Badly beaten Burro in desperate need of attention and overhaul - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-13-2013, 09:06 AM   #1
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Name: Donald
Trailer: Burro 13'
Georgia
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Badly beaten Burro in desperate need of attention and overhaul

Background:

I am planning to drive from Georgia to Alaska this Summer. It is a gift to myself for many years of severe sacrifice to do well with my engineering degree and Air Force ROTC. This is the Summer before my Senior year, even though I have technically been a year for the past two years. I had to pick up minors to be have hours to finish ROTC. I will try to not digress too much, and if people are interested, I will do a thread somewhere else about my journey.

While planning for the trip I decided I needed to get a small camper for my two sidekicks that are tagging along, my dogs Karma and Apollo. After HOURS upon HOURS of researching all kinds of campers, since I had no prior experience with them, I became very fond of fiberglass campers. They are lighter, less prone to wood rotting issues, provide lots of room, and are decently aerodynamic. While searching all of Craigslist in a 400 mile radius, something I did daily for weeks, I came across an add for a fiberglass camper marketed as a hunting camper. No other information was listed. So I got the owner to text me photos and it was a 13' Burro is rough shape. After a good phone conversation and immense generosity on his part, he decided to donate it to me for my trip. So during Spring Break I rented a UHaul car hauler, and my stepdad and I spent a day driving to go pick it up.

It's in worse shape than I anticipated, but the price was right, and I tend to love projects(cars, bikes, gadgets, etc.). Unfortunately, due to it's current condition, coupled with its size, it will not be making this cross-country trip to Alaska. Instead, after a trailer swap and some much needed repairs, it will become my camper for taking to my skydive dropzone for pups. After I get my first base assignment, and get settled into my career, I plan to do a full restore/update of the little camper.

Now, the part you have all been waiting for, the most important part, the pictures.

From how it looks to me, I think someone may have been living in the camper at some point. The door appears to have suffered severe damage, from wind I presume, and when re attached it was attached about an 1" too low. It was swapped onto a different trailer and it has severe cancer problems. There are two really bad spots in the fiberglass, one above the door and one above the window beside the door. I plan to address the severe spots to prevent any more water entering the camper, fix the door, and do a trailer swap. Hopefully I have time to do this before I leave for Alaska, if not I will cover it and save it for my return.

I love constructive criticism and advice, especially from those more versed in the area of fiberglass campers. So if anyone has ideas for the two severe spots, let me know. I have experience with fiberglass, not extensive, but did do some major patchwork on a widebody RX7 I have.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:37 AM   #2
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Have fun with your project, Donald. It looks fairly ambitious, but totally doable. Take lots of photos along the way to share as well.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:39 AM   #3
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Someone was really mad at that poor Burro!
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:56 AM   #4
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Good project. I wouldn't fix a thing until you get a good solid frame under it otherwise you risk gluing it all up crooked. I would get some metal foil duct tape and clean the fiberglass and stick the duct tape to seal out water intrusion. Once you seal it your risk mold so you need to add covered ventalation. I would take out any thing you dont want that holds moisture.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aws140 View Post
The door appears to have suffered severe damage, from wind I presume, and when re attached it was attached about an 1" too low. It was swapped onto a different trailer and it has severe cancer problems.
It looks to me like it has been rolled... the original frame ("trailer swap") may have been too damaged by the wreck. That plank floor has to go...
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:03 PM   #6
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+1 what Frederick says. It appears to be sitting on some other trailer's frame if the undersized wheels and bolt pattern can be taken as an indicator. Or simply on another trailer. Not the first such "swap" we've seen lately as someone posted an egg-derived fishing shack perched on a decked flatbed several weeks ago. Most of us tend to think that both the eggshell and the frame constitute the trailer so we're getting exposure to a different way of looking at the parts and the whole.

All the best to you on your reward trip, Donald. We look forward to hearing about your direly damaged donkey when you return.

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Old 03-13-2013, 04:23 PM   #7
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First thing I'd do is be sure you can get it registered. I'd hate to put a bunch of work into a project only to find that the trailer doesn't have the paper work to get it on the road. If you got a good title with it and it tranfers, I'd consider the project..

Perfect project to build a HIGH clearance frame for from scratch (might get by as a home built that way too). I can see that up off the ground on a set tall tires for some serious back country camping!

I'd love to drive my old AWD Astro van (one man camper) up to Alaska. I Don't want to tow the Casita but I sure would like to go to Alaska too. I'll have to wait until I quit work, not before I start it. You have a good plan, go while you're able.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:18 PM   #8
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I agree with the others, that the first step would be to get it off that crazy scary frame. You didnt post any photos of the axle so its condition remains a mystery here but that may be a good thing based on the condition of the frame.

As it looks like you may be looking at having to pick up some fairly pricey items, have you considered parting it out completely and selling the parts - everything - inside benches , windows, lights, cushions etc. Its been done before on more than one fiberglass trailer - often due to registration problems. You might make a nice bit of change to help you purchase a trailer for your trip that isnt in such great need of repairs.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:01 PM   #9
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I agree with Carol's view that parting out is an option should you decide later that it's too much project and not enuf trailer.

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Old 03-13-2013, 07:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
I agree with Carol's view that parting out is an option should you decide later that it's too much project and not enuf trailer.

jack
Good advice. I'm an optimist, but I wouldn't take it to Alaska. I've driven there in the past and it is no place to have a major failure.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:20 PM   #11
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Name: Donald
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This camper is DEFINITELY not going to Alaska. I am an optimist, but a realist as well. It requires way too much work, and would be too much of a load on my 4 cylinder Rav4 through the mountains.

The trailer has to go, that's given. I am not going to waste my time with it given the amount of rust. The axle appears fine, but doesn't have trailer brakes, which I require, so it's going as well.

Arlon - The home built is the approach I have been thinking. I wanted to give it wheels/tires that match my Rav4, but a 27" tire will not fit into the fenders without some cutting. This isn't out of the question, but I need to do more inspecting. A more radical rebuild is what I am thinking though.

Parting it out would be a last resort, it's not 100% out of the question, but very close. Since this is in the state it's in I wouldn't feel bad for cutting it up for some extreme make over, which is the more likely route. The timeline for such modification won't be soon though.

Unfortunately, due to the amount of work it needs, and the amount of work I need to do in preparation for Alaska, I doubt this will get much attention until I return. School, ROTC, two jobs, and tons of research/prep for Alaska are ahead of it. I'd like to get the trailer swapped and the major spots temporarily fixed before I go though. It just depends on time and funds.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aws140 View Post

Arlon - The home built is the approach I have been thinking. I wanted to give it wheels/tires that match my Rav4, but a 27" tire will not fit into the fenders without some cutting. This isn't out of the question, but I need to do more inspecting. A more radical rebuild is what I am thinking though.
Since the trailer is so narrow to start with, I'd consider some cool fenders and setting the wheels outside the body like some of the tear drops. Here's how I envision that trailer, just on a smaller scale! (-:}

GALL BOYS AUSTRALIAN 4X4 ADVENTURE - FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND - 4X4 OFFROAD 4WD - YouTube
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:50 PM   #13
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I think someone put the Burro body on the frame of an old pop-up camper. Maybe you can take it off and put it on a truck to make a cool looking motor home. If you get a new frame keep all the receipts and document the build with pictures, depending on your state you might need this to register the trailer as self-made.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:54 PM   #14
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Since the trailer is so narrow to start with, I'd consider some cool fenders and setting the wheels outside the body like some of the tear drops. Here's how I envision that trailer, just on a smaller scale! (-:}

GALL BOYS AUSTRALIAN 4X4 ADVENTURE - FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND - 4X4 OFFROAD 4WD - YouTube
I like the way you think
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