About repairing or replacing the floor or frame . . . - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-24-2008, 12:40 AM   #1
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Hi all,

My wife Lynne has found a nice little egg to compliment our larger Scamp 5er, a Surfside Trailer. I'd have to drive a substantial distance to go pick it up and drag it home, so I've had the owner send me some pics. Most of them are nice, but . . .

The pics of the tongue show many, many rust spots, particularly where the tongue bends just before heading under the trailer. There's a little forming indent there where water has collected and caused additional rust.

So, before I decide whether and how much to offer this guy for his trailer:

1) How much hassle is it to jack up the trailer and pull the frame out from underneath so one can sandblast, repair, and repaint it? What's involved?

2) Is it possible to weld on a "sister" frame member to reinforce a weak frame section, or is that a bad idea?

3) If the frame is beyond repair, how much does it cost to have a replacement frame made?

and, lastly

4) If the subfloor needs replacing, too, is it possible to do that without completely discombobulating the otherwise nicely done trailer innards?

Thanks,
--Peter
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Old 03-24-2008, 02:12 PM   #2
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Talking

Peter--- The rust- surface or rotted thru? Surface rust can be treated with any of the products out there used by car restorers. POR 15 is one, Rust Encapsulator (by Eastwood Products), Marhyde makes one also. Basically what it does is chemically converts the iron oxide to an inert, hard surface that will not continue to corrode. If the frame is rotted thru--- major project... Cracks or weak points can be corrected without removing the body. I had 5 cracks on our Scamp frame, some minor, a couple major... These were all repaired in about 2 hours of welding. (I can post pictures of frame repairs if you want) I'll show you at NOG. Floor repairs--- hmmm would have to look at those, but fiberglass mat and resin does wonders on soft spots. Larry (oh- where is the Surfside? North or South of You? I'll be in the Puget Sound area this upcoming weekend- could maybe look at for you)
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Old 03-24-2008, 02:18 PM   #3
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Check out the flooring in this tent trailer with all-aluminum frame:

Framing slide show
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:40 PM   #4
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Most of these ( boler especially) older trailers had some sort of cracking or frame failure right at the bends for the "A" part of the frame. Mine looks like it lost one side and bent the other when it dropped. I bought it in the repaired mode and haven't had any problem at all with it.
Mine was repaired with 1/4 angle iron sometime in the past and seems to be the strongest part of the frame now.
Picture angle iron bent to the same shape as the bend and welded on the outside edge and bottom of the frame.

It shouldn't be a problem for a professional frame welder. Look for a regular trailer frame place. (Not RV)

Pete,
I remember Gina's adventures with her aluminum frame 13' Burro ( which I still think was an experiment) .
Hopefully they are better now.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:01 PM   #5
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There is a surfside close by in Port Alberni, BC, maybe the one you are after - if it is don't forget the price of the ferry, $275 for that.

My understanding is a Surfside 15 is basically the Trillium 4500 Mold with a few differences - the windows are shorter, only 2 panes instead of 3 to accommodate the roof line cabinets - also the cabinets are wood, not fiberglass. This should mean that the floor is full fiberglass all around as the trilliums are and shouldn't need replacing. Can anyone with a surfside confirm this?

The early trillium frames had the same indent and some have fractured there - mine is still good but I will be getting it reinforced when I get a new axle on.

This couple pulled their trillium frame out, looks like they just jacked it up and pulled it out. Once again, if the frame / body design is the same as the Trilliums there should be 6 bolts and it's recommended you replace them with stainless ones.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:09 PM   #6
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I was thinking more in terms of the aluminum flooring than the frame. They use aluminum honey-comb flooring in commercial boat decks.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:45 PM   #7
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The Canadian Government actually recalled the Trilliums over this characteristic of the frame and called it an actual defect in their bulletin they published.

Both the Trill' I have had already had the frames modified to correct for this defect and as was mentioned by Pete,this is the strongest part of the frame it seems.

As for the floors,I used to think the enclosed fiberglass floors had an advantage as far as water damage is concerned but having had two of them I can see where they also are able to trap water better than non-sealed models.

Both my trills were watertight underneath and both had some evidence of that being bad.
I even drilled some drain holes in the 1300 to keep the water going through rather than ponding when I developed some leaking from somewhere up higher.

Only the floor of the living space has fiberglass on the top so water under the seats could rot the plywood as it was the floor in thiose spots.

Things are not always as they seem in these little eggs.
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:37 PM   #8
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Hi all,

My wife Lynne has found a nice little egg to compliment our larger Scamp 5er, a Surfside Trailer. I'd have to drive a substantial distance to go pick it up and drag it home, so I've had the owner send me some pics. Most of them are nice, but . . .

The pics of the tongue show many, many rust spots, particularly where the tongue bends just before heading under the trailer. There's a little forming indent there where water has collected and caused additional rust.

So, before I decide whether and how much to offer this guy for his trailer:

1) How much hassle is it to jack up the trailer and pull the frame out from underneath so one can sandblast, repair, and repaint it? What's involved?

2) Is it possible to weld on a "sister" frame member to reinforce a weak frame section, or is that a bad idea?

3) If the frame is beyond repair, how much does it cost to have a replacement frame made?

and, lastly

4) If the subfloor needs replacing, too, is it possible to do that without completely discombobulating the otherwise nicely done trailer innards?

Thanks,
--Peter
I believe the Surfside is from the Trillium 4500 molds. Any 4500 I have seen had a reinforcement strip welded on both sides of each frame rail(4 metal strips) right under the front corners. I believe these strips were added to the 4500's from the beginning because of the 13' recalls. The two Surfsides I have seen did not have these strips. There was a recent post showing a drawing of these reinforcement strips. A good welder should be able to do this welding without removing the frame(heat sheild between the weld and the fiberglass above). One of the Surfsides I saw had the rail on the door side broken right through so I wouldn't go any further than necessary before doing the welding.
Bill
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
The Canadian Government actually recalled the Trilliums over this characteristic of the frame and called it an actual defect in their bulletin they published.
The pics the current owner sent down show what looks like 1/4" steel plates welded on at the angle bends to buttress them, so this trailer likely has likely already seen that repair done, and it would take a lot of rust to work its way through those 1/4" plates. Hopefully that makes the bends, as you put it, "the strongest part of the frame."

Quote:
There is a surfside close by in Port Alberni, BC, maybe the one you are after - if it is don't forget the price of the ferry, $275 for that.

My understanding is a Surfside 15 is basically the Trillium 4500 Mold with a few differences - the windows are shorter, only 2 panes instead of 3 to accommodate the roof line cabinets - also the cabinets are wood, not fiberglass. This should mean that the floor is full fiberglass all around as the trilliums are and shouldn't need replacing. Can anyone with a surfside confirm this?
Thanks for the pointer on the ferry . . . we've been up that way, so we know.

And, yes, the Surfside does look a lot like the Trillium with smaller windows and wood instead of fiberglass cabinetry. We're kind of counting on these features so we can make new cabinets and convert the front gaucho into a small dinette and have everything look consistent, spiffy and functional. This one will be Lynne's project trailer . . .

We've also seen the pics for "Dewey," the trailer project you mentioned. I sure hope ours is as straightforward.

--Peter
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