First fiberglass trailer - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-27-2017, 08:56 PM   #1
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Name: Bob
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First fiberglass trailer

I'm looking at getting a lil Bigfoot looking for advise on what to look for and be aware of thanks for advice
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Old 03-28-2017, 01:44 AM   #2
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I'm looking at getting a lil Bigfoot looking for advise on what to look for and be aware of thanks for advice
Hi Bob, there is a check list in the Doc center you can use for most things. You don't say what your tow vehicle is but if I remember correctly, there is a pretty big difference in the weights at a certain point in their build history. You may want to give us a few details to what you want as far as features. The BF owners will be along soon with answers for you. Good luck on your egg hunt.
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Old 03-28-2017, 07:13 AM   #3
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Download, print out and take with you every time you look at a trailer to buy: Fiberglass RV - Document Center - Buyers Check List
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Old 03-28-2017, 07:47 AM   #4
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Finding a nice used fiberglass trailer can be tough. Know your values up front, have cash in hand and be prepared to POUNCE. Pay full price, don't pester the seller with 100 questions. While you are pondering, someone else will be buying.

We just sold our Casita, took four hours.

You may have to be open for more brands than just Bigfoot. And don't expect to find one "local". The Escape we just bought was 400 miles away (one way of course). And we had been looking for a while.
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Old 03-28-2017, 07:52 AM   #5
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There have been several threads on axle replacement for Lil Bigfoot trailers. Because of the frame design, an axle replacement on this trailer is much more difficult than others. Check the suspension in the axle carefully. If it needs replacement, it requires some metal fabrication and frame modifications that will cost more than a simple replacement. Also, I believe this model is the only Bigfoot with a wood floor without fiberglass underneath the plywood. Check the floor for soft spots. Time and use cause the axle to fail. Lil Bigfoot trailers are very nice. Good luck in your search.
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Old 03-28-2017, 11:17 AM   #6
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I'm looking at getting a lil Bigfoot looking for advise on what to look for and be aware of thanks for advice
:there was one in BC for sale about 2 weeks ago, I'm not sure if I loaded it up on FGRV forums or not.
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Old 03-28-2017, 12:02 PM   #7
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Thanks for advise

How can you check the axels ? What is it you look for on the axel?
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Old 03-29-2017, 06:52 AM   #8
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How can you check the axels ? What is it you look for on the axel?
Torsion axles have rubber inside the axle tube serving as spring and shock absorber. Over time rubber hardens and loses its flex. The result is a very harsh, bouncy ride. The axle arms can also splay out, resulting in improper alignment and uneven tire wear. The normal lifespan of a rubber torsion axle is considered to be around 15-20 years.

One field test involves jacking up one side of the trailer (on the frame behind the axle). As the trailer rises, look to see if the wheels drop down. If you want, measure from the top of the wheel arch to the center of the hub before and after jacking. Little or no movement means a dead axle.

Uneven tire wear is another clue, but it could have other causes, and most sellers would replace the tires if they looked bad, anyway.

While the wheel is off the ground, you might as well spin it and listen for bearing noise or roughness, and grab both sides and wiggle it to check for looseness.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:52 AM   #9
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A Lil Bigfoot has a torsion axle. Jon in AZ has done a fine job of explaining them. You might have been thinking of a axle with leaf springs. All the larger Bigfoot trailers have leaf spring suspension.
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:07 AM   #10
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These are pretty hard to find. You might be more successful if you expand your acceptable campers.

There are a couple of Bigfoot Facebook pages. They sometimes have Bigfoot campers for sale.

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Old 03-29-2017, 09:13 AM   #11
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Thanks all

I'm looking at a lil Bigfoot just wanted to make sure I haven't missed any important things , I didn't think bout the axel being a problem how long do the axels last ? the one I'm looking at is a 1995 and seams to be in great shape and well taken care of .
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:33 AM   #12
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...how long do the axels last ? the one I'm looking at is a 1995 and seams to be in great shape and well taken care of .
Conventional wisdom is they last 15-20 years. They don't instantly go bad, so a 22 year old axle could very well have a number of years left. But it's getting near the end, so if not now, then likely soon.

As said a Lil Bigfoot axle is a bit trickier to replace due to the non-parallel frame rails. But it can be done. By some accounts, Lil Bigfoot is one of the best 13'ers you can buy, so it would surely be worth the potential trouble if you have found a nice one. If the price is right, I'd go for it. The opportunity may not come again soon.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:42 AM   #13
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Thanks all for great advise
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:00 AM   #14
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And don't wait until the axle fails. Failure on the road can be catastrophic. Better to be a little early on replacement than a little late.
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:13 AM   #15
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First fiberglass trailer

Axles don't generally fail catastrophically.

The only catastrophic axle failure I've heard of was the recent incident in which a Scamp axle broke loose from the frame. Bad deal, but it had nothing to do with age or wear, but improper installation (by Scamp or a PO modification- that was never determined). That axle was only 10 years old.

Catastrophic roadside failures are usually related to wheel bearings, and they can be serviced without replacing the axle. And should be with any newly acquired used trailer.

I have also heard of some catastrophic frame failures cause by rust and metal fatigue, so a careful inspection of frame, including the axle mounts, would be a good idea on an older trailer, especially one from a humid climate or rust belt state.
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:18 AM   #16
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Hi, I'm new here and I have similar questions as Dave except that I'm looking to buy a Bonair Oxygene 19' 2002. What should I look for? Can I put a shower in it? Can I put an Air conditionner also? Axles need to be changed after 15 to 20 years? This one will be close to 15 years. Is it a problem if the company making them does no longer exist?
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:32 AM   #17
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The axles are manufactured by one of two or three companies, not by the coach manufacturer, and are custom built to the application. It shouldn't be a problem, and you likely have a few years left. Figure $600-1000 for an axle replacement, depending on who does it and whether any frame modifications are required (as with Lil Bigfoot).

Love the Oxygens!
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:42 AM   #18
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Axel replacement

It seams replacing the axel on a Bigfoot is more complexed than other trailers why is that
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Old 03-29-2017, 12:59 PM   #19
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The main frame rails are not parallel- they angle together toward the front. Normally the mounting brackets on a torsion axle are perpendicular to the axle tube for installation on parallel rails. Apparently, Bigfoot had special axles made just to fit their unusual rails with angled brackets. You cannot order them that way now.

The usual solution, if I have understood previous postings, is to weld a custom bracket onto the frame rails to accommodate normal perpendicular axle mounts. It's a once-and-done solution- any future axle replacements will then be straightforward. Members' experiences have been varied- some shops balk while others are comfortable making the necessary modifications. A place that fabricates and sells utility trailers often has the most experience with axles, not an RV shop.

If you google "rubber torsion axle" you should turn up information on how they work and how they are mounted. A google site search ("Search" menu and scroll down to "Site Search/Google") on "Lil Bigfoot axle replacement" should turn up some old threads on this forum. Others have been down this road before.
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:46 PM   #20
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Thanks Jon for the information. Can't wait to go see the trailer tomorrow. The shower should be easy to install and I have to check if the AC can be installed. If everything is positive I will keep you informed.
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