VW Westfalia versus Boler-13' - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-20-2012, 10:03 AM   #1
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Name: Franck
Trailer: Westfalia
Quebec
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VW Westfalia versus Boler-13'

Hi

My name is Franck, I live near Montreal, Qc with my partner and my 5 yo son. we love camping and road trips and currently enjoy our 1985 VW Westfalia Weekender (roomier minimalist version without kitchen) with a small utility trailer.

I really got a soft spot on Boler's / Scamp 13' now.... And, as we're going trough a tighter financial phase, I'm seriously considering selling the VW camper and opt for the light trailer option instead. I will save on expensive registration fees, insurance and maintenance.

My main question now...
Is there anyone on this forum, who made such move (motorized camper to towed camper)? Any regrets, advantages, pros & conds etc....

I would really appreciate your feed back.
Thank you

Franck
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:45 AM   #2
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Better yet, could you tow a 13ft with the VW?
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:46 AM   #3
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Hello !
We are in the process of doing exactly the same thing...for the same reasons. We also considered the fact that with a nice little Boler, you can set everything up and take the car to go out and visit around without having to close all windows, the top...We also won't have to consider where to park the van on site to be able to go out for errands or a side trip, knowing that we have a screened kitchen tent. Of course, we will have to master the art of towing.

I understand your ambivalance though !
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franck2cv View Post
Hi
My main question now...
Is there anyone on this forum, who made such move (motorized camper to towed camper)? Any regrets, advantages, pros & conds etc....
Franck
Prior to purchasing my Scamp TT I had used truck campers and small motor homes - 2 different sizes. The trailer is hands down for me the best of all in regards of ease of use, especially as I often travel on my own. With both the motor home and the truck camper if you were staying someplace and wanted to go off exploring or buy something from a store you needed to pack everything up & secure it all and disconnect power & water in order to do that - not something you want to do everyday if staying in a place more than a few nights. Yes it was possible to jack the camper up and take it off the truck but I always found that to be a bit of a heart stopping experience especially when camping on less than level ground & not to mention the rather tight fit the camper was to the truck. Not something I really want to do everyday. Its way easier to disconnect the trailer from the tow vehicle on arrival and leave it all set up while you head out to explore the area or shop. Also get way better gas mileage pulling the small trailer than with the small 20' motor home and the more powerful truck needed to carry the camper. I can tow the Scamp with a car that is small enough that I dont need to search endlessly for a parking spot downtown that will fit it as is the case with bigger trucks.

For me the only downside to owning a TT is storage - I live in a city that does not allow TT to be parked in driveways from Oct to May or even during summer months if it doesnt get taken out ever couple of weeks. The cost of storage is high (abt $120/month) in my area so the trailer needs to be low enough to fit in a garage/carport. One & only reason I havent purchased the TT of my dreams as although only 1' longer it would be 4" to high to fit in my carport.
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:26 PM   #5
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Thank you Mireille. Very pleased to share this 'thinking process' !
The fact that the towing vehicle can be easily driven anywhere without any packing & tidying up IS indeed the punchy line.

As per the towing issue, well, we do tow already. I know, it's very small but we're already accustomed to the u-turn restriction, annoying backward maneuvers. I guess, the Boler will only be bigger and heavier.

I thought about towing a Boler with our Westfalia. It certainly looks fabulous but A) the brakes would need to be upgraded at great expenses, Not sure the driving experience will be that good... so much rear weight already.
and then.... bottom line: $$$
Cannot keep all the toys

Franck
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:03 PM   #6
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Brake upgrade may not be that expensive. Might be less expensive than purchasing a different tow vehicle. The following is a 7" electric however they also have Hydraulic Disc surge brakes that cost more should you not be able to install the electrics.

Tow Zone Electric Drum Brake Kit — Pair, 7in., Model# 56124 | Drum Brakes| Northern Tool + Equipment
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:13 PM   #7
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Word of caution re the cost of brakes. . Many of the older Bolers & other 13' trailers do not have the flange attachment on the axle that is needed to install brakes - in order to add brakes to the trailer the axle may need to be replaced so you would be looking at more (abt $400/500) than just the cost of the brake kit.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:25 PM   #8
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We made our decision few weeks ago. The van is «for sale» and we found our Boler. I just wish the van was sold, because like you, we can't have all the toys. Hoping the Boler won't find another family before we sell the campervan...

Good luck !
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:29 PM   #9
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Word of caution re the cost of brakes. . Many of the older Bolers & other 13' trailers do not have the flange attachment on the axle that is needed to install brakes - in order to add brakes to the trailer the axle may need to be replaced so you would be looking at more (abt $400/500) than just the cost of the brake kit.
Oh...And how do we know we have, or or don't have that the flange attachment on the axle ? What does it look like ? Because, I have to have breaks on my trailer in order to tow with the car I want...
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:39 PM   #10
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Thank you all for sharing. Some great stuff here that help me making good progress!
The Axle seems to be THE thing to look at closely according to the few searches I did.
I think it would be wise to plan ahead a replacement/upgrade, just in case (depending on what we end up buying of course!). Now, is there a thread dedicated to DIY Axle replacement and Part suppliers?

Cheers

Franck
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mireille L View Post
We made our decision few weeks ago. The van is «for sale» and we found our Boler. I just wish the van was sold, because like you, we can't have all the toys. Hoping the Boler won't find another family before we sell the campervan...

Good luck !
You too! You're ahead of us. If we decide to proceed then, it will have to wait 'till Spring 13.
F.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:50 PM   #12
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Oh...And how do we know we have, or or don't have that the flange attachment on the axle ? What does it look like ? Because, I have to have breaks on my trailer in order to tow with the car I want...
The flange to attach the brakes looks like the square piece here with the 4 holes in it. It is behind the wheel on the axle stub.

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Old 09-20-2012, 02:51 PM   #13
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Nice choice on selling the van. I've travelled in and owned 3 vw vans now and though they rival my Scamp in cuteness, they are overall more of a hassle to camp in and much more expensive when considering upkeep and registration. My scamp makes the van feel like a closet, even with roof popped up
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:55 PM   #14
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Thanks Tom !
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