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Old 08-14-2018, 10:18 PM   #1
Senior Member
Name: Mark
Trailer: currently shopping
Posts: 258
Older FGRVs

I am looking at ad for a '81 Scamp online at reasonable price. However, the age makes me nervous as I intend to make some long trips. Reasonable concerns?
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Old 08-15-2018, 12:30 AM   #2
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Borrego Dave's Avatar
Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006 "Missing Link"
Posts: 3,738
It's all in the condition Mark, '81 isn't all that old for FG . You could always hire a third party to do a condition check for you....would have saved me $6K on a car if I would have known about them.
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Old 08-15-2018, 12:31 AM   #3
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Name: Harold
Trailer: 1975 Scamp, 13-foot
Redding, California
Posts: 390
I think a 31-year old Scamp isn't much different that a 31-year-old car. Some have been rode hard and put away wet, some have been well cared for and show it, some appear well cared for but the owner's hiding a horror story under a fresh Maaco paint job, and others have been driven through a knothole backwards and look like it.

Other forum members will have more expertise in helping, but I would look carefully for water damage first and frame damage second. Look in the storage areas for rot, and lift up that pretty shelf liner in the bottom of cupboards. Look at the tires for uneven wear, and if you can, check the date code on the tires. Old tires, even with lots of tread are called maypops.

I like to see neat wiring. If it looks like a rat's nest, it makes me nervous, and I figure it will need work sooner or later, probably in the middle of the night 500 miles from civilization.

All kidding aside, I did absolutely none of those things when I bought my Scamp. But that way everything is a surprise! Hey, look, it has a battery! What's this black thing? Oh it has a frame! Lucky me!

Good luck with the 81, I hope it turns out to be a great one and a steal!

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Old 08-15-2018, 12:35 AM   #4
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Name: John
Trailer: Escape 21, behind an '02 F250 7.3 diesel tug
Mid Left Coast
Posts: 2,618
1981 is not particularlly old for the trailer itself, but it IS old for the RV appliances, especially if they've been neglected.

sure, everything can be fixed, but its time and money. and that can add up to a lot of time and a lot of money, or if you're paying someone else, a lot MORE money, and likely a lot of frustration because RV repair places largely deserve their reputations for being shady.
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Old 08-15-2018, 05:31 AM   #5
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 11,030
Older FGRVs

I agree that floor rot is the biggest problem to watch for. Scamp floors are exposed above and below, so it's easier to spot. Inspect inside all the benches and cabinets around the outer perimeter of the shell- anywhere it's not hidden by finish flooring. Tap with the handle of a screwdriver and look for staining. You can also look from the bottom, but most water damage works from the top down.

Take a small jack with you. These trailers have rubber torsion axles, which have a lifespan of around 20 years. Jack up one side of the trailer (on the frame behind the wheel). Make sure the wheels drop as the frame rises. Little or no movement means a dead axle, which will run $600-800 to replace.

As to the frame itself, the most common failure point is under the front where the tongue bends. Look for cracks there.

Beyond that, the Document Center in the More tab has a "Buyer's Checklist" you can download and print. It will help you not to overlook anything. With a trailer that old, expect issues. It's up to you to decide if you want to deal with them, and whether they are reflected appropriately in the price.

If it has a 2- or 3-way RV fridge, ask that it be started several hours ahead of your inspection. RV fridges cool very slowly. Fridges can be expensive to replace.

If possible, recruit someone with RV experience to be a second set of eyes, preferably someone who is not emotionally invested in the sale.

If it needs a lot of work, unless you have the time and skills to do it yourself, it's almost always cheaper to pass in favor of one in better condition, even if it costs more. Whatever your budget, leave some in reserve for inevitable surprises.

Best wishes!
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