New (old) Casita owners - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-13-2016, 08:59 AM   #1
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Name: Bill
Trailer: 1996 13' Casita
Michigan
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Smile New (old) Casita owners

My wife and I have traveled with a T@B trailer since 2006. During that time I have done a number of major modifications and improvements to the teardrop. We love it, and have cherished our travels in it, touring every State except Hawaii and Alaska. We have seen many different small trailers in our travels, and have admired the creativity and design that people have put into 'little homes on wheels'.
An opportunity to purchase a used 13' 1996 Casita presented itself a few weeks ago, and I found myself not being able to refuse the offer. The trailer has had some major modifications done to it over the years, and I don't like any of them. My intention is to spend the winter gutting and remodeling the trailer to fit our needs. One of the major modifications will include a permanent bed. As we have gotten older, our desire to "make our bed" nightly has diminished, and having some permanence is a major consideration in our modification plans.
I look forward to using this forum to get and share ideas. Working with a 'fiberglass RV' will be a new adventure, and I know from my participation in our teardrop forum that there will be many generous and helpful people who will be able to help me along the way.
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Old 09-13-2016, 09:04 AM   #2
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Welcome!
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Old 09-13-2016, 09:08 AM   #3
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Welcome, Bill!

Enjoy customizing your "new" Casita! Lots of great ideas in old threads, which you can best locate using the "Site Search/Google" option at the bottom of the "Search" menu in the blue bar under your log-in information.

One general tidbit that applies to most single-wall molded fiberglass trailers is that interior components help support and stabilize the shell. Providing support is something you will need to consider as you plan your rebuild.

Best wishes!
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Old 09-13-2016, 10:03 AM   #4
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Trailer: 1996 13' Casita
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Thanks!

Thanks Jon for the welcome!

I have wondered about, and considered that the shell of the Casita depends on the interior structures for support. In my situation, a previous owner removed much of that structure in their attempt to "open up the space".

Just a quick question to help me contemplate my designs. How do most people secure the structures to the fiberglass without drilling holes in the shell?

Bill
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Old 09-13-2016, 10:17 AM   #5
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Escape and many rehabbers epoxy wood blocks to the inside of the shell and screw into those.

For a wide-open look while preserving support without through-hull attachments, look up member Ian G's Boler rebuild: It Started As a Kitchen Reno- Project Boler. That should get your creative juices flowing!
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Old 09-13-2016, 11:37 AM   #6
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Nice to hear that you are moving over to a fiberglass trailer but |I am curious to know if there are any features of the TAB that you would like to incorporate into your Casita. I like the clean lines of the TAB and had thought a lot about getting one before discovering these trailers.
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:45 AM   #7
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Trailer: 1996 13' Casita
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T@B thoughts

Patricia,

Thanks for the welcome.

We were tent campers for many years who decide that we had earned our merit badges and it was okay to move on. We had been reluctant to buy a trailer because we really didn't want to leave a bigger carbon footprint then we were already. The lightness of the T@B and the fact that we could pull it with our Subaru Outback sold us. We found and bought our T@B on eBay. Even in 2006 we thought the price tag on new ones was outrageous.
Over the years the lightness (1800#), maneuverability, and uniqueness of the design (every gas or rest stop we could plan on a 'home tour') were features that endeared us to our little tabby. What I could see as advantages that were missed was the teardrop design restricted the amount of headroom to a small area. This also limited the additional storage space that could be built into that extra headroom. I began envying those that had the egg shell designs that created more living space in the same footprint as our T@B. My dream was to have a Bambi, but I would never pay the price. I found myself looking at Casita, Scamps, and Bolers.
BTW: We had added a small portable toilet (Thetford) that stored in a closet space. This was a "must" feature that my wife required.
I recently had to do a major remodel of our T@B because of damage to the floor caused by unseen water leaking in around the wheel wells. This is a design issue with the T@B that needs to be better addressed. I could see that the molded wheel wells of fiberglass designed trailers was a real plus.
Okay, back to your question, sorry for the short bird walk. Are there features in the T@B that have advantages over the Casita?...other than overall weight and ease of maneuverability...no. I really like the jockey wheel on the tongue and handles on the front and back that allow us to easily move and reposition the trailer wherever we park it. I'm sure I can put a jockey wheel on the Casita, but not sure how I'll grab it to move it.
I'm looking forward to working on the new trailer this winter. I have had some experience working with fiberglass (boat/kayak building and repair) which I'm sure will be useful as I tackle the project. Basic design features that will be part of the remodel will include a galley kitchen (stove, sink, frig), a two-seat dinette area, permanent bed with overhead and under-bed storage. We will leave the bathroom/shower. For some unexplained reason a previous owner removed the 12v system, which will also be re-installed.
My only question as we move ahead with our design is the necessity for having carpet on the walls and ceiling. I have read that it is because of potential condensation issues, but I also see that others have removed it in their remodeling. I will have to pose that question on this forum as we move forward.
Sorry for the long response.
Bill
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Old 09-14-2016, 07:31 AM   #8
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You do need something on the walls for insulation and control of light, sound, and condensation. Because of the close quarters, it's also nice to have something soft to bump into.

In my mind, the ideal would be a layer of closed cell foam covered with marine headliner. Many (including my Scamp) use foil bubble insulation instead of foam. It's cheaper and easier to install, but lacks the insulating properties of foam. Lots of debate, but it seems to perform adequately for most people who don't camp in extremes of heat or cold.

Escape and many vintage trailers use closed cell foam with a layer of vinyl bonded to the surface, no carpet or headliner. I prefer the soft touch of headliner, but others prefer the wipeability of vinyl.

Of course, you could always give the carpet a good steam cleaning and leave it in place. I think by 1996 Casita had abandoned the objectionable 80's era sculpted carpet in favor of a short-pile neutral color.

I'm trying to visualize how you're going to fit a permanent bed, galley, and separate dinette into a 13' trailer and still keep the bathroom. That's practically the Holy Grail in these parts! Are you sure it's a 13'er (i.e. a 10' cabin)?
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Old 09-14-2016, 01:38 PM   #9
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Ah ha, that answer a question

Jon,

Your question has answered a question I had: how is the length determine? - inside dimensions or rear to tongue. The cabin is 13' with a 3' tongue, so I must have a 16' Casita. Huh, better change my profile. A newbie mistake.

Thanks for the input on coatings for the shell. I will look hard at all options.

Bill
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyboyne View Post
...Your question has answered a question I had: how is the length determine? - inside dimensions or rear to tongue. The cabin is 13' with a 3' tongue, so I must have a 16' Casita...
It's kind of confusing. I've been told at one time all trailers were identified by total length. Somewhere along the way, many conventional RV manufacturers started designating models by cabin length. But molded fiberglass manufacturers continue to use the older convention. They have good company- Airstream still does it that way, too, if I am not mistaken.

So yes, you have a 16' Casita. Sweet!
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