What about the Burro? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 11-23-2005, 04:09 PM   #1
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Any views on the burro vs scamp vs escape??

seems like they are all hard to find used....except perhaps the scamp??

Jim in Tacoma

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Old 11-23-2005, 04:23 PM   #2
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Burro and Scamp are USA Made.Escape is a Canadian unit.Escape is new and therefore not many second hand ones around.


Just a note.Burros are no longer made.

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Old 11-23-2005, 06:58 PM   #3
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Burros are notorious for having rotted out floors which are a major problem to fix. I have one, I am putting in many hours of hard work as are a number of other members on this site. If you are looking at a Burro, make very sure the floor is not rotten. It appears the doors were the main culprit. They were poorly designed in my opinion. Other than that, you will have to ask others about the other brands you mentioned.

Many of these small light trailers also have weak frames, either from partially under engineered in the first place, or fatigue through the years. And some from being loaded to heavy with extras on the tongue.

BE CAREFUL what you buy.

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Old 11-23-2005, 09:29 PM   #4
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Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
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Each brand and model of trailer, just like each brand and model of car wil have a point of annoyance as it ages. If you are a loyalist to models, and buy more than one, you learn what to look for in the aging process before you buy. I used to do road rallies in Opel Mantas, and I learned very quickly with each car I bought that you will have to replace the carbs and move the battery to the trunk due to dumb positoning in the wheel well and the effects of acid over time. Older Honda owners know thier timing belts are a ticking time bomb after 60k miles or so. Road worn design flaws, one and all.

Burros will most likely ALL have to have thier frame repaired at the famous A bend and I have heard tales of woe about the floors, but my 1980 seems to be OK. The doors also have a reputation for flying off in motion due to the latching scheme and hinge mounting. Keeping the door locked in tow seems to prevent the door from becoming unlatched, but the hinge mounts will no doubt need re-enforcemnt eventully.

I have done my frame, hinges and I believe the former owner did the floor, but I can't tell. He did weld a re-enforcemnt bar under the step in, so that might indicate he had problems at one time. I put down a new floor covering and it all looked beefy and fine except for up front where there had been a leak, but it wasn't bad enough to tear out. I just dried it for a day. No soft spots. The underside looks resin coated and is always dry.

The rear seat of the dinnette is a temendous waste of space, the cubbies are not really big enough for a lot of items, and they are hard to get to. See my Table update post for one way to get around this.

Table arrangement

This mod is best suited to solo travelers or couples, it probably would not suit families.

Now.. the very positive aspects of a Burro. The double shell. Makes it weightier, but it also can be insulated, or they came from the factory that way too. I have appreciated my extra R factor in both below freezing temps and in high heat.

The inside shell also makes all the furniture and cabinets. The good part of that.. no rivets! The bad part.. everything stays put. You won't be doing any major cut outs or mods as the inside shell also provides structural balance.

Since the insulation is in between the shells, there is no need for wall coverings.. ensolite or rat fur. This gives the interior a smooth white finish. Some folks like it, some would rather have a less bright interior, but you can paint if the white does not suit your mood. I like mine white tho. VERY easy to clean, a simple wipe down.. walla. Makes the space seem bigger than other 13 footers I have been in as well.

You can actually screw small things into the inside walls, no rivetts needed for hanging pics or things which are not heavy, like thermostats, smoke alarms, or lighting.

The fuzzy shag carpert Burro installed to cover the inside center seam does not appeal to me at all, but most of them I have seen have had thiers replaced with some other "Hider". Laurens is a nice wood strip, I think door skins, and mine is a plastic shower enclosure material, so I have a complately white ceiling too.

With no rivets, the leak factor is almost eliminated, the windows, rock guard mounts and door and roof vent being about the only places for sneaky water to get in. (This of course will vary with the outside accessories you have strapped to your rig like and awning, or antenneas etc.)

No rivets also means nothing shakes loose over time.

U Hauls are almost identical in contruction to the Burro, tho the frame was better made and designed.

I am sure each trailer has it's strong point the others don't have. Read these threads and see!
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Old 11-23-2005, 10:35 PM   #5
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Trailer: 2000 Burro 17 ft Widebody towed by Touareg TDI
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As far as the Burro (and probably others) are concerned, it depends somewhat on the vintage too. Despite their well-known managerial problems, Burro was able to come up with some improvements. In the late so-called "Anniversary" or wide-body models they changed the door to a flat, standard RV door, eliminating the exposed hinges and other problems. The floor on mine is a full 3/4 inch thick good-quality plywood with thick fiberglassing on both sides.

Such floors are most vulnerable where they are penetrated by screws and such and along the edges, although the outer shell wraps around the edges on mine.

The frame on mine is a full 2" by 4" box section with double reinforcing gussets at the bends to the tongue. Maybe bad experiences forced them to confront the problem head on.
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Old 11-24-2005, 08:43 AM   #6
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I may also add..........if you enjoy working on your trailer, then an older model is fun. If you just want to use it, and clean it, do not buy old, buy newer. I enjoy working on mine but after the hundreds of hours and $$ I will have put into it, I could have purchased a much newer turn key trailer. One thing for sure, if you buy old, you end up knowing every inch of your rig. Any problem you may encounter, can be solved by asking the forum members their advise.
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Old 11-24-2005, 09:13 AM   #7
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Trailer: Scamp
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I have to agree with knowing every inch of your trailer when you get an older one, completely gutted my Scamp last winter, was only able to get out Oct 1st for our first trip. Not done yet, the front bench has to be put back in, the kitchenette and closet needs to be finished along with the rest of the flooring. Still we have enjoyed the one trip we have taken and enjoyed the many hours we put into the camper. Will have to get some photos up soon.
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Old 11-24-2005, 09:23 AM   #8
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U Hauls are almost identical in contruction to the Burro, tho the frame was better made and designed.
Not only is the UHaul frame much stronger; the door, lock and hinges are beefier, too. And the floors are sandwiched in fiberglass to prevent rotting. In effect, UHauls are industrial-strength Burros.
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Old 11-24-2005, 10:01 AM   #9
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My 1982, 13' Burro also had sandwiched plywood, between fiberglass. The fiberglass did not fail, but the edge of the plywood, where exposed to the entrance door area, must have not been thought out well as that is where years of rain water poured in and literally ate out 1/3 of the plywood floor. So, I ended up with a floor 2/3 still intact with nice looking fiberglass but airspace in-between 1/3 of it! Thank goodness the bottom of the fiberglass floor which is exposed to the weather and road conditions is intact.

When I bought my Burro, the previous owner had already cut the tongue off and set the trailer onto a custom well built frame that does not resemble that of what was originally there. He used 14" wheels and electronic brakes as well. The new tongue not only has the angled pieces heading toward the hitch but an approximately 3" 1/2 x 3" 1/2 heavy square stock member going from the tongue to the back end of the trailer. Mucho Macho.

I guess my point is that the original frame must have not been worthy at least for his needs.
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Old 11-24-2005, 11:40 AM   #10
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I had an '87 Burro widebody 17'. In my humble opinion, as long as you check the things you need to check on ANY fiberglass RV, you can't go wrong with a Burro. Burro has some unique features not offered by most of the other manufacturers like the double-wall construction with insulation between. They tend to be stronger because of their construction, although a single-shell trailer can be just as strong depending on the support offered by the interior built-ins. Their frames are as strong as the run-of-the-mill fiberglass trailer, the exception being UHaul's stronger and heavier design. Other than that, everything is pretty much the same off-the-shelf components you'll find in any similar trailer of any brand.

The floor issues can be found in any fiberglass RV that has leaks whether the floor is sandwiched in fiberglass or not. The problem comes with the enclosed floors as they're more difficult to replace because you have two layers of glass to contend with as well as the wood. They may also be more difficult to diagnose with floor rot because you can't see the wood as readily.

If you do your homework, and you know what you're getting into before you buy it, you won't be disappointed with a Burro.

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Old 11-24-2005, 12:02 PM   #11
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Trailer: 1992 Kustom Koach 17 FT
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Here is the buyers check list which can be found on the home page.
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Old 11-24-2005, 12:20 PM   #12
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I am no handyman, which is why my wife and I bought a newer model fiberglass trailer. I've had to replace a few things, but by and large it is like new, and I hope for it to stay as problem-free as possible.

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