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Old 05-28-2017, 03:35 PM   #1
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Name: Taras
Trailer: Currently shopping for Burro, scamp or casita
Colorado
Posts: 70
Help me learn

Hello everybody!

I am new to the forum and really glad I found it. I have recently purchased a **** box matchstick built camper. Not knowing the biggest secret of RV industry: quality. The TT is majorly water damage and is badly rotten. Thankfully I did not spend much money on it and plan to fix it up a little and get rid asap.

All that said I am not giving up on owning a camper but I think after doing a lot more research that a molded fiberglass camper is the way to go.

I am wondering​ if you guys could help me figure out what I need to know about molded fiberglass campers before I buy one. I am on a hunt for a smaller scamp, burro or casita. Something under 10k.

Should I be concerned with major water damage on older molded campers?

Thank you!

T
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Old 05-28-2017, 05:12 PM   #2
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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Depending on the size, $10K doesn't go as far as it should. Newer Casitas and Scamps can bring more. Molded fiberglass trailers are relatively rare, all the manufacturers making them now have long backlogs, so demand outstrips supply. We sold our 21 year old Casita in four hours, had several people lined up to get it already. The two molded trailers we bought were both bought on day 1, and the sellers had multiple interested parties and once a higher offer (above full asking price!)

My friends with stick built trailers are all shocked how expensive a relatively small molded trailer costs (compared to their trailers).

Best to do all your research up front, identifying a list of potential models and brands that work for you. Then when one pops up, be prepared to POUNCE!

Molded trailers are not immune from water leaks, there are just fewer potential sources: windows, seams, vents, plumbing, etc. What they don't have is seams in the roof or walls, except where the two egg pieces are joined. Older eggs can have seam problems, most the newer ones are fiberglassed together on the inside during the manufacturing process. Most have wood in the floors, which is where much of the damage ends up. Read up on floor repairs or replacements on the brands you are interested in. Still, a floor issue is nothing compared to the rot issues in stick trailers (roof, walls, etc.)

Some of the older molded trailers also had frame issues. And appliances and axles have a useful life. In addition, on the older trailers, replacement appliances are hard to find that fit.

Still, today I saw a nice 40 year old Trillium 1300 in the campground. Looks to be in great shape. Its a testament to the quality of molded trailers that there are so many survivors out there.

Scamp and Casita have a totally different approach to wood floors. And Casita design has changed several times over the years.

The advantage of Scamp and Casita is they are still being made. From what I have read, Scamp does repairs on their old trailers, can be a good source of parts too. Not sure about Casita.

Figure out what you need floorplan wise, bathroom, AC, bed size, etc. That will narrow your search down a lot. Be prepared to make a snap decision and travel a long distance to get one.

Many of us migrated from stick built trailers as you have for similar reasons.

Scamp and Casita catalogs are all on line. It is surprising how little comes stock with Scamp. No heat, no AC, no gray water or black water tank, no frig! Of course, one advantage to buying used is people usually add plenty of options to their trailers. Casita stock comes with a lot more stuff: frig, AC, toilet/shower, black and gray tank. But heat is not standard. I haven't priced out a Scamp, but their price for a stock trailer is probably a lot lower.
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Old 05-28-2017, 05:19 PM   #3
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Forgot to mention, Scamp and Casita both have a gazillion rivets which can be leak sources
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Old 05-28-2017, 05:21 PM   #4
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Help me learn

Good call, but yes, you still have to be careful.

With molded fiberglass there are no panel seams to leak and no wood inside the walls to rot. However, windows, vents, and other shell openings can leak, and all of the brands you listed still have wood in the floor that can rot. It's generally worth fixing, but it's a fairly big project.

Other brands also have wood cabinetry, and some have wood-based paneling attached to wood furring strips inside the shell. None of that is structural, but it still makes a lot of work to repair or replace if leaks occur.

My Scamp has marine headliner inside the shell and fiberglass cabinets, so the floor is the main vulnerability.

Because of its relative durability, molded fiberglass holds its value much better than conventionally-constructed trailers. A budget of $10K should get you a really good basic (non-self-contained) 13' Scamp or similar, or a larger self-contained trailer that needs some work (but not a complete rebuild).

In short, an all-molded fiberglass shell is not a panacea, but it gives you a running head start. Inspect the floor very carefully, and be wary of brand new finish flooring that could be hiding rot.
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Old 05-28-2017, 05:51 PM   #5
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Welcome to FGRV Taras. You can also download "buyers checklist" to see what items to look for in possible problem areas. What are you planning to use as a tow vehicle?
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:05 PM   #6
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Name: Taras
Trailer: Currently shopping for Burro, scamp or casita
Colorado
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Thank you guys for quick response and great advice. It seems like travel trailer are an incredible hot item these days. Especially the "cute" egg ones. Melenials all of a sudden want campers.

I certainly am prepared to jump on a good deal but those good deals are not always there when you need them.

I neighbor of mine has a burro that's been parked in his front yard for years. It looks to be in a questionable shape. But I am going to try and approach him to see if he would consider selling it.
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:28 PM   #7
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If you are willing to take on a project that Burro could be a nice find. Immerse yourself in all things Burro, there will be long threads where others have taken projects on!

Sitting out in the weather ignored for years usually = project. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, trailers, etc, typically do not do well sitting idle. If it was stored carefully, sure.

If you don't want a project you might be better off with a five to ten year old Scamp 13. The recent 2012 Scamp 13 is a good example. Had some options like heat, AC and frig. $8200 was a nice deal so it went fast!
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:29 PM   #8
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Name: Taras
Trailer: Currently shopping for Burro, scamp or casita
Colorado
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I honestly don't really want a big project.
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Old 05-29-2017, 08:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rushin View Post
I honestly don't really want a big project.
Don't blame you there! It may take some searching, and you may have to kiss a few frogs. Use the checklist, take an extra set of eyes (RV experience helpful), follow your nose, and don't hesitate to walk away from a trailer even if you have driven some distance. But with your budget and patience, I'm sure you will eventually find something decent and camp-ready. Fall can be a great time to buy. I got a great deal on mine in mid-October.

Go cautiously on the Burro. Buying from a friend or acquaintance can become awkward if it turns out to have issues. Of course, it could be a perfectly sound trailer that just needs a good clean-up, but odds are against it.

Meantime fix what you need to fix on your current trailer and go camping. Count it all as a learning experience.
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Old 05-29-2017, 08:52 AM   #10
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Name: Taras
Trailer: Currently shopping for Burro, scamp or casita
Colorado
Posts: 70
We just got back from a trip and the stick trailer was in the driveway airing out. I put a couple tarps over the roof while I am still working on sealing it up and it actually does not smell nearly as bad as it was when we first got it. Maybe it's drying up a bit.
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:29 AM   #11
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Name: Gordon
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Originally Posted by Rushin View Post
...

All that said I am not giving up on owning a camper but I think after doing a lot more research that a molded fiberglass camper is the way to go.
...
Yes it is the way to go.. Molded fiberglass trailers will not leak for longer than most of us will be alive.

At least not until you put a hole in the fiberglass. So, if you have no vents, no windows, no rivets through the shell, no air conditioner, etc., then they are as water tight as anything possible can be.

But once you put a hole in the shell, you have a potential leak point. I have yet to see one with no holes in it and if there is one out there, it would not be very comfortable. Most molded fiberglass campers have some covering on the walls and interior roof, such as the insulation and ďrat furĒ in Scamps. So once you have a leak, the water travels under the covering and ends up in differently places, usually near the low point depending on how the trailer happens to be leveled at the time.

And thatís the rub with these campers. Yes, they are better than "stickies", but leaks in these campers can easily go undetected for some time, until the damage to the floor (or mold, etc.) has already occurred.

Because demand is so high for these campers you might not find the ideal one, but I would look for a camper that was meticulously cared for, and preferable stored under cover or indoors when not in use (reducing the exposure to the elements including rain, sun, etc.). I would inspect it with a fine tooth comb, paying special attention to the floor areas near the shell (walls). Also consider the foundation elements including the frame and axle (and the axleís age since they do wear out).

And I would give preference to a camper that does not have holes for things you donít want or use. In my case, I bought new and wish I had ordered it without the escape hatch and without the bathroom powered vent. If you shower in the rig then the bath vent is good, but I donít and I donít need that vent. For me, these are just big holes that eventually will require maintenance.

Of course there is much more to finding the camper that is right for you. This entire site is a gold mine and I would spend about as much free time as you can manage browsing the forums and exploring all aspects of the site.
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Old 05-29-2017, 11:45 AM   #12
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Name: lee
Trailer: trailswest campsterl, 1996 Scamp 16 foot
Idaho
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Taras Welcome to the forum ! My first suggestion to anyone questioning what trailer to buy is that you attend a gathering near you . This time of year there will certainly be one near you, just check the forum for locations . Forum members are generally always glad to let you explore their units and the insight gained can be indispensable . Floor plans and pictures are useful but you need to get the hands on feel for each of the trailers you are contemplating before buying one that ultimately isn't the best choice for you . Lee
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Old 05-29-2017, 08:03 PM   #13
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Name: Taras
Trailer: Currently shopping for Burro, scamp or casita
Colorado
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Thank you for the welcome Lee. I will for sure look into seeing where the next gathering is going to be.

Also update on the neighbors camper. It is in fact not a burro. It's actually a Uhaul! Really crazy to see one of these. The inside condition is much nicer than the outside. It's very inconspicuous. The inside has all new cushions and seems to be in a good shape. He said the fridge broke down so he just pulled it out and puts a cooler in there now. I did notice that there was some previous repair done to the right button corner. Not visible from the outside but can be seen on the inside if you pull the cover from the bin.

The furnace works and there was no water damage to be seen

The frame looked good. He said at one point previous owner had the frame replaced with a stronger one. And it looks like these have fiberglass floors and not wooded like scamps.

Two issues with it right away is the door hinges are broken. Not the hinges themselves but the wood that sandwiches the door and the hinges. He said he will have it fixed with metal instead. Second thing it needs paint. It's all faded and just aged.

What do you guys think it's worth? I heard him through a 5-6k number but that seems a bit high to me.
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:00 PM   #14
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
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Well we own a Uhaul, and they do have wood in the floor but covered with a fiberglass coating. Uhauls are unique in that they used parts that are different than most other trailers. If it is the smaller CT13 it would have had only an icebox. There were 1725 of them made, and there was a larger version, the VT16 of which there were only 59. The VT had surge brakes, don't know about the fridge. One typical issue is the side windows leak. Wheels are odd but available, tail lights are not available. There is a very good Uhaul Facebook group. Price of 5 to 6K is reasonable, depending on condition. Frame replacement story is of interest as to what was actually done.
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:04 PM   #15
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
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Couple other things, ours cleaned up good using Barkeepers Friend (liquid version). A close to original door hinge is available, and yes there is wood in the door and body for the hinge screws to go into. Door latch is a Bargman L300, no longer available except on eBay at ripoff prices, and check out the door striker the latch catches on, like nothing you've ever seen.
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:43 PM   #16
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Name: Taras
Trailer: Currently shopping for Burro, scamp or casita
Colorado
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The door striker for sure looks crazy! The current owner actually already replaced the door latch and the whole mechanism and even had somebody machine a new piece to make the latch work properly. It all looks really good and i would have never been able to tell it was done at a later time.

I am thinking if i buy it i will just replace the wood in the door hinges with better quality wood. The metal sounds like a good long term solution but wood is just simpler and i am sure will last for many years.

it is a CT13 btw.


If it did have a fridge in there what can one replace it with?
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:56 PM   #17
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Name: Michael
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For exterior, clean well and then do 3 coats of Zep floor wax. You will be amazed.

An rv fridge that fits the space would probably be a basic 2 cubic foot model fron Norcold or Dometic. Dorm fridge 120V only might fit, but will not hold coolness for more than about 3 hours unless you freeze some water in a jug and put it in the fridge during travel.
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Old 05-29-2017, 10:08 PM   #18
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Name: Taras
Trailer: Currently shopping for Burro, scamp or casita
Colorado
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I saw a small 3way fridge on eBay for $350. Probably questionable quality tho.

Also, can somebody tell me why all molded trails are sold direct to customer and stick crap boxes are sold through dealers. I am honestly now absolutely disgusted by stick campers. I will never buy one again.
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Old 05-30-2017, 04:23 AM   #19
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Also, can somebody tell me why all molded trails are sold direct to customer and stick crap boxes are sold through dealers. I am honestly now absolutely disgusted by stick campers. I will never buy one again.
Basically the FG trailer is a very small niche market and they don't need to use dealers to sell all they can make. FG builders are pretty much small family type companies and only produce a few hundred total per year and have up to a year wait time for buyers. Stick RVs are made by the 1000s and need the dealers to move them. It would be nice if they were available through dealers and one has just gone that way, but it may just boil down to the costs to ramp up the numbers and they're fine with the profits they make now .
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Old 05-30-2017, 05:33 AM   #20
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Trailer: 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
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With a 30 year old trailer you never know what may have been done to it. If it had a 3 way fridge then someone would have had to cut vent holes in the side. I put a dorm fridge in ours. Door repair may be a challenge to get new wood in place. The floor wax does make quite a shine, but we prefer to use a marine wax. Sounds like this trailer has had a lot of modifications, which may be good, or maybe some not so good.
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