Visited a 13' 1997 Casita Patriot deluxe - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-24-2015, 11:25 PM   #1
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Name: Dennis
Trailer: 1997 13' Casita Patriot
Nebraska
Posts: 6
Visited a 13' 1997 Casita Patriot deluxe

I've been thinking about buying a trailer for a while now. On even numbered days I think it would be fun to travel with one. On odd numbered days I have my doubts about whether it's a good plan for me. That said, I keep working to learn more about them and consider whether having one would be a good thing.

Today I had the opportunity to look at a 1997 Casita Patriot Delux (13') trailer. It's owned by a friend of friend, and he gave me a tour to learn more about Casita trailers. At the end of my visit he said it was for sale (~$4,000, as is). So now I'm trying to decide if buying it would be a good idea.

It's been stored indoors in the back of a large outbuilding for several years It's in eastern Nebraska, so it's seen its share of hot and cold conditions. It has several years worth of dust built up but generally appears to be in decent condition to my untrained eyes. I don't think it's been used for several years. I didn't see obvious signs of rodent or insect infestation. He thinks the tires are about 6 years old, so I'm assuming they would need to be replaced immediately. The battery has not been on a battery tender, and is currently flat so I assume it will need to be replaced as well.

What other repair/upgrade costs am I likely to face if I were to bring this trailer home and take it out to see America? Is a ~$4,000 price reasonable for a trailer where the condition of various components (including refrigerator, battery, electric brakes, tires) is unknown?

Thank you for any and all help with these questions.

Dennis
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:18 AM   #2
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
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Welcome to the group Dennis. I'm not going to give you any price marks to go by as a good deal. Others will chime in with that. What I will tell you is that as it's been sitting for a long time, tires and battery are a no brainer for replacement, non issue. Wheel bearings cleaned and lubed. Dirt happens and is cleanable and expected from sitting. If you can have him plug it into AC to check the refer and 12v/120v lights and they work thats good. The refer will take 4/5 hrs to cool. If there is any LP in the tank the stove/heater can be checked although there may be spider webs to be cleaned for them to work. If there is a water heater I wouldn't fire that up without checking the heater itself for condition. I would think that the axle is still OK as it's not that old but....
You didn't mention the shell condition but as it's been inside it should be a lot better than if it was parked outside.
The price asked seems inline to me but others that have done renos know more about that than I do.
One BIG thing I will say to you. If you've read many of the posts here of people spending months or years looking, you would be one of the few that has one dropped in their lap
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:54 AM   #3
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You don't see many 13' Casitas. I have a theory that people who inquire about the Patriot end up with a larger trailer. On the website the Patriot only seems to come in the deluxe model (with bathroom). As such, you have to tear down the dinette to use the bed and visa versa. I suspect most folks move to the larger trailers to have a permanent bed. Be aware that if your friends friend decides to advertise the trailer, it won't last long (hours). There is a buyers checklist under tutorials in the left hand column you might find useful. If you buy it do post some pictures. Raz
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Old 01-25-2015, 07:36 AM   #4
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I agree with P. Raz, if this gets listed publicly it could sell in hours. I've been lurking Fiberglass Forums and classifieds for about six months now, and this seems like this is a nice entry price. Resale would not be to far off this number and you could possibly get back any money you put into it, if and when you decided to sell it.
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:13 AM   #5
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Visited a 13' 1997 Casita Patriot deluxe

Here is a helpful document - Fiberglass RV - Document Center - Buyers Check List - that will give you some ideas of what to look for. Checking appliances is a good idea. I would at least plug it in and see if the fridge cools on AC. If it does, it can be made to work on LP.

At that price, though, if the shell, frame, and the floor are sound (test inside cabinets near the perimeter of the shell, especially near windows), then it may be worth the gamble. If needed would you have the resources to put another $1-2K into it? WAG, cleaned up, fresh tires & battery, and everything working, this trailer is probably worth at least $6K. Would you be able to do some of the work yourself, or would you have to pay an RV shop to do everything? The latter would burn through your rehab budget in a hurry.

We're taking it for granted that you have a suitable tow vehicle, but if you're new to RVs you may not have realized yet that manufacturer's specs and ownership documents can be very misleading, since dry weights do not include any options, fluids, or personal equipment. Actual towing weights are typically many hundreds of pounds more. Check out this thread - Trailer Weights in the Real World - for real world, loaded-for-camping weights of various makes and models. Post #297 has a handy downloadable spreadsheet.

Judging by the number of want ads for 13' trailers, if you pass, your friend should have no trouble selling to someone else. You are in an enviable position!
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:19 AM   #6
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Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
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Were it in CA I'd grab it in a L.A. minute, even if it needed a new refrigerator (not all that likely). Tires and battery are maintenance expenses that "New" enhances value by at least 50% of cost.


I think that the only unanswered question is "What are you going to tow with. Not only do some FGRV's get deceptively heavy, some vehicles have unexpected low towing specifications. Post your vehicles make, model & year for further comments.


BUT... as mentioned, even in winter it would sell fast. If you decide not to buy it, you can always make points with your friend by telling him to clean it up and invest $300 in tires, bearing repacking and a new battery and, this spring put it on the market for $7500. It won't last long..... there is a huge "Newbie" market out there and Casita is a premo nameplate.
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:56 PM   #7
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Name: Dennis
Trailer: 1997 13' Casita Patriot
Nebraska
Posts: 6
Thank you all for your feedback. It sounds like I should get out my checkbook.

My current tow vehicle is marginal at best, a two door Jeep Wrangler (2004, 6-cyl). It will suffice to get the trailer home, but probably isn't a suitable choice for long distance towing. However, it's 10 years old and I've been shopping for a new vehicle. I was looking at a Subaru Outback, but right now I'm inclined to look for a gently used (3-5 year old) 1/2 ton pickup. That would give me plenty of towing capacity (with a longer wheelbase) and extra cargo space for things that won't fit in the trailer.


Dennis
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:30 PM   #8
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If your interest in a Subaru is rekindled be sure to come back here for some input on towing with that vehicle. It has a few idiosyncrasies you need to know about before buying one for towing.
But for any vehicle you look at, refer to the owners manual for towing specifications. What the dealer/salesman/seller sez isn't the best source, and it's your money if it's incorrect
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Old 01-26-2015, 05:43 AM   #9
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With the Subaru the 200 lb tongue weight limit is often an issue and a front bath Casita will be on the heavy side. You'll be much happier with a pickup. Raz
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Old 01-26-2015, 09:30 AM   #10
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As Dave mentioned having to replace the tires and battery and having the wheel bearings checked and repacked are items that most have to deal with when purchasing a used trailer. Another items that often needs replacing is the propane tank (could be dated) as well as adjusting the brakes or replacing the brake pads should be expected as well.

You may want to take along a full propane tank with you so you can test out the appliances before buying if the one on the trailer is empty or dated.
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Old 02-02-2015, 06:20 AM   #11
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
Ohio
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The refrigerator is the biggie!!!

They don't take kindly to long spells of inactivity.
A friend bought a 1980 17' SD "demo" from Casita (yeah you read it right) and upon arrival the refrigerator didn't work and the only cure was replacement.

So as stated above, have him plug it in overnight before making your final decision.
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Old 02-02-2015, 09:10 AM   #12
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Certainly the refrigerators are almost always the biggie as repair is often not practical and they are very expensive. However I have fired up Dometic refrigerators that haven't been used in as long as 20 years and they worked perfect.

But, what does happen, especially with early style Dometics, is that if they are used out of level they will get crystal obstructions in the cooling circuit and that will kill them every time.

Yes, if the outside coils look like a rusty snake, and there is an actual cooling circuit leak, they will be toast, but I don't think intrinsically, that not being used for extended periods of time will cause any damage, at least to the cooling circuit.

Bottom line remains the same, always verify LP operation before you buy.
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:15 AM   #13
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Name: Dennis
Trailer: 1997 13' Casita Patriot
Nebraska
Posts: 6
A Chinese philosopher said "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".

I've taken the first step, I bought the trailer. Now I have to bring it out of hibernation. It's been in storage for a long time. The old license plate was dated 2009.

It had a coating of dust on it as I pulled it out of the seller's garage and into the light, and towing it down a muddy road didn't get it any cleaner. Here it is backed up to the house and covered with mud.

I'll start a new thread to record my experiences. This is the beginning of a new adventure.

Dennis
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:57 AM   #14
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
Ohio
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Nice find Dennis

Don't forget to update your information

Joe
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