Sold my huge rig.. FG tough enough for Off Road 4x4 and stored outside? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-01-2017, 06:13 AM   #15
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Featherlite
Iowa
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Serious off road, you are talking Sprinter four wheel drive conversion van, definitely not cheap, and won't fit under your garage door.
I better clarify.. No serious off road for me. I just want to be able to drive the forest roads in colorado with 4x4. My main problem last visit was my Van was only ONE wheel drive. If I had a 4x4, I may have kept my toyhauler and lived with the fact it needs to stay in the camp ground.. But I'm starting with a clean slate now.

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Originally Posted by buff30 View Post
I am in the progress or putting Timbren axle less suspension with a built in 4" lift on my 1987 Scamp 19. Looking at running LT 225/75 R16 all terrain tires. I am reinforcing the frame a little. I plan to take it on forest roads. Hope it works out. This is a picture of the old axle. I will post a picture of the in a few weeks.
That is such a cool old school setup Gene! Love it! I want to see more please.

I have also been looking for a short fifth wheel.. But wonder about clearance between the truck bed and the trailer when negotiating off road terrain.

I did find a 13' burro close to me which has been sitting for years. Thinking about buying, removing the shell and beefing up or replacing the frame axle and wheels.
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Old 09-01-2017, 06:53 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by rebar View Post
I better clarify.. No serious off road for me. I just want to be able to drive the forest roads in colorado with 4x4. My main problem last visit was my Van was only ONE wheel drive. If I had a 4x4, I may have kept my toyhauler and lived with the fact it needs to stay in the camp ground.. But I'm starting with a clean slate now.



That is such a cool old school setup Gene! Love it! I want to see more please.

I have also been looking for a short fifth wheel.. But wonder about clearance between the truck bed and the trailer when negotiating off road terrain.

I did find a 13' burro close to me which has been sitting for years. Thinking about buying, removing the shell and beefing up or replacing the frame axle and wheels.
Hi: rebar... Here's a pic of our rig. 4X4 Nissan and Escape 5.0TA is a great combo!!! We don't off road but I'm sure we could.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:28 AM   #17
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Name: Jim
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Good grief, just buy a good 4 wheeler pickup for your bike & a good tent .
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Old 09-04-2017, 11:01 AM   #18
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Name: Hans
Trailer: Bigfoot 25FB
Texas
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We own a 2016 25' Bigfoot that we bought in June 2015. It has dual axels mounted with leaf springs and shocks. We take it just about anywhere our 4x4 Tundra will go. Last year on its shakedown cruise, we took it to Alaska, including a trip over the 40 mile long Top Of The World Highway, a nasty rutted, potholed and washboarded road in eastern Alaska. Our trailer did great. Now we're nearing the end of our journey to the east, including Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Anyone who has been to Newfoundland will attest to the ruggedness of many roads there - potholes, frost heave, and settled bridge approaches.

The trailer came with 3500lb axles, both of which bent on the Alaskan journey. We replaced the entire suspension system in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory on our way back from Alaska. We were fortunate that a super welder and RV axle specialist is located in Whitehorse. He claims to replace 300-400 RV axles a year. He made his own jig and builds his own axles. We had him build and install 6000lb axles on our Bigfoot (3" Dia. axle tubes 1/4" wall thickness), new 5-leaf leaf springs (stock was 4 leaf), 6-bolt hubs (stock were 5-bolt) and 12" brakes (stock were 10"). I had to remount the shocks myself because he doesn't believe in shocks on an RV. We ain't had no axle problems since.

The fiberglass body is doing fine. No cracking. We do wax it with a high quality fiberglass wax every 6 months. We do not store the trailer inside. We are full time RVers livin' in our Bigfoot. No chalking of the fiberglass yet, and we're confident that we can prevent this as long was we wash and wax it regularly.

I'm going to examine the body connections to the frame after reading some of these posts. As for the frame, it is very strong in my opinion. A knowledgeable frame person once looked at it and said, "That's a strong frame." He was looking at the frame after he saw our four 360amp-hr deep cycle batteries, 100lbs each, mounted on the tongue.

Other than the axles, we have had no problems with our Bigfoot. We bought it and designed our solar power system to go boondocking anywhere we want.
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Old 09-04-2017, 11:19 AM   #19
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Trailer: 2015 Oliver 23, 2014 Ram Cummins
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Bigfoot,

That's a great story! "doesn't believe in shocks", "bent both axles". Love it.

How much does your trailer weigh?

If I ever have any problems with my axles, I'll immediately upgrade them to the 5200 lb model with the 12" brakes. The bigger bearings would also be comforting. One good thing about the 3500 lb model is that if there is some kind of extreme overload of some kind, they will yield instead of just snapping off.

When you went to the five leaf spring packs, did the ride stiffen up, or did it bounce more? Did you think it was bottoming out with the original springs? Severe bottoming is a likely reason the axles bent, if that is what was going on.

What tires are you running? We've got load range E, 16" truck tires. I'm convinced these are the best for hot weather or rocky roads.

Sounds like you are really getting full value out of your trailer. Hope to make a similar trip in our Oliver in a couple of years.
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Old 09-05-2017, 08:33 AM   #20
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Featherlite
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Originally Posted by Bigfoot25 View Post
We own a 2016 25' Bigfoot We take it just about anywhere our 4x4 Tundra will go.
Other than the axles, we have had no problems with our Bigfoot. We bought it and designed our solar power system to go boondocking anywhere we want.
Wow you guys really beat the snot out of that trailer and I now have more respect for leaf springs in two axles configuration. The axle damage proves that very few trailers are designed for offroad. I don't think I would be very happy had I bought that trailer new and hope Bigfoot compensated you in some way.

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Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
Bigfoot,

That's a great story! "doesn't believe in shocks", "bent both axles". Love it.
Yeah crazy..

I'm surprised I haven't read anything about gel coat hair line cracks around here because the scamp I borrowed was full of them after I used it. I wonder if I bent the axle?

I'm leaning towards building a small camper or buying a used custom made one as store bought just doesn't seem to cut it. Or a older stick built for the appliances and completely rebuild with steel.

Iv got my sights set on a 1998 cummins 4x4 5 speed as well.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:39 AM   #21
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Trailer: 2015 Oliver 23, 2014 Ram Cummins
Northern Nevada
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rebar,

1998 was a transition year for Cummins. Be careful if it's a 24 valve. Lift pump failures take out the injection pump too. (VP44). Some 1998s were still the 12 valve model.

Have fun building your trailer.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:06 PM   #22
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Trailer: Uhaul
Tennessee
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If you are willing to do some build out on your own of "Your" perfect Off-Road fiberglass trailer I suggest you contact T A Pelsue Company in Englewood Colorado and inquire about one of their commercial fiberglass utility trailers. These folks ARE the biggest in this particular utility segment of the commercial truck up-fitter and commercial trailer industry.

Pelsue manufacturer's small commercial fiberglass egg trailers for utility companies and telecommunications companies all over the USA. Their trailers are built to have a 20 year service life in commercial application. You have seen their fiberglass trailers all over the USA when utility work is needed.

I spoke with Brad Pelsue at the NATDA (North American Trailer Dealers Association) convention last year about offering a camper version of one of their fiberglass trailers. This is a segment of the market they have considered given their location in Colorado.

These trailers are built TOUGH and could be configured relatively easily to a "Off-Road" type of fiberglass egg camper. Probably no something that those who want a Casita, Scamp or Bigfoot might consider however any "Expedition" type of camper where Off-Road excursions are their focus the Pelsue trailer might just be the ticket!

Take a look at www.Pelsue.com
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Old 09-08-2017, 04:25 PM   #23
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Name: Francois
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here's one.....

there are quite a few BFs in the town I live in....see them in sideyards all the time....but this one takes the cake as far as height is concerned.....LOL...
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:12 AM   #24
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Name: Mike
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there are quite a few BFs in the town I live in....see them in sideyards all the time....but this one takes the cake as far as height is concerned.....LOL...
Now THATS what Im talking about!
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:18 PM   #25
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I have the "standard" modification to my Bigfoot, which is the straight axle. It came with the 4" drop axle and I switched to a straight axle. Any more lift than that would be too much.

I take my camper down roads in southern Utah, which beat any typical dirt road in Montana, and I've decided that any road which would require more clearance is a road I shouldn't be taking my trailer down.

But on those roads, I'm going SLOW. So yeah, some scraping of the bumper and black/grey water drain valves. Not a big deal in sand. Slickrock...would be a different deal. I guess you just need to expect some damage. I'm not building skid plates for my trailer.

Washboard kills everything. Vehicle included. If you want to rally down washboard roads, you just need to expect to break things. I have friends who have towed a Nash trailer all over the US, and live at the southern tip of Baja in the winter. They haul (by which I mean drive fast ) down rough roads. And have had their frame welded multiple times...But as far as I know their camper has help up otherwise. I personally think molded fiberglass campers would hold up a bit better than the average stick built.

But nothing is built to stand up to washboard. It just rattles everything apart.

I also traveled all over the intermountain west and southwest in a 2wd 1978 Toyota Chinook. Traveling in a motorhome lets you know what dirt roads are like inside the trailer. Driving dirt roads in that camper, with the "camper" area just a foot behind my head, made me realize what washboard and rough roads are doing to your camper as you drive down them. My drive into Chaco Canyon, on it's washboard, was a long, slow drive. I couldn't go more than 15 mph without feeling like the camper was going to disintegrate...And driving down roads with huge dips or up over slick rock outcroppings and hearing the fiberglass crack and creak...I carry that feeling with me when I'm puling my trailer down rough roads.

Anyway. Huge difference between "4x4" roads and "dirt" roads, or washboard roads. Dirt and washboard don't necessarily require 4wd or clearance. But they may well rattle you apart.

Actual 4x4 roads which require clearance and/or 4wd are a totally different deal. I don't enjoy bringing my camper very far down those roads (or rough, washboard roads for that matter. I drive them every day and the thought of bringing my trailer down any of them brings a lot of anxiety into my life...). At that point, for me, it's time to either leave the camper at home, or park it somewhere and car camp along the 4x4 road, then pick the trailer back up later.

If you want a camper that works for those kinds of roads...find a used (rare) 4x4 Toyota Sunrader, or find an old Chinook motorhome and transplant it onto a 4x4 truck body.

In my opinion rallying down dirt roads with any kind of trailer = "no thanks". Not safe, not smart, not fun.

In the end do what you want, obviously. Buy something knowing you're using it in a way it wasn't intended, and beat it to death. I live and work in an area that is rough on things. If you want to use things in a certain way, you just expect to be replacing them fairly often. Your budget and attachment to things will determine what type of stuff you're willing to destroy.

In the end, any kind of camper will suit your needs. Depending on the type you get, it might need a little lift or something. But it'll all start showing it's use/age real fast.

If you're just talking about somewhat gently hauling a trailer down typical Forest Service roads, you can ignore most of that. Any old trailer will do, maybe with a little lift. The shorter the better.
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:26 PM   #26
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Name: Tom
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I agree with everything you have to say, Zach. I would add...if you want to really get on some "rustic" roads as you've described, get a 4wd pickup with a truck camper. TT's just aren't designed for that.
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:01 PM   #27
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I agree with everything you have to say, Zach. I would add...if you want to really get on some "rustic" roads as you've described, get a 4wd pickup with a truck camper. TT's just aren't designed for that.
Going out and exploring "rustic" roads is what it's all about. My trailer is no highway queen and I like camping miles out into the forest or desert.

I'm willing to take mine wherever my Ram will tow it, and that won't damage it.

When on a trip and exploring, what's the hurry? Idling along in low and picking my way through the rocks and holes is perfectly fine. Washboard is damaging if going the wrong speed, running the wrong tire pressure or picking the wrong path. All avoidable.

Once there, at some high elevation in the forest and miles from anyone, or way out in the desert at a hot springs, or at the end of a 4X4 trail and exploring old relics, it's all worth it. But we're not always that far off the beaten path.

I gave up on a truck camper with all of it's limitations. Setting up camp with a trailer and then being able to go exploring is the best for us. We recently spent three nights at a KOA (very civilized) and were able to go out to dinner in town and explore the general area without lugging the trailer along, and then come "home" for the evening. Meanwhile it was raining off and on, and the trailer was perfect.
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Old 09-15-2017, 04:43 AM   #28
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Featherlite
Iowa
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If you want a camper that works for 4x4 roads...find a used (rare) 4x4 Toyota Sunrader, or find an old Chinook motorhome and transplant it onto a 4x4 truck body.
If you're just talking about somewhat gently hauling a trailer down typical Forest Service roads, you can ignore most of that. Any old trailer will do, maybe with a little lift. The shorter the better.
Really great write up ZachO. I agree with everything.

Its to bad the Sunrader or Chinook dont come 4x4.. The E350 base could be (expensive kit) converted to 4x4 though.
But Im with Raspy when he says he wants to be able to leave his "Trailer" at the base camp site.. So I will steer clear of the truck bed campers and motor homes.

Im still thinking I need to build a trailer designed to be beat, and with enough clearance for the last few washout gullies or pot holes to make it to that secluded spot which in many cases is close to a dirt road, but just around that out cropping of rock or trees. Just enough to get you away from others.. Its usually the last 50' of trail that scares me..

On another note.. Iv been searching for used tow vehicles and trailers but found my bug out property and the owner accepted my offer!! It needs septic and I will be adding a RV dump. Its so quiet and beautiful out there with a view to die for.. It doesn't look like much, but its all mine, almost.. The property is big enough for any rig, but I still want a small off road.

Property
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