Newbie with rotted floor :( - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-11-2019, 02:39 PM   #1
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Name: Trina
Trailer: Scamp
Connecticut
Posts: 4
Unhappy Newbie with rotted floor :(

Hi all, my boyfriend and I just purchased a 1992 scamp 16footer last week.. We are on the east coast where scamps are hard to find and this one was close to home. Upon inspecting it at the sellers house, we found some, what we thought were reasonable, areas of floor rot, generally under the windows. We thought it would be a fairly easy job to patch up. Upon getting it home, and taking out some carpet and inspecting it further, it seems that the rot is a bit more extensive than we had planned for. We are feeling overwhelmed and a bit disappointed and discouraged. Right now, it seems like the repairs are out of our knowledge and skill set so we were hoping to bring it somewhere to have it repaired. We are in Connecticut and there are slim pickings for RV repair shops and the ones that are around, don't seem to want to tackle a repair project like what we are looking at. The pictures don't look too bad, but in real life, you can see through to the ground in many places. Any help/guidance/"know a guy in CT" advice would be very much appreciated.. We're anxious and trying to get this done as soon as possible!
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Old 12-11-2019, 05:07 PM   #2
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Be like a sponge and read every Scamp floor repair thread. I'd also read other brand floor repair threads too, although there is variation in construction method.

YOU do NOT need an RV specialist!

Either do it yourself, or find a handyman type you trust to do the work. You do not need an RV repair service and IMHO, many wouldn't know what to do anyway.

And realize jobs like this take a lot of labor hours. In a high cost area like CT, that could be very expensive. One reason people learn to do it themselves is the cost of repairs can be very high. I have way over 300 hours into the rebuild of my 1977 Trillium (and the floor was OK). Imagine paying $75 an hour or more for a service person. Even assuming they would be more efficient so do the repairs faster, its a lot of money. If you are dead set in not doing it yourself, you may want to consider selling it as a project to someone with the time/tools/covered work space/aptitude to take on the repair.


Fortunately, Scamp floor repair is easier than many other brands. Its all exposed on the underside so you can find the extent of the problem.


First step is to find your leaks and fix them. And if possible, stored inside or at least undercover is a very good idea.

Rot is often much more wide spread than you can tell until you uncover it.

Its very fixable, many have gone before you on this! Benefit from reading about their journey first, and in the interim, cover the trailer.

You have a 28 year old trailer. While the fiberglass shell is typically nearly indestructible, stuff wears out. Window and vent seals, and so on. And sadly, there have been other threads on this, but the average RV owner does NOT maintain their trailer. I looked at several used Trilliums, rejected them for SERIOUS floor rot, and then finally found a good one. The sellers on the ones I rejected had no problem selling to others. I doubt they pointed out the flaws I showed them, like major floor rot, dry rot in dinettes, sagging floor, etc.


In the world of buying a trailer used, I have come to an appreciation for finding a trailer that has spent its life under cover when not in use. My last two trailers were both garage kept. The Trillium was totally ignored for over 20 years, but at least it was out of the weather. But with a 43 year old trailer, electrical, plumbing, tires, wheels, windows, door sag, etc. The list was pretty long.
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Old 12-11-2019, 05:44 PM   #3
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
...
Either do it yourself, or find a handyman type you trust to do the work.....
There is a third option, and if I were in your shoes I would strongly consider it. This is it:

Take a (hopefully) small loss and sell it to someone who has the tools, knowledge, time, shelter, experience and skill to restore it.

It might be best to pull the shell off the frame and redo the entire floor. If you think doing that is something you can and want to do, then by all means study up and go for it. Otherwise be cautious that you don't invest too much time and money into what becomes a never completed project.

There is much posted in this forum about floor repair over the years. Using Google with the "Site:fiberglassrv.com" argument with your search terms will help. You can (and should) read a great deal in order to make a decision on how best to proceed.

When I was young I bought a classic Mustang sports car that needed "a little work." Among the issues I found was that the floor under the driver's side carpet had rusted away and was replaced with a speed limit sign that they must have found along the highway (or perhaps one that they stole). Without the metal speed limit sign you could brake the car "Flintstones Style." The car did not run and I don't know if it ever did, after I sold it for a loss. Lesson learned.

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Old 12-11-2019, 07:18 PM   #4
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Tough, tough decision. Odds are slim of finding a local professional to do the work that isn’t prohibitively expensive.

You have to remove the lower cabinets and contents, cut out the bad sections, cut new pieces, coat the bottom with resin, attach them to the frame, reattach them to the shell with strips of fiberglass, add finish flooring, and reinstall all the cabinets. You do not have to remove the whole shell from the frame unless you determine the frame itself is rusted and requires repair/reinforcement.

If you tackle it yourself, it can be done in sections, so you don’t have to gut the whole trailer at once. You may be able to get some camping in between. As said lots of good information and help here, and in the end you’ll know your trailer inside and out.

I’m even wondering if Scamp would do it. If they would, their prices are usually pretty reasonable, and they can usually do it faster than anyone else because they know exactly what to do. Worth a call.

Or cut your losses as Gordon suggests and try again.
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:46 PM   #5
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
...

Or cut your losses as Gordon suggests and try again.
Just to be clear, I offer that as a third alternative and dont suggest it one way or another without knowing a lot more.

Jon gives a good summery of what it might take. More data for the decision.
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:55 PM   #6
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
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We are also in the New England area and camp with a group that is dedicated to vintage campers. We have found through the group that there are a couple of unreliable camper repair places in the area, so if you do send the trailer out for repair be sure to do some research on the shop first.
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:00 PM   #7
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Trailer: Black Series HQ19
Smith Valley, Nevada
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Be sure to factor in the time you would be spending on the project, and it's value compared to camping. If you have to plan your time to find enough to go on trips, but instead are working on the trailer for endless hours, it will likely never get done and cost a lot more than just cutting your losses now and moving on. Time spent camping is very valuable. Time spent doing a project you don't want to do and are poorly equipped to do, is miserable.

Very valuable quality time vs miserable time with no clear end.

Fully disclose that the trailer needs work, and send it on its way to a new and enthusiastic owner. Then find the one that will serve you now.

Cutting your losses is frustrating, but it'a not as frustrating as facing the project at hand, it seems.
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:14 PM   #8
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I wonder if you might be able to do a less than perfect but serviceable repair, by drying it all out, scabbing a patch onto the bottom in several places, and pouring liquid epoxy into the rotted area to fill it in. Similar repairs are done on boats sometimes. Epoxy is available in gallons of various viscosities and set-up times. And it can work magic with wood. It looks like, from the pictures, that the damage is in several local areas and not the whole floor.
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Old 12-12-2019, 01:11 AM   #9
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Name: Roy
Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trina Yubari View Post
Any help/guidance/"know a guy in CT" advice would be very much appreciated.. We're anxious and trying to get this done as soon as possible!
Welcome to FGRV.
Congrats on the trailer.


Try connecting with Jean-L who is in CT

Fiberglass RV - View Profile: JEAN-L
I'm pretty sure he replaced the floor on one of his trailers.

If my memory is bad, he may have fixed one.


He can walk you through the process enough so you can decide to do it yourself or understand it enough to know what is involved if someone else is doing it.


There are a number of floor replacement threads. They don't have to be for a Scamp to be able to learn from them.
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Old 12-12-2019, 06:13 AM   #10
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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In my experience this is a job that comes in a couple of flavors.
If the rot is confined to the areas under the windows then this is not "very" structural, side windows that is. If it extends under the walls and interior pieces then these would have to be removed for the repair.
The major structural areas are under the front and rear windows where the frame passes under the shell. This is really where the shell is or should be firmly attached.
The sides are fiberglassed to the floor all the way around, but the sides, especially where the floor is recessed, is just screwed to the frame with sheet metal screws and really provides little support for the shell as that part would easily flex and bend.
The rear needs to be one piece without rot from side to side and from the shell to where the floor drops down. The majority of the support comes from this area and the analogous area in the front.
With my floor rotten pretty much throughout I replaced it all with 3/4" exterior plywood, fiberglassed with cloth and epoxy resin. You could save some money with polyester resin. I covered the floor pieces with the fiberglass on top and bottom and the sides before installing to make it basically impervious to water entry. I them laid up fiberglass strips sealing the floor to the sides of the trailer.
I also preformed overkill reinforcement to the frame by adding 1 1/2" square tubing supports to the sides of the frame and along the sides of the trailer to eliminate the flex between the frame and the sides(you know where those sheetmetal screws were really the only thing holding it on.
Replacing the entire floor is the best way to go and a big job as everything has to come out at some time, but the work can be done in stages, rear, sides, and front.
This means some of the inside stuff can be removed and shoved somewhere else temporarily.
While you are in there and under the trailer inspect the frame for corrosion and cracks, especially in the bends where the a frame is formed to the tongue. Look also at the front street side forward of the door as the frame tends to flex there as well. This flex is what hastens the cracking in the bend on the driver's side.
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Old 12-12-2019, 06:18 AM   #11
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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Also with an older torsion axle on trailer like the Scamp the axles tend to be ready for replacement as the rubber gets so hard that there is little spring left. As a result the trailer rides low ans the only real suspension is the tires. Have some one step in and bounce up and down while you look at the movement of the trailer vs the sides and top of the tire. It the sidewall flexing at the bottom is the majority of the movement then the axle is dead as well.
I understand your plight as I was in the same predicament myself and I took on the pretty big job of completely redoing the trailer floor replacing the axle and wheel wells and putting on 14" tires and redesigning the interior to suit us. Oh yeah, rebuilding the front half of the frame and extending it 18" so I could put a mini-split heat pump up there and cutting out this:
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Old 12-12-2019, 06:32 AM   #12
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Newbie with rotted floor 😞

Another axle test involves jacking one side on the frame near the axle and watching how much the wheel drops relative to the shell. Little or no movement is an indication the rubber inside the axle is old and brittle. Rubber torsion axles cannot be repaired, but are replaced as a unit.
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Old 12-12-2019, 07:36 AM   #13
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Kind of hidden in my earlier too long response was the third choice, sell it at a loss as a project. Someone with the time/tools/aptitude/covered work space will want it. Paying someone to do the work in the NE could be very, very expensive.

Image you bought a used car that turned out to be a mistake. Selling it at a loss and moving on can often be the best option, particularly when you don't have the skill/desire/tools/time to work on it.

Realize working on a trailer means you are NOT camping in the trailer. Some of us just like projects, or we have a second trailer we mainly use.

I've made many mistakes over the years where I lost money, vehicles and my "great" stock picks are the two that come to mind.
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Old 12-12-2019, 09:10 AM   #14
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Name: Adam
Trailer: Scamp
New Hampshire
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The previous owner of our scamp had the floor completely replaced. They were close by in western MA. I am not sure how much of the "prep" or make ready work they did, but they hired it out and I don't think it was too crazy expensive. I have a huge folder of receipts so I may be able to tell you who they hired to do the work and how much they paid.
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Old 12-12-2019, 10:19 AM   #15
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redbarron55: I agree with your choice of thickness. We went with 5/8", not 3/4", and the floor has always felt just a touch too thin.

As it is, this'll have to do, because we'll never do it again.

"K"
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Old 12-12-2019, 10:28 AM   #16
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Name: Henry
Trailer: Scamp 2017 16-ft SD / FB
Texas
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You can contact Scamp factory and get an estimate for the floor replacement. This will help determine you buy / DIY decision
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Old 12-12-2019, 01:25 PM   #17
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Name: Kate
Trailer: Casita 2018 Liberty Dlx
Massachusetts
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Dear Trina - no advice, just consolation from another NE newbie. I'm in MA an have found it VERY difficult to locate a "safe" used fiberglass trailer that isn't 500+ miles away. (Same with NEW trailers, for that matter. Also thought about configuring my own van conversion, but again - who can do the stuff that's beyond me?


I wish you the best of luck and hope to meet you out there sometime.
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Old 12-12-2019, 05:56 PM   #18
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Name: Trina
Trailer: Scamp
Connecticut
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I can't thank you all enough for all of your amazingly thoughtful responses! This is such a wonderful community!
We have been reading through all of them extensively and will brainstorm over the next few days what our next steps will be, wether taking on the project, putting a bandaid on everything and hoping for the best, trying to find someone else to do it, or cut losses and sell.
Over the past few days the boyfriend has called MANY places around us just to see what they have to say.. They all seem a little flakey to be honest. (And that seems to line up with the warnings from you guys about all the RV repair shops). Our most hopeful call was to Scamp directly...They gave us a rough estimate of $2000 to $3000 and are confident in repairing, but.. they're 22 hours away, they would need to keep it for a week, and thats a hefty price tag. One of the RV shops did refer us to a local boat yard who apparently also does RV work, we are waiting on a call back from them.
We'll keep you all posted!
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Old 12-12-2019, 07:09 PM   #19
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
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I like Raspy's idea in post #8. patch the rotted areas and make it useable and go camping. We have camped with less than perfect campers and had a great time. Every year we go to Rocky Neck SP camping and our daughter who lives in New London does too. Good place for your trial run if you are in that area of CT.
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Old 12-12-2019, 08:44 PM   #20
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Name: Eddie
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21, Lil Joe
Florida
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Floor Project: Readers Digest Version.
Tools needed: multi tool, 4-4.5" grinder, jigsaw and maybe a router.
Supplies: $200. Does not include new floor coverings.
Time required: Figure 20-30 hours usually 5 or so 4 hour sessions. Pull cabinets, make pattern, pull floor, clean and paint frame, wait overnight for paint to dry, cut out and prep new floor wait for bottom resin to dry, install and glass in new floor, wait for resin to dry, reinstall floor covering and cabinets.
Basic carpentry and fiberglass skills required.
This is for me, I have repaired/ replaced about a dozen Scamp floors, working inside a shop. Working outside and in cold weather slows the process. YMMV ( FYI, I no longer do floors.)
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