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Author Topic: 2001 Trail Lite Bantam 23S  (Read 6421 times)
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« on: September 23, 2008, 05:49:09 PM »

I am looking at a used 2001 Trail Lite Bantam 23S at a dealer.  NADA value is listed at $6,760.  I have looked at the unit and everything is in very nice condition with two exceptions.

1.)  The original flooring appears to have been replaced with a peel and stick style vinyl flooring.  The original sheet vinyl is still in place in the cabinets and front storage area but has been removed from the walking areas.  Several of the replacement tiles no longer stick to the floor, several others have a curled edge.  I expected to find these installed over the original sheet vinyl but the original vinyl has been removed and these were installed on the sub floor.

2.)  There is a U-shaped bunk in the front with outside accessible storage under the front bench.  The originaly vinyl floor has delaminated where the flooring meets the front of the trailer and under that some of the plywood has delaminated layers.  It has leaked here.  No standing water, not sopping wet but slightly damp as I pushed my hand far back under the curled vinyl.  

They have offered $6,500 AS-IS everything guaranteed to work when you drive it off the lot.  This is too much but clearly they will negotiate.  Everything else appears in very good condition.  What is this worth considering the issues?  Does the water intrusion make it something I should run away from?  The replaced flooring makes me concerned that perhaps there was a much greater issue at some point in time.  Floor feels mainly solid.  A slight springy spot at the door with my 300 lbs on it but not bad.  It does not appear to be rotted out.  I need some insight from those with more experience than I.  Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2008, 09:04:21 PM »

If the replacement tiles are not sticking, it sounds as though the wood underneath is still getting wet from a leak. I would look under one of the tiles and check the condition of the wood. The spongey spot will get worse over time, quicker if it is still getting wet. If you are handy, you can try to low-ball the dealer and fix the floor and any leaks yourself. If you don't think that this is a project that you could tackle on your own, I would skip it and look around.

'02 Ford F150 Supercrew 5.4L Triton Ford
'02 Fleetwood Wilderness Yukon 723C [hysilver]
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2008, 05:04:38 AM »

Thank you for the response.

The floor tiles are peel and stick tiles like you buy at Home Depot.  Not applied with an additional glue and are known not to hold down well for long periods of time.  The tiles that were loose were in the center of the trailer and I did not see any evidence that water had been a problem underneath of them.  More that they are in the highest traffic area.

Are these conditions typical of a unit of this age?  What is a reasonable amount to pay for it with these conditions?
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2008, 07:19:42 AM »

Welcome Lead Sled!  As the area in the front is still damp, there is obviously still an active leak there.  The flooring being replaced is an indication there were other leaks that may or may not have been corrected.  My boss bought a used trailer and shortly after discovered a leak near the door.  Ended up costing over $5K for a local RV place to make the repairs (and it did not involve a very large area).

My first inclination would be to run away from this one.  The NADA pricing is usually regarded as being on the high side so $6,500 would be considered top dollar for a perfect unit.  I would think an as-is price on this one should be under $4K.  If you are really handy and willing to spend some time getting this trailer in good shape (finding & fixing leaks, replacing sub floor and replacing flooring) and can get it at a real good price (well under $4K), maybe.

As for this being typical condition, my 2000 has none of this damage.  This is probably typical condition for a trailer that has not been given proper maintenance over the course of it's life.

Parrot Head
'00 Cabana 1701  Hybrid  Van White '01 Chevy Astro
Glenn Family Web Site
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2008, 03:40:25 PM »

Where the tiles are not sticking is irrelevant.  I am assuming this trailer has some kind of membrane under the floor to prevent water from the street entering into the trailer.  If it does, this membrane will also do an excellent job of trapping leaked water against the bottom of the floor.  It will also allow the water to pool in the lowest section of the membrane.  Often that is in the middle of the floor.

The “delaminating” you are seeing is the luan wood on either side of the foam core of the floor.  It has been wet long enough to allow the wood the peel away from the foam.  Once this starts to happen, the floor will lose its structural strength.  Lightweight campers used a solid floor that is made up of aluminum beams spaced every 2-4’ with 1.5” Styrofoam sandwiched between 2 sheets of 1/8” luan plywood.  Using heat and pressure the RV manufactures make the walls and floor for our RV’s very light.  The problem is when the floor gets wet and the layers separate, the beams spaced every 4’ offer no structural support.

The fact that there are replacement tiles on the floor tells me someone has worked on this floor before.  Maybe they did a good job.  Maybe not.

This trailer has a water damaged floor.  So the question is (assuming you plan on keeping the trailer for several years): are you capable and willing to replace the damaged sections of floor?

I am one of the self-appointed village idiots around here who was dumb enough to have bought a water damaged trailer on purpose.  I paid less than half of what is being asked for your trailer last spring.  Mine is a 2000 Rockwood Roo 21’.

By the time I replaced half the floor, rebuilt the leaking front bunk door, replaced the water heater, power convertor, water pump, most of the 12 VDC wiring and plumbing; I cost me much more than I paid for the trailer in the first place.

The good news is I now have a trailer that is almost completely rebuilt with no loan payment.

If you are still willing, I would consider ½ of the NADA value as the most I would spend for a trailer that would likely need such major work done to it.

Good luck


Me(67), DW(71), DD(01), DD(04), DS(06)
2004 Ford Excursion Limited - 6.8L Triton V-10 (the gentle giant of Ford's SUV line)
2000 21’ Rockwood Roo - Literally re-built from the floor up
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2008, 05:37:14 PM »

Being a recent owner of a Trail Cruiser (wider cousin to the Trail Lite) I know how they are built. You won't have to worry about the floor rotting, there is no wood in the floor, it's an aluminum sandwich type of composite material (sheet of Aluminum-styrofoam core-sheet of aluminum). The floors on these things won't rot, but they develop soft spots. Otherwise these are great trailers. If you've got wetness up front, that means there is probably a leak and most likely place will be around the front bunk opening.

I too would walk away from this trailer, it sounds like it has 'issues' that are more trouble than the savings it might offer...

Chaos reigns within, reflect, repent, and reboot. Order shall return!

The Other Campground



www.gonecamping.net
2004 Trail Cruiser C-23B SOLD
1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee
89 Thomas 3401-DP
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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2008, 04:22:42 AM »

Thanks for all your input.  Looks like I will let this one sit and keep looking.  All your input is extremely helpful and I would likely have gotten myself into trouble at an over inflated price without it.  There is another dealer an hour North of my house with a 2003 Trail Lite Bantam 23S for sale for $9,900.  I should go look.  It is very frustrating that all the dealers ask thousands more than NADA average value and from reading this site I am learning that NADA average is even quite inflated.  I'll keep you up to date on the search.  Thanks again.
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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2008, 05:24:30 PM »

You haven't said where you are from. Sometimes location has a lot to do with the pricing. If you are even remotely within reach of Columbus Ohio (I'm talking 10-12 hour drive) I'd give rvwholesalers.com a try, you can buy a new one from them for little more than what you're considering on a used one. Several of us on this board (including myself) have bought from them, and I highly recommend them. Their trailers usually sell for several thousand LESS than your local dealer for the same unit...

Chaos reigns within, reflect, repent, and reboot. Order shall return!

The Other Campground



www.gonecamping.net
2004 Trail Cruiser C-23B SOLD
1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee
89 Thomas 3401-DP
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2008, 04:36:11 AM »

I am in Eldersburg, MD.  About 30 minutes west of Baltimore.  Actually I was in Chesapeake, VA two weeks ago.  We spent the night at a hotel there on the way to the Outer Banks.

Mapquest shows Columbus as being just under (7) hours from me.  What do you do about warranty support?  Looking at a 21 - 23 foot model with a slide, I am going to be at the limits of tow capacity with a high mileage vehicle (2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac 2wd, 4.10 rear, 5050lb capacity) so I am concerned about a 7 hour trip with a camper behind the truck.  Does anyone know what their delivery charges are like?  I was really trying to be in the under $8k range this being our first camper and being a single income family but could certainly consider new.
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2008, 08:13:18 AM »

quote:
Originally posted by Lead Sled

Looking at a 21 - 23 foot model with a slide, I am going to be at the limits of tow capacity with a high mileage vehicle (2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac 2wd, 4.10 rear, 5050lb capacity)...

Don't think you are going to find this large of a hybrid with a slide that will be within your towing capacity.  Look closely at the max weight of whatever you are looking at.  Ideally the max trailer weight should be well below your max towing capacity.  Having an extra 1,000 lbs. of capacity is good.  Having an extra 2,000 is better.

We're a one income family as well (have been since '90) so I know what it's like.  It took a lot of patience but we waited till we found the right unit at the right price and are very glad we did.

Parrot Head
'00 Cabana 1701  Hybrid  Van White '01 Chevy Astro
Glenn Family Web Site
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2008, 05:20:12 PM »

I wound up buying mine without a slide in order to keep the weight down, I went for the longest & lightest thing I could buy. From Chesapeake the trip to Columbus was about 11 hours each way, I had (still have) a 94 Grand Cherokee (5000# tow rating) and it had around 150,000 miles on the car at the time. I got the Trail Cruiser C23B that had an empty weight of 3280# and with options actually weighed in around 3500#...

I towed it home via WV and over the moutains without incident, towed it bascially empty as I only had a few camping things with me.

Their pricing on the design & build pages are EXACTLY what you will pay for the trailer, there are no hidden charges, no prep fee's, what you see is what you pay. They do ask for a very minimal down payment to get the order started (in 2003 it was only $250)... I brought a WDH w/sway bar with me and they installed it for me no charge... There is a campground right there at the dealership...they are also about an hour North West of Columbus...

Chaos reigns within, reflect, repent, and reboot. Order shall return!

The Other Campground



www.gonecamping.net
2004 Trail Cruiser C-23B SOLD
1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee
89 Thomas 3401-DP
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2008, 05:45:43 PM »

I know I'm nearing the edge of tow capacity.  The unit I was looking at had a UVW of 3,450 lbs so by the time I put anything in it and the family in the truck we would approach the tow capacity.  I really feel like the room and storage is needed to keep the family happy.  I have spoken to others with 23' hybrids with slides behind a Honda Ridgeline and Ford Ranger and both indicated they made out OK.  I see many on hear claiming discomfort with the same set-up.  I believe at most we will camp six times / yr with most trips less than 60 miles from the house, two of the trips may approach 120 miles.  That's another reason I really hope to find used and under $8k.  That will leave room for a bigger tow vehicle in a year or two if the need arises.  I'm hoping we can take it slow and close to home and get by.  I have had a trans cooler priced up and will have it installed as I see this is recommended by many here.  I am not seeing huge discrepancies in price in used between say a used 19' w/ no slide and a 23' w/ small couch slide.  I am afraid with the 19' I will spend all my time wishing I had gotten the bigger unit.
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2008, 06:40:04 PM »

I'm in the same boat as you as far as single income family and the number of camping trips we would be taking. The best we could do for our budget was to buy used. I couldn't justify buying a new camper for 5 or 6 weekends a year. If you look around at some private sellers (craigslist, ebay, RVtrader, local classifieds, etc.), I'm sure you can find a nice trailer in your price range. Just inspect any used unit closely for water damage. You don't want to be buying something that you're going to have to spend all your time on fixing it. Good luck in your search.

'02 Ford F150 Supercrew 5.4L Triton Ford
'02 Fleetwood Wilderness Yukon 723C [hysilver]
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