Egg has a slight lean - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-13-2014, 10:15 AM   #1
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Name: Richard
Trailer: Boler
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Egg has a slight lean

Hi everyone!

I stood admiring the caboose of our new Boler.. when I noticed something odd. The rear bumper was not lining up with the lower edge of the egg on the left side..it was higher then the bottom edge of the FG. After reading another post on a crooked egg I investigated a number of things, and here is what I found.

The frame appears to be straight all the way down on both sides (no twisting or bends evident) and the egg is securely fastened (bolts are flush with underside of FG). Although the tilt is only slightly noticeable, I measured (approx) the FG hangs about 1.5/2" lower over left wheel well than that of the right. No evidence of leaf springs at all - just the "rub r ride" suspension arm thing on the inner side of each wheel.

I noticed on the left rear bumper groove where the FG meets the metal that the FG is cracked and broken as if done by weight pressure (looks incorrect). On the right side there is about half inch clearance between the FG and metal (looks correct).

Wondering if the "rub r ride" suspension had sagged somehow on the left side (if that's even possible) I gave the old bounce test (like we do when testing if a strut on a vehicle has bit the dust) and the left side (egg droop side) was bouncy. On the right side, it was very firm - THAT gave me cause to pause!

So, my friends... any idea what I'm dealing with? If I didn't know any better it looks like it is just built that way citing lack of any evidence of lifting between frame and egg.. but I know that can't be the case. If I tug on the left rear (where metal bumper meets FG) I can pull it up about a quarter inch.. but there is no give from the bolts so I'm at a loss to what is "actually" a miss here.

Look forward to any thoughts!

I will post pictures when I'm home.

Thanks everyone
Richard
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:00 AM   #2
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Richard,
I own a 73 Boler that leans on the right side. Everything is good on the frame. A Canadian friend told me to shim the axle on the right side to even it up. I haven't done it yet. We have not camped in it. It is our guest house in our shop.
You should take yours to a frame shop or call Escape Trailer Ind. they work on other brands in their shop. Located in Chilliwack,BC.
Chuck
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:48 AM   #3
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Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
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I'm a little confused over the left and right side of trailers, streetside and curbside are better descriptors.

Things to note:
  1. The boler body is lower on the curbside, to allow for the step in the door. (stand back and look from the front and you will see where the body curves down)
  2. The frame and axle are both about 1" closer to the curbside than the streetside to allow for a bigger kitchen counter and smaller closet
  3. There is typically more weight over the streetside of the axle, due to bigger cabinets, sink, stove, fridge and furnace etc.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Roy in TO View Post
I'm a little confused over the left and right side of trailers, streetside and curbside are better descriptors.

Things to note:
  1. The boler body is lower on the curbside, to allow for the step in the door. (stand back and look from the front and you will see where the body curves down)
  2. The frame and axle are both about 1" closer to the curbside than the streetside to allow for a bigger kitchen counter and smaller closet
  3. There is typically more weight over the streetside of the axle, due to bigger cabinets, sink, stove, fridge and furnace etc.
Ah that's good to know for terminology - thank you . So it is the streetside where the FG hangs lower. There is more bounce on the streetside, than there is on the curbside. The curbside is stiffer.
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:51 PM   #5
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Sounds like it might be time for an axle replacement. I mention some things to look for in the first few posts of this thread: Replacing an Axle - leading arm to trailing arm

Try measuring the bottom of the frame to the ground at the same point near the axle on both sides and from top of tire to the top of the wheel well. Also check to make sure there is the same size and profile of tire on both sides.
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Roy in TO View Post
Sounds like it might be time for an axle replacement. I mention some things to look for in the first few posts of this thread: Replacing an Axle - leading arm to trailing arm

Try measuring the bottom of the frame to the ground at the same point near the axle on both sides and from top of tire to the top of the wheel well. Also check to make sure there is the same size and profile of tire on both sides.
Okay - third attempt responding as app kept crashing on my iPhone! : This time I'm on my laptop - lesson learned!

Thanks Roy - excellent info there you provided, including the sub post.

Yes,I just had two new tires installed (175/80 13 - trailer rated) as the old ones the PO had put on years ago were worn and passenger rated.

So, I measured from a point on one side of the axle to the ground at 6 5/16" on the curb side. Then I did the same measurement on the street side (with the tilt) and it was just shy of 6" so definitely a bit lower (even though my driveway is not completely level.

I tried to measure from top of tire to top of wheel well but it was tight getting my hands in there to make an accurate measurement.

I took some pictures, and I noticed something which could be the smoking gun here. Looks like the PO ran over a large boulder or curb or something which bent the middle of the axle upwards and (I'm guessing here) therefore pulled the street side down?

Here is the axle - hope you can make it out on this:
Click image for larger version

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Here is a picture from the rear.. you could see the slight dip on the street side.
Click image for larger version

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What I need to know is, aside from the minor asthetics..and some potential pre-mature tire wear... if the axle is the cause of all this.. IS IT SAFE?

The wife and kids are itching to get camping ASAP and some long road trips so even if we can leave it like this for a couple of years that's OK until we can get it replaced if it's safe.

Thoughts?

Richard
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by IslandBlue View Post

I took some pictures, and I noticed something which could be the smoking gun here. Looks like the PO ran over a large boulder or curb or something which bent the middle of the axle upwards and (I'm guessing here) therefore pulled the street side down?


Richard

sorry I can't make out the axle in the photo but I don't think the bend in the middle of the axle is your smoking gun. Most of the axles have a bend in the middle. A clearer photo would help people to tell you if your bend is standard or not.

If you could take a photo of the side of the trailer so we can see how the trailer is sitting over the tires. How much clearance do you have between the top of the tire and the wheel well?
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:47 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=IslandBlue;464230]Hi everyone!


I noticed on the left rear bumper groove where the FG meets the metal that the FG is cracked and broken as if done by weight pressure (looks incorrect). On the right side there is about half inch clearance between the FG and metal (looks correct).

The only way your body will sag and rest on the frame where you're describing is if the floor has detached from the outer shell in that area or the floor is soft and sagging.
I bought a Scamp with a detached left rear corner resting on the frame where it came through to the bumper.
The PO had blown the left tire and it tore up the floor behind the wheel well.
I replaced the floor, jacked up the shell and reglassed it to the floor and no more sag.
John
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Old 06-14-2014, 08:31 AM   #9
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An upward bend mid axle is normal, done at the factory for camber. If you think someone ran over something the bend would also have a forward or rearward component as well. Hitting something dead center would be extremely rare.

I'm with John - I'd be checking the integrity of the floor. Take a piece of 1x6 or plywood and set it under the belly band on the low side on one end and on a jack on the other. Slowly jack it up taking some of the weight off. If the FG lifts off the frame, it is probably the floor.

If you can't measure from the top of the wheel well to the tire, pick another spot you can reach like the top of the rim. What you are looking for is a difference between sides.

Is your axle set up as trailing arm? I.e. the arms point towards the rear?
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Roy in TO View Post
An upward bend mid axle is normal, done at the factory for camber. If you think someone ran over something the bend would also have a forward or rearward component as well. Hitting something dead center would be extremely rare.

I'm with John - I'd be checking the integrity of the floor. Take a piece of 1x6 or plywood and set it under the belly band on the low side on one end and on a jack on the other. Slowly jack it up taking some of the weight off. If the FG lifts off the frame, it is probably the floor.

If you can't measure from the top of the wheel well to the tire, pick another spot you can reach like the top of the rim. What you are looking for is a difference between sides.

Is your axle set up as trailing arm? I.e. the arms point towards the rear?
Hi folks - apologies for the delays in getting back to you! We're well on our way with bringing our egg to it's former glory (pics to come soon!). A friend of mine stopped by (former Boler owner who did a full restore) and I shared your comments with him also. He checked the floor and said everything was well secured so no concerns there. Following a close inspection of rear streetside underside (where the FG overhang meets the FG bottom - hard to explain will add pic) there is a 6" crack) in the FG). It appears one of the PO's hit something very hard causing a partial detachment in that one place. The result is the egg on that corner dropped about 1/2". If you pull really hard you can lift that one corner level to the crack and it appears to sit correctly. I'm not sure how this could be repaired without removing the egg or jacking up the corner and applying pressure to raise that one corner and repair the FG. Either way, it doesn't appear dangerous.

When inspecting the front street side corner, he noted a similar issue. He said it made sense how this could have happened where PO hit something either front or rear and the cantilever stress from impact caused the FG crack on both ends. I'm fine to live with it as long as it's safe. The egg is definitely secure to the frame which is a relief. Like a slightly crooked bathroom tile, I'll always notice it but that's ok.

To answer your axle question, it appears to be a trailing arm. When I pulled the wheels off to repack the bearings, the wheel is attached to the arms which trails rear of the axle.

Richard
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