Lil Bigfoot Questions - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-13-2015, 11:10 PM   #1
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Name: Jen
Trailer: 1975 1300 Trillium
Yukon
Posts: 10
Lil Bigfoot Questions

Hi everyone,

I am looking into buying a 1992 Lil Bigfoot, listed here on FGRV.
1992 13.5ft 'lil Bigfoot travel trailer - $6,500 - Edmonton, AB, Canada | Fiberglass RV's For Sale

I am new to this world and have some questions. I live in the Yukon, next to Alaska, so we'd have to travel quite a distance to buy this trailer and I want to know as much as I can before we commit to the trip. Its not ideal to almost buy sight unseen but where we live does not have many options for used fiberglass rv's. We are looking for the lightest option possible as we would be towing with our 2008 Subaru Forester which has a tongue weight of 200lbs and can tow up to 2400 pounds. I've learned lots from this forum about things to look for but still have some unanswered questions.

1. Brakes
I've read conflicting stories about Bigfoots and whether brakes are installed on all of them or just on the ones that weight more than 1000 pounds. The owners manual on Fiberglass RV says that brakes are installed on all of the trailers. But I've read in the forums that not all of the Lil Bigfoots have brakes. Can anyone tell me how I can find this out by looking at it or does it need to be taken to a shop? The owner didn't use a brake controller so wasn't sure if it had brakes or not.

2. Tongue Weight
I've read different tongue weights for this unit on past for sale ads. Some people say it has a tongue weight of 110 or 120 lbs. I've looked at Trailer Weights in the Real World and there are no 13.5 ft Lil Bigfoots listed. The sticker on the unit says it has a "tongue load range" of 230lbs. The owner is going to weight it with a bathroom scale to find out what it is. Any thoughts on this? I thought I read that Bigfoots tow a bit heavier than Bolers; I wasn't clear on why this would be as I've also read that the Lil Bigfoot and the Boler are practically identical. Maybe I'm wrong on this. Thoughts?

3. Inside wall material
Does anyone know what this wall material is? I'd really like something that could be wiped clean, instead of fabric. It seems like it would be a big job to replace it. Has anyone done this? How did it go?

4. Fridge
The owner says that the fridge has a smell to it because it is never used. I imagine it needs some serious airing out with some bleach or something. Does anyone have tips on what to do to get rid of the smell? If we needed to, how would we go about replacing it? Where do you buy little fridges that would work with this unit? How expensive is it to replace?

5. Bunk
Any ideas on how to reinforce this or change it so that it would definitely hold someone's weight? The owner said she wasn't confident that an adult's weight could be supported by the bunk. Its probably not a big deal as we only have one child right now but I am curious about this. Also I'd probably want to replace the cushions and or recover them so that they are a big more plush.

6. Electrical/water etc
I've looked at other posts where people give quite detailed descriptions on how to check the water system, the electrical system, etc. This unit does not have a battery; the owner said they always plugged in or didn't use electricity. How might we go about checking the lights etc if the unit doesn't have a battery? To buy a new battery, are they tricky to find? Or would most RV places sell them?

7. Any other things we should think about or look for if and when we go see it?

Thanks for your ideas and help!
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Old 06-14-2015, 12:18 AM   #2
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Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
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Jen, i don't have a lil'Bigfoot but I have seen a few so my answers are just my take on the situation. I have also pulled with a Subaru with the 200lb tongue limit so I get that as well.

1) The fact the owner can not tell you whether or not the trailer actually has brakes would scare me just a little even though he has not used them. Suggests to me that he has never done any maintenance on the wheel bearings either. A brake assembly would be pretty hard to miss seeing if he had. IF he really wants to sell this trailer he should easily be able to confirm if it does or does not have brakes pretty easily! If he can't do that ask him why?


2) Bigfoots do weigh more than a Boler or a Scamp. The 13' Casita's might actually be a better weight comparison. Reason the Bigfoots weigh more is due to the really nice cabinet finishings etc not found in the Scamp or Boler. If Bigfoot says the tongue weight is 230lbs dry I would believe them. Once loaded up am going to suggest that the trailer is probable going to be close to the 2400lb tow rating of your tug if not slightly over and as such a the tongue weight by about 240lbs or more, so is what you will need to get the 10% needed on the tongue for a solid tow. Edit to add: The Big extra long awning the seller has put on will add more to the weight than your standard awning usually found on the 13' and they have also added a metal fence on the tongue and greatly expand the storage area on the tongue with would also add to your tongue weight greatly!

3) I think but can't say with 100% certainty that the wall covering is a marine headliner the same as Scamp uses. Its usually very cleanable/saveable even if dirty.

4) Fridge - Did he say what it smells like? Did he say the fridge works? If it smells like ammonia thats suggests the cooling system is bad. A new fridge of the same type costs about $600.

6) You can buy a Group 24 Deep Cell battery from Costco or Wally world for about $100. If you plan to do some off grid camping and run solar you might want to go with a group 27 battery though. Its just a bit bigger and heavier.

But the guy says he bought a bigger Bigfoot & he says the battery and propane tanks are not included so I would suggest that you ask him to have a propane tank and battery hooked up to the trailer when you go to see it so you can confirm that everything works - even if you can't keep them. I see a battery box on the photo of the tongue so he had a battery on the trailer at some point. If he is not willing to do that then I would be very skeptic.

Looking a the photo it looks like the trailer has had some interesting modifications to it - the extra long awning is not stock and the fenced in tongue area. The inside looks in good clean condition though!

Has he shared any photos of the axle, frame with you?
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Old 06-14-2015, 12:29 AM   #3
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Name: Jen
Trailer: 1975 1300 Trillium
Yukon
Posts: 10
Thanks, Carol.

It makes sense that the cabinetry in a Bigfoot would weigh more than a Boler. But according to the factory sticker, it has a dry weight of 980, which seems comparable to a Boler. So if it weighs the same as a Boler, what would account for the larger tongue weight? And what is the 'tongue load range'? Is this the same as the tongue weight? Or the maximum the tongue can support?

I appreciate the questions about the brakes and the suggestions about hooking it up to propane and a battery for inspection. I'll ask the owner about checking for a brake assembly.

I'm also not sure about what type of smell the fridge has. Good to know about the ammonia smell.

Thanks for your input!

Jen
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Old 06-14-2015, 12:31 AM   #4
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Two years ago I gutted an 88 Lil Bigfoot and completely refurbished it.
I sold it for $7500.00.
The only thing that I didn't change were the cushions, furnace or refrigerator as they all worked well.
A Lil Bigfoot is a wonderful trailer, BUT very rare so you may pay a premium if that's what you want.
You may find a Scamp or other less rare Egg for less and the axle replacement will not cost as much.
#1
My Lil Bigfoot had brakes and a completely dead axle which I replaced.
The frame rails where the axle is mounted are not parallel as required by todays axles.
A competent welder can make the modifications to install an axle but anticipate around $750.00 including the cost of the axle.
#2
I never checked the tongue weight but you should not have a problem with you Forester.
#3
The material had come loose from the foam insulation.
I gutted the trailer and had Scamp Rat Fur professionally installed.
#4
Any kitchen cleaner will kill the odor.
I like the Spray Clorox Cleaner + bleach
#5
The bunk is exactly like the bunk installation in my Scamps and I have had my teenage grand kids sleeping in them.
#6
Plug the trailer into his vehicle and check the exterior lights and brakes.
There should be a 110V line to plug into an available 110 outlet.
Insist he powers up the 12v lights if they don't work when plugged into the vehicle.
The battery depends on your camping needs.
If you are going to camp where 110V is available the standard deep cycle group 24 is OK.
If your a boondocker then you should consider a group 27 deep cycle battery as the useable charge will last a little longer.
I like Wal Mart for buying battery's as there is usually one wherever you go.


There is nothing special about trailer battery's other than you want a deep cycle battery which is readably available.


DON"T buy from RV stores unless your independently wealthy.


Ebay, Wal Mart the internet and big hardware stores usually can supply what you need.


Of all the trailers I have refurbished since I retired the Lil Bigfoot is the only one I regret selling.


Good luck,
John


PS
For some reason I didn't notice the add or the pictures.
It looks like a nice clean, well cared for Egg.
It also looks as if the axle is DEAD and needs replacement.


I would find out the cost of a complete axle replacement.
Since the Big foot is a Canadian trailer you may find someone familiar with changing out the axle.
Since frame modification is necessary also ask for a trailing axle installation.


The trailer looks nice so I think, from looking at the pictures, the axle will be your biggest expense.
John


John
John
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Old 06-14-2015, 12:48 AM   #5
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Name: Jen
Trailer: 1975 1300 Trillium
Yukon
Posts: 10
John,

Reading that you regret selling the Lil Bigfoot is nice to hear; there obviously were things you liked about it. What were some of those things that you thing differentiate them from other eggs?

That's good advice about getting a battery that can hold a charge a bit longer. In the Yukon, we would probably be camping in places where there are no campgrounds. Or if in campgrounds, not all of them have the capacity to allow you to plug in. I'm not independently wealthy (!) so will remember your advice about where to buy batteries!

Its also good feedback about the axle. How did you know your axle was dead?

Jen
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Old 06-14-2015, 12:58 AM   #6
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Name: kootenai girl
Trailer: 2004 Casita Liberty 17
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Just got to say that awning freaks me out and the extra front extension. Not sure what it would do to the tongue weight, certainly would make it higher. Can't tell without seeing it but wonder if it puts extra strain on the roof as it is attached to something else therefore could flex when driving.
The dry weight is just that before everything was added. I would think it would be closer to 1500lbs with no water or belongings at least.
Inside looks good but the bunk bed poles look like they need an adjustment as usually they are straight. Most of these bunk in the small trailers can sleep a slim adult on bottom but not on the top as they are attached with wood to the front shell.
I would certainly want to see this one before committing due to the additions.
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Old 06-14-2015, 01:15 AM   #7
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Name: kootenai girl
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Maybe post to see if anyone local who is familiar with Bigfoot's could go and check it out for you and at least give you a real life opinion. You could offer to pay for gas and or their time but most folks are happy to help out and take a peek.
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Old 06-14-2015, 01:25 AM   #8
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Name: Jen
Trailer: 1975 1300 Trillium
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Good point--never thought of asking for help like that. I wonder if there are any people in the edmonton area who would be able to go. Also hadn't thought about the awning being a hazard. Thanks!
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Old 06-14-2015, 01:32 AM   #9
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Jen, from the pics it looks to be in pretty good condition. The refer would have me worried if it was anything else but stale. Carol gave you good info as she has experience towing with a Subie. About the awning, this is what I want to do with my SD 17. I've always had the typical RV roll up awnings and don't want a short bag/case one that are typical for an egg. First time I've seen a pic of a longer awning mounted like I've been thinking of doing. I don't think it would make a whole lot of difference to TW, overall weight maybe 40lbs.
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Old 06-14-2015, 01:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jen11o View Post
Thanks, Carol.

It makes sense that the cabinetry in a Bigfoot would weigh more than a Boler. But according to the factory sticker, it has a dry weight of 980, which seems comparable to a Boler. So if it weighs the same as a Boler, what would account for the larger tongue weight? And what is the 'tongue load range'? Is this the same as the tongue weight? Or the maximum the tongue can support?



Jen
Jen re the tongue load rate - my best guess is that is the total load the tongue is designed for - which would have me a bit worried due to the additions the seller has added to the tongue.

Bolers BTW are well know for having understated weight stickers in their closets.;-) Anyone who has actually bothered to weigh their Boler is well aware of it.

Back in the day it was common practise for trailer manufactures not to include any optional items on their dry weights. So basically the fridge, stove, awning, propane tank, battery, furnace, converter, fans, water tank were not included in the dry weights. Which is why you will have a real hard time finding a Boler or a 13' Scamp that actually weighs what the sticker says it does. Scamps btw where made from the same mould as the Boler so although you don't see many Bolers on the Real World Weights thread you can be sure that if there where they would be in the same range as the 13' Scamps weight wise. Or at least that has been the case with the Bolers I know of that have been weighed - all had fridges, stoves and propane and battery and bag awnings and none weighed less than 1500lbs & one I know of was over 2100lbs once loaded for camping and they really did not have all that much stuff in the trailer.
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Old 06-14-2015, 03:10 PM   #11
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Name: Patrick
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Quick battery information.....Walmart is selling high quality deep cell batteries that are perfect for RV use....first measure the compartment that the battery will call home....the length of the available area for the battery will be the key factor in doing an upgrade....for use in the far north country check to see if you can go up to a "29 size group" battery...it would require at least 13" of space to accommodate that size for length....the width and height of these batteries are all the same....only the length changes...if my memory serves the 24 group runs about 10inches long.....27 group runs about 12" and the 29 group is 13".
The price does not seem to jump all that much as you increase the size.
I paid about $87 for a group 27 deep cell ....I replaced a group 24 and would have gone to the group 29 for a few dollars more but it would not fit.
A word of warning...Walmart sells two types of deep cell 12 volt batteries.
The type you want is the one that is not maintenance free...you want the type you add distilled water to from time to time...DO NOT BUY the Maintainence Free sealed type....they do not store enough reserve power for RV use. In the Yukon you want all the long term battery reserve power you can get.
Memo: never run any deep cell battery down below the 50% mark as it will not recover.
Walmart has a simple one year 100% replacement warranty on these deep cell batteries...keep your receipt for warranty proof.
In the United States there is a $5 "core charge" added to the sale price...to get that refunded you must return your old battery for refund....if no exchange battery you do not get the refund of the $5 charge.

Best of luck with what ever you end up purchasing.

Happy Camping!
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Old 06-14-2015, 03:49 PM   #12
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John (or other folks),

You mentioned that you think the axle is dead. Can you tell me what points you in that direction?

Thanks
Jen
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Old 06-14-2015, 04:29 PM   #13
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Jen I personally think the angle the photo in the ad has been taken makes it hard to say if the axle is indeed toast just by looking at that photo. If you looking in the documents center on this list you will see a Brochure found in a 1987 Lil Bigfoot and the photos on it does not look much different clearance wise on the tires than the one in the ad. Tire clearance at the top of the tire is one way to tell & if you jack up the trailer and the tire does not come down as you do it more than an 1.5" or so would be another way (or a least it is with the axles found on Scamps and Bolers). Uneven tire wear or having the trailer bouncing around rough behind you & everything toasted around inside it when towing is another way of telling

If you have not seen it a member here has put together a website with some good advise as to what to look at when looking for a Boler and much of it is the same for a Lil Bigfoot.

Buyers Guide to Common Boler Trailer Problems.

BTW I did look at the Brochure in the Document center and it says that Electric trailer brakes where an optional item on the Lil Bigfoot or at least in 1987 they were. They were a stock item though on the 17' of the same age frame, which is not a surprise.

That does not mean that the trailer you are looking at does not have brakes or that its not possible to add them - if the axle that is on the trailer has the mounting plate for bolting them on - something to ask the seller. If no plate to mount them on the axle that is on the trailer then the axle would need to be replaced in order to add brakes. I would be surprised as Bigfoot was offering brakes as an option if it turned out they did not be using the same axle on all their Lil Bigfoots regardless of whether or not the buyer opted to order the brakes or not. My money would be betting the trailer has at least the mounting flange for the brakes - but with all bets I could be wrong!
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Old 06-14-2015, 04:44 PM   #14
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Jen one thing I started to wonder about while looking at other photos of lil Bigfoots was what happened to the fiberglass tongue box that was on the tongue originally - might want to ask the seller if he still has it and if not why not. There may be a story there in regards to something that happened on the tongue and explain why they did what they have done to modify the tongue area. Wondering if its the original tongue.
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