Wanted: Near Michigan, not too picky - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-30-2016, 12:39 PM   #1
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Name: Mike
Trailer: In the Market
Michigan
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Wanted: Near Michigan, not too picky

Newbie alert! (so don't make fun of me too hard when I say something dumb)

I am looking for a decent fiberglass camper here in Michigan, or at least within a few hours drive from southeast Michigan. Here is what I am looking for, so maybe some of you can let me know if I am on track or out of my mind.

Brand- Don't really care (don't know the difference), as long as it is fairly common
Length - 13-16 feet
Weight - under 2000 lbs (pulling with a Jeep Wrangler, tow capacity 2K lbs)
Sleeps: 4 (preferably one larger bed and a set of bunks)
Condition: Nothing that will need a major overhaul, but my wife, kids and I would love to have the opportunity to make it our own. So old and outdated won't be too much of an issue, as long as its solid.
Budget: Up to $4000 (hopefully including any repairs that need to be done to make it campable)

Besides that, I am not too picky. I have never owned a camper before, so this is all new to me. So in reality, I'm just not picky because I don't know the differences between each of the different types. I am having a heck of a time finding one though, so does anyone have any advice on finding one that I don't have to travel 500 miles to get? Also, am I on the right track regarding price and options for a family of 4 who doesn't mind being close together? Thanks for the help.
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Old 05-30-2016, 03:05 PM   #2
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
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Hi and welcome! To stay under 2K lbs, you'll be limited to a 13' Scamp, Casita, or similar. And to sleep 4 you'll need a front bunk model (thus no bathroom). The top bunk usually has about an 80 lb limit, I believe, so unless you do some modifications to that bunk it will be limited to a young kiddo.

As for price... well, miracles can happen, but I'd be surprised if $4K can get you an egg that is not in need of some TLC. Keep your eye frequently on the nearby Craigslist ads, and check often both here and at http://www.fiberglass-rv-4sale.com/node

Just a thought... if you buy a used egg, you need cash to buy it and to take care of repairs. If you buy new, you can assume your repair expenses will be little or nothing for the first couple of years, plus you can borrow & make payments.
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Old 05-30-2016, 06:34 PM   #3
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Welcome, Mike!

You are in peak season right now, so the market is active and prices are higher. I agree with Mike that most of the $4K eggs I've seen recently need some additional work, but I wouldn't take out a second mortgage just yet... Keep looking, act quickly if something promising shows up, inspect very carefully (there's a Buyer's Checklist in the document center in the "More" tab at the top), and try to sock away a little in a rehab fund as you wait for the right trailer to show up. I found a really good deal on mine in the fall.

BTW, I've heard different things about the weight limit on the bunk. Scamp told me 120 pounds on the phone for my newer Scamp. A lot depends on the condition of the support ledge under the front window. It can become weakened from water intrusion through the front window. Something to check in an older unit.

Best wishes in your "egg hunt"!
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Old 05-30-2016, 07:01 PM   #4
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Name: Cathy
Trailer: Escape 19' sold, 21' August 2015
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Hi, Mike,
Good choice to get an egg.

You may think that you are married to your Wrangler but I assure you that you can love another vehicle just as much. With wife and kids, you need to look at the different brands and decide exactly which trailer you want, then get a tow vehicle that will pull it. Your TV cannot tow most of the choices out there.

You probably figure that that will cost more, however, it is likely in your situation that you will get something inadequate and end up spending more money, time and trouble switching later. Best to try to get it right the first time, at least with something that will work for you all for a few years.
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Old 05-30-2016, 07:09 PM   #5
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Name: Mike
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Thank you both for the info. And thanks for the checklist, that will come in handy, I'm sure.
I should have clarified on the not wanting to do a bunch to it. I don't mind minor repairs, but something like replacing part of the frame or doing any fiberglass repair (in the case of an accident), I'm not interested in. Painting the inside, replacing cabinets, even replacing an oven or doing some mechanical work isn't a big deal.
So I take it the fall is the best time to get one at a decent price?

I am going to go through the checklist, but does anyone have any advice on common problems that these type of campers have? Since they are fiberglass I assume they don't rot even if there are leaks, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

I appreciate any advice anyone can give and has already given.
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Old 05-30-2016, 07:23 PM   #6
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Name: Mike
Trailer: In the Market
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Originally Posted by Cathi View Post
Hi, Mike,
Good choice to get an egg.

You may think that you are married to your Wrangler but I assure you that you can love another vehicle just as much. With wife and kids, you need to look at the different brands and decide exactly which trailer you want, then get a tow vehicle that will pull it. Your TV cannot tow most of the choices out there.

You probably figure that that will cost more, however, it is likely in your situation that you will get something inadequate and end up spending more money, time and trouble switching later. Best to try to get it right the first time, at least with something that will work for you all for a few years.

Yea, I know what you mean about the Jeep not being able to tow much. We are actually considering a 4 door Jeep right now since it can tow 3500 lbs. I totally agree, I would rather do it right the first time and not go through trying to find another one again. If I found the right one that was a little heavier I am sure I would just buy it and borrow a vehicle to tow it until I get a bigger tow vehicle myself. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 05-30-2016, 07:27 PM   #7
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Wanted: Near Michigan, not too picky

Prices tend to be lower in the fall and winter, but the downside is fewer for sale (especially in the snow belt, where many disappear into winter storage). Good deals can pop up unexpectedly anytime of year, but so can scams, so be cautious.

As to rot, most fiberglass trailers have wood in the floor. Some, like Boler and Scamp, leave the wood floor open, so it's easier to check for rot (pay special attention inside benches and cabinets around the outer perimeter of the floor, as most floor rot is caused by leaking windows, and look underneath for staining). Others, like Trillium and Casita, encase the wood in fiberglass. It can still rot since there are holes for plumbing, bolts, etc., but it's a bit harder to recognize. You have to feel for soft or spongy areas of the floor.

Floor rot is probably the biggest thing you want to avoid.
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:02 PM   #8
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Name: Mike
Trailer: In the Market
Michigan
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Prices tend to be lower in the fall and winter, but the downside is fewer for sale (especially in the snow belt, where many disappear into winter storage). Good deals can pop up unexpectedly anytime of year, but so can scams, so be cautious.

As to rot, most fiberglass trailers have wood in the floor. Some, like Boler and Scamp, leave the wood floor open, so it's easier to check for rot (pay special attention inside benches and cabinets around the outer perimeter of the floor, as most floor rot is caused by leaking windows, and look underneath for staining). Others, like Trillium and Casita, encase the wood in fiberglass. It can still rot since there are holes for plumbing, bolts, etc., but it's a bit harder to recognize. You have to feel for soft or spongy areas of the floor.

Floor rot is probably the biggest thing you want to avoid.
Great to know. I didn't realize that they used wood floors, but I guess it makes sense. I'll keep an eye out for that.

Here is another question. As far as maintenance on one of these, is there some guide somewhere that I can read about what I can expect as normal things that I should be doing? I read somewhere that one guy re caulked all of the rivets in his roof every other year. Is there anything similar to that which I should make sure I do to keep it in good shape?
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Old 05-30-2016, 10:51 PM   #9
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Another maintenance issue to look at is the condition of the torsion axle. They tend to have a lifespan of 20 years or so. If the rubber in the axle is old and stiff, it won't flex properly when you hit bumps and is probably letting the trailer sit lower than normal.
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Old 05-31-2016, 12:29 AM   #10
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Hi Mike. We have had two different used 13' Scamps that we have towed with our 97 TJ, and then an 07 JK, and loved both. As far as Cathi said.... but I assure you that you can love another vehicle just as much. Ha ha "It's a Jeep Thing, You Wouldn't Understand". Mike, you should not have to reseal your rivets unless they leak. I only had to replace two over a twenty year period. Like others have said, $4K is going to be difficult to find what you are looking for, but have it readily in hand and act quickly when one comes available, as they sell in hours, not weeks. Best of luck to you and your family.
Dave & Paula
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Old 05-31-2016, 10:03 AM   #11
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Name: Mary Ellen
Trailer: Boler 1700 1978
Ontario
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Hi Mike. We live just across the pond in Amherstburg, On. Just wanted to make sure you didn't forget to check out Kijiji for an egg. That is our "Craig's list".
Just type in Kijiji Ontario if you don't want to travel anywhere else in Canada. (We wanted a 17ft Boler and ended up driving to Alberta to pick our's up.) There are usually a few 13 footers on the site. There shouldn't be a problem bringing it back across the border, especially if it is an older egg. Good luck and welcome.
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Old 05-31-2016, 10:18 AM   #12
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Name: Emily
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1983 Scamp 13' Fiberglass Camper | Soldiers Grove, WI | Fiberglass RV's For Sale

This posted just the other day and is in your price range. Long list describing it and maybe a days drive away depending on where you live? Best of luck with your search!
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:31 AM   #13
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Name: Mike
Trailer: In the Market
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Hi Mike. We live just across the pond in Amherstburg, On. Just wanted to make sure you didn't forget to check out Kijiji for an egg. That is our "Craig's list".
Just type in Kijiji Ontario if you don't want to travel anywhere else in Canada. (We wanted a 17ft Boler and ended up driving to Alberta to pick our's up.) There are usually a few 13 footers on the site. There shouldn't be a problem bringing it back across the border, especially if it is an older egg. Good luck and welcome.
Thanks. I totally forgot about Kijiji. So you bring up a good point. What is all involved in buying one of these in Canada and bringing it over the border? I've never bought a vehicle or anything like that from Canada and I'm worried it would be a pain in the rear, but that's just my ignorance. If anyone has been through the process would you mind describing the process? Thanks.
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:32 AM   #14
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Name: Mike
Trailer: In the Market
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1983 Scamp 13' Fiberglass Camper | Soldiers Grove, WI | Fiberglass RV's For Sale

This posted just the other day and is in your price range. Long list describing it and maybe a days drive away depending on where you live? Best of luck with your search!
Thanks, I'll check it out. I appreciate the tip.
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