Trillium: Cracked Battery Shelf - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-09-2011, 11:04 AM   #1
Raz
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Trillium: Cracked Battery Shelf

This morning while getting our Trillium ready for winter I discovered a new issue. The platform that holds the battery and the propane tank is cracked where it bends up to meet the frame. On one side (shown in the picture) the crack is about half way across. The other side is just starting to crack. I don't weld so I need some advice on the best way to have this repaired. Will a bead along the bend be enough or should it be reenforced? Angle iron? Any thoughts are appreciated. Raz
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Ext-Rt&Front.jpg   Tongue 1.jpg  

Tongue 2.jpg   Tongue 4.jpg  

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Old 11-09-2011, 01:00 PM   #2
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Wow, definitely exhibiting signs of stress cracking, most probably due to continual flexing from being inherently too thin and insufficiently braced for the load and stress it is getting. I would recommend not only rewelding the cracked areas, but also adding some reinforcing steel for thickness in critical areas to reduce or eliminate flexing. This would entail adding some gussets to strengthen corners and joints, and adding longitudinal bracing (lengthwise) along the main frame rails to support and stiffen the entire tongue area. Any welder worth his salt should be able to readily point out the weak spots and stiffen it up for you.
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:14 PM   #3
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How thick is the steel tray? I just repainted battery/tanks tray on my Bigfoot which is 1/8" thick. It seems from your pictures that you have stress induced fatigue crack. I would weld 2 steel angles inside at full length of the tray. Order Mild Steel A36 Angle in Small Quantities at OnlineMetals.com
Good luck.
George.
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Old 11-09-2011, 02:22 PM   #4
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Just curious why anyone would want to order raw steel on-line? It couldn't possibly be cost-effective to buy it that way. Just source it locally from one of your home town scrap yards or metal working establishments. It's gotta be a lot cheaper than ordering it on the internet and paying rediculous shipping charges. Just my two cents.
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Old 11-09-2011, 02:45 PM   #5
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Since I don't own a welder I just go down to "Joe the Welders", every town has one. Every little task seems to be $20 and thanks.
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
Just curious why anyone would want to order raw steel on-line? It couldn't possibly be cost-effective to buy it that way. Just source it locally from one of your home town scrap yards or metal working establishments. It's gotta be a lot cheaper than ordering it on the internet and paying rediculous shipping charges. Just my two cents.
Thank you for your two cents. I used Onlinemetals for years for convenience and material range availability in small volume. Apparently I am not alone because their business is growing.
George.
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeR View Post
How thick is the steel tray? I just repainted battery/tanks tray on my Bigfoot which is 1/8" thick. It seems from your pictures that you have stress induced fatigue crack. I would weld 2 steel angles inside at full length of the tray. Order Mild Steel A36 Angle in Small Quantities at OnlineMetals.com
Good luck.
George.
Thanks for the link George.
I live about 50 miles from a big city.
It cost me about $18.00 to make the drive.
Doesn't make any sense to spend the time and money on gas when you can have what you need delivered to your door.
John
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:40 AM   #8
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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
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:16 PM   #9
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"Thank you for your two cents. I used Onlinemetals for years for convenience and material range availability in small volume. Apparently I am not alone because their business is growing.
George."

Don't get your panties in a wad George, it wasn't meant as a personal attack on you for recommending it. Probably just one more of my "soon-to-be censored" comments. It seems like nobody can have an honest gut-felt opinion about something or make a statement not viewed as "pc" anymore. That's just what's wrong with this country nowadays, everybody is just too thin skinned and gets easily affronted when someone says something that ain't to their particular liking. FWIW it wasn't intended to annoy you.
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:44 PM   #10
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...............it wasn't intended to annoy you.
Greg,

It didn't. I hope your comment is far away of being censored. If you look onlinemetals inventory of exotic stuff it would be difficult to match it locally. Steel angle that another story, but I like convenience of ordering online.
Regards,

George.
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Old 11-10-2011, 01:35 PM   #11
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Thanks George,
No harm, no foul.
I'm sure there's a nitch for mail order steel for some folks not close to suppliers. I guess I might be a little spoiled living here near a shipyard with a lot of support activities related to all kinds of metal working and fabricating companies which can supply all manner of stuff.
Greg
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Old 11-10-2011, 07:16 PM   #12
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Possible issue.

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Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
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..
1. Bigfoot tray hangs way below the tongue frame, doubtful if this would make a difference.
2. 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:
a. Add steel angles from inside
b. 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 1x1x1/8-3/16 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.

Good luck,

George.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:58 AM   #13
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Hello George and thanks for responding. I was feeling a little lost in the scuffle. That's quite the set up you have. Interesting , your shelf looks similar to mine except mine has 1" stiffeners (front and back) going down instead of up. They are not evident in my pictures. What is different is that on mine the battery extends beyond the shelf. Perhaps that's the problem. In any event I found some 1"x1"x3/16" angle iron in my collection and will get a welder to strengthen the box as you have suggested. This must be a known issue by Trillium as I see they have changed the position of the shelf on the 2011 model. Thanks again, Raz
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:40 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
Hello George and thanks for responding. I was feeling a little lost in the scuffle. That's quite the set up you have. Interesting , your shelf looks similar to mine except mine has 1" stiffeners (front and back) going down instead of up. They are not evident in my pictures. What is different is that on mine the battery extends beyond the shelf. Perhaps that's the problem. In any event I found some 1"x1"x3/16" angle iron in my collection and will get a welder to strengthen the box as you have suggested. This must be a known issue by Trillium as I see they have changed the position of the shelf on the 2011 model. Thanks again, Raz
Raz,
I would also follow Greg's suggestion ".....adding some reinforcing steel for thickness in critical areas to reduce or eliminate flexing. This would entail adding some gussets to strengthen corners and joints....". stated above.
George.
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