There is risk in a used one! - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-12-2018, 09:20 AM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Charles
Trailer: Big Foot
Posts: 8
There is risk in a used one!

Had a Scamp 19 and then a Casita 17, both were ok, I’m totally a fiberglass believer, but we wanted a bit bigger. For the longest time watched for a used Big Foot 25RQ … found one, sellers said it had no problems … traveled a very long ways to get it, 2005, excellent appearance with a great solar/6 volt AGM set up, priced fairly at market value. Pristine, was kept inside a barn, sellers seemed nice, reasonable & helpful … everything worked, bought it & the trailer is awesome & I’m happy with it & it’s working great for us …

But I paid too much … and here is why :0(

I wasn’t observant enough to notice the AGM’s were actually two 6 volt lead acid golf cart deep cycle batteries … good batteries … but they’re mounted under the dinette seat, they can off gas, not totally safe to have such within a living compartment. I bought and installed the correct AGM’s ($$$, they cost basically twice what lead acid cost)… … somebody out there has the nice original AGM’s that we were supposed to get.

I got up one night to go number two, was barefoot … hummnn … Seems a small floor spot in front of the bathroom door is kinda soft with my barefoot weight on it !?!

Honest … I did “attempt” to investigate the floor soundness before I bought it … but I did it in a cursory manner with my boots on, and I did not do a thorough “tap test” of the entire floor . I got sucked in, I had already checked the entire exterior, roof and underside fiberglass, which were all good as new.
Turns out the toilet had a slow seeping leak beneath the linoleum around the flange. There was no smell, there were no visual clues, it had continued for a long period of time. Beneath the linoleum a large area of the floor was wet from seepage … the spot I felt with my bare foot was rotted … some extensive damage was there … fortunately I’ve been able to repair it myself…

C’est la vie n’est pas? … What can I learn from this life experience?

The enclosed and insulated BF floor is so nice for many reasons … But the ability to visually inspect the trailer integrity is not one of them. There’s no way this would have escaped my attention on the Scamp ... possibly yes with Casita.

You know, people who own fiberglass trailers are special people, for many positive reasons IMO. But people are still people … some are not totally forthcoming or necessarily honest. It is on me though and it’s ok, I fixed it. ...And we love the trailer.

But we know the reality. There is risk in a used one!

Who else had similar experience?
Cheers, CJ
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:16 AM   #2
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Name: Shelby
Trailer: Casita SD
Posts: 350
Welcome! Looks as if you now have plenty of room

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Old 07-12-2018, 11:52 AM   #3
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Posts: 5,815
I think the used market prices currently do not include a sensible 'risk discount'. But in this seller's market that seems to be true of all travel trailers, not just FG. Glad to see you are handy and could do the repairs yourself.
In the '60s, people took LSD to make the world seem weird.
Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it seem normal.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:19 PM   #4
Name: Marcia
Trailer: Bigfoot
Posts: 46
Buyer beware for sure

I bought a 17 ft Bigfoot last year and on way home noticed the rear tire just looks a tiny bit "tilted" in the rear view mirror. Pulled over at level spot and checked lug nuts, but figured out there was an ever so slight bend in the axle. Called the seller, as I was only 2 hours down the road after our sale. The seller who had seemed like a very honest and reasonable person during our negotiations, went ballistic angry nuts on the phone, yelling that I was a con artist and scammer. I realized she was not 100% mentally stable and figured best to just keep driving and suck it up, VS trying to work something out with her.

Most of you experienced RV'ers probably know it is very common for the industry to install the cheapest smallest axles so they increase their profit margins, but this was my first travel trailer. I found a great shop that upgraded the axle from 3500lb to 5400lb and also raised the height by installing axle on top of the springs. No biggie really and now I have a high clearance heavy duty rig I can take off road and not be worried about bottoming it out. This is really just the story of how life works when you have to work (and trust) with other people. Do your "due diligence" and expect to have some issues. I have no idea if my seller realized the problem and tried to trick me or was honest during our sale, I knew I did not want to have to go back a rework our deal, not with a crazy person, lol.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:35 PM   #5
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Escape 19 and Escape 15B
Posts: 510
When you buy used, you must expect that there will be things that you have to fix. From your description, it doesn't seem to me that the sellers were trying to pull one over on you with respect to the floor. It is quite possible that they, like you, did not realize there was a problem. Even with the couple of faults you mentioned, it looks like a nice trailer. Hope you enjoy it.
Dave W - 2013 Escape 19', 2013 Escape 15B and 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." - Yogi Berra
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:21 PM   #6
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Name: Tim
Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
North Florida
Posts: 1,489
I feel I paid too much for my Scamp based on the work and $$$ it needed right off to be usable. But, I can't begin to estimate it's value in the time and adventures my daughter and I have shared, and continue to share, in it.

I have told the story before, but here it is again. The used car salesman (really) I bought our Scamp from told me about the $24,000 he paid for drug rehab for his daughter after she had been living with his ex. I have a fraction of that in the Scamp, and it is money well spent in "Daddy/Daughter" insurance.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:29 PM   #7
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Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Posts: 1,937
I agree, but also agree that any used camper will have issues. Some known to the seller, others not known, some known but "forgotten" because they just learned to live with them.

My experience with trailers is that there is always something wrong. This is a living space with all the systems a home has. Gas, electric, plumbing. All bouncing down the road in a near constant low-level earthquake. Yeah...things go wrong.

I love my camper but there is always a list of things to work on. I actually wouldn't expect a new one to be much different after a year or so of use.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:37 PM   #8
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 2,473
I paid too much for ours, basically it was a premium to avoid missing a camping season. That season was “worth” that extra we paid, but still...

Also paid too much for our house (bigger dollars). Someone beat us by two hours, so we paid them 30% more to resell it to us.

Ultimately it depends on the situation. House was worth it to us, we have never regretted it.

The thing about Scamp, their floor construction gets panned but to me it’s the easiest to inspect.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:45 PM   #9
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Name: Mon
Trailer: 13' 2008 Scamp...YAY!
Posts: 223
My daughter and her husband found a (sticky) trailer she loved, GREAT flooring, plenty of room, so they bought it. On the way home, parts started falling off and they had to stop at an RV park long enough to make repairs so they could continue home...and then they found the carpenter ants.....

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Old 07-12-2018, 02:35 PM   #10
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Lite House
Posts: 335
My little Lite House was billed as "everything works" and "no leaks", so I paid a goodly amount for it...hard to say if I overpaid or not, as there are so few on the market, but it wasn't a steal by any means. So, everything works? Yes! Happy days. No leaks? Just one, but it was a significant one - the roof fan (I posted about my install of the new fan elsewhere here).

I have mixed feelings about it - I find it hard to believe he didn't know about this leak, but on the other hand he did me a big favor by removing the window AC from the front window opening, reinstalling the glass, and installing a new AC unit under the seat before I picked it up (maybe he felt guilty). And I wanted to install a Maxxfan Deluxe anyway (just wanted to do it on my schedule, not the leaks).

So in the end I think I came out okay. So it goes.
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:45 PM   #11
Name: claire
Trailer: 2013 casita pd
Posts: 86
you purchased a 13 yr old trailer (most stick builts would be in the landfill by that time) & only found one leak (which the seller probably didn't know about) & misinstalled batteries? you did GREAT, IMHO!
i knew i don't have the skills or patience to fix up an older trailer so i purchased a 4 month old gently used casita. price was high, i thought, til i found the factory had the same trailer with same options for $1200 more. i bought from the lovely older owner. once i started traveling, enjoying it, the initial cost has melted into memory. couldn't be happier with my choice.
have fun in your new trailer
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:40 AM   #12
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Name: sharon
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 168
Did I pay too much? I don’t think so. I may have been able to negotiate a bit lower if I was good at that (I’m not). But I’ve enjoyed fixing it up & using it. And very few can be found around here so I didn’t have options. Looking back, the bigger question is, what was I thinking driving 5 hrs to meet a guy I don’t know, at his home, with $3500 cash in my pocket, alone? Turns out he was a good man. He said he could have sold it for more based on the calls he got after mine, but we had a deal. Proof that God watches out for dumb animals!
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:09 PM   #13
Name: Wil
Trailer: 2010 Casita 17' SD
Posts: 52
SUV not trailer

While not a trailer - used. We bought a used SUV to pull our new (used) Casita. Even had a pre-buy inspection done by a local sort of high end auto service shop. They found several problems which the owner agreed to lower the price to get fixed. Some time later I happened to look under the left front fender and found the bumper was tied on with a piece of rope! It's one of those modern plastic bumpers that had evidently been a hit little hard and broke some of the attach points. No noticeable exterior damage, just a few relatively small scratches. Went back to the pre-buy shop. How did they miss this? They gave us a discount on the next (last at that shop) service job. Nowhere near paid to replace bumper.

By the way, the trailer was a couple years old. The wife decided she liked motel camping better. It WAS only lightly used and nothing has gone wrong with it due to any original faults. We lucked out there!
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:34 PM   #14
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Name: Dick
Trailer: '15 17' LD Casita and '17 Tahoe LT
Posts: 218
Back in '02, I bought a two yr. old 25' Airstream online. Drove from Dallas to Salt Lake City to pick it up. Found that it didn't have a spare tire so purchased one from Discount Tire. Made it back as far as Santa Fe, Nm when we ran into rain. The think leaked like a water hose over one of the beds. It was never mentioned in the transaction. To shorten the story, kept it six yrs. and never could find the leak so just left it since it was on the wife's side...
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:09 PM   #15
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
Posts: 1,703
I paid too much but I believe it saved me money. I knew it going in. I paid about $1000 too much. But it was 30 miles away. Last registered and clean title in the same state. it was just before the camping/vacation season. First camping trip 2 weeks after i bought it. If I divide the $1000 in the 6 years or so I have it that $167 a year difference and going down every year. It took over a year missing a bunch of trailer sales because I still work. So over pay is not the issue for me.

The issue for me is did I get everything I purchased and not cheated. I picked up the trailer with promises of everything working except a missing bolt for the fridge door. I could have been easily fooled there but after a good cleaning everything worked. Other than the trailer being unused for a long time, cushions re upholstered some time in its former life and the front bunk bed cut for a small dining table they trailer was unmolested and in the same design as left the Scamp factory in 1986. I did some due diligence with the structural inspection and it was acceptable to me.

As for trailer condition you can't assume the seller knows what is a problem or not. It is the responsibility of the buyer to know what they are buying. This is not a new item sold by a company with a warranty. The minute the seller is paid and the item leaves the driveway the item is yours and your responsibility unless the seller gave you a return or warranty guarantee.

If windows that leak or floor rot bothers you and is so damn important to you its up to you to check it or have it checked by someone skilled enough to advise you before handing you money to the seller.

Its used not new. Used have problems, New is not supposed to but we all know how that goes, At least your supposed to have warranty on New so you get to sleep better.

You can dream of ethics and honor but in the end its your money and your responsibility to know what your buying. It would be no difference, You look at an elderly lady who husband died and was selling their trailer for half of its used value Great deal for you with or with out your own personal ethic issues, You could offer to pay extra so you feel better about it, or you could disclose it all to the seller and probably loose a trailer sale over it.

In the end its all your responsibility how to spend your money, if your picky about something you have to step up and take responsibility for your choices. You can't get cheated if you don't open the door for someone to cheat you.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:30 PM   #16
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Name: Bruce
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 ft RQ
Posts: 617
There is something worse than finding a fairly serious problem with a used trailer that you just purchased: That is finding a fairly serious problem with a new trailer that you just purchased. And that has happened with four out of the five new trailers I have purchased in my lifetime. The 25' Bigfoot I have now was bought used and the first rain revealed a severe leak at the top of the door frame. No biggie, a tube of caulking and about 30 minutes work had it fixed. Fortunately the trailer had been stored under a water tight cover so it had no water damage. The seller knew nothing about it, and I had no reason to tell him.

This spring I bought a goose neck flatbed trailer to use on my farm. It has 17.5 load range J super single tires on two 10,000 lb Dexter axles with oil bath hubs. When I hooked on to it at the factory in Iowa to take it home it had absolutely no brakes. I was trying to figure out the problem on the parking lot when the factory manager came out to see what was going on. I had my multi-meter out and the wiring checked ok. I have been pulling trailers for 50 years and I can tell when the brakes are working. They were not. He declared the brakes were working just fine, Dexter would warranty any problem.

It was closing time. I had already paid for it so there was nothing for me to do but leave. I pulled the thing 300 miles home with no brakes. I later had one other phone call to the factory and things got kind of heated.

It took numerous phone calls to Dexter and crawling under the trailer to taki pictures of the serial number tags on the axles to prove they were new. They had no service center within 200 miles so they had me take it to a repair shop in Springfield. It turned out that the oil seals on all four of the new hubs had leaked all of the oil out of each one of them into the brakes and brake drums. Oil on brakes is a bad thing because it makes them not work. It apparently happened while the new axles were sitting on the shipping pallet before they were installed on the new trailer. Four weeks later I finally got my new trailer out of the shop with actual working brakes and was able to start using it. Dexter did pay the shop bill. I was right and the factory manager was wrong so I guess I get a prize.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:54 PM   #17
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Name: John
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500, 1979 Boler 1700
Posts: 1,306
Lots of risk in new ones too!

After much research, my sister and BIL bought a new, better brand motorhome a couple of years ago. Picked it up in Phoenix and then on the maiden voyage/shakedown cruise (several thousand miles) they logged over 70 problems that needed repair. Then took it to the dealer who fixed all items on the list which took 3 or 4 weeks. At the end of that process, they STILL were not satisfied with all of the fixes, e.g., vibrating side view mirrors, etc. The motorhome had a few design flaws that the manufacturer was either not willing or not able to correct.

So either used or new, there will be risks. Typically the more you spend (EDIT: and the greater the complexity), the more the perceived risk.
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Old 07-13-2018, 03:06 PM   #18
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Lite House
Posts: 335
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
As for trailer condition you can't assume the seller knows what is a problem or not. It is the responsibility of the buyer to know what they are buying. This is not a new item sold by a company with a warranty. The minute the seller is paid and the item leaves the driveway the item is yours and your responsibility unless the seller gave you a return or warranty guarantee.
Yes and no. If the seller claims ignorance of conditions and leaves the due diligence up to you, absolutely the ball is in your court and you better do your homework. This is particularly true for private sales such as through craigslist, where there is no mechanism for fraud protection.

EBay is a bit different - if the seller states that such and such works fine, or doesn't leak, then they have to stand behind that statement. Ebay has to work this way since bidders may be anywhere in the country. Of course, you can save yourself a ton of aggravation if you find out they lied before you drive away, rather than having to file a claim via eBay.
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Old 07-13-2018, 04:55 PM   #19
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006 "Missing Link"
Posts: 3,739
Originally Posted by Steve Carlson View Post
EBay is a bit different - if the seller states that such and such works fine, or doesn't leak, then they have to stand behind that statement. Ebay has to work this way since bidders may be anywhere in the country. Of course, you can save yourself a ton of aggravation if you find out they lied before you drive away, rather than having to file a claim via eBay.

Just a note for EBay purchases, there is a time limit to open a claim, it was 30 days back when I needed it. I bought a Mustang and had it shipped. The seller dropped it off to the shipper in within a couple days, fine. The transporter was on the road a couple days later, fine again. Unbeknownst to me, until after the fact, was the driver spent the Xmas holidays at his house. My EBay deal was time stamped at 31 days, one day over. EBay wouldn't give me any slack for circumstances I had no control of. Cost me a bunch of $$$$ but a good learning experience .
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Old 07-13-2018, 09:57 PM   #20
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Name: Charles
Trailer: Big Foot
Posts: 8
Just want to say I learn alot from all the great responses ... Thanks!

And thanks to Shelby M, Mike Magee, Ice-breaker and chairmr1 for the well wishes with my trailer. Much appreciated!

I'm sure there are still many more interesting "used buying" experiences out there for us, let us hear them!


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