Advice for buying a Scamp - Fiberglass RV



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Old 04-24-2019, 12:19 PM   #1
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Name: Josie
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Advice for buying a Scamp

Hello all! Looking for some advice and wisdom. I'm completely new to the world of travel trailers and am considering purchasing a 13 ft Scamp we found. It's a 1978 sofa floorplan that's been completely renovated. I loved it the second I walked into it. I'm 5'2" so it just seemed like my perfect, cozy little happy place. I want to get it but have some concerns and feel like I just need to educate myself a bit before jumping in. Hoping you can answer some questions and help me out. TIA

1. A 40 year old trailer seems crazy old but it seems to be in great condition. No noticeable damage to the fiberglass, new axle, windows in good condition, has brakes. Anything I should know about 1970s Scamps or be looking for? Are the old ones actually lighter? The new ones seem identical so what changed?

2. I'm not sure if the price is correct. He's asking $9,500 but has added a ton of amenities that I don't know the value of. (No fiberglass damage or leaks that I'm aware of, new axle, ok tires, brakes, refrigerator, microwave, ac, propane heater, propane tank, water heater, water pump, stove and sink in great condition, tv, BluRay, antenna, bunk bed wood is missing, sofa needs new pads, cover and boot, porta potty, outdoor shower hookup, etc)

3. Normally, if I'm traveling alone, I just sleep in the back of my Subaru so a lot of these upgrades seem a bit excessive. I think most of it requires a full hook up to run but, being new to this, I'm not quite sure. Not sure how often I'm going to be staying in an rv park. Anyway, I think it's going to be fairly close to my tow limit, if not over. He thinks it's about 1200 but I'm guessing it's over 1500. What would you jettison to save on weight? I'm eyeing the water heater. I'm not sure when I would need it and it seems really heavy. There is almost no storage because every nook and cranny has a device in it.

4. The door is warped and has a gap at the bottom. The owner says that Scamp doors all do that in a couple of years and to not worry about it. Is he correct? It looks like I can replace the door for about $400 but it's not worth it if it's just going to do it again. I want to drive it to TX though and don't need scorpions in my trailer.

5. I need to upgrade my 4 pin hitch electrical to a 7 pin and add a brake controller to use the brakes. I'm planning to use Uhaul for the work. Anyone have a ballpark of what that'll cost me? There seem to be a ton of brake controllers out there. I want to drive around a lot. Which one should I get?

Thanks so much for any help or guidance you can provide!
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Old 04-24-2019, 02:16 PM   #2
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Name: bill
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“He thinks” based on what? Has he ever run it across a truck scale? 1200 pounds is very optimistic. In the end how many sellers have weighed their trailers. Most haven’t and just rattle off some weight they heard somewhere. For whatever reason “heard” weights are never high.

Personally I could not pay that much for a 40 year old Scamp. Yes FG trailers are very durable but the older ones tended to have under built frames, anything he hasn’t replaced is 40 years old. At that price point I would spend more and get brand new. Scamp like all of the manufacturers have made changes and improvements over the years. New ones are built to handle roof air for example.

Pretty much any truck stop has a scale that can weigh a trailer.

Check weights in the real world. By the time you are packed to go camping, there isn’t a standup FG trailer out there that will come in at 1500 pounds or less. A few of the really early Bolers might be under 1500 but they are noted for underbuilt frame and axle. By the time you upgrade those you are no longer under 1500 pounds.

Best to find the trailer that fits your needs and then plan on a replacement tow vehicle. In the Subaru world some Outbacks are rated at 2,700 pounds and the Ascent is even higher.

As far as the values of the amenities, only the ones you want have any value. Something you want to remove has no value and actually has negative value as you are going to need to remove it, patch all the holes, etc.

The very lightest models will have an ice box (no frig), no AC, no furnace, no toilet, minimal to no plumbing, no holding tanks, no awning, no spare tire, etc. on spares realize some new cars no longer come with a spare either. I like to say “I can make a pizza so cheap no one would eat it”, well I could make a trailer so light no one could use it. Part of the advantage of a trailer is having some amenities.
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Old 04-24-2019, 02:33 PM   #3
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Name: Josie
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I'm definatly debating new vs used. I believe that a lot of the things he's added are not standard and would cost a fair amount over the $10,500 base price. (Is that still the base price? Their website doesn't say much about prices. ) I have to have brakes and my weight limit is only 1500#. The new ones seem to be 1200-1500#. I'll definitely take the old one to be weighed. He was using a bigger TV so it wasn't much of a concern for him. A lot of his additions are tempting creature comforts but not absolutely necessary.
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Old 04-24-2019, 02:52 PM   #4
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I think the question you need to ask yourself is are going to be spending a lot time in RV parks. If not that's probably not the trailer for with the 120 powered items and even some of the 12 volt items.

All things has a '"cost" and a "value" to you. If the cost/value lines up, go with it, if not do something else.


How often would you use a Micro wave oven as an example? Daily, Once a month, Once every 3 or 4 years?
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:23 PM   #5
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Name: Josie
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Haha, the microwave would be the first thing to go. I don't like my home microwave. It's a bit frustrating- there don't seem to be many options in our area. There's a different 1978 Scamp for $12,500 (similar amenities but with nice interior decorating) and a handful newer ones in the $17k range. Hoping to be on the road for under $10k. Supply is low so I may just have to suck it up if I want one soon. I don't have time to renovate it so pulling out extra junk is easier than adding things. Seems like a waste though.

Do all the doors warp?
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo in CO View Post
I'm definatly debating new vs used. I believe that a lot of the things he's added are not standard and would cost a fair amount over the $10,500 base price. (Is that still the base price? Their website doesn't say much about prices. ) I have to have brakes and my weight limit is only 1500#. The new ones seem to be 1200-1500#. I'll definitely take the old one to be weighed. He was using a bigger TV so it wasn't much of a concern for him. A lot of his additions are tempting creature comforts but not absolutely necessary.
1. Call Scamp and get a quote on a new one with NO options. Every option adds weight. New one with no options and NO spare is going to be the lightest choice. I have no idea what Scamp currently charges for one, but if I was shopping for a used one, that is one key piece of information I would have in hand. $10,500 sounds low, if it is that low, I'd pounce on it.

2. Taking stuff out isn't always so easy. Hot water heater for example: removing it is going to leave a big hole on the outside of the camper, someone has to patch it. Then you have the propane piping, plumbing and more. Its not as simple as unplugging a microwave for sure. Removing an AC can be involved too. On older units, people either remove a window or cut a hole in the side of the trailer.


3. Patience. I've seen mid 1980s Scamp 13s, with no options, in good condition, for around $5,000 to $7500. It can take a while to find the right one. Meanwhile as a backup, order a new one, Scamp is gracious on order cancellation, and they require a very small deposit.

4. Don't believe the 1200 pound dry weight. Instead, rely on forum members here who have actually weighed their trailers.

5. If you just weigh the trailer's axle, you are not getting its total weight. You need the weight of your car alone with no trailer attached, and then get a second weight with the trailer attached.

6. Realize if you buy an older one, the chances of an unpleasant suprise that will cost you money are high. You need to be a very thorough and competent trailer inspector to avoid some of the not so obvious problems. When I was looking at Trilliums last year, I inspected two that both had thousands of dollars of problems. So I passed on them. Meanwhile, someone else bought both of them. Good luck to them.


The nice thing about Scamp is if you want a bare bones trailer, they make one, and its lower priced than the competition, who don't have bare bones trailers.


Some examples (not recommendations, I know nothing about these particular units):

https://huntsville.craigslist.org/rv...857671816.html


https://littlerock.craigslist.org/rv...870136284.html


Nice Boler, will not last long!

https://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/r...873930588.html
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:47 PM   #7
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Advice for buying a Scamp

No, not all doors warp. Most common cause is water infiltration into the door core, typically from leaks around the window. Note that the shell and door were redesigned after the 2006 fire and are taller than older ones.

Have you checked the subfloor very carefully? Rot tends to occur from the inside, again from window leaks. Check inside all the cabinets and benches around the outer perimeter.

Agree that $9500 is pretty high, especially with the ill-fitting door and upgrades you donít really need. Newer ones have a stronger frame, and thatís worth a lot in my book.

Billís post has good advice.
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Old 04-24-2019, 04:14 PM   #8
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Scamp
Illinois
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Joe,

Give the sales people at Scamp a call. Scamp 13's hold their value very well. We bought a new 13 in 2016 it has not depreciated. Ours has electric brakes, furnace, Fantastic fan, and air. We did not order a refrigerator. With the 7 pin electrical hookup, our Scamp battery charges while out tow vehicle is running.

While traveling in milder weather, and not using the A/C we don't use camp grounds or shore power. The furnace is 12 volt/ propane, we use it frequently.
Since it is my wife and I camping, we have the big bed. We use a C'Head composing toilet.

$9500 is a lot for a 40 year old Scamp and my being that old I bet it has some issues. Our new Scamp was worth the wait.

Kick all the rocks over and see what is under them.

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Old 04-25-2019, 10:32 AM   #9
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Name: Josie
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Thank you for the great advice! I'm getting that $9500 is pretty high and that I need to inspect it very carefully for issues, or better, bring someone who knows about these things to come take a look. I saw the frame, subfloor, and windows as specific things to look for. They paid $8000 before replacing the axle to add brakes. I think they overpaid but they did get it from a guy who professionally repairs/renovates RVs so I'm a little less concerned that the wiring and plumbing were done correctly.

You made good points about amenities I won't use being effectively worthless. I just didn't want to low ball the guy. He's upgrading to a slightly larger fiberglass RV, I think a Casita. Have you ever heard of taking out items and transferring them to another RV? I would happily give him all the heavy stuff. And he can keep the potty I'm comfortable doing the work to remove it. Most of the amenities I don't want are in the closet or under the sink. No storage but nothing to patch either.

I will call to get an estimate on a new one. A bare bones new 13' Scamp may still be the way to go. Replacing the sofa foam and door through the company is around $800 alone so everything adds up!
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:48 PM   #10
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Name: Chris
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I was actually at the Scamp factory yesterday. Here is the current Scamp 13' price sheet. $12,095 for a 13' Standard (No Options). Around $17k fully loaded with most options for a Standard, and $20k loaded up for a Deluxe (Hardwood Interior). Lead time is mid-November for standards, around Christmas for Deluxe models. Take 10% off the price shown of (options) when purchasing a new trailer. The factory was going gangbusters, sure they are hustling this time of year. They had around 50-75 trailers sitting on the lot ready to customer pick-ups. I would guess any orders put in much more than a week or two from now, your looking at a 2020 delivery. As far as paying $10k for an older model. It would have to be very nice, and very well done. If I considered it better than new, I would have no problem at all hauling it home. But if it's just lipstick on a old camper, might as well spend the extra couple grand and go new. BUT, the one added bonus of buying that trailer, you get one extra season to go camping. And your not going to lose much depreciation either way. Life is short......
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:32 PM   #11
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Based on the price above, I'd be ordering a new one. Not much more, no fixes required, what you want, and 40 years newer. No brainer to me. Use the delay to add to your budget.
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:43 PM   #12
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This seems to be a case of the thing being so adorable that you're willing to overlook the realities of what you might be getting yourself into. A 40 year old trailer, with some problems, equipment you don't really want, at the highest possible price, just doesn't sound very appealing.

At the absolute minimum, do a real inspection of the floor and the frame. Get an accurate weight and determine if your tow vehicle can handle it. Decide if you are up to fixing the door.

It's easy for me to spend your money, but it seems a new one, with all the improvements they've made over the years, and set up with the exact equipment you want, a stronger frame and roof, and a new style door, would be the way to go, even if you can't go camping in it right now. It also seems that they sometimes have a few new ones ready to go for some reason, and they might have an excellent one waiting for you right now. A few of the people that lost money in the Lil Snoozy fiasco were able to call Scamp and get a new trailer off the lot. A new one will not need any work tearing things out to make more room, or fixing anything. How nice that would be!
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:40 PM   #13
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Name: Ruth
Trailer: 2014 Scamp 13'
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If you have $10,000 to spend, I would put it towards a new Scamp or a newer used (I found a 2014 for $10,500).

I just had a brake controller and 7-pole wiring installed in my Subaru Outback for about $575.
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:46 AM   #14
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Name: Scott
Trailer: Scamp
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Run

Way way way over priced. For that kind of money you should be able to find something way newer. Having owned several Scamps and sold a few. Last year I sold my 2009 loaded Scamp for that kind of money. It was in perfect condition when I sold it, with many fresh upgrades. Skip, no run away...
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