Restoring 1988 13' lil'bigfoot - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-09-2020, 02:15 PM   #1
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Name: JoJo
Trailer: 1988 13' Lil'Bigfoot
Ontario
Posts: 5
Restoring 1988 13' lil'bigfoot

Hello! Looking for any information to help me in the process of restoring my Lil'Bigfoot. It has been in storage for a few years, and in that time the flooring has rotted. Not quite sure where it was leaking, but I'm thinking the window seals are the culprit. I have lots of questions as I have never worked on a fiberglass trailer, and there isn't as much information on Lil'BigFoots.
1) Restoring the floor - Any advice welcome! We are planning on cutting out the rotted pieces and replacing with plywood etc.
2) Advice on re-sealing the windows
3) Do any of the upper cabinets/tall closet actually support the structure? Or can this layout be rendered to my likings?
4) The wall coverings - I have it striped down to the insulation, which appears to just be a pink type of foam insulation. I am wondering what my options are to recover this - was looking into a vinyl type material that would be easy to wipe - just not sure how hard that will be to adhere to the shape of the shell etc.

As I said - ANY information on restoring this trailer would be great - we have it gutted to the bones right now and have to build it back from scratch!

Thanks all!
JO
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Old 06-13-2020, 11:48 AM   #2
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Name: Melanie
Trailer: Lil' Bigfoot
Ontario
Posts: 25
Hey JoJo,

We have a '91 13'lil Bigfoot that we have replaced the windows on (front and back). We replaced with polycarbonate instead of Plexi because the owners before us uses Plexi and it cracked.

The frame is standard sandwhich style but the glazing bead was hard to find so if you pull it out, either try to reuse it or keep some to bring to a shop for matching, and be prepared to pay a bit for it.

We have also updated ours by putting a fantastic fan in.

As for the cupboards, the closet may be structural (not sure) but the bigfoots don't have the support on the kitchenette like the bolers.

Have fun with your Reno project! Ours is always in the works but have had a great 3 years in it.

Cheers
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Old 06-13-2020, 07:22 PM   #3
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Name: JoJo
Trailer: 1988 13' Lil'Bigfoot
Ontario
Posts: 5
Okay thanks! What do you mean by the glazing bead? Really struggling with how to recover the walls at this point ��. Going to be interesting.
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Old 06-13-2020, 07:27 PM   #4
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Name: Melanie
Trailer: Lil' Bigfoot
Ontario
Posts: 25
The Glazing bead will be a plastic like piece that is wedging your window in.

Sorry I can't help you with the wall covering, we still have the original wall covering on ours which seems like some sort of rat fur material over the insulation.
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Old 06-21-2020, 10:56 AM   #5
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Trailer: Lil Bigfoot
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We’re very slowly doing the same things! I’d love to see yours and what you do to it! I’m hoping to find some more time this year and maybe finish ours up enough to use it!

1. Plywood Floor. We replaced it all using 2 sheets of 3/4” marine grade plywood. The plywood actually provides a lot of floor structure, so I wouldn’t recommend patching it like I see a lot of people talk about here. It’s not super hard, but a lot of work. Originally it would be held in place with a fiberglass “tab” or “L” that went along the sides. That has to be removed so the old can come out and new can go in. We took ours out with an angle grinder and lot of patience. Then we reinstalled with some fiberglass mesh and resin. I also gave a good coat of fiberglass resin to the plywood itself to seal it more.
2. Windows. We pulled ours out and resealed to the frame... but, we need to redo the same plastic rubber seals in the front and back, as well as the plexiglass. Keep me posted if you find a dealer of that seal please!
3. Cabinets. None of the cabinets or closet provide any support to the shell. But the shell does support all of the upper cabinets. There will be wood strips that are adhered to the fiberglass. The upper cabinets screw into those strips to stay up. Our strips were coming away from the shell. We replaced them with new plywood strips with high strength epoxy. (Fiberglassing in them probably would be even better.). We added the same strips for the seating area for better support of the seats.
4. Wall Covering. The wall covering was the hardest for us to decide what to do! We also wanted a easy to clean vinyl but knew there wasn’t a way in heck we would be able to tackle those rounded corners and were about to take it to an upholstery shop. The forums speak a lot of “rat fur” which I finally came to realize is hull liner. I ordered one that is fuzzy but short nap and it is stretchy enough that the corners weren’t too bad. We ran all our electrical lines (new) by making shallow slits in the insulation first. Then installed the hull liner with 3M super 77 spray adhesive. It all not perfect, but the cabinets will hide my imperfect spots in the corners.

One other thing to consider is adding a bit of support under the frame in the front and back so it extends to the corners, (by the door and back seating areas). Ours was sagging a bit. It made the door so it was out of alignment. The new plywood bottom helped for some time, but eventually must have bowed with the sag. A little bit of metal tube added to our frame and we were back to level.
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Old 06-21-2020, 08:47 PM   #6
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Name: JoJo
Trailer: 1988 13' Lil'Bigfoot
Ontario
Posts: 5
Okay, thanks for such an informative post. We did 5/8 plywood and laid a 1/4" mahogany sub floor. Good to know the cabinets/closet aren't supporting the frame. We did add more of the wood strips in order for more support options.

Do you recall how much material you needed for the interior? I'm dreading this part lol, but we are almost there.

We resealed all of our windows, added a new 14" vent(as ours was old/cracking/leaking) and did some minor fibreglass repairs this weekend, so it's almost decision time for the wall situation.
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Old 06-21-2020, 10:09 PM   #7
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Trailer: Lil Bigfoot
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I think we bought 14 yards, and 12 cans of adhesive. We bought from Sailrite.com here: https://www.sailrite.com/HullBlanket...waAgHvEALw_wcB
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Old 06-22-2020, 12:19 AM   #8
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
Posts: 2,912
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoJo_Ontario View Post
Hello! Looking for any information to help me in the process of restoring my Lil'Bigfoot. It has been in storage for a few years, and in that time the flooring has rotted. Not quite sure where it was leaking, but I'm thinking the window seals are the culprit. I have lots of questions as I have never worked on a fiberglass trailer, and there isn't as much information on Lil'BigFoots.
1) Restoring the floor - Any advice welcome! We are planning on cutting out the rotted pieces and replacing with plywood etc.
2) Advice on re-sealing the windows
3) Do any of the upper cabinets/tall closet actually support the structure? Or can this layout be rendered to my likings?
4) The wall coverings - I have it striped down to the insulation, which appears to just be a pink type of foam insulation. I am wondering what my options are to recover this - was looking into a vinyl type material that would be easy to wipe - just not sure how hard that will be to adhere to the shape of the shell etc.

As I said - ANY information on restoring this trailer would be great - we have it gutted to the bones right now and have to build it back from scratch!

Thanks all!
JO
If you are going to go with a vinyl be sure it has a fuzzy textured back so that glue will stick to it. . Pretty much any vinyl by the yard sold in a fabric store is not going to stay stuck to the wall or ceilings. You should go to a company that does auto and boat interiors and look through their sample books and have a discussion with them about which ones can be glued to the ceiling and walls.
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Old 06-23-2020, 06:38 AM   #9
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Name: JoJo
Trailer: 1988 13' Lil'Bigfoot
Ontario
Posts: 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
If you are going to go with a vinyl be sure it has a fuzzy textured back so that glue will stick to it. . Pretty much any vinyl by the yard sold in a fabric store is not going to stay stuck to the wall or ceilings. You should go to a company that does auto and boat interiors and look through their sample books and have a discussion with them about which ones can be glued to the ceiling and walls.

Okay thanks! I'll try to source out some local shops!
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Old 06-27-2020, 11:24 AM   #10
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita
California
Posts: 3
I just restored my Lil Bigfoot- you can find videos of what I did on the Bigfoot Facebook page or send me your email address and I will send them to you
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Old 06-27-2020, 12:16 PM   #11
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Name: Kevin
Trailer: 13' Lil Bigfoot and Escape 15a
California
Posts: 16
We have a lil BigFoot that we used for two years, before stepping up to a 15’ Escape. It’s been interesting comparing the build quality between the two. The Escape has the foil over bubble insulation glued to the inside, and then a soft vinyl that has a foam backing, glued onto the insulation. They did a clever seem cover in the corners. They glassed a block of wood at about midway to use a screw point to hold the seem cover. I’ve bought some of the same vinyl and intend to recover the BigFoot the same way. The fiberglass on the Escape is thicker. Much more solid than the BigFoot. The steel frame is so much better on the Escape too. The BigFoot frame is substandard and should be replaced. I’m sure BigFoot was trying to save weight but our frame is dangerously under engineered and now even worse, having rust issues. The body flexes, so the door is out of alinement. I have to lift up on the door to latch it.
I’m torn about selling it as is or restoring it.
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Old 06-27-2020, 01:02 PM   #12
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita
California
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How many years between the two? The Lil Bigfoot carries the Bigfoot name but it was built pretty much with modified molds from a similar trailer. Fiberglass trailers have gotten better as the years have progressed. If you decide to sell yours, let me know, central CA here.
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Old 06-27-2020, 02:03 PM   #13
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Name: Kevin
Trailer: 13' Lil Bigfoot and Escape 15a
California
Posts: 16
The BigFoot is an 89’ and the Escape is a 2010. I’m 6’ 1” and found sleeping in the BigFoot difficult as the corners are rounded, making that part of the bed really short. The Escape is shaped like a Trillium, with an honest full sized bed. One thing they have in common is cheesy cabinetry. They both used cheap pine 1x2 as framing, with thin door skin ply as panels. While this might save some weight, it’s a false economy in the long run.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:33 AM   #14
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Name: Linda
Trailer: Scamp 16'
Ontario
Posts: 14
My brother-in-law has a Bigfoot 5th wheel. He recently had to add a wooden support through the middle of the interior of the trailer as the ceiling was sagging down with the weight of the AC. It is wood that goes up one side wall, across the ceiling (shaped to the curve), and down the other side wall. So perhaps you will need to put in some structural cabinets near the centre of the cabin just to be on the safe side (long term). Better to do the extra support now while you have it gutted than later, IMO.
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:32 PM   #15
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Name: JoJo
Trailer: 1988 13' Lil'Bigfoot
Ontario
Posts: 5
Okay thanks! What is the Bigfoot Facebook group name?
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:02 PM   #16
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Name: Chelene
Trailer: Lil Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 8
I have an 89 Lil Bigfoot which is gutted, windows on site and waiting replacement. The shell was taken off the frame so frame could be cleaned, spiffed off for safety, and painted. The floor is being replaced completely.



The biggest concern now is what to put on the walls. I posted my questions about the possibility of using insulated activewear/outwear fabric instead of hullliner (ie rat fur). In particular I'm looking at whether Polartech Power Shield would be a good option. Perhaps if it is a choice for ski- and winter-wear because of durability, windproof, breathability, water replellance and flexible stretch, it could work on the walls. Not sure though. Anyone tried this?


Here's a link to a source on Vancouver Island in BC.


https://discoveryfabrics.com/collect...22310090408021
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Old 07-17-2020, 12:22 PM   #17
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Name: Lance
Trailer: Lil Bigfoot 1988 B13.5
Alberta
Posts: 21
Do a search I redid my 88 lil bigfoot 3 years ago and posted the pictures and thread on this site.
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