(Non-fiberglass) Any opinions on Chalet RVs? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 04-26-2021, 11:17 AM   #1
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(Non-fiberglass) Any opinions on Chalet RVs?

With the state of the market, and how quickly I am hoping to get a <2000 lb RV, I am thinking to buy a new Chalet "The LTW" trailer instead of looking for a used fiberglass trailer.

Anyone have any experience with these? Or know their reputation?
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Old 04-26-2021, 01:32 PM   #2
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I think overall the fear of stick built trailers is somewhat over blown. What is more important is how trailer will be stored when not in use (hint, with a roof over it: carport or garage for the WIN) and will the maintenance be kept up with (don't wait for leaks).

Now many here have had problems with stick built trailers and will not go back. I'm on that list. But I did not do adequate maintenance, and my storage was less than ideal. So I have turned my game up a lot as far as storing and maintaining a trailer.

A lot of maintenance on RVs and regular homes for that matter is what I call "run to failure maintenance". Rather than do routine maintenance, people wait until something breaks. If it is not obvious that something is broken, leaks can continue for years, dooming stick built trailers first. I've seen many neglected FG trailers with leak damage too. But its not as bad.

Watch a YouTube video sometime on what people go through restoring vintage stick built trailers. I'm watching one right now, guy took it down to the frame, and it needs a new frame too. I think all that he will reuse are the windows and some of the siding.
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Old 04-26-2021, 02:03 PM   #3
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Thrifty Bill summed it up pretty well - Proper storage - Proper maintenance
We’ve owned 3 fiberglass trailers , two with rivets , one without - THEY ALL LEAKED !!
All brands of trailers have one common trait - “Appliance Failure “ since they all use the same crappy products / appliances
My buddy has a 2006 stick built that he stores indoors and keeps up on the maintenance - never had a leak but the refrigerator , A/C , water heater , and furnace failed
On our fiberglass trailers we’ve had the furnace , roof fan , refrigerator, water heater , cooktop and pump fail

See a pattern ?
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Old 04-26-2021, 02:41 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Thrifty Bill summed it up pretty well - Proper storage - Proper maintenance
We’ve owned 3 fiberglass trailers , two with rivets , one without - THEY ALL LEAKED !!
All brands of trailers have one common trait - “Appliance Failure “ since they all use the same crappy products / appliances
My buddy has a 2006 stick built that he stores indoors and keeps up on the maintenance - never had a leak but the refrigerator , A/C , water heater , and furnace failed
On our fiberglass trailers we’ve had the furnace , roof fan , refrigerator, water heater , cooktop and pump fail

See a pattern ?
Ah interesting, had no idea. I am surprised to hear that your fiberglass trailers all leaked - is the general trend that ALL trailers (fiberglass or otherwise) eventually leak, but that a leak in a fiberglass trailer is less devastating, because there isn't wood to rot?
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Old 04-26-2021, 02:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
I think overall the fear of stick built trailers is somewhat over blown. What is more important is how trailer will be stored when not in use (hint, with a roof over it: carport or garage for the WIN) and will the maintenance be kept up with (don't wait for leaks).

Now many here have had problems with stick built trailers and will not go back. I'm on that list. But I did not do adequate maintenance, and my storage was less than ideal. So I have turned my game up a lot as far as storing and maintaining a trailer.

A lot of maintenance on RVs and regular homes for that matter is what I call "run to failure maintenance". Rather than do routine maintenance, people wait until something breaks. If it is not obvious that something is broken, leaks can continue for years, dooming stick built trailers first. I've seen many neglected FG trailers with leak damage too. But its not as bad.

Watch a YouTube video sometime on what people go through restoring vintage stick built trailers. I'm watching one right now, guy took it down to the frame, and it needs a new frame too. I think all that he will reuse are the windows and some of the siding.
Thanks very much - so is the issue that once a stick trailer leaks, it might be ruined, because there is wood that starts rotting? Meanwhile a leak in a fiberglass trailer is bad, but not going to ruin the whole thing?
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Old 04-26-2021, 03:01 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=James in NJ;812383]Ah interesting, had no idea. I am surprised to hear that your fiberglass trailers all leaked - is the general trend that ALL trailers (fiberglass or otherwise) eventually leak, but that a leak in a fiberglass trailer is less devastating, because there isn't wood to rot

We’ve experienced - rivet leaks - caulk leaks - window leaks - door leaks - furnace and refrigerator vent leaks - water pump leaks - plumbing leaks - waste piping leaks
My point was FG trailers no matter how expensive are not problem or maintenance free . We’ve had more leak issues with our present trailer then we did with our Casita and our Casita was half the price .
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Old 04-26-2021, 03:02 PM   #7
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Stick built trailers will deteriorate more quickly if left in a field because there is a continuous seam where the sides are attached to the roof, and it will eventually leak. Molded fiberglass do not have these seams, but of course eventually the roof vent, windows, etc. will leak if left in a field.

Molded fiberglass trailers have less wood to rot, but most have some wood e.g., the subfloor plywood, similar to a stick built trailer. The Oliver and the Happier Camper have no wood.

If you keep the water out of your trailer and maintain the trailer it will last a long time, whether stick built or molded fiberglass or other construction.
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Old 04-26-2021, 03:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post

We’ve experienced - rivet leaks - caulk leaks - window leaks - door leaks - furnace and refrigerator vent leaks - water pump leaks - plumbing leaks - waste piping leaks
My point was FG trailers no matter how expensive are not problem or maintenance free . We’ve had more leak issues with our present trailer then we did with our Casita and our Casita was half the price .
Ah okay, but do fiberglass trailers still tend to leak much less than stick-built?
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Old 04-26-2021, 03:10 PM   #9
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Stick built trailers will deteriorate more quickly if left in a field because there is a continuous seam where the sides are attached to the roof, and it will eventually leak. Molded fiberglass do not have these seams, but of course eventually the roof vent, windows, etc. will leak if left in a field.

Molded fiberglass trailers have less wood to rot, but most have some wood e.g., the subfloor plywood, similar to a stick built trailer. The Oliver and the Happier Camper have no wood.

If you keep the water out of your trailer and maintain the trailer it will last a long time, whether stick built or molded fiberglass or other construction.
Thanks very much that is very encouraging. Seems impossible to get a fiberglass trailer currently unless I spend some major $$$, so will look into stick-built, and will also buy a cover to protect from the rain. That way it will only get rained on if it rains while I am actually pulling it on the road
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Old 04-26-2021, 03:20 PM   #10
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Definitely do your homework. Most trailers have some weaknesses, some worse than others. Many recently manufactured stick built trailers have a problem with de-lamination of the thin outside layer of sheet fiberglass (filon) that is laminated to next layer (particle board or foam or whatever). A frame trailers are leak more air when its windy. Many trailers have frame weaknesses.
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Old 04-26-2021, 03:29 PM   #11
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One data point, four years ago we bought our Escape 19 USED. Friends of ours bought a stick built "gem" from Camping World for the same $$. Theirs has some serious leaks, not stored under cover, has lost at least 40% of its value. Ours is worth a little more than what we paid for it.

On my 1977 Trillium, it had not been maintained, probably EVER. But it was stored inside its last 20 years. Windows leaked for longer than that, some of the wood framing around the windows was rotten. It was a part time task for about a week. A stick built trailer with leaking windows would have had MAJOR wall and floor rot, would have taken months to repair....... Trillium design makes floor rot much less common, but it is still possible. But a thorough inspection and you will know if the floor is good or not. Recent Trillium sales pricing is about double what I paid, if not higher. Its pretty insane right now.

As far as appliances, all the RV manufacturers buy from the same short list of companies that make a lot of crappy stuff IMHO. So the appliances in mine are no better than anything else.
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Old 04-26-2021, 04:56 PM   #12
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A previous discussion you might find interesting.

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ice-95326.html
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Old 04-26-2021, 05:09 PM   #13
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A previous discussion you might find interesting.

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ice-95326.html
Thanks very much, I most definitely found it very interesting and useful. I think Chalet it is, aside from the unlikely scenario a used fiberglass trailer just pops up near me
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Old 04-26-2021, 05:51 PM   #14
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We've owned 15 campers previous to our Escape. Included in those 15 are a 2000 Scamp, 2007 Casita, and 2003 Bigfoot (in that order). None of our fiberglass campers delaminated, dented from hail, or had the sides/roof leak at the joint. Delamination and sides/roofs leaking at the joints are a major problem in stickies.

Due diligence is needed when purchasing a camper. After a couple of mistakes purchasing/owning, I've walked away from many a used camper. Always bring a ladder, and look inside where no one dares to look. One seller asked me to leave when I started peeking in places he didn't want me to see. Anyone may look and sound like the most honest person in the world, with a great storyline, but sometimes just be a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Enjoy,

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Previous Eggs - 2001 Scamp 16' Side Bath, 2007 Casita 17' Spirit basic, no bath, water or tanks, that we regret selling, 2003 Bigfoot 25B25RQ, that we also regret selling
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Old 04-26-2021, 06:07 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by James in NJ View Post
Thanks very much, I most definitely found it very interesting and useful. I think Chalet it is, aside from the unlikely scenario a used fiberglass trailer just pops up near me
I presume you’ve also looked at Aliners?
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Old 04-26-2021, 06:09 PM   #16
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I presume you’ve also looked at Aliners?
Not really - just from searching about Chalet's I saw multiple videos and comments complaining about Aliners having tons of issues lol
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Old 04-27-2021, 06:25 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
One data point, four years ago we bought our Escape 19 USED. Friends of ours bought a stick built "gem" from Camping World for the same $$. Theirs has some serious leaks, not stored under cover, has lost at least 40% of its value. Ours is worth a little more than what we paid for it.

On my 1977 Trillium, it had not been maintained, probably EVER. But it was stored inside its last 20 years. Windows leaked for longer than that, some of the wood framing around the windows was rotten. It was a part time task for about a week. A stick built trailer with leaking windows would have had MAJOR wall and floor rot, would have taken months to repair....... Trillium design makes floor rot much less common, but it is still possible. But a thorough inspection and you will know if the floor is good or not. Recent Trillium sales pricing is about double what I paid, if not higher. Its pretty insane right now.

As far as appliances, all the RV manufacturers buy from the same short list of companies that make a lot of crappy stuff IMHO. So the appliances in mine are no better than anything else.
Btw after seeing "The Mountains of North Carolina," on your profile, that sounds like an amazing place to visit. Once I have an RV, are there any great campsites / places to park my RV and visit around there that you could recommend?
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Old 05-05-2021, 10:18 AM   #18
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Ive owned two 1990 bigfoots and a 1980 trillium as well as a four wheel camper. The Fiberglass trailers built in Canada have not leaked and we did use them in Winter in Vancouver and New Hampshire. I did maintain properly keep in mind.
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Old 05-05-2021, 11:11 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
I presume you’ve also looked at Aliners?
I owned a Chalet and had a lot of fun camping with over 12 years. Traded it in for a Parkliner. I love what I have, but I think a fiberglass camper is more complex to maintain than an A-frame camper. Of course, the wife decided it was time to upgrade to a shower and toilet.
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Old 05-05-2021, 03:16 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by ecmbob View Post
I owned a Chalet and had a lot of fun camping with over 12 years. Traded it in for a Parkliner. I love what I have, but I think a fiberglass camper is more complex to maintain than an A-frame camper. Of course, the wife decided it was time to upgrade to a shower and toilet.
It was the full hot and cold plumbing upgrade, not the switch to molded fiberglass, that added the complexity. Our no-bath Scamp is very simple to maintain and operate.
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