Hello, I'm Keith (looking to buy a trailer asap) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-14-2020, 03:46 PM   #1
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Name: Keith
Trailer: ParkLiner
Florida
Posts: 23
Hello, I'm Keith (looking to buy a trailer asap)

Hi everyone,

My name is Keith. I've been a lurker for a while, but have moved from the research phase with fiberglass campers to the looking-to-buy phase. I'm located in South Florida, and am looking at trailers all over the state. (I looked at a beautiful 16-footer earlier today, but I'm afraid that the layout won't quite work for us.)

My target purchase is a 17' Casita Deluxe, either with the bunk bed option or a layout that supports a bunk bed configuration. I'm fairly handy, so I don't mind an older trailer, and I'm not opposed to something other than a Casita, if the layout can be made to work for us.

I see one or two classified ads with trailers that might be a match for our needs, but if you're considering listing one, please message me. My budget is flexible...trying not to pay for a brand new one, but happy to pay for good condition and upgrades, etc.

Happy to be here.

Cheers,
Keith
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Old 02-15-2020, 07:03 AM   #2
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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Welcome, Keith!

Casita 17Ds with the side bunk option are very rare. I’ve seen a couple of conversions of the Spirit side dinette into bunks. That would be the more likely way to get what you want.

Best wishes in your search!
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Old 02-15-2020, 10:14 AM   #3
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Name: Stephen
Trailer: Casita
Tennessee
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Exclamation Best Plan

You don't mention the use profile you have in mind for your new trailer. It should guide your acquisition investigations.
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Old 02-15-2020, 10:30 AM   #4
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Name: Justus
Trailer: Hymer Touring GT
Illinois
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Keith if you haven't done so, I recommend joining the Facebook groups "Small travel trailer marketplace," "Casita Owners - RV Classifieds," and "Molded Fiberglass RV 4 Sale." The latter has a standalone website.

A Scamp 16' Layout 4, with the side bath, also has a front bunk option if you want to broaden your search.
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Old 02-15-2020, 11:32 AM   #5
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Name: Keith
Trailer: ParkLiner
Florida
Posts: 23
Howdy,

Thanks for the welcome and good suggestions!

Jon, that was my thinking too. I believe I'd even prefer to convert a side dinette more than the factory bunks. I've seen a few nice pics of that...seems like the bunks can be a bit larger that way...and these kids keep growing :-)

Justus, I'm anti-Facebook, but I'll definitely check out the other website you mention, thank you. Also, the 16' Scamp layouts 4 and 6 are definitely on our short list.

While so many of them are rare, especially down here in the ~tropics, I think there are a number of fiberglass trailer models that could be made to work. Some of them would require gutting or a pretty major overhaul, but if that intersection of potential and price is right, I'm openminded.

We had a 28' Rockwood until a year or two ago. It was our first travel trailer, although we've been camping for >40 years. What we learned is that a trailer is a great way to extend our camping season, especially down here where it's often difficult to sleep comfortably without AC. What we also learned is that all of those wood trailers with siding/laminate and the vinyl roof are basically the same. Those manufacturers have standardized gaudy design, and they're all like sponges down here, soaking up the rain and moisture in the air, rotting right before our eyes. That, and we sold the diesel rig. So, fiberglass is in our future.

I've even entertained the idea of remounting two tiny fiberglass trailers onto a modified boat trailer. A two bedroom setup, if you will. Problem there is losing some of the benefits of going small in the first place. I've also researched converting a full fiberglass sailboat to a camper. The 26' MacGregor (https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/macgregor-26s), if anyone else is interested, is the perfect boat for this endeavor. The main challenge for me is how the dog gets in and out safely, and without tearing up his joints as he gets older. Also, I'm sure there are park rangers who would frown on the use of a sailboat as a camper, but of course the boat is made for overnights.

Best,
Keith
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Old 02-15-2020, 11:35 AM   #6
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Name: Thomas
Trailer: 2016 ,17ft Spirt deluxe Casita.
Florida
Posts: 28
I live in eastern central Florida, and have a 2016 - 17ft SD.
I’m looking to sell due to declining health. Where do you live in Florida?
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Old 02-15-2020, 11:41 AM   #7
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Name: Keith
Trailer: ParkLiner
Florida
Posts: 23
Hi ironbutt,

Awesome, I just sent you a DM.
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Old 02-22-2020, 03:59 PM   #8
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Name: Dan
Trailer: Casita 17 SD
Florida
Posts: 28
Bunk beds

Hi,
For my 17 SD I just converted the side dinette to a single bunk and did something similar in back so we 77 yearolds won't be climbing over at night for bathroom trips. The normal cushions are a bit like rocks to sleep on so I had a mattress company (The Foam Factory) split a full size futon into 2 parts. I find that the 27" width is sufficient and it allows the bathroom door to open 90 degrees to the bed. What is a bit of interference is the refrigerator door will not open 90 degrees. That only becomes a problem getting a large item out of the freezer compartment.
You might look on the fiberglassrv4sale site for the bigfoot 17 which is wider than the Casita. That model also has a side bath which allows for sleeping front and rear along with better weight balance over the axle.
Good luck camping with kids in a Casita!
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Old 02-22-2020, 05:16 PM   #9
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Name: Dennis
Trailer: Casita 17SD
Texas
Posts: 16
17SD for sale in East Texas

I have a 2011 17SD for sale, but I'm in East Texas so that may be further than you want to travel to pick it up.
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Old 03-01-2020, 09:41 PM   #10
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Name: Keith
Trailer: ParkLiner
Florida
Posts: 23
Dan, I'm going to use your recommendation of converting the side dinette into bunks. Good stuff, thanks.

Dennis, thank you for letting me know. I ended up buying a trailer in Florida this weekend. Best of luck selling your Casita...I'm wishing I'd bought one, actually. I went with a 2014 ParkLiner instead.

Before buy the ParkLiner, I read up on all of the issues that the early models had (batteries inside, plastic gas lines inside, and wheel well-to-tire rub). I confirmed before driving to see it that this unit had/s an external dual battery compartment (behind/under the propane tanks), black gas pipe routed on the exterior underside, and that the wheel wells were *almost* clear of any scuff marks (there was one minor black scuff mark on one wheel well).

Feeling pretty good about these things, I completed the purchase and towed it to the forest for a couple nights of camping. On the way home today, the passenger side tire blew out (tire was in good shape before the blowout). When I pulled over to look, I realized that the tire had burned a hole through the fiberglass at the bottom front of the wheel well. The sharp, exposed fiberglass edge had then stabbed the tire and ripped it open.

Looks like I need one new tire, spacers for the existing axle (or perhaps a new high-lift axle), and a fiberglass repair.

Once I got the spare installed and aired up (had the Viair in the truck, fortunately), I decided to take the side roads home, so a three-hour trip turned into more like five. I had lots of time to reflect, of course, on what I terrible purchase I made :-/

The seller hadn't used the trailer lately. I'm assuming that the torsion axle sags a little more each year, and I became the lucky owner just in time for the tire to start rubbing the wheel well to a degree that caused serious damage.

I do like the width of the ParkLiner, and I'm not too worried about the repairs required to getting it running safely. I think my bigger concern is the unknown, i.e. any other issues that might afflict this particular camper. I'll try to stay on topic and take this (along with pics of the damage) over to a new thread for my fellow ParkLiner owners.

Anyway, I'm now a fiberglass trailer owner. "No regerts" seems appropriate.

PS- While changing the tire, I saw a beautiful little Scamp roll by at 70 mph in the lane closest to the shoulder where I was pulled off. It made the sting of the ParkLiner purchase event more distinct. I must have been looking longingly as it wheeled past me, envious of a trailer that actually rolls without causing fiberglass and tires to explode. Heh.
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Old 03-01-2020, 10:08 PM   #11
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Name: Dennis
Trailer: Casita 17SD
Texas
Posts: 16
Glad you got a trailer. I lived in my little Casita full-time for 5 years. Then I had a couple of the RV Park neighbors chip in and buy me an ancient motorhome that was in the park. So I've already spent a bunch in repairs. Just had the front A/C go out last Summer, so more bills on the way (I'm not even thinking about what it would cost to get it really roadworthy again). So I can sympathize with your unexpected repairs. But it sounds like you're getting it under control.
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Old 03-01-2020, 10:14 PM   #12
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Name: Keith
Trailer: ParkLiner
Florida
Posts: 23
Hi Dennis,

Thanks. Unexpected repairs are a bummer, for sure. In my case, I should probably just be glad that the damage wasn't worse, and that I didn't get run over changing the tire on I-95.

I hope you get your AC working before that Texas heat kicks in. Best to you, and thanks for letting me vent :-)
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:36 AM   #13
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 9,341
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Check date codes on those tires (WWYY, week and year). If they’re original, they’re near end-of-life, regardless of tread. In addition, with a used trailer, you never know if they’ve ever been run low on pressure, encountered a pothole.... Even once can leave hidden damage that makes them vulnerable to sudden failure.

In fact, are you absolutely sure tire rub caused the blowout or might a blowout have caused the fiberglass damage? You'll know when you replace the tire and see how it's sitting in the well.

Regardless, best wishes getting it sorted out and back on the road. The Parkliner is a unique design. It's the smallest trailer I know of suitable for tall people, both interior height and bed length.

The only other issue I can recall reading about relates to the door hinges. They are painted, and when the paint wears off the hinge starts rusting. I'm not sure replacements are available, so take care of them. Lubricate wear areas with white lithium grease and keep the paint touched up.
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:57 AM   #14
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Name: bob
Trailer: Was A-Liner now 13f Scamp
Missouri
Posts: 3,075
inclined to agree wth john

I too suspect the tire blowing out caused your damage. I know there are different camps but I don't drive 70mph with my camper. Just too many things to go wrong!

bob

Oh congratulations on your excellent trailer!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Check date codes on those tires. If it’s a 2014 and they’re original, they’re at end-of-life, regardless of tread.

With a used trailer, you never know if they’ve ever been run low on pressure. Even once can leave hidden damage.

In fact, are you absolutely sure tire rub caused the blowout or might the blowout have caused the fiberglass damage?

Regardless, best wishes getting it sorted out and back on the road. The Parkliner is a unique design.
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Old 03-11-2020, 03:43 PM   #15
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Name: Keith
Trailer: ParkLiner
Florida
Posts: 23
Hi Dennis, Jon and Bob, thanks for the feedback and compliments on the new rig!

I'd say pretty much any used travel trailer that anyone purchases needs new tires :-) I was planning on doing that after I made it back home, but apparently that was too much delay for one of those tires. It happens. I've decided that I'm still happy with the purchase, despite a list of issues that I'm going to address immediately.

The first is the tire clearance. I've read 50 or so pages of ParkLiner forum threads here, but I never did see a fix that I liked (plenty of fixes, but not any that appeal to me). So, my trailer is up at our local truck and trailer fabrication shop now getting 6" of steel lift. This will be a permanent fix that keeps the Torflex axle. Hopefully, it will allow me to run bigger tires and wheels too (but I still need to check with Dexter Axle as to what sizes are approved). I'm keen on at least getting much wider tires to offset the increased "tippiness" that can result from a lift. I'll post a new ParkLiner thread with pics when it's completed. Maybe it will assist other folks who come to deal with this same issue.

Re: the door hinges, mine are a little rusty, but not bad. I'll keep them painted and lubed, Jon. I appreciate the tip.

The factory AC installation doesn't cool enough for South Florida--the seller was transparent about this, and my testing confirmed it. When I look inside the little box where the AC unit is installed, I see all sorts of misguided baffles and padding, other areas that should be sealed but aren't--it's a mess. It looks to me as if the warm exhaust air from the unit is blowing back into the cabin, and the cooling fins are mostly covered in some foam that ParkLiner packed in there...which really limits the proper function of the unit. I'm going to removed and clean the AC unit, and then rebuild the box to work properly. If that doesn't do the trick, I'll install a small mini split unit. We'd had a couple of them; they're almost magical.

The two brand new batteries seem to be discharging quickly and for no particular reason, and I see that this model has some vampire power/lower leak issues. I'll start by adding a marine kill switch and a really nice charger/battery conditioner. If anyone has other thoughts on this subject, I'm all ears.

I also still need a bunk on top of the existing single bed/double dinette. Taking my measurements, I see that there's very little vertical clearance for a bunk due to the generous presence of overhead cabinets. I reasoned that a super-thin bunk will give both sleepers more headroom, so my idea is to basically hang a canvas cot as the bunk, eliminating the need for a mattress and cross-members/plywood. Down here, we have all sorts of boat fabrications shops; they make boat towers, railings, stands and all manner of custom designs out of stainless steel and aluminum tubing, and they also make awnings, tops and really burly upholstery. I've contact my neighborhood shop for a pretty tricked out custom bunk...a sort of burly cot with long tubular legs at each end. I'm waiting for a quote. If they want as much money as I suspect, I'll just build a less attractive version of it myself. I'll post pics of that, as well.

This might be too much for a little ol' welcome thread, idk. Anyway, I'll add a couple of new threads with before/after pics as we complete some of these modifications. Thanks to everyone who has chimed in so far.
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Old 03-11-2020, 04:29 PM   #16
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 9,341
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Just a caution... Wide tires on a raised suspension will require some kind of fender extensions (maybe mud flaps, too) to comply with law in most states, to protect other motorists from rocks being thrown out, and to keep road rash off the sides of your Parkliner. Fiberglass gelcoat is brittle and fairly easily chipped.
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Old 03-11-2020, 04:44 PM   #17
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Name: Keith
Trailer: ParkLiner
Florida
Posts: 23
Hi Jon, I 100% agree.



The tires are so tucked in today, I'd guess that the trailer can gain about 4" - 6" in stance width before the rubber would would peek out, fortunately.
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