Beginner R/V owner questions - Fiberglass RV

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Old 09-24-2016, 10:41 AM   #1
Junior Member
Name: John C
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 1
Beginner R/V owner questions

Am looking at used Casita trailers 17ft & just wonder what some of the common maint problems there are too keep an eyeout for.
1. refrigerator,a/c,water heater lifespans?
2. water leak issues,from roof, windows, a/c unit?
3. wood rot in floor, or any other common places?
4. door, window,hinge, slider components that are pattern failure?
I do know all things get old and wear out. Just trying to be aware of common issues as I shop for my trailer.
I am handy and can resolve many issues on my own but unfamiliar as a r/v owner.
Thanks for any words of wisdom John C.

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Old 09-25-2016, 03:58 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1998 17 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe / Red F150 X-Cab
Posts: 378
I don't think you need to worry too much, but folks wiser than myself will chime in. I have a 1998 Casita 17' that I've had more than nine years. I confess to probably not keeping it up as best I should--I have some missing rivet caps and I need to deal with another little broken plastic dohickey or two. A few years ago I had to do something about sealing around the toilet but it wasn't a big deal. The previous owner replaced the water pump as I recall. Really that's been all. Oh, and I put on a set of GOOD tires. Of course it depends on how much you use it, but I think our trailers hold up pretty well! Sure do love mine!

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Old 09-25-2016, 04:23 PM   #3
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 8,843
1. Just make sure appliances are working when you do your pre-purchase inspection.
2. If possible do a leak test with a garden hose before purchasing. If not, soon after. Resealing is usually not a big deal. Lots of caulk is a big clue that there is a problem and the window or vent needs to be removed and resealed.
3. Floor rot is the biggest issue to watch for. Unless you're willing to take on a project and the price reflects that, it's a deal-breaker. Problems are most likely to appear around the outer perimeter of the floor under windows and wherever there is plumbing. Feel for soft spots under the finish flooring in the center and look inside benches and cabinets, tapping with a solid object like a screwdriver to find any softness.
4. Inspect for good door fit. It's not usually an issue with 17' Casitas because they have a flat door, but it can be an issue with other fiberglass egg trailers that have a curved door. Not much to go wrong with sliders other than plugged weep holes. Make sure they operate freely.

In addition...
5. Tires have a lifespan of 5-8 years depending on use and storage. Check the date code stamped in the sidewall as WWYY (week and year).
6. Rubber torsion axles also have a lifespan of 15-20 years. If the trailer is that old, find out if the axle has been replaced, and if not, budget $6-800 for a new axle.

There is a helpful Buyers's Checklist in the Document Center.
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Old 09-25-2016, 04:24 PM   #4
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Name: Lyle
Trailer: Scamp 16, previously Scamp 13
Posts: 729
Well, I own an older Scamp, not a Casita, and I have only had it for 10 months, but did a lot or research. I wouldn't be speaking up, but the OP posted over a day ago, and only has one reply, so thought I would chime in about what I kinda know.

Casitas along with Scamps should have their snap caps replaced every few years as they deteriorate with UV from the sun. Extremely simple process if they are done regularly and the washer under the rivet remains intact, quite a bit more involved if you must replace the washer - then the entire rivet must be replaced. This is not a terrible job, but it is much easier to just replace the caps regularly.

You must regularly check for any window/vent/door/etc leaks. If you find some, it is often best to remove the offending item and re-install it using new butyl tape and or seals as required. Once properly installed, these items seldom leak for many more years. My Scamp is 17 years old and I have detected no leaks due to seal failure. That said, I did have the door seal replaced earlier this month as a preventative - the original seal was starting to crumble.

The next big area of concern, regarding leaks is your plumbing. Must be checked regularly since most of it is hidden away inside cabinets. Repair any leaks as soon as they are discovered. I had to replace both the hand pump which was leaking, and the drain trap from which the nipple that the drain connects to had broken off. Both of these were very cheap, simple fixes.

Every six months or year, check your floor for any signs of water damage. Make sure to check under the trailer and inside all cabinets and benches - the hidden areas. This is easier to do in a Scamp than a Casita, since the floor is exposed. The Casita encapsulates the wood inside of fiberglass. This makes the Casita floor somewhat more protected initially, but still vulnerable through screw holes, plumbing holes, etc. Some have found the damage to be so hidden that it was hard to detect. No floor is easy to replace, but often the Scamp can just have the bad portion cut out and replaced. When a Casita floor goes bad, it is often the entire wood structure inside the fiberglass that is mush and it is quite difficult to replace. At least that is my understanding.

Other maintenance items to be acutely aware of are the age/condition of the tires - age is of greatest concern. and the condition and lubrication of the wheel bearings. Pretty simple to check and correct if a problem is found. Brakes, as on any vehicle, should also be checked periodically.

Regarding the appliances - most are standard RV appliances which tend to last quite a long time, but as with all things, they will occasionally fail. As far as I know, all the appliances on my 17 year old Scamp are original and they are still functioning as expected.

Hopefully some others with more personal and more in depth knowledge will chime in and offer some more advice.
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:57 PM   #5
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Trailer: 1998 17 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe / Red F150 X-Cab
Posts: 378
I apologize, I read the post in terms of what you need to worry about once you have a FGRV, not in terms of going to look at one. I was trying to assure you that things aren't going wrong and needing to be fixed or replaced all the time so you wouldn't be scared off. My advice was lousy!

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