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 > Purchasing Warped Roof 1997 Bigfoot 2500 9’6”?

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Killingsworth

Northern CA

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Posted: 12/21/21 03:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Like I said before;
"I would walk away from this one and continue the search, there are more out there and will be plenty more once we get back to what we think of as normal."
I know I looked at what seemed like thousands of campers before finding the one I got, It will take some time and effort but you will find one that will be acceptable to you.

HMS Beagle

Napa, California

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Posted: 12/21/21 07:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ajriding wrote:

HMS Beagle wrote:



The structure actually isn't fiberglass. The structure is a sandwich with a thin skin of fiberglass on the outside, thin luan plywood on the inside, and wood glued in-between to take the shear forces. Foam too, but the foam is quite weak compared to the wood. Each of the elements by themselves is weak and flexible, if any of these elements f... not without reason.


We are not discussing fiberglass siding campers, rather fiberglass campers, built out of fiberglass, not wood. Built like a boat. The fiberglass is the structure. There should be no wood structures in these. Bigfoot is one brand. Big difference.
Might be some wood under the floor, secondary structurer..


I am quite familiar with the Bigfoot product having owned (and worked on) three, and I am quite familiar with boats having owned numerous boats including the 45' one I built. There are very few construction techniques in common between a Bigfoot camper and a boat. Fiberglass is not the structure in a Bigfoot, it is one component of the structure. They are a fiberglass outer skin, stiffened and strengthened throughout with wood, which also makes up the entire inner skin of the sandwich. If you pull all of the wood and foam out of a Bigfoot (or Northern Lite or other) you will have a very flexible skin not capable of supporting itself as a camper.

I think the OP did the right thing by passing on this one. The amount of renovation required would far exceed the value. It is also another lesson that things can photograph well in spite of major problems.


Bigfoot 10.4E, 2015 F350 6.7L DRW 2WD, Autoflex Ultra Air Ride rear suspension, Hellwig Bigwig sway bars front and rear

ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 12/21/21 07:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ah, OK. I owned a Roamer which is all structural fiberglass, like a boat. I just assumed the bigfoot was similar. Very sad to hear it is a wooden camper.
Mine could literally sink and be underwater for years and be salvaged and be structurally perfect still.
Sorry to hear your woes...

StirCrazy

Kamloops, BC, Canada

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Posted: 12/22/21 06:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

stevenal wrote:

ajriding wrote:

Built like a boat. The fiberglass is the structure. There should be no wood structures in these. Bigfoot is one brand.


Molded fiberglass campers and boats both need additional structure beyond the fiberglass skin. Whether or not there should be wood present, it is in fact present in a 'foot until it rots away.


I toured the bigfoot factory and saw several campers in different stages of the build. the fiberglass shell is the structure, the only wod they add is where they have to have anchoring points to screw stuff into. ie around openings, wall mounts and lifting points.. I was quite surprised and impressed with how they are built.

Steve


2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

HMS Beagle

Napa, California

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Posted: 12/22/21 10:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Saying a Bigfoot is a wood camper is as incorrect as saying it is a fiberglass camper. The primary structure is a sandwich, composed of a ~1/8" fiberglass skin, bonded to a 1 - 1 1/2" foam core, which is bonded to ~1/8 luan plywood. Though the materials are different, this is similar in concept to cored boat construction. Each of the components individually are flexible and somewhat weak, but when bonded together they act essentially as an I beam with the skins replacing the flanges and the foam replacing the web of the beam. Remove any of the components - including the glue bond - and you are back to individually flexible pieces.

Anywhere there is significant load on a Bigfoot there is wood: around all the windows, hatches, and doors, anywhere tables or furniture is attached, backing for the jacks and hold downs. The pickup box sides are plywood embedded in the glass and floor is entirely wood. The sandwich construction makes a stiff panel, but will not take high local loads, or hold screws well, or deal with compressive clamping loads. That's why and where you put the wood.

Fiberglass isn't a light material, if you made a structural shell only from solid fiberglass it would weigh much more. You would need to double or triple the shell thickness (and still reinforce high load areas), that would add ~500 - 1000 lbs to the camper. The sandwich construction takes advantage of the foam (already needed for insulation) and interior paneling (already needed for finish) to accomplish the needed stiffness without that increase in weight, and wood is a weight efficient (and cost efficient) reinforcement for areas that need it. Unfortunately it will rot. Ideally fiberglass hat sections or other methods would replace the wood, or a real structural foam would replace the styrofoam. And you can get that in a $200K camper - but not $50K camper. Bahn for example actually does build a camper shell like a boat - fiberglass inside and outside skins with structural foam core. The bare shell starts at about $50K.

bigfootford

Fair Oaks, California

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Posted: 12/22/21 11:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great post HMS!

Jim


2000 2500 9.6 Bigfoot,94 F250, Vision 19.5, Mich 245/70XDS2's, Bilstein shocks, air bags/pump, EU2000, PD 9260,Lifeline 100ah, 200W. solar, Morningstar Sunsaver 15A/ display panel, Trimetric, Delorme/laptop, Holux gps rec,led lights, Wave-3 heat.

covered wagon

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Posted: 12/22/21 09:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

stevenal wrote:

ajriding wrote:

Built like a boat. The fiberglass is the structure. There should be no wood structures in these. Bigfoot is one brand.


Molded fiberglass campers and boats both need additional structure beyond the fiberglass skin. Whether or not there should be wood present, it is in fact present in a 'foot until it rots away.


That's right you have to go back to the 70's to find boats made of solid fiberglass. these days they are mostly built of an inner and outer fiberglass skin with a foam or honeycomb core in between. There may be some very expensive large yachts built of solid hand laid woving in their hulls but, are very expensive.

HMS Beagle

Napa, California

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Posted: 12/23/21 12:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Actually quite a few boats are molded of solid fiberglass below the waterline. A very few solid glass everywhere. To achieve the stiffness of a sandwich panel in solid glass weighs and costs a lot. The reason not to use it below the waterline is that ANY penetration results in water in the core which can lead to problems. Many poorly built sandwich boats in the 70s and 80s caused buyers to begin shying away from the concept. Certainly all light weight racing boats are cored throughout as it is much lighter.

While water in the core in a camper is of little concern, the price point of campers does not support high quality cored construction, we are left for the most part with what Bigfoot and Northern Lite do. Earthroamer and Bahn are examples of true cored camper shell construction, and have a price that reflects that.

StirCrazy

Kamloops, BC, Canada

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Posted: 12/23/21 06:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

HMS Beagle wrote:



Fiberglass isn't a light material, if you made a structural shell only from solid fiberglass it would weigh much more. You would need to double or triple the shell thickness (and still reinforce high load areas), that would add ~500 - 1000 lbs to the camper. The sandwich construction takes advantage of the foam (already needed for insulation) and interior paneling (already needed for finish) to accomplish the needed stiffness without that increase in weight, and wood is a weight efficient (and cost efficient) reinforcement for areas that need it. Unfortunately it will rot. Ideally fiberglass hat sections or other methods would replace the wood, or a real structural foam would replace the styrofoam. And you can get that in a $200K camper - but not $50K camper. Bahn for example actually does build a camper shell like a boat - fiberglass inside and outside skins with structural foam core. The bare shell starts at about $50K.


acording to big foot, they are a structural fiberglass shell. and seeing the different stages of construction I beleve it. now have they changed there moderen day builds after they reopened, I don't know. I do know they sold off a lot of there molds to a couple companies and are just runing a handfull of sizes now. when they were putting one togeather they had all the walls and such in the bottom half then they lowered the top half onto it. cut a hole big enough for a little guy to crawl through where the door goes and ge juet went in and screwed the interior walls to the glassed in wood baking. so the wood walls are not bonded to the foam or the fiberglass they are just screwed to it. it didnt look like the foam was bonded to anything either as he said it was all cnc cut and hooks to the next piece, they may have used an adhesive to hold it in place. I spent two hours with the owner going around and seeing them in various stages ofconstruction.. I was very impressed just wish they would use a full size queen mattress[emoticon]

Steve

ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 12/23/21 09:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think if it were me I would go to a fiberglass forum, not a wood n stick camper forum for advice. Seems people are posting as if they are experts on Bigfoot.
I had a Roamer, which is similar, so am an expert on that particular model.
Though there is wood in the build, the wood is encased in the fiberglass and 100% waterproof except where the bolts go through, and at those points it was waterproof when it left the factory. Leaks would not compromise these points.
Cabinet wood is not a structure other than the structure for the cabinet and should not be confused with the actual camper structure.

There are molded fiberglass trailers that are just shells supported by wood, but it seems the TCs are not this flimsy.

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