Advise on fiberglass shells

Thanatoz

New member
I am in the market for a truck camper and found a 1994 Bigfoot 10.6 and wondered if there is anything I should be concerned about or look for specific on the fiberglass shell. It currently has manual jacks, is it possible to put in electric ones? What about adding solar? Not sure how difficult dealing with the fiberglass is going to be. TIA.
 
I don’t have first hand experience but I have been doing a lot of internet research on Bigfoot and Northern Lite fiberglass campers. From what I have read, everywhere that a hole was cut for windows, fans, AC, etc, should have been maintained with caulking to minimize or prevent leaks. If there were leaks that weren’t fixed, there are wood panels and flooring above the basement that could develop rot. Overall, fiberglass is one of the better materials as far as longevity and ability to repair. I would think adding electric jacks and solar is almost definitely doable and probably easier than most other camper types. If you can find a good used fiberglass camper, It should hold up well and if you decide to sell it, you should get most of your money back.

Again, this information is all second hand. Hopefully someone who has owned one can weigh in.
 

redthies

Renaissance Redneck
I have a Northern Lite and have had older Bigfoots (Bigfeet??) in my shop. There is way less to go wrong with these campers than any other brands due to the construction. Obviously the appliances etc are the same and come with the same issues, but as PCE posted above, if they are maintained properly, you should be able to keep one for a lifetime. One of my friends recently bought a mid 80s Bigfoot, and aside from interior wear and tear, there was very little wrong with it. The interior wear was noticeable, but that’s due to the hillbilly that owned it, not the camper itself.

Adding power jacks is easy. Solar is too. You just need to run wires from your power source to each jack location, and from the roof to the solar controller, and then to your battery. I’ve been buying Renogy products for my solar installs, and have been very pleas3d with both the cost, and the quality. They now have flexible panels that you can attach to the roof using only a caulking bead. I do a bead around the perimeter, and then one across the panel about every 6”. So far I’ve never had one lift. This keeps you to only the single hole for cables penetrating the roof. Obviously you want a clean, dry dust free roof to adhere to. You can buy the panels, a controller, and all the wiring with connections attached on Amazon. You can also buy fittings to run your cables through the roof to keep the hole watertight.

If you find one that has leaked in the past, you will probably find some interior rot to deal with. But it shouldn’t be structural at all. Self leveling lap sealant around all the vents etc on the roof is part of your annual maintenance. If you keep it up, you should not have any leaks.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Pull the fridge its a fire source the older ones have had fires start behind the fridge. Can’t recall if it was a faulty fridge part or heat and debris from the outside vent. But its common enough it should be a checked item every few yrs
 

::Squish::

Observer
We picked up a 2000 1500 Bigfoot camper a couple years back. We love the fiberglass. Well really its gel coat on the outside, we just clean and wax it using fiberglass boat polishes and waxes.
We've used Dicor to seal the openings in the roof, Bigfoot used Hengs when our rig was built.

Look for water damage or signs of water damage cover up. New paint, wall covering or things like that.
They leak especially around the larger vents the cabover front windows.

Also look for areas where the fiberglass skin has delaminated from the best underneath it.

You can switch to electric jacks but it's expensive and time consuming. If your existing jacks use a screw style you can find bits to be able to use a drill driver on them. Which will save you time and effort.

Solar is great, you will need a panel, wiring, charge controller and a battery or more. Run the wires down the fridge roof vent. No holes drilled beyond attaching the panels to the roof.

Ok here's some more advice...

Have the propane system checked out by a reputable dealer or someone who knows what they are doing.
A gas leak could be hazardous to your health or pocketbook.

Assume the water holding tank is not potable and take steps to sanitize it.
Our gravity water in feed had a low spot in it. And it was full of black gunk. We replaced that hose and have cleaned the tank a lot, but we still don't use our potable water for consumption unless it's been boiled.

If the rig has been sitting a long time there might be an issue with the black and grey water holding tanks.
It's very hard to get dried waste out of the tank.

We have had good luck with all of our systems, Bigfoot when new were upper end in the quality so they were spec'd out with decent stuff. But age and use takes its toll on RVs.

Propane tanks need to be certified for places to refill them. A cheap way around that is to use the exchange places you get a newer tank and it's 3/4 full for a decent price. Then you can take it to have it filled, you will get gas and most likely it will cost less.
 
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