Just bought used and need maintenance/restoration suggestions - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-01-2015, 07:22 AM   #1
Junior Member
Name: William
Trailer: 1960 Scotty
Posts: 4
Just bought used and need maintenance/restoration suggestions

Hello all,

We bought a 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe in Clearwater, Florida two days ago. This is our first fiberglass RV and we are in need of maintenance/restoration suggestions. We paid $7800 for a 2002. The exterior was badly in need of refinishing and the interior was not very clean but used Casitas as so hard to find in Florida, they sell so quickly, and we wanted to start a road trip next week so I didn't even try to negotiate the price.

The owners were elderly and not in great health and just weren't able to care for it plus it had spend a number of years in the open in Arizona sun. The exterior is oxidized badly and the decals were peeled off or deteriorated to the pointed where they needed to be peeled off. But it is ours now and we are spending $400 to have it detailed. Do you have any suggestions on how best to clean the exterior? Also, the inside ends of the rivets have what appears to be cap nuts on them. Is that normal? And the plastic collars on the exterior rivet ends are broken or gone, probably due to deterioration of the plastic due to sun exposer. And one of the exterior rivet ends is broken off so the rivet needs to be replaced. Any suggestions?

Thanks for any suggestions.


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Old 07-01-2015, 07:43 AM   #2
Junior Member
Name: Van
Trailer: currently shopping
Posts: 28
Hello William,
Sounds like you jumped right in. This site has a lot of info. The search engine will answer a number of your questions. Calls to Casita may answer some more. Good thing the fiberglass campers tend to clean up well.

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Old 07-01-2015, 08:07 AM   #3
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Name: Steve
Trailer: casita 17 SD
Posts: 150
New to you Casita.

First, go online to Little House Customs. In the store you will find the white caps you need. Get them covered asap because without the cap you will have a water leak. They also sell rivet kits but a lot of Casita owners use a stainless screw and a nylock nut to replace the rivet. You still need the plastic base for the cap on the exterior. It's easiest if two people work together. Cleaning will take time and hard work. Get a product called bar keepers friend and get to work.
Most important! Before you start any road trip, go to a tire store you trust and get new tires, preferably load range D. I don't care how good the tires on it look, they are most likely old and should be replaced. Also, get the new tire/wheel combo balanced. If someone says it's not necessary or we don't usually do that, repeat " balance them". A 2002 likely has 14" wheels. Walmart sells a Hankook tire # RA08 in 14" that is load range D for about $100.
Join the Casita Forum not the club. Use the search feature for lots of maintenance, repair and troubleshooting information.
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Old 07-01-2015, 08:59 AM   #4
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 3,698
I agree with everything that Steve says. We had to replace some rivets that were loose, used screws and lock nuts. Those cap nuts you see are just on the ends of the rivets, they don't screw on. If you have excess threads sticking out a cap nut will take care of that. It's hard to get the exact length screw. Tried the club, gave it up right away. Also cleaned ours with the Barkeepers Friend, liquid version.
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:07 AM   #5
Name: Arnold
Trailer: 2015 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 79
Get the wheel bearing cleaned and re packed, this a must on any kind of trailer you ever buy used. Hey, another old egg saved. Enjoy yourself and we'll see you on the road
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:12 AM   #6
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Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,701
Originally Posted by AdventureAuthority View Post
The exterior is oxidized badly and the decals were peeled off or deteriorated to the pointed where they needed to be peeled off. But it is ours now and we are spending $400 to have it detailed. Do you have any suggestions on how best to clean the exterior?
Have had great success using 3M Marine products for removing oxidization off the trailer. Mine also came to me with a fair bit of oxidization on it. A small bottle should do the whole trailer. They have a number of different consumer grade compounds depending on how heavy the oxidization is but one that works on light to heavy is 3Mô Marine Color/Gloss Restorer. If its really heavy oxidization you may need to use something with a bit more compounding it - they have compounds for various levels up to a very aggressive one called Super Duty Compound but its always better to try the one with the lest aggressive approach first.

You will need a power buffer - makes the job way faster, with a wool bonnet. Once the oxidization is off & if you had to do a lot of buffing they have a product called Finesse-It which will take any faint swirl marks off of it and really bring the shine back. Then simple wax it and then again once a year to keep the shine. I removed the oxidization off of mine 7 years ago and its still shiny with only a good waxing each year.
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:13 AM   #7
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Name: Walter
Trailer: 2002 BigFoot 17'
SW Virginia
Posts: 828
That's littlehousecustoms.com and casitaforum.com.
The nuts inside are acorn nuts. They can be used with either new rivets or with 1/4-20 stainless steel screws. Similarly the plastic caps and backs can be used with both rivets and screws, so once installed you can't see the difference.
Either way it takes two people to replace them. If just the white caps are gone or crumbling, new ones from LHC can easily be snapped back mon, but always add a dab of silicone or other.
For the exterior, I recommend Poli-Glo rather than wax. It's a fiberglass polish invented for and used a lot on fiberglass boats and requires no buffing. The kit comes with a pre-cleaner and applicator.

Good luck and keep us informed on your progress.

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Old 07-04-2015, 08:03 PM   #8
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Name: Jessie & Carl
Trailer: Scamp her name is Mae West
Posts: 23
oxidized exterior

We decided while the interior was being replumbed, and rewired, to begin work on the exterior of our '84 19' Scamp. I mentioned to our techi-friend, who is an all-around smart guy, that Barkeepers Friends was recommended. He said to try the magic erasers (generic is as good as the brands). Does not require getting the residue of the cleanser off. I also went to get the McGuires Marine wax, but the retail place did not have it, so got 3M's product that has a bit of rubbing compound in it for marine use. Good news is, the magic eraser works really well, just took a wet cloth behind to clear the residue. Bad news is, I am not strong enough to buff the wax, and our car polisher was worn out. So, my husband bought 'an early anniversary present' of a power polisher. However, it began to rain just as I got the area covered that I had cleaned, so the polishing is on hold for a couple of days, and will start in again!
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Old 07-04-2015, 08:49 PM   #9
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
Posts: 7,914
It may be that a previous owner replaced the original, 40+ y.o. gas control with later components. As soon as a pic of the back is posted we will know if it was a bad buy or not.

An RM-2192 or a n RM-2193 fits in the same space as a 23a

Here is a link to a Dometic publication that explains how the refrigerators work and also dispels a lot of the myths that are out there.


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