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: 5,744
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: 500
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: 1,485
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: 1,787
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: 2,172
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: 218
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: 313
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: 158
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: 47
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: 207
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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