scrambled egg - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-10-2007, 09:44 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1987 Casita 16 ft / Dodge Dakota Sport V6
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hi all.
we just got back from an 1800 mile trip with the new to us 1987 16' scamp, all went well for the first 1200 miles, the scamp pulled really well, I really could not tell the difference between it and the 13 foot burro we had before. we were finishing our trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway and had just gotten off the parkway to go to Blowing Rock, NC. I pulled into a parking area just off the highway and went over some pot holes in the road, we heard a sickening crunch and saw the the nose of the trailer scooting in the dirt and the hitch was bent up and was pushing the battery and gas bottle into the front of the trailer, it was still attached to the truck and I was able to stop before any more damage occured. My first impression was "now what?" 400 miles away from home and this disaster. but in retrospect I realized just how fortunate and blessed we were by it not happening on the parkway where there are narrow lanes and dropoffs of several hundred feet on the side. to make a long story short we were able to find an honest and reliable tow truck operator and welder at the blowing rock BP station. Mark stayed after closing to get us patched up and on the road again at a very fair price. the previous owner had sanded and painted the frame and it LOOKED great, but ther must have been rust from the inside that allowed the frame to let go like that. so my advice to those who purchase older eggs is to check the frames very carefully and even reenforce them before the first trip regards, Gerald
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Old 05-10-2007, 09:56 PM   #2
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Ouch...

How did the body fare where the gas tanks and battery were pushed back?
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Old 05-10-2007, 10:07 PM   #3
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Ouch...

How did the body fare where the gas tanks and battery were pushed back?

Remarkably as soon as the A frame was pulled back in position the body popped back into shape as before. the only damage was to the sewer line holder on the front which cracked beyond repair. I think that being able to stop quickly after the break helped minimize the damage
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Old 05-10-2007, 10:16 PM   #4
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Sorry in deed to hear of your disaster but you DO realize just how lucky you are!
The Trailer God musta been watchin over ya
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Old 05-11-2007, 07:36 AM   #5
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This isn't the first report I've seen of frame welds breaking at the A-joint. For some makes of egg, it seems to be a common problem. Caveat emptor!
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Old 05-11-2007, 11:49 AM   #6
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This isn't the first report I've seen of frame welds breaking at the A-joint. For some makes of egg, it seems to be a common problem. Caveat emptor!
Yes Jack, it does happen, I just got off the phone with the scamp factory, they indicated that some of the older ones had a lighter gauge frames and if not properly cared for they could rust and crack. they did say that if the frames were reenforced with angle at the point they exit the trailer body they would be ok, which is what we did and I feel comfortable that it won't happen again. I would suggest to owners of older eggs to do some preventive maintenance and have those angles welded on. It should not cost much and would be worth an untold amount of peace of mind and safety. regards, gerald
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Old 05-11-2007, 11:57 AM   #7
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I just got off the phone with the scamp factory, they indicated that some of the older ones had a lighter gauge frames and if not properly cared for they could rust and crack.
Typical factory answer - "if it breaks, it's your fault." Couldn't possibly be a faulty weld, or metal fatigue, or a design flaw, could it? If your egg's hitch is on an A welded onto the frame , being "properly cared for" may not be enough - checking those welds, and maybe adding some reinforcement, could save you some grief!
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Old 05-11-2007, 12:43 PM   #8
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Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
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Is the A-frame welded on to a Scamp? In older Trilliums, 13' Bolers, the current Escape 17, and various other designs the main frame tubes are the A-frame, after bending towards each other - and usually up as well - at the front. The bend point is the weak area, presumably due to high stress and some questionable bending on the old ones.

The Escape 17 frames I have seen are very nicely bent; I would not be worried about them. The Outlook variation on the Trillium 1300 has a step up at the base of the tongue made with separate pieces of tubing overlapped and welded, rather than bending up; I don't know if this is to reduce manufacturing cost, or for reliability.

My Boler's manual calls for the owner to check, and touch up as necessary, the paint on the frame to avoid corrosion damage. I was discussing frame design with a cargo trailer manufacturer, and he said that they did not use box section frames on longer trailers (over something like 12 or 14 feet) because there were problems (in various brands of cargo trailer) with the frames rusting out from the inside. He and I agreed that this was likely the result of moisture trapped in the closed sections during construction. With a egg using a bent tube frame, towed nose slightly down, the bend points would be the low point and would collect water internally, in addition to the water which sits on top due to the "dent" at the bend.

To be fair to Scamp, Gerald's trailer is twenty years old... most cars have gone to the scrapyard long before that.
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Old 05-11-2007, 03:31 PM   #9
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Gerald,

glad no further damage was done. My Burro sometime in it's past had the same thing happen as evidences by the bent frame areas at the "A" bends.

But It was repaired via angle iron and welding long before I got it and I would look everywhere else for trouble before that weld breaks.

You should be fine now.
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Old 05-11-2007, 04:35 PM   #10
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Typical factory answer - "if it breaks, it's your fault." Couldn't possibly be a faulty weld, or metal fatigue, or a design flaw, could it? If your egg's hitch is on an A welded onto the frame , being "properly cared for" may not be enough - checking those welds, and maybe adding some reinforcement, could save you some grief!
Weak point on the frame or not - if it lasts 20 years or more before failing, can we really describe it as a design flaw?

If the thing was a couple years old, lightly used and barely off the warrantee (or still supposedly covered like our Dodge van was SUPPOSED to be... ) - I'd see a reason to gripe then.

Course - this might also explain why the older ones weighed less (according to the old spec sheets).

mkw
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Old 05-11-2007, 06:20 PM   #11
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I think Mike has a good point: vehicles in general (not just RVs) are escalating in weight, despite improved materials and technology. Some of that is just raw size, and much is additional features (appliances, etc), but I think a meaningful contribution is due to upgrading components to resolve weaknesses which have been found through experience. I have read of a few trailer frame replacements, and they generally include larger or thicker steel main frame sections and more (or more substantial) cross-members.
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Old 05-11-2007, 07:08 PM   #12
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I think it's probably also important to note that vehicles are designed/engineered/tested/etc and have to meet certain requirements like keeping people from getting squished like bugs in a head-on collision... RV's on the other hand are built to be cheap and light and cheap and quick to manufacture and finally, cheap.

So while a truck frame is engineered, a trailer frame is slapped together.
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Old 05-11-2007, 09:54 PM   #13
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Weak point on the frame or not - if it lasts 20 years or more before failing, can we really describe it as a design flaw?
IMHO, yes. As Brian B-P put it:- "The bend point is the weak area, presumably due to high stress..." There have been numerous breaks in this area reported on FGRV forum, which to me suggests that hitches on an A-frame are a potential design problem in an otherwise relatively bulletproof egg. Bent or welded, these things take a lot of torsional stress; examine them carefully, and if in doubt - reinforce!
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Old 05-12-2007, 01:13 AM   #14
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If the frame doesn't look up to the job it becomes even more important to make sure the tongue weight is well within bounds.
I suspect excessive tongue weight is reponsible for a significant percentage of failures, and not just static load but also the added stress when you hit bad roads, dips, and potholes.
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