Automatic deal killers... - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-15-2011, 07:34 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by mt5937 View Post
The hammer is only to hear the sound of the structure. If the little tap on the fiberglass makes a mark or puts in a hole, then the unit is in real trouble. I always put a piece of card stock between the hammer and the point of impact...but I'm only tapping the way your might tap on a melon to hear if it is ripe. If you're unit cannot endure that, it's junk.
Steve, I can see why you think you'd need to do this, you're still thinking like molded trailers are built like slab-sided, stick built trailers. We KNOW those have delamination problems. Anyone remember this topic: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...que-48903.html. But, this is NOT a problem with molded. In all the years I've been a member here, I've only read about 2-3 molded trailers that had a problem where the fiberglass fibers were coming through and that was because the gelcoat was completely gone in a few small spots. You wouldn't need a tap of a hammer to see/know that.
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:38 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Steve, I can see why you think you'd need to do this, you're still thinking like molded trailers are built like slab-sided, stick built trailers. We KNOW those have delamination problems. Anyone remember this topic: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...que-48903.html. But, this is NOT a problem with molded. In all the years I've been a member here, I've only read about 2-3 molded trailers that had a problem where the fiberglass fibers were coming through and that was because the gelcoat was completely gone in a few small spots. You wouldn't need a tap of a hammer to see/know that.
Actually, there are problems with glass trailers as evidenced by recent posts (see "warm fridge," "gel coat repairs" and similar) but they are GENERIC problems. Some are endemic to the process of fiberglass layup (voids between mat and gelcoat in radii). Many others are endemic to products built to a price the market will bear. To depreciate a specific trailer on the basis of water migration under collapsed gel coat (indeed to attempt to create that collapse) is to refuse to recognize that a particular trailer isn't the ONLY one with the problem. Same with a 3-way that doesn't cool because of a shortcut installation.. Is it a matter that IT ISN'T working, or that THEY NEVER did? With that said, if I had a brain and Steve's money, I'd definitely plunge for new--maybe a chip off the old Burro like the Eggcamper.

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Old 11-16-2011, 12:58 AM   #31
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As was mentioned earlier, there are some people you just don't want to deal with. THAT is a sure-fire deal killer for me.

They are often displayed as the "Overly Motivated Seller" (OMS). They try too hard to sell it to you, applying pressure to get the deal signed. I very quickly distrust anything they say and will walk away. (The proverbial "used car salesman")

I prefer to deal with non-OMS folks. If you are too eager to drop the price, to assure me of something - I'm outta here.

(I am the original non-OMS when I have something for sale. If you don't buy it, someone else will. Maybe not today, maybe not this week, this month or even this year, but someone will.)

My 1978 Boler 17 is for sale. First person to cross my palm with $7,000 gets a very nice unit. Don't offer $5,000 - you'll be asked to leave.

It can sit in the barn for another year, out of the weather and coming to no harm, not depreciating any further. I'll happily demonstrate that everything works (except the oven - in the 15 years we have owned it, we have never once tried to use the oven and have NO idea how it works!)
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:46 AM   #32
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Really! Your joking right? Who in their right mind is going to let some person they dont know from Adam go around tapping a hammer against their fiberglass trailer? Are you a professional marine surveyor with fiberglass boat experence?

How many people have actually let you do that to their fiberglass trailers?

I'm not joking - the category is due diligence; it must be complete before I'll do a deal. I'll accept an inspection that I supervise at an auto body shop of my choosing that does lots of fiberglass work.

Am I a professional marine surveyor? No. I assisted marine surveyors frequently in the years that worked on yachts. Most of the yachts that I worked on in those years were fiberglass. I saw some real dandy problems with fiberglass over plywood and what we called "tupperware." The egg-type TTs that I've looked at so far (only 2) are what I think of as tupperware fiberglass. The million dollar fiberglass yachts are in a different class. The tupperware class has its pluses and minuses.

So far I've looked at one trailer as a buyer. I did not need to use my hammer to see that the rig had serious dry rot problems - probably fatal. I did not use my ice pick, but told the owner of the rig about the dry rot. Plywood and fresh water don't mix.

I'm not thinking of stick-built, slabbed sided trailers, Donna. That was Bigfoot trailer. At some point in its life, the fiberglass structure of that unit must have been compromised, water seeped in, and caused irreparable damage (I know everything can be repair, but at what cost?). There was also water coming in from the vents and windows that were never properly re-sealed causing extensive, additional damage. The egg manufacturing technique DOES make egg trailers less likely to experience water leaks and de-lamination problems, but they are not immune. Egg trailers have holes in them and if they are not properly sealed, all sorts of problems can occur.

It's true that getting the bubbles out of fiberglass mat roving during lay-up is a real trick, rabbit, one that caused me no end of frustration (and why I worked on the prep crew opening up damaged fiberglass boats). But it is still a manufacturing defect and not excusable out of hand. Certainly there are "tiny bubbles" (anybody want to sing?) but if it is a 6 or 8 inch bubble it should be repaired by the manufacturer.

You seem to think that I'd do a destructive test without discussing it with the seller. I would not; I am responsible and respectful of people's property. The hull tapping that I do is simply to hear consistent resonance, not to do a strength test. Hell, I could tap the glass in the rig and cause no harm.

When owners face a serious, qualified buyer, they allow the buyer to satisfy their concerns; they'd be foolish not to. I'm not going to spend the sort of money that we're discussing without having my concerns satisfied. I'll pay for the rig inspection as part of my due diligence, but I'll choose who does it and I'll supervise. Otherwise, no deal. New rigs are new and just a few grand more.
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Old 11-16-2011, 09:17 AM   #33
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Buying a million dollar yacht is a lot different than a used $10k trailer. I doubt if you would be allowed to take your hammer to a new trailer, so you would have to accept the quality of it. Since most owners here would not not allow you to take the hammer to their used trailer, you will have to accept that. As you mention, the quality of the fiberglass found in boats is different and we are all aware of that. WYSIWYG is the normal standard for the used trailer. Due Diligence has nothing to due with the inability to tap a used fg trailer. However, on the other hand if you are being paid to inspect a million dollar yacht for someone else, then it would be prudent to use due diligence and start tapping.
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:46 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Buying a million dollar yacht is a lot different than a used $10k trailer.
I really don't see the difference, harley. A buddy of mine used to say, "It doesn't matter if its $500 or $5. If you ain't got it, it may as will be a million."

He said that to me after he told the surgeon to cut off his finger because he didn't have enough money to save it.

A $10k mistake made because you failed to execute on due diligence is a HUGE disaster. I've made a mistakes of that level and a bit higher over the years The fact that I had the money to endure the mistake/loss doesn't mean that it didn't hurt.

>>>Since most owners here would not not allow you to take the hammer to their used trailer, you will have to accept that.

I don't have to accept that. If I feel a need to use my little hammer to tap the hull, then the seller ok's it or loses the deal. It's that simple and not a big deal to me. New trailers are just a few thousand more.

As for tapping the hull of a new trailer...or a used trailer from a dealer's lot: If there are no obvious problems with the hull, I'll buy it, drive down the road five miles, and check it further if I feel that it is necessary. May as well catch problems during the warranty period.
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:29 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by mt5937 View Post
I'm not joking - the category is due diligence; it must be complete before I'll do a deal. I'll accept an inspection that I supervise at an auto body shop of my choosing that does lots of fiberglass work.

.

The problem I have with your postion is simply that you are clearly making a statement that you dont trust the seller to tell you the truth but you are wanting them to trust what you tell them in regards to your experence in tapping away with a hammer on their trailer. Even though you are not a professional and as such dont carry lablity insurance for doing such inspections. I would have no issues with having the trailers body inspected by a qualified person but your postion would be a deal breaker from my end. I like my trailer way to much to put it in the hands of people whom I do not trust - have no need to take that risk :-)

Once you have spent a little bit of time around these trailers you will learn as many of us have already learned - its *really* hit and miss in regards to having quality work done at a traditional RV facility or bodyshop. Not to mention the odds of you finding the right trailer in your own back yard where you actually know of a *good* place to take it to. In my area if you took my trailer into a *good* bodyshop they would question why you are bringing a molded fiberglass trailer that is constucted more like a boat than a car to a auto body shop for a fiberglass inspection? I know first hand that they would suggest one of many local marinas as a better option or even better still the fiberglass trailer manufacturer not far away

As you have mentioned "fiberglass over plywood" it again makes me think your not actually looking for a true moulded fiberglass trailer that the majority have on this fourm. Your not going to find much plywood on my trailer (no wood around the windows either) - the floor is the only plywood that forms part of the body. I understand that the Bigfoot has changed their construction methods over the years and they do have plywood over fiberglass on the newer large rigs and that is the reason why it has been suggested here more than once that they are not what most think of as a true moulded fiberglass trailers.

Good luck with your search and keep in mind while making your demands that more often than not the best trailers at the right price often have a line up and its the sellers who gets the last word as to who takes it home.
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:12 PM   #36
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I really don't see the difference, harley. A buddy of mine used to say, "It doesn't matter if its $500 or $5. If you ain't got it, it may as will be a million."

He said that to me after he told the surgeon to cut off his finger because he didn't have enough money to save it.

A $10k mistake made because you failed to execute on due diligence is a HUGE disaster. I've made a mistakes of that level and a bit higher over the years The fact that I had the money to endure the mistake/loss doesn't mean that it didn't hurt.

>>>Since most owners here would not not allow you to take the hammer to their used trailer, you will have to accept that.

I don't have to accept that. If I feel a need to use my little hammer to tap the hull, then the seller ok's it or loses the deal. It's that simple and not a big deal to me. New trailers are just a few thousand more.

As for tapping the hull of a new trailer...or a used trailer from a dealer's lot: If there are no obvious problems with the hull, I'll buy it, drive down the road five miles, and check it further if I feel that it is necessary. May as well catch problems during the warranty period.
I lost count at owning 15 of these fiberglass trailers and have had the priviledge of working on many more... Defects in the fiberglass has yet to be a hidden issue. Boats can absorb water and develop hidden rot and blisters, A fiberglass camper can not. If a camper had been kept under water for several years, you wouldn't need a hammer to find the damage!
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:47 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
The problem I have with your postion is simply that you are clearly making a statement that you dont trust the seller to tell you the truth but you are wanting them to trust what you tell them in regards to your experence in tapping away with a hammer on their trailer. Even though you are not a professional and as such dont carry lablity insurance for doing such inspections. I would have no issues with having the trailers body inspected by a qualified person but your postion would be a deal breaker from my end.

I've said throughout this thread that I'd pay for an inspection at a shop of my choosing that I supervised. ...and I have no problem with "you break it you buy it" unless what I break was already broken.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
As you have mentioned "fiberglass over plywood" it again makes me think your not actually looking for a true moulded fiberglass trailer that the majority have on this fourm. Your not going to find much plywood on my trailer (no wood around the windows either) - the floor is the only plywood that forms part of the body.
I know exactly what sort of travel trailer I am looking for. From a structural standpoint, that piece of wood you referred to is very important and the focus of my concerns. That wood happens to be at the lowest point on the egg where all of the water collects. Fresh water rots wood very quickly and the rot spreads until it consumes all of the wood; it does this even with marine grade plywood.

The lower half of the hull is the most susceptible to penetration: rock damage, bumps, and accidents. Any mishap in the lower half of the hull that is not promptly repaired can grow into a major issue...putting a little goop into it is not a good repair.

The upper half of the hull has lots of holes in it: windows, vents, antenna, and such. These also can leak. I do not know if a fresh water leak in the upper hull can transmit water to the lower hull because that's dependent on how the two parts were joined. Of course, at the door a leak at the top goes to the bottom, but window leaks may not seep into the lower hull, I do not know.

Quite frankly, I get the sense that many people here don't understand much about the problems their rigs can have.

The reason that I am interested in an egg-style trailer is because these problems are FAR LESS LIKELY to occur. However, it is a significant concern that the egg community appears largely unaware of the vulnerabilities of their rigs. That means they don't believe it can happen, so they may be less inclined to find and fix potential problems.

I easily put 60k miles on my BlueBird. Most of those miles came in 3 years when the Bird was both a camping home and a traveling office. I expect that any travel trailer I buy will face similar use. One unknown for me is can any travel trailer stand up to the heavy usage that I gave the BlueBird. Of course, with my health problems the usage probably won't be as tough as it was back then.

I'll eventually find a road-worthy, used egg. If I don't I'll buy a new one or I'll look for a used BlueBird that come pretty cheaply these days.
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:58 PM   #38
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"Quite frankly, I get the sense that many people here don't understand much about the problems their rigs can have. "
I think many of us think the other way around. That said, I apologize for any offense. However I feel that there is a definite difference in opinions here and I do not think that the thread is progressing as it should. Let's try to get back to what may or may not help you decide in making your purchase.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:16 PM   #39
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I agree harley. The things you guys love about your rigs is why I want to buy one; it's just that I fixed so many fiberglass boats I am more sensitive to the perils than most. Time will tell if it is a personal phobia.

One note of progress: Lao Po, the misses, has declared her adamant interest in 5th wheels.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:38 PM   #40
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Trailer versus Motorhome

The reason that I am interested in an egg-style trailer is because these problems are FAR LESS LIKELY to occur. However, it is a significant concern that the egg community appears largely unaware of the vulnerabilities of their rigs. That means they don't believe it can happen, so they may be less inclined to find and fix potential problems.

I easily put 60k miles on my BlueBird. Most of those miles came in 3 years when the Bird was both a camping home and a traveling office. I expect that any travel trailer I buy will face similar use. One unknown for me is can any travel trailer stand up to the heavy usage that I gave the BlueBird. Of course, with my health problems the usage probably won't be as tough as it was back then.


We started with a motorhome and visited 48 of the states including Alaska and all the Canadian Provinces and Territories in our motorhome. We loved it however I believe our trailer is more reliable and maintainable than a motorhome.

I'm convinced a fiberglass trailer can out last and motorhome. Tow vehicles are easier to maintain than the huge motorhome engine and transmisssion, Tires alone are less expensive and so on..

You surrender space when you walk away from the motorhome. If space is what you seek, a motorhome is hard to beat. If cost, ease of use and reliability is what you seek get a fiberglass trailer.

Our trailer is 20 years old and it's in remarkable shape. We have yet to replace any component though I have modified it extensively.

I will say the smaller trailer is easier to use as we age.

Choices, choices.... the key thing is being on the road....
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:34 PM   #41
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Reason I chose Fiberglass Eggy:

1) Best full-time permanent living space with best tow vehicle options.

I wanted a non-truck tow vehicle so I wasn't stuck with a gas-guzzler all the time, and that pretty much limited my options to a "light" trailer: pop-up or a fiberglass. As this is my home, not just a camp-out temporary thing, I wanted real walls. And the fiberglass model is tall enough I can stand up in it and move around normally. (Unlike the "teardrop" shape ones)

2) Small size = it can fit just about anywhere. I don't need to find "Large Rig" parking. Just about anywhere a normal automobile can go, the Casita can go. I don't need to worry about low bridges, or weight restrictions. (well, at least no place I've been...)

Of course the size restriction is the best thing and also the worst thing. If you live in a Casita full-time you adopt a Buddhist-like "anti-materialistic" policy pretty much by force. There's just not room for much - so what you have with you is highly limited, and carefully chosen.

My tow-vehicle is also my closet... whatever I need to have with me that won't fit in the Casita goes in the back of the SUV. (Out-of-season clothes, for example)
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:45 PM   #42
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I moved this thread from :Owners Helping Owners

A big dilemma here is categorizing discussions to fit our pre-conceived labels. This initially was a request for advice, but ultimately the underlying theme is that this will be a fulltime home, which may justify Steve's concern beyond what most of us consider. I find this stimulating. I learn more from people I initially disagree with.
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