Quality Construction/Materials - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-18-2009, 11:27 AM   #1
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Greetings! Our family is considering a move from a 1967 Airstream Caravel, 17', to a fiberglass RV. Why? We are having difficulty comfortably sleeping 2 adults and 2 children (7 & 9, and not getting any smaller) in two beds that are less than doubles in size (74X44). Manufacturers that I am most familiar with are Scamp, Casita, Escape and Oliver. I can rule out the Casita (due to carpeted headliner) and Oliver (really nice... too nice for kid camping, maybe in a few years when they're no longer interested in camping with their parents). This leaves Scamp vs. Escape. Both seem to have some sort of bunk option. Any thoughts on quality of construction and materials between the two? Any other suggestions? I truly dislike disposable junk. In the end, I'd just as soon spend a few extra dollars upfront and get a good quality trailer. Thanks in advance for your advice!
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:55 AM   #2
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Well FIRSTLY, to our site!
Being bias AND Canadian (does that mean two strikes against me...?) I can attest to the quality of the Escape line of trailer(s) including their new 'Grown Up Size' one. Their attention to quality, fit an finish seems to be second to none. Their super customer service and attention to details is also outstanding. It seems they are willing to (almost) custom design/build one especially for you. Problem you MAY have is a nice planned trip to B.C. to tour their plant and hospitality!!!! Other Escape owners on this site are REPETE customers, so THAT must speak something to Escapes quality!
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:41 PM   #3
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Something worth noting is that modern Scamp trailers use a fuzzy, carpet-like marine fabric on their walls and ceilings. I have this on my Scamp and have found it very easy to keep clean and that it's nice to have the walls covered in stuff that reduces wet condensation on the walls of the trailer. It was one of the things I initially didn't like in our trailer, but over the years I've kind of come to like it.

As for durability, I think fiberglass as a building material very much lends itself to the construction of a durable product. I've looked at quite a few recent-model fiberglass trailers, and have to say I think all of them are built to last, a fact borne out by the generally good condition of the many 20-year-old FGRVs that show up at FGRV gatherings and events.

I particularly like the Escape trailers that Doug recommended. I've been very impressed by how well built and thought out they are, and I've used some of the ideas Reace at Escape incorporated into his 5th wheel trailer design into the internal remodel of our Scamp 5th wheel. If I didn't already have a trailer that I've been making little changes to other over the last few years, I'd most likely buy an Escape 5er.

The main thing, in my opinion, is the floor plan. A functional floor plan that meets your needs trumps pretty much all other considerations in a new or recently built trailer that doesn't have several years of wear-and-tear. So if I found two trailers that both met my needs and one was an Escape, I'd be willing to pay extra for Escape quality, but I am not so impressed that I'd turn my nose up at the other trailer if I felt the floor plan and accessories were better suited my needs and lifestyle.
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:43 PM   #4
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Agree with PeterH.

We got the Scamp 5er. There were several reasons that, IMHO, trumped whatever the quality difference was...
1) I simply did not like the nose on the Escape loft. The slope didnt appeal to me... they are small enough upstairs without having a sloping roof
2) Price / including the foreign exchange issue / and having to import to US.
3) **IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT** of any major legal issues, at least I am dealing with an American company - and I am not a foreigner.
4) Scamp has a nearly 35+ year track record since they started producing on their own. (1973??). While Reese is WONDERFUL and has tons of previous industry experience, Scamp got that nod.

Offsetting those reasons for going SCAMP were a generally more favorable perception of Escape quality. But it was not enough to overcome the other issues.

Or, perhaps I just wanted a Scamp and justified it! LOL.


Edited to add that were I NOT getting the 5er, I would much more seriously consider Escape. I love the new one. But, we really wanted and are happy with the 5th, and my decision really was specific to the 5th.
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Old 03-18-2009, 03:01 PM   #5
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Some construction differences to ponder might be, Oliver composite floor, no wood, no rivets. Scamp has rivets and belly band seam. Escape, no rivets, single mold construction, no belly band seam. Escape has holes in the floor for water to escape in case of water intrusion. Good luck on your hunt.
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:15 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the replies and advice! You've all given me some great "things" to consider. I'll keep you posted on my progress. In the meantime, if anyone else cares to contribute I'm happy to read what you've got to add.

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Old 03-18-2009, 08:47 PM   #7
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Some construction differences to ponder might be... Escape, [b]no rivets, [b]single mold construction, no belly band seam...
Actually, it looks to me like the Escape has both a two-piece mold and a belly-band seam (and maybe rivets holding on the belly band?). That said, I think the halves on most eggs are fiberglassed together, so I don't see a trailer being built in two halves as being a quality issue.

I would be interested to know how the belly band was attached, since they can cause issues down the line, but I wouldn't consider it to be a lower quality feature in and of itself.

The 13' Escape looks to me like it might be made from (modified?) Trillium molds. They were made in two horizontal halves (i.e. top and bottom).

Raya


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Old 03-18-2009, 09:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Scamp has rivets and belly band seam. Escape, no rivets, single mold construction, no belly band seam.
Not exactly true.

Scamp molds the upper and lower halves separately, removes the body halves from the molds, and joins them after they're out of the mold, using a lip and aluminum belly band. Then they glass over the interior seam, unitizing the body.

Escape molds the upper and lower halves separately, joins the molds together and [b]joins the body halves and unitize it inside the molds! THEN they remove the upper half of the mold, and lift the already joined body out of the lower mold. They place a trim band with soft insert over the outside of the flush (no lip) seam.

Fiber Stream was the only [b]truly seamless, one piece body.

Scamp & Escape are widest at the belly area, tapering inward toward both the roof and the floor.

Fiber Stream was widest at the floor, and has a straight taper inward toward the roof.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:39 PM   #9
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If you've already ruled out Casita & Oliver, look at Scamp.
My aunt and uncle loved their Scamp, towed it for 15 years around the Midwest. It's a tough, unique trailer to love and enjoy.

If a new trailer is in your plans, take the time to explore the wonderful Lake District around the Scamp plant. So many parks, so little time.... My great home state.



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Old 03-19-2009, 12:11 AM   #10
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3) **IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT** of any major legal issues, at least I am dealing with an American company - and I am not a foreigner.
Things may have changed since you bought:

Reace announced here in Sept. 2008

"Escape Trailer Industries Ltd (ETI), of Chilliwack, B.C. and Trillium RV Ltd. (TRV), of Carson City, NV are excited to announce a strategic alliance between the two companies covering; manufacturing, sales & marketing. All manufacturing of the Trillium trailer's is being transferred to the Escape factory in Chilliwack."

Maybe Reace or Tom can pipe in and comment.

Edited to fix link
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:35 AM   #11
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steve,

Here is the info direct from the escape company owner, pop's out of the mold molded as one.
Here

I have photos of a scamp owner that had a bellyband leak and the water ran down the inside wall and rotted the floor out. Leak was hidden behind the ratfur if you were interesed in seeing how the two Scamp half's are bonded together. Take care.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:48 PM   #12
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Here is the info direct from the escape company owner, pop's out of the mold [b]molded as one.
Here

I have photos of a scamp owner that had a bellyband leak and the water ran down the inside wall and rotted the floor out. Leak was hidden behind the ratfur [b]if you were interesed in seeing how the two Scamp half's are bonded together. Take care.
Just to clarify, I don't think the Escape is molded as one piece. I understand it to be molded in two halves, but then the halves are seamed together (with fiberglass) before the halves are "de-molded." I don't know that that would necessarily be stronger, but I could see where good fit-and-finish would be easier to achieve (and they are very well made, from what I read).

The belly band seam on a Boler/clone could be compromised, but I wouldn't normally expect it to leak*. The two halves are fiberglass seamed together (like the Escape), with the difference as I understand it being that they were seamed together after removal from the molds. That said, I could imagine quality-control being a bit spottier, as it seems they were built to be more affordable, and were also built at a number of different plants.

By the way, I don't mean to sound defensive about the Bolers (since I own one); I just want to see that people are judging based on the correct information.

Ken, I would be interested in seeing how the Scamp's halves are bonded together to see how they compare to the Boler.

Raya

*A member here did just find a seam leak in a Boler/clone, but you could clearly see that at some point two odd (no apparent purpose) holes had been drilled through the seam. I don't believe that would be typical. The rivets on a Boler/clone belly band do not penetrate the fiberglass seam by design (they go perpendicular to the ground and only through outer lips, and the holes in question were made by something going parallel to the ground and into the trailer.
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:07 PM   #13
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Hi Steve
You don't qualify why you rule out the carpeted headliner????
Our Boler is 25 years old and the carpeted areas [walls and ceiling] are as good as when they were brand new. It makes great insulation and doesn't sweat. We can clean it with a shop vac or use a carpet cleaner if it gets a spot somewhere. Casita is too good a product to ignore it because of a superior headliner material.

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Old 03-19-2009, 10:19 PM   #14
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As Roy mentioned, Trillium is in your backyard. Also there's the Eggcamper, made in Michigan, and they're good quality with fiberglass gelcoat interior (no carpet or fur). You have plenty of options! Look at 'em all, get the one you like the best. Don't worry too much about quality, all the ones that have been mentioned so far in the thread are good.
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