Bigfoot 21FB Recall - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-06-2009, 03:07 PM   #1
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Trailer: Bigfoot 21 ft Front Bedroom
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I wonder if anyone could help in this matter? I just bought a Bigfoot 21FB travel trailer and found out about the recall on this trailer. #NHTSA 07V060000 is the recall number. I inquired at www.safercar.gov or 1 888 327 4236. Unfortunately I don't have any information about what exactly needs to be done to the tongue to make it heavier and stronger. When the freshwater tank is empty I could lift the tongue and it doesn't weigh anymore than 60 lbs. I suppose when the 32 gallon fresh water tank is filled , the 2 full propane tanks and a battery would increase the tongue weight, not to mention I plan to add 4 more batteries in the front storage compartment. The recall calls for reinforcing the tongue as well as making it heavier. Would be nice to know what exactly needs to be done rather than trying to "reinvent the wheel".
I tried to contact Bigfoot but the phone number appears to be out of service 1 250 546 2155.
If your heard anything about this matter or have a suggestion where I should continue digging for more information, I'd appreciate your help,
best regards,
Larry.
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:51 PM   #2
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Name: Deb & Chuck
Trailer: Bigfoot, Boler, Trillium, ECO, U-Haul, Burro, Escape, Trailswest, Compact Jr., Casita, Scamp
Washington
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Larry,
Bigfoot Industries bank closed their doors around December 2008.
Mark Holmes who was head of the Bigfoot Industries warranty dept. for over 6 years and with Bigfoot for 20 years, has opened up his own Bigfoot repair business. Here is the quote from the Bigfoot owner's website:

Hello to you all.
We will be opening a Bigfoot service shop for all of your Bigfoot service needs.
Service as follows:

-Mobile and In Shop RV Repairs & Maintenance
-Fiberglass and Gelcoat Repairs
-Repairs to Woodwork and Cabinetry
-Detailing of RV’s and Boats
-RV Customization
-RV Parts and Accessories
-Insurance work
-Free Estimates[/color]

. This service is provided by past employee’s of the company who know your units. The exterior repairs will be done to the original Gelcoat spects, not paint.
Please contact me for service needs. http://www.holmesonbigfoot.com Pictures of damage may be requested so we can offer you a general quote.
Thank you in advance.
Mark Holmes


Mark is very helpful on answering questions for free. Hopefully he can help you out. We owned a 21FB Bigfoot, but didn't keep it long enough to know about the recall.
Good Luck,
Deb
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:57 PM   #3
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Trailer: Bigfoot 21 ft Front Bedroom
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Quote:
Larry,
Bigfoot Industries bank closed their doors around December 2008.
Mark Holmes who was head of the Bigfoot Industries warranty dept. for over 6 years and with Bigfoot for 20 years, has opened up his own Bigfoot repair business. Here is the quote from the Bigfoot owner's website:

Hello to you all.
We will be opening a Bigfoot service shop for all of your Bigfoot service needs.
Service as follows:

-Mobile and In Shop RV Repairs & Maintenance
-Fiberglass and Gelcoat Repairs
-Repairs to Woodwork and Cabinetry
-Detailing of RV’s and Boats
-RV Customization
-RV Parts and Accessories
-Insurance work
-Free Estimates[/color]

. This service is provided by past employee’s of the company who know your units. The exterior repairs will be done to the original Gelcoat spects, not paint.
Please contact me for service needs. http://www.holmesonbigfoot.com Pictures of damage may be requested so we can offer you a general quote.
Thank you in advance.
Mark Holmes


Mark is very helpful on answering questions for free. Hopefully he can help you out. We owned a 21FB Bigfoot, but didn't keep it long enough to know about the recall.
Good Luck,
Deb
Hi Deb,
thanks for the information. I sent Mark an email. We'll be getting the trailer this week sometime. The trailer comes from a bankruptcy sale. Bought for 20,800 canadian dollars. The trailer was never sold. It is weathered from outside needs some TLC and it'll look great.
I like that 5th wheel. I wanted one back then but we were hauling horses. That's the reason for having a truck camper.
cheers,
Larry and Maaja
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:41 PM   #4
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This is the only reference I've seen. The remedy was to add ballast to the tongue, 275# I think.

http://www.automotix.net/autorepair/.../23487-recall/
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:04 AM   #5
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Name: lee
Trailer: trailswest campsterl, 1996 Scamp 16 foot
Idaho
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Larry I can't be of much help regarding the tongue situation but it is my understanding that Bigfoot is out of business hence the non responsive phone. I am sure other forum members will respond and confirm if my understanding of the Bigfoot status is correct or not. Lee

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Old 07-07-2009, 12:28 AM   #6
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Washington
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Talking

Good news!

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/in...howtopic=36155

Bigfoot is coming back!!
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:54 AM   #7
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Name: Bruce
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 ft RQ
Missouri
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Hi Larry,

I bought a 2004 21' FB. After about three years I got the recall letter from Bigfoot so I called them. What they wanted to do was bolt some weights to the tongue to add tongue weight. There was nothing said about reinforcing the tongue. I believe it is plenty strong. I know how to load a trailer and I was towing it with a one ton pickup so I elected not to have the recall done.

I had already figured out that I needed to watch how I loaded the trailer. That included not letting the fresh water tank which is forward of the axles become empty while at the same time the waste tanks which are behind the axles are full. You will discover that the tanks do not have baffles and if they half full (especially the fresh tank) the water will slosh back and forth while you are towing. On a strait level smooth road you can look in the mirror and see the trailer gently swaying back and forth from the water sloshing side to side in the tanks. That is even if you are towing with a one ton truck on a perfectly smooth road. If the tanks are completely full or completely empty that does not happen.

The mistake that Bigfoot made on that trailer was getting the axles a few inches too far forward. That was not so easy to fix. It would be easy to move the axles back on the frame during manufacture but the wheel wells are built into the fiberglass mold for the bottom of the trailer body. I don't believe the wheel wells can be moved without destroying the mold. They did come up with an option that proved to be a remedy on later model trailers. That was the front tool box option. That added two feet to the length of the frame (tongue) in front of the body to set the tool box on. That extra length of tongue would completely stabilize the trailer. Contrary to popular belief, tongue length and axle placement have much more to do with stability than tongue weight alone does.

I fully understand the issue with your trailer. It is a little bit irritating but I do not view it as a significant problem. I really liked my trailer and I would buy another one. It is better to tow with a ¾ ton or long wheel base ½ ton truck. A light weight tow vehicle and improper loading of the trailer could be dangerous. If you fill the propane tanks and the fresh water tank and add the batteries you are talking about the trailer will be properly loaded and you will be fine.

If the gel coat is starting to oxidize that needs to be lightly polished off with a power buffer and some VERY FINE grit compound. Keep the buffer moving. It is easy to burn through the gel coat. Also stay away from the decals. After buffing give it a good coat of paste wax by hand. Sunlight contributes greatly to oxidation.

Regards,
Bruce H
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:58 AM   #8
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Trailer: Bigfoot 21 ft Front Bedroom
Posts: 5
Bruce,
Appreciate your comments and suggestions! I got the 6 volt batteries on order. Decided for the Interstate U2200s Workaholics. I was surprised about the price of these batteries. Just 3 years ago I could buy them for 60 dollars. Now they more than doubled. I don't quiet understand why they shot up so much. They increased the Ah to 132, but double the price......? Ordered a 2500W Vector inverter and a 45A Iota charger with IQ4 controller. I was considering an inverter charger. There is a Samlex I/Ch only 603 dollars, but with only 2 second surge capacity. All the other inverter chargers are minimum 1200 dollars. I'm glad you agree that the weight of the 4 batteries should increase the tongue weight. I do have a 2001 Chevy K3500 crew cab dually with the 8.1 L V-8 for the truck camper. Plan to pick up the 21FB tomorrow. I'm concerned the dually may be an overkill to pull the 21FB. As long as we have the truck camper I can't afford to switch to a lighter truck. The truck camper loaded with all the STUFF weighs 5000 lbs. 4 6V batteries in the generator compartment (260lbs), 50 gallons of fresh water plus 6gal of water in the hot water tank(470 lbs), and other options sure add up. I agree with you about the longer tongue length, but there must be something else as well. I pulled the R-vision 30DSBS travel trailer and over 60 mph it was swaying. I pull a very light 18 ft Thule enclosed trailer behind the truck camper, no sway at all.
thanks again for your comment,
Larry.
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:52 PM   #9
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Name: George
Trailer: Waiting for the Sprinter van and designing the converion modules.
Oregon
Posts: 629
I have Bigfoot 21RB 08 which was not recalled for swaying as far as I know. 3 27 series batteries and 2 30lb LPG bottles are mounted on the tongue. Onan 2500 generator is mounted into the Bigfoot factory mount just behind the tongue. Towing the trailer with F350, long bed, diesel, with heavy fiberglass canopy, with or without 750lb Reese SC Trunnion Weight Distribution bars has no signs of even minute sway.


But, I recently weighed the tongue and with LPG bottles ¾ full, ¾ full fresh water tank (rear), and empty waste tanks (rear) my tongue weighs a whooping 650lb. The Bigfoot sticker states 500lb tongue weight. I installed Onan generator myself and noticed that Bigfoot used solid steel (2” X 3”) frame crossmember for Onan mount.


Was this 125lb solid steel structural overdesign or tongue weight control?

Am I violating some trailer principle design with 150lb over the Bigfoot 500lb tongue specification?


Any light shed on this puzzle would be great.

George.



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Old 07-07-2009, 03:44 PM   #10
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Trailer: Bigfoot 21 ft Front Bedroom
Posts: 5
Quote:
I have Bigfoot 21RB 08 which was not recalled for swaying as far as I know. 3 27 series batteries and 2 30lb LPG bottles are mounted on the tongue. Onan 2500 generator is mounted into the Bigfoot factory mount just behind the tongue. Towing the trailer with F350, long bed, diesel, with heavy fiberglass canopy, with or without 750lb Reese SC Trunnion Weight Distribution bars has no signs of even minute sway.


But, I recently weighed the tongue and with LPG bottles ¾ full, ¾ full fresh water tank (rear), and empty waste tanks (rear) my tongue weighs a whooping 650lb. The Bigfoot sticker states 500lb tongue weight. I installed Onan generator myself and noticed that Bigfoot used solid steel (2” X 3”) frame crossmember for Onan mount.


Was this 125lb solid steel structural overdesign or tongue weight control?

Am I violating some trailer principle design with 150lb over the Bigfoot 500lb tongue specification?


Any light shed on this puzzle would be great.

George.
Hi George,
Do you have pictures of how you installed the batteries and the generator on the tongue? I'm not sure if one cab upload pictures in this forum. If not can you please email me. sutak[at]hotmail.com
many thanks,Larry
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:23 PM   #11
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Name: George
Trailer: Waiting for the Sprinter van and designing the converion modules.
Oregon
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Hi George,
Do you have pictures of how you installed the batteries and the generator on the tongue? I'm not sure if one cab upload pictures in this forum. If not can you please email me. sutak[at]hotmail.com
many thanks,Larry
I posted my pictures here . With Bigfoot's 2008 tongue shelf design this project was easy. Electrical installation of new 80A converter, 1.5kW dig. innverter and 2.5kW generator was a couple of weekend's project. I included my drawings of the 21RB for custom cover in case you are interested buying a cover.

George.

I am not planning to keep these pictures on the web for long so please copy them as necessary.
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:37 PM   #12
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Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
Iowa
Posts: 5,000
Quote:
I have Bigfoot 21RB 08 which was not recalled for swaying as far as I know. 3 27 series batteries and 2 30lb LPG bottles are mounted on the tongue. Onan 2500 generator is mounted into the Bigfoot factory mount just behind the tongue. Towing the trailer with F350, long bed, diesel, with heavy fiberglass canopy, with or without 750lb Reese SC Trunnion Weight Distribution bars has no signs of even minute sway.


But, I recently weighed the tongue and with LPG bottles ¾ full, ¾ full fresh water tank (rear), and empty waste tanks (rear) my tongue weighs a whooping 650lb. The Bigfoot sticker states 500lb tongue weight. I installed Onan generator myself and noticed that Bigfoot used solid steel (2” X 3”) frame crossmember for Onan mount.


Was this 125lb solid steel structural overdesign or tongue weight control?

Am I violating some trailer principle design with 150lb over the Bigfoot 500lb tongue specification?


Any light shed on this puzzle would be great.

George.

George, I'd guess that the number you're looking at with the 500 lb tongue weight would be dry... no LP tanks, no batteries. There should be a sticker somewhere on a cabinet door in your trailer with "as equipped" weights. Without running out an looking at mine, I don't recall if they just have a total weight, or they have them broken out by actual tongue and axle weights. In any event, they would still be weights without consumables; LP, water, etc. but with all of the equipment in place. The LP itself as well as the weight of the batteries will make up that 150lbs pretty quickly.

Roger
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:46 PM   #13
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Name: George
Trailer: Waiting for the Sprinter van and designing the converion modules.
Oregon
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Quote:
George, I'd guess that the number you're looking at with the 500 lb tongue weight would be dry... no LP tanks, no batteries. There should be a sticker somewhere on a cabinet door in your trailer with "as equipped" weights. Without running out an looking at mine, I don't recall if they just have a total weight, or they have them broken out by actual tongue and axle weights. In any event, they would still be weights without consumables; LP, water, etc. but with all of the equipment in place. The LP itself as well as the weight of the batteries will make up that 150lbs pretty quickly.

Roger
Thank you Roger,


I had a picture the Picture of the label which states:

GVWR - 7000lb

Factory Mass - 3989.33lb – I assume this is dry weight

Tongue Load Range - 500lb.


I think you are correct that the Tongue Load Range relates to dry trailer weight. 500lb is 12.5% of the dry weight (Factory Mass) but only 7.14% of GVWR which seems to be too low. Thank you for clarification,

George.

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Old 01-18-2011, 12:57 AM   #14
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Name: Aidan
Trailer: 2001 Bigfoot 21' (25B21RB)
Texas
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Great Info! THX M8

When did the extended tongue become an option?

When did the factory onan mount become an option?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce H View Post
Hi Larry,

I bought a 2004 21' FB. After about three years I got the recall letter from Bigfoot so I called them. What they wanted to do was bolt some weights to the tongue to add tongue weight. There was nothing said about reinforcing the tongue. I believe it is plenty strong. I know how to load a trailer and I was towing it with a one ton pickup so I elected not to have the recall done.

I had already figured out that I needed to watch how I loaded the trailer. That included not letting the fresh water tank which is forward of the axles become empty while at the same time the waste tanks which are behind the axles are full. You will discover that the tanks do not have baffles and if they half full (especially the fresh tank) the water will slosh back and forth while you are towing. On a strait level smooth road you can look in the mirror and see the trailer gently swaying back and forth from the water sloshing side to side in the tanks. That is even if you are towing with a one ton truck on a perfectly smooth road. If the tanks are completely full or completely empty that does not happen.

The mistake that Bigfoot made on that trailer was getting the axles a few inches too far forward. That was not so easy to fix. It would be easy to move the axles back on the frame during manufacture but the wheel wells are built into the fiberglass mold for the bottom of the trailer body. I don't believe the wheel wells can be moved without destroying the mold. They did come up with an option that proved to be a remedy on later model trailers. That was the front tool box option. That added two feet to the length of the frame (tongue) in front of the body to set the tool box on. That extra length of tongue would completely stabilize the trailer. Contrary to popular belief, tongue length and axle placement have much more to do with stability than tongue weight alone does.

I fully understand the issue with your trailer. It is a little bit irritating but I do not view it as a significant problem. I really liked my trailer and I would buy another one. It is better to tow with a ¾ ton or long wheel base ½ ton truck. A light weight tow vehicle and improper loading of the trailer could be dangerous. If you fill the propane tanks and the fresh water tank and add the batteries you are talking about the trailer will be properly loaded and you will be fine.

If the gel coat is starting to oxidize that needs to be lightly polished off with a power buffer and some VERY FINE grit compound. Keep the buffer moving. It is easy to burn through the gel coat. Also stay away from the decals. After buffing give it a good coat of paste wax by hand. Sunlight contributes greatly to oxidation.

Regards,
Bruce H
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