Possibly Purchasing a used Casita - Concerns I have? - Fiberglass RV
Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-03-2022, 08:54 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Name: Jason
Trailer: Currently Shopping - Past owner of 2004 DSDP.
FL
Posts: 21
Possibly Purchasing a used Casita - Concerns I have?

We will be looking at a used Casita, 18 years old, and I have a few questions, I am hoping you can all answer. I fully understand that a lot depends on what condition it is really in. The pictures make it look like it is in good shape but it does have a rust spot on the original carpet.
1. Do you think I will need to replace any water lines or the gas lines? Or do they last a long time?
2. Any specific items we should be looking for?
3. It has a rust spot on the carpet on the bed / dinette area, is this something that could indicate a water leak? It appears to be the original carpet, so I will be changing it out asap.
4. The A/C is a window shaker mounted at the front door under the entry closest space, any concerns in this area I need to evaluate? I am expecting to have to replace the ac unit as well.

Thank you all for your insight and information, this will be our first fiberglass camper and we are really excited. In the past I owned and lived in a 40ft DP that we loved, except for the maintenance so I am familiar with many of the systems.
jason laughren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2022, 09:07 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 1996 Casita Freedom Deluxe 17 ft
Posts: 453
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason laughren View Post
We will be looking at a used Casita, 18 years old, and I have a few questions, I am hoping you can all answer. I fully understand that a lot depends on what condition it is really in. The pictures make it look like it is in good shape but it does have a rust spot on the original carpet.
1. Do you think I will need to replace any water lines or the gas lines? Or do they last a long time?
2. Any specific items we should be looking for?
3. It has a rust spot on the carpet on the bed / dinette area, is this something that could indicate a water leak? It appears to be the original carpet, so I will be changing it out asap.
4. The A/C is a window shaker mounted at the front door under the entry closest space, any concerns in this area I need to evaluate? I am expecting to have to replace the ac unit as well.

Thank you all for your insight and information, this will be our first fiberglass camper and we are really excited. In the past I owned and lived in a 40ft DP that we loved, except for the maintenance so I am familiar with many of the systems.
1. Gas lines and water lines should be good. Make sure it has a propane detector or install one if it doesn't.
2. Check that the axle is still good. You can do this by making sure it still has some "bounce" to it.
3. If there's a leak, it will most likely be where the vent fan is mounted on the roof. You could check this with a garden hose.
4. Casita got rid of the front mounted AC. It's a pain with the cover always having to be replaced. I got rid of mine, fiberglassed the hole, and use the area for storage.

Hope this helps.
Terry G is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2022, 09:25 AM   #3
Junior Member
 
Name: Jason
Trailer: Currently Shopping - Past owner of 2004 DSDP.
FL
Posts: 21
Thank you for your input! It is greatly appreciated.
jason laughren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2022, 12:22 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Name: Joel
Trailer: Casita SD
Texas
Posts: 123
The under-the-closet AC is a mixed bag.

Some folks love it (tends to be quieter than a roof-mounted AC, is a size more appropriate to the Casita's interior than most roof-mounted ACs, is much less expensive to replace than roof-mounted ACs, is small enough to be powered by just about any generator, the resulting lower roof profile makes the trailer more garageable, etc.).

Some owners of other brands actually modify their trailers to duplicate it.

Casitas are relatively popular theft targets, since they're light enough to be sold in some states without a title. So, when you go to look at this Casita, be sure to confirm that the current owner has the legal title to it.
JoelInTexas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2022, 07:50 PM   #5
Member
 
Name: Michelle
Trailer: Casita
Washington
Posts: 44
Used Casita

If I were you I'd tear out the carpet completely (well, the carpet in the center aisle.) It's nothing but a dust/dirt magnet that once it gets wet stays wet. It may also tell you if the rust stain was just someone spilling wine or if there is a leak underneath the floor.



I'd have the wheel bearings/brakes, axle, etc checked. Of course you're going to need to put new tires on it. I'm told they're doing it now, but Casita, for many years, put cheapo tires on the camper and DIDN'T balance them. At the risk of starting a flame war about tires, it makes sense to me balance tires, if only because good ones, like the Maxx 8008E I have on mine, are so expensive. Even with little usage, tires need to be replaced every five or six years, especially if they've been exposed to UV light.





My 2011 has the roof mounted AC so I can't really speak to it other while it's effective, it's also loud and the vents blow right on top of you when you're in bed.


I'd check the refrigerator-I might be wrong, but the older models had a gas pilot light that often blew out when traveling. The Dometic fridge can be very cranky, it demands being absolutely level and doesn't like getting too hot (as in, the sun shining on that side).



I don't know what another poster meant, but in my state, campers must be registered, titled and license plated.



Good luck. If it was taken care of, you might just get a good deal.
Meadowlark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2022, 07:35 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Jon in AZ's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 11,361
Registry
At that age your two biggest concerns are floor rot or other water damage and whether all the major appliances work, especially the fridge.

The Casita floor is plywood (OSB?) glued to the fiberglass bottom and then coated on top with another layer of fiberglass. Water can find its way inside the sandwich from cracks, screw penetrations, and plumbing cutouts. During inspection, feel for any signs of sponginess in the places where you walk. Look inside all the cabinets and benches for signs of staining. The bathroom is hard because it's covered with a layer of molded fiberglass above and below, but I'd look and feel from underneath around the plumbing cuts. The rust stain on the carpet could be nothing- maybe something sitting on it- but feel and probe carefully.

The fridge takes a long time to reach operating temperature, so ask the seller turn it on well ahead of your visit, preferably on propane. Everything else can be tested after you get there.

To check for "bounce" in the axle, jack up one side on the frame and look to see that the axle drops in the wheel well as the trailer rises. It's probably fine. Rubber torsion axles have a rated lifespan of 15-20 years, and in typical intermittent RV service use can remain functional well beyond.

Before towing any distance, make sure tires are less than 7-8 years old and bearings have been serviced within the past two years.

There's a complete pre-purchase inspection checklist in the document center.
Buyer's Checklist
Jon in AZ is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2022, 12:32 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Name: Peter
Trailer: Casita
Oregon
Posts: 17
Rivets

Hello Jason; good luck with your purchase. How the trailer was used, stored, and maintained are all critical but this information is often difficult or impossible to get.

Much of the insidious leaks that the Casita is subject to come through the roof rivets, which hold much of the cabinetry that circles the galley and dinettes overhead. If you look closely at the acorn nuts you may find staining at the apex of the nut if that rivet has been leaking. The acorn nut may also appear to be loose or angled. If you try to twist it you may find it simply spins because it is broken inside the trailer body.

Very small leaks can be quite troublesome in a Casita. They can delaminate the bulkhead, the dinette table, and the upper cabinet doors. Somehow the water finds a suitably vulnerable target.

I'm on my third Casita. Obviously I have found them to be very useful but the rivets are an ongoing concern and an engineering flaw in my opinion. If you have to specify weak fasteners that are designed to break to prevent structural damage to your trailer shell then your trailer shell is not strong enough.There are some that have experienced no difficulties in this regard, but I personally have never seen a Casita without at least one broken rivet. And I have experienced all the 'wood' delamination problems discussed above as a result of those breaks and leaks.

Feel carpeted areas for moisture with your fingers inside of upper cabinets and along the floor and under the dinettes. Look for splits or cracks in the bulkhead.

If the 18 year old trailer has 14-inch tires upgrade immediately to 15-inch tires. Don't worry about what you may read about not being able to do this without changing axles; it is easily done and the new tires will not rub. The only tire blowouts on any vehicle I've experienced since 1968 are four on a Casita trailer with 14-inch tires (yes; highly rated new ST tires from multiple manufacturers). Again, you may find owners with 14-inch tires who will report having experienced no issues but the tires simply don't have the necessary load ratings to support the trailer safely. A good tire shop will make the swap, confirm the fit, and service the wheel bearings. Wouldn't consider skipping this step if you buy the trailer.

Ask the owner to fire-up the propane water heater for you. See if getting it going is an ordeal. These are often poorly maintained and fussy.

Look at the threshold of the trailer under the open entry door and look next to the rubber weather seal surrounding the door. Often dust stains will collect in those areas if the door has not been sealing well. Maybe on pavement in Florida this is not an issue but it definitely is if you'll be traveling out west and want to access any boondocking sites on gravel roads owned by the BLM or other agencies.

Consider buying an inexpensive voltmeter that can plug into one of the trailers 12V cigarette jacks. With the shore power cord disconnected you'd like to see the battery read in the upper 12V range, but more importantly you want to see what it reads once the shore power cord is connected. It should be above 13V. If the converter is not working it will fail this test and that's going to be another $300 problem you'll need to get squared-away before having any fun with the trailer.

As others have indicated, you are unlikely to have issues with the water system. If you turn the water pump on as soon as you are inside the trailer you may have an opportunity to avoid serious problems. After you test the faucets if you leave the pump switch turned on any serious leaks may be revealed if the pump operates on its own for a quick moment while you are looking at other things. If the filter under the dinette is cracked and has a small leak, for example, the pump will give a short quick burst to build the system pressure back up again. Once you turn off the faucets you should never hear the pump operate again during your inspection; not even for a second.

When you light the burner on the range top the flame should be steady and it should be blue. If it flickers or has yellow colors it may indicate an upstream leak in the propane plumbing that is letting air enter the system (and potentially gas out).

Hope some of these comments will help you in your evaluation. I could keep going but I'm sure you realize the 18-year old trailer is likely to have some issues. If the overall condition is good and the price is right you can put things back to rights and be happy with your decision.
Cottonwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2022, 09:42 PM   #8
Member
 
Name: Michelle
Trailer: Casita
Washington
Posts: 44
I agree with Cottonwood on all accounts, he covered an awful lot more! He's absolutely right on with the rivets. We've had to replace several. I hate the things, to me, it's just Casita's way of speeding up production. IMHO, it's just cutting corners, the rivets WILL break. The rivets are used throughout without considering how much weight, how much torque will a specific rivet be subjected to. I'm not an engineer but I think it's pretty stupid to expect one rivet to fit all situations.



Don't make the mistake I made a few years ago, I thought the acorn nuts were supposed to be tightened. NO. They're there for pretty. They do nothing to prevent breakage. I know of people who've replaced every single rivet with stainless steel bolts. There were grumbles from a certain Casita manufacturer about doing so would 'void the warranty', but the warranty on a brand new one is one year.


And a loud DITTO on changing to 15" tires.



As for the water system, the original pump is no longer available. If you don't use a water filter on your water hose, you will get sediment and such in your lines and it will clog up the pump filter.



Also, we have had to change the 'city water inlet valve' twice now. They begin to leak and I have no idea why. Changing it is a boogerbear because, again, Casita used rivets (meaning only one person was needed to install it from the outside) and at least in my 2011 SD, the rivets are right underneath the water lines. AND under the carpet. When we replaced the inlet valve we used bolts and locknuts rather than the blooming rivets.



Doing so involved two people. One has to lay on one's belly to get into the cabinet in order to secure the locknuts. In our case that's me because...well, let's just say my man has been on very good pasture. And working inside the Casita as a rule means tight quarters.



Again, good luck.
Meadowlark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2022, 09:04 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 4,046
Registry
On plumbing, I'd replace the original piping with PEX for sure.

Casita design is basically a bath tub. If water leaks inside (which it will eventually), it has no way out and it will rot the floor. Casita has continually improved their floor design. 18 years ago the design was not nearly as good as today.

Inspect the floor for soft spots carefully, including inside benches. Many sellers do not know they have a rot problem. Many buyers don't either...

Casita coated the top of their floors with fiberglass resin, but no fiberglass. I do not know if this is still the case. They use OSB rather than plywood, which does not handle water as well.

I owned a Casita for several years.

I consider the Scamp design to be better, as all of the wood floor is exposed on the bottom. This makes a full inspection MUCH easier and also allows water leaked inside the trailer to escape.
thrifty bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
casita


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Where in Nor Cal to have brakes and possibly axle install on 13 Boler Bree88 Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 7 06-04-2019 10:37 AM
Possibly Purchasing New Scamp 5th Wheel Gail Shook Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 14 06-16-2014 11:57 AM
Purchasing used Bigfoot in Canada and bringing back to US 4Runner_Mark General Chat 2 02-14-2011 05:42 PM
Help: concerns with used Bigfoot w/pictures link Joshua Ills General Chat 5 07-17-2007 06:45 PM
Canadian purchasing a used RV in the US John Groom Money Matters 14 05-11-2007 12:52 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.