overcoming a "charm-ectomy", rotten floor & other issue - Fiberglass RV

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Old 05-21-2009, 01:09 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1998 17 ft Burro
Posts: 10

Hi, I'm humbly joining you. I'll put the intro & backstory in italics so you can skip ahead to the questions if you don't want to hear how anyone ended up buying this camper.
I wish I had spent more time here before I jumped in and bought this burro from craigslist. First, a little background. I do have experience with buying trailers, we traveled many miles & kissed quite a few toads before we found our previous trailer, an airstream excella. Anyways, we got pregnant on our first big trip out & sold it to pay for a paternity leave & to fluff up our nest for the new addition. Fast forward to this year, I've been looking for a rounded fiberglass camper that we could pull with our toyota sienna since the beginning of February. They are so hard to come by! Especially at this time of year.
[bowing my head in shame] I bought the first one that was within driving distance in months. I was just so anxious to go "campering", we tried to go back to tent camping but as the mom of 2 young children and generally only getting 2 nights away at a a time... it was too much work. I didn't want to travel all over, spend day after day looking online.

ANYhoo, this little camper had seen better days, leaking windows rotted the carpet, the previous (and now relieved) owner did all he could to rectify the situation and swears up & down there was just no way to reseal the original windows so he ....... replaced them... with....... smaller windows..... and (this is where it gets really dicey)..... construction grade plywood.
I priced the windows out, and figured that if that's all there was, and the problem had been taken care of... we could deal with it. I thought we asked enough questions, I should have noticed the the owner was answering with as few words as possible. We went to see it but had our toddler with us. The plywood was so funny that it inspired me in some way, I felt like I could do anything with it, mod podge the interior, mosaic the window "frames".. ha ha. Anyway, it didn't seem too bad.
We bought it, picked up late at night. Brought it home, cleaned it up & took it right out on it's first trip. Towed great, had a lot more room than our aliner and was a fraction of the cost of our airstream.

Before I go any further, a link to our newest addition http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...hl=charm-ectomyThey did come down a bit on the price(s), tho not nearly enough.

Why, oh why didn't we look at the wheel wells? We were blinded by the crazy windows, I guess. You can see where there is ROT where the wheel well meets the underbelly in the back! It is even open a little right there. There is also previous "work" of some sort done in the well itself, where there is what appears to be some sort of cement or spackling.
Ugh. What do we do? My husband believes we should sand down the part that is open/rotted & use a fiberglass repair kit. But would love to hear what others think on that.

He took out the original carpets & put down vinyl squares, the floor beneath is warped so it's bumpy in places, though it feels solid to walk across. Can we just put a rug over it? We originally thought we'd put in laminate but the floor is too uneven. Are we going to end up falling through at some point if we don't pull up the whole thing?

You can probably see the a/c isn't original, either . We plan to replace the front window with one of proper size & didn't know if we should try to use the a/c as a window unit or install it somewhere else. OR buy a portable a/c with a heater as there is no furnace... that way we could also leave it at home if the weather's going to be nice. We'll be doing the others one at a time, the roadside window will surely be mosaiced around on the outside & decoupaged in- and the others may, too... depending on how that goes. We did plan to replace all of the windows, but I don't want to spend so much with so many other potential problems looming.

The lower cabinets no longer fastened so the PO rigged them up with camping toggles. It seems like they would work much better if we turned them around and put the hinges on top, would that work? We weren't sure if that area was meant to hold any extra weight.

The screen door has no gasket, we'll have to replace it. The icebox has no seal and we didn't know if that's something that could be replaced. I don't want to spend big $ on a fridge and an icebox would be convenient.

The sink is a small hand crank model, is it hard to replace that? We don't need a full bathroom or anything, just a place to regularly wash grubby little hands.

My husband & I have both hit our heads exiting the trailer, I can see this may be an ongoing problem. Our airstream had a cushion right above the door for such meetings, has anyone rigged something like that up?

I better post this, I know I'll have more questions but this is a good start
And don't get me wrong, our first trip out was a rollercoaster of revelations, but it still had it's charm... and the kids absolutely love it (tho, in all fairness, they are only 1 1/2 & 5 & ).

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Old 05-21-2009, 07:02 PM   #2
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Donna D.'s Avatar
Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 23,914
Alright Kelly, first take a deep breath. I think most people have suffered buyers remorse... if not on a trailer, then a home or perhaps a car or truck. Woulda, shudda, coulda... they all can abound. But you know, if you like your trailer and it sounds like it's just the ticket for a small, but growing (up) family... you can make this work. It may not be your dream trailer, but it will make camping much more enjoyable for some time to come.

First things, first. You want to make sure it's safe to tow down the road. Not only for you, but for all those around you. So, the tires, brakes and outside lights should be in perfect working order. Next is to just get it clean. Your dirt is better than someone else's dirt... right? From this point on, consider it a hard-sided tent. You'll stay warm and dry in inclement weather. Better than a tent any day. If you're a former tent camper, you know how that's done. Coolers for food and camp stove for cooking. You can continue to use those things, lots of people do.

All the things you've discussed, someone... or several someones... will jump in an offer suggestions.

Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:55 PM   #3
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Name: Frederick
Trailer: Fiber Stream
Posts: 8,125
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My husband & I have both hit our heads exiting the trailer, I can see this may be an ongoing problem. Our airstream had a cushion right above the door for such meetings, [b]has anyone rigged something like that up?
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Robert took a Pool Noodle and cut a 24" piece. He then took a scrap of curtain fabric and sewed a tube sleeve to fit snugly around the noodle but about 30" long. We pushed a 3/4" wooden dowel 36" long thru the hole in the middle, and tucked the sleeve in next to the dowel. Used brackets to hang the ends of the dowel on the refrigerator and closet walls, so that when you run your head into it, there is some springy give.
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:58 PM   #4
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Trailer: 2007 Casita
Posts: 3,440
Kelly I have to agree with Donna. Safe and Clean are your first issues. Then from there, it's Enjoy it and tackle the projects you want to one at a time.

I think your Dh is right about fiberglass repair kit. It is very easy to work with from what I have read. As long as the floor isn't squishy, you should be fine, yes carpet can be put over it, but honestly do you want to camp with carpet? Kids, hubbies, fur babies, mud, stickers, sticks, rocks don't mix well with carpet. Again as long as it's not squishy you should be ok on that for now. As far as the window issues, take them one at a time till you get them done.

Many a egg wannabe has bought a egg that need more attention than they saw thru their stareeeee egg eyes. I too made the mistake, with a trailer that needed more help than yours. So don't feel bad for being charmed and not seeing the issues. It's over with, now you just have to make it the best trailer to meet your family's needs. Being charmed is one reason for the buyers check list, http://www.fiberglassrv.com/buy-sell.html

The question is, are you willing to tackle the projects to make this a workable egg? I think you could make this soooo cute. And as Donna said as long as there isn't a safety issue you can. Tons of people have. As far as your cabinets, Can you take a pic of them to show what your asking? As well as the wheel well issue.

You should be able to find a replacement seal for the fridge as well as the screen door, both are easy fixes. As far as the sink, yes it can be replaced, But I would think about keeping a hand pump faucet cause otherwise you have to turn on the pump to get water to the faucet if your not hooked to hookups. So if you do a lot of boondocking the hand pump does come in hand. Everytime you turn the pump on, your drawing off your batterey. So you just have to figure out which would work best for your camping needs.

I have seen a few different ways people have attached a bummper guard. One Casita I saw the lady upholstered a foam block and attached with double sided velcro. Believe me, you will learn not to walk into it after a few good smacks, it's like kids after they hurt them selfs doing something. Eventually they learn not to do what hurts them. It just takes us adults a little longer to learn. (since we think we know it all).

All in all the trailer you bought by the pictures doesn't look so bad. The windows are different, but you already had a plan when you bought it, so take it one project at a time and soon you will see it all come together. Best of luck! Robin
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:13 PM   #5
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Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,010
Kelly, your floor came out of the factory all bumpy and warpy looking. It is encapsulated in fiberglass resin, and if looks anything like mine.. I think they grabbed a few buckets and semi aimed and tossed the stuff down. They had carpet over it, an indoor/outdoor blue stuff.

You could lay down a plywood subfloor and put wood or whatever over it.

yes, I think your hubby is correct.. do the wheel well repair in glass. There probably was a nasty blow out that tore it apart there.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:57 PM   #6
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Trailer: 1998 17 ft Burro
Posts: 10
Thanks, all! I am feeling so much better about it.

DonnaD~ whew, thank you... it is good to remember to BREATHE! It IS safe and clean. We can camp *now*, and that's what it's all about. We've already taken it to our favorite spot to try it out for a 2 night stay, that's where we discovered the wells. It already felt homey, I was so worried we were in for more than we could handle but it looks sunnier now.

Frederick~ that's a great idea. We've got a different entry set up but the pool noodle would be perfect with some other way to stick on there, maybe suction cups attached to it's sleeve.

RobinG~thank you for your post, you've given me some good things to think about. You're right, carpet is not the best for camping, it just seemed easier/more pliable for this particular floor. I may try to figure out how to keep that fiberglass edge from jutting out & being such a stub hazard.
As far as the hand pump, thank you... I hadn't considered that at all. We have to see if we can get it working because that probably would better suit our needs.
Haha, yeah, it only took one good smack for me to hunch down each exit, in an exaggerated fashion, I'm only 5'2" and it got me pretty good. Poor dh, tho... he's got a harder head than I, and a much higher one at 6', too. D'oh!

GinaD~ I wondered about putting in another subfloor & laminate over that but worried about all of the extra weight, is that ever a problem? Interesting factory job on the floor.

Now that I feel more relaxed about it, I'm going to take pics & start a thread for each issue, that would be more user friendly.

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