Oh no! Cracked frame! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-12-2018, 05:00 PM   #1
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Name: Jennifer
Trailer: 1982 13' Scamp
AK
Posts: 19
Oh no! Cracked frame!

Noooooooooo! I just discovered that the frame on my 1982 Scamp is cracked. I'm guessing it is unsafe to tow the trailer at this point.

Is there any hope?
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:26 PM   #2
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Name: Charlie Y
Trailer: Escape 21 - Felicity
Oregon
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A good welding shop can patch a brace across that break. An even better option would be a shop that actually builds trailers.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:29 PM   #3
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Maybe do both frame pieces (left and right) just to be safe!
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:31 PM   #4
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
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unsafe to tow? yes


Can it be repaired, yes but if you do so you might want to have some extra angle iron pieces welded to the frame that would start at the tongue and extend past that vulnerable bend in the tube. One piece for each side. Those pieces can then share the loads on the structure and transfer some of work loads on past those bends in the frame. Gussets help but more struts will too. The angle iron is not a budget breaker and you are already having it welded so the extra labor cost won't be a huge hit either.


Does it need to be replaced with a new frame? ....have the entire frame inspected, hopefully by a professional. They will give you a report of the condition along with a sketch of areas of concern. Then get an estimate for repairs and an estimate for a new trailer frame.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:56 PM   #5
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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Weld it up and add fish plates over the weld. I would reinforce the other side too. When this side broke all the stress went to the other side and overloaded it so stress failure is on its way there too. Both sides went on the same trip so reinforce it now.

https://www.google.com/search?q=weld...gqaYxuvdPwGOM:
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:14 AM   #6
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Name: William
Trailer: 13' Perris Pacer
California
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Yes, it can be repaired. See how Bex the Cat Herder took care of it...in the middle of the street! She was at the right place at the right time. Here's the video, but skip to the 5:00 minute mark.

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Old 07-13-2018, 03:25 PM   #7
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Name: Jennifer
Trailer: 1982 13' Scamp
AK
Posts: 19
Thank you all! Can it be safely welded/patched being that close to the wooden floor?
(I clearly know nothing about welding.)
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Old 07-13-2018, 04:38 PM   #8
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Name: Karl
Trailer: Trillium 1300
Alberta
Posts: 25
Yes I have the same problem on my Trillium 1300.
I’m replacing the whole frame as I think this is at the end of its life.
I removed four of the six bolts but cannot find the last two!!! Got the four corner ones, they are easy to spot but where are the other ones??? And are they the same type of bolts????
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Old 07-13-2018, 04:57 PM   #9
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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I can almost guarantee there are cracks on the other side where the sideways tubes are welded to the front part of the frame.
Rusty steel is hard to weld so get someone good to do it.
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Old 07-14-2018, 05:45 AM   #10
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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The second picture shows the problem with just reweldind the cracks as the frame has broken the second time at the edge of the previous weld.
The thickness caused a stress concentration and the heat affected zone was also weaker.
This is why the reinforcement plates must be tapered over a fairly Long area.
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:44 AM   #11
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Name: Karl
Trailer: Trillium 1300
Alberta
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Thanks for the information. I didn’t realize the welded plates where too short. I see this now. If I would have done this the welded reinforcement would have been sustancially longer to extend past the bends on the frame.
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:21 AM   #12
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Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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You might want to add 1" angle iron bent to fit the curve along the bottom of both sides (s) and extending well past the fish plates. The ends should be tapered > < where the ends are not on the square edges to avoid building another stress riser.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:54 AM   #13
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Name: Ron
Trailer: Compact Jr
TX
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Oh no! Cracked frame!

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The frame on my Compact Jr was broken and poorly repaired before i got it. I knew it would be a total rebuild project, but bought it anyway.

once i pulled the body off the frame, i was amazed how poorly it was built.



I am building a new one out of 2x2 11 gage for the main frame and 3x3 11 gage for the tongue.



I have build a few adventure type trailers and a few utility trailers with this methodology and they have held up very well.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:40 AM   #14
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Trailer: Miti Lite 1987
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tractors1 View Post
A good welding shop can patch a brace across that break. An even better option would be a shop that actually builds trailers.
I second that opinion.
My 87 Mity-Lite developed a frame crack where the tongue joins the body section while we were on vacation, so I looked up a blacksmith type welding shop and inside one hour they had formed and welded 2 braces, one for each side, and that weak spot is now several times stronger than original. I was concerned for the fg body at the weld sites, but they heat sinked the areas resulting in no effect. We were in Utah farm country at the time, and I expected a repair bill of several hundred dollars for the instant service. I was floored when the bill for materials and welding came to a mere $30. That's the Mormons for ya! Of course, YMMV.
BTW, that crack is safe enough for unloaded gentle towing, even some 30-50 miles
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:14 PM   #15
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Name: dust in
Trailer: Boler Trailer
British Columbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akjruthies View Post
Noooooooooo! I just discovered that the frame on my 1982 Scamp is cracked. I'm guessing it is unsafe to tow the trailer at this point.

Is there any hope?
Hi....ya that sucks...and it is what is these trailers have had a life but the simple truth they do have a life span the frames that is...made not with the best of materials but at the time very reasonable approach to getting the job done with good intentions ...but almost 40 years in the old girls...time to maybe put a new frame underneath ...its not as bad as one might think . Price wise its reasonable like I had my new frame (Aluminum tube) made for my girl and I am so glad I did. I paid $1600....professionally made by quality trailer builders here on Vancouver Island .....The best thing I could have done...It gives me assurance my trailer won't fold from broken frame again...By the way my frame was cracked in four places and the door as a result kept opening when I was traveling down the hwy. Hmmm, sure enough the frame was cracked just under the door and again directly across on other side as well as where the spring shackles were anchored . The Door now opens and closes properly....
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:37 PM   #16
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Name: Ben
Trailer: None
South Carolina
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That frame can be patched but you're just buying time before another crack appears. When you patch that area, it will be stiffer in that location which will send the stresses to another part of the frame causing a new crack in a different location. Those frames were built entirely to light and they flex too much going down the road. That frame has almost rusted away. It really needs to be rebuilt anew with at least thicker metals and painted properly to protect it. It won't be much heavier, maybe 100lbs but you'll be there soon if it keeps getting patched together. It will also cost more to keep patching the old frame versus a new one.
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:55 PM   #17
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Trailer: Miti Lite 1987
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dust-in View Post
Hi....ya that sucks...and it is what is these trailers have had a life but the simple truth they do have a life span the frames that is...made not with the best of materials but at the time very reasonable approach to getting the job done with good intentions ...but almost 40 years in the old girls...time to maybe put a new frame underneath ...its not as bad as one might think . Price wise its reasonable like I had my new frame (Aluminum tube) made for my girl and I am so glad I did. I paid $1600....professionally made by quality trailer builders here on Vancouver Island .....The best thing I could have done...It gives me assurance my trailer won't fold from broken frame again...By the way my frame was cracked in four places and the door as a result kept opening when I was traveling down the hwy. Hmmm, sure enough the frame was cracked just under the door and again directly across on other side as well as where the spring shackles were anchored . The Door now opens and closes properly....
An additional benefit to having a new frame built is adding more length for accessory cargo space, and choosing better suspension system, tires and wheels, lighter non corroding aluminum frame material, etc.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:55 PM   #18
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Name: t
Trailer: Phoenix
California
Posts: 55
Properly done any crack ends are drilled so that they are stopped, the crack is ground out creating a 'V' that follows the crack to 90+% of the material's thickness, the weld bead then fills in that 'V', and finally the weld bead is ground smooth.

THEN any gussets/fishplates/etc. can be added to the frame.

Looking at the first pics in the thread I think the frame needs to be separated from the rest of the trailer if it is to be fixed correctly.


The root cause of the problem is the bend. It is located in a highly stressed region of the frame to start with, and then the type of bend used caused a reduction in cross-section. To address the root cause I would cut off both bends and extend the frame straight forward to a perpendicular cross-member at the front edge of the trailer's body. Then fabricate a new tongue and attach it UNDER the existing frame. The new tongue should be attached at the new cross-member and to the main rails as far back from the new front cross-member as is reasonable. Find a copy of this book to learn why I'm saying this: https://www.amazon.com/Trailers-How-...dp/0914483323/
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Old 07-18-2018, 04:18 PM   #19
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Name: Shane
Trailer: Trillium
Ontario
Posts: 1
Had the same thing happen to my 1300. Cracked both sides. Made and fixed myself.
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Old 07-18-2018, 04:24 PM   #20
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Name: Ron
Trailer: Compact Jr
TX
Posts: 32
Oh no! Cracked frame!

What you are describing is one of the best ways to build a trailer that will last for as long as the fiberglass body.
Itís what I am planning for my Compact Jr.
Itís built from 2x2 11 gage and 3x3 11 gage.
Here is a pic, itís not mine. Itís from another site I follow, Expedition Portal

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