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


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Old 08-30-2017, 09:28 AM   #1
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Featherlite
Iowa
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Sold my huge rig.. FG tough enough for Off Road 4x4 and stored outside?

Hello everyone, new here..

Iv sold everything..
I sold my 24' toyhauler mainly because it's to big for little ole me, and I need to get far away from the noisy crowded camp grounds.
I also just sold my cummins 5 speed E350 van, mainly because it didn't fit under my 7x16 garage door. It's also not the 4x4 I should have bought to drive up fire roads in colorado. I love remote colorado by the way. But dont care for the crowded tourist areas..

So now I'm sitting here with a pile of cash but not sure on what camper to look for. I buy used things, not new.

I bought the featherlite (traveled to Texas) because it was made from aluminum and rot resistant and believe me, it leaked everywhere! I'm considering a FG Burro I found for sale close to me thinking it's also rot resistant.
But is Fiberglass construction a good choice for wash board dirt roads which could shake the filling out of your teeth? And is fiberglass construction a good choice when you don't have a garage to store it in?

Thanks!
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Old 08-31-2017, 10:37 AM   #2
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Name: Tom
Trailer: interested in HC1.
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Mike, you might be looking for a truck camper. Mount on the bed of a 4wd truck and you're good to go!
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Old 08-31-2017, 10:57 AM   #3
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Uhaul
Tennessee
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Originally Posted by rebar View Post
Hello everyone, new here..

But is Fiberglass construction a good choice for wash board dirt roads which could shake the filling out of your teeth? And is fiberglass construction a good choice when you don't have a garage to store it in?

Thanks!

Yes fiberglass can be a good construction material for the shell. The problem with many fiberglass shell trailers is the flimsy frame they have underneath the shell AND the elevator bolts they use to mount the shell to the frame.

As fiberglass trailers age the flimsy frames installed under the shell can rust along with the elevator bolts that connect the shell to the frame. NONE of the fiberglass trailers were designed for off-road use. Having said that there are folks who have modified their trailers for off-road use with success. At a minimum you would need to raise the trailer for more clearance (Axle change). New wheels and tires. Stiffen the frame with additional cross-members, replace the elevator bolts and then deal with any other issues associated with a fiberglass trailer IF you purchase the trailer used.

Do a search on the site for a modified for off-road use 19 foot 5th wheel Scamp trailer. there are pictures here on the site somewhere.

Yes you can make a fiberglass trailer work well for off-road use however YOU are going to have to make the necessary modifications yourself to accomplish your goal of owning an off-road capable fiberglass trailer as none of the fiberglass trailer manufacturer's have addressed this market.

Try this website for lot's a great ideas and conversions as Expedition Portal may be more suited to what your ultimate goal may be:

https://expeditionportal.com/

http://forum.expeditionportal.com/fo...dition-Campers
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Old 08-31-2017, 12:27 PM   #4
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Mike,

It sounds like you should talk to this guy:

Castia (((little Castle )))
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Old 08-31-2017, 12:36 PM   #5
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Name: John
Trailer: 2015 Oliver 23, 2014 Ram Cummins
Northern Nevada
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One of the reasons I bought my Oliver was that it was clearly much better for off-road than my previous Toy Hauler.

No pipes underneath, very strong frame and double wall construction of the body with moulded in cabinets instead of riveted on cabinets, etc. No wooden floor just screwed to the frame.

Tandem axle trailers are also better in rough conditions because they will drag on the ground less and the equalizer suspension steps over bumps instead of bouncing over them. You can air-down to soften the ride over the rocky surface.

But long mies of heavy vibration that would "knock the fillings out of your teeth" is never a good thing. Slow down and enjoy the surroundings. If you want to drive fast, set your truck up as a Baja racer and leave the trailer at home.
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:24 PM   #6
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Name: Tom
Trailer: Shopping
CO
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You won't see many 40-50 year old stick built trailers still road worthy. There's a surprising percentage of fiberglass units still in service.
I live in Colorado and have ATV'd a lot. I absolutely would consider fiberglass superior but not indestructable.
Simply set up the RV as a base camp in the National Forest to boondock, and go from there.
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:38 PM   #7
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Featherlite
Iowa
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Originally Posted by TomandCallie View Post
Mike, you might be looking for a truck camper. Mount on the bed of a 4wd truck and you're good to go!
Yes thank you, I'm looking at full size trucks but after you install a big top heavy camper, its very tall and not the most nimble 4x4 out there. Removing and leaving the camper at the camp site on jacks is a possibility.. But the spot would have to be pretty flat and Colorado doesn't have many of those in remote areas. On the other hand.. Your camper is riding on better suspension, which wouldn't shake the camper as much as a light weight trailer with small tires would.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageracer View Post
Yes fiberglass can be a good construction material for the shell. The problem with many fiberglass shell trailers is the flimsy frame they have underneath the shell AND the elevator bolts they use to mount the shell to the frame.
As fiberglass trailers age the flimsy frames installed under the shell can rust along with the elevator bolts that connect the shell to the frame. NONE of the fiberglass trailers were designed for off-road use. Having said that there are folks who have modified their trailers for off-road use with success. At a minimum you would need to raise the trailer for more clearance (Axle change). New wheels and tires. Stiffen the frame with additional cross-members, replace the elevator bolts and then deal with any other issues associated with a fiberglass trailer IF you purchase the trailer used.

Do a search on the site for a modified for off-road use 19 foot 5th wheel Scamp trailer. there are pictures here on the site somewhere.

Yes you can make a fiberglass trailer work well for off-road use however YOU are going to have to make the necessary modifications yourself to accomplish your goal of owning an off-road capable fiberglass trailer as none of the fiberglass trailer manufacturer's have address this market.

Try this website for lot's a great ideas and conversions as this site may be more suited to what you ultimate goal may be:

https://expeditionportal.com/

Expedition Campers - Expedition Portal
Thanks for the tip on flimsy frames and rusty elevator bolts holding the camper on.. I borrowed and towed a newer scamp to yellow stone 25 years ago and we did drive some rough dirt roads with it. When we got back I noticed stress cracks in the outside jel coat. Is this common and does it raise any concerns about the structural integrity of the camper? And nobody really addressed my left outside in the elements question.. How much does UV affect the integrity of the fiberglass shell? And can freezing temperatures and water play havoc on fiberglass shells more than aluminum?

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Originally Posted by Civilguy View Post
Mike,
It sounds like you should talk to this guy:
Castia (((little Castle )))
Thanks for the lead Civilguy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
One of the reasons I bought my Oliver was that it was clearly much better for off-road than my previous Toy Hauler.
No pipes underneath, very strong frame and double wall construction of the body with moulded in cabinets instead of riveted on cabinets, etc. No wooden floor just screwed to the frame.
Tandem axle trailers are also better in rough conditions because they will drag on the ground less and the equalizer suspension steps over bumps instead of bouncing over them. You can air-down to soften the ride over the rocky surface.
But long miles of heavy vibration that would "knock the fillings out of your teeth" is never a good thing. Slow down and enjoy the surroundings. If you want to drive fast, set your truck up as a Baja racer and leave the trailer at home.
Thanks Raspy. The Oliver's look very nice, but where/how do you truck your toys now?

And I have to respectfully disagree with your statement about tandem axles off road.. Iv read torsion Tandem axles should never be used off road because even driving off a curb can overload one or both of the axles. Parking, or pulling it unlevel can damage them placing more weight on one of the axles than it was designed to carry. I don't want anything large enough that requires two axles anyway.

The "knock the fillings out of your teeth" comment was something my girl friend and I laugh about. We were coming down a colorado dirt road, which are completely different than dirt roads here in iowa, and came around a corner to see very shallow ripples across the entire road, almost like ripples in sand. They were only a inch deep but it was like we hit a sheet of ice as we shuddered across them sideways. I will admit I don't drive slow because we only have a 10 day time window away from work. But that experience I will never forget and it would have shaken any thing held together with screws or rivets apart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom 72 View Post
You won't see many 40-50 year old stick built trailers still road worthy. There's a surprising percentage of fiberglass units still in service.
I live in Colorado and have ATV'd a lot. I absolutely would consider fiberglass superior but not indestructible.
Simply set up the RV as a base camp in the National Forest to boondock, and go from there.
Thanks Tom. I love your state btw..
The last time I camped at a free camp ground in colorado, a real live mariachi band started playing in my neighbors site after dark.. Granted it was a friday, but really? lol In hindsight I should have gotten out of bed, made a drink and joined the party..

I just really need to be able to get away for some peace and quiet, and if I want conversation.. I can always pack it up and come back down the mountain.

My problem is that I want to bring my DRZ400s along. Without it, I could get by with a 4.0 cherokee. But that extra 300 lbs and the associated tools and equipment that's needed probably puts me into a V8 SUV or 1/2 ton truck.
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:47 PM   #8
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Name: Tom
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The Livin' Lite makes a good off-road pop up that might be worth looking at: https://www.livinlite.com/products/q...-tent-campers/
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:53 PM   #9
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Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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the thing...

the thing about stickies and aluminium frame walled trailers is they have a lot of seams....vibration is the killer here, especially since everybody is clamoring for lighter and lighter trailers.....molded fiberglass is structurally superior and can take a lot more vibration/jarring...there are no joints to come loose...let water in

not all FG trailers are built the same...I can only speak about one brand. I own a BF and I think it would suit the use you describe...up to a point. The advantage of such a rig as opposed to a truck camper is you can drop the trailer off and REALLY go exploring if that's what you're into. I drive a lot of rough logging roads and other than breaking a spring (and replacing both with heavier duty units) I have not had any problems with things breaking or coming loose.

I use mine over rough terrain to get somewhere...not for "sport" so the rougher it gets the slower I go. What destroys trailers is potholes and washboard and sometimes those can't be avoided...you're doing 50 k on a gravel road and all of a sudden they appear before you have time to slow down....all you can do is cringe...LOL

While a truck camper can just drive down any old goat path...a truck and trailer has to worry about the possibility that there might not be anywhere to get turned around ....I've had to unhook 2-3 times to get out of a jam...and plenty more times "fought like hell"/stuffed the trailer in the trees to get turned around. My TV has a VERY tight turning radius and my trailer is single axle (which helps as well)....still I did a lot of walking the first few years to go check out the road ahead....I now have a folding electric bicycle that works real well for that...

I left my trailer uncovered one winter...just to see...it cleaned up...but that's a lot of work....I cover it now (normal tarp down to the belly band)

Happy trails
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Old 08-31-2017, 08:41 PM   #10
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
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Originally Posted by rebar View Post
Burro I found for sale close to me thinking it's also rot resistant.
But is Fiberglass construction a good choice for wash board dirt roads which could shake the filling out of your teeth? And is fiberglass construction a good choice when you don't have a garage to store it in?

Thanks!
I would not test a 30 to 40 year old FG trailer on dirt roads that could shake the fillings out of your teeth.

As pointed out earlier, the frames were not designed for such abuse, and after 30 years, definitely not.

In addition, the axles of many trailers that old are worn out, and many use torsion style in place of a suspension (the torsion portion tends to get worn out).

Serious off road, you are talking Sprinter four wheel drive conversion van, definitely not cheap, and won't fit under your garage door.


Old FG molded trailers are certainly more durable than their stick built cousins, but thats in normal use. IMO, I think the molded body is more durable, but not the entire package. If anything, the suspension and frames might be less rugged (when pushed hard). I'd consider taking my Escape up the Alcan, which is mostly paved except for the multiple short construction zones. But I wouldn't take it up the Dalton Highway. For that, I would rent a jeep in Fairbanks and drive up and back, staying overnight in Prudhoe Bay.


Example of broken Burro frame:
13' Burro trailer repair
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Old 08-31-2017, 09:02 PM   #11
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your escape....

your five year old Escape would handle it just fine I bet....LOTS of traffic on that road...that usually = smooth in my book....(and you can drive the whole thing on google maps to see for yourself)
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Old 08-31-2017, 09:23 PM   #12
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That road picture from 2011 looks very nice. I rode it in 2014 on my motorcycle. It had rained several days straight, so the road was bad, really bad. 6 inches to a foot of mud on top of the gravel. No control whatsoever. A 16 wheeler had slid off the road earlier that day. I ended up turning around. I am ready for a rematch!
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Old 08-31-2017, 10:19 PM   #13
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Trailer: 2015 Oliver 23, 2014 Ram Cummins
Northern Nevada
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rebar,

The Olivers don't have torsion axles, they are equalized leaf spring axles with shocks that work well over uneven surfaces. The trailer weighs about 4,800 lbs all watered and geared up. Mine has two 3500 lb axles, but some have two 5200 lb axles. Anywhere you can drag the trailer it will go without axle damage. They also have four batteries that are mounted over the axles to get the weight off the tongue.

I tow with a full size Ram, so if I want to take the quad, it can ride in the truck bed. But normally, I have a camper shell on the truck and that's where all the gear goes. Then the trailer uncluttered.

It is really nice to be able to leave the trailer and camp behind, and go exploring with the truck. Something that was not possible with my earlier pop-up camper.
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Old 08-31-2017, 10:48 PM   #14
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Name: Gene
Trailer: 1987 Scamp 19
Washington
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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.
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