My 1985 Casita Patriot Deluxe 13' Thread - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-19-2010, 10:07 PM   #1
Senior Member
Name: N/A
Trailer: 1985 AND 1988 Casita Patriot Deluxe 13'ers. 10 eggs shy of a carton!
Posts: 184
My 1985 Casita Patriot Deluxe 13' Thread

Now that I've brought my Casita home, I figured I'd start a thread on her repairs. I've had a tough time finding info on the older Casitas, so as I work out her issues, hopefully some like-feathered birds will flock together and share some ideas.

Following is a rundown of her system--what works, what doesn't. I'll post questions individually, as I need answers!

Somebody here once said, "Just go camping", and I'm happy that the egg's issues are stuff I can deal with, and in the meantime, I can take her out on the road and be comfortable and safe. I'm poor as a church mouse right now, and just thrilled that I found a trailer with so much potential for "pay as you go" projects.

I'm the third owner; original owner lives down the street from the family who sold it to me. He bought it when he lived in Florida, and brought it with him to Montana...owned it until 2004. Second owners are a great couple who took a ton of short trips with it, and loved it very much...just outgrew it, now that they have a child. They regretted posting the trailer ad and actually changed their mind about selling after we had a tentative deal. A little begging and pleading, and the deal was back on. I don't blame them for having cold feet (in part because the price was so low), but boy was that an emotional 48-hours!


Not too shabby! There's a dent (broken fiberglass) in the front, where the closet is. It's covered with a "dual-purpose" no-smoking sign--keeps water out (for now) and keeps the propane tank from 'splodin'! There also seems to be some "settling" over the frame, in back--where the 'glass molds around the frame at the stern of the trailer. A bit concerned about that, and eventually I'll post pics and address that issue.

There's another stoving-in of the 'glass in the front starboard corner, about six inches wide. At some point I'll need to figure out a way to mold the repairs.

Rivets seem ok, but there's a lot of spiderwebbing along the front flange. Belly band is dented in a tiny bit...somebody had an "oops" moment.

The fiberglass is pretty oxidized, and there are some pocks here and there, so I'll be giving her a good polishing before our next trip (Labor Day).

All the running lights work but one starboard front light, which I'll replace this week/end. Exterior "porch" light is missing the lens. I'd love to rig some more exterior lights, and possibly convert all to LEDs (as with interior lighting).

My trailer looks like an inside-out teddy bear. Brown shag carpeting throughout, but it's clean and odor-free. I can live with that! At some point I'll be motivated to pull it all down and do a complete re-wiring/re-carpeting. Just not right now. Wiring would be the primary motivator.

The upholstery is a nice chocolate velveteen, and while the zippers need to be re-sewn, I see no need to change it out. No stains and practically no fading. Foam's in great shape, too! (I'm a lucky girl there, for sure!)

Some of the cabinet doors need new hinges, and I'm not fond of the way the cabinet doors latch. Doors themselves are in decent shape; minimal warping. Cabinets themselves are clean--NO mice, bugs, cobwebs, garbage. In fact, I did get a nice roll of paper towels and a roll of duct tape in the bargain.

Somebody replaced the dinette table top with 1" wood--way too heavy and thick for the wall brackets, so I'll be cutting a new table after my first trip, and keeping it in the bed config during travel until that time.

The Casita has a fully-enclosed fiberglass hull, and I suspect there's a bit of rot in the plywood, but overall it's very stable and of no big concern. (Fiberglass undercarriage is excellent!) The carpet is a bit threadbare, but that's what rugs are for.

Shower pan seems to sag a bit, and there are screw heads beginning to poke into the pan from underneath.

Flush toilet sits on the blackwater tank, which is higher than the rest of the bathroom enclosure. Somebody went to town with the caulk around the tank and the screw heads where it is fastened to the pan/floor.

I knew before picking it up that the blackwater drain valve had been broken off where it exits the outer shell. Reaching into the hole from outside, I can't find anything. I'll need to inspect further, but will probably end up pulling out the shower pan, toilet and blackwater tank for better access, and to see if I can reinforce the floor.

There is no bathroom sink, which is great--more room. Shower head seems fine, but...

12v system
I had a guy come out and check out my 12v system. (Shore power works fine--Domestic fridge hasn't been known to work since two weeks after original owner bought it (!) but the A/C blows cold. I have a brand-new deep-cycle 12v battery, but we can't get the water pump or 12v lights to work. The RV tech said my converter was probably shot. Couldn't find any fuses on the converter, just an in-line fuse right by where the battery connects. The 12-v system/pump/converter is my top priority, since I plan to be boondocking nearly all the time.

Propane System
Water heater fired up, as did the stove, but I'll be replacing the tank fittings as they look pretty crusty. There no acceptable tank mount on the tongue on which to attach a tank in upright position, so I need to make nicey-nice with my welding buddies. (I also want to upgrade the safety chains.)

Freshwater Tank
Note, there is no graywater holding tank on older Casitas, so I'll be using totes. The freshwater tank isn't strapped in; I need to put in new furring strips and tie-down straps. Tank itself is dusty, but otherwise looks ok (if not a bit bowed out in the sides). Hoses look good all around, but there is no cap on the freshwater tank inlet, so I'll need to remedy that...and flush the heck out of the system. Also, should I bother replacing the little filter? (Old one was corroded, and likely a source of a leak).

Windows look great and leak-free, but again--somebody went caulk-crazy. There are hooks for curtain rods, but no rods or curtains. There's a hand-crank vent on top, and it looks like the cover is new. Screens are clean (as are the window screens.) Eventually I'd like to replace with a Fantastic Fan.


No furnace! Looks like there never was! I'm totally cool with that; furnaces make me nervous. I have an indoor catalytic propane heater that will work fine, and I'll probably pick up a ceramic heater for use with shore/generator power.


The front starboard closet is HUGE. I could shove a ton of circus clowns in there. There's a sturdy curtain rod, too, mounted up high. Wiring for running lights, shower plumbing and propane line are visible above carpet on the bottom of the closet, so I'll be covering this up with a mat so pointy things don't stir it up.

So that's my Casita in a nut--er, egg shell! I know this is in the "Problem-Solving" sub-forum, but as you can see, I'll be doing a lot of that in the near future. I'll also be adding photos as soon as I set up a Photobucket account.

Anybody with tips and advice on this generation/brand of trailer, please jump in. I'll post separate, issue-specific threads and link them here as appropriate for better searchability.

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Old 08-20-2010, 12:41 AM   #2
Name: Julie
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 13 ft and 1985 Coleman Pop Up
Posts: 35
Congratulations on the purchase of your 1985 Casita. We just bought a 1985 Scamp 13 this summer. Sorry I can't be much help with your renovating but I will be looking forward to learning along with you!

Julie in Omaha

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Old 08-23-2010, 09:32 PM   #3
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Name: N/A
Trailer: 1985 AND 1988 Casita Patriot Deluxe 13'ers. 10 eggs shy of a carton!
Posts: 184
Originally Posted by Julie T. View Post
Congratulations on the purchase of your 1985 Casita. We just bought a 1985 Scamp 13 this summer. Sorry I can't be much help with your renovating but I will be looking forward to learning along with you!

Julie in Omaha
Thanks, Julia! Yep, there's a certain shagaliciousness about those 1985 (and older) trailers. Looking forward to hearing more about yours.

I've posted some exterior pictures in my Trailer Registry entry (see my profile at left for link. I'd post interior shots, but she's already half-packed for a big trip. I'll be sure to post "before" pics before I really get into renovations.

I'm kicking tires in shopping for a new controller, etc. Controller shopping discussion is here, with some good info on solar as well.

Speaking of solar, I've scraped together a dirt-cheap system comprised of previously stockpiled entry-level solar stuff that will eventually be replaced:
  • Group 24 deep-cycle battery
  • $75 Sunforce charge controller (not an MPPT, but for the value, a great starter unit)
  • Harbor Freight Ultra-Cumbersome But Cheap 45-Watt Solar Kit
  • 400/800 watt HF inverter
This program should be cobbled together for my upcoming trip...just enough juice to run some low-wattage necessities.

I've also given her a bath and a quick rubdown with Meguier's All-In-One...she'll get a better beauty treatment when we return. She's still got a bit of kick to her gelcoat.

Added a new cable-tie to her water heater vent cover, after it fell off enroute to the DMV today.

Picked up a new porta-pottie, some Dri-Dek squares for her shower, some pretty red pillows for her dinette, a red/gold rug to cover her threadbare carpet, a metric crapton of suction cups and some closet organizers...also a more-suitable drop-hitch.

Also found a replacement in-line water filter to change-out for the one that crudded up/leaked all over the old controller (who would install a plumbing fixture right over the controller? Who?) and a new amber light for her starboard bow...

And...a new spare tire--same make/mode as the nearly-new tires on her wheels.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:08 AM   #4
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Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,708
Congrats on your new to you trailer. Hope you have fun with it!

Re the fuse for your converter. Did the person who checked it out look inside the converter itself? Suspect he would have but I know I spent a day looking for the fuses for mine until I decided to unscrew the top off of the converter. The fuses were inside it.

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Old 09-17-2010, 08:59 PM   #5
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Name: N/A
Trailer: 1985 AND 1988 Casita Patriot Deluxe 13'ers. 10 eggs shy of a carton!
Posts: 184
Hi Carol! Yup, we took the cover off, and he couldn't find them. I'm over it, though...and after a great trip with the Casita to Nevada, I've decided to chill a bit on all the projects (plus, a close family member needs my attention). She's going to get a new axle and new trailer plug, and everything else can wait.

(Thread for my Axle Quest

My solar set-up worked great, by the way. Yep, kind of a pain to unpack/set up/take down/pack up, but my Harbor Freight system did what it needed to do. Which really wasn't all that much.

The portable marine toilet (2.5 gallon tank is a lot easier to carry out and empty than the five gallon, by the way!) worked great. Yep, I'll be removing/storing the built-in flush toilet.

Garden sprayers work GREAT for dishes, personal showers----until they break. Getting a better one, and a backup for that.

The battery-operated LED lights I got are more than sufficient for my needs, for now, and the O2 Cool rechargable 10' fan is a versatile accessory for this little trailer.

She towed BEAUTIFULLY on my 1200-mile round trip.
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