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Author Topic: Small trailer options - fiberglass vs. aluminium???  (Read 523 times)

ronweasleys

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Small trailer options - fiberglass vs. aluminium???
« on: October 09, 2019, 09:19:36 AM »
My wife and I are in the market for a smaller tow-behind trailer. Requirements are basically a bed, small stove and a fridge. Shower / bath are optional, call those 'nice to have.' I have a large truck that would have no problem towing a smaller trailer.

I have a friend who has indicated he would sell me his 2006 16' Scamp for ~$11k, it has a front shower / bath. Size-wise it is just about right for us, and we've previously borrowed a 13' Scamp and liked it. That price is about $1k more than he paid for it 5+ years ago.

Now that we've started the search in earnest, I'm seeing a lot of brand new trailers with the same features (and arguably nicer-looking interior) that are aluminium body that are slightly bigger than that, and not much more expensive. The markups are ridiculous, but it appears that you could get one new for maybe $13k with similar features - looking specifically at a Wolf Pup 16FQีีีีufabet9x

I guess my question is how much of the Scamp / Casita / Egg prices are buying into the "club" (for lack of a better term) and how much is actual value (e.g. durability). Are the aluminium ones just really cheaply made and won't hold their value that well, or are there other things to consider?

Thanks in advance kind strangers!
« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 02:37:34 PM by ronweasleys »

DavidM

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Re: Small trailer options - fiberglass vs. aluminium???
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2019, 10:49:08 AM »
I have very good knowledge of Living Lite trailers but limited understanding of the fiberglass trailers like the Casita, Scamp, etc.

The original LL's (built before about 2016-2017 have an aluminum frame, sides and roofs. The interior is a bit industrial looking with aluminum exposed frames and Azdel panels. These construction techniques offer two rather unique benefits in the world of RV's: extremely light weight and nothing to rot. The former is an advantage as autos towing specifications decline and the latter is longevity.

The fiberglass bodies use a steel frame. Don't know what they use for floors, but hopefully a composite. They give up something in weight to the LLs- fiberglass sides and roofs are heavier than all aluminum. But I don't think they give up anything in longevity.

Are you buying into a cult either the fiberglass or the all aluminum one? Well yes, but that cult is made up of people that appreciate the advantages that type of construction brings and are willing to pay a bit more for it.

David

dlb53151

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Re: Small trailer options - fiberglass vs. aluminium???
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2019, 01:37:39 PM »
My 2 cents:  the aluminum frame is key.  It is much more durable than wood but you will be paying $$$$ for it.  Depends on your objective.   If you are looking to keep the trailer longer term and the quality is important to you,  spend the extra $$$$.  If you are looking to buy a trailer and use it a couple years, not being concerned about the quality, go cheaper (and donít be concerned about the big depreciation hit.).  Like many things in life, generally you get what you pay for.   

A higher end trailer like the LL will last many, many years if you take good care of it.   


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gbpack

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Re: Small trailer options - fiberglass vs. aluminium???
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2019, 10:40:21 PM »
There are a lot of good, previously owned, Liviní Lite trailers out there in the market. Consider one of them. You wonít be disappointed!

Pinstriper

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Re: Small trailer options - fiberglass vs. aluminium???
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2019, 03:48:00 AM »
Scamp and Casita frames are steel, which is of course heavier than aluminum, as is fiberglass. I would wager the floors are some sort of marine grade plywood, and of course there is no lack of woodwork in the finished interior.

By design they end up with fewer seams than a stick built trailer with an aluminum or fiberglass skin. So it is a matter of diligent inspection and maintenance of the caulking/sealant at those seams. Easier because fewer. But when it leaks - and it will, the interior would and presumable floor will take a hit.

We had a 17í or 19í fiberglass model in mind, but with no dealer network they really make it hard to be a buyer.

We saw the Camplites at an rv show, were sold on the all aluminum but especially the dual axles and slideout on the 14dbs. Were in not for Camplite, we would eventually have persevered and gone with the Scamp, probably.


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djsamuel

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Re: Small trailer options - fiberglass vs. aluminium???
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2019, 12:00:34 AM »
The Oliver trailers are fiberglass and have an aluminum frame. They aren't cheap though.

DavidM

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Re: Small trailer options - fiberglass vs. aluminium???
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2019, 07:39:34 AM »
Yes, I looked at Olivers before we bought our 16TBS. Very nice, but heavy- about 1,000 lbs more than the equivalent LL.
Couldn't (well wouldn't) tow one with our mid sized SUV.

David

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Re: Small trailer options - fiberglass vs. aluminium???
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2019, 05:21:17 PM »
I watched a video of the Oliver build process.
One concern I would have is all the plumbing is under the floor between the two halves, which are bonded together.     What a nightmare that would be if a leak developed.

illusha

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Re: Small trailer options - fiberglass vs. aluminium???
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2019, 10:49:08 PM »
I've strongly considered molded fiberglass trailers. My initial reasoning is that I go off road often and thick fiberglass shells are more resistant to scratching and denting than aluminum. But they are not mold or rot proof.

Oliver and Bigfoot trailers are very nice, very well insulated and loaded with quality wood, making them quite heavy. Scamp and Casita are lighter, have more fiberglass inside, but less insulated and smaller floorplans. And they all have wood inside.

That realization helped me make my decision. I looked at an older Campmaster toyhauler with a rare aluminum roof and though it might be the one. Until I found out that the bathroom plumbing and refrigerator drain leaked at some point and created soft floor right in the middle of the trailer. Would have to remove darn near everything to replace 2 or 3 sheets of plywood and at that point might as well start with converting a blank cargo trailer.

All trailers are subject to leaks if they have any holes or vents anywhere. Molded fiberglass trailers included. They have roof vents, skylights, window seals, various cable holes, appliances and plumbing inside. And they all have wooden floors that rot. And steel frames that rust. I've read about replacing the floors "from the inside" on molded trailers with full fiberglass underbelly. Not something that sounds like fun.

Imagine the smile on my face when I used a 4 GPM pressure washer on the inside of my all-aluminum trailer the first time I washed it : )

Pinstriper

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Re: Small trailer options - fiberglass vs. aluminium???
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2019, 02:51:24 AM »
I would rather have dent or scratch in the aluminum, than cracked fiberglas, or a gouge through the gelcoat.



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