cracked frame on 17' burro - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-13-2009, 03:43 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1998 17 ft Burro
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hey all, shawn here (kelly g's husband). after returning from a 400 mile trip with a problem arising of difficulty closing the door i decided to check out the trailer frame. from what i gather a previous owner likely put to much weight on the rear 2" receiver hitch (or used trailer w/out lowering support jacks - i guess it doesn't matter how it happened but it is broken) and this caused the frame to bend and crack about 3/4" just behind the axle on both sides (i'll post pictures soon if we can figure out how). this causes the rear to sag thus the difficulty closing the door (causing interior to not meet the floor, side of camper to bubble out, etc.).
so i have thought of a couple of options...
start both options by jacking up the back of trailer until sagging frame is straight (level with itself) then putting jack stands under it to support it while i work on it.

a ) this plan requires welding the frame (i don't weld but colleague's husband does) with steel bars 1/2" thick as deep as trailer frame that run the length of the trailer and doubling up on the actual tear in frame. this will require 4 bars one on each side of trailer frame( inside and outside of both sides of frame) i was hoping not remove shell of camper. please tell me i won't have to remove camper shell!!!

b ) this plan would be about the same but instead of welding i would mount the steel support beams with grade 8 bolts. any idea on how many or how far apart they should be? i tend to go on the side of too many

by going the length of the trailer i think the steel beams would support trailer weight not allowing this sagging to reoccur. i need to know if anyone thinks these are hairbrained ideas (i am towing the trailer with my wife and two children and while i "think" (thinking - usually all you need to get into trouble) they will work, the safety of us and others is paramount.) i appreciate any and all responses. thanks, shawn
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:01 PM   #2
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hey all, shawn here (kelly g's husband). after returning from a 400 mile trip with a problem arising of difficulty closing the door i decided to check out the trailer frame. from what i gather a previous owner likely put to much weight on the rear 2" receiver hitch (or used trailer w/out lowering support jacks - i guess it doesn't matter how it happened but it is broken) and this caused the frame to bend and crack about 3/4" just behind the axle on both sides (i'll post pictures soon if we can figure out how). this causes the rear to sag thus the difficulty closing the door (causing interior to not meet the floor, side of camper to bubble out, etc.).
so i have thought of a couple of options...
start both options by jacking up the back of trailer until sagging frame is straight (level with itself) then putting jack stands under it to support it while i work on it.

a ) this plan requires welding the frame (i don't weld but colleague's husband does) with steel bars 1/2" thick as deep as trailer frame that run the length of the trailer and doubling up on the actual tear in frame. this will require 4 bars one on each side of trailer frame( inside and outside of both sides of frame) i was hoping not remove shell of camper. please tell me i won't have to remove camper shell!!!

b ) this plan would be about the same but instead of welding i would mount the steel support beams with grade 8 bolts. any idea on how many or how far apart they should be? i tend to go on the side of too many

by going the length of the trailer i think the steel beams would support trailer weight not allowing this sagging to reoccur. i need to know if anyone thinks these are hairbrained ideas (i am towing the trailer with my wife and two children and while i "think" (thinking - usually all you need to get into trouble) they will work, the safety of us and others is paramount.) i appreciate any and all responses. thanks, shawn
Reenforcing the stress spot is reasonable, A good frame or weld shop could advise you as to how to approach this. One thing is certain 1/2 steel is overkill.
This is NOT a suggestion but you could make a weld repair and the install rectangular steel tubing along side the frame to "double-up" the strength.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:24 PM   #3
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Trailer: 1998 17 ft Burro
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Reenforcing the stress spot is reasonable, A good frame or weld shop could advise you as to how to approach this. One thing is certain 1/2 steel is overkill.
This is NOT a suggestion but you could make a weld repair and the install rectangular steel tubing along side the frame to "double-up" the strength.
floyd,
thanks for the reply. i'm just asking others what they might do in my situation. if i take any advice i do so at my own risk. however i am extremely safety conscious and looking for as many ideas others will throw my way. i appreciate your input. thanks again shawn
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:37 PM   #4
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One adverse factor in frame welding is the proximity of flammable wood of fiberglass. You may decide to weld, you would first need to dismount and lift the body from the frame. This might be a good idea anyway so you have full access to the frame for pre-weld cleaning and welding.

You also mention bolting reinforcement plates on. Grade 8 bolts are not needed for this application. Even Grade 5 would be excessive. If you can grind the mating surfaces to bright steel, then use epoxy as well as bolting to secure the reinforcing, instead of welding. For reinforcing, you should go with the same thickness as the original frame. I would expect 1/8 or 3/32 inch would be about right.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:48 PM   #5
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I've seen frames "fish Plated" I don't have the welding experience but they take plate steel the same height as the existing frame and extend it out horizontally on the frame from the crack about 6 inches on each side of the crack ( about a 12"Piece each side)and then weld that plate to the frame..... the ones i seen done worked real good. This is just one more thing to add to your decision that might help.
Please get back when you get it fixed to let us all know what you did in case it happens to one of us.
Joe
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:09 AM   #6
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You have the right idea--- but, when jacking up the frame and supporting it, take it slightly more than you want the finished product... repair the cracks with fish plate. Then instead of 1/2 bar stock, explore "bridging" (also known as trussing) the frame. Talk to several fabricators that work with frames... if you can slow them down enough when they're explaining it to you, you'll get an education. I had an acquaintance truss (or bridge) my Scamp frame. He said "if it ever breaks again, I'll come to you on the road and fix it free". Then, when I did the Compact Jr, I trussed that frame also. Took all the flex right out of it. Larry (note: naked frame is the Compact, frame w/body on it is Scamp)
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