1987 Bigfoot 17 ft. - Fiberglass RV

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Old 12-16-2005, 12:14 PM   #1
Junior Member
Trailer: 1987 Bigfoot 17 ft / Touareg V8
Posts: 26
OK KIDS GIVE ME SOME ADVISE--I have acquired this unit this fall, hardly used. It lived in Scottsdale, Ariz. until two years ago. he couple I bought it from dry camped 2 times. I don't think it has been used before that, because there wasn't ever a liscense plate holder on it.

Here is the charge: Point by point.

ELECT-seems like everything works, installed a vw solar charger in one window. Has tv hookup with signal amp. and roof antenna.

STOVE may have been used 1 or 2x-little spilled coffee around one burner. Oven works looks like new. No issues here.

HEATER lit up no problem.

REFRIG-on a/c works but not very well, can't get it to light up on gas.

AIR/COND. works sort of.

HOTWATER HEATER-Don't think it has ever been used, plastic drain plug still installed, but can't light the gas. Someone made a bypass system with Home Depot pvc parts, still have extra parts in the bag.

BATH-toilet was off, it needed all new valves probably from the heat in Ar. shower sprayer doesn't work.

EXTERIOR-Never been waxed. Decals shot, tried one of those decal removing wheels but that creates a bigger mess. I did make a plate holder and installed it under a brake lite cleaned out the bugs. New propane tanks installed. Don't know how to use the brake away system. Battery is cooked. It came with brake buddies but one fell off moving it to storage. Tires were replaced about 10 years ago, they have some checking. No spare. Replaced wheel under the jack, but it still hits over dips, ride height says 18.5 inch. my hitch is 18.25 inch. Has ladder and roof rack. Has a dent in door from a wind gust, plus door holder is broken, one of those knob and rubber devices-rubber is shot (where can I get a replacement?). No mice or other critter damage.

INTERIOR-Clean, little fade in cushions and curtains. ugly carpet with ugly lino. under it. clock broken, windows in great shape, lots of storage space with drop down bunk, shades need to be replaced. Dark woodwork.

HITCH-came with w/d hitch and sway bar. This could be a problem with tow vehicle which has air suspension.

TANKS-fresh water about 20 gal. but no direct drain. Don't think black water tank ever used, gray yes. Valves move easy. Pump works fine.

Please give advice on what I should do. Take it to the dealer/stealer to go through it and repair everything. or do it one item at a time? I know priorty one is axle bearing repair. Should I replace bearing buddies?I have winterised it

I plan on installing cork flooring. Input please.

I found the original purchase price document in one of the folders $14k in '87.

I don't plan on selling it because it is ideal for wife, little dog and me. It was advertised in Denver and I got there first, sellers had to call others that it had been sold.

This is your winter project folks, help this poor sole!!

I find this site quite helpful. Plus you all have a great sense of humor. Have a Merry Christmas!!

Big thanks--ufda

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Old 12-16-2005, 02:17 PM   #2
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Joe MacDonald's Avatar
Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 888
sounds like it's not too bad a job to do on your own.
First, throw away the bearing buddies, and get new bearings and seals on your axle. The bearing buddies will eventually force grease into the brake system, and will contaminate the brake shoes. Pretty much all states require trailer brakes now, on something as big as the 17 bigfoot anyway. So get a brake controller installed in your tow vehicle.

As far as lighting the fridge/water heater , It takes a while for the gas to get there, have patience. You can probably get instructions from the manufacturers web site (for the equipment) not the trailer builder.

what are you towing with?

show us some pics for more info. I have air suspension and still use a sway bar, but not a wdh

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Old 12-16-2005, 04:57 PM   #3
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Trailer: Former Casita 17 ft owner
Posts: 1,498

That sounds like way too much work.

Now if you'll drop it off down here, I'll take it and not even charge you a disposal fee.

Seriously, some of these folks with big feet will kick in here and tell you everything that needs to be done.
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:00 PM   #4
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Trailer: 2002 21.5 ft Bigfoot / 2003 Chevy Duramax 4x4
Posts: 113
John Paul,
I'm with Joe on the bearing buddies. In fact, unless you have exactly the right tools and knowhow, I'd recommend having pros do the bearing/seal replace. The rest you can do yourself.

I'm a Jordan Brake Controller fan, but if it's too different for you, Prodigy (available from all over) is my second choice. You can get cheaper but don't. Braking is too important.

Lighting the fridge: You want to do this with the trailer level, especially fore & aft, and only run it parked when it is level. Rolling doesn't matter, but parked it needs level.

Sitting for 15 years in the heat, hard to tell about rubber parts and hoses. Don't skimp, replace anything questionable, cracked, or unknown. Get new tires. Probably need new propane connections for current tanks.

Take it one step at a time. Unless you're rich, do it yourself. You'll have more fun and have something to be proud of when you're done, if you ever are. (I've had our BF for 3 years and still improving it.) There's a lot of expertise on this site so don't struggle with mysteries.

Good Luck!
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Old 12-16-2005, 10:51 PM   #5
Trailer: 2000 Bigfoot 17 ft (15B17CB)
Posts: 75
John Paul,
"(Hitch)" - I tow a 17' Bigfoot with a WD hitch and self leveling air Rear Suspension equipped Envoy - no problems, in fact it is at least as stable and has much more comfortable towing ride than my 1/2 ton PU with conventional leaf spring RS. I'm puzzled as to why people think there is a problem pairing WD hitches with self leveling air rear suspensions as WD hitches are fully adjustable and will still allow you to vary the amount of weight transfer from hitch (tongue weight) to the front vehicle axle and to the trailer axle(s). The rear suspension ride height will not change much, but the front axle and trailer axle suspension ride height will drop slightly. Nonetheless, the tongue weight will still be shared by all the axles and not just concentrated on the vehicle rear axle. Any change in vehicle suspension geometry will be minor, not enough to affect handling in any noticeable way.
The one possible downside, expressed by another forum member, was a reported "hunting" effect with a specific model's air suspension. For some reason it would continuously attempt to adjust the ride height up and down making it difficult to adjust the WD hitch correctly. I would be suprised if this was a common problem, as one of my camping buddies towed a very large trailer with a AS equipped Yukon Denali, and did not experience this effect. Perhaps more forum members will weigh in with first hand knowledge of this issue?

I have found that no special technique is required when hitching up. I just drop the trailer on the ball and let the rear suspension level itself. I then hook up the WD bars (+safety chains, electrical cable and break away cable) in the usual fashion, and go. The rear suspension then simply adjusts itself to the revised load.

In my opinion, this is a superior system to conventional suspensions - even those with aftermarket add-on air bags. I have towed my BF with three different vehicles, a SUV with conventional rear suspension to which I later added air bags, a heavier duty Shortbox PU with leaf spring RS, and now a SUV with self leveling RS. This last one has provided the best combination of towing stability and ride comfort for my application. Augmenting a standard (soft) suspension with air bags was also very worthwhile, but I don't think it measures up to the factory integrated system in the areas of convenience and towing ride quality.

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Old 12-17-2005, 12:46 AM   #6
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Trailer: 1978 Trillium 15 ft
Posts: 152
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I envy you, I'm out of projects at the moment. So, to reinforce what others have said I recommend you have the axle and bearings done by a pro, and while you are at it have the gas lines checked for safety by a licenced person. Then, the rest you can play with in your own time. Trust me, you will love this unit when you use it. We have had trailers all of our long lives and we love the Bigfoot like a member of the family Check out our web site below and you will see what we have done.

Good luck with your project!


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