And then there are blowouts – another little secret. Most RV wheel wells are just plywood boxes with a plastic “fender” screwgunned to the side. When a tire blows out (when, not “if”) it can tear the whole side of the trailer or coach apart. The plastic “fender” is destroyed and often part of the siding of the trailer is torn off, leaving a large black rubber mark down the side. This is hard to fix, as the fenders may not even be available. Two of the campers in the leak-fest section showed signs of blowouts – that were unrepaired. We had two issues with this – on our 5th wheel and the Class-C. There was some damage (cracked fenders) that we had to live with – dealers were unable or unwilling to order replacements.
(Why do RV tires blow out? Several reasons. Some folks don’t check tires pressures very often, and when a trailer tire goes low, it may be hard to detect from the tow vehicle while driving – which is why I have a trailer tire monitor on our new trailer. Others think that 32 psi is the “standard pressure” for a trailer tire when it should be closer to 50 or more. RVs sit for long periods of time, and tires for a motorcoach or trailer can dry-rot long before they are worn out. Motor coaches are a particular problem as the tires can run close to $1000 apiece and folks are reluctant to replaced older dry-rotted tires that have “perfectly good tread left” on them. Blowouts just happen. They shouldn’t tear out the side of a coach or trailer!).
We think, sometimes, of maybe getting a larger RV. But the heartbreak of RV quality prevents us from doing so. Our old Casita, now 15 years old 20 years old (!!!) is made of two heavy pieces of fiberglass, joined in the middle in a horizontal seam. Rain runs right off, so there are few opportunities for leaks. And the trailer thus looks like new, after two decades. Keeping it indoors when not being used, helps, of course. And its small size makes that possible.
UPDATE: After 15 years of ownership, we sold the Casita for nearly what we paid for it! That’s a quality camper – and a “cheap” one to buy, too! Our new Escape 21 is made from ONE piece of fiberglass!
Since July 2012, Gary Hatt has been the Publisher of Bus Conversion Magazine. Gary does most of his own work on his bus with the help of mechanic friends. He has owned tents, truck campers, travel trailers, and stick-n-staple motor-homes until he bought his first bus in 1997 which was a 1972 MCI MC-7 Combo. When he had a chance to buy a 1983 MCI MC-9 Log Cabin bus with larger windows he jumped at the chance. On Thanksgiving of 2014, Gary bought a 1967 Model 08 Eagle and has since been living and traveling fulltime in that.
You may reach Gary Hatt at