Classic Scamp Failure - Page 5 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-24-2014, 07:48 AM   #57
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I don't own a Scamp so is the 3" beam 1/8" thick or 3/16" ?
When I was still making my own campers I always made the main beams out of thicker steal than they needed to be so this would not happen.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:03 AM   #58
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I cannot say definitively but the frame rails I have seen are 1.5" x 3", 16 gauge (which is only 1/16" thick).
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:45 AM   #59
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Norm,
I've read other threads you posted of modifications to your trailer. Do you know the actual weight loaded you have. Looking at the picture and trying to do a failure analysis is difficult but makes me consider these things.
That structural tube has two functions, one to hold the total load and two, to transfer the tow vehicle force to the axil. The trailer cargo load is distributed across the entire surface of the tube. Flexing would be increased if additional weight is loaded at the back bumper and in front of the body by the tanks & battery. Some people carry tool boxes or generators like that. Another thing is the possibility of the trailer having previously been jacked up at that point now cracked leaving a stress riser to eventually give way under the stress. You'll notice the axil connection to the frame is doubled to distribute the forces and jacking the trailer up should be done on the same doubled area. That crack looks to be a straight line crack, not near the axil making me wonder if it could have been an inherent flaw from the steel factory where tubes are butt flash welded in continuous production.
As Forrest Gump says...."That's all I got to say about that!"
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:12 AM   #60
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Kenny,

We weigh our trailer every year. It weighs about 2400 lbs fully loaded with an additional 200 pounds on the Honda's ball.

We actually travel pretty light. We have only one propane tank, no awning and no roof top AC. We do have a rear bumper box but it only contains a water hose, a 25 foot power cord, 4 wooden 2x6x12 blocks and a very small box of tools, screwdrivers and a couple of wrenches.

We do travel with a half full tank of water, typically nothing in the gray or black tanks. We have one battery on the tongue, no generator, and 5 pounds of solar panels (80 watts a 1/4" thick on the roof).

We carry no free loads in the trailer like bikes, coolers or grills. Our loads are pretty evenly distributed across the trailer. Really the only additional weight we added was a less than 10# screen door this year.


Since the trailer's 22 years old it's not possible for me to know what's happened over the years. I do know that a number of people have reinforcing plates in their trailer in this area. No one in a new trailer has reported that their trailer came with these plates from the factory (at least that I recall).

The box beam is severely crimped in this area to make the bend and in my mind it looks like a definite potential failure point. I would not be surprised if the factory has taken to adding steel here.

On our return from NM we did drove I-10 thru LA, a relatively rough segmented interstate. I'm sure this at least added to the problem. Of course we are all over the place with our Scamp though I expect this to be a recent failure. I'm forever under the trailer, particularly in the summer and have never noticed a broken weld or a crack of any kind or the trailer bouncing around unusually while driving.

I do jack up our trailer in the doubled section.

Thank you for your thoughts, I do try to be careful but.... that day the "gods and goddesses were looking out for us.

Norm
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:19 AM   #61
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Thanks to all for your posting and as well for the additional private emails, both on and off the site emails. Your good wishes and engineering suggestions are all appreciated.

When the issue is resolved I will report on what we did to get us on our way. We don't plan to head north until early April and then will only be home for less than a month before heading north again. Ginny suggests we stay home and really work on the trailer but at our ages I want to go to Newfoundland this year...one never knows what next year will bring so assuming no further issues we'll be off.

Again thank you to each of you and thanks for the "eye in the sky" (not talking about the government here).
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:36 PM   #62
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New trailer

Norm,
My 16 was manufactured Oct. 3d, 2013. Since it warmed up here today (13 F) I was curious to see what mine looked like. The two pictures show each inboard side of the formed tubes and one of the outboard bends. With a controlled bend the effect could weaken or add strength. Much like the forms in your car's hood. Like you, if I were building a frame at home I would reinforce the bend, but that's because I don't have the brains to calculate the stress. You'll notice on the starboard side the doubler tube for the axil extends clean up to the bend. The added tubes on the bottom are supports for the sliding step.

Kenny
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:02 PM   #63
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TYJ!
Blessed IS a good description. Thank the Good Lord he watches us "fogies" too!
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:34 PM   #64
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Kenny,

Thank you for the picture of the new Scamp.
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:35 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old_Romad View Post
TYJ!
Blessed IS a good description. Thank the Good Lord he watches us "fogies" too!
Paul, Where did you live in Maine? I'm again looking at property there.
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:00 PM   #66
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Norm I see what you mean, Yikes!

That would be a spot with high load stress being just beyond the more rigid box part of the frame. With metal fatigue from making that bend making it weaker. It's too cold for me to fully check out mine but I will before I hit the road in the spring. Might be asking the welding guy to do a little reinforcement.

On closed tube frame condensation from temperature changes will cause water inside the frame even if the tube is fully sealed. Not unheard of to cut open sealed tube and have water dribble out.

As to the kids taking your keys, don't they have to find you first? Between solar and a little bit of water purification you two could be pretty difficult to locate. North America... lots of woods to hide in
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:38 PM   #67
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Roger, Our kids are both Escapees and are on the list at our park and one on the Olympic peninsula. Their goal is to retire and hit the road as well.

As to water purification one gave us a million gallon system for Christmas, possibly a start on a bugout bag. They are thrilled with our travels. Actually my reference to property in Maine was to seek a "location" in the woods off the grid.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:15 PM   #68
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So glad you found it when you did. Whew!!!

Personally, this is another validation to my mind of my decision to buy new or nearly new stuff. Not saying that 20 year old trailers (or cars) can't be good, but it makes me uneasy to buy older units because 'stuff happens' eventually. I just feel good about the choices I've made, is all I'm saying.

I took a look at my Lil Hauley frame for comparison to the photos I've seen here. Looks like 4" C-channel, about 3/16" thickness. It seems to be well designed. Just aft of the bend, a cross piece is welded in all the way across the front. Then a reinforcing piece runs 90 degrees from that, to each side beyond the bend. A piece is added to the outside of the bend area, boxing it in. Add to all that another piece running from the center of the cross piece all the way to the ball area. It seems quite stout. Perhaps something in this will lend itself to ideas for strengthening another person's frame.

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Old 01-24-2014, 09:20 PM   #69
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Norm, I am looking at the pictures you posted at 10:37 and here are my two cents. It had to be a fatigue break, so it was progressing for some time. When it broke, the partial break on the other side happened quickly from overloading. Bending the tube at the bottom of the A forces the cross section to be reduced and, as noted in another post, it is also more prone to rust inside. Any welding may also promote rust. The inside rust is inevitable, unless the tube ends are open, or they are vented in some other ways. At this point it will be hard to see if there are other rusty weak spots.
The rubber springs used on Scamp axles provide less give after years of use, (the rubber takes a set) and that may have contributed to more stress on the frame.
I have no idea how the cost of a frame repair and a new axle compares to a new 16er, and Minnesota is a long detour on the way to Newfoundland, but a new Scamp may not be a bad idea.
Good luck!
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Old 01-25-2014, 06:57 AM   #70
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Paul,

A new Scamp is out of the question for us. First, only God knows when the ice will be off the pond in Backus and we have to be in Newfoundland in early May, second, it would be a significant effort to bring a new Scamp 16 up to the level of our 22 year old. I'm certain one way or the other we can restore this trailer to full function.

We have gone 'out of our way' to Backus to replace a faulty ball receiver, a worth while and interesting trip.

As to the axle, I believe it's the original. I do monitor up and down motion. A line in the rear window of our Honda lines up with the rock shield latches allowing me to see up and down motion in my rear view mirror. As well it's rare that anything moves inside the trailer when traveling. I have considered adding shocks to the trailer as some have done.

The multiple 1x3 beams are all open ended.

Right now my first responsibility is to get the trailer off the RV site we are on so it can be repaired at the welder's shop, that's planned for Monday. After that I should have a better position from which to evaluate the frame future.

As bad as the situation is, at leasr it provides information to others.
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