WI 1988 Bigfoot 17 - Customized for Full Time Boondocking - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-03-2017, 01:56 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Name: Kevin (Ken)
Trailer: Bigfoot 17, 1988
Wisconsin
Posts: 159
1988 Bigfoot 17 - Customized for Full Time Boondocking

Iím selling my 1988 Bigfoot 17 travel trailer. This is a turn-key boondocking setup, extensively renovated and customized for solo full-time living.

This is a thoroughly road-tested setup, ready for off-grid living, complete with virtually every accessory that isnít part of my truck. Also included are spare and extra parts, leftovers of paint, wax, and other stuff needed for maintenance. Iím downsizing my stuff and giving up the trailer life indefinitely, so everything must go.

Due to the unusual nature of this trailer, Iím finding it hard to price. Iím going start out trying to sell it for approximately what I actually spent in cash. The buyer then gets what I consider a very good deal on my design and renovation labor - 6 months of full time work for free. At RV shop labor rates, thatís about $100,000 dollars off!

I bought it for $6500 in 2010. Drawing on decades of home renovation and sculpture experience, I renovated it myself, except for a few tough jobs like aircon installation and new axles/springs/hitch. The initial renovation took about 6 months of full-time work, spread out over a couple of years. I did not keep exacting records, but I spent at least $8000 on materials and a few pro jobs. After that, I lived in it full-time for 3 years. I never paid for campsites or hook-ups, except for a few winter months when I lived in Albuquerque.

Price: $15,000 all inclusive. $14,400 without Honda eu2000 generator.
Location: Madison, Wisconsin


Click Here For Complete Photoset On Flickr

STRUCTURAL RENOVATIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS

- Ikea Beddinge couch & standard twin bed. I removed the standard dinette, gaucho couch and closet to fit them. Stapled 1x1 structures replaced with wood-screwed 1x2 structures.

- Solid wood slab countertops and aluminum trim. Main countertop capped with solid wood to match other solid wood elements - all finished with Waterlox tung oil finish. All baseboards, corner and wall trim have been replaced with solid aluminum bar and angle iron, attached with stainless steel screws, not glue. Wall-hugging airplane style curtains of my own design, made of aluminum tubes and angle iron.

- Hand-shaped oil enameled inside doors and drawers. Dated laminated cupboard doors replaced quality plywood. Bathroom door and drawer fronts modified to match. All painted with Rustoleum oil-based gloss paint, Regal Red. I lived in this for 3 years and there are no scratches on this tough, easy-to-clean paint.

- Custom-built Reinforcement Plates and Bolt-Throughs. I didnít like the way many of the exterior structures were merely screwed onto the outer fiberglass, so I made aluminum reinforcement plates for them, to spread out the stress. In addition, the particularly high stress attachments are bolted through to the inside for extra strength.

- Solar Power. Three 50w panels, attached to deployment brackets via zip ties or screws - transported or stored in their original boxes. 15 ft. connecting harness and Morningstar SunSaver 20L charge controller, with heavy lug connectors and 4x12 gauge landscaping wire - plugs onto trailerís vehicle connecting plug. Main +/- battery paths on trailer optimized for solar with short 2 gauge cable.

- Handmade welded-steel wall storage baskets. I am a steel sculptor. I made these to fit area and purpose. The one above the stove fits toothbrushing stuff. The one above the kitchen counter fits spices/bottles, and has eyelets for a small retaining bungee cord.

- Holes vs doors. I went with open hatches with rounded access holes for the storage compartments in the new-built structures, to save weight and trouble. I replaced two pointless cabinet doors with open fronts and aluminum bar fence-style retainers, using a similar design on the storage compartment under the stove.

- Built-in Safe. Bolted to floor, hidden under the bed. Key locked. Large enough for papers, money, handgun + ammo, etc..

EXTERNAL
- Coleman, Airxcel 49000 Series 8500 btu Air Conditioner. Runs fine on 13.3 A (eu2000) generators.
- Maxxfan Deluxe w/built-in rain cover in the bathroom. Where it belongs. Provides full trailer air exchange and eliminates all bathroom odor problems.
- New 5000# Axle, Brakes, 2012.
- New Springs, 2950 lb rated each, 2013.
- Camco Cross-Frame Stabilizing Jacks. 2 pair, permanently attached
- Exterior bubble levels.
- All unused holes carefully sealed with marine epoxy plugs - 5 years, no leaks.
- All external structures properly sealed with marine sealant or butyl putty tape.
- All external screws replaced with stainless steel screws or bolts.

ELECTRICAL
- 2x6v Farm & Fleet Golf Cart Batteries. New, with 1 yr instant replacement and 2 yr overall warranty. With NOCO marine battery box & padlocked welded steel security bracket.
- LED Lighting. All internal and external lights now LED, except 3 vanity bulbs in bathroom.
- Tri-Metric TM-2030 Battery Monitor, new 2014.
- IntelliPower 9100 Converter, 45 amp - new 2012.
- Fixtures. All light fixtures replaced with premium, brushed nickel/stainless, or aluminum.
- Heavy Duty Marine On/Off switch shuts off entire DC breaker board, under couch.
- Progressive Dynamics Electrical panel w/Square D breakers, new 2012.
- Outlets and Accessories.
Bed and couch area are each equipped with:
3 cigar DC plugs, properly wired for 15 amps per fixture
2 plug AC outlets
1 Caframo Bora Marine Fan
1 Swiveling LED Reading Light

WATER SYSTEMS
- Revolution 4008 Water Pump, new 2012.
- 3M 0.2 micron undersink Biological Reduction filter, new filter 2016, plus extra filter 2017.
- Thetford Aqua-Magic Style II toilet, ceramic bowl.
- Kohler kitchen faucet, w/spray pullout, new 2017.
- Oxygenics Body Spa, low-flow, high-pressure shower head.
- Locking door for external water inlet, 2013.

GAS SYTEMS
- Atwood Hydroflame 8012 Furnace - new 2013.
- Atwood 6 Gallon LP Gas Water Heater - new core, 2014.
- Old oven/stove replaced with new cook top, 3 burners & custom food storage bin, 2014.
- Main LP regulator, replaced 2014.

GENERATOR & ACCESSORIES
- Honda eu2000i generator. $600 off if you donít want it.
- Hitch lock, water filling hose with 1.0 micron sediment filter, jack foot, etcÖ all included.
- Remains of matching paints, wax, strippers, sealants, etcÖ also included.

Thatís most of the highlights. The one thing about this trailer some might not like is the lack of refrigerator. It didnít work when I bought it and I did not want to replace it - very expensive, and propane refrigerators are responsible for most trailer fires. I simply donít like the idea of driving around in the trailer or leaving it unattended with flames burning. I removed the all the working parts and insulated the space behind for efficiency. I found that two brands of small ice cooler fit well inside, and the door and freezer compartments are good for semi-cold storage of condiments and vitamins. My plan was to buy a high-efficiency DC freezer/refrigerator with a Danfoss compressor to make my own ice every few days - they only cost a few hundred and can run on solar power. However, I ended up just buying ice, which worked fine and cost $1/day or less.
Attached Thumbnails
exterior3web.JPG   exterior1web.JPG  

couchweb.JPG   bedroomweb.JPG  

kitchenweb.JPG   showerweb.jpg  

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Old 08-03-2017, 06:29 PM   #2
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Name: Karen
Trailer: shopping
Wisconsin
Posts: 13
question

is there a toilet/shower>
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:36 PM   #3
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Name: Deb & Chuck
Trailer: Bigfoot, Boler, Trillium, ECO, U-Haul, Burro, Escape, Trailswest, Compact Jr., Casita, Scamp
Washington
Posts: 627
?

I see a shower in the last picture and from the description: "Thetford Aqua-Magic Style II toilet, ceramic bowl." This all means a shower and a toilet. Probably a "wet" bathroom.
Deb
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Old 08-03-2017, 11:16 PM   #4
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Name: Kevin (Ken)
Trailer: Bigfoot 17, 1988
Wisconsin
Posts: 159
Yes. It's the standard Bigfoot molded fiberglass shower/bathroom enclosure. Shower, tiny sink, toilet, towel rack, toilet paper roll mounted high, out of the way of showers, small mirror and vanity light fixture. I'll take some more pictures.
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:25 PM   #5
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Name: Mark
Trailer: currently shopping
Missouri
Posts: 184
Really dig it Ken. What's the interior height? I'm 6'5"
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Old 08-04-2017, 03:39 PM   #6
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Name: Kevin (Ken)
Trailer: Bigfoot 17, 1988
Wisconsin
Posts: 159
I think the max height that could walk around inside without scraping the ceiling is probably about 5'11", due to the aircon unit. If you removed it and replaced it with something flat, maybe you'd get another 3 inches. I'm 5'10" and never hit my head except sometimes on the doorway getting out.

6'5": I don't think any older fiberglass egg has that kind of clearance. I read somewhere that new Escapes have 6'2". Newer Airstreams might have 6'5" in the middle where the curve peaks. Some of those huge, newer fifth wheels definitely have 7' clearance.
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:34 AM   #7
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Name: Mark
Trailer: currently shopping
Missouri
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I hear ya Ken. I've been researching for a couple of years with plans of retirement and travelling on my horizon. Interior height is a major issue for me, and I have heard all the arguments that it is not a big deal, but I'm not going to make an investment in a trailer that I cannot stand up comfortably in. MY options are Lil Snoozy, Eggcamper, newer Bigfoot, and Oliver - all w/my height requirements.


Other than that, I really dig the renovation job you have done. Wish I had your skills, but I don't. And I want something ready to go and include boondocking capability. Absolutely love all the whistles and bells you have installed. Amazing job!!
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:06 AM   #8
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Name: Kevin (Ken)
Trailer: Bigfoot 17, 1988
Wisconsin
Posts: 159
Thanks. If I thought there was enough demand, I'd renovate as a part time job. Then again, if there was demand, I'd be making money from sculptures:

http://kevinwilbanks.com/home.html

As for the height, if you are going to live in it full time, I think it would be crazy to get one that forced you to hunch over and hit your head all the time. Being able to stand up and walk around normally in your own home seems like a basic requirement.
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:37 AM   #9
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Name: Mark
Trailer: currently shopping
Missouri
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You might consider renovating part time - I'm betting your trailer won't last long on the market. I keep a close eye on this site and have seen very few ready to go units with solar/propane/generator/electric power capabilities besides all the thought into the various upgrades and little extras. Only other extra I would need is Sat TV. Really like interior look and set up. Look roomy for 17'. Great idea on safe and something I had thought of being good idea.
Curious if you had the need for long periods of furnace and AC off grid, and how both performed.
If the interior height suited me and I was ready to pull the trigger on buying one, I would jump on yours in a heartbeat. Exactly what I have in mind when I am ready to make the plunge.
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Old 08-05-2017, 10:20 AM   #10
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Name: Kevin (Ken)
Trailer: Bigfoot 17, 1988
Wisconsin
Posts: 159
I wintered in Texas and NM, and stayed at high altitude a lot. The furnace gets a lot of use. I preferred to mostly use a space heater when plugged in in ABQ. Luckily they are workhorses made to last for continuous use for decades.

Aircon is necessary if the trailer is in the sun, once the temp gets into the high 70's. In full shade, maybe you could get by with little use. I ran it off the generator a fair amount when on the road. It works fine. The one trick to this type of aircon is to never run it on 'low' because it will ice up and stop working.

I was thinking more about renovating for a wage. Flipping involves too big of a capital risk for me. Plus, with this trailer for instance, assuming I get asking price, I worked full time for half a year and got paid zero. Assuming I could reduce the work and costs by 1/3rd next time, to make $15/hr, I'd have to add $10,000 to the price, which I doubt the market would bear.
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:52 AM   #11
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Name: Mark
Trailer: currently shopping
Missouri
Posts: 184
Yeah I'm sure it's like restoring/renovating a car/boat/motorcycle. It's hard to make any money when you consider time and labor. I keep thinking you have exactly what I want except for height issue, though. I'm not planning fulltiming on retirement, but rather a month or two on the road at a time, and the ability to boondock most of the time in most any weather. Also like the way you opened up the living quarters by removing that stupid dinette that ALL models have from factory. Always thought the dinette is a huge waste of space when portable TV trays would work fine, especially on small units. Your interior doesn't look near as confined as any small factory model. Like your bed placement too. Just everything about it, Ken. Well thought out and professional quality job!! Very fair price, IMO!!
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:39 PM   #12
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Name: Kevin (Ken)
Trailer: Bigfoot 17, 1988
Wisconsin
Posts: 159
Thanks. I tried to maximize floorspace because I do roller-type self massage and stretching on the floor, and I have a large dog. I wanted there to be room for him even near the head of the bed, so I favored floor over storage alongside the bed.

It might be hard to see from the photo, but the wooden top that sticks out over the electrical panel serves as a table for one. It's a bit high for eating, but you could always sit on a cushion. I mostly used it as a computer perch for internet and tv/movie watching. That spot on the couch is sort of the cockpit, and the couch is set low to provide more of a feeling of spaciousness while sitting.
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:07 AM   #13
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Name: David
Trailer: Currently Shopping
Florida
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Is the couch suitable for gas as a bed?
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:25 AM   #14
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Name: Kevin (Ken)
Trailer: Bigfoot 17, 1988
Wisconsin
Posts: 159
Gas looks like a typo. Guests? In any case it works fine as a bed. I went on a trip with my gf last fall and I slept on the couch. I am 5'10" and 175#. To make it a little softer, I put a thin, inflatable Thermarest mattress under it.

It's an Ikea Beddinge couch/bed with 5 inches cut off, so 75" long - the same length as a standard twin mattress. The actual bed in the trailer has more room, as there is an open cubbyhole at the foot you can stick your feet into, and the trailer wall slopes outward at the top - more like 80 inches.
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