Rear Aluminum bumper Failure Bigfoot - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-10-2015, 10:11 PM   #1
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Name: Edwin
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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Rear Aluminum bumper Failure Bigfoot

Hello everyone

I just wanted to tell everyone about our experience two weekends ago on the I5 heading south past Bellingham Washington. I heard a low buzzing noise coming from somewhere in the rear. My wife had the insight to say pull over. My whole rear bumper had sheared off the brackets. I had the OEM spare tire and cover, and a single bike on a rack. A few minutes later I am sure a bigger problem could have occurred.

What I have learned...

1) Aluminum bumpers are not strong enough to hold even a small load. I have read on numerous forums that even steel bumper are not good as well.
2) If you want to carry a load of bikes, lawn chairs, generators etc. you need to have a professional weld a rack to the sub frame.
3) Listen to your wife...

I am having a proper steel bumper installed.
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Old 08-10-2015, 11:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedchiu View Post
Hello everyone

I just wanted to tell everyone about our experience two weekends ago on the I5 heading south past Bellingham Washington. I heard a low buzzing noise coming from somewhere in the rear. My wife had the insight to say pull over. My whole rear bumper had sheared off the brackets. I had the OEM spare tire and cover, and a single bike on a rack. A few minutes later I am sure a bigger problem could have occurred.

What I have learned...

1) Aluminum bumpers are not strong enough to hold even a small load. I have read on numerous forums that even steel bumper are not good as well.
2) If you want to carry a load of bikes, lawn chairs, generators etc. you need to have a professional weld a rack to the sub frame.
3) Listen to your wife...

I am having a proper steel bumper installed.

Sorry to hear of your bad experience but all your points are well documented especially #3

Thank you though for being man enough to own up to the mistake made, not something we see all that often around here
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:28 AM   #3
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
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My motto is, if you cant take bikes OR generator in the tow (or any other extra/heavy payload - especially on the rear of a trailer)...leave it at home!!

I just read not too long ago where someone put bikes on the back of their 16' Scamp and now it's swaying badly. What's up with this???

In my opinion, I feel many RV'ers want to feel/treat their trailer like any old "utility" trailer and it is NOT! Scamp has been notorious on their 16's and 19's for running close to the "edge" on their axles/tires. At one time, we had a topic on the Scampers Yahoo group that was BLOWOUT city!! Most were on the 19's, next was 16's and VERY few on 13's. They were all running 13" wheels/tires.

If I'm not mistaken, Scamp has now gone to 14's (maybe 15's?) on the 16/19 trailers. I hope so! But that doesnt give space back to add the payload to the rear and create the SAME scenario they just tried to alleviate!

I know some will write in about hauling bikes on the rear of their trailer for a million years with NO problems. It wont be coming from THIS guy! <_<

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedchiu View Post
Hello everyone

I just wanted to tell everyone about our experience two weekends ago on the I5 heading south past Bellingham Washington. I heard a low buzzing noise coming from somewhere in the rear. My wife had the insight to say pull over. My whole rear bumper had sheared off the brackets. I had the OEM spare tire and cover, and a single bike on a rack. A few minutes later I am sure a bigger problem could have occurred.

What I have learned...

1) Aluminum bumpers are not strong enough to hold even a small load. I have read on numerous forums that even steel bumper are not good as well.
2) If you want to carry a load of bikes, lawn chairs, generators etc. you need to have a professional weld a rack to the sub frame.
3) Listen to your wife...

I am having a proper steel bumper installed.
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Old 08-11-2015, 12:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
I just read not too long ago where someone put bikes on the back of their 16' Scamp and now it's swaying badly. What's up with this???
Tongue weight is very important. Any weight on the back of the trailer will subtract from tongue weight.

I have put stuff on the back of my trailer using a hitch receiver that I had added to my trailer. The sheet metal 4" square bumper was replaced with a 4" HSS tube and the receiver tube goes forward till the next cross member.

This does not do anything to help with the lower tongue weight, and the extra mass at the back of the trailer that acts like a pendulum.

The fact that we tow with a van helps keep the trailer out of the wind though.
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Old 08-11-2015, 03:05 PM   #5
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I would wonder why Bigfoot would put a lightweight bumper back there? Aluminium bumper would be of no use if you backed into a tree. Maybe they were to better balance the trailer. Be wary if you go add a heavy steel bumper back there. When the bumper is repaired I would be sure to check my tongue weight and maybe offset the loading of the trailer if need be.
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Old 08-11-2015, 03:09 PM   #6
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If I'm not mistaken, Oliver's is aluminum too. Most Alum. frames I've seen will be an Alum. bumper....although I think they're built more into a "box" for storage. But think about this, automobiles are plastic now!

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Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
I would wonder why Bigfoot would put a lightweight bumper back there? Aluminium bumper would be of no use if you backed into a tree. Maybe they were to better balance the trailer. Be wary if you go add a heavy steel bumper back there. When the bumper is repaired I would be sure to check my tongue weight and maybe offset the loading of the trailer if need be.
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:54 PM   #7
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Automobile bumpers are not plastic. They're steel. The plastic you see is a covering and purely cosmetic. And like most cosmetics, expensive!
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:10 PM   #8
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Yes...but I'm not 100% you're totally correct on that anymore. Composites are taking over now in every facet of life.

"According to Jason Rowe, chief material engineer for Lotus Engineering, a composite front end will provide the same crash protection in less space than a steel one, which gives developers more room to add pedestrian impact measures."

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Automobile bumpers are not plastic. They're steel. The plastic you see is a covering and purely cosmetic. And like most cosmetics, expensive!
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:12 PM   #9
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Good point. Last one I saw under the fascia was our '06 CRV, after we were rear-ended recently. That one was still steel.
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Old 08-11-2015, 06:15 PM   #10
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This bumper was made from scrap light gauge steel square tubing, the whole thing weighs about eleven pounds and cost less than the two rubber plugs for the ends...
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:02 PM   #11
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Automobile bumpers are not plastic. They're steel. The plastic you see is a covering and purely cosmetic. And like most cosmetics, expensive!
Cosmetic plastic covering styrofoam held in place by a sheet metal core support. Great for safety crush zones where every fender bender makes a totaled car... but for hanging a bike rack?
Not so much!
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
Tongue weight is very important. Any weight on the back of the trailer will subtract from tongue weight.


This does not do anything to help with the lower tongue weight, and the extra mass at the back of the trailer that acts like a pendulum.
David, you're right about the pendulum effect. I can't find the towing article I was reading online recently, but it cautioned against putting too much weight on the tail end of the trailer. I believed that they referred to it as inertial sway or some such. If anything causes the rear of the trailer to move to one side quickly, the momentum of that rear weight tends to keep it moving in that direction until, hopefully, the trailer suspension absorbs that energy. However, that energy is then released and the movement begins in the other direction. During this period the trailer is unstable.

A load on the back of the trailer will reduce tongue weight; the axle is a fulcrum to the trailer's lever if you will. However, the change, though proportional, isn't one to one.

I will look for that article some more and will post the link when I find it.
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:23 PM   #13
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I found it

It is in the Dexter Axle Applications Manual, available here. Clicking on this link will download the manual.

http://l.b5z.net/i/u/6149609/f/Trail...te_Catalog.pdf

See Page 4 in the definition of terms. Handy book to have around, especially if you are running Dexter axles.

Actually, toward the end of the paragraph it warns against putting too much weight in either end of the trailer.
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:24 PM   #14
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No matter the build, do NOT put anything on the back of your all-molded-towable that you're not willing to leave alongside the roadway. BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T SEE IT LEAVE THE TRAILER.

If you show up at your campsite and IT'S GONE, hope that no one was hurt when it LEFT.

All things important to your heart or pocketbook need to ALWAYS be within your sight....
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