Purchasing Advice - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-09-2007, 04:57 PM   #1
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First of all, I have found this to be a very helpful forum... I am still researching but am very close to purchasing a fiberglass RV... my question at this point is: What make/model/year should I be shopping if my parameters are:

Price max... $3500-4000
Need a bathroom with shower
Tow vehicle is 3500lb max Kia Sorento with full tow package and type III hitch... 4 wire connector
Need a queen sized bed
Would love it to sleep 4

So what am I looking for? Thanks folks...

Rick
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:14 PM   #2
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
First of all, I have found this to be a very helpful forum... I am still researching but am very close to purchasing a fiberglass RV... my question at this point is: What make/model/year should I be shopping if my parameters are:

Price max... $3500-4000
Need a bathroom with shower
Tow vehicle is 3500lb max Kia Sorento with full tow package and type III hitch... 4 wire connector
Need a queen sized bed
Would love it to sleep 4

So what am I looking for? Thanks folks...

Rick
I think Jack is right.You are asking alot for $3500 to $4000.Up here in Canada a good 13ft Boler goes for more than that.I beleive any 17ft unit will let you sleep four depending on floor plan but a queen size bed might be out range.Good luck in your search.If you luck out let us all know.
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:29 PM   #4
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I was thinking that Jack was being pessimistic, until I noticed the "queen bed" item. A Boler B1700 really does fit, except for the bed size (it has two, each potentially wide enough for two people, but certainly not Queen sized).

For a 17 foot Boler to fit otherwise, here are the other conditions I have thought of:
  • at this price, it's half the typical price for a B1700, so you need a desperate seller or a fixer-upper trailer
  • the Sorento may need a weight-distributing hitch system to avoid rear axle overload (total weight and hitch weight are likely okay)
  • the Sorento also needs a wiring upgrade to accommodate an electric brake controller
The B1700 (and similar but much rarer Trillium 5500) are much more common in Canada than in the U.S. I suspect that there, you are looking for other 17' trailers, such as a widebody 17' Burro... but still none will have even one Queen bed and the price is still a killer.

Larger Bigfoot models would fit except that they are too heavy for the Sorento. The Sorento is on the short wheelbase side even for a 17 foot trailer, although other members of this forum have pulled 17 foot trailers with vehicles of similar wheelbase.

Perhaps a Scamp 16' with bathroom, custom bed layout... and a tent for the extra two people?
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:59 PM   #5
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First of all, I have found this to be a very helpful forum... I am still researching but am very close to purchasing a fiberglass RV... my question at this point is: What make/model/year should I be shopping if my parameters are:

Price max... $3500-4000
Need a bathroom with shower
Tow vehicle is 3500lb max Kia Sorento with full tow package and type III hitch... 4 wire connector
Need a queen sized bed
Would love it to sleep 4

So what am I looking for? Thanks folks...

Rick
Welcome to the forum Rick, you've come to the right place to do your research, good luck on your hunt.

Based on your requirements and price range, you are definitely looking for a older, privately sold unit, and probably from someone who is not active on the internet. I say that since anyone who has half a mind and can get on e-bay will have long noticed the grossly inflated prices and will expect that theirs should list accordingly.

If you're hoping to sleep 4 adults (12 yrs or older), you'd better look for something 16' or better. If it's 2 adults and two young'uns, a 13'er is a close, cozy fit. (My guess is with a 13', Mom & Dad'll sleep in the Trailer, and Sissy & Jr. could get to camp in the tent.)

Grab all the "Shopper-dropper" Classifieds you can find and start hunting locally. Also, keep a sharp eye out for any FGRV's with "4Sale by Owner" signs in your local travels. Always expect a sizeable mark-up from any Dealer, and please don't be dismayed when you find advertised "cream-puffs" turning out to be "burnt biscuits". Clean n' snazzy, tip-top shape FGRV's just don't come with $3K pricetags. You can find deals, but do expect to add some "sweat-equity" to your purchase.

Here's something my Dad taught me...ALWAYS carry cash with you when you go to "kick tires"(or in this case, "slam cabnet doors"). Carry ONLY the maximum amount you're willing to spend.

If you find something you like, offer cash, (not the whole wad), on the spot. Use your own judgement, but if you make a serious offer & show cash, the seller WILL think twice about taking your offer. If the seller refuses even the full amount you're willing to spend, at least you can walk away knowing you did your best to drive a deal... it's the seller who'll have to live with the image of a big'ole wad of cash walking out the door. It's the old adage..."Money talks...Cash talks the loudest.

I guessing that since you're in Colorado, you'll find more Scamp's in your area since they're made in Minnesota, however that's just due to proximity. No doubt all makes of FGRV's are in your area, some are looking for a good home right now. I'm biased toward Scamps cuz' it's the only FG trailer I've ever owned. I LOVE MINE!

One other tip...You're shopping at the peak camping season right now....RV's sell cheaper in the fall and winter months. Best bet is to hold off & buy after labor day.

I think you'll find a good bargain, if you work at it. And if I can impart a bit of what lead me to buy a FG Trailer it'd be this... Patience & LUCK!

You'll probably find your Trailer the next block over, in a overgrown backyard, disused and forgotten. The owner will be one who inherited it, has no attachment to it, and would be happy if you just "hauled that hunk of junk outta the yard cuz' Wheel of Fortune is comin' on n' I gotta get inside." Followed by "YOU KIDS GET OUTTA THERE...THIS MAN'S GONNA HAUL THAT THING AWAY!!!"

Heck...he might be willing to pay YOU for your trouble.

Good Luck,
ConwayBob
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:26 PM   #6
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Just for clarification... a typical 13' "egg" will sleep four, with two in the converted dinette, one in the front sofa/gaucho, and one above the gaucho in the bunk but there will be no bathroom at all. Or you can have the bathroom, but no gaucho. See the Scamp, Casita, and Trillium websites for this classic 13' floorplan, which also applies to the Boler 1300 model.

I agree with Bob... to get most of the desired features, you're looking for a 16' or larger trailer. Most of the 16' and 17' designs are within the Sorento's likely towing capability.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:44 AM   #7
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From your description and the question, I would suggest that you go to your local RV sellers and present them with the same criteria. Get a feel for cost, size, and weight. Don't be surprised at the costs and what is available in size and weight for your tow vehicle. You may have to prioritize your requirements to give/take on them. A lot of what you are looking for will require floor space. The very largest pop-up camper may suffice better for your needs of the open floor space. But do figure, that the privacy your would expect will not be available in a trailer size your tow vehicle could handle.

What you will find is the lack of information of the RV dealers on the fiberglass campers. Many fiberglass camper mfrs don't sell through dealers, but a network or themselves. They all have their own websites, so visit them and review the floor plans and technical specifications. Then, you may be able to locate an older model rather than new in your price range. Scamp, Casita, Trillium, Escape are the top ones I can remember. Googling the name should provide you their website.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:46 AM   #8
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Scamp, Casita, Trillium, Escape are the top ones I can remember. Googling the name should provide you their website.
For links to new trailer manufacturers, check out the Helpful-Links page in the left nav bar:
Current Fiberglass Trailer Manufacturers
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:44 PM   #9
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I just found this site, and this topic is right on the mark for me. I've been eyeballing these fiberglass trailers for ever. I used to have a traditional trailer, 22 foot, and pulled it with a Suburban. I bought it used so I didn't have a lot of money tied up in it to feel we needed to be camping every weekend to get our money's worth, and we had a great time taking 3-4 trips a year. It was so heavy though, killer on gas mileage, and then I had to re-caulk the whole roof, what a pain that was.

I had always seen Scamps and Burros and others that don't have the seam along the roof that can leak and it made so much sense. I poked my head inside a Casita at a rest stop and it was very nice. Smaller then what I was used to and lower ceiling, but that is fine as I really plan to use it like someone else said on this website, like a big heavy tent with a refrigerator. When I grew up camping with my parents, we slept outside, cooked and ate outside, and only my mother used the bathroom and shower. My brothers and I used the local facilities or a tree. However, if it got cold or rained, we had a place to get out of the weather and get warm.

So I'd like to get one of these cool fiberglass trailers, and here are my questions. First off I know of one that has been sitting in a driveway in my neighborhood for the past 15 years and has not moved. I can't tell what make or model it is, but it looks like a Scamp or Burro to me, very round and is one of the shorter models from what I can tell. Obviously it will need some major TLC, but what kind of damage and/or decay is expected from this kind of neglect? I would think that the fiberglass, if not cracked before it was parked, should be OK, or not? I really want a bathroom and shower, and I have no idea what this has, so my question is how hard is it to reconfigure these trailers if I can get this thing for cheap?

Ideally I'd like to have a double bed, kitchen and a bathroom/shower. It would be nice to be able to sleep 2 more in a pinch if it's cold or raining, otherwise they'd be outside in a tent.

So should I try to make an offer on this old one in the driveway that's been sitting for so long, or look for something used via this website? I'm pretty handy and can do mechanical and woodworking to repair it, but I don't want something that may be beyond repair from decay.

Send me an email if you want to reply directly.

Thanks,

Rye
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:55 PM   #10
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So I'd like to get one of these cool fiberglass trailers, and here are my questions. First off I know of one that has been sitting in a driveway in my neighborhood for the past 15 years and has not moved. I can't tell what make or model it is, but it looks like a Scamp or Burro to me, very round and is one of the shorter models from what I can tell. Obviously it will need some major TLC, but what kind of damage and/or decay is expected from this kind of neglect? I would think that the fiberglass, if not cracked before it was parked, should be OK, or not?
The only thing I have to contribute is that if it's been sitting in a driveway for 15 years, then I'd bet the owner doesn't want to sell it. These trailers are so in demand that one of them sitting in view of the road will be the subject of a steady stream of buyers looking to score a good deal. So, that gives you a potential advantage. You should consider the various scenarios that have the trailer sitting there, unused but still sitting. Is it a widower who's holding on to it for sentimental reasons? Is it someone who thinks it really is worth far more than anyone would reasonably pay? etc...

If you can walk in there prepared to pay a reasonable sum of money right there on the spot, you might just get it. But be prepared to be turned away.

Side bar: there's a fairly busy highway south of Calgary along which are farm yards... One of these farm yards had a rare old vehicle sitting in the yard for years. My parents live down that highway so I travel it with relative frequency. Once, years back, this old vehicle got a new spray painted message "NOT FOR SALE". Suddenly, "NOT FOR SALE" became a landmark. "go down 22x, turn left 2 miles after 'NOT FOR SALE', go another 3 miles ... blah blah blah". Another couple of years later, the paint was changed, clearly by some jokers to "POT FOR SALE" and that was the end of the landmark. It was moved elsewhere in the farm yard.

Don't get your hopes up. It's probably sitting there for a reason.
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Old 07-12-2007, 05:22 PM   #11
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The only thing I have to contribute is that if it's been sitting in a driveway for 15 years, then I'd bet the owner doesn't want to sell it. These trailers are so in demand that one of them sitting in view of the road will be the subject of a steady stream of buyers looking to score a good deal. So, that gives you a potential advantage. You should consider the various scenarios that have the trailer sitting there, unused but still sitting. Is it a widower who's holding on to it for sentimental reasons? Is it someone who thinks it really is worth far more than anyone would reasonably pay? etc...

If you can walk in there prepared to pay a reasonable sum of money right there on the spot, you might just get it. But be prepared to be turned away.

Side bar: there's a fairly busy highway south of Calgary along which are farm yards... One of these farm yards had a rare old vehicle sitting in the yard for years. My parents live down that highway so I travel it with relative frequency. Once, years back, this old vehicle got a new spray painted message "NOT FOR SALE". Suddenly, "NOT FOR SALE" became a landmark. "go down 22x, turn left 2 miles after 'NOT FOR SALE', go another 3 miles ... blah blah blah". Another couple of years later, the paint was changed, clearly by some jokers to "POT FOR SALE" and that was the end of the landmark. It was moved elsewhere in the farm yard.

Don't get your hopes up. It's probably sitting there for a reason.
I appreciate your feedback, but for this particular one, it's WAY off the beat and path. I live up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and this is on a dead end street which I lived on for 11 years and now live a few miles away, but my ex wife is still there. These are all 1-2 acre lots so it's not like we even saw each other, and then she turned out to be kind of wacko in general. A widow and kind of reclusive, her own kids don't even come by. I'm thinking if I go up, or have a local neighbor she might know, and offer to buy it she may jump at it. I just want to know if there is some inherent problems I need to look for or what? Would is a good price for something that hasn't moved in 15 years?

Rye
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