Prepping 1997 Casita Patriot 13' for travel - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-25-2015, 06:01 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Dennis
Trailer: 1997 13' Casita Patriot
Posts: 6
Prepping 1997 Casita Patriot 13' for travel

As I noted in another thread I just bought a 1997 Casita Patriot 13' trailer. It's been stored indoors since the previous owner bought it used in 2002. It's history prior to 2002 is unknown.

The trailer looks to be in good shape. I plan to work my way through each of its systems, learning as I go and trying to avoid expensive missteps.

The first three items on my 'to do' list are to wash it, put new tires on it and replace the battery. I took the spare tire off and took a close look at it. It looks beautiful. I don't think it's ever been on the road. It just rode around on the back of the trailer holding up the tire cover. Despite its appearance I don't trust it any farther than I can throw it. As far as I can tell it's date code is "326" (yes, 3-digits, see attached picture), which suggests it was made in 1996, since tires manufactured after 2000 should have a 4-digit date code. I wonder if they are the original tires on the trailer? Could they be 19 years old? If so, I don't think I even want to tow it to the tire shop, I should probably dismount the wheels and take them in without the trailer. Of course, it's possible the spare is OEM and the tires on the pavement are newer. Time will tell.

My local tire shop has a set of Goodyear Marathon ST175/80R13 tires waiting for me, which brings me to a question. Should I put on new 13" tires? Or should I buy new wheels and put on 14" or 15" tires (assuming they would fit)? This is not a "cost is no object" project, but I can afford new wheels if that is the wise choice. I did a quick search on the forum but haven't yet taken the time to find where the question may have been answered previously. I need to do more searching/reading.

Another question is whether it would be practical to replace the factory tounge jack with a one that attaches to the side of the hitch and pivots out of the way. That would give me some clearance to open the swinging tailgate on my Jeep Wrangler while it's hitched to the trailer. I need to look at the dimensions and how everything lines up. It may be doable, but impractical. I might gain clearance from the jack only to have the gate hit the propane bottle.

Enough for now. The trailer has a new home and I've got time to ponder questions and answers as I prepare it to once again be a traveling trailer.

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Old 03-25-2015, 08:08 PM   #2
Senior Member
Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 3,703
Some time ago Jim (cpaharley) posted about a neat adapter for the tongue jack. You just twist and remove the jack to get it out of the way. Called jack-e-up, I know it's available from Camping World and etrailer.

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Old 03-26-2015, 04:54 AM   #3
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Name: p@
Trailer: Casita
South Carolina
Posts: 110

i'd replace all three tires for sure. there may be a clearance issue with larger wheels and tires but, if they fit in the wheelwell i'd go for the larger set up. don't forget wheel bearings and brakes. dexter axle will sell you complete hubs with brakes and bearings for not much money. i'd think it'd be best to start with new and maintain from there. i don't mean to hype the competition, but...there's a wealth of information on the casita travel trailer forum that may be of some help.

prepare yourself for a ton 'o fun. i traveled in a patriot for about 4 years and loved that little trailer.

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Old 03-26-2015, 08:31 AM   #4
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Name: Walter
Trailer: 2002 BigFoot 17'
SW Virginia
Posts: 828
Amusingly there's also a Dennis the Menace on with a 17' Casita.
I have the Jack-E-Up mentioned by Bob and strongly recommend it. It's an excellent solution to the tailgate problem. It's also carried by Little House Customs.
Since the '90s Casita replaced the 13" tires with 14" and more recently 15". A good tire shop will be able to tell you what size will fit and I recommend the largest you can get. Not so much for the larger size as the fact that they'll be available in higher load ratings, i.e. more plies. On my '94 I replaced the 13" load rate C tires with 15" load rate E.

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Old 03-26-2015, 03:02 PM   #5
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Name: Roger
Trailer: 2009 Trillium 1300 "Homelet"/2014 Subaru Outback "Rosie"
Posts: 2,155
Cool Congratulations

I am glad to see another member of the 13' class. It seems a lot of people suffer from "two-foot-itis" where just another two feet would be a good length. The Boler and other brands all started out with 13'ers.

Stick with your tongue jack. I have a side mounted one and it punched a hole in my car from the handle sticking out while trying to back into a tight spot.

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My new car!

As to tires. I bought a sailboat in 1973 and sold it in 2005 with the same tires!

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Now I read that tires should be replaced after 6 years.
A charter member of the Buffalo Plaid Brigade!

Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:22 PM   #6
Junior Member
Name: Dennis
Trailer: 1997 13' Casita Patriot
Posts: 6
Today I found that the white caps covering rivets are so brittle that touching them with a fingernail causes them to break.
I also found that the fresh water drain valve is broken and needs to be replaced. Fortunately the parts don't cost much.

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Old 04-07-2015, 08:49 PM   #7
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Name: Marky
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 216
It's a beauty! Congratulations, and you'll have lots of fun restoring it to its former beauty's!

Sent from my iPad using Fiberglass RV

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