In the market for a fixer upper! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-29-2019, 06:50 PM   #1
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Name: Jon
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In the market for a fixer upper!

Hello! As instructed in the welcome email I'm introducing myself here. I currently don't own a FG trailer, and am not likely to buy one myself. I'm actually in the market for my father, who is allergic to web forums LOL. My parents, who will be retiring soon, will be doing a lot of camping by themselves and (hopefully) also at least once or twice a year with my family. Hopefully this forum will help us find just the right one.
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Old 06-29-2019, 07:46 PM   #2
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Name: Ronald
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Fixer

Welcome to the Forum. Lots of great knowledge to be gained here!
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Old 06-29-2019, 08:01 PM   #3
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Welcome! What is your definition of a fixer upper?
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Old 06-29-2019, 08:17 PM   #4
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Iowa
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We are basically planning a total gut and rebuild to a custom floorplan and are not afraid of either welding or fiberglass work. All new electrical and plumbing is expected. So we have very low standards :-) Ideally we won't have to completely replace the frame or do much fiberglass work on compound curves. Modifying/reinforcing the frame and smaller/straighter fiberglass work is ok.
For reference, we are not professional builders but between dad and I we have restored several old houses including framing, electrical, and plumbing and refurbished a few old motorcycles, so while we are newbies and this will involve several new skillsets and much frustration, but at least we know that going in.
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Old 06-29-2019, 08:23 PM   #5
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Sounds like a good plan. If you have been around this board long enough you are probably aware that molded fiberglass trailers, in any condition, sell very quickly. You won't have time to quibble. If you see one for sale you've got to move on it. Its getting harder and harder to find deals, even on extreme fixers. Good luck!
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Old 06-29-2019, 11:01 PM   #6
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Name: K C
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A good place to start with finding a fixer is to decide on what the approximate length will be. No point in wasting peoples time having them make suggestions that are not of a suitable size.
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Old 06-30-2019, 04:01 AM   #7
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Florida
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So many "full price" older FG trailers are fixer uppers, but the owners either don't know or don't tell you.
Leaking windows etc mean rotten floors.
Lots of miles mean cracked frames.
Also there are so many scams on things like Craigslist to contend with.
Good luck with your project. I rebuilt mike like many others and it took a lot of work and money, but then it is a custom trailer made for us the way we wanted it and it was a pay as you go kind of thing.
As to saving money, not so much.
You would find it cheaper to find a trailer, in good shape the way you want it and just spend the money and go enjoy it from the start, unless you are a handyman and like projects. ( I fall generally into that category)
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Old 06-30-2019, 06:12 AM   #8
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If you want to camp soon, avoid a fixer upper. If anything, make it your second trailer so you can camp and still fix one up.

"My parents, who will be retiring soon, will be doing a lot of camping by themselves"


Don't expect to save any money on a fixer upper by the time you are done, and many "ready to go" campers are actually fixer uppers at higher prices.

Now every once in a while, you will see a trailer where the roof caved in, or a big tree hit it, or whatever, at a low, low price. Since you are open to doing extensive fiberglass work, that might work for you. But the time spent fixing comes out of your camping time. Its not unusual to see someone spend a couple of years on a proust. I've been working on mine since last September, I wouldn't really call it a fixer upper, but it wasn't all restored either. Kind of an in betweener.
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Old 06-30-2019, 07:52 AM   #9
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Name: Jon
Trailer: In the Market
Iowa
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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
A good place to start with finding a fixer is to decide on what the approximate length will be. No point in wasting peoples time having them make suggestions that are not of a suitable size.

15'-19' is the ideal size for our needs. Ideally we'd like to pick up someone else's aborted restoration because then all parties are on board with the actual condition.



We missed a great deal last year that was close to home and at a great price. I told my dad to drive and pick it up right away, but mom nixed the idea. Something to do with the fact that I found it during my wife's 30 hour labor for our first child and mom didn't think dad should leave.... LOL!!
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Old 06-30-2019, 08:16 AM   #10
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Close by would be nice. You usually have to make a pretty good drive. When I saw my Scamp 19 I called the guy jumped in the truck and drove over 500 miles (each way) that night. My Bigfoot 17 I called the folks hopped in the truck and drove over 500 each way again. The Oxygen I called the guy but had to get an expedited "enhanced" drivers license to get into Canada. I then had to drive over 600 miles each way to pick it up. Last week I called on an ad north of Vancouver Canada. The guy told me his Bigfoot 5th wheel was in pristine condition and the plumbing had only been used twice yada yada yada. After driving another 500 miles each way I pulled up to a pile of junk on wheels. Pretty sad after so much hassle and being misled to have to turn around and head home empty handed. Unfortunately if you don't jump when you see one for sale you will more than likely miss out.
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Old 06-30-2019, 08:52 AM   #11
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"Last week I called on an ad north of Vancouver Canada. The guy told me his Bigfoot 5th wheel was in pristine condition and the plumbing had only been used twice yada yada yada. After driving another 500 miles each way I pulled up to a pile of junk on wheels. Pretty sad after so much hassle and being misled to have to turn around and head home empty handed."

I had a similar experience last year, and I drove even further. I walked the seller through what I was going to check. "open up the dinette benches and gaucho and look for any rotten wood". Check the main floor for any spongy/soft spots. Look for sag on the door, and roof sag. See if frame has the recall repair or not. Suggested they check themselves first and save us both a lot of time. They assured me they checked everything on my list and it was in top notch shape....

Inspection took about two minutes. Huge soft area on main floor in front of kitchen cabinet (goner right there). Then totally dry rotted plywood inside the benches. Packed up my stuff and walked away.

Rig was advertised for sale on this forum along with C/L, someone else bought it shortly after. Good luck to them....


Huge difference between a 15 foot trailer and a 19 footer. Realize that molded FG trailers are measured end to end, so a 15 foot trailer will have a body of about 12 feet long and a 19 foot trailer will have a body of about 16 feet long. Very few 19 footers out there. Quite a few 16s and 17s. Not many 15 footers.
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Old 06-30-2019, 02:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
"Last week I called on an ad north of Vancouver Canada. The guy told me his Bigfoot 5th wheel was in pristine condition and the plumbing had only been used twice yada yada yada. After driving another 500 miles each way I pulled up to a pile of junk on wheels. Pretty sad after so much hassle and being misled to have to turn around and head home empty handed."

I had a similar experience last year, and I drove even further. I walked the seller through what I was going to check. "open up the dinette benches and gaucho and look for any rotten wood". Check the main floor for any spongy/soft spots. Look for sag on the door, and roof sag. See if frame has the recall repair or not. Suggested they check themselves first and save us both a lot of time. They assured me they checked everything on my list and it was in top notch shape....

Inspection took about two minutes. Huge soft area on main floor in front of kitchen cabinet (goner right there). Then totally dry rotted plywood inside the benches. Packed up my stuff and walked away.

Rig was advertised for sale on this forum along with C/L, someone else bought it shortly after. Good luck to them....

That's really sad. I guess I tend to think if a seller advertises on one of the forums and have more than just a few posts, they care about their trailer and who they're selling to and would be honest. I guess that's really not the case. When I bought my trailer from BobB. years ago, I had some connections through a rally. He wouldn't even agree to sell it to me over the phone. I drove up there and met him in a Burger King and it was something of an interview. My daughter who was with me was getting ready to go into the USAF, and he was former USAF, and we had brought our big furry dog, and he had his big furry dog, so he decided we were okay. Bob even knocked $500 off the price, even though I was prepared to give him his asking price. You don't meet many people like that. Wish he was still around the forums so I could tell him how much joy we have gotten out of his old trailer these last 12 years.
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Old 06-30-2019, 07:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
. . . . make it your second trailer so you can camp and still fix one up . . . don't expect to save any money on a fixer upper by the time you are done.
I agree with these two comments. And here is a handy formula I use:

(expected $ x 2) + (expected hours x 3) = fixer upper investment
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Old 07-06-2019, 11:49 AM   #14
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Name: Randy
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Ardmore, Alabama
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Where are you located? That's a good place to start is finding out where you are.. I'm in Alabama and have 9 campers that I'm going to sell at some point right now i have two that I'm renovating...
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:41 PM   #15
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Name: Jon
Trailer: In the Market
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Where are you located? That's a good place to start is finding out where you are.. I'm in Alabama and have 9 campers that I'm going to sell at some point right now i have two that I'm renovating...

Iowa, about 600 miles from you. Which doesn't bother me at all; I love a road trip! We are on a holding pattern at the moment because dad wants to sell his current (non fiberglass) trailer before picking up a new one. Who knows, maybe your "at some point" and our being ready to shop will coincide!
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