Is this repairable? Need feedback - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-12-2019, 04:59 PM   #1
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Frame and fiberglass. Is this repairable? Need feedback

My cousin might sell me her old Boler trailer but I wanted to ask a few questions here before I go through with it. First off, its in terrible shape, nothing works, broken windows, floor needs replacing etc. Iím not too worried about that as Iím looking for a bare bones Scamp or Boler as a project. The things Iím concerned about are: there are tiny cracks all over the bottom half of the fiberglass, not spider cracks, almost looks like little cuts. I didnít see any light penetrating through the other side so I donít think they go all the way through but I also wasnít sure if those are repairable or not. The other thing was, I noticed the door sags and the front passenger side on the lower corner seems to sag lower than the other side. I did find a crack in the trailer frame Ė is that why itís sagging? I know a good welder but is that worth repairing? Any feedback is greatly appreciated! I really want this trailer but I donít want a headache.
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:08 PM   #2
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In the top picture, the little cracks look like they are only in the paint. It looks like a paint problem.
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
In the top picture, the little cracks look like they are only in the paint. It looks like a paint problem.
yeah, I was wondering since the top half that is white shows no signs of cracks but wasn't sure if that is some kind of water damage. They just seem like deep cracks for being so tiny.
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:34 PM   #4
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As to the crack in the frame. Other people have gotten that repaired. But to know if the frame is worth keeping you need to have the whole frame inspected by someone who knows frames. You can find threads on what people have had to do to the frame to reinforce and stabilize it.
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:47 PM   #5
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A lot of folks pull the body from the frame and give it a good check. I think one weak spot is above the axles. The frames were never meant to go 40 or 50 years. This also gives you a chance for a good coat of paint on the frame. The crack in the frame should be no trouble for a good welder to fix but I would do whats called a fish-plate to spread the load over larger area. Good luck with the trailer if you go ahead with it. Just realize that the cost will add up as you get deeper into it. If the price is right and you are a handy person and have the space, time and tools, then that certainly helps.
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:37 PM   #6
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I like a project as much or more than many others. But this one sounds like a money pit. In picking a project, you can be way ahead financially paying more but getting something in better shape.

I'd call this one a headache for sure.

If you do go forward with it, be sure you have a nice covered workspace for this task.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:32 PM   #7
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I think it is all repairable but it will be a headache.
Looks like a complete body off and the fact you say it needs everything not cheap.
Do you have the time to spare?
Your talents and your willingness to apply them will dictate the final product.
Good luck, please post your progress and don't be scared to ask questions so we can follow along!
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Old 09-13-2019, 07:10 AM   #8
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The longevity of these fiberglass trailers are almost unlimited, with care. Frames and axles can be replaced or repaired, the body restored to like new. Just a little effort pays off and you will have a classic.
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:16 AM   #9
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Go for it, but take care!

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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
The longevity of these fiberglass trailers are almost unlimited, with care. Frames and axles can be replaced or repaired, the body restored to like new. Just a little effort pays off and you will have a classic.
"Just a little effort"? This will be more than a little effort, however I have just finished the repair of a 1964 13 foot fiberglass sailboat, and all of the effort involved (it has taken all summer, and I am only now just about ready to put her in the water) has been well worth it. It is a joy to learn new skills, and to see a job like this through to completion.

My expectation is that the small cracks are NOT paint, as most older fiberglass RV's were NOT painted. What you see is probably the result of osmosis bubbles in the gelcoat, where moisture has frozen, expanded, created blisters and then cracked. This was all over the top deck of my boat. grinding out a bit to clean the area, filling with an epoxy filler like J-B Weld, sanding, then painting with a good quality marine paint can give you a beautiful, durable finish.

As for the frame, I would recommend replacement. There is a company in Winnipeg (home of the original boler) that builds replacement frames out of galvanized steel. Heavier duty and much more resistant to corrosion. About $1,500 Canadian, I believe.

If you are handy and want a project, good for you. But beware - it will probably take longer than expected.

If the price of the original trailer is right, and you take care to find bargain material to fix/upgrade your new possession, you can have a wonderful new toy. My flooring is vinyl planking that I bought at a garage sale for $5. Our vinyl blinds came from Home Depot clear-out - $15 for the entire trailer. It has taken my wife and I about 8 years to fix up our 1978 Trillium 4500. It was maybe not as much finicky work as what you are looking at, however it did require some fiberglass repair, window work, a major cleaning, and lots of little things here and there. We paid $3,000 for it, and have NOT been keeping track of costs of new wheels, tires, axles, brakes, etc. But we now have a like-new trailer that will see us through many years of camping, and then maybe can be sold of around $10,000. To me, that's a win!
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:50 AM   #10
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Thumbs down You Have a Headache

The frame is the core problem since it has obviously deteriorated from INTERNAL corrosion, has been overstressed and requires complete replacing for safety, followed by axle, suspension, wheels, tires and brakes.

The best approach is to think about your application upfront. Is it a project to fill free time, actual road use or for off-road boondocking?

Anything more than as a free time conversation piece renders it worthless since everything about it has been damaged. Even if you propose the owner PAY YOU to haul it away, it would not be economic for the space it takes up. In one day you can acquire a fully functional unit, start enjoying it on the road and indulge your tinkering urge to maintenance. There are only so many seconds in one's life. How many of yours do you want to devote to nursing a wreck?
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:59 AM   #11
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I made an offer but she didnít accept it. Iím not willing to pay more than $1000 for something that run down considering all the work it needs and itís not even towable (need to put it up on a flatbed to move). It is worth it if the price is right but I think sheís trying to get 4K for it and I know I can get something in MUCH better condition for that price. I guess it wasnít meant to be, Iíll keep looking.
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:01 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Stephen_Albers View Post

Anything more than as a free time conversation piece renders it worthless since everything about it has been damaged. Even if you propose the owner PAY YOU to haul it away, it would not be economic for the space it takes up. In one day you can acquire a fully functional unit, start enjoying it on the road and indulge your tinkering urge to maintenance. There are only so many seconds in one's life. How many of yours do you want to devote to nursing a wreck?
I donít mind buying a wreck if the price is right. Iím an architecture student and want a project rather than something thatís complete. Though in this case, she is asking way more than Iím (or anyone) is willing to pay.
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:17 AM   #13
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Exclamation Basic Principle

One thing to keep in mind is that production travel trailers deteriorate at a horrendous rate without even moving.

They can be functional with AGRESSIVE regular maintenance which ownership documents do not clearly explain and few owners comply with. The manhours needed for regular maintenance and upgrades are usually sufficient to satisfy the do it yourselfers while they are creating memories getting genuine use out of their investment.
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:42 AM   #14
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Are you sure the "cracks" are not disfiguration in a stone guard that someone applied?
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rinzy View Post
I made an offer but she didn’t accept it. I’m not willing to pay more than $1000 for something that run down considering all the work it needs and it’s not even towable (need to put it up on a flatbed to move). It is worth it if the price is right but I think she’s trying to get 4K for it and I know I can get something in MUCH better condition for that price. I guess it wasn’t meant to be, I’ll keep looking.
I think $1000 offer was generous. It’s half a step away from scrap.

Everything is fixable, but in this case, everything needs fixed! No small task and one where a covered work space is a MUST!

On those cracks I would have to grind them out and repair the fiberglass. But hey, a local FG boat person might know better!!
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Old 09-13-2019, 11:00 AM   #16
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Arrow Good Certainty

The sagging door speaks volumes about the twisting stress that has been applied to the shell and then the entire internal structure because of an inadequate frame. As a practical matter, it is scrap.

Use your $1,000 as a downpayment on a nearly new unit that can be used immediately and put the hours into a job that pays off the balance over time. Resale will be MUCH better that way so you can bail out easier if your plans change.
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Old 09-13-2019, 11:31 AM   #17
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Some good advice above.....anything is possible if you have the time, money and knowledge....just depends on you. I rebuild 19th century horse drawn vehicles....did a 1892 wagon a couple years ago.....she's a beauty and now sits in a museum but....realistically.....I wouldn't want to do the Oregon Trail with a few mules with her. Good luck with whatever you choose.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:51 PM   #18
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At $4K that trailer is VASTLY OVERPRICED!!!

Ask the seller this simple question and let her tell you why she thinks it worth $4K:

"I see you are asking $4K for this trailer. HOW did you come up with your asking price?"

Make the seller tell you why the trailer is worth $4K!

That usually gets the price to drop rather quickly when the seller typically rolls over and acknowledges that they know they are VASTLY OVERPRICED and looking for a sucker!
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:10 PM   #19
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At $4K that trailer is VASTLY OVERPRICED!!!

Ask the seller this simple question and let her tell you why she thinks it worth $4K:

"I see you are asking $4K for this trailer. HOW did you come up with your asking price?"

Make the seller tell you why the trailer is worth $4K!

That usually gets the price to drop rather quickly when the seller typically rolls over and acknowledges that they know they are VASTLY OVERPRICED and looking for a sucker!
She just told me she wouldn't accept my offer because it is far below what they paid for it. They bought it a year ago and it has just been sitting in the elements - never did any work on it. Before that, it wasn't used for over 5 years. I'm assuming she paid 4k or 3500 and wants to at least make back what she paid for it. She has no knowledge of fiberglass trailers so it seems whoever sold it to her took advantage of that and overcharged her.
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:56 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Rinzy View Post
She just told me she wouldn't accept my offer because it is far below what they paid for it. They bought it a year ago and it has just been sitting in the elements - never did any work on it. Before that, it wasn't used for over 5 years. I'm assuming she paid 4k or 3500 and wants to at least make back what she paid for it. She has no knowledge of fiberglass trailers so it seems whoever sold it to her took advantage of that and overcharged her.
I see this a lot. I have a friend that paid too much for a piece of land. They have tried to sell it for over 10 years, but their minimum is what they paid for it. So they have turned down some very good offers over the years. Its a mindset and there is no changing it.

I'd move on quietly, and since it is family, I wouldn't make any value comments either.
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