Bigfoot Information - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-11-2016, 03:10 PM   #1
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Bigfoot Information

I know all these trailers are very similar, but I don't see much info on Bigfoot trailers. Partially because they went out of business so there isn't continuity, I guess. I'm just sort of curious about a lot of things to do with these campers, and don't really see much info out there.

There's the Bigfoot Owners International forum, but it costs $20 a year to view.

Is there somewhere I can find out stuff? Like common problems, common upgrades, things to look out for, things to love, tips & tricks etc.
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Old 02-11-2016, 03:33 PM   #2
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Best place for all that is right here! Just ask away and most likely someone will be able to help you out.

You can join the Bigfoot forum for a month for free I think. I seem to remember that's what I did when we first bought our Bigfoot. I honestly didn't find it that useful. It seems to cater mostly to owners of new or late model Bigfoots.
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Old 02-11-2016, 04:22 PM   #3
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The Bigfoot Forum is mostly motor home members. Very few trailer owners participate on it. You will find lots of Bigfoot trailer owners right here. The Bigfoot Motor Homes are not molded units. They are made of fiberglass panels instead. You will get more information right here on issues concerning molded units. Bigfoot has "factory stores" and the one closest to me in Portland Or. has a new 2016 17.5 Bigfoot trailer for sale. It's priced just shy of $37,000. The issues you will un into- appliances, furnace, water heater etc. are all common to just about any RV and you will also get plenty of help on those issues here.
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Old 02-11-2016, 04:49 PM   #4
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Cool, that's what I was hoping.

Well, I think partly I'm just interested in some trivia, along with the "known issues", cheap tricks, common upgrades etc. But there are also always "unknown unknowns". I can't ask questions about something I'm not aware of...

Anyway, the only issues I need to address on the camper are:

Resealing the windows. There is some water damage under the one over the kitchen sink.

Resealing the roof vents.

Addressing the saggy leaf springs, and maybe other axle maintenance.

The frame has a lot of surface rust, so I'd like to clean that up and paint it.

Otherwise, I'm installing a brake controller in my truck, and a sway control kit on the trailer.
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Old 02-12-2016, 01:34 AM   #5
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Zacho, congrats on your new purchase.

Best way to start digging is to click on the manufactures tab on the top of the page and then click on "bigfoot." This will give you all of the threads that have the word bigfoot in the title. Currently there are 1350 threads listed including the advertising threads but even those can have good info as folks ask questions and get answers on a variety of topics. So that should keep ya busy for the rest of the winter.

One thing I have found on this site is that there is really no way to know where a thread will lead once it starts. Folks here tend to free flow information and straying off topic is pretty much the norm. (NOT a criticism folks, just a fact) So you never know where you will find good info. A topic on a wiring issue will turn into a conversation about water pumps which will morph into a great conversation about water conservation while boondocking and before we're done it's all about the battle of paper plates vs plastic. You get the idea. All good fun and good info. Enjoy.
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Old 02-12-2016, 03:55 AM   #6
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There is a Bigfoot Facebook page.

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Old 02-12-2016, 07:56 AM   #7
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Alright, thanks again.

I live in a Facebook-free world...

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Old 02-12-2016, 08:52 AM   #8
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Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
Cool, that's what I was hoping.

Well, I think partly I'm just interested in some trivia, along with the "known issues", cheap tricks, common upgrades etc. But there are also always "unknown unknowns". I can't ask questions about something I'm not aware of...

Anyway, the only issues I need to address on the camper are:

Resealing the windows. There is some water damage under the one over the kitchen sink.

Resealing the roof vents.

Addressing the saggy leaf springs, and maybe other axle maintenance.

The frame has a lot of surface rust, so I'd like to clean that up and paint it.

Otherwise, I'm installing a brake controller in my truck, and a sway control kit on the trailer.
Zach, while window seals can and do leak, the most common cause of window leaks, especially in Bigfoot windows, is that the window tracks fill up with dirt and gunk and plug the weep holes, so the water flows out to the inside because it can't drain and it has nowhere else to go. Before you go tearing the window out, make sure the window tracks are free of dirt and sludge and make sure the weep holes are clear.

Sealing the roof vents may be more problematic. Bigfoot used a fiber-based flow sealant (at least on my '04 17' and my '06 25') that turns into a VERY hard and unyielding solid. I didn't have to worry about my 17', but in '14 I took my 25' to the dealer I bought it from and had them reseal all of the roof through-hulls as well as replace the bathroom vent with a fantastic fan. I tried to get the sealant up myself, but was unable to. After Kramer's Kampers in Chicagoland did it, I asked Pete how they did it. Apparently, they use a heat gun and a specially rigged air chisel to remove the old sealant. I was glad I had them do that.

Your leaf springs may not be sagging. IIRC, the leaves on my 17 had a reverse-arch that allowed the trailer to ride low. The first owner of mine actually reversed the axle and put it below the springs to raise the ride height. You may want to check with other BF 17 owners and compare notes before you do anything there. That said, the leaf springs should be commonly available if you need to replace them.

Regarding the surface rust, POR-15 is your friend if you want to do it once and not have to worry about it again... but make sure you topcoat the POR-15 with a good quality paint to make sure it stays sealed.

All trailers will sway. The only question is at what the speed of onset is. You want the speed of onset to be higher than your normal driving speeds. The key to controlling sway is how the load in the trailer is balanced, and making sure that your tow vehicle's suspension is solid. Many sway problems come from tow vehicle tire sidewall flex, rear axle steering from weak rear suspension, and worn suspension parts on the tow vehicle. The Bigfoot 17.5s and the 21s were both engineered poorly and their axles aren't located in the best place for their weight distribution. In both cases, the axles should have been located further back on the chassis. The 21 is inherently unstable. The 17.5 is unstable with the fresh water tank over half filled. The Bigfoot 17 doesn't have those issues, but it's always wise to make sure you have about 15% of your trailer weight on the tongue. There are many other issues that can contribute to sway. There are a LOT of threads here dedicated to sway control. Many folks look for a mechanical solution before they figure out what factors are causing the sway and correct those.

I used Reese hitches for thirty years, but discovered Anderson hitches when I bought my MPG in 2012. I STRONGLY urge you to look at Anderson. After towing some 20,000 miles with the Anderson, if I ever need a weight distributing, sway-control hitch again, it'll be another Anderson.

The Bigfoot 17 is one of the best small trailers out there. Enjoy!

Roger
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:23 PM   #9
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Just about everything you asked about is covered somewhere in this forum, and is not necessarily relevant exclusively to Bigfoots (such as painting the frame).

The trick is to be able to do relevant searches. If you are on the full (desktop) site, click on "Search" above, and look toward the bottom for Google Custom Search and enter your strings there.

Prepare to do a lot of reading but there is a lot of valuable information here if you are willing to devote the time to seek it out.
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Old 02-12-2016, 02:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainjunkie View Post
Just about everything you asked about is covered somewhere in this forum, and is not necessarily relevant exclusively to Bigfoots (such as painting the frame).

The trick is to be able to do relevant searches. If you are on the full (desktop) site, click on "Search" above, and look toward the bottom for Google Custom Search and enter your strings there.

Prepare to do a lot of reading but there is a lot of valuable information here if you are willing to devote the time to seek it out.
Oh I know. I'm just throwing things out there. Like I said, it's not the "known unknowns" so much as the "unknown unknowns" I'm looking for. Stuff I hadn't thought to think of but should be aware of (like Bigfoot trailers being inherently unbalanced. didn't know that). I have been and will be doing a lot of searching.
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Old 02-12-2016, 02:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger H View Post
Zach, while window seals can and do leak, the most common cause of window leaks, especially in Bigfoot windows, is that the window tracks fill up with dirt and gunk and plug the weep holes, so the water flows out to the inside because it can't drain and it has nowhere else to go. Before you go tearing the window out, make sure the window tracks are free of dirt and sludge and make sure the weep holes are clear.

I'll check that, thanks!

Sealing the roof vents may be more problematic. Bigfoot used a fiber-based flow sealant (at least on my '04 17' and my '06 25') that turns into a VERY hard and unyielding solid. I didn't have to worry about my 17', but in '14 I took my 25' to the dealer I bought it from and had them reseal all of the roof through-hulls as well as replace the bathroom vent with a fantastic fan. I tried to get the sealant up myself, but was unable to. After Kramer's Kampers in Chicagoland did it, I asked Pete how they did it. Apparently, they use a heat gun and a specially rigged air chisel to remove the old sealant. I was glad I had them do that.

Yikes. Yeah, ok.

Your leaf springs may not be sagging. IIRC, the leaves on my 17 had a reverse-arch that allowed the trailer to ride low. The first owner of mine actually reversed the axle and put it below the springs to raise the ride height. You may want to check with other BF 17 owners and compare notes before you do anything there. That said, the leaf springs should be commonly available if you need to replace them.

Actually no, you're right they aren't sagging. I just assume on a 1991 trailer they're going to be "spent", and not doing their job very well. I will ask more questions of Bigfoot owners.

Regarding the surface rust, POR-15 is your friend if you want to do it once and not have to worry about it again... but make sure you topcoat the POR-15 with a good quality paint to make sure it stays sealed.

Yes I've heard about that stuff for a years now, but never used it, since I've never got around to sanding and painting any frames. I'll do it with this trailer.

All trailers will sway. The only question is at what the speed of onset is. You want the speed of onset to be higher than your normal driving speeds. The key to controlling sway is how the load in the trailer is balanced, and making sure that your tow vehicle's suspension is solid. Many sway problems come from tow vehicle tire sidewall flex, rear axle steering from weak rear suspension, and worn suspension parts on the tow vehicle.

My trailer actually had, I would say, no sway on my drive home. But it bounces a bit (of course anything on springs bounces, but...), and I just got the feeling the springs were a little soft. I do feel as though the bouncing and tugging against my truck that I felt from the trailer had to do more with balance, as you say. Didn't seem like it was resting on the tongue enough. It was basically unloaded, but I know there is at least some propane in the tanks.

I put new springs all around on my truck, plus installed firestone airbags in the back, so it should be pretty good.

I used Reese hitches for thirty years, but discovered Anderson hitches when I bought my MPG in 2012. I STRONGLY urge you to look at Anderson. After towing some 20,000 miles with the Anderson, if I ever need a weight distributing, sway-control hitch again, it'll be another Anderson.

Alright, thanks. I have a Hidden Hitch on the truck, and ordered a cheap sway control kit that I'll install before I tow it anymore. Like I was mentioning, it did more bucking and bouncing and pulling against me, on bumpy roads, and really no side to side sway. Thankfully.

The Bigfoot 17 is one of the best small trailers out there. Enjoy!

Oh I will! Thanks.

Roger
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Old 02-13-2016, 02:22 PM   #12
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Name: Bill & Pam
Trailer: 2016 Bigfoot 17.5
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The Bigfoot 17.5s and the 21s were both engineered poorly and their axles aren't located in the best place for their weight distribution. In both cases, the axles should have been located further back on the chassis. The 21 is inherently unstable. The 17.5 is unstable with the fresh water tank over half filled.
Roger
Roger, I have been considering the Bigfoot, particularly the 17.5. The tongue weight and sway have concerned me. I searched, unsuccessfully, for a diagram that shows tank installation positions. Do you have a resource for that?
Thanks, Bill
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Old 02-13-2016, 02:56 PM   #13
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Roger, I have been considering the Bigfoot, particularly the 17.5. The tongue weight and sway have concerned me. I searched, unsuccessfully, for a diagram that shows tank installation positions. Do you have a resource for that?
Thanks, Bill
No, Bill... sorry I don't have anything more than what you can find here. I just remember a number of discussions ten years ago about the 17.5 water tank when the 17.5 was new. Perhaps Bigfoot can still supply that as they're making the 17.5 again now, although it looks like they added a couple of feet to the tongue?
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Old 02-13-2016, 03:10 PM   #14
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Trailer: Bigfoot B-17 CB
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If I remember correctly, the fix on the 21 was to weld 300 pounds of steel to the front of the frame. I wouldn't mind extra water or batteries but I sure would not want to pick up extra weight with adding useless metal. I also heard that on the later 17.5 the tongue storage box was the issue. I'm not sure if the tongue box on the 17.5 was the problem or the solution. Were the early 17.5's good or bad ?
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