Hi everyone, new hopefully future owner! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-20-2021, 04:41 PM   #1
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Hi everyone, new hopefully future owner!

So new to owning a trailer, I'm inspired by my friends, and staying in my friends small airstream, to get a small trailer to be able to more easily just drop in to camping without as much work setup/teardown


So now begins my search for a good condition used trailer, something smallish, 13-15 feet I think. And importantly, finding a localish fiberglass trailer person so I can get things checked out and make sure whatever I buy is in good enough condition, and get whatever work I need done done!


Anyone have any recommendation for places in the Los Angeles, California area? Or places to look to buy?


Or even examples of good/bad to look/inspect before buying?
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Old 09-24-2021, 04:02 AM   #2
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I would suggest you spend some time on this form reading the different threads . One cavoite, don't get to wigged out by the problems. Remember that people come to the forms to get help but it really is a small percentage of the total ownership base.
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Old 09-24-2021, 10:24 AM   #3
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Thanks! I've been reading various threads. Right now my biggest challenge is figuring out whether to get the OEM hitch which is a stealth non-standard receiver, or a 3rd party standard receiver. And needing to get them to install a brake controller as well, for either one. *sigh* decisions decisions...
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Old 09-24-2021, 01:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drizzt321 View Post
Thanks! I've been reading various threads. Right now my biggest challenge is figuring out whether to get the OEM hitch which is a stealth non-standard receiver, or a 3rd party standard receiver. And needing to get them to install a brake controller as well, for either one. *sigh* decisions decisions...
What vehicle are we talking about?

One possibility to do some molded trailer "sightseeing" is to visit the Lake Casitas rally in October. Information here: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ead-95772.html

Supply of used units is pretty limited, so you'll have to search a variety of online sites, including this one, local and regional Craigslist (beware of scams), and www.fiberglass-rv-4sale.com. Fairly priced units in good condition sell very quickly.

Most RV shops will do a pre-purchase inspection, but given the quick pace of sales, you may find sellers don't want to bother. Better to arm yourself with information and a Buyer's Checklist (click and download) and plan to do your own inspection. If needed, perhaps you can recruit a neighbor, friend, or family member to guide you.

One more helpful resource is the "Trailer Weights in the Real World" database. Click to download the Trailer Weights Spreadsheet. These are (mostly) scaled weights of units loaded for travel. This will give you a more realistic idea of what your vehicle can pull.
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Old 09-24-2021, 01:26 PM   #5
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What vehicle are we talking about?

2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country


It's AWD, and 3500lb rating, so should be able to handle a smaller fiberglass just fine. Just really annoyed at the dealership and Volvo. It's an official tow package, but doesn't include a brake controller? Really? And they won't install a 3rd party one, because 3rd party. *sigh*
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Old 09-24-2021, 01:35 PM   #6
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That's a problem with a lot of smaller tow vehicles. Only trucks and a few larger SUVs offer a factory trailer brake controller. Among the rest, some definitely make it easier than others.

And yes, you should be good up to around 16' or so. I recall from previous conversations that some Volvos are limited on the tongue weight rating. No idea if that includes yours.
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Old 09-24-2021, 07:33 PM   #7
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Car and small trailer

Cars vary they can pull 1000, 1500, 2500 lbs or more depending on unit. This is the factory unbraked rating. bolers can be as light as 800 lbs depends on options and size and modifications. We looked at a new trailer it was 16' and 1700 lbs dry weight, lighter does cost more.

WD system helps with tongue weight, add sway bar.

We use a special frame hitch; Andy the hitch specialist at Can-am Rv in London Ontario modified the dealers hitch and setup ball height. Car is unibody and they recommend changing it.

Customization of hitch cost more but believe it is better than the regular hitch setup.

You can add a transaxle cooler Mr. Transition has a nice little unit.

The brake controller and 7 pin module is easy to purchase make sure it has a dedicated battery charging wire. Dealer unit caught fire lucky for us we had a fire extinguisher in trunk. Car warranty would have replace the modal under warranty, we did not have them fix it, got a module upgrade prior as we were camping the replacement was better.

We have a no longer available tow package at time of car purchase.

Check if full size tire will fit in the trunk for tire changes when towing.

Remember gas costs, the more you send on gas the less you have for fun.

Have fun and play safe
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Old 09-24-2021, 07:57 PM   #8
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fixer upper lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drizzt321 View Post
So new to owning a trailer, I'm inspired by my friends, and staying in my friends small airstream, to get a small trailer to be able to more easily just drop in to camping without as much work setup/teardown

So now begins my search for a good condition used trailer, something smallish, 13-15 feet I think. And importantly, finding a localish fiberglass trailer person so I can get things checked out and make sure whatever I buy is in good enough condition, and get whatever work I need done done!

Anyone have any recommendation for places in the Los Angeles, California area? Or places to look to buy?

Or even examples of good/bad to look/inspect before buying?
Choices depend on options:

My Cousin has a vintage argosy/airstream same size as our boler. Its axle is farther back. Fresh water, grey and black water tanks are not visible as it has sheeting across under it, no piping or other items show below his unit.

The tongue weight is well over 400 lbs. and his trailer weight is more than double. I has more luxury than our boler but needs a good strong tv to pull it. That means more gas cost. I admit it looks good.

Glad we have a vintage boler. We have the gas saving side for sure and easier to fix. Not sure if he can get parts easier?
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Old 09-29-2021, 07:12 PM   #9
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Go to the Volvo forums and read about towing a travel trailer and you will get better insight of a Volvo for towing. You are going to have to do something about Mirrors as you need to see what is behind you. Stock OEM mirrors will not give the the safe view that is needed. You can buy some mirrors that attach to your stock ones that extend out but maybe not far enough as a Volvo is a narrow vehicle.

What is the weight rating of a Volvo hitch, and is a weight distribution hitch listed as acceptable as it puts more weight on the rear of the tow vehicle. The safety rating sticker on the hitch will have a rating on it for with and without WDH if it is allowed.

Do a search for "Volvo" here also and you will find several post with good information on Volvo towing. What you want to do is easily doable, just may cost more than other brands and a lot of nay-sayers.
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Old 09-29-2021, 08:06 PM   #10
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So update, decided I'll get the OEM Volvo hitch, which should handle just about any small trailer I'd be interested in. Especially if it has brakes. Now just to wait until the parts arrive and get the



But you're right about the mirrors, I'll undoubtedly want to get some extenders. Which are now on their way.
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Old 09-29-2021, 09:38 PM   #11
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California

Where are you in California. I live in the Victorville area. I will be watching for an egg shell trailer for you. You have to move fast on one as they sell fast if they are in any usable condition. Do not do any money transaction online only in person at a bank or in the parking lot of a police department if you have any concerns. If it is short enough overall length (I think it is 15 feet from the tip if the hitch to rear most point. If you have to take off the spare tire and rack to get it measured by the DMV) you can get Permanent Trailer Identification, PTI plate and also pay the extra for a title from the DMV when you register it. The title will make it easier to sell than just the registration and bill of sale when you sell it.

We are on our 3rd egg and love them. Our current one is a 1980 Trillium 4500 although we don't use it right now it is always ready to go. We have a Class A we use mostly now.

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1978 Trillium 1300, front bunk beds. sold
2004 Damon Challenger 335F, fiberglass Class A, retirement home
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Old 09-29-2021, 10:02 PM   #12
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Ha! I'm in Santa Monica, although I'm also looking all the way up to SF/Sacramento, or even parts of Nevada or Arizona if I find what looks to be the first one.


My biggest concerns are mechanically and structurally sound (including no leaks/etc), then that the basic propane/wiring is solid and the interior is in usable, decent shape.


I'm also contemplating an restored "canned ham" style trailer, most of them seem pretty lightweight in the 12-15' length. Although my first concern, about the basic condition, becomes even more important then. I definitely don't want a project trailer at this time.



Still, a fiberglass 13-15' trailer (don't know of many that are 15') about ~1200-1500lb or so dry weight, even older in good shape, could be a great first trailer for me and help me refine what might want for a future trailer, and help inform me for a future tow vehicle when I start considering replacing my car in 2-3 years.



And yeah, thanks for the advice on the actual transaction location. Unfortunately (sorta, mostly fortunately) my banking is all done through USAA, so all online, so that's an extra contemplation, even though I can pay cash. It's figuring out how to get it to them securely without having to carry actual cash... But actual exchange of money at some place near a police station or somewhere similar, if a private sale, makes a lot of sense.
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Old 09-30-2021, 06:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drizzt321 View Post
2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country


It's AWD, and 3500lb rating, so should be able to handle a smaller fiberglass just fine. Just really annoyed at the dealership and Volvo. It's an official tow package, but doesn't include a brake controller? Really? And they won't install a 3rd party one, because 3rd party. *sigh*
Few if any tow packages include brake controller. Its the exception.
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Old 09-30-2021, 12:32 PM   #14
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Few if any tow packages include brake controller. Its the exception.

Yeah, as I've found out *sigh* Ah well, 3rd party it is, should be just fine.
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Old 09-30-2021, 12:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Drizzt321 View Post
2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country
... doesn't include a brake controller.
We went with a 2021 XC-40 with the dealer-installed tow package AND SOFTWARE!
- When using the backup camera, I can choose "Towball" and it draws a line that curves with the steering to show where your towball is headed.
- Trailer light check. It blinks the lights one-at-a-time so you can get out and check.
- Sway control. (Who knows, using the ABS to dynamically brake your way out of a sway?)
- Disabling the blindslot and cross-traffic sensors so they are not constantly going off.

I chose not to try and fool with the Volvo wiring to add a brake controller, so I bolted a Tekonsha Prodigy RF onto the trailer and it works perfectly for our last 5 trips.
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Old 09-30-2021, 12:46 PM   #16
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We went with a 2021 XC-40 with the dealer-installed tow package AND SOFTWARE!
- When using the backup camera, I can choose "Towball" and it draws a line that curves with the steering to show where your towball is headed.
- Trailer light check. It blinks the lights one-at-a-time so you can get out and check.
- Sway control. (Who knows, using the ABS to dynamically brake your way out of a sway?)
- Disabling the blindslot and cross-traffic sensors so they are not constantly going off.

I chose not to try and fool with the Volvo wiring to add a brake controller, so I bolted a Tekonsha Prodigy RF onto the trailer and it works perfectly for our last 5 trips.

That's nice to hear about the software/backup camera stuff. Very cool! Didn't know that part.

That Prodigy RF looks interesting. On the one hand, RF "unreliable", but on the other hand it's a real controller and offers meaningful adjustments and manual braking if I need (such as going down one of the Western mountains, which I'll be doing), and I imagine this would be much more reliable rather than the bluetooth one I had up above. On the list, although I suspect I'll just get a wired one installed by a pro and be done with it, no worries. But thanks for the additional option.


And definitely thanks for the feedback on the extras on the Volvo software, really good to know!


EDIT: Looks like the parts will be in in 1-2 days, and then make the appointment to get it installed! So probably Sunday or Monday, more likely, I'll have a hitch! Then the search commences seriously for a trailer.
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Old 09-30-2021, 02:21 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by AlanKilian View Post
- Sway control. (Who knows, using the ABS to dynamically brake your way out of a sway?)
Might not be the same, but it is my understanding that the Ecoboost software has trailer sway control that, using accelerometers detects sway, then applies only the trailer brakes, just like you would if you felt sway. BTW, that is why trailer brake controllers have a manual override.
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Old 09-30-2021, 02:51 PM   #18
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Might not be the same, but it is my understanding that the Ecoboost software has trailer sway control that, using accelerometers detects sway, then applies only the trailer brakes, just like you would if you felt sway. BTW, that is why trailer brake controllers have a manual override.

On the Volvo, at least my 2016 V60 CC, the anti-sway explicitly calls out interacting with the Dynamic Traction System to apply the brakes (car brakes) to help control the sway. And when checked with Volvo parts folks, who called Volvo corporate, it does NOT act as a brake controller, so on the tow vehicle only.



Thus needing to get an additional 3rd party brake controller. You'd think if you're already going to be making software updates and adding additional controller stuff you'd just go ahead and throw in a brake controller, but noooooo
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Old 09-30-2021, 06:54 PM   #19
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Not sure, but don’t most smaller Euro-market caravans come with surge brakes? No controller is needed.
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Old 09-30-2021, 09:26 PM   #20
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Not sure, but don’t most smaller Euro-market caravans come with surge brakes? No controller is needed.

Dunno, but I'm in the USA.
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