want to purchase. But there are many owners that love their 'stickies' and good for them if the are camping and making memories. Its nice that there is so much to choose from. Its not which one is 'better', but which one is better for you and your lifestyle.
For me, its fiberglass all the way.
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Old 11-20-2015, 06:17 AM   #32
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"Bob's your Uncle"???

"Cry uncle" = surrender.
You're at the mercy of continual leak repairs.
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Old 11-20-2015, 07:27 AM   #33
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Bigfoot trailers are no longer built since 2008

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You've survived your first attack of 4'-itis!

I did think of you when I saw this ad: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...0-a-72448.html
It would be a fair bit heavier than either your Casita or the PaloMini you were considering and might require a tow vehicle upgrade. Bigfoots are high quality molded fiberglass trailers. I believe the 21'er has a dry bath, a rarity in molded fiberglass, and nice if you will spend long periods in the trailer. You don't see these very often, especially on the East Coast.
:Yep they overstocked and got stuck with a lot of inventory being shipped back to them. So they shut the plant down and are now just starting up with some of the old employees building campers for trucks, you folks in the us called a Camper a canopy and in Canada is just a cover over the box which is called a Canopy with smallish either lift up rear door or full back with door in it but only go either cab level or 6-8" above the Cab.
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Old 11-20-2015, 08:37 AM   #34
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"Bob's Your Uncle"

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"Bob's your Uncle"???
It's British/Canadian for "Easy-Peasy".....

Why do we say 'Bob's your Uncle'? | Learn English
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Old 11-20-2015, 08:44 AM   #35
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Well, I just learned a new one! Sorry to mislead, and thanks for the education!
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:22 AM   #36
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It's British/Canadian for "Easy-Peasy".....

Why do we say 'Bob's your Uncle'? | Learn English
Well this Canadian has never heard/seen that before.

Walt
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:27 AM   #37
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Well, I just learned a new one! Sorry to mislead, and thanks for the correction!
What you said is also true, if you have a sticky you will soon be crying "Uncle" WHEN, (not IF) the leaks start
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Old 11-20-2015, 10:43 AM   #38
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The real problem is that square corners and edges will LEAK and once water gets in, it's "Bob's your Uncle" for unlimited repairs. Many, if not all of the ones you mentioned all have nice square corners & edges. No Thanks.....
Yes, perhaps I should have made it clearer that ALL the units I mentioned have square corners.

If you really want to get in touch with your inner geek, racking forces lead to concentrated stresses (force per unit area) at corners which cause strain (deformation, distortion). When the corners are deformed or distorted, even if the panels don't fail you are totally dependent on the qualities of the gaskets and the "pooky" (jobsite term for caulking and liquid-applied sealants).

Seals and gaskets degrade over time; what doesn't fail immediately will typically fail eventually. Even molded fiberglass trailers require replacement of AC gaskets and other sealing materials periodically. However, any water damage is generally much more limited, and (re)sealing can usually be accomplished much more readily.

This, in a nutshell, is why there are so many people living happily ever in the peaceful land of molded fiberglass trailers. And, thanks to "Uncle Bob" for keeping it simple here! (Sorry Bob, just couldn't resist!)

On the other hand, if I had a carport and was able to keep my rig dry between journeys, I'd be willing to look further into other alternatives. So, maybe that's a good choice for someone else too...
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Old 11-20-2015, 08:58 PM   #39
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I thought "easy-peasy" was Oregonian!
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Old 11-22-2015, 08:54 AM   #40
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To add a little confusion here... fiberglass trailers leak as well, and can be equally damaged as stickies if not properly maintained. Posts on leaks are legion here. The problem isn't that trailers leak, it's that trailer owners fail to maintain them properly.

My last fg trailer was my '06 Bigfoot 25RQ that was essentially maintenance-and-trouble free until 2013. I was cleaning it and got on the roof to find that the sealant used for the through-hulls was checked and cracked and well on its way to leaking... so off to Kramer's Kampers in Chicagoland it went. Pete Kramer had his guys reseal all of the through-hulls on the roof for me, and it should be good for another eight to ten years for its new owner.

There are some amazingly well built "sticky" trailers out there... you just have to be discriminatory while shopping. I bought a holdover '11 mpg 19' in 2012 that used bonded fiberglass panels over aluminum framing. It had a 2700lb curb weight and a 170 lb tongue weight witha 3500lb gvwr. It was one of the best-built travel trailers I've ever owned, period. It was a Heartland rip-off of the R-Pod, but so incredibly much better built as to put Forest River to shame. The top/front/rear was a single sheet of fiberglass. The only seams were the through-hulls and of course where the top and sides joined. I had it for three years and had absolutely no maintenance issues. Annual monitoring of the condition of the seam caulk would ensure that there won't BE any leak issues either. Stickies have come a long way in the past ten years; provided that you're looking at quality construction to begin with.

Born Free mohos are stick-built wood under fiberglass panels, and it amazes me how many are for sale from the '80s in good, usable condition. Having the experience with the Bigfoot roof caulk, I just took the Born Free back to the factory for all of the roof caulk to be removed and replaced as it's nine years old, and it was time.

Most fiberglass trailers should have that done at about the same interval to avoid leaks.

We're no longer in the '70s when all stickies were tin over wood frames that lasted about five years. There are some high-quality stick-built trailers out there that you can expect to see the same kind of life out of them as we see out of molded fiberglass trailers. You just have to look for the construction features that will give them that kind of longevity.
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Old 11-22-2015, 11:29 AM   #41
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Quote: "To add a little confusion here... fiberglass trailers leak as well, and can be equally damaged as stickies if not properly maintained."


I think not. I have been called upon to repair water damage on a number of stick builts, and the damage that a water leak can do to composite or constructed walls is far more than can happen in an FGRVs wall. I have seen entire walls and roofs destroyed in stick builts to the point that repair was not feasible, in short, the water damage totaled the RV.


But.... I think that if both FGRV's and Stick-Builts of almost any age get treated to equal preventive maintenance and care that both "Can" have equally long use lives. However, the reality is that most are not and, when that happens, those with more leakage opportunities will not only have more water damage, that damage will be more destructive to the integrity of the trailer.

You mentioned that you had an RV dealer reseal the roof items on your Bigfoot and I am sure you can tell us what that cost. But if it was a typical sticky of the same age you could easily quadruple that cost to properly reseal the typical 80'-100' of edge seals, a cost most trailers owners will not invest.

Citing what maintenance "Should be done" vs. what is actually done, is an unrealistic method of trying to level the playing field between construction types.
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Old 11-22-2015, 12:26 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Quote: "To add a little confusion here... fiberglass trailers leak as well, and can be equally damaged as stickies if not properly maintained."


I think not. I have been called upon to repair water damage on a number of stick builts, and the damage that a water leak can do to composite or constructed walls is far more than can happen in an FGRVs wall. I have seen entire walls and roofs destroyed in stick builts to the point that repair was not feasible, in short, the water damage totaled the RV.


But.... I think that if both FGRV's and Stick-Builts of almost any age get treated to equal preventive maintenance and care that both "Can" have equally long use lives. However, the reality is that most are not and, when that happens, those with more leakage opportunities will not only have more water damage, that damage will be more destructive to the integrity of the trailer.

You mentioned that you had an RV dealer reseal the roof items on your Bigfoot and I am sure you can tell us what that cost. But if it was a typical sticky of the same age you could easily quadruple that cost to properly reseal the typical 80'-100' of edge seals, a cost most trailers owners will not invest.

Citing what maintenance "Should be done" vs. what is actually done, is an unrealistic method of trying to level the playing field between construction types.
Doing all of the through-hulls on the roof of the Bigfoot 25RQ was about $400, and necessary. And that's a cost that goes with long-term trailer maintenance regardless of brand. I've had to do re-sealing of something on almost all of the eleven molded fiberglass trailers I've owned over the years... and almost a full-on resto on a Scamp 13 that had rivet seals fail.. and on at least some of the half-dozen Airstreams I've owned as well.

And if fiberglass trailers don't have the same issues, why then are there so many that require a frame-off restoration after twenty years because the floors rot through? Airstreams are no different...

My point wasn't that I'm trying to "level the playing field" at all, it's that many folks have an unrealistic view of the true maintenance needs of fiberglass trailers... especially because of posts like yours. They still require maintenance and re-sealing, just not for roof seams.

My point was that if buying new, and knowing what you're looking for, it is entirely possible now to find a "stickie" that will likely have just as long a service life as a molded fiberglass trailer. That wasn't the case just ten or fifteen years ago. I'm seeing new construction with fiberglass capped roofs with a 3" coved edge around the trailer... and much better seam bonding that has been possible in the past, and significantly improved sealants, and more use of torsion axles and aluminum box framing. The demands of the marketplace are leveling the playing field through better construction techniques. That's not taking anything away from molded fiberglass trailers, it's just increasing the new trailer buyer's field of possibilities for long-term ownership, depending on what they're looking for.
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