How much? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-07-2013, 08:40 PM   #15
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Bob Miller's Avatar
Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
Posts: 7,914
Comparing the costs of buying a fixer and fixing it, to the cost of a new trailer, is like comparing apples and socket sets. Amost no matter what you do you still have a "X" year old trailer.

That vented, buying fixers to save money, unless you value your own labor at $.10 an hour, almost never works out that way.

If buying used, buy the very best you can afford.

Rebuilding & repairs will be a huge money pit if you don't know a lot about what you are doing going in..... For example, as mentioned, check out the parts prices alone to replace a sagging Scamp axle, a refrigerator, three tires and a battery. (Hint: It's well north of $2000) And, if you want Joes autobody to do a repaint for you... fergetit!

Bottom lin

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Old 01-07-2013, 09:28 PM   #16
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 23,914
Bob... absoutely has this right. But the bottom line is about YOUR expectations when it gets down to owning an all molded towable. If you're looking for a perfect trailer, expect to pay top dollar. However, if you're wanting a hard-sided tent, and want to make memories... you can pay a bunch less... but it starts with YOU!

Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:14 PM   #17
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Name: Gene
Trailer: Scamp
North Dakota
Posts: 599
Might be a little far but not too bad.
Check this out.
Trillium 13 ft Camper (like scamp, burro, casita)
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:26 PM   #18
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Name: Sam
Trailer: Owner 16' Amerigo
Posts: 79
I was going to build a Teardrop and after a long time of thinking about what happens when it rains or really cold, cause I wanted to go when I want too, not only on the pretty days. So I decided I needed a small fiberglass trailer..... I have been dreaming of how I was going to enjoy my trailer and been buying stuff all along and now I have my Amerigo, I want a nice trailer that meet my needs, why not have it your way? That what I am doing, customizing. From the bottom up. I will work on as I can and I have 90% of the stuff to go in it.
Money is very important. I think in the long run I will be so much cheaper than buying a new trailer.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:39 PM   #19
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Name: Ashley
Trailer: 1986 Uhaul CT
Posts: 87
Gene, thanks for the link! However, I need something with bunks so that we don't out grow it too quickly.

I come from a tent-camping-only family, so as long as I have a little shelter from bad weather, possibly some heat, and a more difficult place for bears to get me while I sleep (ha ha), I'll be satisfied. It would be fun to have a functioning little kitchen area, but I've never cooked in an RV before. It's always been over the fire.. but it would be nice to have that option!

The less I have to replace the better. I plan on doing some basic redecorating inside of course though to make it my own
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:50 AM   #20
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Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,706
Ashley I am with the crowd who suggests you buy the best you can afford to start with. A great deal of how much you will spend on fixing up an older trailer has to do with who owned it before you & how well they maintained it. :-) When I purchased my trailer it was 16 years old but by all accounts it was in what would be classed by most as being in really *good* condition for the price and age. No major appliances needed replacing - everything worked and it had no leak damage anywhere, very clean inside. Having said that I still had to replace the battery, rims and tires and wheel bearings, propane tank, brake pads, a rear jack as well as some of the outside fixtures such as the city water connection etc due to their age. Although no fiberglass damage it did need a fair bit of outside clean up to get the shine back - along with some cap and rivet replacements. I didnt keep track but its a safe bet I easily burned up $1000 in parts/supplies in the first year - that was before I started with the additions I wanted such as adding a Fan & solar & additional cabinets etc. ....
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:35 AM   #21
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
Posts: 7,914
Not to beat it to death but...
Rebuilding a "fixer" will usually cost a lot less than buying a new trailer, but buying a good used rig will, more often than not, cost less than buying a fixer.

As was mentioned elsewhere, if you need to have any work done by an outside soure, such as an RV shop, plan on $75 - $125 an hour for labor, and there goes any savings.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:05 AM   #22
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Name: Jack
Trailer: '98 BURRO 17WB
Posts: 2,548
After we dream the dream, most of us have to pass a means test before we live the dream. There is the wherewithall to purchase and the wherewithall to correct deficiencies with skill, time, unflagging interest and enthusiasm, and another chunk of that first wherewithall.

I don't encourage anyone to buy a compost heap with a Trailer F/S sign on it but the right combo of used trailer and sweat equity (should read skill equity) can reduce total outlay and avoid the depreciation penalty of buying new. The real question about the value of your labor is not whether you value it at ten cents on the hour but whether others (employers, clients) value it much more highly.

Most of us can figure this one out for ourselves. If you've got the bread, folks, don't fly coach. If you don't, "pay" yourself the hourly rate they get at Camping World and be happy! Yeh, I know the mechanic doesn't get all of it and it does take a certain amount of skill to work there.

But there are such things as transferable occupational skills. If you have them or even if you think you're a fast learner and enjoy the mechanical arts, your time is worth what you do with it. Life is what happens while you're storing nuts and making plans.

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:19 AM   #23
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Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
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..... And once a skill is obtained it's yours forever. There is a lot of satisfaction in doing the job yourself and fixing up a trailer is the way many become mechanically inclined. Call it tuition. Raz
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:32 AM   #24
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Name: deryk
Trailer: 2012 Parkliner 2010 V6 Nissan Frontier 4x4
New Jersey
Posts: 2,086
And there are some jobs I mght be willing to pay to have done, like for example measureing the replacement axle if you dont have a part # for it. If it involves welding, since I don't know how I will pay to have it done. But plenty of other jobs that just involve lifting heavy things (replaceing a fridge ) most of us could do tha kind of job. Alwasy figure its gonna take at least 10 times longe then you figure it will, and always need more parts then you have on hand (lol) But is doable...

Now I come from a marine background haveing lived on sailboats for the last 8 years or so...Alos living in an expensive state (New Jersey) never really made the big bucks, so I usually bought an older boat that needed work and would put the sweat equity into it over time. Im good at the big stuff, the fancy fine work was never my strong point (finishing painting kind of stuff)

My last sailboat had a gazillion cracks in the fiberglass keel and people watched me working on it on land for months...Grinding down to the raw glass, cut large areas out to let the cement balast dry... then layup new glass to patch the areas, then 5 layers of heavy cloth over the whole keel, then barrier coating the whole area that was under water, bottom painting and like 5 months later she went into the water and wasn't leaking anymore. I was really impressed when the marine insurance surveyor didn't even comment on any of it when the boat was totalled from Hurracane Sandy.

I got $15k for it, and that was my budget for a fiberglass land yacht! I contimplated a mid 90's scamp 16 but started thinking of all the costs it would need... and most of the work I would do myself so that saves alot but it would have been an all winter project to get the big ones done but if I ended up spending 12 or 13k to totally restore it includeing haveing it professionally awlgripped (high end 2 part marine paint) what would it be worth when Im done?

Im really happy with blowin the wad on a nearly new ParkLiner... yeah Im gonna repack the bearings in the spring and need a Weight reduction hitch... new cushion covers and curtains to make it more homey... but I agree unless you are up for a major job, most lower priced older trailers will need alot of work and time to get it up to where you want it to be at (which most of us consider makeing it look like new) Some peoples needs aren't that high (wish I was one of them sometimes lol).

Now if I still had my boat and was looking for a fiberglass egg, I would probably be starting out with an older one. Look at it by priorities. Axle, Frame, brakes, tires, navigation lights, hitch... most important! As long as you can tow the shell (tent on wheels) to go camping you could cook outside, use a cooler and Ice and just sleep inside and go from there. Replace 1 system at a time...electrical, propane, water hoses etc... as you make modifications to the inside to suit your needs and little by little upgade the whole thing slowly improveing it till its eventually done (then most people sell it and start a new project... ask me about that lol)

best of luck

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:45 AM   #25
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Posts: 2,866
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Not to beat it to death but...
Rebuilding a "fixer" will usually cost a lot less than buying a new trailer, but buying a good used rig will, more often than not, cost less than buying a fixer.
I agree that paying more for a good used rig, just like puchasing a good used car may cost more up front but reduce frustration and unexpected costs.

As pointed out a lot does depend on a combination of requirements, abilities, and desires of the owner. And the finances they can or are willing to devote to a camper.

Knowing up front what is expensive to replace or repair, or beyond your abilities is probably the most important factor. That is one reason this forum is so valuable. The exchange of knowledge that allows people to make a good choice for them. Especially since one does not typically get a lot of time to decide on purchase of a used FGRV before someone else snaps it up. Forewarned is forearmed as they say.

Time has value, I enjoy the time I spend refurbishing my old camper. I get satisfaction from knowing I'll pass it on in better shape than it was when I got it. I savor every "no way" when I tell folks it is over 30 yrs old. Some people would consider that work a huge head ache.

I look at the it as a bonus to not being in a tent. And a form of sweat equity if I decide to "trade up". I admit it, I want to be that rig in really good shape when it's time to sell so I can get top $$$.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:18 AM   #26
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Posts: 5,281
I also really enjoy the time I spend on the trailers. Since three of the four of them are each assigned to one of my kids, it is bonding time when we are working on them together. The last trailer I bought, the Cantaloupe, is in the worst shape. I wanted to get into doing fibreglass work, and it is the perfect trailer to learn on. I am not worried about ruining it, it is already there. I have been working on it almost exclusively since I bought it. The daughter who will get it loves the ugly underdog, so it is perfect for her. She wants to paint it bright green, and bright orange on the inside.
The time spent may not earn as much as I do on the job, and I work much harder on the trailers as well, but I don't regret a moment of it.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:35 PM   #27
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Posts: 2,866
Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
..... And once a skill is obtained it's yours forever. There is a lot of satisfaction in doing the job yourself and fixing up a trailer is the way many become mechanically inclined. Call it tuition. Raz
Amen to that. A lot of what I learned to do when I was younger was of necessity, it needed to be fixed and I could not afford to pay to have it done.

Then there is all the times my employer paid my tution, I may have taken a class in welding or machine tools but it was on the job where I gained experience (and scrap parts)

Same with building, or electrical I needed to learn it and someone helped. Now I know enough to ask good questions.

Eventually DIY becomes an option for a lot of things, and when you hire the work instead of DIY you understand the amount of work or skill required that you are really paying for.

And I like "tution" better than "fools tax" as in I was a fool to attempt this without knowing what I was doing, now I'm paying for it.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:07 PM   #28
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Trailer: 2007 Casita
Posts: 3,440
Ashley, The one thing about molded fiberglass is, you have options. These trailers last and last....... So you will find 30/40 year old trailers still on the road.

So if you have the skill to re-hab a trailer you most likely can find a fixer upper. If you don't have the skills, then finding a trailer in good condition requires, luck, money and the time to scout out the perfect trailer.

Sounds as if you would prefer to just make a trailer yours with decor. So hang in there a trailer in good condition will pop up, eventually.......... Of course because you want "bunks" you won't find a trailer with bunks come up for sale. Murphys law .

Now, I know the stories of fixer uppers versus new, re-hab money versus money spent up front to purchase along with the search can wear you down. But I want you to know, there have been people/members who have gotten screaming deals on perfect conditioned trailers. Of course it doesn't happen everyday, but it happens. Have faith you will eventually find the perfect trailer.

Personally I don't cook inside, frankly I don't go camping to be inside. Glass kitchens aren't big, but when weather is bad you will find a trailer kitchen a blessing. Hang in there, good luck!

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