Checking out a Burro!! - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-06-2019, 08:54 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Halley
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 2
Checking out a Burro!!

Hi all..SO i've always been a hardcore, sleep on the ground and suck it up sort of gal..but I've recently decided that what I really would like is to just take off for a month or two on a fly fishing trip and I'm absolutely stuck on buying a 13 footer--So I posted an ad locally on craigslist AND someone actually responded(3 weeks later) with a 1984 13 foot Burro!

With that all said, Does anyone have tips on what to ask about/look for when I got check it out? I don't want my excitement to get in the way..

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Old 03-06-2019, 09:06 PM   #2
Senior Member
Name: Daniel
Trailer: '82 Burro 13'
Northern VA
Posts: 267
Main things I think of..

1) check the frame. Especially at the bends leading up to the tongue. That's a weak point where cracks and breaks happen.

2) while under there, check the fiberglass covering the plywood floor and if it's worn away.

3) axle. Has it been replaced? If so, how long ago. If original, expect replacement.

These I mention as that's the worst parts I saw on my own burro I got about 5 months ago. On mine, the plywood floor is falling apart from rot in a few places and seen above and below. The bend in the frame is a weak area and many times need reinforcement. On mine, the curb side bend has a patch in place.

Some people have strengthened their frames by getting a welder to add some bracing. Me, I'm just trying to find a welder or trailer shop who could make a whole new frame. Then going to get a new axle for it.

What part of the country are you in?
Good luck. Hope it works out for you. Most things are fixable/replaceable.

1982 13' Burro
Burro Renovation
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Old 03-06-2019, 09:21 PM   #3
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Posts: 5,892
There's a buyer's checklist someplace on this site. I've seen it mentioned several times; maybe someone here recalls where it's located........
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Old 03-07-2019, 09:59 AM   #4
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Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Posts: 2,177

The checklist is great, but it assumes you're already a trailer expert and just need a list to remind you what to look at. I don't think it's much help for a beginner.

The easy answer is: it's complicated.

You'll find out really quickly that so many things can go wrong with a used purchase, especially one this old, that it threatens to rob all the fun from the idea of buying and owning a camper.

But a lot of us have been there, done that, spent tons of money and time fixing issues we never even knew to look for.


Things that, if the current owner hasn't recently replaced will quite possibly need replacing:


Things that will likely need servicing, if not replacing:

Axle (bearings and suspension)
Propane regulator
Window seals
Brake lights/turn signals

Anything else? Those, I think, are the basics. There are all sorts of other things, depending on whether this camper has them or not including a fridge, heater, water pump.

Campers are a lot of work even when they're in great condition. Just the way they are. But you can reduce the amount of work if you don't need most of the amenities of a trailer.

Most people here are older and have some amount of disposable income or repair skills, and they aren't interested in "chancing" anything. So if the frame is weak, it's getting replaced or repaired. If there's a small spot of rotted floor, they're replacing the entire floor. Any little crack in the fiberglass or not-completely-straight door and there's a month long project of tearing out the interior and fixing fiberglass, fabricating frames and all sorts of clamps and tools out, etc.

But there are also a lot of people out there just making due with the condition their trailer is in, so long as it's more or less safe to pull down the road.

If you need a nice bed and place to hang out, but don't need a stove plumbed in to the camper, or heat, or a water system, and are ok with portable LED lights...all you need is a more or less water tight shell, a solid frame and good tires and wheel bearings. you, or do you know someone who has an eye for those things? To go look at a trailer with no experience of what you're looking for is taking a big chance.

All that said, it's a great idea. When you do find a good trailer and go through whatever trials it takes (if any) to get it road worthy, you're going to have a great time on that trip.

Be sure to keep an eye on this site, too.
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Old 03-07-2019, 01:09 PM   #5
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Name: Marilyn
Trailer: 13 ft 2005 Scamp Deluxe; 2002 Subaru V6 Outback
Posts: 259
1984 13 ft Burro

You might contact a trailer repair service near the Burro's site, to see if, for a fee, would accompany you to inspect the trailer. If none available, perhaps an FRG owner could go with you and use the inspection check list? Just a thought.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:35 PM   #6
Senior Member
Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 2,777
Old tires are the norm as is a worn out axle. Often some of the external lights won’t work. I took new mounted tires on new wheels with me along with a set of magnetic trailer lights. Since you are local you can check first and then buy supplies.

Read up on floor rot repairs on a Burro. Myself (on my old Trillium) I carefully inspected the floor plywood everywhere I could (inside cabinets, inside refrigerator vents) and tested the floor for soft spots.

Projects are best suited for someone with time/tools/aptitude and covered work area.

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