Am I qualified to have opinions ?
Well I’m currently working on my fourth trailer. Not a flat deck, but a small fiberglass travel trailer. They’ve all been old, forty plus years old. With varying degrees of hurt. And in need of work. Very few wood and aluminum trailers survive as well as these little guys do. Rough roads as well as mother nature are hard on wood framed trailers. I know I’ve seen them all. Moisture and wood BAD, especially when the moisture can’t escape through the exterior cladding. Which is there to keep the water out in the first place. But seals around windows and vents can leak. Some fiberglass trailers have wood framing inside, and those can be problems too if a leak happens. Bigfoot’s, Venture’s and Beachcomber’s come to mind. There may be others too. Boler’s , Scamp’s, Surfside’s and Trillium’s have a foam backed vinyl finish called “ensolite” on the roof and walls. This does not care about water.. And you can paint it when it starts looking shabby. The new Trillium trailer called an Outback uses a marine carpet and foam finish on the inside. It’s water proof too but could show stains, and you defiantly can’t paint it. I’m not sure how some of the other newer offerings are finished inside, so I can’t speak to those. Now I would like to talk about the pros and cons on the trailer’s that I have personal experience with.. Links to the posts are green.
The Boler :
This was my first dive into the world of fiberglass “eggs” as they are called. These are the true survivors. There is more of these out there fixed up and on the roads then the others. At least here in Canada. These were made here and we love’um. Just look at the price folks are asking for them .. They are cute, and you can tow them with most cars. Hot rob guys love them too.. they just look cool behind a classic car. So here’s my thoughts:
Pro’s : I just named some above. And there are certainly more pros than cons. Here is other good things. The cabinets are molded fiberglass too. they look great and easy to clean. Those cabinets help to support the roof by design. Those cabinets help to make the trailer very light and tow nice. Easy to work on and customize. And one thing I noted.. the floor is molded fiberglass with a plywood core.. So unless you drill holes though it and don’t protect the holes they last for ever.
Con’s : The frames.. They were built very light and need the floor to help with their strength. That would have been ok if they bolted the two together.. But they did not, wood screws were used, and they rusted. The frame would then sag in the rear.. You must build a new stronger frame and bolt it to the body. The cabinets can only be slightly modified. The door is hard to fit good.. but it can be done. And part of that is the very inadequate square tube on the hinge side to help keep the door frame in line. Also I’m not a fan of the way the body extends below the floor to be a sort of skirt.. It’s cosmetic and can be damaged easily.
The Scamp / Acorn :
Trailer number two.. These are the American made Boler. Same basic body shape. Lot’s of these down yonder.. And this one came from Arizona. And if it stayed there maybe the floor would still be good.. These had an unprotected plywood floor. So on the coast of BC it rotted out. Because the floor was only fiber glassed around the edges.. The 3/4 plywood just fell apart . I got it cheap because this was an overwhelming job for most. And I had to trailer it home 9 hrs away .
Pro’s : All the same as the Boler except for the floor.. BUT the frame is a little bit better on these.. And I was able to keep it and just do a few repairs and mods.
Con’s : That unprotected floor is not good. A new floor was needed and not easy to do. The skirt around the bottom was cracked in many places. Again the frame is poorly made. All the thin metal was rusted away.
1976 Triple E Surfside :
Made in Winnipeg MB. Bigger is better ! This body is still used today by Trillium, with a few small changes. I’m not sure who was the first , but there was some legal issues. Surfside’s were made for approximately six years. Not sure about the Trillium’s. There’s no doubt to me that this is the best body design for a small light weight fiberglass trailer. It’s a foot longer and 6 inches wider than a Boler. May not sound like much, but that makes the bed longer and wider. The kitchen is bigger with more storage. These things should be in the Pro’s…
Pro’s : All those things I just mentioned.. plus the frame is stronger. The axle is bolted on and so is the body. There is a molded frame around the door to keep the opening stiff. The lower half of the body wraps under the trailer making this a true two piece body. The floor is glued to the inside and flat all the way to the front. Moisture can escape through small holes in the molded in gutters around the perimeter of the trailer. Cabinets are not bolted or riveted through the body.
Con’s : The cabinets are wood. not a big deal , and they lend themselves to modifications. The roof still needs to be supported by the cabinets.