Euro Look interior - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-05-2003, 09:11 AM   #21
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Euro Look Interior

WOW!

Judging by the cost of custom kitchen cabinets, I'd say the interior examples shown here must cost 20 to 30 thousand dollars. But what an interior!

We have seen a Dutch trailer at a campsite, as well as a Karmann motorhome on a Mercedes chassis, both Europeans travelling in Canada, and the interiors are even more spectacular in person.

The attention to detail and the choice of materials were astonishing. As well, the light but strong materials made a huge impact on vehicle weight. The Mercedes motorhome had only a 145 hp diesel engine, yet it seemed to pull just fine. It was able to maintain more than highway speeds.

The current crop of RV's, slapped together, using MDF plastered with photographs of wood, pale in comparision. For the price charged, the North American RV industry should be ashamed of itself. The need to have a Chevy 3500 dual wheel Heavy Duty pickup truck to pull this stuff is a crime. The Benz was able to get 10 litres per 100 km (30 miles per gallon) pulling straight and level.

My Trillium 5500's interior can be completely removed without affecting any of the structural integrity of the trailer. About the size of an Airstream Bambi (19 feet) we could redo the interior to match these photos for less than half of the cost of a new Airstream.

Now, if we only had the money..... the time..... the talent..... the tools.....

Shaun Browne
The Browne Family
Trillium 5500



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Old 05-05-2003, 07:12 PM   #22
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Dodge is bringing out the Mercedes Chassis!

<<<Karmann motorhome on a Mercedes chassis>>>

This vehicle is coming to the dodge line and will be called the sprinter.

http://www.dodge.com/sprinter/index.html?c...mepage&type=top

Three different chassis lengths to start (for van conversions). very nimble (for such a large van) and very frugal on fuel (diesel engine still has lots of torque).

The Karmann motorhome is based on a longer chassis but the front of it still is probably this vehicle (Mercedes' new van line).

<<<The current crop of RV's, slapped together, using MDF plastered with photographs of wood, pale in comparision. For the price charged, the North American RV industry should be ashamed of itself. The need to have a Chevy 3500 dual wheel Heavy Duty pickup truck to pull this stuff is a crime. The Benz was able to get 10 litres per 100 km (30 miles per gallon) pulling straight and level.
>>>

I empathize. However once competition is introduced -- American RV interiors will change as well. Only a question of time before the RV industry catches on....

BTW, have you noticed that ALKO(Germany)-made European Chassis (for trailers especially) are so much more advanced (Anodized Zinc and High tensile steel). Instead of ones for the Casitas/Scamps which haven't changed at all. The latter are quite crude, based on welded/primed 3" angle iron (heavy) !!

The axle on the alko uses a special hexagonal torsion housing. The shock absorbers and brakes are also specialized -- as are the ergonomic levers for the hitches, which anyone (even a seven year old) could set up.

BTW, can someone tell me if Europe uses the same trailer hitches as we do?

http://www.alko.de/fahrzeugtechnik/caravan...chs-system.html

<<<Judging by the cost of custom kitchen cabinets, I'd say the interior examples shown here must cost 20 to 30 thousand dollars. But what an interior!>>>

Well they might -- but judging by UK pricing it's not THAT bad.

Here's a UK dealer site (this is all their caravans [travel trailers] and most of them below 20 feet in length I think),

http://www.caravandeals.co.uk/range.asp?be...=&Submit=Submit



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Old 05-05-2003, 07:33 PM   #23
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Cabinets

While in summation European stuff seems to be a lot more advanced, the basic improvement over American RV's I think lies in the cabinetry, space utilization and interior detail (woodwork, indirect lighting or spot-focused lamps for example).

I think If American Manufacturers can duplicate that part (Maybe by importing quality inexpensive cabinets from overseas and importing the Euro tiny fibreglass bathrooms as well) -- then we should see a new resurgence in travel-trailering lifestyle with newer (younger) families with Children. Younger people have very 'set' ideas about RV interiors (not all of it positive) and it needs to be proven to them that there are differences in some. If people can spend $40,000 on a new SUV and not bat an eyelash then what's fifteen or twenty thousand on a nice new Casita/Scamp? The RV mfrs. need to address this.

Meanwhile I continue looking for a good/cheap local Casita/Scamp on e-bay and scour the internet for cheap light-colored birch from Finland :)



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Old 05-05-2003, 07:58 PM   #24
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Quote:
Orginally posted by Bill M.
If people can spend $40,000 on a new SUV and not bat an eyelash then what's fifteen or twenty thousand on a nice new Casita/Scamp? The RV mfrs. need to address this.

Meanwhile I continue looking for a good/cheap local Casita/Scamp on e-bay and scour the internet for cheap light-colored birch from Finland :)
:lol you had me going there for a minute. I was about to tell you to be quiet, they cost enough already. :lol



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Old 05-06-2003, 12:23 AM   #25
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Casita Cost

Ahem,

Hint noted and I _shall_ shut my hatch promptly :)



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Old 05-06-2003, 06:45 PM   #26
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Consider this:

All the sleek lines and nicely crafted wood are beautiful.

But, are they practical?

The cabinets the Casita (can't speak for the Scamp) are very square - or, as square as they can be when made of fiberglass and mounted in the curve of the roof. It appears that Casita has more storage space.

The other thing to consider is weight: how much engine does it take to pull these?

Also, what is the cost? A Casita or a Scamp can be owned by folks of fairly modest means -- many items that we take for granted in North America, such as a detached house (freestanding, not sharing walls with other homes), a car, and, yes, an RV, are not available to people of modest means. They are probably more accessible here.

It might be more appropriate to compare some of these rigs to something like a Chinook motor home -- spectacular design and beautiful materials, but at a cost.

Not trying to bash any of this - just thinking that Casita, Scamp, and other fiberglass rigs give incredible value for the cost - big bang for the buck.

Nathan and Daisy



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Old 05-06-2003, 09:58 PM   #27
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Quote:
Orginally posted by Nathan and Daisy Justus

All the sleek lines and nicely crafted wood are beautiful. But, are they practical?

The cabinets the Casita (can't speak for the Scamp) are very square - or, as square as they can be when made of fiberglass and mounted in the curve of the roof. It appears that Casita has more storage space.
I don't believe the curve or lack thereof on the cabinet door changes the functionality of the cabinet. Depending on the locking mechanism, you probably will get more stuff into a curved cabinet. I think one of the aspects of this discussion is Bill M's passion for curved cabinets. The cabinets shown are indeed attractive. However, I don't think of the motorhome cabinets as being in the same league as the cabinetry shown in travel trailers. Also IMHO, the open space under some of the cabinets, is not practical for travel.
Quote:
The other thing to consider is weight: how much engine does it take to pull these?
Teardrop
<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eb87d8908f5bminipod.jpg/>
Puck multiple sizes
<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eb87fe735592pucks.jpg/>
Vintage '70s Puck for scale.
<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eb883bd43fa8vwpuck.jpg/>

The teardrop trailers in the third and fourth photos of this thread (Scandinavian styled square cabinets featuring dog) weigh less than 800 pounds. They are 10' 7' ' long by 5' wide by 4' 10' ' high.

The Eriba Pucks in the fifth and sixth photos of this thread are about the size and weight of the 13 -17 ft Scamp or Casita depending on which model you get. The Nova would prably be comparable to a 19-22 ft trailer.

One of the points Bill M was trying to make is the Euro trailers are lighter than their American counterparts. Most US components are heavier.
Quote:
Also, what is the cost? A Casita or a Scamp can be owned by folks of fairly modest means -- many items that we take for granted in North America, such as a detached house (freestanding, not sharing walls with other homes), a car, and, yes, an RV, are not available to people of modest means. They are probably more accessible here.
According to my Euro converter the English teardrops cost less than $3,000 on average. Even with import fees of about $1,500 added, the trailers in photos 2-4 cost from about $12,0o0 - $17,500 for the Eriba Puck and Eriba Nova respectively. (Can't be exact because I don't know what is standard and if those pictured have been dressed up with options.)

I'm not bashing the US product. Casita, Scamp and the smaller shops do a fine job, conscientiously. Just acknowledging that like minded folks elsewhere, in some cases, have found better ways to accomplish the same or similar goals. The one thing the global economy is teaching us is there is no place that does not offer us something to learn.



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Old 05-07-2003, 12:43 PM   #28
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Why European Trailers are lighter

Excellent post Benita.

The reason why Euro Trailers are lighter starts at the bottom of the trailer, the frame. The frame used in our Casitas and scamps (and most stick-builts as well is made using cheaper angle-iron steel (essentially 1930's technology) which although cheap is very heavy.

Al-Ko in Germany is the most common trailer frame manufacturer in Europe. Their trailer frames were well-designed to start with (starting in the fifties)-- using hydro-formed hot-dipped zinc-anodized High Tensile Steel. The torsion axle design is also different (hexagonal channel) and also made of high tensile steel. The latter costs more money (marginally) but because High tensile steel has more strength than 'angle iron' per pound (70% more these days, and also lighter by 20%), utilizing lesser components, the trailer frame can be quite light but just as strong. Essentially trailer manufacturers do it for cost savings but there is 'lack of technical foresight' and other issues too, such as,

"We've always done it that way" or, "Why change a good thing?"

Alko trailer details,

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eb9565f515eaeuroachs_illu2.gif/>

Technical discussion concerning HT Steel here,

http://www.manufacturingtalk.com/news/ssa/ssa100.html

The other big reason for lighter weight is Real wood used in the cabinets compared to MDF used in Amer. Trailers.

MDF is cheaper but heavier (A 3/4-in. 4X8 sheet of MDF, for example, weighs about a 100 lbs.). Again - same issue.

The reason why Stick builts in the US weigh so much is primarily because of all the engineered wood boards used (MDF, Oriented strand board, particle-board etc.) because they use heavy formaldehyde based glues to hold the wood strands or particles together.

This is also the reason Casitas/Scamps (and the other FG eggs) weigh less than the stick builts -- because the framing is non existent (either heavy metal framing or the heavy boards). The shape of the trailers themselves contributes to the strength of the Fibreglass.

The lighter weight in European trailers is not a happenstance affair.

Most Europeans have compact cars (still do). They don't have SUV's by and large. So a small light trailer is a must for towing with a compact car. An Eriba Puck is a perfect example.

A and C class motorhomes are an American phenomenon. Most RV appliances in the US motorhomes tend to be bigger than appliances used in European homes.



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Old 05-07-2003, 02:37 PM   #29
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sure would be nice if Casita or Scamp or Bigfoot, read this and thought well, lets be the first. and made an ultra light 16/17 foot. :wub and all they changed would be the frames and such. (sigh)



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Old 05-07-2003, 03:11 PM   #30
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One reason they don't is the cost, however nominal. It's been noted on this site how many of the egg (and stick-built) manufacturers have come and gone over the years. It's a cut-throat business. Casita and Scamp have successfully carved a nitch, but its a tenuous hold. I agree that there would be a pay-off, but is Scamp (a not-too-forward-thinking company) going to take a gamble and tool up for a major rework of the frame manufacturing process? It would be a great risk. It would probably pay off, but it's a risk. Also, Americans tend to value an item based on it's size. The bigger it is, the more it's worth. Eggs are small, and therefore have a value limit in the eyes of most of the public. Anything that drives up the price drives away potential customers.

However, an engineered aluminum or high-tech frame carrying a spun polyester floor deck and fiberglass shell would shave a couple hundred pounds off each trailer, which would increase the potential market size to include car owners. Or hey -- how about replacing the fiberglass with Kevlar and the frame with magnesium? Save a couple hundred pounds more, while only tripling the cost!



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Old 05-07-2003, 03:21 PM   #31
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I thought of that too about what, 'we American' value or think is worth the money, and weight happens to be one of them I fear.

SO, maybe we could just import a bunch of these light weight German frames, and change out our own. :) (dream on )

But you never know. once an Idea gets in the air, it could take hold and happen. :yep. (optimism in overdrive)



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Old 05-07-2003, 03:32 PM   #32
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I personally think that the way to change it would be for a successful, financially stable Euro manufacturer to set up dealerships in the US and start selling them. If they have lower weight and better visual appeal, they will slowly build a reputation (slowly being the reason for the financially stable part) as the trailer to buy. If Americans knew and could actually see what is available elsewhere, we'd want it. Competition is good for business, and Scamp and Casita would have to come to attention and get busy.

The same applies to cars. Unfortunately, with cars, the European and Oriental car companies have catered to the Americans instead of training us. They build sensible cars at home, and ship Americanized cars here. Look at the evolution of the Honda Accord as an example. It started as a sub-compact and is now nearly full-size. In Japan, they sell 2 and 3 cylinder micro-compacts



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Old 05-07-2003, 06:13 PM   #33
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A few years back I contacted Hymer about purchasing a Puck. My take on their response was they didn't want to deal with American rules and regulations. (Their concept of vehicle registration and mine were vastly different.) When I told them non-motorized vehicles were not federally regulated, they were horrified by having to consider requirements for 50 different states. I told them that wasn't necessary. But I think they were dealing with their own paradigm that said that they would have to modify or manufacture 50 different versions of a trailer to be successful in the United States. They were not getting that a trailer sold in one state could be moved to another state without being factory retrofitted when it crossed the boundary of each state. I kept telling them that their concept was wrong. The chasm of disbelief echoed from across the ocean.

I was referred with a smirk to a Hymer dealer to see if he/she would be interested in the project. That dealer never responded to my communications. Maybe now that they are in a Euro world they have a broader concept of cross boundary product migration.



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Old 05-08-2003, 10:15 AM   #34
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Japanese Microcars

<<In Japan, they sell 2 and 3 cylinder micro-compacts>>

This is slightly OT, but over the last forty years the Japanese have perfected the art of making 'Kei' class cars (650 cc engines) for the domestic market. These are fun little cars for urban use mostly, sometimes targeted exclusively at women with feminine color choices available. Some examples (Daihatsu Mira/660cc -- DOHC EFI/ABS is available).

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eba818d62aabMira.jpg/>

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eba819798b26Mira2.jpg/>

The Mira based convertible, Daihatsu Copen (Stuart Little comes to mind)

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eba81cb90228copen.jpg/>

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eba81d370981copenback.jpg/>

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eba81db1199ecopenhardtop.jpg/>



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Old 05-08-2003, 10:26 AM   #35
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Benita,

It's a shame what your experience was with HYMER and their dealer.

Maybe used caravans (Biods?) imported personally by ones and twos will change things. But who will take the first risky step? And what are the risks if any?

I can think of only the electricity conversion and interfacing parts (European propane/water/electricity connections) that needs to be swapped out.

I saw a linked page on the Eriba Puck some threads ago. Wonder if those puck(s) were converted to US connection standards and paradigms.

I don't know enough but I'm reading everyday :)

Meanwhile LEX and other kindly souls who have caravanned in Europe may share their valuable insights....especially on the Hardware side. But on a separate thread of course.



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Old 05-19-2003, 02:56 PM   #36
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Are these lighter frames available in the US? I would certainly consider upgrading my rusty 30 year old frame.



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Old 05-19-2003, 06:18 PM   #37
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Euro style light frames

Not to my knowledge separately as a frame.

The Euro frames are made by Al-Ko in Germany.

The only thing close enough I've found is in the frame for an AWARD RV, which is a stick-built, albeit a quite unique one.

Look in the 'Products' page and scroll down to the heading for 'lightweight'

http://www.awardrv.com/AWARDRV.htm



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Old 05-21-2003, 07:36 AM   #38
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Quote:
Orginally posted by Maggie O.

Are these lighter frames available in the US? I would certainly consider upgrading my rusty 30 year old frame.
maybe one of us who speaks German (not me for sure) could contact this Al-Ko and get a price with shipping. I wouldn't mind one of those light frames either. :)



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Old 05-21-2003, 07:46 AM   #39
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Interesting statement they make at Award **the Award has emerged as the industry leader in "towability". ** wonder if they looked at the fiberglass eggs before they said that? Probably not.:) but then again if the frame is all that good - and egg with that frame on it would be supreme in towability. (dreaming again)



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Old 05-21-2003, 11:35 AM   #40
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The Award really is a wonderful design. It's not without flaws -- the fiberglass roof has a seam at the top, and again were it meets the walls, and I'm told they've had some leakage trouble. That aside, though, the design is wonderful, especially for a relatively "large" trailer. The design is light enough that they recommend up to their 23' model for towing with my S15 Jimmy, and even the 27' model falls within the rated "limits" for my vehicle. Fit and finish on an Award is fabulous. And, I understand that they tow extraordinarily well. Well thought-out air-flow and weight distribution.



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