Potential newbies in CO - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-11-2016, 07:17 PM   #1
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Name: Doug
Trailer: considering ct-13
Colorado
Posts: 3
Potential newbies in CO

Hi,
My wife and I find ourselves somewhat unexpectedly suddenly considering joining the fiberglass RV community. Since last summer, we had been preparing ourselves for starting a teardrop build this new year. However, as we got closer to having to "put up or shut up" we found ourselves increasingly unsure whether we were comfortable sinking that much time into a teardrop when we had reservations on whether we'd be fully content with something that small. We had lived out of the back of an Astro van when building our little off-grid cabin, and while we have very fond memories of that we also remembered the hassles of getting dressed in a tiny space, having limited storage for clothes etc. Furthermore, we still look at even some of the very cool teardrop builds and ask 'where exactly does the dog sleep?'.

So, cue fate and the VERY FIRST notification that popped up when she set a Craigslist alert for campers <$7k is for a U-Haul CT-13 which we've arranged do go see tomorrow. The interior is largely gutted, so we still have a project ahead of us, but that's (hopefully) part of the fun.

So, my quick question for the group is what we should be looking at when inspecting things. For me, the 2 potential show-stoppers would seem to be floor rot (if extensive) and frame condition (I don't think we're up for pulling the shell off and doing frame maintenance right up front). Next would seem to be window/door condition and seals, plus the other misc. entry points. Are there any not-so-obvious things to look for?

My 2nd question is regarding what appears to be a complete lack of any suspension in the axle. I'm somewhat concerned about this given that boondocking on forest service roads etc is something we definitely want to do once we get our legs under us. We recently pulled a lightly loaded utility trailer w/ a 3500 lb leaf-spring axle up to our cabin which is ~8 mi up a road probably similar to a rough forest service road, and it almost shook itself to pieces during the trip. I'm rather concerned that the CT13 might not have been designed for that kind of scenario.
I suspect that the axle could be replaced by a torsion or leaf-spring axle, but once again that isn't something we'd really want to do up-front.

Sorry for the quick intro with questions, but hopefully this is the first post of many.

thanks
Doug (and Tina)
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:47 PM   #2
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Name: Orlen
Trailer: Eggcamper 2007 ('Wolf's Lair')
Colorado
Posts: 312
Where are you located in Colorado?

The CT-13 was built for rental service so it is a lot sturdier than a "normal" fiberglass camper. The rough forest service roads should not be a problem for it. The factory axle is a torsion type with special hubs and wheels (hard to find). Since the trailer is about 30 years old it might be time for an axle replacement. The rubber inside the axle tube tends to harden or break up after a couple of decades, especially if the trailer has been sitting on the tires the entire time.

If you are in the Denver metro area I would be happy to take a look at it with you.

73 Orlen
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Old 01-11-2016, 08:56 PM   #3
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
Posts: 24,433
Gutted? Oh dear. U-hauls are double-hull trailers. The inerds are part of the internal structure.


No matter the brand or year, download, print and take this every single time you look at an all-molded-towable, direct link: Fiberglass RV - Document Center - BuyersChecklist
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Old 01-11-2016, 11:18 PM   #4
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Name: Doug
Trailer: considering ct-13
Colorado
Posts: 3
Orlen - yes, we're in Denver. We're actually out east of Parker, but the trailer is in Westminster. Thanks for the detail that it's a torsion axle - I hadn't picked up on that in my research. Makes me much less concerned. We're doing a 'quick' run up at lunch tomorrow to take a look, so I'm not sure co-ordinating is likely. I may ping you with questions after having a look, though.

Donna, maybe 'gutted' was the wrong word. Some/many of the interior fixtures/finish have been removed in preparation for a renovation/overhaul (e.g ice box, water tank. not sure on the furnace) . From what I can tell in the photos, the structure is intact. We'll have to confirm that in person, of course.
I did see the checklist - it does help, and having a list tends to prevent forgetting details in the heat of the moment.

thanks for the feedback.
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Old 01-12-2016, 07:17 AM   #5
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 5,562
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One quick way to test the condition of a torsion axle is to have one person jump up and down inside the trailer while another person looks at the axle arms behind the wheel. If the arms are flexing, good. If the arms are not moving and the tire sidewall is the only thing absorbing the bounce, not good.

U-Hauls do have a number of proprietary components that can be difficult to replace (wheels, bearings, tail lights are the ones I hear mentioned must often), but I'm pretty sure you can find solutions for the missing interior pieces. An RV icebox, for example, is next to useless anyway. We use ours for dry storage and a much roomier and more efficient ice chest for cold storage. Member Ian G. replaced the inside water tank (hard to fill and clean) with an external 5 gallon Igloo-type cooler connected to the trailer's water system.

Hope this works out for you!
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:04 AM   #6
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Name: Emily
Trailer: 2005 Scamp 16 Layout 7
Colorado
Posts: 456
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Just wanted to say WELCOME! We are in the Denver Metro area, too. Our little Scamp is stored off of Jordan and Arapahoe, if you ever wanted to come see it, we'd be happy to show it (just in case the Uhaul doesn't work out for you and you'd like to see what another small camper looks like. We love our Scamp!). Best of luck and can't wait to see pictures!
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:18 AM   #7
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Name: Alan
Trailer: 2000 17' Casita Freedom Deluxe...Tow vehicle 2015 Toyota Tacoma Dble Cab V6 Prerunner
California
Posts: 831
There is a company located not far from Denver that makes the weiscraft
Little Joe trailer and a few other models.... My wife and i visited it last summer ... Great folks might be worth checking out
I think you can even buy a shell & config it anyway you want


Sent from my iPhone using Fiberglass RV
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:38 AM   #8
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Name: John
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
Posts: 48
Here's the ad

U-Haul Model CT-13

john - colorado springs
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:55 AM   #9
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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Price seems okay for the condition, not a bargain... assuming the axle, floor, and frame are solid. It will need some work, obviously, but it has most of the important parts. I didn't see it in the pictures- does it still have the fiberglass wedge that goes in the front to support a bunk? That's a plus if it does.
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:15 AM   #10
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
Posts: 9
Hope the project works out for you! We are in Longmont and are new owners of an 05' Casita.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:13 PM   #11
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
Posts: 5,143
Having a new axle installed is not a huge deal. Maybe $700 and 3 weeks to get the axle built, shipped, and mounted. And re-sealing windows isn't a terribly difficult DIY task; plenty of folks on here have done it. As you already figured out, the floor and frame are the biggies.

My question would be, why did they take apart much of the interior? Are they trying to find a wiring problem or a leak, or just ran out of steam on a cosmetic refurb, or what?
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Old 01-12-2016, 11:36 PM   #12
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Name: Doug
Trailer: considering ct-13
Colorado
Posts: 3
Hi,
Lots to get back to- I'll have a more comprehensive response tomorrow. The short answer is that it looks like we're joining the community. We left a deposit on the U-Haul and will be picking it up on Saturday. Definitely lots to do, but we think the basics look solid enough that this can/should be a trailer we can use for many years.
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:25 AM   #13
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
Posts: 226
Doug,

Congratulations on joining the FGRV family. We bought a CT13 "project" a year + ago, and have felt that they are well made. There are some difficulties with parts that wear out and are no longer available... but there are work-arounds for those problems, too.

Lots of good advice to be had, both here and on the Facebook U-Haul page, and some members with a presence on both.

Best of luck with your CT13........... Gary
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