First time buyers - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-12-2015, 08:42 AM   #1
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Name: Barry and Kathy
Trailer: 1975 Trillium 1300
Ontario
Posts: 96
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First time buyers

We are new to the site as well. We are from just east of Oshawa Ontario in Canada.
We sold our pop up last summer and have been thinking of buying our own FG trailer.
I have been lurking on this site reading everything I can about living in and using a FG.
After spotting several candidates on Kijiji, we have made some calls and are going to check out a 1980 Scamp 16 for $5,500 and a 1974 Trillium for $4,850.
Does anyone have any advice as to what the major issues may be with these models?

Many thanks
Kathy
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:41 AM   #2
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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Welcome, Barry and Kathy!

Here's a link to an inspection checklist you may find useful: Fiberglass RV - Document Center - Buyers Check List

All really old trailers are subject to frame failure and floor rot.

Trilliums are most vulnerable to frame failure toward the front where the frame curves upward as it comes out from under the shell. Some years (???) were especially vulnerable and were recalled for frame reinforcement. Scamp 16 failures most often happen at the front where the frame curves into the tongue (typically on the street side).

The Scamp floor is plain wood (plywood on older models) treated with fiberglass resin. Floor rot usually comes from neglected leaks in windows, vents, and plumbing. You'll want to take a flashlight and screwdriver and poke around inside, giving special attention inside benches and cabinets around the perimeter of the trailer.

Floor rot is not as common on Trilliums because the floor is encased in fiberglass above and below, but it can happen, and it's a real bear to repair because of the fiberglass. You'll have to feel for soft/spongy spots.

When you're inspecting the shell, note the difference between "spider cracks," superficial cracking of the outer gelcoat (common, but not a cause for concern) and stress fractures, which go all the way through the fiberglass and require repair. The latter are most common at the corners of doors and windows.

With Scamps, door fit is another potential problem area. If the door is sagging in the opening, it could just mean worn-out hinges (which are still available from Scamp) or it could mean structural problems with the shell-frame attachment around the door. A gap at the bottom of the door could mean a bulging shell caused by a loss of interior support or that the wood stiffening material inside the door has become wet at some point and swelled, causing the door to lose its shape.

Most molded fiberglass trailers use a rubber torsion axle, which has a useful lifespan of 15-20 years. Since both of these trailers are well beyond that, it's something to ask about.

All the rest is pretty much standard RV stuff to inspect and test: electrical, plumbing, appliances, tires,

Hope all that doesn't scare you off! If you have a smart phone, you might want to install the FiberglassRV app and take it with you when you go to inspect. You can take a picture and post directly to the forum, so if you see something of concern, you might be able to get some real-time feedback.

Best wishes in your "egg hunt"!
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:49 AM   #3
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Alberta
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I know nothing about Scamp, but I have some knowledge about Trilliums.

There are a few items that would make me walk away, unless the price was lower then I could sell the parts for.

- Spongy floor.
Trilliums have three layers to the floor. Starting from the bottom, there is the outside shell, then a 3/4" layer of plywood, and finally the inside shell, or furniture. If the plywood rots, replacing it is no small task. Also look in the storage under the dinette and the gaucho. Damage to the plywood in these areas can be fixed, but it's still work:
Matthew, wondering about trillium floors...

- Sagging front curb side.
Both 1300's and 4500's have been known to suffer from this. The door is a large structural weakness. Some Trilliums have sagged forward of the door. I have never seen a fix for this. I am not sure there is one. The best way to see this is to put a straight edge on the floor from the front of the fridge then towards the trailer door. If the floor curves downward as you get to the door, then there is sag. You can also see it when you stand on the tongue, (if you are 6') and sight down the curb side of the flat section of the roof. The area above the closet will form a high point:
I just bought a mint Trillium 4500, BUT???

There are four other things that will need to be fixed if it is factory original.
1 - The windows will need to be reinstalled with new butyl tape, and the plywood frames on the inside, that the windows screw into may have rotted.
2 - The door will have to be reinstalled.
3 - The belly band will have to be sealed.
4 - The axle will need to be replaced.

This is true of all classic Trilliums. A previous owner may have already addressed some or all of these issues. If so, the quality of the repair will need to be evaluated. Some are done right, some, not so much.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:51 AM   #4
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Name: Kevin K
Trailer: 17' Casita
Mpls,Minnesota
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Scamp16' bed width is shorter than the bed width in a Casita 17'.
If I remember right 46" verses 54"
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:54 AM   #5
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Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin K View Post
Scamp16' bed width is shorter than the bed width in a Casita 17'.
If I remember right 46" verses 54"
Huh???
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:24 AM   #6
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Name: Barry and Kathy
Trailer: 1975 Trillium 1300
Ontario
Posts: 96
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Have printed off some lists and downloaded the app to the phone. Getting the flashlight and screw driver ready.
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Old 08-12-2015, 01:13 PM   #7
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Trailer: 13' 1973 Boler - tow/2017 Colorado Crew-Cab
Ontario
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Hi there 'Bunnies'.
Stay tuned to this FGRV site - it is a wealth of knowledge, and full of willing sources, as you get deeper into the renos.
Glad to see another 'egger' in Ontario.
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Old 08-12-2015, 01:19 PM   #8
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Trailer: 1974 Boler 1300 - 2014 Escape 19'
Alberta
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Hello Barry and Kathy
Although not on your list the following link is to my Boler Buyer Guide just in case. Buyers Guide to Common Boler Trailer Problems
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:01 PM   #9
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Name: Barry and Kathy
Trailer: 1975 Trillium 1300
Ontario
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Thanks for the great advice.
On viewing 2 candidates today, we were able to spot faults in both the Trillium and the Scamp we viewed.
The hunt continues.
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Old 08-14-2015, 05:08 AM   #10
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Trailer: Boler
Ontario
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Greetings, also from east of Oshawa. Good luck on your search. Decent trailers sell fast.


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Old 08-20-2015, 10:25 AM   #11
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Name: Barry and Kathy
Trailer: 1975 Trillium 1300
Ontario
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YThe deed is done!

With all of your help and advice we have picked up a 1975 Trillium 1300 fixer-upper.

The frame is excellent. It may have been replaced because there are no rear jacks and the hitch fits a 2" ball. There are electric drum brakes but the electric control module is MIA.

All cushions except for the upper bunk are missing. This last cushion may be the original as it wraps totally around the wooden platform.

The converter and furnace are also MIA. The stove and fridge are working.

The fiberglass shell is in pretty good shape and looks new from underneath. There are 10 or so strange patches that look like some kind of tape but the paint on each patch has gone alligator-skin-like (are they marine patches?). They only appear to be covering spider cracks in the original paint.

The windows are all jalousie and in very very good operating condition with all but one having the original crank.

The main entrance door has some sag and there are two aftermarket holes fitted with doors cut into the bottom bunk compartment at floor level.

Pictures will follow in registry.
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Old 08-20-2015, 11:17 AM   #12
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Congratulations on your purchase. We look forward to the pictures (a right-click on your actual computer picture should provide you with the required 'url' )
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Old 08-20-2015, 03:36 PM   #13
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Name: Barry and Kathy
Trailer: 1975 Trillium 1300
Ontario
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Here are some pics of our new (to us) Trillium. Poodle approved!
Attached Thumbnails
1300 Trillium Exterior.jpg   1300 Trillium Exterior Bumper.jpg  

1300 Trillium Interior Bunk Area.jpg   1300 Trillium Interior Kitchen.jpg  

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Old 08-20-2015, 03:44 PM   #14
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Trailer: Boler
Ontario
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Congrats. Looks solid. Now the fun begin$.....


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