Rough Roads - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-30-2006, 11:22 PM   #1
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I'm looking for a long-term traveller. Lots of dry-camping, lots of boondocking. Thinking about a 16+, or maybe one of the 5th wheel variants. My main question at this point is will one of these neat little eggs survice an extended diet of baad roads. One of my favorite places is 45 or 60 miles of washboard and rock-strewn road from the nearest pavement. (Saline Valley in CA anyone?) Obviously, speed will make a big difference. Also any owners in the Eugene, OR area who would be willing to chat.

Thanks in advance for any responses / advice.
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Old 03-31-2006, 07:20 AM   #2
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There are so many variables. like you say 'the speed you travel' will affect it, but also how well you care for your wheels and such.
We have had at least three who have gone to Alaska. I understand that is one rough trip. Don't remember any of them mentioning the trailer breaking down except for minor rivet replacement or maybe a hinge or something. But then you have to start out with a good axle and frame. Some of those have gone while on a highway.
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:54 AM   #3
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I would look at a Burro or UHaul. They have no rivets, all the furniture is molded as part of the inner shell. Dual shells on both brands make them a bit more weather worthy, in cold and warm areas.

The Uhaul has an industrial strength frame designed for abusing renters.

Finding either in a 16 or 17 will be tuff, but doable. I think there is a 17 ft Burro in the for sale section now. In Sacremento.
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Old 04-01-2006, 09:50 PM   #4
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I had the same question about a year ago when I got my 13' Scamp. Just go slow... very slow. Make sure everything is sealed up tight, windows, vents, etc. I've even cut a piece of 6mil. plastic to cover the frig. vent. (I never run the frig. while moving.) Proper tire inflation is critical, too hard and you bounce the trailor around and risk getting a flat, too soft and you could ruin the tires.

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Old 04-01-2006, 10:08 PM   #5
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Many of the older Bolers, Triple E's, Trillium's I have seen up here in Nothern BC are literaly beat to hell because we have the worse roads in the province and most of the guys that own them take them out hunting over very rough roads. They are just junk after that. These smaller FG trailers where never really designed for that type of abuse. Most of the frames are too frail for one thing. I have lost count of how many broken frames I have seen with some of the worse welding repairs, gobs of weld with scrap chunks of metal scabbed on.
As Fred says, take it real slow and easy if that is what you are going to do!
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Old 04-02-2006, 08:28 AM   #6
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Frankly, if you're talking about real back-country camping... Jeep, Land Cruiser, or Land Rover style I don't think that one of these is going to be your best bet. They just aren't engineered to take that kind of abuse.

There are a number of tent trailer manufacturers that have come up with high-clearance, armored bodied trailers that would probably be a better choice.

Here are a few links:

Tentrax

Haultent

Paramount (This one's Australian, but an interesting design; there are lots of similar trailers built in Austrailia if you can figure out a way to import one!)

Starcraft RT

Jayco Baja

Fleetwood Evolution

Roger
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:25 PM   #7
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I can personally vouche for the quality on rigidity of the Austrailian made trailers. I owned a little Kamparoo that I hauled where ever my Element would go. The only wierdness I had with it was the door on the wrong side

It was still a tent trailer tho. It set up easier than most, but it was a complete set up. Everything had to be stowed for travel.
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Old 04-02-2006, 08:12 PM   #8
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I've noticed the tendency to small rugged tent trailer in Australian web and print publications aimed at off-road enthusiasts. One more of this group with U.S. distribution is King Kampers. I don't know what these people use for enclosed travel trailers, although they seem to do a lot of campers based on four-wheel-drive utility vehicles.

The Kamparoo is carried by Outback Kamping Inc. - if this is the unit I am thinking of, it may now have a normal (for North America) entrance side.

One interesting feature of a trailer in Roger's list: the Jayco Baja has shock absorbers. I believe that long suspension travel and proper damping (by shocks) would go a long way towards saving a fiberglass shell from a shattering experience.
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Old 04-04-2006, 08:23 PM   #9
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Go check out your favorite off-road wheel/tire store. Mount up the biggest, baddest, puffiest tires on the widest wheels that will fit under your rig. They will advise you on maximum and minimum pressures.

Invest in a good electric tire pump and gage, so you can reduce pressure to the minimum for slow off-road travel and increase for highway travel.

Beef up the frame at its weak points.

Pack only the minimum amount of stuff.

Tie everything down.

Have fun.
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Old 04-05-2006, 08:23 PM   #10
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Talking

Thanks to all for the responses. Pretty much what I expected (sigh). I'm looking for a replacement for my VW Syncro van, maybe a little larger and a little more long-term, without going to an $80,000 rig like a big 4wd Sportsmobile van conversion. Tent trailers might be a possibility -- I've seen some of the Australian variety on the web, but I'd prefer the convenience and ready-to-go-ness, and weatherproofness of a solid body. I may be able to visit the Burro factory this summer and see what they have to say. Anybody ever seen one of these mounted on a truck?

Well, I'll be sticking around for a while if anyone else has a comment.

Mike
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Old 04-05-2006, 08:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
I may be able to visit the Burro factory this summer and see what they have to say. Anybody ever seen one of these mounted on a truck?

Well, I'll be sticking around for a while if anyone else has a comment.

Mike
Sorry to tell you Mike, Burro went out of business several years back...even tho their website is still active. Your own chance of ownership is "used."

And yes, we have a couple of pictures here on FiberglassRV showing eggs mounted on a flatbed truck...maybe I can find em, if someone doesn't beat me to it!
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Old 04-05-2006, 08:37 PM   #12
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Thanks, Donna. You saved me a trip! I really would have been . So who are the active mfrs? And thanks for this neat site. Lots of good info no matter what I decide to do.
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:10 AM   #13
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Ya gotta checkout the Helpful-Links in the Left Nav bar, under Resources

then, click on "Trailer Brands" I could provide the URLs, but think you'll get more out of the site if you snoop on your own

Here's the topic of an egg mounted on a flatbed truck: Egg Camper

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Old 04-06-2006, 02:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
...Anybody ever seen one of these mounted on a truck?...
One of the decisions which I would expect to make in preparing an egg-on-truck motorhome would be whether to mount just the fiberglass shell and floor directly on the truck frame (probably with spacers) or to use the trailer frame (or equivalent) to support the shell.

These moulded fiberglass trailer bodies support themselves without additional framing in the walls or roof, but depend on the (normally steel) frame - they cannot take any stress by themselves, and are normally supported at many points around the frame. If the frame twists too much, the fiberglass is unable to follow the movement without cracking.

With the direct mounting approach, there is no extra structural weight, but the truck frame must be stiff enough that the shell is not flexed excessively. If a separate frame it used, it can mount to the truck frame at three points (not four), and flexing of the truck frame will not cause any stress for the trailer. A three-pointed-mounted frame seems like a good idea to me for rough roads.
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