Shells not aligned - Problem? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-26-2019, 08:25 AM   #1
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Shells not aligned - Problem?

Maybe someone out there with more experience with a fiberglass eggshell camper can give me some advice.

I'm looking at a 1983 Burro and the shell does not align at the back of the trailer. You can see it in the interior but the exterior looks OK. The front is aligned with no problems. It's been renovated and looks great except for this "issue." Appears to not have any leaks after a good dousing with a hose.

Is this a problem with structural integrity or possibly other issues? I've attached a few pictures.

Any help and insight would be appreciated! Thanks!

Joe
Attached Thumbnails
Shell-alignment-1.jpg   Shell-alignment-2.jpg  

Shell-alignment-3.jpg  
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:41 AM   #2
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Shells not aligned - Problem?

Some Burros were sold as DIY kits. Possible assembly error? Could also be a poorly done damage or leak repair.

As long as it doesn’t leak now and the floor is solid, it’s more of a cosmetic issue. Don’t take the seller’s word on either, BTW.

It would bother me. A lot.

It is probably possible to cut the halves apart and fix it- fiberglass is almost infinitely repairable- but that’s way above my pay grade. I’d pass.
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:51 AM   #3
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What story is the seller telling about it? It would need to be a give-a-way price before I'd take that project on and I could never leave it as is.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:15 AM   #4
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His story is that he bought it that way five years ago and figured it was no big deal structurally.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:49 AM   #5
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You decide, me, I would keep looking.

All used trailers have one trait in common, the current owners accept all the shortcomings and defects. You have to decide if YOU accept them as well. Me, I looked at several vintage trailers with defects, I passed on three of them, and bought #4.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:19 AM   #6
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Shells not aligned - Problem?

Very well put, Bill. My used Scamp came with a couple of blemishes that I don’t even notice any more. I have no plans to make it “perfect.” That would be burdensome...
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Old 08-26-2019, 12:04 PM   #7
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Yeow!

That's not just a barely noticeable glitch. That's pretty major. I'd say it could be cut apart and pressed back into a better fit, but it's not going to be a small job.

Even Peanut the much-abused wasn't that bad.

It would depend on what you're comfortable doing...major fiberglass work is what that will be. Major.

At one point in our lives, I'd have said, Sure, if the price was good. At our age and condition now, NO. It's up to you.

As we get older, we try to remember:
"We want to buy ourselves a solution, not a problem."

It's your call if that particular trailer in that shape is a solution or a problem to you and yours.

Thanks for the photos--made considering your question a lot easier.

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Old 08-26-2019, 03:43 PM   #8
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I don't see how the two shells could ever shift once the trailer is built. Aren't they glassed together? Is that just the interior cabinetry, or can the problem be seen where the seam meets the windows on the outside? Hard to see what is going on in the close up pictures.

From what I can see, it looks like it was built that way, and if so, it's just cosmetic. If it's just an interior cabinet piece, maybe it can simply be pushed back up and glued.
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Old 08-26-2019, 04:31 PM   #9
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If those are the interior panels (cabinets) I would guess when the renovation was done they just didn't pay enough attention when they reinstalled them.

As already mentioned a picture taken a step or 2 back may give a better idea if it's worth worrying about.
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Old 08-26-2019, 05:13 PM   #10
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Yeah, that doesn't look like a structural problem. Why run away from a misaligned interior cabinet?
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:20 PM   #11
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Inner outer shell

Hi, I believe the Burro has an exterior and interior set of fiberglass shells. It sounds like the outer shells are lined up but the inner shells are not. If the structure is sound, the price is good and your not planning on having judgmental guests inside, if you can deal with the cosmetics... buy it!
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:10 PM   #12
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The Burro does have an outer shell with a vertical seam and a two piece inner shell, same as Uhaul campers. Probably it was a poor assembly job resulting in misalignment of the halves. Closer examination with more photos would be required for a better decision of is it only the interior shell or is the outer shell off also. It may be OK up higher at the window opening. Although some Burros were sold as a kit I believe the shell was assembled at the factory.
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Old 08-27-2019, 03:48 AM   #13
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Hi I just viewed the pics of the mis-aligned pieces and wonder about the 2 bolts and plate in the first pic. I suspect that attachment is homemade due to the bolt holes not being centered in the plate (steel?). Maybe one bolt is too tight, or lacks a backer block for support. If the outside shell is OK, an adjustment to these bolts may fix the issue. No leaks is a Good thing ! Some people's "good enough" is not good enough for others ! Bet you couldn't tell anythings wrong at night with the lights out! Duane
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Old 08-28-2019, 03:41 AM   #14
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Sorry I haven't responded in the last day or so. I've been travelling for the last couple of days and had a busy schedule.

In answer to some of your questions:

1) It appears that it is only the interior shell that is not aligned. The outside shell is lined up with the seam aligned at the bottom.

2) The misalignment is where the molded compartments in the back of the trailer meet. It seems like the bottom of the compartment where it meets the floor was pushed in when assembled. The owner said that it was that way when he got it so he assumed it was assembled that way originally. The Burro has obviously been traveled with for 30+ years with no problems.

3) I, too, am surprised that there are not leaks, considering the misalignment. I went back to look at it before I left on my trip and we had a heavy rain the night before. No evidence of leaks. He couldn't have mopped up after the rain because the carpet in the compartments were dry and show no signs of water stains. Also, when I first looked at it, we ran a garden hose over the whole trailer since I know fiberglass trailers are prone to leak.

4) Regarding the bolts: At some point in the line of ownership, a spare tire was mounted on the back of the Burro. The bolts are what hold the spare tire on.

I'm thinking about offering a significant amount less than the buyer is asking. He's at $7,500. I'm going to offer him $6,000 and see if he wants to move it. The Burro is not listed yet, it was parked with a for sale sign on it.

I bounce back and forth about it. I don't want to take on a full restoration and this one seems really nice other than the alignment issue. Cosmetic I can live. I can't live with a structural problem.
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:25 AM   #15
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Well that explains the steel plate, and may also explain the misalignment. The inner and outer shells (assuming the same as Uhaul) have a space between them that varies over the whole area. The shells are close in some areas but a significant space in other areas. So the weight of a spare tire only on that steel plate against the inner shell may have pulled the one side out of alignment. I would get rid of the plate, try to get the area back in alignment, and find another option for the spare tire. Also check the trailer frame.
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:45 AM   #16
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Sounds like a plan. And now that we’ve clarified only the inner shell is affected, I think even I could live with it- covered with cushions and out of sight. Best wishes!
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:55 AM   #17
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We had a very similar misalignment on the inner shell of our 1978 Burro and the spare tire on the rear. Both seemed to be original and had lasted fine since 1978 with no leaks until we sold it in 2007. The misalignment was covered by our bed cushions, so it was no big deal.

Interesting how prices keep going up on old fiberglass trailers. We paid $2750 for the Burro 13 and then sold it for $3400 a couple years later. Our UHaul VT was purchased for about $3700 in 2007 and sold for over $7000 in 2016. It would seem your initial offer of $6000 may be worth at least consideration by the seller. Hopefully you can settle somewhere in the middle!
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Old 08-28-2019, 07:58 AM   #18
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An initial offer of $6,000 (on $7500) is right in the negotiating ballpark. The price won't go bellow your offer once made.

Suppose the seller said okay. Would you feel happy to get it?

Lots of great comments about that inner shell. Doesn't sound as bad as the pics looked.

BEST luck to you.
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Old 08-31-2019, 12:09 PM   #19
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Once again, sorry for the delayed response to all the great help and advice being offered by everyone!

It looks to me like it is the spare tire plate that is dragging the inner shell inward. There is not a problem with the window alignment or the outer shell. they are all right on. I can't see what else it could be other than a faulty assembly. The chassis is in very good condition as well as the fiberglass underbelly.

I'm going to be meeting with the seller tomorrow and already have talked to him about the price. Looks like he is willing to take $6,400 for it. Obviously, I'll need to buy it to take the plate off and make the necessary repairs myself. However, I might live with it for the rest of the season and early next year to see if it's a problem or not. Hopefully it's just cosmetic and I can live with that. He has owned it for quite a while and he said it's not been a problem. He's a friend of a friend so I guess I can trust him...

Only snoopy people lift up other owner's seat cushions, right?
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Old 08-31-2019, 12:16 PM   #20
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Only smart people lift up other people's cushions--and empty cabinets and toilet niches, and thoroughly investigate a used trailer before they plunk down their hard-earned money.

Sounds like you're working on a deal and a plan...happy purchase, happy trails, and happy renovation and making it your own if you go through with it.

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