found a compact jr - Fiberglass RV

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Old 06-23-2003, 10:23 PM   #1
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found a compact jr

The other day I ran across a Compact Jr. that has been at a hunting camp for the last several years. It appears fairly rough and the owner does not know if anything works or not as there is no electricity on site. Stove and refrigerator are intact, beds are gone and canvas needs replacing. Has no fan, AC, or heat. The owner knows very little about it, just a place to sleep out of the rain.

My question is what would be a reasonable price to pay and would it be worth the effort to refurbish...and at what estimated cost. I'll provide a picture when I figure out how to do it!

I have enjoyed your site and have learned a great deal about fiberglass TT's from you. Margaret and I would like to tour the US in the not too distant future and I was wondering if this unit would be adequate.

Thank you in advance for any wisdom you would be willing to share.

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Old 06-23-2003, 10:29 PM   #2
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Hi Michael H
If the body axil and frame are ok,then I would say its worth fixing.Most parts you can buy at rv places.Make a small offer-- Say $300.00 and see what happens.

I just got an old Boler and it requires a lot of work and I estimate It will cost me about $800.00 CDN to get back on road.

Hope this helps.:wave

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Old 06-24-2003, 06:33 AM   #3
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How much to offer

I agree with Chester..start low, you can always go up. Bottom line..what's it worth to you to buy it? Have you seen anything else in the area that you'd rather have and that you can afford? Are you a "handy man"? Fiberglass rv's aren't maintenance hogs, but do require a certain amount of upkeep. If you can't do most of the work yourself and need to pay someone else to fix it, is that in the budget? Are the needed parts readily available in your area, or will you need to have stuff sent to you (freight costs can kill you and really add to the budget).

Oooooh, a new project...sound like fun! Best of luck:hap2
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Old 06-24-2003, 08:10 AM   #4
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There is no getting around it. A travel trailer is a luxury item. We went to an rv show in January. The place was filled with giant buses and van converions ranging from $60,000 to lord knows what. We saw one thing we liked and that was a little Aliner travel trailer. It was small and light weight, but they wanted about $10,000 for that. I was very frustrated that what I wanted didn't exist. Something small, lightweight, beautiful, cheap, well designed. I was so happy to find this site because it gave me hope that what I wanted was attainable. Having said that, we've put way more money into our trailer then I ever intended. The only way I justify it is by putting a high value on the increase in my enthusiasm. I have really enjoyed this trailer fixit adventure. Finding the right part is like a treasure hunt. If you think you can enjoy working on a new project, go for it. If you want to hit the road next week, buy newer.
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Old 06-24-2003, 08:47 AM   #5
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Worth fixing?

Obviously - it depends.

It depends on what features you'd want in a trailer (the more appliances you demand, the higher the cost).

It depends on how much of the work you are capable of (or willing, or would ENJOY) doing...

It depends on just what state the thing is in.

Within reason - there's virtually NOTHING on glass campers that isn't fixable.

If the axle is SHOT - replacements are a few hundred bucks - probably beyond most hobby-level folks - but a pro installation wouldn't be that much.

Damaged fiberglass is relatively easy to repair. For the hobby-level person you may want to stick to fairly minor damage here and there (minor cracks and small holes).

Points where the repair is likely to start costing:

Serious frame/axle damage - if it's SHOT and needs to be replaced you're looking at a pretty big expense if you have to take it to a welding shop. We had a frame crack repaired (Bolers have a known weak point in the frame where they always crack). The repair cost was about $130, but that included reinforcing the unbroken side AND installing 4 scissor jacks on the corners... Not bad I'd say.

SERIOUS body damage (by which I mean damage to critical areas (like the door or it's frame) and large holes in awkward to work on areas (anything that forces you to take it to someone else)).

APPLIANCES - The three-way fridges that are mounted in trailers are insanely expensive. If you MUST replace it, expect to pay something like $5-600. The furnace is the same way. VERY pricy (a few hundred maybe). It's hard to break a gas stove - the lines can go bad, but those aren't too bad to replace. A little copper plumbing... pretty simple stuff.
That being said - this is also the biggest place you can save money. Those 3-ways may be priced high - but they're usually being run on 110V anyway. Why not just install a small dorm fridge in it's place - or turn the space into a pantry and keep stuff in a cooler? Same with the furnace. That's space that is PERMINANTLY devoted to that heater. We bought a Coleman Powercat heater. IF it's cold, we pack it, run it for maybe 10 minutes before going to bed and that's it. If it's NOT cold - don't have to pack it and that leaves room for other things.

Seat cushions - recovering the cushions isn't that bad (depending on your choice of fabric) - but the new foam will be a fair expense. Not an area you want to skimp on IMHO - not if you value your back.

You can also spend a lot of money on painting. This cost will vary depending on your choice of paint and how you do it (home? spray? spray can? pro?).

If I were looking at it I'd have the following mental list in mind:

Will the unit fit my needs when fixed up? (Bed size, on-board storage, etc)
I'd be especially attracted to the pop-top which gives you headroom when you need it and garagebility when you need it.
What am I likely to have to do? Can I do those things? Will it cost a fortune if I can't?

Above all - taking on something like that I would say is mostly a matter of how much you would enjoy it. If doing the restoration/refurbishing/remodeling etc sounds like as much fun to you as actually taking the thing out camping in it - then I'd say go for it. If doing the repair work sounds like a miserable chore and all you want is to go camping - then I'd pass.

I had a lot of fun working on our Boler. We're switching to a non-glass trailer for awhile because it suits the family's needs better - but I'm hopeful to return to a nice glass camper someday when it's just the wife and I going out. At that time - it'll likely be a toss-up between springing for a new one, or finding an old one and gutting it in order to rebuild it to our own design. THAT could be a lot of fun!

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Old 06-25-2003, 07:21 PM   #6
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Compact Jr.

FWIW, there is a Compact Jr. parked beside a motel in White Lake, NC. I didn't get into it, but it looks "sound" & complete. understand it made the trip to FL within the last 2 years. It needs some TLC to look new again, but...

The guy's daughter said she thought he wanted $2000 for it.

This might give you some insight as to what the one in question is worth.

Dick Rothfuss
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Old 06-26-2003, 03:56 PM   #7
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We had a Compact Jr. back in the 70's and now have a Scamp. There are many things that make us prefer the Scamp.
POP TOP>The pop top does make the Compact Jr. a bit lower for less wind resistance, but the square shape more than offsets the benefit IMO. The pop top also makes the Compact Jr. less desireable for winter camping.
INSULATION>Even though the Scamp has just a little insulation, it is infinitely more insulation than no insulation on the Compact Jr.
DOOR LOCATION>The side door makes for a better layout IMO. A rear door always collects dirt. Dust just sucks into and through it, even on good highways. However an advantage is if you travel with bikes, it is easier to load them into and out of a rear door when traveling. Also a rear door does not have to be curved to match the shape of the trailer, so is structurally simpler and has better hinges.
SUSPENSION SYSTEM>The leaf spring system on our Compact Jr. was very stiff and it seemed almost impossible to keep things from jumping out onto the floor when underway. (I believe this could have been fixed with the installation of shock absorbers, but I didn't have a garage with a welder and other equipment like I do now.)
BRAKES> Our Compact Jr. didn't have brakes. Braking was very marginal towing it with our old Peugeot 404 SW.
INTERIOR>Our Compact Jr. had a huge queen size bed in the front but little space for kitchen or storage.
SO>If I had a choice between a Scamp or Casita and a Compact Jr. I would choose the Scamp or Casita without hesitation. But I would chose a Compact Jr. over a similarly appointed stick or tent trailer.

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