What to look for in a restoration project - Fiberglass RV
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:14 AM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Ed
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 14
What to look for in a restoration project

I'm thinking about looking for an older fibreglass trailer to gut and restore, and I'm just wondering if there is a guide to buying one. Are there any issues to look for that are just not fixable? What are common issues that tend to be more costly to repair? I'm not sure my skill level yet, but some of the ambitious projects here where people take the shell right off the frame and sand blast it or build a new frame have me a little intimidated. I'm not sure I'm prepared to go quite that far. Any advice?
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:39 AM   #2
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot FT20
Posts: 898
Depending on our skills will dictate what you should purchase. All these trailers can be repaired.
First thing is don't over pay! Buying a 30 year old trailer for 3-4K and then replacing a floor, frame, axle, tires, refrigerator is not the way to go.
Because when your done you still have a 4K trailer.
I'm sure you will get plenty advise.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:12 PM   #3
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Posts: 5,913
I think you should do some research into what brand of trailer you actually want, and what size will fit your usage. They all have some compromise that you either can live with, or not. Bigfoot's are big. They are more expensive to tow, but more comfortable when you get there. Trilliums have a fibreglass interior and floor. They typically do not require gutting, but are kinda expensive compared to other brands. Bolers are less expensive, but seem to need a new floor more often..... There are so many.
I agree with Mike & Sara. If you plan to gut and restore, don't pay too much. About $1500 for a trailer that need that much work is the most I would pay.
The things you should confirm are OK, or easily fixable are as follows in order of importance, (to me):
Fibreglass shell - Small holes, or punctures are OK, but if it looks like there has been heavy erosion or deformation, just walk away.
Windows - Are they a style you like? Do they work? Do enough of them open? Can you get replacements, parts?
Floor - This is the most likely problem area. If the trailer has been leaking for some time the floor, if wood, may have rot. Depending on the model of the trailer, this could mean an off frame restore, not just gutting. Look for soft spots in the floor.
Frame - This is actually less of a problem if you can weld, but if the frame has to be replaced, it can get expensive.
Appliances - Do you want a furnace, gravity, or forced air? Ice box, or fridge, 12 VDC compressor, or propane, does it work? Stove, does it work? You can expect to need a new propane regulator.
Smell - If you are gutting, not so much of a concern.

Those are the big ones to me.
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:46 PM   #4
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Name: Jack
Trailer: '98 BURRO 17WB
Posts: 2,548
Stuff you don't know about because it's totally outside your experience. Stuff you find intimidating because you just learned about it. Stuff that appears attached to the landscape. Stuff you can't see because it ain't raining hard enuf. Other stuff you can't see. Mushrooms. The door.

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Old 02-12-2013, 08:18 PM   #5
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 25,190
Hi Eddie, welcome to FiberglassRV. We're glad you're here

I'd start by downloading the Buyers Check List. Even though you're wanting a project trailer, it will tell you items to look at.
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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