Discouraged - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-14-2015, 12:24 PM   #1
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Name: Claire
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500
British Columbia
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Discouraged

Learning the hard way that a good inspection is worth it's weight in gold...esp if you know what to look for.
So far we have had to replace a bent axle and repaired the cracks in the frame caused by the bent axle; new tires and bearings, new jack on the tongue; redone the rear windows; and had a new regulator put on the gas line.
Today, while giving the rear dinette seat storage areas are really good clean I discover that there is rotten wood underneath them.
One of the previous owners had done some major modifications to the trailer including putting in a removable shower in the kitchen area complete with hot water. At some point someone removed the right front dinette seat and built a poorly designed replacement that now needs to be redone. We still have to reseal two windows and remove the leaking belly band.
Glad I think of this as my mobile cottage and love it or I might throw my hands up in despair. Also glad that we are somewhat handy.
What is the best way to deal with this rotten wood issue? It will have to wait to the fall. For now I will paint it with "stop rot".
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Old 05-14-2015, 12:38 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1984 13' Scamp named "Ramblin Rose"
Texas
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Originally Posted by Island Claire View Post
What is the best way to deal with this rotten wood issue? It will have to wait to the fall. For now I will paint it with "stop rot".
The best thing you can do is eliminate any leaks that may still be contributing - it's easy to assume damage was done by prior modifications, but it's worth double checking to make sure that there isn't anything else... like a belly band leak or a leaky window.

This is part of why I haven't yet replaced my rotted floor... after fixing several MAJOR leaks, I am still chasing small leaks, and every time I am certain that I've solved one, it seems like I "discover" yet another one I am confident I am making progress though - slow progress, but it's still progress.. I'm done finding large puddles of water, now I seem to only find a few drops here and there

And you're definitely not alone in discovering your "ready to camp" trailer has more issues than the PO disclosed. I think some are due to just plain ignorance, not malice, and some issues are just the product of time and poor preventative maintenance (or none at all). Rest assured that anything you have to fix is just one more thing that will likely serve you well for years to come... and most are issues that happen to most trailers at some point.
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Old 05-14-2015, 12:39 PM   #3
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
Tennessee
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The only suggestion I could have is to cover it with "Kilz" or similar. They have this at Lowes/Home Depots here. I'm sure it's available elsewhere as well. It prevents smells from penetrating through. Of course, the only REAL way to fix it- as you will do this fall- is to fully remove the rotted wood.

Sorry to hear about your bad experience. These "RV"s can really be a headache sometimes. Then it makes you stop and wonder HOW they could be called an "RV" (Recreational? Vehicle)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Island Claire View Post
Learning the hard way that a good inspection is worth it's weight in gold...esp if you know what to look for.
So far we have had to replace a bent axle and repaired the cracks in the frame caused by the bent axle; new tires and bearings, new jack on the tongue; redone the rear windows; and had a new regulator put on the gas line.
Today, while giving the rear dinette seat storage areas are really good clean I discover that there is rotten wood underneath them.
One of the previous owners had done some major modifications to the trailer including putting in a removable shower in the kitchen area complete with hot water. At some point someone removed the right front dinette seat and built a poorly designed replacement that now needs to be redone. We still have to reseal two windows and remove the leaking belly band.
Glad I think of this as my mobile cottage and love it or I might throw my hands up in despair. Also glad that we are somewhat handy.
What is the best way to deal with this rotten wood issue? It will have to wait to the fall. For now I will paint it with "stop rot".
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Old 05-14-2015, 02:47 PM   #4
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Name: Claire
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500
British Columbia
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Thank you. It is all in the perspective. I will look at the list of things we have done and be thankful that they will not have to be done again for a long time. (and I will pray we are doing them the correct way,)
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Old 05-14-2015, 04:27 PM   #5
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Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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Well Claire....

"What doesn't kill ya, makes ya stronger"

I've "been there done that" with the trailer I bought a year and a half ago....spent a LOT of time the first winter rectifying more than a few "surprises" the dreaded PO didn't mention, knew of or just plain hid......no recourse of course....the way I ended up looking at it is that I'm going to own this thing for a LONG time (it fits "perfectly") so what looks like now a lot of time and money to fix....will be "details" in a few years....and you will "know" you trailer intimately by the time you're done

the good news is it don't have to be in "showroom condition" to enjoy it. cheers, F
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Old 05-14-2015, 05:00 PM   #6
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California
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Ditto Francois, so true
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:10 PM   #7
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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The problem with the "Eggs" are the small leaks from penetrations that keep areas wet and all of them have wood in the floors (that I know about). If it stays wet it will rot and mildew.
While I am reworking my Scamp I am working at getting the this thing sealed tight and eliminating the openings that are no longer needed. I have scarfed in many fiberglass panels and removed the front window (now bathroom wall), water and space heater, and refrigerator vents etc.
I also completely wrapped the floor sections in epoxy fiberglass and sealed them to the frame as well.
I was a little discouraged to find as much rot and fungus, but I decided the dig in and fix this thing the way I really wanted and do it right. I will probably spend more than I originally planned, but Connie (She Who Must Be Obeyed) is on board and contributing to the project in planning and outfitting.
I am probably going a little far in trying out some new ideas and I hope that these work out well. We are planning on using the "new" camper a good bit as we head towards retirement
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:52 PM   #8
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Name: Kathy
Trailer: 2017 Escape 19
Washington
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Hang in there Claire. I think that probably most, if not all, of us who have purchased used trailers, especially those that are "vintage", discover issues only after we've handed over the money and signed the sales papers. We thought our Bigfoot was so well taken care of (and I think the PO thought it was too). It sure looked good. It was only after we had it home and started using it and gaining knowledge here at FGRV, that we discovered several issues that needed attention. We're slowly making things right - safety stuff first - and even if things aren't perfect yet, we're still having a lot of fun with it. When you're done, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you put things right!
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Old 05-15-2015, 06:28 AM   #9
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Name: Kevin & Lisa
Trailer: Scamp16
Ohio
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Yep.... We understand the 'Can-o-worms'
Just keep updating and prioritizing
a list of what needs done and tackle one at a time. (ie: "No honey, we can't put the curtains up yet, I'm still fiberglassing a giant rotted hole in the floor I just found.")

Keep at it, it's well worth itClick image for larger version

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Old 05-15-2015, 07:25 AM   #10
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Name: Steve in NY
Trailer: Scamp
New York
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the nice thing about these trailers is that its ONLY the floor that is rotting. I had one very small piece of crumbling floor at the base of the step up into the dinette. I put a dehumidifier inside the camper and dried it out good and checked it with a moisture meter. I built boats, so I have epoxy resin handy, so I sealed it good letting the epoxy soak in. A few areas needed to be build up as the flooring lost a few chips. I used thickened epoxy, but truthfully bondo, or any wood filler after sealing would work. If your floor is structurally good other than a small area, you might try this. Taking those benches and dinette out is easy, but then it gets a bit messy.
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:12 AM   #11
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Alberta
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Actually Steve, on a Trillium, everything is glued in. Taking anything out will be a job.

Claire, I wish I could say something that would make you feel better. The time I spend working on fibreglass trailers is quality time for me. I love the process. My brother installs elevators. Ironically, the the elevator guy uses the stairs a lot. A quote from my brother, "love the stairs".
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:27 AM   #12
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Name: Claire
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500
British Columbia
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Smile

Thanks again for the encouragement.
I painted/poured wood hardener on the area last night and if it is dry I will give it a coat of Bulls Eye today. The area had been lined with the white plastic stuff you find wrapped around breakables and I never moved it. I think that was part of the problem in that it held the moisture in and it could never dry. This compartment is accessible from outside and we usually have the bed set up all the time so have never really looked inside before. We went looking to make sure our attachment bolts were good, which they all appear to be. Some have been replaced and some look rusted, but I think that that was caused by the moisture not age. Hubby was able to loosed and tighten all of them with out a problem.
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Old 05-17-2015, 03:45 PM   #13
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Unfortunately, Steve, I have dry rot in a wall
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:21 PM   #14
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Name: Steve in NY
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Sorry, I thought all these trailers were made similarly.
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Old 05-18-2015, 01:25 PM   #15
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Trailer: '71 Boler, '87 Play-Mor II
Deep South
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Island Claire View Post
Learning the hard way that a good inspection is worth it's weight in gold...esp if you know what to look for.
So far we have had to replace a bent axle and repaired the cracks in the frame caused by the bent axle; new tires and bearings, new jack on the tongue; redone the rear windows; and had a new regulator put on the gas line.
Today, while giving the rear dinette seat storage areas are really good clean I discover that there is rotten wood underneath them.
One of the previous owners had done some major modifications to the trailer including putting in a removable shower in the kitchen area complete with hot water. At some point someone removed the right front dinette seat and built a poorly designed replacement that now needs to be redone. We still have to reseal two windows and remove the leaking belly band.
Glad I think of this as my mobile cottage and love it or I might throw my hands up in despair. Also glad that we are somewhat handy.
What is the best way to deal with this rotten wood issue? It will have to wait to the fall. For now I will paint it with "stop rot".
The extend of the rot needs to be determined and the source...first is it from termites, water or dry rot...is the underside of the floor exposed to the ground? I just replaced all the floor in my 71 Boler, the lower floor had severe rot covered with newer plywood, the upper floors had rot it spots which I could have cut out and patched with filler/fiberglass but I choose to replace all the floors...if your trailer is like mine, the floors are glassed in to the outer body...replacing them is tricky...I cut the top layer of glass with a flush cut dremel tool & blade leaving the underside of the glass still intact to the underside of the floor. I did this on purpose so I could peel up the floor off the lower glass and use it as a lip to lay the new floor on to. I was careful to remove the old wood so I could use it as a template for cutting the new wood. When doing this mark where the body meets the frame for reference when reinstalling the new floor. I recommend replacing it with pressure treated or if using untreated then glassing in the entire underside or some type of treatment to prevent exposure to elements is needed...my reason for doing this is I am doing a complete restoration down to the frame. Axle, frame & body were in good shape overall but they all got needed work done, but nearly all the wood in our 71 model had rot including inside fiberglass door. Here is the post of our restoration project: Our 1971 13' Boler mods
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Old 05-18-2015, 01:33 PM   #16
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Trailer: 2012 ParkLiner #006
New York
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Ha! Like an idiot, I bought a nearly new trailer - that had been in a minor accident. It took me a long time to figure that one out. It all came together when someone (not who we bought it from) finally gave me the bad news. I paid a pretty penny for it too.

Ya live and learn.

Best of luck to ya!

Frank
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Old 05-18-2015, 02:21 PM   #17
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Name: Tim
Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
North Florida
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My Scamp needed a lot, like a new axle (which immediately led to new wheels & tires), refrigerator, A/C, frame crack repaired, etc., etc. But I did all the work myself and feel good about going down the road with brand new bearings, brakes, tires, and a repaired frame. I do have some soft, “punky” floor wood under the front seat from a front window leak (I think). It is not terrible and can wait until I tear out that area to do the front dinette mod, someday, not too soon.

I started a thread many, many months back on perceived values on our FGRVs. And I will state again that I think that prices generally have risen PAST the real value for these units considering all the repairs required as they age. If I had not had all the equipment and experience to do the axle on my Scamp that alone would have put me well over the top of what my unit is worth. As is, I feel I am close to even or maybe a little over-invested in my Scamp. In other words, I can’t get what I have in my Scamp. But I ain’t selling either so I guess it does not really matter. Damn the cost, we are going camping!
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:54 PM   #18
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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What is the real vs perceived value. I am pretty sure I paid more than I should have for my 16' Scamp. I have learned a lot in the intervening time.
I have learned about rotten floors, cracked frames, bad axles, etc.
If you buy an old unrestored or perhaps restored egg you are buying a kit that first has to be cleaned up to start.
On my project when I am finished I believe I will have a "Scamp" better than new. However it is a lot of work and $$$. I will have less than a new one and it will probably be if not better then more what I want it to be.
Originally I wanted to make it light, but now I am working to make it just, what I want for long road trips and comfortable for the two of us.
Toward that end the floor is fiberglassed top and bottom, new cabinets, refrigerator (old, but new to us) sink and good fixtures.
I am also trying new things like tankless water heater, Mini-split Heat pump, and twin beds so one doesn't have to crawl over another at night.
With luck I will have it finished with new axle, 14" tires, new wheel wells, cabinets, beds, water heater, heat pump and basically everything inside and under the shell with a new coat of paint to cover the outside.
Other than that just like I bought it!
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Old 05-24-2015, 03:06 PM   #19
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Name: Gardnpondr
Trailer: 1985 BigFoot G
Mississippi
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Yeah same here. Every time we do something we find something else that needs fixing. Very discouraging BUT I KNOW it will be worth it's just getting hubby to get to believing that. We've not done anything to ours since we pulled the awning off. Well I take that back I did put some old english on her walls and she drank it up. He told a friend he was hoping to have it ready by fall but I just don't know. We've not hooked it up either to see what works and what doesn't nor have we added water to anything to see if the pump works or the hot water heater or if we have any leaks. LOTS left to be done and I have no clue. OH and those hubs have got to be tended to. So much to do so little time. ;-)
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:50 AM   #20
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
Ohio
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When buying ANYTHING 38 years old, even much younger, one must anticipate many surprises.
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