Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

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Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby mrredrocker » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:55 pm

Thinking about "upgrading" from the teardrop. I've spent two summers doing occasional camping in a Little Guy Silver Shadow. It checks a lot of boxes for me, but I'm starting to think something different might be more suitable for my requirements. I'll try to list my major criteria, somewhat in order of priority:

1) I'd like a bed big enough for two adults, and since I'm 6'1 I'd like it to be long enough where I don't have to sleep at an angle or curled up to fit. (the 5x8 Silver Shadow doesn't *quite* meet this criteria)
2) I'd like to be able to pull whatever camper/trailer/apparatus I end up selecting with my existing car - a 4cyl manual transmission Honda Fit (it's managed the ~900lb Little Guy without problems)*
3) I'd like there to be space to stand up, and seating space for reading/computer work, or eating when the weather doesn't allow that outside.
4) I'd like the setup to be conducive to living in for a few months at a time. I realize that may be more of a mindset than a criteria.

Being on the road the last two summers I kept my eyes open for other smaller (hopefully relatively lightweight) campers. The Casitas and Scamps seemed promising, but the fiberglass shell seems to put it out of the weight class for my car. I saw a Cricket which is also a strong contender but they also seem pricey for what they are (the one I saw didn't have a lot of interior room as I recall). I don't actually think I saw a Scotty (or at least knew what it was) on either trip but i stumbled on one on craigslist which has expanded my search and interest.

Granted, I know there's different models, so rather than ask about a specific one I'm asking generically (and this doesn't have to be specific to Scotty's if there an option that meets my criteria)

It seems two major categories of these vintage campers, recently rebuilt, or project campers. What to look for/ask to ensure a rebuild was done properly?
I've had trouble finding dimensions for the bed in the 6.5' wide models, but it seems the mattress is likely 6'2" at most. I don't know if there's a floorplan modification where a queen length mattress could be worked in but that'd be my ideal plan.
Assuming a rebuild was done right, how long should I expect one of these to be exposed to the elements before water intrusion becomes a problem (ie if I were to camp on a lot of land outside of the city for an extended period of time).
How comfortable is it in colder climate? (for me, the coldest I'll likely be experiencing is in the low 30s, high 20s at night)



*I would consider getting a different car but I'm too obsessed with fuel efficiency to own a vehicle that gets less than 30mpg.
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby John61CT » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:21 pm

I think a custom "semi-foamie" build with a raiseable roof would fit the bill better than something commercial.

Especially if you could afford getting the chassis / framing designed for aluminum.
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby mary and bob » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:33 pm

We have a vintage teardrop. Several years ago we acquired a 13 foot Uhaul fiberglass camper that has a dry weight of about 1250 lb. We were towing it with a 2003 Honda CRV. Then 3 years ago we bought a 17 foot Casita that required a larger tow vehicle so ended up with a 2012 Dodge Ram 1500. We camp with a vintage trailer group a couple times per year. What I've seen of the old "stick built" trailers, such as Scotties and Shastas, is they get leaks, a small spot shows up on the inside, but there is usually much more hidden rot. Since we have two fiberglass campers we are biased in that direction, although they too can have their issues. Some of the old little 13 foot Scamps supposedly weighed about 900 lb, I would look for a later model, built after the factory had a fire as after production resumed they had more headroom inside. Figure on 1500 lb for a later model 13, but you can find all that info online.
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby mrredrocker » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:26 pm

mary and bob wrote: Since we have two fiberglass campers we are biased in that direction, although they too can have their issues. Some of the old little 13 foot Scamps supposedly weighed about 900 lb, I would look for a later model, built after the factory had a fire as after production resumed they had more headroom inside.


I have done some looking but haven't found anything to suggest a vintage Scamp weight in that neighborhood of 900-1000lbs.
I did find this link: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f51/ ... 43010.html
Wasn't familiar with Burros so I've looked at a few within driving distance.

I'd written fiberglass campers off as too heavy but I'm curious what kind of issues I should be looking for with that type of camper? Thanks.
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby mrredrocker » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:48 pm

I've found a '69 Scotty Gaucho that was allegedly rebuilt 3 years ago. Clean title, memory foam bed, 5k BTU A/C. Seller wants $5k for it and while I haven't attempted negotiating yet, has preempted me by saying it's a more than fair price.

How do I ascertain if it's worth that? It's a 7 hour drive for me but I have time to kill.

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Last edited by mrredrocker on Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:48 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby friz » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:11 pm

Does he have any pictures during the restoration? A lot of sins can be covered behind paint and chalking.

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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby mary and bob » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:02 am

That weight spreadsheet by Frederick Simson gives some good accurate weights of various trailers as they were taken at campgrounds with the trailers loaded for travel. Some fiberglass campers had floor rot mainly due to leakage at the windows. Some of the older Scamps had frame problems. The Burros are almost identical to the Uhauls, the rumor being that Uhaul used modified Burro molds to create their campers, which turned out to be a complete rental failure resulting in them being sold off after several years. What is the weight of the Scotty that you are considering buying?
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby aggie79 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:28 pm

You may also want to consider the frontal area of the camper and the wind resistance it causes. A 5' wide teardrop has 20-30 square feet of frontal area as compared to 35-45 square of frontal area for a small canned ham or fiberglass egg. That 50% plus increase will have a tremendous impact on "tow-ability".
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby mrredrocker » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:07 pm

friz wrote:Does he have any pictures during the restoration? A lot of sins can be covered behind paint and chalking.


I've asked the question. Waiting to hear back. I don't mind the paint or the color but I recognize it could be covering up something.

mary and bob wrote:What is the weight of the Scotty that you are considering buying?

The 13' 1969 is supposedly 975 pounds, per the NSSO. Seller says it's ~1000# (I'm guessing the a/c unit ad maybe the foam mattress are the biggest net gains from stock.

aggie79 wrote:You may also want to consider the frontal area of the camper and the wind resistance it causes. A 5' wide teardrop has 20-30 square feet of frontal area as compared to 35-45 square of frontal area for a small canned ham or fiberglass egg. That 50% plus increase will have a tremendous impact on "tow-ability".


Great point. Thank you. For my current purposes, this camper will likely be stationary for much of its time in my ownership. Being able to tow it with my current vehicle for shorter trips within the region would just be a plus.
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby mary and bob » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:39 am

Less wind resistance on a rounded fiberglass camper. The big issue is they are hard to find at low prices as they hold their value good and usually sell fast, sometimes the same day that the ad is posted.
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:42 am

Having just jumped into the Scotty world this year, the biggest thing to look out for is roof leaks. They're notorious for them. And if there is a roof leak, it most likely rotted away portions of the walls, or at least deteriorated them. I'm in the process of rebuilding a 1976 from the ground up. My hopes were to tow it with my Subaru Crosstrek, rated at 1500lbs towing if the trailer has brakes. Here we are getting it home in June...

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Yes, the advertised weight of an original (not rebuilt) 13' Gacho (10' + tongue) was 975lbs. That's dry weight. Without water, without propane & tanks, without batteries, no air conditioner. Nothing. Empty. Start adding in the amenities and It will add up quick. Then throw in some camping gear and living supplies for an extended trip and you're way above 1000lbs. Depending on how it was rebuilt, it could be quite a bit heavier if the materials used were thicker and heavier than original.

I will not be keeping the onboard water tank, but will be adding two batteries right where the water tank was (under the gaucho bed). I'm hoping this lightens the tongue enough. Time will tell. The tongue weight is a concern, as my Crosstrek is limited to 150lbs. If the finished Scotty does end up coming in too heavy, we'll be putting a hitch on my girlfriends Renegade (2,000lb towing, 200lb tongue weight).

With even the smallest Scotty, I think its going to be a bit large for a Honda Fit, unless you're just towing in a straight line through the cornfields of Kansas. The Crosstrek has a pretty small engine, (2.0L engine rated at ~150hp, and about the same torque) but in the name of fuel economy, it looks like the Fit is quite a bit smaller with a 1.4L engine, rated at 130hp/114ftlb torque. The Fit is lighter than the Crosstrek, so I'd have concerns about the tail wagging the dog. I won't tell you not to do it, but I don't think its a good idea. If hypermiling and camping are your two hobbies, one is going to constantly fight the other.

Hope you can find something that matches your needs :thumbsup:
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby mrredrocker » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:30 pm

absolutsnwbrdr wrote:Having just jumped into the Scotty world this year, the biggest thing to look out for is roof leaks. They're notorious for them.

Any tips on checking the seams inside and out for leaks or damage during inspection?


absolutsnwbrdr wrote:With even the smallest Scotty, I think its going to be a bit large for a Honda Fit, unless you're just towing in a straight line through the cornfields of Kansas. The Crosstrek has a pretty small engine, (2.0L engine rated at ~150hp, and about the same torque) but in the name of fuel economy, it looks like the Fit is quite a bit smaller with a 1.4L engine, rated at 130hp/114ftlb torque. The Fit is lighter than the Crosstrek, so I'd have concerns about the tail wagging the dog. I won't tell you not to do it, but I don't think its a good idea. If hypermiling and camping are your two hobbies, one is going to constantly fight the other.

I hear you. The 5x8 Silver Shadow I towed from Louisiana to Seattle and back again, has a curb weight of 850 and was loaded down with water tank, a spare, stove, canopy and other camping equipment handled fine with the Fit, which has a capacity of 1500# and 150# tongue weight. My guess is I'd be adding another 150# at most above what I towed in a previous summer if I get a Scotty. And I doubt I'll be taking it out of the southeast, primarily it's a temporary living situation as a potential prelude to a tiny house situation. So I have no plans on towing it through Yosemite like I did with the Silver Shadow.
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby John61CT » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:29 am

mrredrocker wrote:Any tips on checking the seams inside and out for leaks or damage during inspection?
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby mrredrocker » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:41 pm

friz wrote:Does he have any pictures during the restoration? A lot of sins can be covered behind paint and chalking.


We played a little phone tag but I had a length conversation with him about the camper today. Doesn't sound like there's much photographic evidence of the work done. Sounds like when he found it it wasn't in bad shape, mostly "needed tires and paint." Did things like replacing window cranks, rescreened windows, replaced the trailer bearings and running lights and added a little cabinetry. I asked about the condition of the roof and if he'd done any work on it and he said that while it didn't seem to have leaked, as a proactive measure he put several coats of elastomeric on the roof. I don't know if that's desirable or not. He has allegedly fixed up a few Scottys over the years.

For anyone with experience with Scotty's curious what to expect/hope for in terms of electrical setup. According to him he runs an extension cord through the access flap to a series of other extension cords that run to the lights and to a power strip for coffee maker, etc. If he runs the A/C I think he said he runs a separate extension for that. Obviously won't be the fairly sophisticated 120v/12v system with converter, battery, etc. Just wondering how typical that is at this price range.

Sink has two faucets, one for connection to a hose, the other to the 10gal stainless tank. I think that's standard.

I'm still thinking I'll make the drive up to see it in person. Unsure of whether/how much to negotiate on price if it's as described.

Video here: https://youtu.be/f14KR2n30bg
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Re: Considering a rebuilt Scotty Gaucho

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:00 am

If the Scotty is leaking at the wall/roof seams, you'll know it. They walls and ceiling will be soft and deteriorating. Although, if it leaked at one time, and has been covered or stored inside, you may not be able to tell. A small leak will turn into a large leak.

I'm curious where you're getting the 1500lb tow rating for the Fit. The owners manual for many of the years even states that the maximum load capacity is 850lbs (including driver, passenger, and gear), and that the vehicle is not designed for towing.

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I just don't see safely towing a 1000# Scotty with a FIT. its not just the going. Its the stopping. And the weight and balance ratios that change the handling characteristics and vehicle dynamics. I would say its your car so you can do as you please, but as soon as you are on public roads, your actions affect others.

If you want a bigger camper, get a bigger a vehicle.
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