I Drunk-Bought A Fiberglass Former U-Haul Rental Camper And It’s Fantastic

1rental

On Sunday, I made what is definitely now the biggest drunk purchase of my life. I sent a man 381 miles away a bunch of cash for a trailer that needs repairs. I’m now the owner of a U-Haul CT13 Get-A-Way Camper, one of the coolest campers ever built from an unexpected company. This trailer is one of those rare instances where it gets more wild the more you look into it.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Americans hit campgrounds in a new kind of camping trailer. The fiberglass camper promised lower maintenance, light weight, and a distinctive style. Americans were downsizing in this era thanks to a fuel crisis, tightening vehicle emissions, and a recession. A lot of people no longer owned vehicles that could tow a huge camper, paving the way for fiberglass trailers to become a favorite for campers. Meanwhile, U-Haul – the do-it-yourself rental giant – saw an opportunity.

At the time, U-Haul was going through one of its weirder periods in history. Back in the 1980s, you could rent almost anything from U-Haul.

That’s not an embellishment. You could walk into a U-Haul dealer and come out with an ATV, a Jet Ski, a VHS player, a tractor, and so much more.

And yes, most of those items would have that familiar logo and orange hue.

1uhaul
Playboy Magazine via Lunchmeat VHS

For campers, U-Haul offered a choice of motorhomes or two towables. The motorhomes were standard stuff right out of the factory, such as a Winnebago. But the company would do something completely different for the towables. Instead of just renting someone else’s camper, U-Haul decided to design the best fiberglass trailers of the era. The most popular of the two is the CT13 Get-A-Way Camper like the one you see here today:

Img 7730
Mercedes Streeter

The U-Haul Camper Story

If you go diving through the internet you’ll find a lot of rumors, best guesses, and assumptions about how U-Haul built its campers. For example, a popular rumor is that the smaller of U-Haul’s campers, the CT13, was built using old Burro camper molds. Some say it’s a Scamp with U-Haul stickers on it. Indeed, it does look like a Burro and I suppose you might see some Scamp in there, too. Here’s a Burro, for reference:

Burro002
Fiberglass RVs 4 Sale

Last year, I decided to get to the bottom of the decades-old rumors and I asked U-Haul how its campers were built. U-Haul’s Media Relations team were surprised at my quest, but as luck would have it there was still someone working for U-Haul that had a hand in bringing the campers to market. Sadly, my copy of the conversation has been lost, but I did save notes.

They told me that U-Haul’s design process involved buying some of the most popular fiberglass trailers on the market, then hauling them into U-Haul’s facility. Those trailers were a Burro, a Scamp, and other then-popular brands. The engineers were then told to examine each trailer for its strengths and weaknesses. They would then take those strengths and bake them into a single trailer backed by one of U-Haul’s beefy frames.

Contrary to the rumor, U-Haul CT13s weren’t built using Burro molds, but U-Haul’s own unique molds. But the end result looks like a Burro because the design is inspired by one.

Img 7704
Mercedes Streeter

These trailers were manufactured by U-Haul subsidiary Rec-Vee World, as well as Dayton Trailer Manufacturing Company in Ohio, Youngstown Trailer Manufacturing in Ohio, and potentially a couple of more companies. They were produced for just a short two years between 1984 and 1985. Despite U-Haul’s size and the number of manufacturers contracted to build them, both the CT13 and its larger VT16 sibling are exceedingly rare.

How rare? Sadly, while U-Haul did have records of production numbers, the gentleman that I spoke with couldn’t find them. He spent weeks digging through the archives and it seems that the records have been lost. The best guess comes from U-Haul CEO Joe Shoen. He says that there are fewer than 2,000 CT13s in the wild. And the VT16 just barely exists with fewer than 80 units made. How many of them are left in functional condition is also unknown.

U-Haul did get some use out of its small fleet of campers. They were rented out from 1984 to 1992. Normally, a U-Haul trailer’s life ends when the company is done renting them. U-Haul destroys most of its trailers once their service lives are over. However, the CT13 and VT16 trailers were an exception to the rule. The company etched “Not” in front of “Property Of U-Haul” on the trailers’ tongues then sold them to the public. [Editor’s Note: This is objectively hilarious. – JT]

My U-Haul CT13

So, what do you get when you buy one of these campers 37 years after they were produced? Something that remains one of the neatest campers that you’ll find on the market. I got this one from the very tippy top of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for $5,000. It was the cheapest CT13 that I could find for sale by a wide margin.

2uahul

 

Let’s start with the exterior.

U-Haul’s CT13 campers feature a 10-foot-long fiberglass shell with an inner liner and sitting on a 13-foot frame. That frame features a mix of square and round steel tubes. On mine you’ll notice some rust. Thankfully, this frame has mostly surface rust, with the only bad area being right behind the right wheel. So I’ve learned on fiberglass camper forums, this is a common issue. That part of the frame is right behind the wheel and right in the way of salt and road debris.

Img E7739
Mercedes Streeter

Out back, there’s a hefty aluminum bumper. Underneath, there are supposed to be stabilizer jacks. I’ve found a number of U-Haul CT13s to be missing these jacks and sure enough, mine is missing them, too.

Moving around to the front, you’ll notice the same tongue that is still on use with U-Haul trailers today. The coupler has U-Haul’s neat screw-on lock and the tongue has that nice carrying handle.

Img 7731
Mercedes Streeter

A little further back is a structure that’s supposed to hold the trailer’s propane tank. This thing is surprisingly rusty considering how little rust there is elsewhere. My trailer did not come with much of a story. The previous owner said that he used it like a hard-sided tent. He had never bothered to put a battery in the battery box or plug the trailer in to shore power. He didn’t even try to hook up the trailer’s lights to his car (and more on that later). Indeed, he treated it as if it were a 1,250-pound tent.

Img 7706
Mercedes Streeter

The owner before him lived out in Pennsylvania and he is said to have used the trailer the same way. Apparently, the previous previous owner also used it as an ice shack on frozen lakes. Who does that with such a rare trailer? And judging from the growth of mold and other crap on the trailer’s interior, it has probably spent years just sitting around abandoned outside.

Either way, because of neglect, U-Haul’s neat propane holder is trashed. This thing was designed to make propane tanks easy for renters. All they had to do was slide the tank in or out, then use the hand crank to secure it. And on the bottom of this rusty monstrosity should be a jack to hold the tongue up when the trailer is parked.

Originally, this trailer was covered in orange graphics that let everyone know that you were towing and sleeping in a trailer made by U-Haul. These graphics fade over time and owners eventually remove them. Diehard U-Haul camper fans then replace the graphics with fresh ones to keep the rad look alive. Here’s what the trailer is supposed to look like:

1outdoorsy
Outdoorsy

The pictures that you’re looking at here are actually after its first wash in probably many years. This trailer looked so grubby when I picked it up that I thought that I had made a horrible drunken mistake. But it looks pretty ok after I took it to a basic wash bay. I bet some time with real proper cleaning will probably bring out some of the gel coat’s shine, too.

Img 7713
Mercedes Streeter

Some of what’s left to clean up includes sealant that a previous owner sloppily used on the windows. U-Haul camper windows are known for their leaks, and people will either replace the windows with ones from a Scamp or put sealant on them. This sealant is incredibly unsightly and I’m pretty sure that I’ll redo it, but for now the trailer is watertight, even after I blasted it with a power washer for 20 minutes.

Before we move to the interior, check out the hinges holding on the door.

Img 7737
Mercedes Streeter

If these look familiar, it’s because you’ve probably worked in a restaurant. Those hinges are the same ones used on commercial refrigerator doors! The outside door is also supposed to have a U-Haul badge, but mine is gone.

Moving inside, the trailer is stock and almost entirely present.

Img 7716
Mercedes Streeter

Up front is a bench that converts into a bunk bed. The bunk’s poles are missing, as is the second cushion. In back is a bench and table that convert into a big bed. All of the cushions and the table are present, but the ice-fishing guy annoyingly decided to drill a hole right where the table’s leg goes.

And the floor–a mix of fiberglass and wood–is solid. Underneath the trailer is a U-Haul production sticker, so this is probably the original floor. Sadly, I’ll have to close up that stupid hole so I can use the table.

In the middle is a kitchen unit.

Img 7723
Mercedes Streeter

You get a sink that feeds from a small fresh water tank or from city water. Next to it is a propane stove. Of course, everything in this trailer is embossed with U-Haul’s logos, which is something that I find absolutely fascinating. Even the propane furnace has a friendly U-Haul on it.

There are two more rather odd appliances. Down below the stove looks like what a refrigerator, but it’s not. Instead, it’s an ice box. And up above, what looks like an air conditioner isn’t.

Img 7721
Mercedes Streeter

It’s a swamp cooler that blows air over pumped-in water. These devices are pretty neat, as they could allow the trailer to camp off-grid without quickly draining the battery. Oh, and that battery gets charged by a solar panel, which I’m betting no longer works.

Oh, and did I say that there’s an ashtray in here? Of course there is!

Img 7718
Mercedes Streeter

And in case you were wondering, the U-Haul VT16 Vacation Traveler is pretty similar to the CT13. The biggest differences are the addition of three feet of length and the addition of a bathroom. U-Haul thought that you’d use the CT13 for a weekend trip and the VT16 for something longer.

Here’s a picture, for reference.

Fiber
Fiberglass RVs 4 Sale

The Camper’s Future

So, what are my plans with this camper? My fiancée and I plan to do a mix of modifying and preserving it. We will cut off the rusty propane and jack holder and replace it with a conventional jack. We’ll test the trailer’s equipment and if everything checks out, we’ll also mount a more conventional propane holder up front.

The trailer does have some fiberglass damage due to the bottom door hinge not being secured correctly. I won’t tackle this myself. Instead, I’ll let one of the many fiberglass restorers in my area do that.

The trailer’s exterior lights don’t work. The wiring is all there, but it looks like someone tried to do a custom job. They failed, and now the lights don’t work at all. I’m not touching that mess of spaghetti, and fixing the lights are on the top of my list. I hate having to ratchet-strap down temporary lights.

Img 7712
Mercedes Streeter

Thankfully, the trailer’s original light lenses–things so rare and coveted that U-Haul fans have taken to making their own–are intact and not foggy! [Editor’s Note: I’ve already checked, and these lights seem to be unique to these trailers, not borrowed from any car. I like them a lot! They’re sort of like curved versions of the square Yugo 50/50 amber/red taillights.– JT]

The frame is fine, but not pretty. At some point I’ll get under there and pretty it up. Oh, and I can’t forget, but this trailer is going to get all of its original graphics back. U-Haul trailers have such a fantastic owner community that the graphics are actually in production.

Inside, Sheryl will first work her cleaning magic.

Img 7722
Mercedes Streeter

Then, she’ll add some color to the olive drab. Maybe we’ll put some hot pink curtains and cushions in there or stick to U-Haul’s corporate colors with orange. Sometime down the line I want to update the appliances, specifically the swamp cooler and the ice box. We are for sure are replacing the carpet with something much more exciting and comfortable.

As for tow vehicles, my 2005 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 towed the camper 381 miles home from Michigan without problem. The trailer tracks straight and handles bumps as it should. However, don’t let the egg shape fool you because it’s a major drag in high winds just like any other trailer.

Img 7727
Mercedes Streeter

Now, I know what some of you are thinking, “don’t you already have like 19 vehicles?” Yes, I do, and one of them is getting sold to make space for this. That car is my duplicate Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI. I haven’t touched this car since buying another with a manual transmission, and I have no plans to. So, someone else will get to enjoy 40+ mpg wagon goodness.

Since this trailer is in decent enough condition as-is, we hope to take it on its first camping trip the moment the door hinges and light wiring are fixed. We have a wedding coming in the very near future so I can’t say when all of this will happen, but it will! I’ve been dreaming about owning one of these since 2017, and I can’t wait to roll up to a campground with it.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit

112 Responses

  1. You already mentioned they didnt use Burro molds, but i wonder if they took female copy molds _from_ a Burro?
    Such tricks save masses of time and expense. Once they’ve done that it’s relatively easy to make small changes where needed.

              1. ’58s were white valve covers and air cleaner with a green block, Ford used green & white as the corporate colors of the Edsel division for things like dealer signs, mechanic uniforms, and marketing materials

  2. I “liked” this article just from the hilarious headline and the fact that it’s a Mercedes written article!

    Went back to read it and wasn’t disappointed. You TOTALLY belong here, Mercedes! Your articles are rich in detail and draw me in. The variety of your interests fills in this website wonderfully!

  3. I think I’m starting to get a handle on your idiom, Mercedes. This purchase is a perfect match. All you need to do now, is rig up a chariot yoke to pull it with two of your Smart For Two offroaders in tandem, and you’ll win the Yooper master class in Automotivre Crazy for sure.

    Step forward, into the light, and accept your award.

  4. There’s been one of those for sale in Pennsylvania for awhile now, it’s within my sales territory, so I’ve passed it a few times, in good shape, think the owner wants $12k or so

    I confess to being tempted, but the price is too much for me to just buy with play money, and the size of it means I’d either have to install a privacy fence around my backyard, or pay to store it somewhere else, neither of which I really want to do. Weight wise, though, it’s fine.

    Looking forward to the restoration series, these are supposed to be very well made and well thought out trailers, people who have them seem to universally love them

  5. This is probably your best purchase yet. I figure many more of these purchases you’ll need a different place to sleep. Now you have one. Lol
    As we have learned a women, gay or straight changes after the wedding. Lol

    1. That’s a good question! I can tell you that the propane holder is made of much thinner metal than the tongue, and it looks like water can get somewhat trapped in its voids.

      But to U-Haul’s credit, it’s still mostly there after over three decades!

      1. Nah. The propane holder is 110% repairable as-is. It’s lighter gauge metal. I would strongly recommend having a professional strip the rust on any of the moving components, but the rest is wire wheel, MIG, and paint. The protection is just rubber U-channel, very easy to get and very inexpensive.

        1. I’m thankful for you, Root! It’s been so long since I’ve done a rust removal job that I’ve forgotten that wire wheels exist. I guess that’s a big difference between David and I. Haha

          Alright, you pushed me over the edge to the side of repairing the propane holder!

          1. Ha, you’re very welcome. I try to avoid rust myself, but, yeah. This is the rust belt. David, I’m quite certain I could take EVERY fucking tool in my box and his mere presence would cause things to rust faster than I could strip it back.

            But that mechanism, I did some digging, and hell. Don’t even bother. No, seriously.
            The mechanism’s even simpler than I thought. What you need to do is chase the receiver threads, and just replace the J bolt with a grade 6 or above equivalent. That’s it.
            No, seriously. Well, and replace the rubber isolators of course (very very necessary.) I figured there was at least a partial wormgear setup in there to snug things down. But there isn’t. J-bolt and a nut at the top, and the strap is nothing more than what you see on the outside.

            It absolutely is necessary though to have a professional welder perform any repairs on the base piece. Especially reattaching it to the frame. Everything else is 100% DIY it, but NOT the base. Despite being basic, that is the single most critical safety component. A broken or poor quality weld there will have obviously catastrophic results. Similarly if the strap is broken or rotted, that’s a ‘replace don’t repair.’

            The people at U-Haul really over-engineered this thing to the hilt. And I really mean exactly that. You could possibly design a simpler, more durable, safer mechanism than this.

      2. Its definitely personal preference, but I figure that once you cut it off and trash it you’ll never be able to change your mind.

        Part of it is my upbringing as my father was a Smithsonian trained furniture conservator, but I always tend to lean towards keeping as much of the original intact as I possibly can. It… bites you in the ass sometimes.

        But it can be rewarding: https://imgur.com/gallery/DFHKxt1

  6. That’s cool! It never occurred to me that these are left-right clamshells instead of top-bottom, which would make more semse to me, so you don’t have a seam across the top of the roof getting rained on all the time. But I bet it’s still more watertight than our “canned ham” Aristocrat is.

    1. The two halves are generally fiberglassed together, so leaking isn’t really a problem. Top-bottom is definitely more common, though. These and the Eggcamper are the only ones I know of with the vertical split.

  7. Sadly you won’t get a lot use out of that swamp cooler in the midwest. Generally if it’s hot enough to need it the humidity will also be super high so it won’t do much other than make it even more humid.

    Somebody should make a drop-in heat pump to replace it. Then you could have heat and AC all in one unit. Plus you could keep the factory “Fan” and “Pump” labels. 🙂

    1. Yup. Swamp coolers are pretty much useless outside of a high desert climate.
      Midwest, nope. The Deep South, useless. But water up that bad boy and visit Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and it works like a charm.
      Cheap and efficient, and kind of a genius device if you think about it.

    2. There are options out there to AC if it’s needed. We have a ClimateRight unit for our 1966 camper that sits outside and cools through 4″ supply and return ducts, but I think the unit has been discontinued. A lot of people use the portable indoor units through a window or floor. There’s a lot of good ideas in the vintage camper groups like Tin Can Tourists.

      As you know, those U-haul trailers are sought after, and this one looks pretty solid overall. Congrats! You’ll have to take it back up to the UP when you are done with it. It’s such a great place to camp. I’m heading up there with our Airstream later this summer for a few days when I move my son back into college for his 2nd year.

    3. It’s probably a standard 14″x14″ hole in the roof, so it’d physically fit an AC. Not sure if the roof on these is reinforced enough to hold one though, and It’d need wiring run. RecPro sells a rebadged Houghton model with a heat pump mode, but at 13500BTU it’s probably too much overkill for something that size.

  8. If you need any help with the wiring and/or electrical upgrades, let me know. I’m local and I kinda know what I’m doing with that stuff. I suggest starting with a WFCO WF8725P.

    Also, do thoroughly check and grease those wheel bearings if you haven’t already.

    1. Skip the WFCO and get a Progressive Dynamics PD4135. Especially if going LiFePO4 to reduce tongue weight. Not that much more and I’ve heard the charger actually works. Unlike the WFCO, which pushes 13.4 volts at the battery regardless of charge state. There’s a reason my battery gets isolated when we’re not driving or running on 12v.

      My Aliner is 1700 lbs and I use the trailer brakes. One it’s the law in NY for anything over 1000 lbs and two they have prevented several collisions when people have pulled out without looking.

    2. For the price of a new axle including springs (under $400 Canadian at the local trailer place) I’d be tempted to just replace the whole thing. Heck, you can upgrade to one with electric brakes for ~$700 you have a brake controller in your tow vehicle.

      1. I just added electric brakes to a cargo trailer (including breakaway system). If the current axle stubs and flanges are in good enough condition, it’s super easy to add them. However, her trailer is light enough that they are not required. Cost was close to $500 when all done.

        (Note that this and all posts by me will be assiduously ignored by author for some reason beyond me, so I’m kinda wasting some breath.)

        1. I agree brakes aren’t necessary. Most towing I do is heavier loads with trailer brakes and it has become a comfort level thing for me. I’d just rather have them.

          Interesting that adding brakes is only slightly cheaper than a whole axle when accounting for exchange rates.

          1. Right there with you. My trailer only weighed 900lbs before my mods, but I simply don’t feel safe on the highway without trailer brakes. The salesperson thought I was crazy for adding them because it would wear out the tires faster. I’ll gladly take the extra tire wear for the safety factor.

            Yeah, probably cost me more because I had to buy all the parts separately whereas Dexter just grabs them off their own shelves. However, I was still happy with the cost I paid.

  9. “I hate having to ratchet-strap down temporary lights.”

    Zip ties are less obtrusive and almost certainly less likely to get stolen. They’re my choice for securing temporary towing lights.

    1. Re-reading this comment is forcing me to reflect upon the fact that I use temporary towing lights frequently enough to have developed a preference among the available methods of securing them.

  10. I have been thinking about restoring a fiberglass camper. More likely an old Casita, just because I want something a little larger. I’m curious how yours turns out. Best of luck with the resto.

  11. Those taillights look like they could *almost* interchange with the (heavily borrowed by the RV industry, somehow more in the ’90s than in their own day) ’73-87 GM Fleetside pickup/Blazer/Suburban ones.

    1. Next time you go to David Tracy’s other home (junk yard) pick up a a GM taillight. Take it home. Compare. Always noticed the GM look of the tail lights on these. Have also modded many different tail lights back in the 1970-80s era for Van owners. If you need one a good plastics shop can also form you one from lucite plastic. (Not certain of the name here) Basically unbreakable, can apply color tint on inside. Works fantastic.

  12. Maybe it’s a New England thing but I don’t remember ever seeing a Foxbody sedan with the thick padded top the car in the U-Haul TV commercial has, even when tintop Fox LTDs were common as dirt.

  13. I think Bradley Brownell did a refurb on a similar trailer over at the old place. Pretty detailed look at repairs and rewiring. No idea what he ended up doing with his, but I’ve no doubt yours will see some epic adventures!

  14. Congrats on finding your dream trailer! I am very happy you are now here and not at that other site which must never be named… I really enjoy your camper content and know you’ve been eyeing one for quite awhile.

    Also, as one who is constantly tinkering with a brand new 2022 to get it NOT to leak I’m jealous that you found a great condition fiberglass one that (presumably) doesn’t!

  15. You may have been drunk when you bought it, but I know you well enough to know you would have bought this sober too.

    If you need any carpentry help fixing that floor (which I assume is wood), let me know.

  16. Every time I see an article for one of these I want one even more. Would love to have one repolished/gelcoated. Would definitely do a orange/tan combo cloth interior, fresh stripes. Would also love if they were 4 lug, I’d put Mk2 VW 12 hole steel wheels on lol

  17. Ahh Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Such a magical place. My wife asked me one time why everyone has a junk pile up there. I told her…it is not a junk pile, it is outdoor material storage. You never know what you might need when the nearest escalator is 300 miles away. We used to drive 100 miles for a taco bell run….but that was when tacos we $0.39, gas was $0.88, and a decent beater car that could move under its own power was $100.

  18. Can you kick a link over to your Volkswagon that you will sell? Been looking for another TDi since we sold ours back to VW stupidly during dieselgate.

    But this is a awesome little camper! I have a 22 ft’er but this would be fun for just the wife and me

  19. When Jason says he “checked” to see if the taillights were unique I have two alternate scenes in mind. Either he’s rummaging through a pile of ancient scrolls like Gandalf in “Lord of the Rings” or he just closes his eyes, sits there silently for a minute while his eyeballs dart around madly behind the lids, then his eyes snap open and he’s like “Nope! They’re unique!”

  20. Get yourself some of the original listerine and liberally spray the cushions and anything else moldy. That will get ‘er done. Remember, original gold listerine, the kind that Kitty Dukakis had over ice. Or was it neat? Anyhow the other less nasty ones won’t work. Go gold.

  21. You had me at “I drunk bought a camper”.

    This seems really neat. The hole in the floor sucks but the rest is awesome. I hope Fixing the electrical and propane works out, those are game changers for me. The swamp cooler is fascinating.

  22. Drunk buys are heavier on the heart than the usual impulse buying.

    There’s the morning after shame and questioning that comes with a drunk buy that barely exists in the regular world of consumerism.

    Somehow the drunk bought item gains a higher significance.

    You suddenly have to prove to yourself and others that this was not just me being dumb, I actually want this.

    It never goes into the trash like all the other forgotten garbage. Because you bought it in a heartfelt inebriated state and because all of the emotions and bullheaded self explaining that follows.

    A little bit of ego can go a long way to help complete a plan or project.

    A drunk buy fuels the flames.

    Perfect selection. That trailer is gonna look great when you two are done. And for years to come.

    Never forget that feeling you had about it the next morning.

  23. U-Haul is one of those rare companies that’s just flat-out better than it has to be so I’m not surprised they overbuilt their travel trailers. They’re leaders in adaptive reuse of buildings. They acquire old, potentially imperiled, sometimes historic buildings to convert to storage facilities then restore the façade and any architectural elements they can rather than just do the bare minimum to keep it standing and safe, all while minimizing the environmental impact of the conversion.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/tompfister/2018/08/16/u-haul-hitches-its-ride-to-the-reuse-of-buildings

  24. I’m so envious. This is quite wonderful.
    I’m toying with scratch building something in the canned ham genre, maybe a little bit like the 13 foot Shasta I lived in in art school. If somebody were to splash some molds off of one of these and offer the clam shells I would definitely go that way.

    1. Ironic. can do the fibre glasswork work just fine and have had the exact same idea since these were new. Could be a cash cow Mercedes, and provide you with the means to do ANYTHING you care to to make the restoration your own…in reality one of these cube things could be self done easily with the use of a well thought out sub-exterior under the glass. flat panels for walls, roof, ends, metal flashing for roll edge transitions for roof or corners, floor. But I would sub it out with basic PVC pipes and use them to attach flat surface panels, and have corners, edges at a smaller curve radius. Fibre glass is very easy to learn and work with. And with a proper sub structure there is no need to use a chopper gun type of construction. You would not believe the abuse my sail boats too at sea with self taught, self done glass mat repairs. My boat looked worse than the ss minnow, so the moral is yeah I agree. Sell a mold Mercedes…

  25. “The trailer does have some fiberglass damage due to the bottom door hinge not being secured correctly. I won’t tackle this myself. Instead, I’ll let one of the many fiberglass restorers in my area do that.”

    Damage behind the hinge?
    That isn’t so bad for a DIY repair, since the hinge plate hides what you did. If exposed, then you need to worry about colormatch the gelcoat so it doesn’t stand out that much.
    Still, might give it a try yourself. If you hate the look, then have the pros go over it

  26. Much like Torch and Tracy, you have the unique ability to turn things I’m not at all interested in into something I’m interested in.

    Bravo.

    Of course, now I’m wondering if I can tow an old U-haul trailer with a Stelvio Veloce and not create a ripple of extreme weirdness that causes a black hole to swallow the earth and compress it into a space the size of a walnut. Probably not, but, it’s a possibility.

  27. Your new (to you) trailer looks like it’s pretty solid. Every repair you mentioned is relatively easy to fix, including the wiring. Considering how long it’s been since anything was actually energized, I’d definitely have an electrician tackle that project. Farming out the fiberglass work is probably a good idea too since it can be a real mess as a DIY project.

    You’ll end up with a much better camper than anything you can buy new these days, even with the blood and treasure you’ll invest in getting it back up to par.

  28. Hot damn and such a nice camper! Everyone goes for too much when all you need is what you need!

    @Mercedes, I am getting old, but for this part:

    “All of the cushions and the table are present, but the ice-fishing guy annoyingly decided to drill a hole right where the table’s leg goes.”

    I can’t see in the photo where where the ice-fishing guy drilled a hole. Am I missing something, or was it not supposed to be included? I can screenshot the photo, but I loaded it on several browsers and it’s not obvious. I spent ten minutes inspecting scrapes on a fiberglass compartment of some sort – nothing looks like an RV table leg hole.

    This is not a big deal, it’s clearly something I’ve managed to focus on for reasons that make absolutely no sense to the rest of the world. I was just wondering if I couldn’t see the hole the ice-fishing guy made.

  29. Before you leave on your next trip it would be wise to check out the tires. Trailer tires usually rot out before they wear out. Sounds like this has been siting a long time so I suspect those tires are ancient. Get regular trailer tires, don’t substitute car tires. There are significant differences between them. I would also heed the warning from the previous poster to service the wheel bearings and seals. You also want a couple sets of extra bearings and seals and a container of wheel bearing grease to keep in the unit. Don’t forget a jack and necessary wrenches and other implements of destruction, not to mention a good spare tire. Check the bearings at every stop. If they are getting hot it means you have a problem. If a bearing seizes you can end up losing a wheel and smoking the stub axle, which is going to be difficult to repair on the road.
    This comes from a retired powersports service guy who saw a lot of trips ruined by the failure points above. Remember the “7 P’s”; Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
    Kudos for making the mundane interesting in this story. I was glad to see you come over from the dark side.

    1. Came here to post this exactly. Not only check the tires, but replace them a.s.a.p. Just by reading your story you know they are too old. If a trailer tire goes, it usually goes out with a bang, with high chances of damaging the surrounding wheel area, not to mention the fact that you have an uncontrollable trailer behind you.

      1. But it’s a lot of fun to watch these things tumble, barrel roll on the interstate at 70 mph. Been there, saw this more than once. Tough lesson but regret can be almost a forgotten emotion when you do shit right the first time and don’t half ass your way thru life/vehicle ownership. Good luck Mercedes, don’t wait for bad shit to happen, prevent it.

  30. Congratulations! As the (very recent) third generation owner of a gifted 13 ft. 1984 Burro, I’m very excited for you! You got it for a very good price, especially considering that the frame and floor are intact. Mine had some leakage where the two clamshells meet; I need to re-seal that and completely replace the floor as a result. Then it’s onto cosmetic improvements (vinyl flooring, new bedding, cushions and curtains, exterior graphics).

    Fun fact, Scamp still manufactures a lot of the cushions, appliances and accessories that should fit your camper perfectly. Also, I know yours isn’t 100% Burro, but I’d absolutely recommend the ‘Burro campers/trailers’ private Facebook group as you start brainstorming restoration ideas. People share their experiences and it’s a great place to get some inspiration. Best of luck, have fun!

Leave a Reply