Classic Scamp Failure - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-23-2014, 12:26 PM   #43
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 443
Norm, it is great that you caught this before some potentially dangerous accident could occur. Could have been a much more serious outcome if you hadn't.

Make sure to post pics of the damage and the repairs so that we can better appreciate the extent of the issue. - (oops looks like I took too long posting and 2 pages of responses went up including photos in the meantime.)

Frame damage does look pretty severe. Norm, are you sure you haven't been putting on weight lately?

Dave W - 2013 Escape 19' and 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." - Yogi Berra
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:58 PM   #44
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Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,711
Dave see post #26 for photos of Norm's damage.

Re the sway bar. Yup its suppose to pivot but as we know one or two of us have been known to back up and crank it over at the same time and have bent a few parts doing it. So I can't help wonder what kind of stress that may put on a frame if done a few times.

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Old 01-23-2014, 03:40 PM   #45
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Name: jim
Trailer: 2016 2ndGen Escape19 Prairie Schooner pulled by 2014 Dodge Ram Hemi Sport
Posts: 6,242
Carol, you have the cleanest frame I have ever seen, almost new like and it doesn't appear to have been repainted unless it was taken off the unit. Very well taken care of. I just realized, this sounds like a pick up line in a bar…….. sorry about that.
Never in doubt, often wrong
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:44 PM   #46
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Name: Francesca Knowles
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
Jefferson County, Washington State, U.S.A.
Posts: 4,543
Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
Wow, that's scary. Thank goodness it happened when it did. After an internet search of metal fatigue I think this type of failure is only a matter of time for any of our trailers if they don't rust out first. Making the metal thick in one place seems to move the failure point to a different location. The cumulative effect of loading and unloading seems to be the cause. I would be inclined to replace the frame. Raz
I agree with Raz- frame replacement is a very good idea, especially given the extraordinarily high number of miles you have on that trailer. Would 200,000 miles be overstating what you've got on this puppy?

In my opinion it's entirely possible that the frame is "plumb wore out", much like The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay that ran a hundred years to the day `

I guess "design flaw" could be endlessly debated, but the fact is that after years of hard use the frame has failed at one point that you know of. I'd be most concerned about the fragility of the rest of the frame, it having endured the same trials.

Especially since metal fatigue is seldom visible to the eye until failure happens, please do consider whole-frame replacement.
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Old 01-23-2014, 04:03 PM   #47
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Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Carol, you have the cleanest frame I have ever seen, almost new like and it doesn't appear to have been repainted unless it was taken off the unit. Very well taken care of. I just realized, this sounds like a pick up line in a bar…….. sorry about that.
Jim thats the nicest thing you can say to a girl!

As I said the trailer was in *great* shape when I purchased it. I do not think the previous owners had ever done anything to the frame. It only had a few spots with a tiny bit of surface rust on the frame and I did repaint it when I purchased it 6 years ago.. well I should say almost all of it. One of the reasons it looks so clean is when I parked it for the winter and crawled under it with the intention of painting the few sections I hadn't painted (mostly the thin cross bars that you can see towards the rear that now have a fair bit of rust showing on them) I decided I should wipe/wash all the main beams clean first to take a look for any issues such as the ones noted. Got it cleaned up and did a little touch up on the beam were it goes under the trailer (which you can see were I did that in one of the photos) got called away and never did get the totally untouched parts done..... oh well there is always the spring.
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:00 PM   #48
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
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Ginny and I gave up wheat (almost) this year and have both lost more weight. This small change has made an amazing difference. (The doctor said it would cause us to loose 10 lbs over the year.) We have been pretty good this year, partially because we've been traveling a lot, always better years for weight reduction.

As to forcing the sway bar when backing in, we almost always back in from the direction that extends the sway bar because I can see better in that direction.

Francesca, As to the number of miles, the typical RVer does less than 5,000 miles a year. We have had the Scamp for 3 years and probably put 60,000 miles on it.

After reading all the posts I plan have the frame stiffened in additional places before our Newfie trip.
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:31 PM   #49
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
Here are two pictures of our broken frame. Both sides are similar except the otherside (doorside) it's cracked instead of broken thru.

Carol, My frame is reinforced with a welded on L section where the frame exits the fiberglass. It appears that Fourdee's break occurred right after the reinforcement.

Possibly another place to add stiffening to this natural flex/stress point.
YIKES! When I spoke of the extra plates, I meant the ones directly under the front of the body. I do crawl under my trailer in the Spring before the first camping trip, to check everything out. It's tall enough, I can use a creeper and it only takes a couple of minutes to visually inspect and tap the frame it's entire length. I guess I'll be extra careful this coming April.
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:56 PM   #50
Name: Derek
Trailer: 2007 Bigfoot 25b25rq
Posts: 66
We had our 1985 Scamp 16' for five years before selling it 2 years ago. I had painted the frame and never saw a problem, yet the person we sold it to had the frame break within a year after he bought it. I felt bad, but I don't know how I could have seen it coming. We had towed it on a number of long distance trips with no problems. He sent me a picture and the tongue had broken at the bends and was pointing up at about 45 degrees.

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Old 01-23-2014, 07:04 PM   #51
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Name: Sharon
Trailer: Chez Nous - a 2011 Scamp 16'
Posts: 277
Derek, my guess is you probably could not see it coming. We all know Norm is very attentive to his trailer, paints frame, etc., and he didn't see it coming. Age of trailer (if no obvious areas of rust) might be the only red flag we'll ever see, and that likely is a HUGE window time-wise.

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Old 01-23-2014, 09:02 PM   #52
Name: Bill
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 78
Glad you two are ok. Thanks for posting pics. I'm sure once repaired, it will give you a million more miles!
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:27 PM   #53
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Name: Chuck
Trailer: tp
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I own a 73 Boler that was repaired with lots of steel on each side of the A-frame.
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:30 PM   #54
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Name: deryk
Trailer: 2012 Parkliner 2010 V6 Nissan Frontier 4x4
New Jersey
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So what are the suggested repairs?

All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.... J.R.R. Tolkien
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:40 PM   #55
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Name: Dave & Paula Brown
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
This problem kinda surprises me. My trailer is older than yours Norm, and it has welded plates at the bend. Since I'm the third owner, I know it came from the factory that way. I was expecting the extra on the frame to be factory spec for years.. Guess not.

Safe travels, ALWAYS!
Donna, we bought used, and after reading posts of peoples problems, I had a welding shop weld plates in these areas as insurance against breakage, but I had them do this as they were repairing/up-grading our broken frame immediately behind the axle mounts, and as they were installing our new trailing arm design Flexiride axle.
Norm, soooo glad you had angles watching over you.
Dave & Paula
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:55 AM   #56
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Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette
Posts: 567
Norm & Ginny,
Glad you guys discovered the failure while parked!
Good old metal fatigue at work. Too many flex cycles to withstand. If the frame was sized to provide more stiffness it would have lasted more cycles.
The deformation of the tube at the bend could weaken the tube, and may have been more robust if they had used a longer more gradual bend. A 4" high tube would have made a lot stiffer frame, but would have added a little weight and cost over the 3" they used. These fiberglass trailers last so long that they could use a longer lasting frame for high mileage users. The metal scab re-enforcements to be effective have to be long enough to get out of the high stress zone. They add stiffness, but transfer the stress right to the end of the stiffener making a hinge point. The scabs can be tapered at the ends to allow them to flex along with the frame member to soften the hinge point. It will be tricky to do the welding without getting too close to the OSB sub floor. You could do a stronger repair if the body were lifted.

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