What To Look For When Buying - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-24-2019, 09:17 PM   #1
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
Posts: 18
What To Look For When Buying

I'm very interested in a 2000 19' Scamp that just went up for sale near me for $10k. I went and looked at it, and realized that I have no idea what to look for, having never owned a camper trailer before (or any RV for that matter). Are there any major things I can look for that will be easy for a newbie to spot? I just don't want to get completely ripped off and spend more money on major fixes before I can enjoy it. Thanks for the help!
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Old 09-25-2019, 05:30 AM   #2
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Name: David
Trailer: 2010 Escape 19
Pennsylvania
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What to look for

Brettrae,

It's a tall order to briefly state what to look for to not get ripped off, the list can be long. A trailer of that age could come with problems. Some of them significant. Here is a list of some big items:

A. Does the owner have clear title to the trailer, to sell it to you? Things to check:
1. Registration is current
2. VIN number - matches registration
3. License plate matches registration
4. State inspection sticker is in place

There are scams out there. Hints that something is fishy: The trailer is being sold for someone else, it is out of state, it will be sent to you once a deposit is received, the price is too low to be true, a request to send the seller a deposit sight unseen... etc.

B. Is the frame structurally sound? Check for:

1. Cracks in the frame (If yes, run away very fast, or plan for plan for expense to fix the frame and/or fiberglass)
2. Excessive rust (rust-through of any part of the frame)
3. No modifications by the previous owner.

C. Is the fiberglass shell structurally sound? Any evidence of leaks?

1. No holes or cracks in the fiberglass. Some stress to the clearcoat may be evident, and could warrant further assessment.
2. No missing rivets.
3. Inside, no stains in the ceiling or under the windows.
4. No weak spots in the floor... test by walking or tapping them... (If there are weak spots, prepare for expensive repairs)

D. How are the tires and axles?
1. Tires over about 3-5 years old should be replaced.
2. Brakes should work properly.

E. Electrical
1. Brake lights and turn signal lights work properly
2. 12 V and 110 V outlets work properly
3. Battery is in sound condition

F. A few interior items...
1. How is the overall appearance?
2. Anything to be replaced soon: cushions, mattress, counter tops, etc.?

...

There are checklists on some forums; I did not do a search and hopefully others can post their location.

It can be helpful to have an experienced trailer owner with you when you look at the trailer; it can be a challenge, because these trailers can sell quickly.

Best to you,

David Anderson
Pittsburgh, PA
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Old 09-25-2019, 05:43 AM   #3
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
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This is great, thank you! I found the checklist on this site, but your more in-depth answers on what to look for specifically help me out a lot. It is a little nerveracking not knowing what i'm looking for, but I did meet the seller and he seems good-intentioned. As you say, however, it is an older model and nothing on it looks to have been upgraded
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Old 09-25-2019, 05:52 AM   #4
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Ask the seller to turn on the fridge well in advance of your inspection. They take a long time to cool down, and they’re expensive to replace if they don’t work.

Check the floors very carefully for rot, paying special attention inside cabinets and benches where the wood is exposed. Replacing rotten floors is a big project.

Lots of caulk on windows and vents is a sign of potential leaks. They can be resealed, but look for damage inside the trailer- mold and rot.

Observe the door fit. Small gaps are typical with a Scamp, but a large gap at the bottom sometimes indicates a waterlogged door core, probably not something you want to deal with.

Follow your nose.

(I see now you already found the buyer’s checklist, so I deleted that part.)
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Old 09-25-2019, 06:50 AM   #5
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
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Thanks for the reply...I'm curious about your tip: "follow your nose". The camper did smell musty (which they tried to cover up with some air fresheners). Is that normal or a big cause for concern? We do live in the south east where it gets quite humid and they just returned from a long 5 month trip away from their trailer. Thanks!
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Old 09-25-2019, 07:12 AM   #6
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It’s a cause for concern, yes, but some degree of mustiness is inevitable in humid climates (I grew up in Maryland, and I don’t miss that part!) It would make sense to inspect more closely for mold in hidden areas. If that doesn’t turn up anything of concern, thorough cleaning and use of an ionizing device should take care of lingering odors. Cushions and curtains can be aired out in the sun. The fuzzy marine headliner can be (gently) steam cleaned.
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Old 09-25-2019, 07:21 AM   #7
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While not an entirely complete list, do yourself a favor.. download and print out this list. Take it with you every time you look at a used trailer to buy. It's a PDF. Fiberglass RV - Document Center - BuyersChecklist
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Old 09-25-2019, 07:58 AM   #8
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The Mountains of North Carolina
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2000 model is really 20 years old. Lots to check IMHO at that age. Any signs of leaks, appliances all work, and ANY floor rot (look everywhere).

A trailer stored under cover (carport or garage) is often the best choice. On the other hand, they are hard to find.
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Old 09-25-2019, 01:43 PM   #9
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
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So I took the checklist to fully inspect it (VERY helpful, thank you) as well as the advice that you all have given me. Everything looked pretty good aside from normal wear and tear. The only major thing that I found was some water damage on the composite wood when I crawled under the Scamp. It's on the very edges of the trailer, under the bathroom and black water dump valve. The owner thought it might be from when their toilet had spilled when they had it too full while driving once. I'll attach pics...what do you all think? It's obviously pretty soft wood, but it doesn't seem to be supporting anything...is it a deal breaker or no big deal? Would love to get back to him ASAP before this rare find gets bought by someone else Thanks so much!

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Old 09-26-2019, 10:42 AM   #10
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Hire a professional RV inspector/appraiser if you do not feel competent to evaluate a trailer you are seriously considering purchasing.

Best $200-$500 you spend diving into your new to you RV lifestyle!
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Old 09-26-2019, 02:31 PM   #11
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Originally Posted by brettrae View Post
..The only major thing that I found was some water damage on the composite wood when I crawled under the Scamp. It's on the very edges of the trailer, under the bathroom and black water dump valve. The owner thought it might be from when their toilet had spilled when they had it too full while driving once. ...
IMHO there is no way on this earth that the wood damaged like that from a one time toilette overflow. But I can't tell if its only on the surface or through the wood. If the wood is soft, or if a pick or screwdriver easily removes chunks, then I would be very leary of this. In that case it would have to be a long term leak. And it could be from the plumbing, from a window, from a roof vent, etc.. In a Scamp water can enter from one place and travel under the rat fur / insulation and end up on the floor where it meets the shell. And since I understand that wood rot tends to occur from the top down, that is what I would look for. I would also not be the least bit surprised to find the floor is rotting in a much larger hidden area, or multiple areas.


BTW, the photo is not showing up for me (Google Chrome on a PC). Not even the link is showing, but I was able to see the link when I quoted your message and copied it, pasted in a new window and then saw the photos.
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Old 09-26-2019, 05:55 PM   #12
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I agree with gordon2 (thanks to his instructions on how to look at the photos) - what I wonder is how hard (or expensive) to repair that damage, if everything else looks okay?
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Old 09-26-2019, 05:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
BTW, the photo is not showing up for me (Google Chrome on a PC). Not even the link is showing, but I was able to see the link when I quoted your message and copied it, pasted in a new window and then saw the photos.
This is the link to the images https://imgur.com/a/QkvVKFc
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Old 09-26-2019, 06:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
This is the link to the images https://imgur.com/a/QkvVKFc
Or we can do it this way...





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Old 09-26-2019, 07:04 PM   #15
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
Posts: 18
You all are amazing. Thank you so much for the advice. Unfortunately, I didn't see these responses until after I agreed to purchase it from him. He's driving it 40 minutes up here tomorrow. It is rather soft wood, but after talking to an engineer buddy of mine, he thought it wouldn't be too hard to cut it out and replace it? That was the advice I was going off of. The rest of the flooring looks very solid, and I did tap a coin on the outside of the fiberglass and heard a definite "ping" instead of a "thud" to indicate the fiberglass was decent. Would it make a difference if I was considering looking into a composting toilet, anyways? That would get rid of the toilet plumbing. Am I sunk? Thanks!
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Old 09-26-2019, 07:19 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by brettrae View Post
...Am I sunk? ...
I dont think that anyone on here can do any better than guess if you are "sunk" or not.

Its quite possible that cutting out some bad flooring and replacing it is all that is needed. Its also possible that it is not all that is needed. It looks like the the bad floor is under the bathroom, and if the cause of the leak was there only, then perhaps pulling out the shower and commode (if that is what the camper has), and then fixing the floor will be enough. The you can use a composting commode or porta-potty or whatever as you wish. But until you get into it, there is no way to know. What you can know that there is help here. So GL.. time will tell how much of a challenge it is but if you want it bad enough, anything is repairable.
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Old 09-26-2019, 07:30 PM   #17
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
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Thank you Gordon, as well as everyone else. One final question (for now )...is pulling out the shower the only way to truly assess the damage and see where the leak is coming from? If so, do you all have recommended resources for learning how to do that? I'm new at this, but eager to learn and like to do so.
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Old 09-27-2019, 07:24 AM   #18
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+10 You need to find where the water is coming from first. Its not a toilet overflow. Its probably either a plumbing leak or a leak through the shell (window or other penetration in shell). Leaks can travel some distance, water may have collected at that spot if it was lower, or whatever.

I would NOT use any of the water supply plumbing until you sort out where the leak is coming from. The trailer can still be very functional without water.

As far as resources, google is your best friend: google Scamp floor repair fiberglass rv forum and you will find plenty of stuff to check out. I'd also check Scampowners.com

The new standard for water supply lines is PEX. It is MUCH better than the old stuff.

Realize floors in these trailers tend to rot from the top down. So the leak is inside the trailer (like plumbing) or is from the outside but leaks in (like windows, rivets, etc.).

I personally like Scamp's floor design. It gets a chance to dry out since the bottom is exposed, its easier to inspect, and easier to patch. My Trillium by comparison has fiberglass on top and below the wood floor. While its less likely to rot, if it does, its a major job getting to the wood.


Assume others have faced a similar or worse challenge. By searching here and the Scamp owners site you will gain from their experience. You will not get nearly as much knowledge from an individual thread like this one.

You bought it. No looking back now, focus forward. Floor rot is not that unusual.
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:22 AM   #19
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Name: Brett
Trailer: 2000 Scamp 19'
Virginia
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Thank you, Bill. I will definitely make finding that leak my first priority...I guess it's lucky that it's calling for rain this weekend!

You all have been an immense help. I have gone through a little bit of an emotional roller coaster with this purchase, but I am very excited to become a Scamp owner and will embrace it as a great way to learn more about her.

Cheers!
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