Originally Posted by P. Raz
Thanks all for responding to my post. The shelf is made of 1/8" sheet metal. It is bent upwards on each side where it is welded to the upward sloping rails and is bent downward between the rails to stiffen. It carries one group 24 battery
and one 20 lb propane
tank. The crack occurring at the upward bend leads me to believe the bend creates a weak spot to begin with and the rotation of the shelf ( caused by independent rail movement as Casita
Greg has suggested or simple vibration) makes things worse. Bending a paper clip over and over causes the metal to harden becoming more brittle and eventually breaking. Perhaps that is what is happening here? I originally liked the idea of strengthening the bends as GeorgeR suggests but perhaps eliminating the bends by attaching the shelf to two pieces of angle iron welded directly to the frame rails would work better. Bolting the shelf to the angle iron rather than welding it might allow for the rail movement. Any thoughts? Raz
The battery tray mount is similar to the one on my Bigfoot
but there are two differences which you can see on my installation pictures New batteries & fiberglass tanks for Bigfoot 21RB.
Bigfoot tray hangs way below the tongue frame, doubtful if this would make a difference.
Bigfoot tray has front and rear, about 1” high, lip which could make a difference in the way the shelf vibrates. Your shelf could act as drum with the stress point at both bends. There are multiple ways to fix the cracks such as:
Add steel angles from inside
Add flat plates attached to the bottom of the tray and to the frame if the tray is flashed with the frame
In either case I would eliminate the shelf flex by adding 1”x1”x1/8-3/16” steel angle on the front and back of the tray. Personally I would go to a local welding shop and ask them to weld the crack fixes and front and rear reinforcements.