Hi I'm New with questions - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-02-2015, 09:29 PM   #1
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Hi I'm New with questions

I'm new to the forum and I have a few questions. What are the advantages to a fiberglass travel trailer? I had been looking at all aluminum travel trailers specifically the livin lite brand. Is fiberglass better or just different. Thanks for your help.
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Old 02-02-2015, 09:52 PM   #2
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Aluminum trailers or trailers with aluminum walls will transmit cold and heat to the contents, which means you inside. In addition non fiberglass moulded trailers will have seams,both in wall and roof that need to be sealed to prevent leaks, something you do not need to do with moulded fiberglass trailers. Traveling down the highway will open those seams in conventional trailers. Also there is no metal in the walls of moulded fg to transmit cold or heat.
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:27 AM   #3
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Molded fiberglass trailers have no corner seams to leak; dry weight about the same as the LL brand. No rubber roof to maintain, either.
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Old 02-03-2015, 05:38 AM   #4
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Does it have a rubber or aluminum roof? If it's rubber then that's probably the biggest difference, along with being more aerodynamic. One or 2 piece shells would be better for leak prevention. I expect FG trailers maintain their value better. In reality, the LL's look like nice trailers now that they round off the front end, not as cool as FG, but nice.
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Old 02-03-2015, 06:28 AM   #5
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Probably the easiest answer would be how many 20 to 40 year old stick built trailers do you see still on the road or for sale. Someone not even knowing the differences of how they're built would be able to see that there is something with FG that stands out for a trailers usefull lifespan.
Everyones wants, needs and uses are different and both build types have pluses.
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:17 PM   #6
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Long lasting and resale
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:58 PM   #7
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I think it may be a bit unfair to lump all stickies into one broad category and summarily dismiss Livin Lite simply because it belongs to that category. They are, in my opinion, trying to use some innovative materials and methods to make a better trailer. Airstream also fits into the category of a framed trailer, but its use of different materials and construction techniques certainly puts it in a different class than a run-of-the-mill Jayco. Time will judge where Livin Lite falls on the quality/durability spectrum, but the jury is still out, as they've only been making travel trailers for a few years.

I did look at one Livin Lite product closely a number of years ago, but it was a tent trailer. At the time I judged the box and frame very well-made, but the tent fabric and framework less so. I have no idea whether that unevenness of quality extends to their travel trailer products.

In the end, this is a forum devoted to all-molded fiberglass trailers. Most of us here have considered alternatives and now own eggs. Very few of us (if any) have ever owned a Livin Lite product. This is probably not the place to get an unbiased opinion.

You asked for the advantages of fiberglass, so here they are, from my own (admittedly biased) perspective:
  • proven long-term durability
  • proven resale value
  • robust resale market for those who can't afford new
  • seamless construction
  • space utilization in a frameless shell
  • repairability of fiberglass versus aluminum
  • customization potential of fiberglass
  • aesthetics and aerodynamics of a classic rounded shape
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Old 02-03-2015, 01:34 PM   #8
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If you take an Airstream apart you will find that it's primary construction resembles aircraft construction, and not that of a sticky at all. Add to that, no seams and edges for water to get under, freeze, and open further, etc, etc. About all Airstream shares with sticky's, and many FGRV's, in terms of construction, is the floor.
There are Airstreams approaching their 80th birthday with still intact shell's.


And I find it fairly easy to lump even the newest "High Tech" & "Featherlite" (LOL) stickies into one group. Against my recommendation we bought one for a son-in-law's family 2 years ago and, after working on it for several months, and taking it back for warranty work (for leaks) several times, I was totally unimpressed with the building techniques, much less it's quality. There may be a 1%er out there, but I have yet to see it at any of the shows I attend in CA.


Best bet on them, come back in 10 years and review the history.
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Old 02-03-2015, 02:27 PM   #9
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Bob, I'm with you, and I didn't mean to imply this new company is in any way comparable to an Airstream, other than in its use of a particular material in its framing. I am aware that the way they use that material is vastly different, unproven, and shares one of the weaknesses of most conventional trailers: seams.

I did own an aluminum-framed Holiday Rambler for several years; in fact I lived in it year-round during my first few years' teaching. It was about 15 years old at the time, and it was a really sturdy and leak-free trailer. Obviously, the aluminum frame and plastic/composite cabinetry were only part of what made it a good trailer. And it weighed a lot. But I felt like the aluminum frame stayed tighter over time, making seams less likely to open up.

Here's my question: other things equal, what do you see as the potential advantages and liabilities of the kind of lightweight, welded aluminum frame Livin Lite is now using (which is probably a lot different than what my old Holiday Rambler had)? Are you aware of any other companies using that type of frame now?
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Old 02-03-2015, 02:45 PM   #10
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On the Fiberglass trailers small rocks and debris don't make the front of your trailer look like a golf ball. Ever seen and old aluminium trailer that's been in a good hail storm. Running into something and damaging the fiberglass is a relatively easy repair. Do that with an aluminium skin your going to pay allot to get it repaired and very few people will want to tackle it. Fiberglass repair is available from the whole fiberglass spectrum of talent, from the marine, automotive and aircraft and RV industries.
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:27 PM   #11
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As they point out on their website, the Livin Lite 13 isn't ALL aluminum. But they mention that what isn't aluminum is "Composite" whatever that is, and is 100% recyclable. Anyone that sells a new trailer telling the buyer that it's 100% recyclable has an end game for it's service life in mind.


And, at least by our standards, 2200 lbs dry weight for a 13' rig isn't all that light.
And there is still close to 80' of edges just waiting to leak, aluminum frame or not.


Camplite 13BHB Automotive Travel Trailer Overview | Livin' Lite RV
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:38 PM   #12
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Re: Airstreams

http://airforum.com

Check the above forum and search corrosion, window/roof and rivet leaks, floor rot, excessive summer heat, winter cold, excessive condensation, and in some older units frame deflection or collapse.

AS are beautiful, sleek, even sexy trailers but suffer similar problems to SOB, fiberglass, and all other campers.Without proper service all campers will have damage.

To me it comes down to do I spend $20,000 for a Parkliner or $60,000 for a Bambi?

I can travel a lot on $40,000.

Happy camping!

Lee
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:49 PM   #13
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Oops!
The 16' Bambi is $44,000 not $60,000.....so only $24,000 to travel with! Still a lot of diesel, food, and camping fees.

Lee
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Old 02-03-2015, 05:09 PM   #14
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Just playing devil's advocate here…

Bob, from your link I noticed that their 13' is a 13' box. That means we're comparing it to a 16' FG trailer with bath, so 2200 pounds dry isn't that far off, either.

Steve, as to stone chips, the lower front of my Scamp does look like a golf ball. The dimples are just in the gel coat, so it's cosmetic only, but they're there. Is there a way to restore the gel coat to its original appearance that doesn't involve paint?

Lee, we're not comparing a $20K Parkliner with a $44K Bambi here. We're comparing a $20K Parkliner with a $20K Camplite.

Please don't misunderstand me, I still come down solidly in the fiberglass camp, for all the reasons I stated earlier.
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